In the end, it wasn’t a race at all. State Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) was named Illinois House Minority Leader Thursday afternoon by acclamation.
State Rep. Raymond Poe (R-Springfield) was the other person hoping for the spot. When he saw that he simply did not have the 24 votes necessary, he moved that all ballots be cast for Durkin.
The group was all about unity. “I think the whole message of the day was (that) we’re coming out of that room 47 strong,” said Poe. “Jim’s our new leader, and we’re going to elect more (Republican) representatives, and we’re going to elect a Republican governor.”
“It was a unanimous vote. It was a unanimous vote,” Durkin said, crediting Poe’s motion. “There is no divisiveness … we are a unified group, and we’re going to use that energy to move forward to win races and get out of the super-minority.”
Right now, the Democrats hold a 71-47 advantage in the House.
The transition to Durkin from House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) will come in the next two to three weeks. Cross says he plans to remain a state representative while he considers running for another office, possibly state treasurer.