-By Warner Todd Huston
Richard Grabowski was the GOP nominee for the Third U.S. District for Congress this past election, but he may quit the Republican Party if current State GOP Chairman Pat Brady doesn’t step down (Brady pictured right).
Grabowski issued an open letter to the State GOP today that explains his reasoning, but it is mostly over Brady’s campaign to undermine the Party’s platform, specifically over gay marriage. Last year, Pat Brady launched himself into a “private” battle to get the Party to agree with gay marriage despite that his own Party platform has contained within it plank against gay marriage.
Brady did this claiming that he was doing it as a “private citizen” and not as the GOP Chairman, but I don’t see how he expected that anyone could separate the two.
In any case, Brady jumped into this campaign without telling anyone in the Party he was going to do this, without laying any ground work and without really taking any time to separate himself from the Party in the doing besides just his after-thought claim he was doing it as a “private citizen.”
This Saturday the State Party will hold it’s state central committee meeting in the Chicago south suburbs and many are calling for Brady to step down at that meeting.
I doubt it will happen and the central committee will likely move on with business and pretend none of this is going on.
In any case, here is Grabowski’s open letter…
To whom it may concern:
Never in my life would I have ever imagined I would be at my wits end with my own party leaders, until now.
Let it be known: IF Pat Brady IS NOT voted out as Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party at the April 2013 meeting of the Illinois Republican Party Central Committee meeting, and IF HE WON’T voluntarily step down, I may have NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE but to resign my membership in the Illinois Republican State Party. He, along with the voting members of the Illinois Republican Party Central Committee, are in control of the movement of a lot of teetering dominos right now, and let me tell you, many of them are at their tipping point.
I cannot remain part of an organization whose top party leaders, as well as many incumbents, continue to consciously ignore our own party platform that spells out our important core values that we as members AS WELL AS LEADERSHIP need to be aligned with. We wrote the platform and voted on it. This isn’t Barack Obama blaming a previous administration for something he doesn’t like, WE WROTE IT, WE VOTED ON IT!!! NOW WE NEED TO LIVE UP TO IT!!! GET OVER IT!!!
I cannot remain part of an organization whose omnipotent leaders SELECTIVELY CHOOSE ITS WINNERS AND LOSERS WITHIN, and does not support or even simply acknowledge ALL of our loyal party candidates (not counting opposition plants on the ballot) in a GENERAL ELECTION.
The party should be supporting OUR candidates, no matter what their income level is in life, no matter WHAT district they are running in or HOW DIFFICULT it may be for them to win it . We should be raising up and supporting them, whether in spoken words or by assisting them financially. Yet only the select few candidates that are recruited and bet on by our party leadership are promoted as the ‘Rock Star Republicans’, which are almost always party moderates. If you step forward on your own to take on a race, and you weren’t recruited by party leaders, you’re just that – on your own! Democrats at least stand in back of all their nominees tooth and nail – no matter how big or small.
I stepped up to the plate in a big way for the party I loved, yet my own party leaders wouldn’t waste the time, effort, finances or even a few words to go to bat for me in even the smallest ways. Even a pat on the back or a phone call of inclusion and encouragement would have been very helpful.
I ran for Congress in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District this past year. Seeking an endorsement from our party during the primary is always off limits – it’s taboo, a big no-no, and I fully agree with this ideology. The members and voters will decide during the primary who to raise up in the General Election.
But… AFTER I had won the PRIMARY, and was now the citizen voted face of the Republican Party to run against the big, long time powerbroker family name Democrat incumbent in the 3rd District, I was ignored as a candidate at virtually every party-sponsored event that I attended while other hand-picked candidates who were running for the SAME EQUAL OFFICE in other districts were largely promoted on a whole different level.
My opponent’s strategy during this past election was to ignore me – turn my volume off – make sure I was not given ANY opportunity to get effective free media acknowledgement of any sort that I was the candidate running against him. It is a VERY effective campaign strategy if you can be disciplined with it and have others follow in suit. Never did I think that my own party leaders would work with the same strategy AGAINST ME. My opponent knew that our party would not give me a megaphone. Our history with our candidates tells the tale – even outsiders of our party know it better than we do. I guess we, as members and candidates, should have expected better.
