Illinois GOP leadership gathers in Stark Co.

Speaker Mike Madigan criticized nineteen times

By Jim Nowlan
[email protected]

A cavalcade of the state’s Republican leadership enjoyed a luncheon Saturday at the News Room Bistro in Toulon, and all took time to pillory Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan (D-Chicago).

“Our homes are under attack from Mike Madigan,” declared Gov. Bruce Rauner. “We have been pounding Madigan and his Machine, and we’re going to be successful.

“We are going to work our tails off to pick up nine seats in the Illinois House and knock Madigan out,” the governor continued. The present House makeup is 67 Democrats and 51 Republicans.

One hundred party leaders, including all five GOP candidates for statewide office, and local Republican stalwarts gathered to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and rally those in attendance to get out the vote at the March 20 primary election.

U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, of Dunlap, praised President Trump for appointing Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and the Congress for passing a major tax reduction bill.

“The economy is on the upswing,” LaHood said, “and we have the lowest unemployment in decades, and the country is ‘getting back on track.’”

The featured speaker was Erika Harold, candidate for Illinois Attorney General. The former Miss America and Harvard Law graduate declared that four-term AG Lisa Madigan, who is not running for re-election, has failed to take on corruption in the state.

“I will take on public corruption,” Harold said, “and I will focus on the opioid epidemic and criminal justice reform. I want to expand our horizons of what Illinois can be.”

“Things are terribly off track because of Madigan,” declared Jim Dodge, GOP candidate for state treasurer. His charge against the House speaker echoed those made 19 times during the luncheon program, according to a count made by this writer’s intern, Erica Copeland, of Galesburg.

Speakers also lauded Stark GOP chair Mike Bigger, of Wyoming, who is also secretary of the Illinois Republican Party.

“Mike is the greatest county chairman in America,” stated Gov. Rauner.

Others in attendance included Jason Helland, candidate for secretary of state; Darlene Senger, running for comptroller; state Sen. Chuck Weaver and Rep. Ryan Spain.

Special guests were retired state Rep. David Leitch and his longtime assistant Linda Daley, who now assists Rep, Spain.

Most members of the Stark County Board of Supervisors were present as well as Heather Hollis, candidate for county clerk to replace Linda Pyell; Sheriff Steve Sloan, running for election; Treasurer Paula Leezer, also running for election. Stark County judicial candidates Bruce Fehrenbacher and Robert Rennick, Jr. were in attendance as well.

Wyoming Mayor Pat Maher and Toulon Mayor Larry Hollis also participated.

Democratic state’s attorney Jim Owens attended as well.

Carol Lou Reiff, her husband Steve, and a crew that included several Stark County High students served a fine lunch of roast beef, cheezy potatoes, green beans and green salad with excellent efficiency.

From left to right, Cong. Darin LaHood, Jim Dodge, Erika Harold, Gov. Bruce Rauner, Darlene Senger, Jason Helland and Ryan Spain pose for a Republican Candidate photo opportunity during the Republican Lincoln Day Luncheon.


Governor Rauner greeted the C&S Catering staff Saturday. From left to right, Abby Dennison, Brooke Rennick, Karen Seckman, Alli Dennison, Gov. Rauner and Carol Reiff.


Former Miss America, Erika Harold was the day’s keynote speaker. Harold is running for Attorney General.


State Senator Chuck Weaver addresses the Republican Lincoln Day Luncheon Saturday at the Bistro, in Toulon.


Republican State Central Committeeman Mike Bigger, of Wyoming, welcomes Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner.


Abby Dennison, Brooke Rennick, Karen Seckman, Alli Dennison, Gov. Rauner and Carol Reiff. At left, Hillary Colgan, Karen Steward, Gov. Rauner, Gary Steward, Kari Bush, Melissa Shipp and Keith Bush.


Judge Thomas Keith and Governor Rauner talked at the Lincoln Day Luncheon, Saturday, in Toulon.

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