Pence's Chicago visit raises about $1M, draws protests

CHICAGO (FOX 32 / AP) — Vice President-elect Mike Pence's appearance at a Republican fund-raiser in downtown Chicago drew about 150 protesters who chanted "Mike Pence go away!"

The Indiana governor spoke at a luncheon Friday. Protesters from several groups gathered outside.

Tickets for the fund-raiser started at $2,700 per person. According to a Pence aide, the vice president-elect raised about $1 million for the Republican National Committee.

Among the members of the host committee were state GOP chairman Tim Schneider and Republican members of Illinois' congressional delegation.

“I think we're all going to be united under the Trump-Pence administration. I think as long as they do what they say they're gonna do, and bring jobs back to our state and our nation,” Schneider said.

Skipping the fundraiser was Illinois’ top Republican. Gov. Bruce Rauner let his name be used on the event's invitation, but a spokeswoman said he was vacationing with his family "out west."

Rauner and other GOP leaders at the fundraiser famously refused all year even to say the name, Donald Trump. They’re now looking for help from VP-elect Pence, the Hoosier next door with family roots on Chicago’s South Side.

“Gov. Pence is our neighboring governor. He’s familiar with Chicago. And, very importantly, I’m the chairman of the RTA, his father used to be a bus driver in the city of Chicago,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard.

Dillard said he hopes Trump will deliver on his campaign promise of a gigantic public works construction program. Officials have a menu of transit and road projects in the Chicago area requiring tens of billions of dollars.

Some protestors, though, said their plan is somehow to prevent Trump and Pence from taking office next month.

“No Trump! No Pence! No KKK! No fascist USA!” they shouted.

Some at the fundraiser hope republicans in Washington will use their new political power quickly to weaken labor unions, especially government employee unions. That’s been one of Gov. Rauner's top goals.

Photos of the event posted Friday on Pence's Twitter account show about 70 people at The Chicago Club. The tweet says, "Appreciate the encouragement & support of many Chicago business and community leaders of the inauguration of President @realDonaldTrump."

Donald Trump and Mike Pence are scheduled to take the oath of office at the U.S. Capitol at noon on January 20th.