Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

January 29, 2013

Effingham County GOP calls for change in leadership

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

EFFINGHAM — Effingham County Republicans are calling for a change in the statewide GOP leadership.

The county's Republican Central Committee unanimously passed a resolution calling for the resignation of state GOP Chairman Pat Brady. According to the resolution, the committee is "deeply concerned" by what they say is the unwillingness of the state Republican Central Committee to take action to support traditional marriage - defined as marriage between one man and one woman.

The resolution singles out Brady for his "open advocacy of gay marriage" and calls for his resignation. In fact, the resolution "condemns" Brady for "undermining the principles of social conservatism that is part of the core base of the Illinois Republican Party."

County GOP Chairman Steve Donaldson said Brady's open support of legalizing gay marriage was the last straw for committee members after a disappointing 2012 election cycle in which the GOP lost legislative seats on both the state and federal levels.

"Personal opinion is one thing," Donaldson said. "But coming out as a state party chairman and expressing those kind of views crossed a line."

Donaldson noted the state and national Republican platforms call for marriage to be between one man and one woman. On top of that, he added, Brady must bear responsibility for the Republican losses incurred in last year's elections.

"It's kind of like a football coach whose team has been losing," Donaldson said. "A lot of us see Pat Brady as somebody who has been setting the direction of our party, and it's not the right direction."

The committee also slams Brady for what it says is his "refusal to address the problems associated with ... campaign losses by the Illinois Republican Party."

Not only have Democrats occupied the governor's office for more than a decade, but the party of President Barack Obama also holds super-majorities in both houses of the Illinois General Assembly and all but two of the statewide constitutional offices.

Longtime Springfield political reporter Rich Miller said in his Capitol Fax blog Sunday that state GOP leaders just want the issue to go away in time for the 2014 election cycle.

"The Republicans don't want to be on the wrong side of another hot-button issue during the statewide election that year (2014)," Miller wrote. "They also don't want it coming up in their primary elections that spring."

Miller noted a number of prominent social conservatives, such as state Sen. Jim Oberweis and former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, have publicly called for Brady to resign for publicly calling for the legalization of gay marriage.

Miller added the state Republican leadership would prefer to focus on economic issues - such as repeal of the 2011 state income tax hike - than social issues that, he said, are not trending their way on a statewide basis.

"... if the GOP gets bogged down in too many social issues where they are on the Ôwrong' side of public opinion, its candidates won't stand much of a chance," Miller wrote.

Miller noted the state Republican leadership's desire to get the bill passed does not necessarily reflect their personal feelings on the issue.

"It's not that they're necessarily in favor of gay marriage," he wrote. "Many of them are publicly and privately opposed."

Miller added Republican leaders believe any same-sex marriage bill will easily pass the Democrat majorities in the General Assembly, making it easier for Republicans to move on to other topics.

"They want to get the issue out of the way and behind them as soon as possible," Miller wrote.

Brady was unavailable for comment Monday.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at bill.grimes@effinghamdailynews.com.