THE BLOG
03/20/2014 02:20 pm ET Updated May 20, 2014

Why the Illinois GOP Might Be Considering a Name Change to the Grand 'New' Party

Over the last couple years, Illinois' Grand Old Party has been receiving messages from its voter base letting them know that their rusty, old machine was in need of replacement parts. This week's primary results delivered a response back from the GOP to its voter base, letting them know they've been heard.

The unveiling of the Grand NEW Party's state-of-the-art machine is the answer that mainstreamers have been hoping for. The decision to ditch the antiquated '50s-style vehicle the GOP was driving and replace it with a sleek and aerodynamic model, one equipped with comfortable seats and room for more voters, has seen a formerly apathetic voting block lining up for a ride.

The prototype was taken for a test drive last fall in Illinois, when three out of 47 Illinois Republicans crossed party lines to vote in favor of same-sex marriage. While the measure passed, the true test of the new vehicle's roadworthiness wouldn't be seen until the results of this week's Illinois primaries.

The Grand New Party's machine received a thumb's up by voters when they retained the three Republican Reps who bravely crossed party lines to reflect the desires of their constituency. Two incumbents, Cross and Sullivan, won by clear margins, while one, Sandack, edged out a challenger backed by the OLD guard in what was a stronghold of conservative clunkers, Illinois' DuPage County.

The excitement about the Party's decision to modernize its vehicle isn't limited to Illinois' local districts. The Grand NEW Party showed their engine has spunk, evidenced by voter support for Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate who edged out his competition to win first pole position in this fall's Gubernatorial race.

To be sure, the Illinois Democratic opposition will try hard this fall to shine a light on the GOP's OLD model (the one being seen on the back of a tow truck on its way to the junkyard) in an effort to point out the fuddy-duddies who are out of touch with mainstream voters. In the past, that's been a winning strategy. But the opposition may want to take note that that strategy backfired in this week's primaries, where Republicans went head-to-head on social issues, with the NEW guard enjoying a victory lap.

If you take a look under the hood of the Grand NEW Party, you'll see three Reps -- Cross, Sandack and Sullivan -- who revved up their engines during last fall's vote on same-sex marriage. These guys will surely encourage other Republicans to join them in abandoning the slow lane of the OLD guard.

Leading the fleet of the fast, new pack of Republican drivers? Bruce Rauner, a former private equity investor. Incumbent Governor Quinn's camp will have a hard time making a comparison to Romney's driving style in the last presidential race, as Rauner has already averted the obstacle of one social issue by coming out in favor of same-sex marriage for Illinois. That lane change will be seen as a smart move that will open up the race to allow him to speed toward the fiscal issues that plague Illinois.

To be determined: Which party will cruise to victory under the checkered flag. But it's a race worth tuning in for because the Grand NEW Party will actually find itself burning rubber on every stretch of track in the race this fall.

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