Republicans poke fun at Quinn before small state fair crowd
SPRINGFIELD -- Republicans on Thursday took turns poking fun at Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn for his rough outing at the Illinois State Fair the day before.
But their own political celebration was sparsely attended and lacked the spark of the halcyon days when the GOP controlled the Executive Mansion.
Hundreds of booing union members — angry about proposed wage and pension cuts — drove Quinn from the Director’s Lawn stage Wednesday. Financial and political support from labor was essential to Quinn’s narrow victory in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Quinn also mistakenly said President Barack Obama was dead when he meant Osama bin Laden.
“The governor had a bad day. He offed his president, and he got booed off the stage by his base,” state Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said Thursday.
Dozens of rank-and-file Republicans, many brandishing “Fire Madigan” signs – referring to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago – gathered at the Director’s Lawn to hear from congressional candidates. Party officials implored supporters to vote, believing the political headwinds are with them and their anti-tax, less-government message, despite legislative and congressional maps drawn to benefit Democrats and Obama, the state’s native son, at the top of the Democratic ticket.
Republicans control a majority of the state’s congressional seats and two of the six constitutional offices. While those running for office this fall were peppy, the crowd, which stayed in the shade and under a tent, generally was not.
“I haven’t heard any speaker drowned out by boos, but I haven’t heard a lot of excitement out there either,” said Rodney Davis, the party’s nominee in the 13th Congressional District, which includes part of Springfield.
“Hey, who wants Republican victories in November?” he asked. That generated a round of cheering and applause.
Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady, who was relentlessly on message, mentioned what might have been when he recognized state Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington. Bill Brady lost the 2010 governor’s race to Quinn.
“Bill, 31,000 more votes and we would have had it,” Pat Brady said. “Great job. We’re going to get it in ’14.”
Chris Wetterich can be reached at (217) 788-1523.