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State Rep. Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, talks with media after being elected Illinois House Minority Leader.

With Republicans continuing in the super minority at the Illinois statehouse, changes are being made to the party’s leadership.


After last week’s election, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, announced he’d not seek leadership. House Republicans selected Savanna state Rep. Tony McCombie this week to lead the Republican caucus for the next two years. She addressed how Republicans will remain relevant with a caucus that will be shrinking in the new General Assembly that begins Jan. 11. 


“I’m gonna do what I do now,” McCombie said during a media availability Wednesday. “I have friends on both sides of the aisle. I worked to develop relationships and friendships and you all may not know me but I’m very honest and transparent and I’ll continue that kind of conversation with the folks across the aisle.”


Downers Grove Republican state Sen. John Curran was selected to lead Republicans in that chamber where the GOP gained a seat but remains in the minority. He will replace Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods.


Curran said he’ll work to bring balance as minority leader with Democrats in the supermajority.


“We have to work within this process to advocate for lower taxes, relief for families in Illinois and with that consistent message and at the same time being a participant in the process we will bring a better product, a better result,” Curran told The Center Square in an interview.


Democrats, who gained seats in the House but lost one in the Senate, will maintain leadership in House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, and Senate President Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.


Mega donors dominated the election cycle with Gov. J.B. Pritzker giving himself and Democrats more than $140 million. Republicans were buoyed by tens of millions from conservative billionaires in the primary and general election. McCombie said the party has to find a better way.


“The thing that we can not do as a Republican party is rely on one or two or three mega donors,” McCombie said.

Curran agreed.


“It’s incredibly important that we attract more smaller donors, we diversity our fundraising operations,” Curran said. “We are getting outspent in races by multipliers of four and five to one. That is not sustainable. It's not good for the state of Illinois and it’s not good for public policy that gets effectuated here at the capitol.”