Illinois GOP chair resigns, citing party infighting

The chair of the Illinois Republican Party announced Wednesday that he is resigning from his position, citing turmoil within the state party.

“When I took on this full-time volunteer job in February, 2021, I thought I would be spending most of my time fighting Democrats, helping elect Republicans, raising money to pay for more Party infrastructure, and advocating for Party unity,” state GOP chair Don Tracy wrote in his resignation notice.

“Unfortunately, however, I have had to spend far too much time dealing with intra party power struggles, and local intra party animosities that continued after primaries and County Chair elections,” he continued.

Tracy also noted the recent controversy pertaining to former vice chair Mark Shaw at the Republican National Committee (RNC) election in which Shaw tried to be a delegate and vote for himself as a committee member and threatened to kick a GOP member, according to The Chicago Tribune. Though Shaw maintained he didn’t do anything wrong, the state party voted to remove him as vice chair of the state GOP.

Tracy referenced that controversy and direction of the party in his notice.

“Recent events including the RNC Committeeman election, immediately followed by the retribution sacking of the losing candidate Vice-Chair Mark Shaw, a long time State Party leader and worker, without due process and without taking any step to disciplining others for alleged or admitted Convention misconduct, portends a direction of the State Party I am not comfortable with,” Tracy wrote.

He placed Jan Weber, the Illinois Republican State Central committee member in the 16th Congressional District, in charge of looking for his replacement. Tracy said his resignation will be effective once a new chair is elected, which he said he hopes will be by July 19.

The resignation comes less than a month before the Republican National Convention, which will be held in Milwaukee. Some state Republican parties have been mired in turmoil and infighting, particularly between former President Trump-aligned factions of the party and more establishment and mainstream Republicans.

In his letter, Tracy sought to brush off the idea that his resignation had already been portended by a Chicago Tribune story published the day before, where anonymous sources suggested to the news outlet after Shaw’s ousting that Tracy could soon see himself removed as well.

“My resignation has nothing to do with today’s anonymously sourced Chicago Tribue article. I made my decision to resign early yesterday morning, communicated it to Matt Janes before our 10am staff call yesterday, and began drafting this notice yesterday shortly before or after the staff call,” Tracy wrote.

“Also, no one from the Tribune called me about this article, which I did not learn of until this morning. And, I do not believe any [State Central Committee] member talked to the Tribune about the article,” he added.

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