Facing new map, some DuPage GOP infighting ahead of primary

The county's Republican Party chair also doubts lawsuit targeting legislative remap has a chance.

September 26, 2011

(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)

Some tough Republican primaries are shaping up in a few Illinois state Senate districts in DuPage County, the result of new political boundaries drawn by Democrats.

State Rep. Randy Ramey, chair of the DuPage County GOP, said that for the past few months, he's tried to figure out ways to avoid difficult primaries for sitting lawmakers. That's a tall order given that the new map lumps incumbents into the same districts.

"We've had various meetings throughout the county, talking with fellow legislators," Ramey said. "We thought we had a good plan in place, but then again, it's always up to the individual to decide if they're going to do it or not."

Ramey's plan had him taking over the state Senate seat now held by fellow Republican Carole Pankau. Ramey said he wanted her to retire, with her pension and a potential appointment to a government board. But Pankau has so far declined.

"There were many things discussed, but discussions are not necessarily reality," Pankau said. "So I am dealing with what is here and now, and I am running again."

There's another contested GOP primary in a neighboring state Senate district. Sen. Kirk Dillard is facing a challenge from Rep. Chris Nybo.

Republican leaders have challenged the new legislative map in a federal lawsuit, alleging it discriminates against minorities. They also said it discriminates against Republicans by putting the party's incumbents together.

Ramey said he does not expect the courts to make things easier for DuPage Republicans, because he doubts the suit will succeed.

"The legislative lawsuit, and you have to look at the past history, has never moved forward," Ramey said.

Ramey adds that if that suit - now in federal court - is bumped to state court, it would face a system dominated by Democrats.

"If it goes through the Democratic courts and gets to the Democratic Supreme Court in Illinois, I don't see how they change it," he said.