What are Illinois Republicans saying to each other after losing so big on Nov. 6 that the Springfield Democrats can pass legislation in each house without a single Republican vote?
Here's what state Sen. Dan Duffy wrote Friday to other members of the Republican Senate caucus. Duffy represents the 26th District, which takes in sections of Lake, McHenry and Cook counties and he says he is not running for Senate minority leader or governor.
"Senator [Christine] Radogno has publicly stated that the majority of my Republican colleagues in the Illinois Senate have decided they are comfortable keeping the status quo in place by re-electing her as Republican Senate Leader.
"Since I can't imagine that anyone in our caucus feels good about our failure to effectively take on the Illinois Democratic Political Machine in either the state
Senate or at the ballot box, I want to take this opportunity to lay out the true challenges we face and a road map which I believe can lead us to a future majority.
"Despite the Illinois Democratic Party steering our state off a cliff, the Illinois' Senate Republican Campaign Committee has just led us through an election where Democrats dominated so dramatically that they now have a super majority at levels not seen since before the Great Depression.
"It is shocking that we have apparently selected our leadership going forward without demanding an accounting for how our caucus has failed.We still do not have a clear, credible vision for the future or a plan for how we can achieve a majority in the Senate.
"In the absence of this kind of accountability being demanded by Senator Radogno's majority, and with several members of our caucus leadership team busy laying the ground work for a run for Governor, I feel I would be shirking my duty if I did not lay out my sense of why our caucus has failed so badly to win either the Senate or at the ballot box in an attempt to focus on the real job at hand:
"Our caucus has not articulated a clear vision and our underlying principals are ambiguous. We have not effectively challenged the entrenched Democrat leadership which has controlled this state for years. Instead of raising much needed funds for our caucus, key members of our leadership team have been too focused on their own political career objectives. Due to our lack of vision, principals, courage and leadership - we have not been able to raise the money needed to run successful candidate campaigns.
"It is a travesty we have chased away minority groups -- such as the Latino's -- by letting the Democrats frame our entire party as being intolerant. What has our response been? What is the leadership plan for the future as it pertains to minority groups? We are the Party of free-enterprise, small business, entrepreneurs and family values. We offer a path to the American dream which every immigrant is searching for. How could we, the party of Abraham Lincoln, have let ourselves be defined as intolerant? Bold, sincere action is immediately required -- not by compromising principles -- by building long term relationships and properly communicating our plan to the public.
"Vision for the Future
"We must encourage job growth by developing an efficient, transparent, ethical state government with less regulation and lower taxes. We must follow these principles in words and action. We must hold every Republican caucus member accountable for their votes. By following these basic conservative principals, we will:
• Create grass roots support
• Develop a unified team with a mission
• Effectively defeat the Democrat agenda
• Raise money needed to finance future candidate campaigns
"On a state and national level, the Democrats have built a powerful grass-roots machine by fully utilizing current technology. The Democrat use of "Big Data" has given them a huge advantage over Republicans. Through their investment in technology and long-term plan of gathering data, they have been able to:
• Increase effectiveness of phone calls, door knocks and mailers
• Learn constituent's on-line habits and focus on those groups
• Target TV Ads
• Increase donor base by raising more revenue on-line, in small amounts, from many donors.
• Connect personally with voters via current social media outlets
"We have not even begun to tap into technology and the efficiencies it offers by giving us the ability to reach a mass audience at a minimum expense. The data we would receive by properly utilizing technology will be the difference between future success and failure. Developing a sophisticated technology plan will most definitely help us obtain and archive the data we will need to compete with Democrats on a level playing field.
"This past election should have been a startling "wake up call" to every Republican in the state - especially those of us in the Senate. The only place for us to go is up -- if the caucus has the courage to make BOLD moves. Every member must get fully engaged and not be content with sitting on the side lines while watching our destiny be dictated by Mike Madigan.
"As Benjamin Franklin said, "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." It is time for a fresh start. Clearly communicating our vision and fully utilizing technology will lead to donor support and votes. Through our consistent and persistent actions we will be in the position to take over the majority and put our state back on the path to a renewed prosperity."
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