Kirk leads GOP unity at state fair
August 15, 2013 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) (WLS) -- Illinois Republicans gathered at the Illinois State Fair Thursday in a show of party unity and the life of the party was Senator Mark Kirk, who suffered a stroke a year and a half ago.
What a difference a day made at the Illinois State Fairgounds. Republicans now insist they are the unified party, ready to do battle in 2014.
U.S. Senator Mark Kirk, back on his feet after a stroke 18 months ago, is the walking inspiration for Illinois Republicans.
"Do not give up on this state," Kirk said. "It's worth too much. Never Give up!"
The state party is energized for next year's elections. Its leaders cite persistent state fiscal problems and rising unemployment during a decade of democratic control.
"They run the state, for God's sake, and the state has been run into the ground," said Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
"It's nice to be able to come here as Republicans today and know you win by forfeit because the other team doesn't show up," said Illinois Republican Chairman Jack Dorgan.
At Wednesday's democratic events, state party chairman, House Speaker Mike Madigan, was a no show. And Governor Pat Quinn saw his party's lawmakers, angry about their vetoed salaries, boycott Quinn's fairgrounds picnic.
"Republicans are certainly getting along better than the Democrats in the state," said Senator Kirk Dillard.
Dillard is one of four candidates for the 2014 Republican nomination. He narrowly lost the 2010 GOP primary to Senator Bill Brady, who lost to Pat Quinn. Brady will run again.
"We're going to build on the foundation we started and finish the job," Brady said.
State treasurer Dan Rutherford is in the race.
"I'm the only Republican who's running for governor who's actually won a statewide race," he said.
And a political novice is in: Wealthy Winnetka businessman Bruce Rauner, who rode his Harley to the fair:
"We got a lot of support," Rauner said. "We're building grassroots all over the state, it's awesome."
As the candidates made nice Thursday, they focused on fiscal issues, avoiding the social issues that in recent years have divided Republicans and pushed the party's message to the right.
pat quinn, politics, charles thomas
- 2 hurt in North Side crash 7 min ago
- Malaysia jet may have turned back 56 min ago
- Cardinal George: 'I expect to get through this' 15 min ago
- ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast 44 min ago
- Attempted abduction prompts community alert
- Child starts fire at Batavia apartment
- Mt. Prospect banquet hall closes suddenly
- Chase bank robbed on Northwest Side
- Cubs single-game tickets on sale
- 'Project Youth' provides lessons on teen pregnancy, more
- Bill would ban SeaWorld orca shows in California
- Russia reinforces military presence in Crimea, Ukraine
- Dance marathon for Lurie Children's Hospital
- abcnews: Teens Help Save Man Stuck in Sewer
- ABC7 First Alert Weather Forecast
44 min ago
- Cardinal George: 'I expect to get through...
15 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos