**(Updated with Ron Gidwitz and Jim Oberweis)**
A livid Ron Gidwitz called out the conservative faction of the party's central committee on Thursday, telling the Sun-Times its ousting of Illinois Republican Party Chairman and lack of preparation to deal with the fallout has put a poor face on the party, "destroying" the embattled GOP's chances in next year's election.
"The state central committee -- a faction of the state central committee -- is destroying any chance that the Republican party has in 2014," an angered Gidwitz told the Chicago Sun-Times on Thursday. "I mean, how stupid is this! The lack of thoughtful, leadership ... The state central committee is responsible for the leadership of our party. To push out the party chairman with no plan for a replacement -- it is absurd. And with no thought to the consequences of their behavior.
They all know how I feel because I told them."
Gidwitz is typically one of the leading Republican cheerleaders in the state and is a major player in national and statewide politics, hosting a variety of fund-raisers, including for presidential nominees.
"They're making the central committee irrelevant. The uncalled for attacks on Pat Brady and the lack of preparation once they started attacking Pat Brady, with no expectation, no strategy to replace him with a capable, respected individual," Gidwitz said. "They are fundamentally creating an irrelevancy for the state party."
Gidwitz blew up after the Sun-Times contacted him with a working list of possible replacements to Brady.
Brady had called on female leadership to revive embattled Illinois Republicans, but so far just one woman made the cut of contenders lining up to take the helm.
Someone who did make the list was Tea Party ex-Congressman Joe Walsh, which is sure to ignite some kind of feud as well as Illinois state Rep. Ron Sandack - a suburban Republican who supports gay marriage -- the issue that the conservative bloc of the party used as a way to oust Brady in the first place.
The Republican State Central Committee held an hour-long conference call last night and came back with these names as finalists. The list may grow before Friday's deadline, with a handful of people who were nominated but could not be confirmed as interested. In all, 30 people were nominated and the nominations included other women -- but numerous nominees said they were not interested.
The architect behind Brady's ousting and a GOP conservative, state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove), said there is a plan and it's underway. That is, airing out the committee's nominees and suggestions and coming up with a person who can find some middle ground.
"First of all, I think Ron is a very competent individual. He was one of the people I talked to to suggest being a party chairman. To say that there's not a plan, if he said that, he's just not aware of what's going on. There's a plan in place, and it's being executed as we speak," Oberweis told the Sun-Times Thursday. "Let me say for the record, I think it would be wrong, if by a plan you mean we should go out and decide on a replacement before the current chairman, before he steps down, I believe that would be wrong."
Oberweis said a more Democratic process is underway "rather than three people" deciding in a room.
"I believe that a very sound process is underway," Oberweis said. And, looking forward: "We want to find a candidate who does appeal to both the conservatives and the liberals within the party and who will be a uniter who will bring those people together rather than a divider who would cause conflict."
- Jack Dorgan from the Northwest suburbs.
- Angel Garcia from Cook County -- President of Chicago Young Republicans
- Jim Nalepa
- State Rep. Ron Sandack.
- Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider
- Mark Shaw Lake County lawyer active in politics up North.
- Don Tracy brother-in-law to Jil Tracy, a state rep from Quincy.
- Joe Walsh one-term suburban Tea Party Congressman
- Lori Yokoyama - failed Cook County State's Attorney candidate.