John Boehner in Chicago area for fundraisers

August 12, 2011 8:55:10 PM PDT
Illinois Republicans brought in the most powerful member of their party to help fight the Democratic congressional remap.

House Speaker John Boehner attended a fundraiser in west suburban Hinsdale.

Boehner is in the Chicago area for two private fundraisers this week - one in Hinsdale, the other in Lemont.

Friday night in Hinsdale, people donated between $500 and $10,000 dollars to help an effort to stop an Illinois congressional map that was redrawn by Democrats.

Boehner sped away in a black SUV afterward, declining to talk to reporters, but he was reportedly frank when meeting in private and talking to those who attended the fundraiser.

"It's a hard job. I said, 'Are you having fun?' He's like, 'Not really, I'm not having fun, but I'm trying,'" said Dana Vallandigham. "He said overall it's good - he works hard every day. He's a small business owner himself, he knows what it's like to work, and he wants to make it better."

"He's very down-to-earth, and so forth, so it was good to see him. He did a nice job," said AJ Palmisano.

Inside the Hinsdale home, attendees say Boehner mingled and then climbed a staircase and spoke for about 15 minutes, presenting a familiar message.

"He talked about working with the president, getting things done, and trying to save the country's finances for us and our children so we all have opportunities and the freedom to build a life here," said Steve Tonissen.

Attendees raised money for The Committee for a Fair and Balanced Map.

Republicans will use that money in a legal battle to stop the congressional redistricting map made by Democrats.

"The courthouse door is always open," said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady. "We think we have a pretty good case, and it will be up to a judge, probably."

"It really means that the dynamics have been changed now and I think that the Democrats overreached in this in cutting up all the districts," said Republican Rep. Judy Biggert.

In the meantime, party preparations are underway in Lemont at the home of Terrence Duffy, the executive chairman of the CME Group, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Duffy and his wife are hosting a Saturday night fundraiser for Boehner. The cost is $2,000 per couple.

On the Democrats' side, Governor Pat Quinn signed the new congressional map into law back in June. Republicans fired back with a lawsuit last month.

Quinn's office said the process was fair, open, and transparent.

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