In an interview with The Hill Illinois Republican [mc_name name=’Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000360′ ] said that possible presidential runs by Kentucky [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ] and Texas [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] would hurt the Illinois Republican Party.
“We definitely have our isolationist wing, which I completely disagree with,” he said, pointing to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), before promising to back a GOP candidate in the presidential primary that he thought would do well in Illinois. He criticized Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) bombastic style as well.
“Some of the candidates that are out there, if they ran for president in Illinois, they would really hurt the Illinois GOP. I lean toward the ones who would do well for us. … I think Ted would get pretty much obliterated in Illinois. I think Rand would not do well in Illinois,” he said, refusing to say whether he’d endorse them if either became the eventual GOP nominee.
He made it clear that, despite his frustration with the past few years, he was looking forward to his new role in a GOP majority.
In the 2012 Republican presidential primary in Illinois former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum garnered 35% of the vote, and was the primary choice for conservative voters(with Newt Gingrich getting 8% and Ron Paul 9%), as eventual GOP nominee Mitt Romney won with 46% of the Republican vote.
Barack Obama would win Illinois for a second time with 57% of the general election vote, Mitt Romney got 41%. Obama beat [mc_name name=’Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’M000303′ ] in 2008 61% to 36%. [mc_name name=’Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’K000148′ ] won Illinois in 2004 over President George W. Bush 54 to 44. Gore beat Bush in Illinois in 2000 54 to 42.
The obvious electorial problems in Illinois have nothing to do with the parties presidential primary process. Going into the 2010 general election Republicans in Illinois where only a handful of seats away from having the majority and control of the state legislature. Instead by the end of the 2012 election, thanks to weak and even non-existent support from the state party organization Republican’s in the Illinois legislature went into a super minority, cementing Democrat Speaker Michael Madigan’s hold on power.
Things have been fluctuating at the congressional level as several House seats flipped to Republican during the 2010 Tea Party wave with wins from Joe Walsh, [mc_name name=’Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’H001059′ ], and Bobby Schilling. However, thanks to redistricting done at the hands of Michael Madigan, and a Presidential election year with Barack Obama’s name on it, Republicans lost nearly all of those 2012 House gains.
In 2014, in a year in which Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner spent considerable cash trying to help get more Republican legislatures elected only one new Republican is going to be sworn into the legislature, Moline firefighter Neil Anderson, as a state Senator. Despite several close races, that was the only seat gained in the General Assembly. Even former Republican House minority leader Tom Cross, who voted for bringing Obamacare to Illinois 2 years early and voted to allow for same-sex marriage, the kind of candidate Mark Kirk would support, lost in a close race for state Treasurer.
On the House side two seats flipped, Bob Dold re-won Kirk’s old 10th congressional district in Lake County, and former state Rep. Mike Bost won in far southern Illinois’ 12th CD. The 10th CD is a purple district, while the 12th had been in Democrat control for years.
The Illinois Republican party isn’t hurt by presidential primaries, or by conservative candidates. It is hurt by amnesty supporters like Sen. Kirk who voted for the Senate Gang of 8 amnesty bill that President Obama is willing to burn the Constitution in order to get passed out of the House, or congressman [mc_name name=’Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’K000378′ ] who was one of only 11 Republicans in the House to vote to allow President Obama to continue to expand his DACA amnesty program which he did in essence with his Executive Order amnesty speech Thursday night.
The Illinois GOP is and has been harmed by the likes of former party chairman Pat Brady who had to be forced from his position because he openly worked against aspects of the party’s state and national platform.
It also hasn’t been helped by minority leaders Sen. Christine Radogno, and Tom Cross who have helped Democrats at times get things like same-sex marriage, drivers licenses for illegals, and early Obamacare done in the state legislature.
Should Ted Cruz or Rand Paul run for President it might actually be a good thing for Illinois Republicans.
Hispanics and immigrants of all backgrounds should be interested in Cruz’s background as the son of a Cuban exile.
Rand Paul has been making attention grabbing attempts to bring the message of the Republican party and liberty to minority groups that traditionally vote Democrat, and people have been taking notice of it.
These are good things. So to is Cruz and Paul’s ability to get people excited about the Constitution, liberty, and the American dream.
Those things won’t hurt the Illinois Republican party Sen. Kirk, but you running for reelection again might.