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Nasty leadership battle erupts in Senate between Radogno, McCarter

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Christine_Radogno.jpegIL Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

A downstate Republican who got into a physical tussle last year with a Democratic senator over utility legislation touted himself Friday as a potential replacement for Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno following Tuesday's big GOP losses in the Legislature.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) confirmed his interest in ousting Radogno from her leadership post after she failed to stave off a whopping five-seat loss for Republicans in the state Senate.

"If we were a competitive college sports team with a record like this, somebody would have been fired already," McCarter told the Chicago Sun-Times.

McCarter's criticism came the same day that a conservative political action committee, Family PAC, circulated a letter to each Republican state senator, urging Radogno's ouster.

m-mccarter.jpeg"Frankly, I think nearly anyone in that caucus could do a far better job than Christine Radogno," said Paul Caprio, director of Family PAC, who praised both McCarter (pictured right) and state Sen. Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington).

Caprio faulted Radogno for not appropriating proper financial "support" to anti-abortion candidates who lost and said her support of civil unions and abortion rights is "out of the mainstream of the Senate caucus."

Radogno, whose caucus will drop in size from 24 to 19 members in January, defended her backing of all Republican Senate campaigns and dismissed Caprio as an "outlier" in a party that she said must be recalibrated after Tuesday's outcome. She also took direct aim at McCarter.

"I'm not sure what we need now is an in-your-face, confrontational, white, downstate male. I love our downstate guys. I have a great relationship with them, and I'm not playing a gender card," she told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"What I'm saying, as a practical matter, is that we need to change our image. Fairly or not, we're perceived -- and these aren't my words, I've read it reported this way -- as being the party of angry white men, and that's not true by the way. The fact of the matter is perception is reality, and we need to deal with it," she said.

Caprio took issue with Radogno's implication that the party needs to rebrand itself so it again can carry appeal with moderate suburban women like herself.

"That's an insult to every woman voter who votes in this state. I'd like to find a woman who said the reason I voted for a Republican candidate is Christine Radogno," he said. "I wonder how many voters even know who the minority leadership is in Springfield, to tell you the truth. Playing this gender game is an excuse when you've lost every targeted Senate seat the Republicans had."

Radogno said it is unfair to hold her singularly accountable for what one top GOP strategist called a "bloodbath" that enabled Democrats to claim veto-proof majorities in the Legislature and win all of the contested congressional races in the suburbs.

"If everyone had done phenomenally well and this was just our result, that would be one thing. But our result was consistent with what happened across the state," she said.

McCarter, who took issue with Radogno's comments against "confrontational" downstate men, got into a shoving match on the Senate floor in 2011 with state Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline), who came at McCarter after he questioned Jacobs' sponsorship of Commonwealth Edison-backed smart-grid legislation. Jacobs' father, former state Sen. Denny Jacobs (D-East Moline), is a utility industry lobbyist.

"Did I stand up when I saw something that wasn't ethical with regards to the smart-grid bill with Mike Jacobs? Of course, I did. But I wasn't the one who came across the aisle to take a swing at a legislator. I sat in my seat where I was supposed to be," McCarter said.

He also took issue with Radogno's implication that the GOP would be best suited with a suburban woman, since Republicans across the board didn't badly with women voters, particularly in the suburbs.

"If it's all about doing better with women, having a woman in charge didn't fix things Tuesday," he said.

Radogno, who has been legislative leader since 2009, said she is confident she has lined up the 10 votes necessary to hold onto her job.

McCarter, a small business owner who has been in the Senate for four years, said he doesn't know yet how many votes he might have.

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12 Comments

I like her, always have, but what happened is a disaster and someone needs to be held accountable. Furthermore, Cross, whom I also like, should be right behind her. These two are in an unwinnable situation being so close to the urban Chicago cesspool. The tentacles of Chicago progressivism are showing their effects reaching into DuPage County, thus impacting the entire State. I'm not saying the GOP ought to give up their basic convictions with regard to their platform. But where they need to moderate is with the hot button social issues that the Progressives play so well. When people vote on one particular issue because of an overly emotional tie to that issue, democracy cannot work. For example, Akin and Murdock, WTF? They had their respective seats in hand, until they got played. If the GOP must, it can maintain moral conviction on some of these issues, but leave them off the official platform. But I digress, she needs to step aside!

