Now that the window for candidates to file their petitions has closed, it has become crystal clear that the Illinois Republican Party has moved even further out of the mainstream and towards the far-right fringe. QAnon followers, Big Lie believers, Trump acolytes, COVID deniers, hate crime convicts, and other radical extremists are leading the ILGOP’s roster of candidates into 2022.
Take a look at some of the most extreme candidates:
- The “We Are the People” Slate | This far-right group of Trump-loving Illinois Republicans believe the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, going so far as to promise to “decertify the 2020 Election on day one of [their] term.” The group also promotes the QAnon conspiracy theory in their materials.
- Bobby Piton, U.S. Senate | Piton is a key figure in the Big Lie conspiracy theory and was an “expert witness” during one of the sham election fraud hearings held by Rudy Giuliani in the wake of the 2020 election. Piton claims he reviewed Arizona voter data and concluded that “between 120,000 and 306,000 ballots were cast by ‘fake people’.” Piton has also promoted the QAnon phrase “Where We Go One We Go All” in his Twitter bio.
- Tom DeVore, Attorney General | DeVore is at the center of the legal battle over basic COVID mitigations, filing dozens of lawsuits against local governments and school districts in the past two years including suits against Gov. JB Pritzker and Speaker of the House Chris Welch. Devore also put out a bounty for photos of the governor and his family.
- Suburban Republican Congressional Candidates | Of more than twenty suburban Republican candidates asked, only one disagreed with the RNC’s description of the January 6 insurrection as “legitimate political discourse.” Several flat-out agreed with the absurd description, including Catalina Lauf (IL-11), Rob Cruz (IL-06), Chad Koppie (IL-08) and Michael Koolidge (IL-14).
- Jack Lombardi, U.S. Congress (14th District) | Lombardi recently called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a “corrupt thug” on Twitter.
- Kevin Ake, Cook County Commissioner | Mr. Ake, also a local Republican official, was convincted of a hate crime for harassing a lesbian YMCA director. He believes homosexuality is an “abomination.”
- Mary Miller, U.S. Congress (15th District) | She said “Hitler was right…” and recently refused to join the overwhelming bipartisan condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Illinois Republican Party can denounce any or all of these candidates, but to date has chosen to remain silent. Unfortunately, these formerly fringe candidates and their extremist ideas are now squarely in the mainstream of the Illinois GOP.