Lincoln unites Illinois GOP and their neighbors at national convention

August 29, 2012

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Illinois Republicans have been the main focus at their hotel at the party’s national convention, but they’re not the only Republicans staying there.

Illinois and Oregon have at least one thing in common: both states swing Democratic. So both Illinois and Oregon Republicans get what it’s like to be the underdog. And they’ve had plenty of time to share war stories, since they’re staying in the same hotel in Florida.

So far, Illinois’ much larger delegation has been the focus. But this morning, Oregon’s only Republican congressman Greg Walden pointed out a historical tie between the two.

"We share something pretty important," he told the crowd of both Illinois and Oregon delegates over breakfast. "Goes back in the history of the Republican Party and that’s Abraham Lincoln."

Walden said before Lincoln was president, he had the chance to run for governor of the Oregon Territory.

"And he turned it down because he, among other things, thought there wouldn’t be much future for him out in the wilderness," he said.

Instead Lincoln stayed and Illinois became the Land of Lincoln. No word yet if the Lincoln connection will bring the Illinois and Oregon delegates closer together.

Just before Walden began his speech, most of the media at the event who were from Illinois, left to follow U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock.

Walden took it in stride.

"As you can tell all the cameras are leaving because I have a face for radio. That's what they've always told me," he said, to much laughter in the audience. "They generally leave when I get up."

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