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Local Republicans want state chairman out

Party leader bucks platform in support of same-sex marriage

State Sen. Tim Bivins
State Sen. Tim Bivins

STERLING – Area Republicans are backing the ouster of the state party chairman, who endorsed same-sex marriage last month.

Republicans say Chairman Pat Brady should support the state GOP platform, which opposes same-sex marriage.

In January, county party chairmen in northwestern Illinois agreed Brady should go, said Jerri Robinson, chairwoman of the Whiteside County Republican Central Committee.

“I think our chairman should stay with the platform of the party,” she said.

Andy Blankenbaker, chairman of the Jo Daviess Republican Central Committee, leads the northwestern party chairmen.

He said although area chairmen support ousting Brady, he is having second thoughts because the party has no rules for the party chairman.

“With that knowledge, we should sanction [Brady], not kick him out,” Blankenbaker said. “We should have a rule that if you’re going to be party chairman, you should respect the party’s platform.”

Party committeemen are holding a special meeting March 9 to consider whether to fire Brady, who became chairman in 2009.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, is one of those leading the charge against Brady.

“It has nothing to do with gay marriage,” he said Monday on WBEZ, a Chicago public radio station. “It has something to do with a CEO of an organization lobbying on behalf of something the organization opposes.”

Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, said he is concerned that Brady apparently informed no one in the party leadership before coming out with his support for same-sex marriage.

“If he was a CEO of any other organization and didn’t inform his board, he would have been out in 24 hours,” the senator said.

Last month, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill backing same-sex marriage, with only one Republican voting for it.

State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, who voted for the bill, said Republicans would make a mistake firing Brady for supporting same-sex marriage.

“I think the Republican Party has an image problem with intolerance. This move by some of the more right-wing Republicans is only going to exacerbate that,” said Jacobs, whose district includes Whiteside County. “They’re quickly becoming a minority party, which is not good for the process. You need two healthy parties to prosper.”

On Tuesday, a House committee passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage. It now goes to the House floor.

If the bill passes, Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign it.

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