With the Illinois Republican Primary on February 2 rapidly approaching, a standing room only crowd of almost 600 tea partiers jam packed the Woodbine Golf Club for a Stop Mark Kirk Express rally. The rally, hosted by the Joliet Tax Day Tea Party and Homer/Lockport Tea Party, served as a meet and greet for Kirk's primary opponent – conservative candidate for U.S. Senate Patrick Hughes.
Joliet Tea Party organizer Tim Kraulidis explained to the crowd, "In this election, it's pretty clear who's who and what's what, folks...75% of Republicans say they're conservative. How is this guy (Kirk) polling ahead of real conservatives in this race?” Kraulidis said Hughes is the "one person able to carry our banner, to carry our cause and take the fight to the selected one. He's a true Reagan conservative, he's a true traditional candidate."
The February 2 Illinois primary date is the earliest in the nation. It was moved up by Illinois Democrats to give then Senator Barack Obama an advantage on Super Tuesday in his primary fight against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. In addition to battling the Chicago style politics of Illinois Democrats, Patrick Hughes is a threat to the establishment of the Republican party. Hughes has been endorsed by tea party groups across the state, several pro-life groups and the Gun Owners of America. The Chairman of the IL GOP, Pat Brady, recently called opposition to Mark Kirk a “fringe movement.”
“I will bring Reagan conservative values to the U.S. Senate, to Barack Obama's U.S. Senate seat.” Patrick Hughes