Citing diminished party support and his wife’s health, Pat Brady announced Tuesday that he was resigning immediately as the chairman of the Illinois Republican Party.
Carol Smith Donovan, the vice chairman, will serve as interim chairman until the Illinois Republican State Central Committee selects a permanent replacement, according to a news release sent by the state Republican Party. Brady’s term was to end in March.
Brady, who has held the seat for almost four years, said Tuesday that he has other professional and political goals he wishes to accomplish, such as supporting congressional candidates and doing some public affairs work. He said he also wants to focus on his wife’s health, as she has been fighting cancer for the past two years.
Last month, the Illinois Republican State Central Committeemen had approved a succession strategy to replace Brady, who is from St. Charles. The effort to oust Brady was led, in part, by new state Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove. A key issue was Brady’s support of same-sex marriage, which Oberweis had said was contrary to the party line.
Brady acknowledged that his Republican support had diminished in recent months.
“I’ve lost some very vocal people, and it’s better for me to step down,” he said.
Brady had served as chairman since August 2009, succeeding Andy McKenna. Brady did not mention the recent controversy in his letter of resignation. He touted the Illinois Republicans’ success in the 2010 election, including the election of U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to President Barack Obama’s former seat, as well as the election of GOP members to Congress and the Illinois House and Senate.
Brady said the Republican Party also won a lot of elections in 2010 in races throughout the state, and raised record amounts of money.
Oberweis said Tuesday that he thinks Brady’s resignation is the right thing to do not only for Brady and his family but also for the Republican Party.
“I think it’s good for the Republican Party,” he said. “The Republican Party has been somewhat divided, and I think we need a leader who will bring us back together.”
Oberweis estimated that it would take no more than two months to select a new party chairman. While he wouldn’t name anyone in particular, he said the committeemen have several well-qualified candidates in mind. Oberweis said he would not seek the post.
Oberweis added that he believes Brady did a lot of good things for the party, but said he thinks Brady let his “personal feelings carry him away, pulling him in the opposite direction” of the party.
When asked if his resignation was a difficult decision, Brady said “absolutely not.”
“I’m always looking forward,” he said.