Elmhurst Lawmaker Wants to Lead State's Republican Party

Article excerpt

Byline: John Patterson Daily Herald State Government Writer

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois House Republican Leader Lee Daniels announced Friday he will try to become chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.

Rich Williamson said this week he is leaving the post to take a job at the United Nations. Daniels, from Elmhurst, consulted Williamson and Gov. George Ryan on Friday. Both encouraged him to run for the chairman's post, said Gregg Durham, Daniels' spokesman.

Although it is an unpaid and considered thankless job, the party chairman controls what can be millions of dollars from the national Republican Party for Illinois campaigns.

For Daniels, the question becomes whether other Republican powerbrokers will go along with his move.

In 1999, Daniels also sought the post with Ryan's support. But Illinois Senate President James "Pate" Philip, a Wood Dale Republican, blocked the move. Williamson, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 1992 who lost to Carol Moseley-Braun, eventually was named to the post. But the events revealed fissures within the Illinois Republican Party, particularly between Philip and Daniels, the DuPage County GOP powerhouses. …