Jim Durkin speaks about decision to step down as Illinois House GOP leader

"It's time for a new person, new ideas," State Rep. Jim Durkin said.

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Friday, November 11, 2022
Durkin speaks about decision to step down as Illinois House GOP leader
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Jim Durkin, the Illinois House Republican leader, will not seek reelection in his position after the 2022 election results.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WLS) -- After this week's midterm elections, Illinois Democrats are on their way to possibly pick up four or five seats in the state legislature. There are still a few races not yet called.

RELATED: Latest election results

But this current shape of the state House is part of what's prompting the Republican leader of the Illinois House of Representatives to step down. Jim Durkin spoke one-on-one with ABC7 Thursday about his decision not to seek re-election.

After nine years as the Illinois Republican House Minority Leader, Jim Durkin is giving up his leadership post. The decision follows a dismal election night for GOP state House races.

"I set a certain number in my head in what I felt I had to win for me to continue and I did not meet that threshold," Durkin said. "It's time for a new person, new ideas."

While the Democrats supermajority became even stronger, Durkin refuses to take the blame for losing more Republican seats.

SEE ALSO | Some Republicans blame Donald Trump for disappointing performance in midterms

"Responsibility is a strong word. I accept the results," Durkin said. "I know I've done everything I can. I raised more money in the primary than ever in any cycle during my tenure."

But Durkin said it was hard to compete with the amount of money Gov. JB Pritzker poured into Democratic state House races. Durkin also said the abortion issue and Darren Bailey's link to former President Donald Trump sank the Republicans.

"The fact is, Republicans have to do more about accepting moderate Republicans," Durkin said.

Durkin said the only way for his party to survive in a blue state is appealing to independent voters, which means accepting more moderate positions on issues like abortion and gun control.

"If the Republican Party cannot accept those type of concepts or at least be tolerant of that with members based on their districts, we are going nowhere," Durkin said.

Durkin said he will decide in the next couple days who he will support to replace him as the leader. He said that person must understand the business model for Illinois Republicans has been broken for a decade.