When I talk to Illinois Republicans, the main topic of conversation is the Governor’s race, which is the way it should be. Obviously, the race for Governor is extremely important to the future of Illinois. Do we want to continue to embrace Pat Quinn’s failed policies or will Illinois voters give Bruce Rauner a chance to “Shake up Springfield” and get Illinois moving in the right direction?
I am a staunch Bruce Rauner supporter and I am committed to seeing him win in November, but I also believe we as Republicans should pay attention to some of the other races on the ballot this year and make them a priority as well.
Tom Cross is in a tough battle for the State Treasurer’s office. There also are many State legislative races that are extremely important as well.
If Bruce Rauner does get elected, he is going to need a governing coalition ends the super majority the Democrats enjoy in the House and the Senate. It is important that we pay attention to these other down ballot races.
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin recently told the Associated Press that he is focused on picking up seven seats across the state. Right now, the Democrats have 71 seats in the Illinois House and enjoy a supermajority. Picking up seven seats in the House would not create a Republican majority but it would certainly end the super majority House Speaker Michael Madigan has now.
We need Republicans to get excited about the opportunities we have in this election cycle. The commitment the Bruce Rauner campaign has made to winning has created an opportunity that should not be ignored. We as Republicans need to do our part to get our friends, our neighbors and our relatives out to vote for Republican candidates up and down the ballot this fall.
In 2012, there were 4 million GOP voters who did not vote and it cost Mitt Romney dearly. The pundits all agree that this could be a good year for conservative candidates but this can only be true if conservatives show up to vote and bring as many people as they can to the polls.
The future of our state hangs in the balance. We cannot afford the status quo. It is definitely time for a change, but the only way to pick up the Governor’s office and to hang onto the State Treasurer and State Comptroller offices and to pick up seven seats in the House is for conservative voters to get to work. If we all do our part, we can and will be successful this fall.
Ben Stratemeyer is Marion County GOP Chairman.