SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Former state senator Paul Schimpf (R-Waterloo) and 2022 GOP gubernatorial hopeful said he had no regrets voting for former President Donald Trump in 2020, but acknowledged that Trump “had his day in court” and “did not win.”
Schimpf responded to a statement from Mary Morrissey, the executive director of the Illinois Democratic Party, who tied him to other Republicans who lost to Democrats in recent statewide elections.
“Schimpf was a consistent vote for Bruce Rauner’s catastrophic agenda, even going along with his attempts to continue the historic budget crisis that resulted in Illinois going 736 days without a budget,” Morrissey said in a statement. “He supported Donald Trump’s re-election, even after the former President failed at his central task of keeping Americans safe by lying about the dangers of the coronavirus and instead promoting conspiracy theories.”
“I did vote for President Trump both in 2016 and 2020,” Schimpf said. “I do not regret that vote at all. But I think what we need to be doing is instead of, you know, fighting with fellow Republicans, we need to be laying out a positive agenda for why people should support the Illinois Republican Party, and how we can change Illinois, and make Illinois go back to the point where this is the strongest state in the country.”
Schimpf also broke with former Illinois Republican Governor Bruce Rauner and said he thought the U.S. Supreme Court “wrongly decided” the case of Janus vs. AFSCME when the high court ruled in favor of an Illinois state worker who objected to paying non-member union dues.
“I would say I’m a centrist on union issues,” Schimpf said. “I think that unions play a positive force for good. When I think they are they are right, I will agree with them. For instance, I am opposed to right to work. But when I think they are wrong, for instance, when the unions heavily pushed for an increase in the minimum wage for Illinois teachers, I voted against that.”
Schimpf, a 24-year veteran of the Marine Corps, called it a “dereliction of duty” that Governor Pritzker did not address Illinois’ population losses during last week’s State of the State Address, which he reviewed as a “hugely inappropriate, partisan speech.”