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State Republican Party chairman Pat Brady is stepping down

Updated: June 8, 2013 6:43AM

He went out on a limb in support of gay marriage, rankling some of the conservative members of his own party.

Now, Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady is expected to step down on Tuesday, according to a close friend and colleague.

“I’m saddened. Pat has been a dear friend of mine for years,” said Republican state Rep. Jim Durkin. Durkin (R-Westchester) and Brady have been friends for 20 years, having worked together at 26th and California as young assistant state’s attorneys. Durkin said Brady told him of his intentions earlier on Monday.

Brady is expected to announce his resignation about 4 p.m. Tuesday in a news release. He could not be reached for comment Monday evening.

“He’s a fearless advocate for the Republican party. He’s raised more money than any other chairman has raised in my lifetime,” Durkin said. “He took on the Democratic party like no other chairman has in my lifetime.”

Brady caused a hubbub within the Republican ranks after he came out in support of gay marriage. Conservative Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) was the chief architect behind attempts to oust Brady. Those attempts ultimately fell short, without enough Republican backing to dethrone Brady. And high-ranking GOP members — including U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk — came to his defense. Oberweis could not be reached late Monday but has told the Chicago Sun-Times that his opposition to Brady was not because of intolerance for varying views within his party, but because Brady on his own took a position against the party platform.

Having beaten outside attempts to oust him, Brady had been expected to step down.

“Pat is leaving on terms that he’s imposed upon himself,” Durkin said. “He’s got a family. He wants to spend more time and take care of his family.”

Durkin wanted to make one last point: “He did not do this to advance a political career for himself,” he said. “I hope people will thank him and appreciate the good things he’s done. Pat is not afraid to speak up but nobody’s going to bully him either.”

The next big question is who will replace Brady and help lead a Republican Party that has barely limped through the last couple of elections.

One name that surfaced Monday night was Cook County Commissioner Tim Schneider of Bartlett.

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