Not only once, but TWICE did my own party do this to me as well. The SILENCE WAS DEAFENING FROM OUR PARTY LEADERSHIP! Not only did I run for Congress in 2012 at the federal level, I also ran for State Representative in the 36th District at the state level in 2010 – with the same non-reaction results from my long time party of choice during each general election. There’s a twist on an old saying that rings true here: SCREW ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU – SCREW ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME!
As a 20-year member of the Republican Party – a donating, contributing, sustaining member – here’s my biggest outrage – that the National RNC sought phone and mail donations from all over the 3rd district that I ran in – all throughout the fifteen months of campaigning – yet I was offered no help from them as well. That’s a whole different door I need to knock on – that will come later! My state party, though, has done the same, even in the past month, I received their newest solicitation for much needed funds to help their candidates. Really? Which hand selected ones this time? I don’t appreciate being written off by my own party leaders!!
Here’s my suggestion, take it or leave it: If you want to know if a candidate is worthy of our support, pull their voting record from the County Clerk’s office, it’s that simple. If they show pulling only Republican ballots in primaries in the past ten years, by all means – help that loyal party candidate. If they show having pulled a Democrat ballot in any of the primaries in the past ten years, then they’re on their own, or at least open for a big Q&A discussion. There’s a good chance that they’re an opposition plant on the ballot and we might want to be cautious.
During last year’s state Illinois Republican Party Convention in Tinley Park, I listened to Pat Brady introduce our candidates (some of whom weren’t even in attendance) and tell the crowd “This is our Congressional Team!!” Then he went on to list off State Senate and House candidates. I had felt ignored by leadership in the past, but this really told the tale of where I stood with them – not a single mention. Boy did that HURT – but I’m a conservative – I can take it. But I’m biting my tongue no more. It was at the convention that he closed the door between himself and the party members, making a mockery of how we voted and disallowing other votes to happen. Some groups of members, particularly the Ron Paul supporters, though getting loud and obnoxious at times, were belittled and isolated. This rift carried through to the General Election and many of them did not come out to vote. Another huge mistake causing internal division and a bitter taste in members’ mouths.
I also cannot remain part of an organization that avidly shuns our proud vocal conservative members but endorses a growing moderate opposition at the leadership level within. What the HELL are you thinking?
Being one of our former candidates, finding that you’re running a campaign virtually on your own and out in the cold without a word from your own party is very disheartening. It stinks to high heaven admitting it to reporters when they ask, “Is the party helping you out any?” and you have to respond with conviction, “No, not at all”. And we wonder why we can’t get good candidates, new fresh faces, to step up to the plate.
I’m feeling ashamed to call myself a Republican here in Illinois lately. All we have left in our party is a stubborn leader unwilling to open his eyes or step aside and let us fix what’s really wrong within our party – the right way.
I would have better hope at trying to change the Illinois Democrat Party back to it’s conservative roots from the 50’s and early 60’s than I do trying to help lead our bloated elephants to water and trying to make them drink. Too many of our big elephants have been dipping their trunks in the moderate, liberally progressive Kool-Aid in their past decade of decadence, losing sight of and growing out of touch with the values of our party. Pat Brady didn’t just allow this to happen – he led the charge by going on record in support of these alternate ideologies that most of us do not agree with.
It’s a sad day when I start thinking that the lesser of two evils here in Illinois might be for me to join the Illinois Democratic Party, and then run for Governor as a crossover conservative Republican who has been abandoned by my own party.
Hmmm, you know what? That doesn’t sound like such a farfetched scenario as I think about it. But let’s examine this notion anyway for a few moments. Let’s set the stage for the ‘what could happen’ scenarios.
