After weeks of counting, Illinois conservatives were pleased when State Sen. Bill Brady, a conservative stalwart, was finally declared the winner of the seven-candidate Republican primary for governor by 193 votes out of nearly one million cast. The latest Rasmussen Poll shows Brady leading Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn by 47% to 37% statewide, with women and independents strongly favoring the GOP nominee.
Last week, another Brady — albeit no relation — was also mustered into the political wars in the Prairie State.
Pat Brady, who had been expected to fill out a term as interim state party chairman, was unanimously re-elected as GOP head by the GOP State Central Committee. Brady had been given high marks on the right for trying to reach out to grass-roots conservative activists who felt previous chairmen were aloof and unreachable.
Multimillionaire conservative activist Jack Roeser, who has long feuded with recent state party chairmen, is a case in point. At the State Central Committee meeting last week, Roeser was warmly welcomed and made a commitment to donate $50,000 to the state party.
Many had hoped that Pat Brady would choose the means under party rules known as “Option B,” which would take away the power of electing the State Central Committee from precinct committee members and return it to direct election. Republican Gov. Frank Lowden established the direct election of party committee members nearly a century ago. But in the 1980s, liberal GOP Gov. (1976-90) James Thompson oversaw a change in state law creating options for either direct election or election by precinct committees. Republicans have since opted for the latter course, while Democrats have always chosen their state committee by direct election.
Pat Brady did not go that far. But he signaled he will change rules to ban county chairmen from casting the votes of empty precincts that do not have an elected precinct committeeman, thus diminishing the lopsided vote of county chairmen. In addition, he is expected to disallow county chairmen from casting votes of elected precinct committeemen who are unable to attend county conventions.
In taking on a full term as chairman, Brady will relinquish the post of Republican National Committeeman. Conservatives will be watching to see whom he backs as his successor.