Do Illinois Republicans want Donald Trump to run for president again after disappointing midterms?

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Donald Trump wants to run again, but do Republicans?
Donald Trump appears ready to announce a 3rd run for the presidency Tuesday night, but do Republicans actually want him in the 2024 race?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former President Donald Trump is expected to announce his third bid for the presidency Tuesday night, but do Republicans actually want him to run again?

After a dismal midterm election for the GOP, which some are blaming on Trump, there's a lot at stake for the Republican Party in 2024.

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Trump-backed candidates underperformed in last week's midterms, as is obvious in states like Illinois. But in battleground states like Arizona and Pennsylvania it was even clearer. Now the Illinois GOP is doing some real soul-searching.

Lawmakers returned to Springfield Tuesday for the start of the veto session with Republicans looking to elect new leaders as the party ponders its future.

"I think we do need to move on [from Trump]," said House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer.

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Demmer unsuccessfully ran for state treasurer on the ticket with Darren Bailey, the Trump-endorsed candidate for governor. Bailey lost by 11 points.

"I think most voters are looking for something different. So I do think this is an opportunity for us as Republicans to nominate somebody who can be competitive, who can bring new people into the party," Demmer said.

"I think if there's any overriding narrative of the 2022 midterms is that the Donald Trump-style candidates did not do well," said Ryan Burge, professor of political science at Eastern Illinois University. "You know, Trump was a newcomer. He was a novice politically, people liked that outsider vibe, but I think he's sort of worn out his welcome."

Burge said that's particularly true with moderate Republicans, who are key for winning future elections.

"Those kinds of voters are not going to vote for Trump again, obviously they didn't like him in 2020 and they probably will like him even less in 2024. The party needs to figure out who they are in a post Trump America," said Burge.

Burge said at this point it's not clear the Republican Party in Illinois or nationally has figured out this identity. But many GOP leaders are saying without some change, Republicans face a very uncertain future, bordering on irrelevancy, in Illinois.

The Illinois GOP chairman released a statement saying, "President Trump's policies led to a booming economy and respect abroad. We appreciate his service to the country. The field will undoubtedly evolve over the coming months and we look forward to an open, engaging, and respectful competition to select the Republican candidate who has what it takes to defeat Joe Biden in 2024."