DuPage County Republican Party Chairman Dan Cronin of Elmhurst resigned his post as the party's leader Monday night. The party's executive committee voted in state Rep. Randy Ramey (R-55, Carol Stream) to fill the seat; Ramey's term will expire in 2012.
Cronin stepped down due to the demands of his position as DuPage County Board chairman and head of the Elgin-O'Hare West Bypass Committee.
"The County Board now faces significant challenges, including revenue constraints, rising demand for public services and the need to consolidate and streamline local government," he said in a written statement. "Furthermore, I've been asked by Gov. Quinn to help lead the effort on the Elgin O'Hare Western Bypass project, which will yield tremendous benefit to our county and region as a whole. In order to sharply focus on these two priorities, I believe it's time to step aside as GOP chairman and allow for new leadership of our party at this critical time."
Cronin was appointed to the position four years ago to replace state Sen. Kirk Dillard. He served three years as chairman and was unanimously re-elected at the March 2010 county convention.
On the night of his re-election Cronin challenged DuPage Republican committeemen to promote “enlightened Republican leadership”, a popular Cronin phrase. He told the party faithful they must take back seats and offices in Illinois in order to restore confidence, trust and effectiveness to the state.
While the DuPage Republican Party held strong at the ballot box during Cronin’s tenure as chairman, county operations, funded by donations and other fund-raising efforts, took a hit when the economy sagged. The party, which maintains a headquarters in Wheaton, was staffed by a full-time executive director and two part-time support staffers. But at the end of 2010 those employees were laid off. Since then the party has hired a new part-time staffer.
Before winning his current office of DuPage County chairman in the 2010 election, Cronin served 19 years in the Illinois legislature, mostly in the state Senate. He resigned his Senate seat to assume his new office. Ron Sandack, the mayor of Downers Grove, was appointed to finish the remainder of Cronin’s term in Springfield. As chairman of the county party, Cronin played a big role in selecting Sandack as his replacement.
Sandack, R-21, said Cronin did a “fine job” as party chairman. He praised Ramey’s abilities and said he will serve the party well as they begin to look at the 2012 election.
“Randy’s work ethic and resolve will expand the party, drive its message and recruit excellent Republican candidates for office,” Sandack said.
For over a year, Ramey said he's been putting his name out as a possible candidate for party chairman. When the time came for Cronin to step aside, Ramey was in position for the appointment.
Ramey is the step-son of former DuPage GOP Chairman and former Illinois Sen. President Pate Phillips. He said his step-father gave him some advice on being party chairman, including never promise what you cannot deliver and keep your word when you give it.
Ramey said raising the profile of the county organization and increasing fund-raising will be a key goal going into the 2012 election. He said fund-raising fell off over the past few years due to the economic downturn, but he's hoping to increase efforts to raise funds for the elections. Ramey said he will also focus on recruiting strong Republican candidates to field.
"We need to get more people involved. Not just people who want to run, but also people who want to serve as precinct committeemen and people who want to volunteer for the party," Ramey said.
He said he plans on seeking re-election as party chairman next year. Additionally he is planning his own run, possibly for the state Senate.
The upcoming election is his main focus, he said.
“The upcoming 2012 primary and general elections are extremely important as Illinois and America face serious economic challenges," he said. "It is imperative that the Republican message of smaller government, lower taxes and job growth is delivered to DuPage County voters. I am ready and excited to get started."