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State GOP chief bowing out, backs county commissioner successor

After just a year at the helm, state Republican Party Chairman Jack Dorgan is ready to turn the controls over to someone else.

The Rosemont village trustee announced Monday he will not seek re-election as party chairman when his term ends Saturday because he is taking a position as co-chairman of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner’s finance committee.

“It has been my great honor to lead the Illinois Republican Party as chairman over the last year, helping position our candidates across Illinois for an incredible victory this November,” Dorgan said in a statement released by the state party.

“Our Party is exactly where I had hoped it would be: firing on all cylinders and ready to deliver a new direction to the people of Illinois.”

Dorgan is backing Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider as his successor.

“He understands exactly what it will take to spread the Republican Party’s message of more jobs, better schools, and value for tax dollars,” Dorgan said. “Bruce and I look forward to working closely with Tim in the months ahead. We trust he’ll do a great job.”

Rauner is also backing Schneider, of northwest suburban Bartlett, according to the state GOP.

“As we work to shake up Springfield and bring back Illinois, I can think of no one better to be our next chairman than Tim Schneider — a small business owner, fiscal conservative and proven reformer,” Rauner said in a statement released through the state GOP. “Tim has served at the forefront of the fight against cronyism, corruption and fiscal irresponsibility in Cook County – and I know he will be an unmatched spokesman across the state for our pro-growth, pro-reform vision for Illinois.”

Schneider will be running against Blair Garber. Garber is state Republican committeeman from the North Side and north suburban 9th Congressional District. He is also a member of the Cook County Republican Party, serving as Evanston Township committeeman.

The state central committee is scheduled to vote on the chairman post at a meeting in Springfield on Saturday.

Dorgan, a lobbyist and Rosemont village trustee, was elected last June to replace Pat Brady, who ruffled Republican feathers with his vocal support for same-sex marriage.

Dorgan , is a partner in the Springfield firm Dorgan-McPike & Associates. He worked in the administrations of former Republican governors James Thompson and Jim Edgar.

His own rise to party chairman was not without controversy.

Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, who also was a candidate for the top Republican Party post, blasted Dorgan as “the quintessential party insider.”

On Monday, Rauner lauded Dorgan as “an extraordinary chairman.”

“I’m honored he’ll be a part of the team. I applaud Jack’s service to the Illinois Republican Party over the last year and look forward to working with him to defeat Pat Quinn in November.”