IL GOP County Chairmen Poll suggests Ryan is gaining support

Thursday, August 14, 2003

By The Leader-Springfield Bureau (springfield@illinoisleader.com)

Appealing for support to the Illinois Republican Central Committee, straw poll winner Jack Ryan compared his Republican credentials with other GOP candidates for U.S. Senate.
 
State Treasurer Judy Baar-Topinka donned her "IL GOP State Party Chairman" hat as she addressed the county chairmen.
 
County chairmen from throughout the state heard the state party's plans for voter registration, something that hasn't been done by Republicans since 1984.
SPRINGFIELD -- On Thursday, Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair started at the Springfield Hilton, where 58 county chairman met together to strategize the upcoming elections. The county chairmen took a straw poll at the meeting, and 22 picked investor-turned-teacher Jack Ryan, eleven votes higher than the next highest, dairy farmer and financial investor Jim Oberweis.

Before the results of the straw poll were announced, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Judy Baar-Topinka warned all in the room to prepare to help whoever the party nominates next March.

"Whoever comes out as the winner of the Republican primary this time, I'll tell you this -- there will be no withholding endorsements after the primary this time," Topinka told the group.

Not mentioning it directly, but clearly referring to the 2002 Republican primary which revealed deep divisions in the Illinois GOP party, Topinka said there were two major goals for the party statewide -- to re-elect George W. Bush as President and to back him up with a Republican U.S. Senate majority, including a Republican from Illinois.

Eight different candidates -- announced or unannounced -- received at least one vote from a county chairman:

Jack Ryan -- 22
Jim Oberweis -- 11
John Cox -- 9
Steve Rauschenberger -- 9
Jim Durkin -- 3
Andy McKenna --2
General John Borling -- 1
Corinne Wood -- 1

Neither Rauschenberger, Durkin, Borling or Wood have officially announced their candidacies.

Rauschenberger, however, indicated after the meeting that he will be announcing at 2:00 PM today that a "prominent county chairman" will be announcing his endorsement of Rauschenberger for U.S. Senate.

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More to come . . .