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Illinois Republican Party chair Don Tracy announces resignation, blames GOP infighting

Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy announces resignation
Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy announces resignation 00:25

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Just weeks before the Republican National Convention, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy announced Wednesday he is stepping down after more than three years on the job.

In his resignation letter, Tracy blamed GOP infighting and power struggles.

"I have had to spend far too much time dealing with intra party power struggles, and local intra party animosities that continued after primaries and County Chair elections," he wrote. "In better days, Illinois Republicans came together after tough intra party elections. Now however, we have Republicans who would rather fight other Republicans than engage in the harder work of defeating incumbent Democrats by convincing swing voters to vote Republican."

A Springfield attorney, Tracy is also co-owner of his family's food distribution business. A native of Mt. Sterling, about 75 miles west of the state capitol in Springfield, Tracy was the first Illinois GOP chair elected from downstate since 1988.

Tracy promised to continue to vote for and support Republican candidates, and denied his decision stemmed from a recent Chicago Tribune article quoting anonymous sources on efforts to replace him.

The Illinois Republican Party has struggled to remain relevant in statewide politics in Illinois in recent years. While Republicans hold most elected offices in rural downstate Illinois, Democrats have held a supermajority in both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate for a decade, and Democrats currently hold a record 78 of the 118 seats in the Illinois House. Democrats have controlled all three branches of state government for all but four years since 2003.

Tracy said he will step down when the Illinois GOP elects a successor, "preferably no later than July 19," the day after the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee comes to a close.

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