CHICAGO (AP) - Republican gubernatorial candidate state Sen. Kirk Dillard has chosen state Rep. Jil Tracy as his running mate.
Dillard announced his lieutenant governor pick late Monday on Instagram with a video message.
Tracy is a Quincy Republican who first took office in 2006 and is a member of the bipartisan pension panel tasked with trying to find a solution to Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension problem.
Dillard is set to make the announcement official Tuesday with a statewide tour, including stops in Quincy, Springfield and Rockford. Tuesday is the first day candidate petitions can be circulated
It's the first year lieutenant governor candidates will run with governor candidates on the same ticket.
Also Monday, Treasurer Dan Rutherford announced his running mate is Chicago attorney Steve Kim.
CHICAGO (AP) - There are published reports Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady is planning to step down for personal reasons.
The reports have Brady announcing his resignation on Tuesday.
Republican State Rep. Jim Durkin told the Chicago Sun-Times Brady is "leaving on terms that he's imposed on himself." Durkin says Brady, who he calls a dear friend, wants to spend more time with his family.
Social conservatives have called for Brady's removal, in part because he took a stand in favor of gay marriage earlier this year. They also cite Republicans' poor showing in the 2012 election.
Brady in March survived an attempt by GOP committeemen to vote him out. That effort failed amid concerns that getting rid of him would reflect poorly on a party that's trying to expand its appeal.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — As he wraps up a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, President Barack Obama is following up in his weekly media message, saying that deepening economic ties with the Americas means more jobs in the United States.
Boosted by reassuring jobs numbers, Obama is calling for greater trade and economic cooperation with the U.S.'s southern neighbors, arguing that economic prosperity is the best antidote to drug and gang violence and, by extension, to the illegal immigration that the U.S. is seeking to control.
For the Republicans North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says Washington needs to allow states more flexibility, independence and accountability and called on Obama to show more leadership.
He argued that Washington should learn from Republican governors on how to make government work efficiently.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he's open to many of the Medicaid changes sought by Republican lawmakers as part of a plan to expand health coverage to low-income adults.
In an unusual move, the Democratic governor met privately for about 45 minutes Wednesday with House Republicans at the Capitol.
Republicans have repeatedly defeated Nixon's plan to expand adult Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is about $32,500 for a family of four. A Republican-led House committee was to vote later Wednesday on an alternative that adds fewer adults to Medicaid while injecting more private-sector competition.
Nixon said he's open to a private insurance model for Medicaid and to new co-payment requirements for participants.
States that expand to 138 percent of poverty can receive full federal funding.
The House opened debate Tuesday on the state's 2014 budget by defeating an effort to send the budget back to a committee in hopes of adding more than $900 million of federal funds to expand Medicaid for low-income adults.
The defeat of Tuesday's motion was almost a foregone conclusion in the Republican-led House, because the House Budget Committee had previously rejected the Medicaid expansion.
Democratic Gov. Jay was traveling Tuesday to suburbs of Kansas City and St. Louis to build public support for the Medicaid expansion.
The 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama calls for a Medicaid expansion, but a Supreme Court ruling last year made it optional for states.
Among the witnesses testifying for the Republican plan Monday in a House committee were officials representing medical clinics, hospitals and business groups. Some of those same people have stood by Democrats in recent weeks as they embraced a proposed Medicaid expansion for lower-income adults.
But Missouri's Republican-led committees have repeatedly defeated the Medicaid expansion backed by Obama and Democrats.
The alternative by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes would cover fewer additional adults than Obama's version while also removing some children from the Medicaid rolls. Medicaid recipients would be covered through competitively bid managed care policies and could get cash incentives for holding down their health expenses.
One of the signers confirmed for ABC News the existence of the brief signed by the Republicans and said it would be submitted to the United States Supreme Court this week. The deadline to submit briefs is Thursday.
The document, known as an amicus or "friend of the court" brief, is being submitted in support of a lawsuit aiming to strike down Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that passed in 2008 banning same sex marriage. The existence of the brief was first reported by the New York Times.
Republican elected leadership, like House Speaker John Boehner, as well as the platform, are staunchly against same sex marriage.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the group who brought the California lawsuit challenging Prop 8, released a list of the signers today including Cheney's daughter Mary Cheney.
