Statement by William J. Kelly
Chicago, Illinois – On Saturday, I called for conservatives to unite and attend the GOP State Central Committee meeting at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. The objective: freedom of speech. We were there to tell Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady to resign. Finally.
Did he? He told me “no.”
During the meeting, Brady tried to pretend that we – Republicans – were all one big happy family but the anger and hostility in that room proved otherwise.
The GOP Chairman has accomplished much during his term: He has divided the Republican Party and attacked conservative candidates for office. He has ignored grassroots activists in favor of his own agenda. He is interested in advancing his little circle of power; he isn’t interested in helping the Illinois GOP.
Brady discussed all of the party’s accomplishments in fundraising and organizing. However, as much as he wanted to gloss things over, the elephant in the room was one he couldn’t miss: The Illinois GOP failed miserably in the 2012 elections.
Actually, failed is not the right word. The GOP was decimated. Destroyed. Obliterated.
And the responsibility squarely rests with Pat Brady, the GOP’s biggest failure. The party’s biggest disgrace of all.
In a GOP landslide election year in 2010, Brady bungled the governor’s race and Republicans lost any voice in the remap as a result. The statewide remap helped put House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate Leader John Cullerton on the path to veto-proof Democrat supermajorities in the state legislature. And the Illinois GOP we lost four congressional seats.
Brady also personally involved himself in GOP primaries. He managed the campaign to oppose Sen. Chris Lauzen for Kane County Chairman. He even meddled in my race for Chicago ward committeeman. He wanted to curry favor with the son of a big Republican donor (who also donates to Rahm Emanuel).
Brady couldn’t even win a Chicago ward committeeman race. How inept and silly can you be?
During the State Convention, he prevented delegates from participating and stopped a vote on direct elections, which would have returned voting power to GOP primary voters.
At Saturday’s meeting, many other organizers and Republican activists were present, infuriated at how the State Republican Party treated them in 2012.
In an act of disrespect for attendees, Brady wouldn’t let any non-committee person or candidate speak from the podium – but he made exceptions for Dan Proft and Jack Roeser.
He wanted to make sure he could take away the microphone quickly if need be.
Party hacks harassed people who were taking photos and video.
Many called for Brady’s resignation outright. Others were very specific in their outrages.
Sherri Griffith, the Cook County candidate for Recorder of Deeds, lashed out asking why the state or Chicago GOP did not manage to get even one signature petition for her. Not one.
Lori Yokoyama, who ran for Cook County State’s Attorney, was furious: The GOP wants to cultivate women and minorities? But they left Yokoyama and Griffin to fend for themselves with no support or involvement of the party. Not even a press release.
Yokoyama’s point was well-taken: Brady now wants to do a poll of voters to see how the GOP can better appeal to women of color. Brady had his chance and he blew it.
I was proud of Carrie Miller of Patriots in Action. “We work for conservative candidates and then you destroy them,” she said to Brady. “You want to choose your people. You don’t want to hear from the grassroots!” Attendees clapped vigorously in agreement.
About 10 other people wanted to speak but were prevented from doing so – including recent candidate Carl Segvich. GOP operatives pushed people out of the room, mumbling disrespectfully under their breath about attendees.
That’s the Illinois GOP: a party that has always had disrespect and disdain – maybe even hate – for its conservative base. The people who really do the work and get out the vote.
The Election of 2012 proved that the Illinois GOP may want conservative votes but they really don’t want us in the party.
The question is: What do we do now?