With some Illinois Donald Trump supporters at odds with the state’s Republican party, Illinois GOP Chairman Tim Schneider asked Trump supporters to get involved in races beside the presidential campaign when they return from Cleveland.
Schneider said the state GOP organization has more tools to help elect Trump - and other Republican candidates - than political newcomers, who haven’t been involved in the party, can do alone.
One way in particular Schneider said the state party can help candidates, is through personal data collection on voters.
“We know more about you, I hate to say it, than you think,” Schneider said Thursday morning at the final breakfast meeting of the Illinois Republican delegation. “I mean, we know so much about you because of the data that we’re getting. I can tell you that we get the information from your credit cards and where you buy - what cable TV stations that you watch.”
Schneider said all that information helps the Republican Party advertise to swing voters, instead of just the voters who are likely to mark ballots for the GOP regardless of advertisements. He said if Trump supporters want to help their candidate in a bigger way, they should get more involved in the established Republican Party because it already has a way to target specific voters for campaign literature. This comes as earlier in the week, Schneider introduced himself - and the state Republican Party - as the friend - not the enemy - of Trump supporters wary of party leaders who oppose Trump for president.
“You all need the Illinois Republican Party,” Schneider said to the political newcomers who make up a lot of the Illinois Republican delegation at national convention. “We need you and you need us. You need us because we are the framework. We’re the grassroots. We’re the get-out-the-vote program. We’re the phone banks. We’re the data.”
Schneider credited Bruce Rauner’s 2014 campaign for governor, in which Rauner contributed millions of dollars from his own bank account, for helping build the state GOP’s database on voters.
Schneider says Republicans are targeting 22 state legislative districts currently held by Democrats around Illinois that he thinks can flip to Republican this November. Schneider says this election could help take away the Democratic supermajorities in the state House and Senate - if more political newcomers like the Trump delegates get involved.
Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him @tonyjarnold.