Former Illinois GOP chairman part of group trying to stop Trump
Former Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady of St. Charles is part of a small national group trying to lobby party officials in a last-ditch attempt to keep Donald Trump from securing the nomination for president next month.
Brady, a vocal Trump opponent, says he's assigned to lobby Republican leaders from a handful of Midwestern states who will set convention rules. The effort is aimed at changing party rules to let GOP convention delegates vote for a candidate of their choice, no matter who won their state's primary.
Trump won the Illinois primary and has won the pledges of enough delegates nationwide to secure the nomination in Cleveland next month. He has called the effort "illegal."
The national group of Republicans to which Brady belongs hopes recent controversies surrounding the presumptive nominee might convince some delegates to vote against him if the rules allow them to. Brady, an elected delegate for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said the group doesn't have a replacement candidate in mind.
"If we can get some momentum with this, I think you'll see that come together, too," Brady said. "But it's one step at a time. It's an uphill climb, undoubtedly."
Anthony Anderson of Joliet, a Trump delegate elected from the 11th Congressional District, said the effort to upend Trump's primary victory is exactly why some Republicans who are upset with the party's leaders chose Trump.
"Republicans find ourselves in a position where we have no one to trust but a candidate like a Donald Trump," he said. "Because if it's not Donald Trump today, it'll be another candidate tomorrow."
Brady says he's unsure whether any other members of Illinois' Republican delegation are involved in the attempt to keep Trump off the ticket. The group is full of activists, not elected officials, he said.
As news of the group bubbled up in recent days, Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer posted on Twitter: "Donald Trump bested 16 highly qualified candidates and received more primary votes than any candidate in Republican Party history. All of the discussion about the RNC Rules Committee acting to undermine the presumptive nominee is silly. There is no organized effort, strategy or leader of this so-called movement. It is nothing more than a media creation and a series of tweets."
In Illinois, Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park in recent weeks disavowed Trump and Gov. Bruce Rauner said he won't endorse the nominee and won't attend the convention.