Illinois Republicans are seeing opportunity where their fortunes are the worst. They’re announcing a plan to recruit, examine for viability and support candidates in Chicago for seats in the Illinois General Assembly. As it is, says Chicago Republican Chairman Adam Robinson, they often have nobody. “Citizens who want an alternative to the status quo show up to the poll to find that 80 percent of the time there’s only one candidate to vote for on the ballot for their state House and Senate seat,” he said.
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Party leaders take the blame for this but they say they’ve raised $100,000, and plan to raise a quarter-million, to recruit candidates and get them and keep them on the ballot. Currently there are 42 seats in the General Assembly that are entirely or partly in Chicago, 41 are held by Democrats. State Rep. Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) is the exception. Robinson acknowledges that Republican candidates will be underdogs in Chicago, but even if they don’t win, the party is aiming to boost Chicago vote totals for Republican statewide candidates, which could make a difference.
Republican leaders say the main message of Republican candidates in Chicago will be economic, though part of the plan is to engage black churches on conservative social issues.