Republican hopes Illinois GOP stays united through next year’s primaries



(The Center Square) – While Illinois’ primary elections are still months away, some are lining up to toss their hats in the ring for Republican districts.

In Illinois, Democrats hold a supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate. Democrats also hold all statewide state constitutional officers and the two U.S. Senate seats. All but three of Illinois’ 17 districts in the U.S. House are held by Democrats.

In one of the three Republican U.S. House districts in Illinois, former Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey is eyeing the seat held by Congressman Mike Bost.

“We are considering that,” Bailey told The Center Square last month. “If we decide to run, we’ll probably make an official announcement pretty soon. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for some time, and I’m gauging what kind of impact our movement could have on the overall direction of things.”

In general terms, Republican state Sen. Steve McClure, R-Springfield, said he’s keeping an eye on such instances around the state of Republicans challenging Republicans in their primary.

“There’s a few Republicans that are trying to create a circular firing squad where we spend all this money on primaries and then we get roasted in a general election with either a very poor candidate or a candidate that has been beat up unnecessarily by a Republican candidate who just wants to run to get attention for themselves,” McClure said.

McClure was elected to the 54th District for a 4-year term in 2022. He will face another election in 2026.

Like seats in the U.S. House, state Representatives have two year terms.

In Decatur, incumbent state Rep. Dan Caulkins, R-Decatur, announced he won’t be seeking another term, adhering to self-imposed term limits. He endorsed Regan Deering for the district. Deering lost to U.S. Rep. Nikki Budzinski, D-Springfield, in the 2022 election for that newly drawn U.S. House seat.

Deering said she’s ready to win the support of the voters to head to the Illinois Statehouse.

“Illinoisans are so tired of being taxed and having those dollars spent inappropriately,” Deering said. “So if we could try and reclaim some of those dollars, make sure that what we are spending is making a difference in the lives of everyday Illinoisans, that’s going to be our first priority.”

There could be a Republican party primary in that and other districts.

Despite what could be fierce primaries around the state, McClure hopes Republicans stick together.

“I really want us to be a united Republican party because that’s the only way we’re going to be able to make a difference in this state and start to cut into the Democrats’ supermajorities,” McClure said.

Illinois’ general primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19, 2024.



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