GOP still struggling to be relevant

May 15, 2013 

Republicans in Illinois remain in disarray. Pat Brady recently resigned his post as state GOP chairman, and this week Jon McLean, St. Clair County's party chairman, announced he's leaving.

The reasons for their departures are very different. Brady was forced out after he personally endorsed same-sex marriage, and McLean is moving out of the county. But the issue at both the state and county levels is the same: find a way to be relevant.

We often bemoan one-party Democratic rule in Illinois and the county. Democrats hold supermajorities in the state House and Senate and control the governor's office. Democrats control the St. Clair County Board and all countywide offices.

The stranglehold on power means that politicians are rarely held accountable for poor decisions, inaction and cozy insider deals. They know there won't be consequences to their actions.

It's fine to say, "Throw the bums out." But for that to even be a possibility, Republicans have to offer solid, credible candidates as alternatives.

Besides state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka and Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who are the big-name Republicans in Illinois? The party still regularly trots out Jim Edgar, and his time as governor ended 14 years ago.

The new chairmen will have their work cut out for them.

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