New GOP club forms in area


The recently formed Northwest Side GOP Club plans to promote conservative ideas, support Republican candidates in state elections and make endorsements in nonpartisan aldermanic races.

Although Chicago is well known for its large base of Democratic voters, club organizers said that 31,000 residents in the 38th, 39th, 41st and 45th Wards had voted for the Republication candidate for either U.S. President or Senate, or both, in 2016. The club’s service area includes the Northwest Side wards and Niles Township.

“We just want Republicans to know that they’re not alone,” said club chairman and founder Matt Podgorski, who also is the 39th Ward Republican committeeman. “Outside of (state Representative Mike) McAuliffe, there’s really no Republican representation in this area.”

The club plans to recruit precinct workers and captains who will go door-to-door campaigning for candidates, said Russell Schultz, who is the club’s liaison to local businesses and chambers of commerce.

The club offers memberships starting at $35, and they include discounted or free access to all club events and a vote in the endorsement and slate-making process. A private Facebook discussion page for the club has about 550 followers, Schultz said.

In addition, the club recently opened an office at 6122 N. Milwaukee Ave. and attracted about 100 people to an April 22 fund-raiser that featured radio personality and former congressman Joe Walsh.

Walsh’s appearance helped spark a crowd of about 40 protesters outside the club’s office during the fund-raiser.

The protesters included 39th Ward Democratic committeeman Robert Murphy and representatives of the Service Employees International Union, the Chicago Teachers Union and Gladstone Park Huddle, a Facebook group which formed after the Women’s March on Washington earlier this year. Murphy said that Walsh has made offensive remarks about minorities and women.

Walsh was chosen as a speaker at the event in part because he is a strong supporter of law enforcement, Schultz said. A high number of police officers live in the club’s membership area, he said.

“People are so excited to have a place in the city where they can get together with those that are like-minded and Republican,” Schultz said. “They’re asking when the next event is.”

The club is holding a Flag Day celebration on Wednesday, June 14. “It also happens to be Trump’s birthday,” said Podgorski, whose father Peter is the 38th Ward Republican committeeman.