After kicking it around just for fun with several co-workers from a variety of diversities who are dedicated Democratic voters, they all thought it was a GREAT IDEA! An honest ordinary conservative Republican white guy from the real world working class who has a clean reputation running for office, turning Democrat, who grew up in some very racially, ethnically and socially mixed neighborhoods on Chicago’s south side, who can also speak Spanish, versus two out of touch party elite white guy incumbent Democrats that not many party members are thrilled with in the Democratic Primary for Governor. Ordinary citizen Democrat voters who are uncorrupted by the loyal breeding patronage jobs network would jump at a truly honest and knowledgeable new candidate looking to clean up their existing party reputation and bring respect to their party once again while EARNING THEIR RESPECT.
In a primary, Democrat leaders always want to avoid a primary contest with one of their incumbents if at all possible. They will ask all other Democrats considering the race to step aside, leaving only one clear choice. This not only ensures the incumbent will run off in the General election and conserves crucial campaign resources for the General Election, but more importantly, ensures that voters will only vote for the hand-picked name on the ballot. This makes it easy for them to figure out who everyone voted for.
If Pat Quinn and Lisa Madigan are on the ticket, this could introduce a third candidate, needing only figuratively 34% or better to win the Democratic primary. Knowing the increasing sentiment on the Democrat side is that nobody likes Quinn, and the Madigan name is a really tough pill to swallow lately for Democrats of all ages, but they’ll vote for them if they HAVE TO, since they can’t vote Republican. But given the right opportunity, they would jump through hoops to have a genuine, honest candidate, the real thing, a Democrat they could actually be proud to vote for. Thinking through the numbers, this divide could feasibly work like the way Democrats are run on the Republican ticket to divide and conquer.
Having grown up in the heart of Chicago’s Back or the Yards, Brighton Park, and Marquette Park neighborhoods, I know tons of Chicago, as well as suburban, Democrats who wanted to vote for me in the primary but couldn’t because they HAD to pull a Democrat ballot for fear of losing their jobs or intimidation from their union bosses. This could provide them with that unique opportunity. Many are just yearning for a truly good candidate to emerge from the party they must vote for. They grit their teeth and cringe when they go to the voting booth and sometimes close their eyes when punching the names of candidates that don’t reflect their real values.
Imagine giving policemen, firemen, city workers, teachers, county workers, state workers and a host of others in the union memberships the opportunity of a lifetime – to vote for an honest, truly conservative candidate who has integrity – on the Democrat ticket yet – who sticks to his values and can give voters on that side of the aisle real hope for a change within the party.
And then there’s the ordinary citizen die hard Democrats who make up the 70% of Democrat voters who blindly follow the pack and vote like clockwork. This could give them a fresh name on the Democrat ballots, not the same old recycled names from the past few decades.
Plus, having the Grabowski name that Mike Ditka made so synonymous with the Chicago Bears – a real Chicago name referring to the ordinary average hard working blue and white collar people, really helps connect with people at all levels here in Illinois.
Add on the bonus that this is a crossover conservative Republican candidate coming in to the Democrat Party, hell bent on cleaning up the corrupt image that the party is so well known for. Democrat leaders never talk about cleaning up their own house. This is virtually UNHEARD OF.
And finally, imagine that crossover conservative Republican, hell bent on changing the Democratic Party for the better, winning the Democratic Primary, then taking on the hand-picked moderate Republican candidate in the General election, rallying the support of ordinary Independent, Democrat and Republican voters from all over Illinois, as well as the disenfranchised true conservative base of Republicans, young and old, who just might weigh out the pros and cons of voting for me as well. Heck, I might even get some help from Madigan himself just so he could watch the demise of our party that Pat Brady created by not stepping aside.
OK, wake up, back to reality. But you get the picture. A lot can happen born out of one single non-action as a whole by those charged with the stewardship of our party.
Again – the dominos are ready to fall. Please DON’T make me do this, because it just might work!
Thanks in advance for your time and for your decision in the best interests of our party as a whole.
Richard L. Grabowski
Former 2012 Republican U.S. Congressional Nominee – Illinois’ 3rd District