Former Gaming Board chair picked to lead Illinois GOP

Don Tracy, a Springfield attorney who was appointed to lead the Illinois Gaming Board by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, won the backing of members of the state GOP’s central committee.

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Then-Illinois Gaming Board chairman Don Tracy speaks at a meeting in 2019.

Then-Illinois Gaming Board chairman Don Tracy, center, speaks at a meeting in 2019.

Mitchell Armentrout/Sun-Times file

Members of the Illinois Republican Party on Saturday picked a former gaming board chief to be the next head of the state party.

Don Tracy, a Springfield attorney who was appointed to lead the Illinois Gaming Board by former Gov. Bruce Rauner, won the backing of members of the state GOP’s central committee.

In a statement after being appointed, Tracy promised “to lead with honesty, integrity, and the vigor we need to turn Illinois around.”

“I ran for this position because I love Illinois — it’s my home — and I believe the ILGOP can be a tremendous catalyst for change in this state,” Tracy said in a statement. “The upcoming election cycle can be monumental if we seize on the tremendous opportunities before us.”

Tracy faced allegations in a 2019 executive inspector general report of making or directing several political contributions to Rauner in violation of state gambling laws. He labeled the report a “political hit job” and a “bunch of baloney.” 

The attorney beat out two other candidates vying to lead the party — Lake County Republican Chair Mark Shaw, who currently serves as state party co-chair and president of the Republican County Chairmen’s Association, and Kendall County Board Chair Scott Gryder.

Former chair Tim Schneider announced in December he’d be stepping down from the position, which he called the “honor of a lifetime.” 

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