Caulkins: Republicans must 'come together and stick together' during 'critical election season'
Dan Caulkins would like to think the way Republican leaders have come together to handle a disagreement about who should be cast in the role of state GOP chairman is another example of the party’s vastness compared to Democrats.
“We are a very big party and we sometimes have disagreements,” Caulkins told the Chambana Sun. “Unlike Democrats, we can have disagreements without ostracizing one another and throwing anyone out the party.”
A recent squabble between incumbent state GOP Chairman Tim Schneider and one-time challenger Mark Shaw appeared destined to test the limits of civility within the party when other Republican leaders began lining up behind one or the other candidate until an agreement on how to best proceed could be reached.
The plan now calls for Schneider, a Cook County commissioner, to share power with Shaw, who withdrew his candidacy, in exchange for the latter being named a state GOP co-chair and head of the county chairmen’s association.
Schneider was backed for re-election by Gov. Bruce Rauner, while Shaw, who also serves as Lake County GOP chairman, had the support of Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), who narrowly lost out to Rauner in the Republican primary.
"It’s very important to have unity in the party going into this critical election season,” said Caulkins, the Decatur Republican running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin for the seat being vacated by Rep. Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) in the 101st District. “People involved have to realize what’s at stake is bigger than just them and their political aspirations.”
Since all the ballots in the Rauner vs. Ives showdown have been counted, Republicans had appeared to be growing apart at the seams, leaving Caulkins to hope the new reorganization plan will be enough to not only hold the party together come November's general election.
“We have to come together and stick together to elect Republican candidates up and down the ticket, because that’s what this state desperately needs right now,” he said.
The 101st House District includes parts of Champaign, McLean, Dewitt, Macon and Piatt counties.