Governor Bruce Rauner’s allies rigged a vote to unseat a Republican official, the official is alleging in a lawsuit filed last week. The official, Bob Winchester, claims he won reelection to his position on the Illinois Republican State Central Committee, but Rauner allies manipulated the results for their preferred candidate.
The Prairie State Wire reported Rauner allies offered state and party jobs to Winchester if he dropped the lawsuit. State Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Republican who narrowly lost a primary campaign to Rauner in March, called on the entire Republican Party leadership to resign, if the allegations are true.
“If the story is true that Rauner allies promised jobs in exchange for Bob Winchester withdrawing his lawsuit against the party, then everyone in our party leadership who knew about it should resign immediately,” said Ives. “They have been lying to the grassroots long enough. If party leadership thinks we will now turn a blind eye to corruption, then it just goes to show you how out of touch they are.
The entire election of state party officials was marred by the bruising Republican primary between Rauner and Ives, showing the ever-more fractured state of the Republican party under Rauner’s leadership. Rauner had backed incumbent chairman Tim Schneider, while Ives backed Lake County GOP chairman Mark Shaw. Eventually, a compromise was reached.
Other signs of trouble within his supposed base include the candidacy of Republican State Senator Sam McCann McCann, a frequent Rauner critic, who is challenging Rauner as a Conservative Party candidate. Post-primary, Ives also refused to endorse the governor.
Republican legislators’ revolt against Rauner began last July, with legislators who up until that point had stayed loyal to the governor. A bipartisan group of lawmakers passed a state budget without the involvement of the governor after a more than two-year impasse.