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How Irwin came to be the Repub frontrunner against Pritzker. How he'll lose.

Jeanne Ives Column: Combine Consultants Skip Republican Principles, Election Day Retribution Coming

By Jeanne Ives, Kass

June 26, 2022

Americans who think they can go through life without being impacted by politics are mistaken, which is why it behooves voters to pay attention to every election.

Back-to-back US Supreme Court decisions this week affirm what all should understand: who you elect matters.

Without President Trump and his judicial selections, it is doubtful if the recent decisions would have come down as they did in both the New York Second Amendment case by a 6-3 decision, or the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a 6-3 decision, after nearly 50 years.

In a state where the John Kass-termed Combine operates , the Combine is that cozy cabal of politicians and lobbyists on both sides of the aisle. These insiders scratch each others’ backs while taxpayers suffer. The Illinois Primary elections are just as important as the General election. With stronger Republican leadership and messaging, the state may not be bleeding corporate headquarters and middle-income residents alike.

That’s why it will be gratifying to watch the Republicans in Illinois who backed Richard Irvin for governor get their comeuppance this Tuesday.

For reasons that defy any understanding of Republican Primary voters in Illinois, the Elitists (certain party leaders, donors and consultants) bet big money on a candidate that they believed checked the right boxes to win without regard for his record or principles. It has been a massive failure. Their plan was never going to work in the Republican Primary or the General election.

Selecting their candidate was the equivalent of a realtor hoping first time homebuyers purchase a house sight unseen based only on curb appeal, staging, wide shots, and without any physical inspection of the property.

But, the majority of Republican voters who were sold a dilapidated candidate four years ago in the 2018 Primary are much savvier buyers now.

How did this happen?

By April of 2021, Republicans already had three solid candidates in the race for Governor, Paul Schimpf, Darren Bailey and Gary Rabine. Jesse Sullivan, who no one ever heard of before and likely will never hear of again after June 28th, announced a few months later. And, with the addition of Max Solomon to the race, the candidate field was already robust by Fall.

Rather than back one of the announced candidates, the “smart” people decided to recruit a more diverse candidate that they thought had broader curb appeal and checked some other boxes they thought buyers would like.

Enter Richard Irvin. By mid-December it was an open secret that the Elitists had selected the Mayor of Aurora and that he was going to be on a slate with other hand-picked candidates.

From the moment I heard about the slate backed by big money, I argued against it in private conversations with people who were backing the idea or could stop the process. I told them Republican Primary voters, mostly located in southern and central Illinois are not going to be force fed a candidate by Elitists in Chicago and the suburbs.

From the beginning, their plan was to select a candidate based on identity more so than policy and a proven record of accomplishment. Identity politics took center stage in Irvin’s campaign ad called “Worst Nightmare,” where Irvin looks into the camera and says, “There’s nothing the Left fears more than Republicans that look like me and think like us.”

I wonder if Richard Irvin had any problem delivering that line. Afterall, as Mayor of Aurora, wouldn’t he rather run on his record. The consultants thought it was brilliant, of course. Planning on making the contrast about identity and not policy was mistake number one for Irvin’s campaign.

And then the lies started. The Irvin campaign has spent millions of Ken Griffin’s dollars to lie about both Irvin’s record and those of his opponents. Irvin did not stand up to Pritzker, he supported Pritzker’s COVID mandates. On spending, taxes, BLM, crime, or standing up to the rioters and corruption, the Irvin presented in commercials is not the Irvin on record.

Then Irvin spent millions lying about his opponent’s voting record and not being truthful about his own proclivity to vote for Democrats. It got so bad that his own Republican township leaders, the Aurora Township Republican Central Committee, passed a motion stating they will not support or recognize Richard C. Irvin as a Republican Primary Candidate for Governor, because he is not a Republican.

When voters find out they were lied to, they reject the liar. And so, Irvin’s polling numbers are still in free fall. The shameful political attacks didn’t work. And after Tuesday, the only winners will be the consultants who made millions from Mr. Griffin to run this scam.

The Republicans who conceived of, supported and financed the Irvin campaign will have supported and financed the worst-run campaign in Illinois history. Maybe I’ll send them a certificate of accomplishment.

On another note, Ken Griffin’s announcement that he is moving his giant hedge fund Citadel’s corporate headquarters to Miami is a loss for our state. But this comes as no surprise. The timing of the announcement, however, just days before the Primary in a race in which he put in $50 million dollars for Irvin, is surprising. It certainly indicates that he knows his candidate on Tuesday will go down in embarrassing defeat.

Campaigns at this level are about contrasts. On Tuesday, I am confident Republicans will have a great candidate in contrast to Pritzker. No state is more in need of conservative reform than Illinois. Republicans need to present the contrast and ensure voters clearly understand the choice before them in November.


Jeanne Ives, graduate of West Point and three-term Illinois state representative, is the founder of Breakthrough Ideas. Its mission is to build a conservative infrastructure (online and grassroots) needed to advance conservative ideas and policy.

Her opinion pieces have been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Federalist and the Wall Street Journal as well as several political news sites.

She resigned from the Army in 1993 to raise her children. Prior to her election to the Illinois House, Ives served on the Wheaton City Council, where her tenure was marked by conservative leadership and an unwavering commitment to the taxpayers’ bottom line.

Jeanne has lived in Wheaton for 30 years with her husband and their 5 children. One of her greatest joys was coaching the championship St. Michael Boys and Girls Cross Country teams for 12 years as a parent volunteer.

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