Some Illinois Republican Party bosses are now joining the call for their chairman to resign.
That’s after Pat Brady bucked the party line last week – and urged lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage. And as Alex Keefe reports, now Illinois Republicans are doing some political soul-searching.
[.mp3 – 2:49]
Here’s the political bombshell that G-O-P Chairman Pat Brady dropped.
He offered his – quote – “full support” for same-sex marriage legislation in Springfield.
And it was his own Blackberry that blew up.
BRADY: One of the groups that doesn’t agree with my published my cell and my email.
So he rang in the new year – literally.
BRADY: Lotta time answering calls from all over the country. Funny thing is, though, most of them were supportive.
Brady says he’s long felt the G-O-P was wrong to oppose same-sex marriage – on moral and political grounds.
That’s despite his party’s platform, which says marriage is for one man and one woman.
Last week, it looked like state lawmakers would vote on the issue.
Some Senate Republicans rallied against it.
But their leader spoke out on his own.
BRADY: If people want to throw me out because I took a stand on an issue of discrimination [as] the chairman of the Republican Party, the party founded by Abraham Lincoln, then … they’re free to do it. But I’m not backing down.
But Pat Brady is not the only one who started getting a lot of calls last week.
PETERSON: My phones start ringing. Phones from the tip of Illinois to the Wisconsin border.
Bobbie Peterson is a long-time member of the Republican State Central Committee – a group of the top party bosses in Illinois.
And Peterson says, those calls were about what the heck Pat Brady was thinking when he broke with the party’s stance on same-sex marriage.
Without telling other party leaders beforehand.
Peterson wants Brady gone.
PETERSON: He’s a pretty face for TV. He can speak well. Period. But what’s coming out of his mouth is not what the Illinois Republican party is about.
So I asked several Republican committeemen: What do they think the party should be about now?
They said fiscal conservatism, especially when the state’s budget is a train wreck.
KACHIROUBAS: See, this is – this is exactly the issue and the problem I have with this whole thing.
Committeeman Chris Kachiroubas tells me news stories like this one explain why Brady’s gotta go – they’re distractions.
KACHIROUBAS: You and I are having this conversation, and we’re not talking about how we get this – Illinois out of the hole it’s in.
But Brady it’s the Illinois Republican Party that has dug a political hole, especially after a dismal showing in November’s elections.
He points to polls that suggest, if the party softened its stance on same-sex marriage, it could attract more young people and suburban women.
BRADY: We need to – to change the brand or the image of the party, of just this group of angry old white guys. And that’s what we look like right now.
This is the kind of talk that’s got Illinois some G-O-P leaders angry in the first place.
But anger alone won’t unseat Pat Brady.
That would take votes in the party’s central committee, and it’s not clear they have them.
Alex Keefe, WBEZ + IPR.