Illinois Senate Democrat fund puts more than $800,000 behind Connelly challenger Ellman

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Republican state Sen. Michael Connelly’s re-election bid is getting more attention from statewide Democrats, who have put more than $800,000 behind challenger Laura Ellman’s challenge so far.

The campaign cash from Illinois Senate President John Cullerton’s Senate Democrat Victory Fund is helping pay for a challenge in the 21st District, held by Republicans for years.

Connelly was elected to the Illinois Senate in 2012 and served in the House before that. In 2014, no Democrat signed up to challenge him at all, but the party this year is trying to win a few suburban seats, boosted by what it sees as the relative unpopularity of President Donald Trump.

“At this point in politics in Illinois and on the national level, it’s important we have Democrats in office that are going to fight for working-class families and it’s important to have women in office who can have a seat at the table when laws are being passed that concern women’s bodies,” said Tom Elliott, communications director for the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund.

“You take all of that with the 2016 election results and see that Hillary Clinton won the district overwhelmingly and it’s an opportunity for us to support a female candidate who’s running on all the right issues” at a time when there’s growing disagreement with how Republicans are dealing with issues locally and nationally, Elliott said.

The district encompasses a strip of the west suburbs from a portion of Carol Stream in the north, south through Wheaton, Warrenville, Lisle and Naperville and into Will County in the south.

Connelly, though, has the cash to compete. He finished out the first half of 2018 with more than $512,000 in his campaign bank and since has received just under $72,000 from the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee and $74,000 from the Illinois Republican Party, according to campaign finance records.

In early September, the first ad for Ellman ran at the same time similar ads for Democratic suburban women — Suzy Glowiak, Ann Gillespie and Bridget Fitzgerald — challenging Republican incumbent male state senators ran. The ad introduced Ellman and explicitly called for term limits on legislative leaders like Mike Madigan, Elliott said.

Another ad for Ellman came out Tuesday, Elliott said.

Ellman is an assessor at Argonne National Laboratory and serves on Naperville’s Housing Advisory commission in addition to volunteering with Toastmasters, Habitat for Humanity, Feed My Starving Children and as an ESL tutor.

ehegarty@tribpub.com

Twitter @erin_hegarty

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via Naperville Sun

October 10, 2018 at 10:05AM

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