Illinois Republican Party members on Saturday abruptly canceled a special meeting to fire their chairman after he expressed support for gay marriage.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, opponents of state GOP Chairman Pat Brady lacked the necessary votes to push him out.
State central committee members said in a statement the meeting was canceled because Brady himself would not be present — something that had been known for weeks.
“We are sorry for the late notice but we wanted to give the chairman every opportunity to respond to our request that he be present in person or by telephone at this meeting,” the statement said.
Brady came under fire from party bosses after he expressed his support for same-sex marriage and then personally lobbied Republican representatives to support a marriage bill pending in the state legislature.
“This all sparked and the demand for Brady’s resignation came right after his public statements that the Illinois Republicans should support the gay marriage bill,” state Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs), a supporter and personal friend of Brady, told TheBlaze this week.
State Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) had been the driving force for Brady’s ouster. He denied the push was specifically about gay marriage, and more about Brady specifically deviating from the national Republican Party platform.
“You cannot have the chair of an organization publicly going out and lobbying in opposition to the organization’s stated goals,” Oberweis told WBEZ.
Brady’s supporters pointed to his strong tenure as chairman, saying he’s brought in more than $9 million since starting in 2009 and played a major role in Republican Mark Kirk getting elected to Barack Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat.
They also said terminating him for deviating on one issue sent the wrong message about having a more inclusive GOP.
“We are a party that says you value different opinions…we have to just understand not everybody is going to agree with us, especially as we’re a party that’s struggling to grow, at least in Illinois,” Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross told TheBlaze.