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Article updated: 2/6/2013 4:58 AM

Oberweis reserves conference room, in vain, to oust Brady

By Kerry Lester

Despite reserving a hotel conference room on his own dime, a Saturday meeting to oust Illinois GOP party chair Pat Brady for statements supporting gay marriage won't be happening as a suburban state senator has hoped. At least not yet.

And, now that he is spending a bulk of his time down in session in Springfield, dairy magnate Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove is hoping some others, including Congressman Randy Hultgren's former chief of staff will step forward to organize a meeting "as soon as possible."

In an admonishing Feb. 3 email to fellow state central committeemen obtained by the Daily Herald, Oberweis noted that "I was hoping someone would take a leadership role when the need became apparent but no one stepped up to the plate." Instead, Oberweis himself attempted to organize a meeting, reserving a conference room at an Aurora Hampton Inn at his own expense, for what he described as "less than a couple hundred" dollars.

But, without the required five signatures of committeemen, hopes for a meeting were dashed.

"It's now too late to call a meeting for Feb. 9. I'm hoping someone else will pick up the gauntlet," Oberweis said Tuesday.

Oberweis suggested that Jerry Clarke, former Chief of Staff for Rep. Randy Hultgren, of Winfield, "or someone will organize such a meeting as soon as possible."

Clarke has not returned calls seeking comment.

Brady, of St. Charles, through a statement and calls to lawmakers earlier in early January voiced his full support of same-sex marriage legislation being considered by the General Assembly. Brady said he did so as a private citizen, and not in his capacity as party chairman, and has made no move to tone down his statements. Several top Republican officials, including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and House Republican Leader Tom Cross are backing Brady, but Oberweis said Brady should be removed to get past this issue.

"All of my time is now being spent responding to emails on social issues," he said. "I don't think those are the most pressing issues we should be dealing with."

In Illinois, a party chair can be ousted with a three-fifths majority weighted vote from state party committeemen. Committeemen's votes are weighted by how many voters in each congressional district cast ballots in the previous primary, giving the most politically active districts the most power.

A number of the state's 18 committeemen have been flip-flopping on their feelings about Brady's removal. .

The next regular election for state party chairman will take place in spring 2014.

The next regular state central committee meeting is in April.

Oberweis has suggested other possible dates, including Feb. 16 and 23. "This cannot drag on until our April meeting," he wrote.

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