Illinois Republican Party

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Illinois Republican Party
Chairperson Tim Schneider
Senate Leader Bill Brady
House Leader Jim Durkin
Governor Bruce Rauner
Headquarters Springfield, Illinois
Ideology Conservatism (United States)
Economic liberalism
Fiscal conservatism
Political position Center-right
National affiliation Republican Party
Colors Red
Seats in the Senate
22 / 59
Seats in the House
51 / 118
Statewide Offices
2 / 6
US Senate (Illinois Seats)
0 / 2
US House (Illinois Seats)
7 / 18

The Illinois Republican Party is the state-level affiliate of the Republican Party in Illinois. Since May 17, 2014, it has been chaired by Tim Schneider. The party is one of two legally established, statewide political parties in Illinois, the other being the Democratic Party. Illinois's Governor, Bruce Rauner is a member of the party and currently the only statewide elected official.


Abraham Lincoln, the first U.S. President from Illinois (1861–1865).

Before 1990s

The Illinois Republican Party was organized at the Bloomington Convention in Major's Hall in Bloomington on May 29, 1856. Its founding members came from the former Whig Party in Illinois after its members joined with several powerful local political factions including, notably, the Independent Democrat movement of Chicago that helped elect James Hutchinson Woodworth Mayor in 1848.

The early Illinois Republican Party enjoyed many members from commerce who shared the vision of Illinois generally, and Chicago in particular, as a gateway to the Western frontier of the United States. The early party members quickly identified their shared anti-slavery sentiment which further differentiated them from the older parties based on the East Coast. Many early members of the party failed to gain statewide office or election to the United States Congress due to this anti-slavery view, although this early position of the party in Illinois would later propel several candidates to prominent office, including the Governorship of Illinois won by Richard Yates, and in the mid-1850s, the election of former Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth to one term in the United States House of Representatives.

On May 9–10, 1860 the Illinois Republican State Convention was held in Decatur. At this convention Abraham Lincoln received his first endorsement for president of the United States. Until 1932, Republicans had virtually complete control over Illinois politics.

From 1932 to 1994, Republicans still usually had more control over Illinois politics, although Democrats still had a presence in the state and many noted Democratic politicians, most notably Adlai Stevenson II (lost to Republican Dwight Eisenhower twice), came from Illinois. President Ronald Reagan also came from Illinois, despite living in and serving two terms as Governor of California. The last time Republican carried in presidential elections was 1988, when George H. W. Bush won Illinois by 2.1% marginal points.

The 40th U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981-1989) came from Illinois.

After 1990s

By the late 1990s, though, Illinois had started to become more Democratic in presidential elections, partly because the Republican's social conservatism in other states had started to alienated many Northeastern and some Midwestern Republican voters. Illinois rapidly became more Democratic in the second half of the 1990s and early 2000s. In contrast, most GOP candidates in Illinois gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races in recent years have been almost indistinguishable from Democrats on both social and fiscal issues, with the notable exception of Peter Fitzgerald who won the Senate race in 1998. While this tendency has helped Illinois GOP candidates in the suburbs, it has alienated many conservative voters downstate.

Other than a brief majority from 1995-1997 as a result of the Republican Revolution, the Republicans have been in the minority in the state House of Representatives since 1982. In 2002, while the Republicans did well in 2002 midterm elections nationwide, the Illinois Republicans lost their majority when a Democrat became Illinois governor for the first time in 26 years and Democrats gained control of the Illinois Senate, putting the party in the minority for the first time in state history.

Recent events

The 2010 elections saw the election of Illinois Republican Mark Kirk to the US Senate as well as a Republican sweep of Illinois US House seats. Republicans came within 5 seats of a majority in the Illinois House of Representatives and gained seats in the Senate. Republican nominee Bill Brady narrowly lost the gubernatorial election to Pat Quinn, leaving Democrats in full control of the redistricting process. This resulted in gerrymandering heavily in favor of Democrats. As a result of the redistricting process, Illinois Republicans suffered huge losses in the 2012 elections.

In the 2014 gubernatorial election, Republican nominee Bruce Rauner defeated incumbent Governor Pat Quinn to become the first GOP Governor since George Ryan left office in 2003. Republicans also picked up two Illinois congressional seats and a seat in the Illinois Senate.

Organization and leadership

The Illinois Republican Party is run by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee, which consists of 18 members, one representing each of the state's congressional districts.

Past chairmen (partial list)

Chairman Term
Rebecca Paul co-chairman ~1985 with Adams[citation needed]
Victor L. Smith 1960–1973[1]
Donald "Doc" Adams 1973–1988[1]
Al Jourdan 1988–1993[2]
Harold Byron Smith 1993–1999[3]
Richard S. Williamson 1999–2002[4]
Lee A. Daniels 2001–2002[5]
Dallas Ingemunson 2002 (interim)[6]
Gary MacDougal 2002–2002[7]
Judy Baar Topinka 2002–2005[8]
Andrew McKenna 2005–2009[9]
Pat Brady 2009–2013
Jack Dorgan 2013–2014
Tim Schneider 2014–present

Current elected officials

The Illinois Republican Party controls two of the six statewide offices. After the 2018 election, Republicans will hold 5 of the state's 18 U.S. House seats.

Members of Congress

U.S. House of Representatives

Statewide offices

See also


  1. ^ a b Chicago Sun-Times. Does Anyone Want GOP Leadership? June 23, 1993
  2. ^ St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Jourdan Picked to Head State GOP Party. January 10, 1988.
  3. ^ Chicago Sun-Times. GOP Taps Suburb Businessman (Smith) as State Chairman. July 7, 1993.
  4. ^ Pantagraph - Bloomington, Illinois. Williamson Appointed As State's Top Republican. April 16, 1999
  5. ^ Chicago Sun-Times. Daniels set to lead state GOP. Dave McKinney. November 14, 2001.
  6. ^ Crain's Chicago Business. GOP selects interim chief.(Ingemunson following Daniels). July 15, 2002.
  7. ^ The Southern Illinoisan. Conservative welfare reformer named head of state GOP. July 27, 2002.
  8. ^ St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Topinka is Tapped to Lead Illinois Republican Party. November 27, 2002
  9. ^ St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Businessman will lead Illinois GOP. January 16, 2005

External links

  •, the Republican Party of Illinois website
  •, Illinois College Republican Federation website
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