Tri States Public Radio Staff
Sun June 2, 2013
New Leader for Illinois GOP
As a divided Illinois Republican Party heads into another election cycle next year, it will have a new chairman. Jack Dorgan of Rosemont was picked during a private vote of the state central committee.
Dorgan, age 53, has been around politics and government his entire adult life. He's spearheaded numerous campaigns for GOP candidates and he’s now a lobbyist.
Dorgan had the backing of some of the top ranking Republicans in Illinois and he beat out six others who wanted the job. That included former congressman Joe Walsh, who’s a Tea Party favorite and radio host.
Walsh was critical of the entire process.
“If it's an establishment Republican, picked behind closed doors, conservatives, the grassroots people are just going to throw their hands up and say that's it,” Walsh said.
Dorgan took issue with being described as a political insider.
“Joe Walsh was a member of congress. We all come from somewhere. We're all Republicans. And we all have to work together as Republicans to elect Republicans,” Dorgan said.
Dorgan has his work cut out for him. As party chair, he will be asked to raise money, recruit candidates, and deliver a message to both the Republican base and key groups like women and minorities who now strongly back Democrats. It’s no wonder even some in the GOP call the state party chair the “worst job in Illinois.”
Dorgan replaces Pat Brady, who resigned after being criticized by some conservatives over his support for same sex marriage.