CHICAGO – The newest chairman of the Illinois Republican Party said Saturday the state's reputation and budget are "in the gutter" and pledged to work "tirelessly" to defeat Gov. Pat Quinn and other Democrats in November.
Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider received the unanimous support of the GOP's state central committee during a meeting in Springfield. He was the only candidate for the job after his lone opponent withdrew from the race.
Schneider, a small business owner from the Chicago suburb of Bartlett, said Illinois has become "a corrupt, one-party state in desperate need of a change."
"We are going to work tirelessly between now and November to elect Republicans up and down the ticket to fix this mess, and fight for Republican values of smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending," he said in an emailed statement.
Schneider takes office as the party works to put a tumultuous phase behind it and build momentum heading into the November election.
Republicans have called the election – and in particular the race for governor – critical to their effort to remain relevant in Illinois. In addition to the governor's office, Democrats control all but two statewide offices and have veto-proof majorities in the Illinois House and Senate. They also make up a majority of the state's congressional delegation.
Schneider, who has served on the county board since 2007, replaces Jack Dorgan, who is stepping down to join Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner's campaign as finance committee co-chairman.
Dorgan took over the job last year after Pat Brady – who survived an attempted ouster motivated largely by his public support for gay marriage – resigned.
Dorgan said Schneider would be "a forceful voice for change and accountability."