By Joe Kaiser -
Ian Bayne was tired of the political culture in Massachusetts when he lived there more than 10 years ago, and decided to do something about it. He founded the Massachusetts Republican Society PAC in 1998 and worked on a number of high-profile campaigns, including the 2002 gubernatorial campaign for Mitt Romney. Along the way, he clashed with the Democrats and the media.
Bayne, 39, has since moved back to his native Illinois and started a small business, but he is now fed up with what he feels is the same kind of political culture in Illinois that he battled in Massachusetts. Feeling compelled to act again, he declared in April a run for the GOP nomination in the 11th Congressional district, challenging incumbent Democrat Bill Foster.
“It’s not that I want to be a congressman,” Bayne said. “...I just don’t see another choice.”
Part of the urgency to make a difference for Bayne, who is also a syndicated radio show host, stems from his background as the owner of a small, real-estate business. Though he now lives in Aurora, he was born in poverty in Evanston to a single mother, and bounced around from many homes in his early years. He said because of this, he felt desperate and started his real-estate business "out of nothing," but he is concerned that that opportunity may not exist for future generations.
"I genuinely am scared that the opportunity to start businesses won't be here for my children or grandchildren," Bayne said. "I feel that we are losing this country."
He does, though, have some optimism about his own electoral chances and the chances of other like-minded candidates. As a Tea Party supporter, Bayne said he believes voters will side with his ilk instead of establishment Republicans in both the primary and general elections next year, largely because of the recent fight over defunding Obamacare. He also said, if elected, he will not compromise on key issues such as Obamacare.
“If I’m sitting at home and people come in and are trying to steal my television, I’m not gonna compromise and say you can take my lamp,” Bayne said.
"I won't work with people on issues that fail the American people," he continued. "If we have good policy I'll ask them to support it, but otherwise I'm not gonna compromise my values.”
With Foster’s incumbency and a redrawn district to favor Democrats, Bayne will face several hurdles before possibly turning the seat red. He will first face Caterpiller executive Chris Balkema and State Rep. Darlene Senger in the Republican primary in March. What Bayne said sets him apart from his opponents is his experience as an underdog in the Massachusetts political arena.
Not only did Bayne say he was already vetted from his tough fights in Massachusetts, but he said his experience working for the minority party and a heavy underdog in that state will pay off in making up the statistical edge Foster is said to have. Bayne also does not believe the voters in his district lean as far to the left as past numbers could have voters believe.
Foster defeated incumbent Republican Judy Biggert by more than 17 points in 2012.
“I lived in a state (Massachusetts) where 15 percent of registered voters were Republican,” Bayne said. “I know uphill battles, and I don’t think this is one of them.”