How will DuPage GOP regroup after midterm losses?
Jim Ruhl thinks it’s time for Republican leaders in Illinois to get back in touch with who they proclaim to be following the party’s election night drubbing.
“We need to recognize that, as a party, we still desire less government and more accountability,” Ruhl, chairman of the Naperville Township Republican Party, told the DuPage Policy Journal. “We need to get back to promoting our belief that people are responsible for their own actions and to reaffirming our stance as the party that upholds the law.”
Ruhl said all that and then some seems to have gotten lost in translation on election day, as Democrats waltzed to wins in all six counties that stretch into DuPage.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Democrats also won at least 80 percent of all the precincts in Naperville, a city where just-ousted Republican U.S. Reps. Peter Roskam and Randy Hultgren lost only two precincts combined in 2016.
“It signals that it’s a time for purging and rebuilding,” Ruhl added. “The focus needs to be on identifying our voter base and growing that base in an upright manner where we’re working with a more diverse group of people and educating them on all the things we know need to happen for this state.”
Ruhl said he’s convinced all the chaos on the national level and locally here in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office left GOP voters feeling a bit numb to everything around them on election day.
“In hindsight, I think we’re now at this point because we were apathetic and too much of our base chose to disengage,” he said. “When you're apathetic, you leave the door open for unforeseen things to happen. It hurt our chances that Democrats control the emotional message. I never heard any Democratic candidate speak to any issues; everything was driven by emotion.”
Finally, Ruhl said, Republicans would be wise to begin their retooling by focusing on young voters.
“We need that energy so that they can build on spreading our message all over,” he said. “I look at this election and we had many great candidates running their own campaigns while Democrats had candidates just being told what to do. We just need to reach more people so they can see that same thing for themselves.”