Illinois GOP will have new General Assembly leadership

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Illinois House GOP Leader Jim Durkin and Illinois Senate GOP Leader Dan McConchie.

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois House Minority Leader Jim Durkin is stepping away from his leadership position heading into next year.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve as Leader of the House Republican caucus, but it’s time for the Illinois Republican Party to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party that are needed to bring change to the state,” Durkin said in a news release. “With that, I will not be seeking re-election as minority leader. I am proud of the work the House Republican caucus has accomplished under my tenure, and thank everyone who played a part along the way. I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation.”

Durkin was named GOP House minority leader in 2013 and was first elected to the state legislature’s lower chamber in 1995.

He blamed Republican’s move to the far-right for their heavy losses in Tuesday’s election.

“We were overwhelmed on Tuesday, and I believe greatly because people look at Republicans as extremist, and also they associate Republicans with Donald Trump, and also the US Supreme Court,” Durkin told Brian Mackey of Illinois Public Radio and host of the “The 21st” podcast that focuses on Illinois politics. “I mean, there was a lot of factors that were in play. But at the end of the day, Illinois voters rejected us. And it was a, it was a tough night. And we, I hope we learned something from this, that you have to be able to expand and not just, you know, disqualify somebody because he may have a different position than most, than conservative Republicans on the Second Amendment, reproductive rights, or even same sex marriage and gay and lesbian rights. I mean, we’re losing a lot of people, a lot of people who otherwise thoroughly believe in the Republican positions on public safety, spending our budget, spending in our budget, but we’ve completely turned our back on them because we disagree with them on social issues. And you know what? It’s addition, it’s not subtraction. And if we continue on with this approach, and just nominate people in the most important races that appeal to the far right. We’re going to be in the same, we’ll be, we’ll be having the same elections over and over again.”

It also appears the Illinois Senate’s GOP caucus will have new leadership.

On Thursday, 13 of the 20 Republican senators who will be in office next January wrote a letter to their support behind State Sen. John Curran over the current Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, who has held the post for two years.

Sen Jil. Tracy (R-Quincy) is one of those supporting Curran.

The political newsletter “Capitol Fax” received a copy of the letter and posted it.

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