ROCKFORD - GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is lobbying for Winnebago County Republican Chairman Jim Thompson to step down after publishing a joke in the organization's newsletter that was deemed "racist" by some observers.
“Bruce believes the comments in the newsletter were wholly inappropriate and don’t have a place in the Republican Party. It would be best if he resigned,” said Mike Schrimpf, Rauner spokesman.
The furor erupted last weekend and local Republicans defended Thompson:
State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, confirmed that Rauner called him Friday afternoon and said it would be best for the party if Thompson stepped down. Syverson has been one of Thompson’s supporters, saying he should stay in his position because he apologized for the “joke.”
“He’s not racist and he apologized and if somebody took it the wrong way, he apologized and that’s all he can do,” said Syverson.
“Now it’s up to him to decide what’s best for him, the party and the state,” Syverson said.