For the Illinois GOP to regain the prominence it once held, we must return Ed Sullivan Jr. to Springfield in 2014. Sullivan has admirably represented the 51st House District since 2003. Though I do not agree with him on every issue, Sullivan has proved to be a thoughtful conservative leader who analyzes bills carefully before voting. In fact, Sullivan was recently recognized as an "ACU Conservative" for scoring over 80 percent on his 2013 American Conservative Union Legislative Rating.
Republican voters will choose between incumbent Ed Sullivan Jr. and challenger Bob Bednar. It is well-known Sullivan would not have a challenger had he not voted to legalize same sex-marriage in Illinois. I know many Republicans disagree with this vote, but removing Sullivan from office would severely hinder any chance the party has of returning to power in Illinois.
One of the biggest challenges the GOP faces is attracting the youth vote -- President Obama won 68 percent of the votes of 18- to 29-year-olds in Illinois in 2012, and Alexi Giannoulias won 59 percent of these votes in the 2010 senatorial race. Recent polling has shown a steady increase in same-sex marriage acceptance overall, and wide acceptance among young voters.
Whether the GOP alters its position on same sex-marriage is up to leadership and, of course, each individual has the right to his or her opinion. However, if we remove a quality conservative legislator on this issue alone, we have little chance of attracting young voters and returning our party to the majority. I sincerely hope we do not make that mistake. Illinois cannot afford it.