In about 17 days, perhaps as many as 750,000 Illinois voters in 102 counties might walk into a polling place to request a primary ballot of the Republican Party. It is that group of voters, and not just precinct committeemen or county chairs, that represents the broadest measure of the Republican Party in Illinois.
On March 18, those voters might decide if the GOP label means anything to them at all. Of four candidates for governor in the GOP primary, three have a record of supporting the Republican Party and its principles before the year 2013. But one has no visible record at all of ever having supported the GOP before he announced his candidacy in 2013.
In fact one could cite several examples of that candidate supporting Democrats in Illinois. But it is the candidate with no record of GOP support who leads in some name-recognition polls based on superficial commercials almost devoid of any serious policy content.
For many years primary elections have been under legal attack in courts because activists on the Left want a primary to be a mere screen for a general election and not a venue for like-minded party supporters to select a nominee to represent their values. It is sad that the GOP organization in Illinois is so weak that it cannot even vet a candidate who in all liklihood is not a Republican from a serious challenge to the party nomination.