The Future Of The Illinois GOP Is Our Younger Generation
A plan to Restore and Rebuild our party
File Photo/ 2002 Gavin Regnier
Gavin Regnier, Writer
After the 2022 midterm elections, the Republican Party in Illinois is struggling to find itself. Currently, there is a split within the party. The grassroots conservatives versus the more moderate party bosses who would rather “unify” with Democrats.
The current chairman of the Illinois GOP Don Tracy, a documented Democrat who ran for office as such is solely responsible for these election losses in the midterms.
The Illinois Republicans lost control of the state in almost every seat challenged by a Republican.
Illinois has 59 seats in the Senate. The Democrats now have control of 40 of them. The Illinois House has118 seats. The Democrats now control 78 and the Republicans control only 39. The Democrats gained so many seats in the midterms that Democrats are being seated in the Republican side of the house because they ran out of desks on the Democrat side. Unheard of!
If you are a Republican lawmaker in the Illinois House and Senate, it is nearly impossible to pass new legislation because it will never make it out of Committee or ever see the floor for a vote. The lobbyists and unions own the Democrats. Good luck getting a capital project in your town or funding for schools or the Police.
This was the most devastating losses to Republicans in Illinois history. It was a massacre. The Democrats rejoiced.
Yet, Tracy has yet to resign after several hundred grassroots Republicans demanded he leave his post in the Illinois Republican Party state Central Committee quarterly meeting they had in December.
The committee, with many newly elected and appointed members, defended Tracy and stood with him, turning their backs on the very ones that campaigned hard to get Republicans elected. Many candidates were present as they were treated with dishonor and disrespect. Some were even removed by force like Peggy Hubbard, a former U.S. Senate candidate was who was thrown out by the Police.
I saw this firsthand because I was there. I joined my father, Jeff Regnier, a former candidate for Congress in the 1st Congressional District. He, too, had something to say. When he ran for office the party did not offer any resources or guidance to help in a federal campaign. At the time Illinois only had 4 out of 18 Congressional seats in Illinois.
I witnessed with my eyes as the Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, Stephan Boulton and the Sgt. Of Arms for the committee acted as a bar bouncer from the South side of Chicago bullying freedom loving patriots. A large man of 300 pounds standing over six feet, he would remove Illinois Republicans just because they voiced their opinions on why the Illinois GOP became so toxic abandoning GOP candidates and the nominee for Governor Darren Bailey because he was an “extremist” and was endorsed by President Trump.
Their choice was Richard Irvin, the Mayor of Aurora, a registered Democrat who lost to Bailey in the primary. Irvin was supported and endorsed by 500 Republican leaders and elected officials. Chairman Tracy weaponized the party and its resources to campaign for Irvin.
The grassroots Republicans never forgot this betrayal.
Chairman Tracy is calling for all Republicans to unify. I say it's time to tear down the party and rebuild brick by brick, this includes replace every single member of the Illinois Republican leadership who's on the committee. We start with Tracy. The concept is simple. If a coach doesn't produce wins, you fire the coach. How many coaches have the Chicago Bears had since Superbowl 20 in 1985.
I'm a young man in my twenties. I'm a Republican grassroots activist that has worked on GOP campaigns. Furthermore, I'm vested in trying to save our state and great nation from the liberal agenda that is breaking apart our country.
I'm part owner of a Gun store, and I have seen personally the attacks on the 2nd Amendment by the state and federal government. Time and time again, government under Democrat control wants to take away our Constitutional rights and freedoms. That, it's why we have to continue the fight. But if the Illinois GOP has given up to the Democrats, what can be done?
Let us begin with young Republicans, for they are our future. They must pick up up the torch of freedom and Republican conservatism for the next generation.
We need to replace the current leadership with younger leaders who want to put in the hard work to win the next elections.
This reminds me of why we have a Republican Party in Illinois. It's because of a young man that ran for Illinois House of Representatives at just 23 years old after serving with the Illinois Militia, the National Guard of its day. Abraham Lincoln.
Abraham Lincoln was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the Union through the American Civil War to defend the nation as a constitutional union and succeeded in abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.