Already the Republicans are showing why no one wants to vote for them anymore, and still they don't have a clue.

While I'm not happy with either leader, the wipeout was assured by redistricting. Face it, once the Supreme Court ruled that you can't setup your State Senate like the Federal one, it was all over. From that point forward, Chicago began to rule the state. Popularly elected bicameral legislatures are redundant and a joke. The only way to prevent Chicago from dominating the state is to return to Senate Districts that match counties. Then Chicago gets 1 vote in the Senate, rather than close to a third of them!

The GOP needs new leadership!. Christine Radogno's moderate attitudes are progressive-lite. (B-team for the Democrats) She was not challenged in the Primary or in the general election. Elected officials who have no challengers soon forget who they are supposed to serve. It is time for a change.

Ahhhhhhh......Conservutards have the SADZ!

Radogno has failed because her idea of broadening the party is mimicing the opposing party. The people the GOP seeks to draw in, Hispanics, Latinos, African Americans, Asians, etc. recognize that her strategy exudes a lack of authenticity. Republicans of Radogno's sort have not offered these communities a policy of their own; they have merely imitated the Democratic Party and hoped that the resulting lack of clarity would fool people. They are not fooled.

What we in the GOP need to do in order to reach out in an authentic way, is to identify those values and principles that the Democrats have neglected, principles that resonate with the minority community. They are there, and there are clear differences between us and the Democratic Party. Radogno's obfuscations belies her lack of sincerity and belief in our sincerity is essential. This is why she failed.

There are those of us trying to work within the GOP who on matters of free enterprise and the rule of law are conservative. A small group within that group has come to realize that change must be encouraged. Neither the voters nor the silent constituency of the GOP have patience to wait for this to evolve. Rodogno must go and her phony baloney reach out is doing more harm that good. She should be replaced.

How interesting... the author uses "Progressive" as a pejorative term, even though to most people, making "progress" denotes a good thing. The Republicans & "conservatives" successfully managed to turn the word "Liberal" into an epithet, so now they're trying to do the same with "Progressive". I suspect they'd do the same with "Jesus" or "Bible" if they figured it could get them a few more votes.

There was a time not too long ago that the Republican party actually included some Liberals, or at least Moderates. Now, you have to run somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun to get through the Republican primary in MANY venues. Romney only was "fit" as a Republican candidate after he'd either denied or recanted most of the political positions he'd ever taken.

If the Republican Party wants to again be a party that earns enough votes to win, they need to be a party OF the People, not the Party of Corporations or the Party of the Filthy Rich or the Party of the Religious Fringes or the Party of the Political Conspiracy Nuts or the Party Against ANY Taxes. So far, even the stacked Supreme Court hasn't figured a way to give a rich guy more votes than middle-class one or a poor one. Until they do (and they're entirely capable of trying such a construct), the Republicans had better figure a way to be relevant to more ordinary folks (regardless of color or creed).

rE:

Sen Rodogno, you've been the face of the party for several years, and the result is a rout in last Tuesday elections. Surrender the gavel to someone else.

The Radogno Senate political staff is terrible. They could not orchestrate a one car funeral procession properly. They are more interested in keeping Radogno in charge of a rapidly dwindling minority than trying to get to a majority which would create a risk of her being voted out. The caucus vote will be a test of who is a conservative reformer, and who is an insider and establishment power broker. All who cast votes for Radogno deserve to be primaried and replaced.

Radogno saying she backed all Senate Republican Campaigns is false. I ran in the 57th district and had no financial help from the SRO and I still had a 60/40 split. I possibly could have won with help from the SRO. Who knows?

What the Illinois GOP needs is someone like Kyle McCarter at the helm.
Male or female, upstate or downstate, we need someone who listens to both sides of the issues.
We need a more centered government.
The right has gone too far right, the left has gone too far left.
What we need is someone to stand up for what is right for the people.

Save us the Democrats talking points.....

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