State Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove has withdrawn as a candidate for chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, he announced this morning.
“After much contemplation and discussion with several Republican activists, I am withdrawing my name from future consideration,” Sandack said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the new Chairman and rebuilding a Republican brand. As I have stated several times, we must be more inclusive to revive and revitalize our party.”
Sandack won an online poll in the Sun-Times, with 43.94 percent of the vote. However, he differs with most Republicans on gay marriage, the issue that led to the ouster of former GOP chairman Pat Brady. Sandack -- one of two Republicans who intends to vote for the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act -- told Ward Room last week that he wanted to “expand the tent,” and that pro-choice and pro-gay marriage politicians should have a place in the party.
“If we focus on freedom, prosperity, trying to keep money in taxpayers’ pockets, we can win statewide seats,” he said. “We can get people to listen to us. Right now, our brand is awful and people don’t want to hear us.”
Shortly after making his announcement, Sandack told WBEZ that he thought his support for gay marriage made his candidacy too controversial.
“The issue is controversial,” he said. “And I don’t wanna be a fight, and that issue to be a fight, when we really oughta be talking about who’s best suited to be the next party chairman.”
Jason Plummer, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2010 and Congress in 2012, has also withdrawn his name from consideration. That leaves seven candidates: 9th District Central Committeeman Jack Dorgan; Angel Garcia, president of Chicago Young Republicans; executive search consultant Jim Nalepa; Cook County Commissioner Timothy Schneider; Lake County attorney Mark Shaw; former congressman Joe Walsh; and former Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Lori Yokoyama.