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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 10, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 19
Pro-Gay Illinois GOP chair resigns - Pat Brady cites wife's illness, says marriage stance not a factor
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Pro-Gay Illinois GOP chair resigns - Pat Brady cites wife's illness, says marriage stance not a factor

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Illinois State Republican chair Pat Brady, who outraged many of his fellow Republicans by endorsing the state's marriage equality bill, resigned his position on May 7.

Brady announced his departure in a letter to the state party's central committee. The letter made no mention of the party's internal divisions, and he declined to discuss them in a phone interview with the Associated Press.

'I've been going hard for six years. It's time to move on,' he told AP.

Brady said his wife has been battling 'very serious' cancer for two years and that he wanted to spend more time with her and their four children.

'It's time to focus on my wife and our kids,' he said.

NO REGRETS
In an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Brady insisted he did not regret supporting same-sex marriage.

'Absolutely not!' he said. The controversy 'was a factor in my decision,' he reported, 'but not an overriding factor.'

Brady has survived two ouster attempts at party leadership meetings since he endorsed the marriage equality bill in March. Those efforts failed because some Republican leaders worried that getting rid of Brady would sabotage the party efforts to appear more inclusive.

Speaking to reporters after the last attempt on April 13, Brady said he did not plan to seek another stint as party chair next year, when his current term was due to expire. But he gave no indication he would resign just weeks later, and emphasized again that the party needed fresh ideas.

'I think there are people in the party who don't necessarily agree with me, but the point is ... we're a party that welcomes all ideas,' Brady said then. 'You don't have to be exactly a platform Republican to be welcome in the party, and that's the direction we're taking the party.'

WHO'S IN CHARGE?
Brady was reportedly hurt by criticism from some Republican leaders over his endorsement of pro-Gay policies. He also differed with the party central committee in wanting Illinois Republican office holders to decide party policy, rather than GOP insiders.

'There's plenty of them. You have [U.S. Sen.] Mark Kirk on one side and [U.S. Rep.] Peter Roskam on the other. They're true leaders in my mind,' Brady told the Chicago Tribune.

'The central committee members thought it was just the opposite, that they run the party. No, it's the opposite. They need to look to the people who have won elections and proven they're leaders.'

Brady charged that only a 'sliver of the party' is driving the socially conservative message as opposed to 'the people who are the rank and file.'

If GOP conservatives put a premium on ideological purity as opposed to electability, Brady said, the party will continue to face losses at the polls.

'Not to belittle the grassroots, but the whole purpose is to get your candidates elected,' he said.

According to the Tribune, there are perhaps a dozen potential successors to Brady.

Brady said he thinks a woman should succeed him, to provide 'better optics' for a political party trying to modernize. 'Do we need any more white Irish males?' he joked.

Illinois' marriage equality bill is currently being debated in the House, where supporters say it is still a few votes short of the 60 it needs to pass. The current legislative session is scheduled to end May 31.

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