SPRINGFIELD - Conservatives that expressed their views in the March primary by nearly stopping the renomination of incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner are unusually engaged as the party officials meet Wednesday night.
Letters endorsing and condemning candidates are appearing online and in emails as some defend the status quo while others call for a dramatic directional change.
Throughout the state Wednesday night, elected members of the IL GOP's county and township organizations will meet to decide who will represent them on the Republican Party's State Central Committee. They will also determine who the next state party chairman.
In the 17th CD, incumbent State Central Committeewoman Jan Weber is being challenged by Patrick Harlan. Illinois Review featured Ms. Weber's letter requesting precinct committeemen re-elect her Wednesday night.
Ms. Weber was not happy with IR's story, and made it clear on Facebook.
Too bad the writers for Illinois Review didn’t take the time to check details before they published. I proudly supported John Kasich since I have known him since since 1971 - yes check the date 1971. We were both college students at The Ohio State University and he was President of Freshman Senate and I was a member representing my dorm. I stand by my loyalty of long time acquaintance in a very crowded field of candidates. Fact be John Kasich campaigned almost none in IL. In the days of so much fake news I am disappointed at the lack of ethical or journalistic standards by Illinois Review. I have voted in very IL election since 1976 and I have never missed a Republican Primary too bad my opponents voting record isn’t the same.
Having had Ms. Weber's unhappiness with IR reporting pointed out to us, we asked if we could update the story to include more than her letter - her views that we overlooked in the first story. We also asked her if she was pleased with Governor Rauner's first term.
Thank you for asking. I like many Republicans across the state and especially in the 17th CD don’t agree with all of Governor Rauner’s decisions. The Republican Party must continue to be the big tent where it is ok to not always agree. Republicans must unite after the primary and support the nominee of the Republicans who made the effort to vote on March 20. Primaries are an important part of our political process and it brings new ideas and often new people to support a candidate. Moving forward Republicans who are united will be successful in November and beyond. Divided we are giving in the other party. This has been my message at events in counties all across the 17th CD during the primary season. I have taken the time to attend numerous events, meetings and trainings all over the 17th CD to hear first hand the thoughts of all Republicans. I believe in the rock solid principles of the Republican Party.
We then asked Ms. Weber about the controverisal appointment she made to the 2016 State Convention Platform Committee. Her representative Elisha French joined State Central Committeeman Ryan Higgins in arguing in open convention for setting aside the IL GOP platform's emphasis on traditional marriage.
Was he representing your views and if not, what was the understanding you two had on that issue? IR asked.
Ms. Weber explained her perspective on what happened. Again, Ms. Weber called for unity within the party.
I appointed Elisha French as the 17th CD member on the Platform Committee. I didn’t have the opportunity attend the committee meeting on the first day of the convention as I had other responsibilities as chairman of the arrangements committee. When I selected Elisha to serve on the committee I asked him to be fair and to listen to others. I didn’t know until the open discussion began that he was speaking. Our party must be open to the ideas of all and we need to build bridges to connect the many ideas we share and not be constantly not showing respect to others. Our nation, our state and our district needs more understanding, kindness and civility to each other.
The decision between Ms. Weber and Mr. Harlan will be made Wednesday night by 17th CD local party organizations.
The original story on this 17th CD rivalry: