RNC Chair says Illinois in play for Republicans in 2012

April 20, 2011

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(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)
Reince Priebus talks to reporters after addressing the Union League Club of Chicago.

The head of the Republican national party says he thinks there's a chance the GOP can win Illinois in the 2012 presidential election.

Reince Priebus spoke at the Union League Club of Chicago Wednesday. He downplayed the thought that Republicans in Chicago would be nothing more than financial donors to campaigns, since it's Democrats who control most statewide offices.

"I don't really look at it as donor city or Cook County," Priebus said. "I mean, I look at it as the State of Illinois as a whole. And we're not conceding Illinois."

Priebus also gave insight into the rhetoric Republicans are likely to use in their campaigns against Democratic President Barack Obama.

"The battle we're in is more than just financial," he said. "The battle we're in is fundamentally a battle about freedom. It's a battle about opportunity. And it's a battle about self-determination."

Priebus gave little insight into individual Republican candidates for president.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, at an unrelated news conference, said he thinks Mr. Obama will receive less votes in 2012 compared to 2008, but he wouldn't say Republicans have a shot of winning Illinois in the presidential race.