Lincoln was born into poverty in a log cabin in Kentucky and was raised on the frontier, primarily in Indiana. He was self-educated and became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator, and U.S. Congressman from Illinois. In 1849, he returned to his successful law practice in central Illinois. In 1854, he was angered by the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which opened the territories to slavery, and he re-entered politics. He soon became a leader of the new Republican Party.
He reached a national audience in the 1858 Senate campaign debates against Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln ran for president in 1860, sweeping the North to gain victory. Pro-slavery elements in the South viewed his election as a threat to slavery, and Southern states began seceding from the nation. During this time, the newly formed Confederate States of America began seizing federal military bases in the south. Just over one month after Lincoln assumed the presidency, the Confederate States attacked Fort Sumter, a U.S. fort in South Carolina. Following the bombardment, Lincoln mobilized forces to suppress the rebellion and restore the union.
As President, he freed the slaves, defending union, and its constitution and defeated the Confederate States. After the war, he was assassinated by southern fanatics.
Lincoln could have continued practicing law and became wealthy, but he felt the call for service at just 23 years of age. Illinois needs a next generation of Lincoln's. A Next generation of young Republican leaders that want to work hard to give the people the presentation that they deserve in government to be their voice. To secure a future of honest government for all of our children, so they can live a life free from regulations and debt. So that they can live in prosperity and have the financial security that they deserve.
Where do we begin?
It starts with you. You can be 23, 33, 43, 53 and so on. When I speak of replacing the old dinosaurs in the party it's not because of their ages, it's their ideologies. Many of these “leaders” think that it's 1985. The era of Reagan and the way they campaigned and operated. It's today 2023, and it's the cyber age. It is now the Trump era.
President Trump taught us one thing. To think outside the box to win. In 2016, Trump defeated the most powerful Republicans in the GOP primary embarrassing them. He later defeated Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, U.S. Senator and Secretary of State, who spent a billion dollars in her campaign to defeat him, but she lost.
Trump organized the greatest grassroots campaign ever, knocking on one million doors a week. Many in the RNC thought this was a bad idea, but he mobilized the Trump army and got the job done. He also used cyber campaigning. He couldn't afford TV ads like Clinton, but each of his followers became virtual ambassadors oh social media. Trump him self had 150 million followers combined on Twitter and Facebook. Trump was the first to organized weekly rallies the size of rock concerts with 30,000 attendees. He started a movement.
It can be done again, by embracing new ideas, not the failed plans of before.
This starts with the Trump concept of grassroots campaigning. Currently, the Illinois GOP has a 50% of Precinct Committeemen. The Democrats are up to 95%.
How can this be?
It begins with involvement. We have many Patriots who are Committeemen, but many nowadays show up to the monthly meetings for the free coffee and doughnuts just to gossip or complain. The problem we discovered when I campaigned for my father and other campaigns is that many of these PCs flatly refused to gather petition signatures or knock on doors. Many demanded to be paid and compensated, or even a promise from a government job.
That is why we took such devastating losses. Only 8% of registered Republicans voted in the 2022 primary election. Only 20% in the general election. What good is it to have an Army if they aren't willing to fight? In this case, the Republican machine became broken, and the party failed to get out the vote. Candidates and their volunteers worked hard, knocking on thousands of doors every weekend, to no avail because the party system failed them. I have seen the matrix first hand.
In one county, the chairman there was cherry-picking candidates and locking out others. The ones that were picked to run had to pay the chairman a consulting g fee paid in the thousands of dollars for doing nothing. Township Chairman and committeeman took to his example and did the same.
How did we get to this point?
Many potential candidates were turned away for being unqualified or too young! Excuse me, too young? Unqualified? Is there a manual that sets these standards by the Illinois GOP? Who would have told Lincoln the wrestler that at 23 years old he was too young to run for the Illinois House of Representatives? Unbelievable!
The Democrats have set the new standard of newly elected officials. Look at Bill Clinton elected as President at 45 years old. Most Presidents are elected after 65. He, too, was a young Governor of a small state, in Arkansas.
The Democrats continue to out campaign, out fundraise and get elected because of them using their youth Democratic movement.
