SB600: Litmus Test for Party Reform (By Cedra Crenshaw)

-By Warner Todd Huston

In the 2010 midterms, Cedra Crenshaw made a splash as a great independent Republican candidate for the Illinois State Senate (43rd District). She was quickly confronted with the power of the Democratic Machine and made all too well aware of the limitations of the Illinois Republican Party.

Cedra recently wrote a great piece on SB600, a bill that would allow Republican voters to vote in their own leadership on the Illinois Republican State Committee (currently, insiders appoint these members and voters have no choice).

In speaking to small groups of conservatives across Illinois after the election, many people are disappointed in the results of November 2nd. Michael Madigan won the election, consolidated his clout, and now is at the zenith of his power. Now, Madigan controls both political money under “campaign finance reform” and the legislative rewrite of the map. Plus he now has a grudge since his reputation was tarnished. How did Democratic Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and Leader Cullerton all survive the national Republican tsunami? How are Illinois Republicans still in the minority – in every branch of state government?

Now is the time to reform the way our Republican Party chooses our top leadership (SB600). Senate Bill 600 returns Republican Party leadership to a ballot box election during our party primaries. In other words, our leadership would once again be chosen by the people. It’s not a panacea, but reform is critical. If November 2nd did not convince you of that, the outline of events below should.

Under the current system, precinct committeemen in each US congressional district vote for their state central committeemen at the county conventions. Last spring, as a newly elected precinct committeeman, I exercised my vote for party leadership. I decided to vote for party reform (SB600) and the Illinois Republican Party platform which means I had to vote against Bolingbrook mayor and incumbent state central committeeman Roger Claar. This wasn’t an especially difficult decision – Claar is pro-choice, pro-gambling and still believes that George Ryan is innocent.

That night, Roger Claar let me know in no uncertain terms that I had just joined the “naughty” list.

For far too long, certain Republican leaders have put their personal interests above party principles. Roger Claar is a glaring example. He has a public alliance with Democratic state senator AJ Wilhelmi because Wilhelmi brings home the pork for Claar’s Bolingbrook. In fact, Claar was entirely willing once again to let Wilhelmi run unopposed in this election cycle. Since no Republican ran in the primary, I decided to run and was slated in March, just days before the deadline. By competing and not letting an insider safely deal a senate seat to the Democrats, my campaign cost Illinois Democrats and AJ Wilhelmi $1 MILLION defending the seat!…

Read the rest at Republican News Watch

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