With Convention Over, Illinois Republicans Look to November
By Alex Keefe
Illinois Republicans hope their national convention gives them a boost in some legislative races this November, but they are tamping down expectations about how well GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will do in Illinois.
Even the reddest Illinois Republicans seem to acknowledge it’d be pretty surprising if President Barack Obama did not carry his home state.
"Well, I mean, I - let’s face it, if, uh, Mitt Romney’d win Illinois, he’d win by a Biblical landslide, uh, nationwide," said former Gov. Jim Edgar, who is a Republican.
But Republicans say, even if the president wins Illinois, they can still make him fight for it.
State GOP Chairman Pat Brady said the party’s focusing its energies on a handful of congressional campaigns, and on gaining seats in the General Assembly.
"We’re puttin’ a lotta time and money and effort into those races, and we’re working in a coordinated fashion in the House and Senate...work on their campaigns," Brady said.
Some of the state’s tightest congressional races are in Chicago’s suburbs.
Meanwhile, Democrats kickoff their National Convention next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Their focus needs to be the economy, according to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). He said his party must talk about preserving working and middle income jobs amid a recovering economy:
"It's just so obvious, struggling paycheck-to-paycheck their doing a good job, in fact their the most productive workers in the world," Durbin said. "The companies are making good profits but wages aren't going up. So, what we're talking about is making sure that the tax code is there to help the working families, making sure that tax cuts are there for middle income families as a high priority."
The Democratic National Convention runs Tuesday through Thursday. Durbin was also in Tampa last week for part of the Republican National Convention. He said he was sent by the Obama campaign to defend any remarks made about the President during convention floor speeches.