As for our young Republicans. The old guard of the GOP have shunned them away. They even refuse to support their young Republican organizations. They fail to help them organize. Furthermore, they cannot even recruit Precinct Committeemen. Likewise, they cannot recruit new candidates to run for office. They cannot campaign or fundraise, but they love those free coffee and doughnuts.
Let us rid ourselves of Tracy and the elite “country club Republicans” who want you just to donate to them to pay for their lavish parties and all-inclusive paid convention vacations. We need to rebuild the party by bringing in new ideas and pushing our young people to become involved. We have to recruit our children, nephews, nieces and our neighbors' children. Start GOP High School clubs. The teen you recruit today may become tomorrow's next President.
In 2020, Republican newcomer Madison Cawthorn comprehensively defeated his Democratic rival in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, securing about 54% of the vote.
The motivational speaker and real estate investor only turned 25 - the minimum age for Congress.
Mr. Cawthorn is potentially the third-youngest person in US history to be elected to Congress. He is a few months behind Jed Johnson Jr, a representative for Tennessee, who took office in 1965 seven days after his 25th birthday.
Madison was not only young, but campaigned in a wheelchair because he's paralyzed from the waist down. If he can get elected to Congress at his age and with his disability, then anyone can. He's a true example.
We need more young people to run for leadership positions as Chairman in the GOP leadership from the townships, county and state levels. Most Chairman are in their 60s. The biggest complaints that I, personally, heard from candidates was the lack of motivation for the Chairman to become involved. They failed to do their jobs effectively wanting the title and praise but doing nothing to get people elected.
An example of this is Stephan Boulton in Chicago. Boulton, who is the Chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, is also a State Central Committeeman for the Illinois GOP. How much power does one man need? Why wear so many hats? He was also the Chicago chair for Irvin's campaign for governor.
Recently on his Facebook post, he was discussing having to endorse a DEMOCRAT for Mayor of Chicago. A DEMOCRAT LIBERAL who promotes abortion and has attacked Republicans. Boulton has failed to produce a Republican to run for Mayor of Chicago, even though it's a nonpartisan race. Republicans need to be represented too. Yet, he will be actively campaigning for a Democrat.
Boulton is the old Republican breed that does nothing to win elections. The last Republican Mayor was 100 years ago. 90% of the offices in Chicago are occupied by Democrats. That's not a good record for “leader” holding power for that long. He too must. The Chicago GOP is ready for a change. He wants to take it slow and take it easy when we need to go forward and much faster. We need to restructure and start running candidates in every Alderman seat, including Mayor.
I place this challenge for you. What will it take for you to make this change? To make a difference!
We must begin a new chapter of the Republican Party. As a guide for the younger generation to take up the mantle for a better state and country. Nothing ever comes easy. The fight will be strong, but that is why we need our youth so that they can carry this party into the future. It is necessary that we do this.
The GOP requires representation in government because the people speak though the representatives that they elect to represent their conservative values. To lower taxes. Smaller government, the elimination of needless regulations. To protect the constitution and the right to bear arms. To save the babies. We shouldn't have to sacrifice our children's freedoms like we did during COVID-19. It's about parents' rights and their school choice.
To make this happen, we have to admit that our party is broken, but it's time to rebuild and restore, so the Democrats will no longer laugh at us, but instead we will chase them out of government, so they can no longer destroy our freedoms.
We will only become better when we place our faith into action. We must do this now because time has run out. Are you ready for this challenge? If so, let us do this together for the sake of our children, the party, the state and our great nation.
Become involved now as we prepare for the school board elections and municipal races. Volunteer by knocking on doors, phone banking or getting out the vote. Have your children involved in this great endeavor.
The presidential election is in less than two years. Let us set the stage to also recruit candidates to run for state and federal office. Let this be the test for true change. I am confident that together we can regain the pride the GOP once had as Lincoln did when they founded the party.
Gavin Regnier is a Republican youth activist. He is the Vice -President of Patriot Action PAC who work to get Conservative Republicans elected. He is also part owner of a gun store and training facility. He is an advocate for Second Amendment gun rights.