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Illinois GOP Chair resigns

Don Tracy
Don Tracy

The Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party announced an abrupt exit from the organization Wednesday, issuing a scathing rebuke of the Illinois GOP.

Don Tracy of Springfield said he enjoyed the nearly 3 and a half years in the role. But he was also critical.

"When I took on this full-time volunteer job in February 2021, I thought I would be spending most of my time fighting Democrats, helping elect Republicans, raising money to pay for more party infrastructure and advocating for party unity. Unfortunately, however, I have had to spend far too much time dealing with intra-party power struggles and local intra party animosities that continued after primaries and County Chair elections," he said in a written statement.

Tracy said in the past Republicans came together after intra party elections.

"Now, however, we have Republicans who would rather fight other Republicans than engage in the harder work of defeating incumbent Democrats by convincing swing voters to vote Republican."

Tracy is a businessman and attorney. He was raised in Mt. Sterling. His family owns Dot Foods Inc. the nation's largest redistributor if food and related products.

It appears drama from the recent state convention may have been the final straw. “We need to lower the room temperature,” Tracy told Politico after the event that resulted in calls for the vice-chair to step aside.

He went on to write "Recent events including the RNC committeemen election, immediately followed by the retribution sacking of losing candidate Vice-Chair Mark Shaw, a long-time state party leader and worker, without due process and without taking any step to discipling others for alleged or admitted Convention misconduct, portends a direction of the State Party I am not comfortable with."

The state's Democratic Party issued a statement in response. “While we don’t expect new leadership to change any of that, we do wish the best of luck to the inevitable MAGA extremist who will succeed Don Tracy as Chai," it said.

Tracy was the first Illinois GOP Chairman from downstate since 1988. His resignation announcement comes just weeks before national Republicans rally in Milwaukee. Tracy said he will leave upon election of a successor, but no later than the end of national convention.

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