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Illinois Republican Party Picks New Chairman

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New Party Chairman Andy McKenna (photo from McKenna's Senate campaign website)

By AP/KWMU

Springfield, Ill. – Leaders of the Illinois Republican Party on Saturday picked businessman Andy McKenna to be the party's new chairman.

McKenna says the GOP needs to move past the scandals that have dampened the party's power in recent years. He says he wants to build on Republicans' successes in Illinois - not dwell on its failures.

The party was hit hard by a corruption scandal in former Governor George Ryan's administration. A disastrous election in 2002 left Republicans holding just one statewide office.

McKenna promised on Saturday to raise money and energize county officials in rebuilding the party.

The top Republican in the Illinois House, Tom Cross, says McKenna can unite Republicans behind core issues such as fiscal responsibility and medical malpractice reform.

Illinois State Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka has been serving as the party's state chair.

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