DU QUOIN (WSIL) — Illinois Republican leaders said they’re optimistic about where the party is headed after taking several losses in 2018.
Tuesday was Republican Day at the Du Quoin State Fair and the party held a barbeque event, headlined by a pair of U.S. Senate candidates: Peggy Hubbard and Mark Curran.
Both believe they can unseat longtime incumbent U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
Hubbard, of Belleville, criticized his views on immigration.
"We elected him to office. The illegals did not elect him into office, we did," Hubbard said. "We expect him to be our representative. We expect him to take care of the people that he promised to take care of."
Curran, of Libertyville, said Durbin has moved to the far left on issues like the environment.
"Dick Durbin is in bed with the far-left radical environmental agenda which is killing Illinois," Curran said.
The event also gave State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) the opportunity to give her first sales pitch as a candidate for the state senate.
"Every decision that I’ve made in the House is to make sure that we get our fair share here, that we’re treated fairly by whomever is the governor," Bryant said. "And obviously I don’t think there’s anyone in southern Illinois that’s fought for their district the same way that I’ve fought for the 115th."
Bryant’s running for the 58th District seat which is currently held by Paul Schimpf, who already announced he isn’t running in 2020.
"Just because I’m not running for re-election, that doesn’t mean that you’ve seen the last of me," Schimpf said.
The party took some hits in 2018, losing all of the statewide offices along with seats in the legislature.
Bryant said that’s because of some pushback against President Donald Trump in the Chicago suburbs.
"So in the suburbs, they elected some Democrats that I don’t believe have served very well in the legislature," Bryant said.
Despite that, some are optimistic about 2020.
"Throughout history, whenever something bad happens or we have a setback, there’s always something good after that," Perry County GOP Chairman Bruce Rodely said. "You have a little bit of a rebound or some sort and that’s what we’re working on right now."