August 19, 2005

IL-GOV: GOP Infighting

The Illinois GOP is calling for party unity at the state fair, but someone forgot to tell Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Oberweis.
The unity lasted a little more than 17 minutes.

That was when Aurora dairy owner Jim Oberweis took to the podium and unloaded on top party official Bob Kjellander over the millions of dollars in consulting fees Kjellander has made with the Democrats in control of state government.

In one of the more dramatic and strange moments of the campaign, Oberweis turned to Kjellander, who was seated about 10 feet behind him, and urged Kjellander to give up his positions as Republican national committeeman and treasurer of the Republican National Committee.

"You cannot serve two masters," Oberweis lectured to Kjellander. "You cannot serve the Republican Party while serving the Democratic Party. So Bob, I'd ask you on behalf of the good of the Republican Party to step down and to do it soon."
Bob Kjellander is close ally to Karl Rove and the new RNC Treasurer, claims he did nothing wrong and not stepping down form this party post.
"I just said I've done nothing wrong," Kjellander told reporters after the meeting. "We've followed every rule. We've filed every disclosure. There is absolutely nothing improper here, and I intend to serve my term."
Rep. Ray LaHood slams Jim Oberweis for speaking this mind and poisoning Republican day at the state fair.
Republican leaders are shaking their heads at Oberweis for trashing a fellow republican instead of Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich.

"People are fed up with the negativity that takes place within the party. And if somebody wants to criticize somebody else, they can do that. This was not the place to do it. And this was not the venue to do it. And I think it sort of poisoned the day a little bit," said Rep. Ray LaHood (R), Peoria.
Illinois Sen. Steven Rauschenberger a candidate for governor also slams Bob Kjellander at the state fair, but not as daring as Jim Oberweis.
“Middle class Illinoisans don't believe it's an honest system. When they hear stories about someone making $4 million, just simply introducing people regardless of what the arrangements are, whether they were legal or not, it doesn't pass the smell test,” said Illinois Sen. Steven Rauschenberger, another candidate for governor.
Jim Oberweis, Steve Rauschenberger, Judy Baar Topinka, Joseph Birkett, Ron Gidwitz, and Patrick O'Malley are possible or declared Republicans candidates for Governor. Most of them are lightweights, failed candidates in previous state races or too moderate for conservatives to win the nomination. There best hope is former Gov. Jim Edgar, but he is still undecided.
But one frustrated candidate says it is time for Jim Edgar to make a decision and stop "contemplating his navel." Governor Edgar rode into the state fair on horseback in 1997, and a lot of GOP leaders wish it was happening today. At Thursday's GOP pep rally at the fair, Edgar was a no-show as he considered a political comeback. [..]

"The future of the Republican party is in front of us. It's not in the rear-view mirror. You don't build a future by looking for icons of the past," said Steve Raushenberger, Republican candidate for governor.
Steve Raushenberger slams Gov. Jim Edgar, more GOP infighting. Hey, they can always bring back Alan Keyes and stop the bickering.


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