GOP members gather at Illinois State Fair

U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise was the keynote speaker. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)


By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – A day after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came to Springfield, it was the Republicans’ day in the sun Thursday.

After the state’s GOP chair, Tim Schneider, used the word “shellacked” to describe the party’s fortunes in 2018, he and other Republicans expressed optimism for 2020 and beyond. Atop the stage was a depiction of Pelosi, Gov. JB Pritzker, and Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) as cogs, alongside the words “Fight the Machine.”

Those were not the only Democrats the speakers ran down. U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) described progressive freshman U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as, referring to her initials, “Absolutely Out of Control,” adding she and other progressives “make Hillary Rodham Clinton seem normal.”

The day, though, belonged to the man wounded on a baseball diamond at the hands of a shooter from Illinois. U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the minority whip, talked of turning to prayer after being shot two years ago.

“The first thing that came to my head,” Scalise said, “was, God, please don’t let Madison walk down the aisle alone.”

Madison was his ten-year-old daughter. She’s twelve now and still has a dad, thanks to Capitol Police on duty. Scalise and another ballplayer at that practice, U. S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville), both lauded the two officers’ heroism.

Dave Dahl can be reached at


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