Illinois House GOP Leader Cross Seeking Treasurer Run
By The Associated Press, with additional reporting from Illinois Public Radio
House Minority Leader Tom Cross is asking House Republicans to come up with a succession plan as he prepares to step down from his leadership post and consider a higher statewide office.
Cross talked to House Republicans in a call Wednesday where he informed them he's considering a bid for state treasurer.
He said an official announcement about his campaign plans will come in two weeks.
State Sen. Mike Frerichs (D-Champaign) is consindering a run for state treasurer. In a statement, he called Rep. Cross a "Springfield insider'' who for two decades contributed to the state's fiscal crisis.
"Leader Cross has championed a Republican caucus which has lost touch with the middle class and has sought to cut to the core the very programs that working families across Illinois depend on like public schools, and programs to protect Illinois’ seniors," Frerichs said. "I look forward to a vigorous and exciting debate about how best to protect the retirement security and college savings of working and middle class families.”
The race will be wide open as Treasurer Dan Rutherford said he is seeking the Republican nomination in the 2014 governor's race.
Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Schillerstrom has said he's running for treasurer.
Meanwhile, House Republicans are looking at who could succeed Cross as Republican leader. There are at least three men who want to lead the 47-members of the House GOP -- including Reps. Jim Durkin of Western Springs and Raymond Poe of Springfield.
Some have cast the race as a fight between suburban lawmakers and those downstate, but Poe said he hopes the party comes together.
"I mean the last thing we want's a split caucus," Poe said. "We want a unified caucus. Hopefully, after this thing is over, I hope we don't hear about upstate and downstate and all that. I hope we talk about Republicans in Illinois."
Poe said his top priority would be getting the Republicans out of super-minority status -- depriving Democrats of their veto-proof majority.
Also in the running is Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon. But he won his last election by just 329 votes. Leaders are usually from so-called "safe" districts, so his selection would be a departure.