|The Cook County GOP is looking for a few good Republicans to run in 2020 — and the push to find candidates will be led by the 31-year-old chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly.
Jesus Solorio, Jr., who is also the 49th Ward Republican Committeeman, said he’s confident the Cook Cook County Republican Party’s new website and fresh social media strategy will help recruit candidates who can reverse the fortunes of the state Republican Party.
Solorio, who was appointed by Cook County GOP chair and Cook County Board Comm. Sean Morrison (R-17) to lead the party’s Candidate Recruitment Committee, said there are more Republicans in Chicago and the suburbs than one might expect in a city where six members of the Democratic Socialists of American sit on the City Council — but zero Republicans.
“When I tell people I’m a Republican, people whisper ‘I’m a Republican,’ too,” Solorio said.
The Cook County GOP will seek out voters disgusted by the at least three separate corruption investigations ongoing at City Hall, Solorio said.
“People are fed up with corruption and rising taxes,” Solorio said. “They are tired of the status quo. I’ve found a willingness to listen.”
Solorio said his message is focused on local issues, and as well as reaching young people, African Americans and Latinos.
The revamped website for the Cook County Republican Party features a picture of Trump Tower along the Chicago River, built by President Donald Trump before he entered national politics.
“We are a welcoming party,” Solorio said. “We are a big tent.”
Morrison praised Solorio as an “enthusiastic go-getter” whose age and ethnicity are an “absolute plus” to the effort to turn back what Morrison called the “blue tidal wave.”
In 2018, Democratic victories swept former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner out of statewide office and left Morrison and Comm. Pete Silvestri (R-9) as the only two Republicans on the Cook County Board of Commissioners.
Solorio was born in El Paso, Texas, where authorities said a man killed 22 people at a Wal-Mart after posting a manifesto warning of a “Hispanic invasion” and blaming Democrats for using “open borders” and “free healthcare for illegals” to attract new voters.
The manifesto echoed statements made by Trump and the modern Republican Party.
“Republican values are not racist,” Solorio said. “I’m a millennial, Hispanic Republican. If the Republican Party was racist, I would not be a member. I’m proud to be a conservative, millennial Republican in Chicago.”
Morrison, 51, said he was determined to combat the stereotype of a Republican as a 70-year-old white man — a necessary step to ending Democrats dominance in Illinois politics, he added.
“We are putting real time and effort into being inclusive,” Morrison said, adding that he believes that “typical” Latino, Arab American and African American families “identify with conservative principles.”
Morrison did not directly answer when asked by The Daily Line if that effort would be complicated by the president’s use of racist rhetoric, but instead touted the low unemployment rate of Black and Latino workers.
That echoes Trump, who said that the fact that Black unemployment stands at 6 percent, a near-record low, proves that he is not biased against African Americans in the wake of racist remarks he made about U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Baltimore). The overall unemployment rate is 3.7 percent.
Solorio said he does not plan to run for a full term as 49th Ward committeeperson on the far North Side in 2020. Instead, Solorio said he would work behind the scenes to support candidates at all levels, from local school boards to the General Assembly.
“Our message is really resonating,” Solorio said.
The Chicago City Council has been without a Republican member since former Ald. Brian G. Doherty, who represented the 41st Ward ward for 20 years, retired before the 2011 aldermanic election.
Current 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano won that Far Northwest Side seat with the help of the Chicago Republican Party, although he considers himself an Independent.