Lobbyist Dorgan Named New Ill. GOP Chair
By Sean Crawford
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 in Springfield Saturday.
The 53-year-old Dorgan has been around politics and government his entire adult life. He is now a lobbyist who has spearheaded numerous campaigns for GOP candidates. He also serves as a Rosemont Village Trustee.
Dorgan had the backing of some of the top ranking Republicans in Illinois and he beat out 6 others who wanted the job. That included former congressman Joe Walsh, a Tea Party favorite turned 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," Dorgan said. "We all come from somewhere. We’re all Republicans., and we all have to work together as Republicans to elect Republicans.”
Still, 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.
No wonder even some in the GOP call the state party chair the “worst job in Illinois.” But Dorgan takes exception ton those who say the party is broken.
"Well the party’s not broke," he said. "We’ve had some growing pains right now. We’re ready. We’re united and we;re going to move forward and show people there is a two party system.”
Dorgan replaces Pat Brady, who resigned among criticism from conservatives over his support for same sex marriage.