SPRINGFIELD - Speaking to Sangamon County Republican committeemen this weekend, gubernatorial Bruce Rauner confirmed what political writers have been saying for the last few days - he's planning on changing the state's Republican Party with a rebuild from the precinct level up.
And that organization will produce a majority party in eight years, he said.
“We’re going to rebuild our Republican party from the grassroots up in every county. We’re going to take seat after seat in the General Assembly, and eight years from today we’re going to be celebrating. We’re going to be the majority party,” Rauner told the crowd, the State Journal Register reports.
He later defended the statement as “very realistic."
“Limited government, low taxes, individual liberty and personal responsibility. Many Democrats believe in that, independent voters believe in it and if we build the Republican party on that, that’s a unifying message,” he said.
Rauner is putting his money where he's focused. Besides giving the Sangamon GOP over $10,000 in the past few months, Rauner and his wife Diana wrote checks to the Illinois Republican Party for $10,500 each in the last quarter, and the Citizens for Rauner Committee transferred $550,000 into the IL GOP's coffers during the same time.
At the same time, Rauner has also written $5300 checks to numerous Republican incumbent lawmakers and candidates, including Ron Sandack, Chris Nybo, Darin LaHood, Dwight Kay, Kristin Williamson, Mark Batinick, and Christine Winger, among several others. He's also continuing to write checks to Republican township and county organizations.
There has not been a Republican majority in the Illinois House since 1994, when the House was led by former State Rep. Lee Daniels for two years - then House Speaker Mike Madigan gained back the majority and has held onto it ever since. The Illinois Senate lost its majority in 2002 after holding the majority for ten years.