A candidate with extensive experience in high-level races and a penchant for controversy soon may add his name to the list of Republicans seeking the new 33rd District state Senate seat.
Chad Koppie spends most of his time farming these days in Gilberts. But voters probably know him better for his runs for U.S. Senate and his lively challenge to George Ryan in a 1998 Republican gubernatorial primary.
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Koppie made a name for himself as a staunch conservative who wasn't afraid to hammer opponents hard on the issues during those candidacies. His U.S. Senate campaigns received wide recognition for their graphic anti-abortion television ads.
Now Koppie is considering bringing the same kind of campaign in a fight for the Republican nomination in the 33rd District state Senate. Kane County Board Chairman Karen McConnaughay, a fellow Republican, committed herself to seeking that seat Wednesday. Koppie said he's not shaken by that.
"I may not have tremendously large name recognition, but people know who I am and what I stand for," Koppie said. "Karen has had a huge base for years, but I don't know if maybe that base is receding. Why else would she quit the county board? She's had a long time in public office, and maybe it's long enough. I'm very seriously looking at becoming a candidate for this seat. And I know some of the insider Republicans may not appreciate that."
Koppie said he is forming a committee to measure local support for his potential candidacy. In dipping his toe into the water, Koppie is pitching a major cutback on state spending. His plan calls for a 3 percent across-the-board spending cut in the state budget every year for the next 10 years.
"We've got to stop the spending," Koppie said. "And I don't see how you can just cut off one project and let the others live. You've got to cut everything at the same time. Every single program and state employee has to take a cut."
Koppie serves as a trustee on the Kane County Regional school board. He formerly served on the Rutland Township board and the Community Unit District 300 school board.