Two Will County Republican candidates call for new leadership of state party

Two recent GOP candidates from Will County who ran for the state legislature recently called for the resignation of the chair of the Illinois Republican Party.

Tom McCullagh of Shorewood and Ron Doweidt of Bolingbrook both posted on social media that they felt Tim Schneider, who chairs the state party, should step down from his role.

Schneider has led the Illinois Republican Party since 2014.

McCullagh recently lost bid to represent the 49th Illinois Senate District. Doweidt lost his race in the Illinois 85th House District.

Both McCullagh and Doweidt said they did not receive much financial support from the state party in their campaigns.

Doweidt said he emailed Schneider about his concerns shortly after the election.

"I was a candidate for the House in this last election and was concerned by the lack of support from the state," he wrote in the email. "I didn’t get a welcome for stepping up, any financing."

Doweidt shared the response from Schneider in which the chairman touted the party's success in defeating a progressive income tax amendment and the retention of Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, though he acknowledged the party's struggles.

"Was it perfect? No. I wish there were even more highlights," Schneider wrote.

He also explained that helping finance candidates' campaigns was not the role of the state party.

"If you want to run, you need to raise money, and if you run for the house, the house Republican organization decides who gets money from what they raise," Schneider wrote. "We do not."

The chairman's response was not satisfactory to Doweidt.

"I just think it's time to go," he said.

Doweidt added that if the Illinois GOP continues to remain out of power at the state level, he feared "there won't be a Republican party in the state."

McCullagh had similar criticisms of a lack of support. He also said the state party's inability to raise money in general was "terrible."

"His leadership or lack of leadership has been resounding," McCullagh said.

McCullagh also argued Schneider didn't do enough to highlight or support Republican candidates of color.

Schneider did not respond to multiple requests for comments on the calls for his resignation.

Alex Ortiz

Alex Ortiz is a reporter for The Herald-News in Joliet. Originally from Romeoville, Ill., he joined The Herald-News in 2017 and mostly covers Will County government, politics, education and more. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master's degree from Northwestern University.