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Article updated: 4/12/2013 4:40 PM

Oberweis still pushing for Brady's removal

By Kerry Lester

A suburban state senator isn't backing down from efforts to oust the beleaguered Illinois GOP chair, who supports gay marriage, at Saturday's state central committee meeting in Tinley Park.

Dairy magnate Jim Oberweis, of Sugar Grove, told the Daily Herald Friday that he believes the state central committee will soon begin interviewing potential candidates to replace GOP Chair Pat Brady of St. Charles, though he did not indicate whether there were enough votes to force the chairman's ouster in the coming weeks.

A vote for removal is not on Saturday's meeting agenda, and, according to the party's bylaws, committeemen must be notified of such a move in writing at least five days in advance.

"All of us are hoping Pat will do the right thing and step down," Oberweis said.

But Brady has no intention of doing so, he told the Daily Herald Friday.

"No. I will not be resigning," he said.

berweis, and a handful of members of the more conservative wing of the 18-member state central committee, began making highly publicized calls for Brady's removal after Brady, in calls to lawmakers and written statements earlier this year, voiced his full support for same-sex marriage.

Support for same-sex marriage -- which passed the state Senate in February and is expected to be voted on in the House in the coming weeks -- runs contrary to the party's platform, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman. While a number of Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, recently have announced support of legalizing same-sex marriage, Oberweis says Brady, as party chair, should be held to a higher standard.

Oberweis reacted strongly on Friday against speculation that an agreement crafted by Brady supporters could be reached and that Brady might exit gracefully and be replaced by state Sen. Matt Murphy, of Palatine.

"It's going to be determined by the state central committee and not by anybody who thinks suddenly they've got a great idea," Oberweis said.

Two previous attempts at ousting Brady have failed in recent months. A March 9 special meeting fell apart only hours before it was set to begin, when lobbying by Kirk and Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross eroded the three-fifths weighted majority vote needed for Brady's removal. While committeemen could move Saturday to amend the party bylaws to lower the required votes for an ouster, that move is generally viewed as a last-ditch measure, and one that would require another special meeting.

Committeemen's votes are weighted by the number of votes cast in their congressional district in the previous primary, essentially giving the most politically active districts the most power.

Murphy did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Brady's term ends in 2014.

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