CITY HALL — The Republican Party wants you — to run for office. In Chicago.
No. Seriously. They kid you not.
Acknowledging it is an uphill struggle, the Chicago Republican Party announced a campaign Tuesday to recruit candidates to run for statewide office next year. The GOP intends to field candidates in each of the 37 General Assembly races substantially within the city limits — 36 of which are held by Democrats.
"We're gonna change that," said Chicago GOP Chairman Adam Robinson at a City Hall news conference.
"This is the Republican Party showing up in this city," said state Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine).
"One-party rule is clearly not working," said state Rep. Tom Cross (R-Plainfield).
Chicago GOP Vice Chairman Chris Cleveland said the party would seek out "serious, credible candidates" through what the campaign release called "an American Idol-style vetting process."
"We can't offer an alternative unless we have a real alternative," Cleveland said.
"We're reaching out to the city of Chicago, and we're asking them to reach back," Murphy said.
Asked how the party would repair its poor reputation with poor and minority voters, Cross said, "You have to understand, as a party, in order to be successful you have to broaden your tent."
The Republicans emphasized that, by building the party's presence even slightly citywide, they improve the chances a Republican could prevail statewide in next year's race for governor or attorney general.
Robinson admitted they have only $100,000 devoted to the initiative now, on the way to a projected $250,000, but quickly added they would not be bankrolling campaigns, only "helping candidates get on the ballot and — in this city — stay on the ballot," a reference to the city's sometimes insular petition restrictions.
The campaign includes a 30-second online video that depicts Chicago's woes, from street violence to school strikes and closings, and asks, "What's it going to be in 20 years? A shining city on the hill, or another Detroit?"