EFFINGHAM — While the keynote speaker for Saturday's annual Lincoln Day event has cancelled, local Republicans can take heart that a plethora of statewide GOP candidates will be on hand to fill up that time slot.
The annual event is set for Saturday afternoon at the Effingham VFW hall, 2304 Veterans Dr. Social hour begins at noon, with dinner to be served at 1.
Advance tickets are $25 per adult and $10 per student. Checks should be made payable to ECRCC and mailed to PO Box 52, Effingham, IL 62401.
Tickets will be available at the door for an additional $5 each.
County GOP chairman Steve Donaldson said organizers will compensate for the cancellation of keynote speaker Charlie Kirk — founder of TurningPoint USA — with more time for the numerous candidates — including all four gubernatorial candidates — slated to attend.
"We won't have a keynote speaker, but because we have so many candidates confirmed, we will have more than enough to fill that time," Donaldson said.
In addition to gubernatorial candidates Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, Bruce Rauner and Dan Rutherford, other confirmed speakers include U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, state Sen. Kyle McCarter, state Rep. John Cavaletto, state treasurer candidate Bob Grogan, and a number of local candidates.
Saturday's event is set for midday because there are at least three other Lincoln Day events in neighboring counties Saturday.
Donaldson said the fact that 2014 is a gubernatorial election year makes this year's event more meaningful than in other years.
"We have all four (Republican) candidates confirmed and there's a good chance one of them will be our next governor," he said.
Brady, a state senator from Bloomington, suffered a narrow defeat to Democrat Pat Quinn in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Dillard is a state senator from west suburban Chicago, while Rutherford is the current Illinois State Treasurer. Rauner, who has been slamming his primary foes for being "career politicians," is a venture capitalist from north suburban Chicago.