Signers included former congresswoman Mary Bono Mack of California, former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman and Meg Whitman, who supported Prop 8 when she ran for governor of California in 2010. Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Richard Hanna of New York and former GOP national chairman Ken Mehlman also signed. In addition, three former Massachusetts governors -- William Weld, Jane Swift, and Paul Cellucci -- along with former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman are signers. The list also includes Republican attorney and Romney senior adviser Ben Ginsberg and other high profile GOP leaders, strategists, consultants, and staffers.
Some big name supporters of same sex marriage who have not signed the brief include former vice president Dick Cheney, former first lady Laura Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The fight against Prop 8 already had a big name conservative supporter in Theodore Olson, former solicitor general under President George W. Bush, who is one of the suit's two lead attorneys along with David Boies.
The court will hear arguments next month in the case and another important gay rights case that challenges the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act.
One of the signers is Nicolle Wallace, Republican strategist and former George W. Bush aide and John McCain campaign adviser. Wallace said the beginning of the group took place in 2010 when Republicans supportive of same sex marriage came together to fundraise for the legal effort. But even in 2004 during Bush's re-election campaign working alongside Mary Cheney everyone on the campaign was aware there were disagreeing opinions on the ticket.
"For a long time those of us who sort of have always been on the pro-gay marriage side were quietly aware of others who had this view, but what's tremendous now is I can't think of any issue that has moved with greater speed than this one," said Wallace, who is an ABC News contributor.
She said the "power of the legal argument had a lot more to do with persuading the majority of Republicans on the brief than any political pressure."
Wallace stressed that she believes this issue, unlike others, will not "ignite a civil war in the party" because so many people have gay friends, co-workers, and family members even those who don't agree with their stance have a lot of "respect" for the disagreement.
In the latest ABC News-Washington Post polll on the topic from November a slim majority of Americans support gay marriage 51-47 percent, but amongst Republicans it is only 31-67 percent.
One of the signers, former Utah governor and Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr. voiced his support of same sex marriage last week, after opposing it during his presidential bid, in an article in the American Conservative titled "Marriage Equality Is a Conservative Cause."
"Conservatives should start to lead again and push their states to join the nine others that allow all their citizens to marry," Huntsman writes. "I've been married for 29 years. My marriage has been the greatest joy of my life. There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love. All Americans should be treated equally by the law, whether they marry in a church, another religious institution, or a town hall...Civil equality is compatible with, and indeed promotes, freedom of conscience."
Brian Donahue, a Republican strategist who did not sign the brief, believes that because the list includes so many prominent Republicans it represents a "significant step" for the party.
"It's a sign that there is a growing interest in the party to take steps to broaden its reach in defining what's acceptable to be part of this party," Donahue said. "It's healthy for members of the party to express their beliefs and opinions even when they may not be favorable by party leadership. It's healthy for the party to examine how it affects the lives of all Americans and it's a healthy discussion that's taking place within the party to say, 'What do we stand for?'"
Some Republicans fear the amicus brief could badly split the Republican Party. Hogan Gidley, a GOP strategist who has worked on the presidential campaigns of both Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, says the Republican tent should be "very broad," but this move by the group of Republicans will widen the schism in the party.
"I don't want Republicans to be lazy and say, well Latinos are flocking to Democrats in droves so we should do amnesty,'" Gidley said. "The homosexual community is flocking to Democrats in droves so we should legalize gay marriage. The marijuana advocates are flocking to Democrats in droves, we should legalize drugs. To me that is a little bit reactionary, but also a little bit lazy."
Gidley said that he would "hate for anybody to sell their convictions in the hopes they get more votes."
Constitutional law experts say that while amicus briefs do not traditionally decide cases, they can be very influential.
Stanford constitutional law professor Jane Schacter says in this case she believes it could be an "influential brief" because it "telegraphs to the court that there is an increasing number of people who support same sex marriage and that it is no longer a partisan issue to the extent that it was."
"When this number of Republicans are saying it's an issue where there should be equality it changes the way it looks to the justices," Schacter said.
Yale constitutional law professor William Eskridge agreed, but said he believes the brief will not affect "the final vote, the likely affect is the way the opinion looks. Not just the majority opinion, but the dissenting opinion as well."
"It discourages a barnburning hysterical dissent," Eskridge said, noting Chief Justice John Roberts is less likely to sign on to a "barnburning" dissent after this brief.