Illinois Democrats launching unified campaign to beat GOP in November – Chicago Tribune

Despite ever-present friction ruffling what they view as their big tent, Illinois’ top Democrats have agreed on a coordinated campaign structure for the November general election aimed at keeping Illinois a one-party state.

“Organize Illinois 2022″ is the theme of the operation being announced Monday, Illinois Democratic Party officials told the Tribune. The unified campaign will be run through the state Democratic Party and will be chaired by Secretary of State Jesse White. White is not seeking reelection after holding the secretary of state office since 1999 while also being one of the state’s top vote-getters.

The announcement of a coordinated campaign represents yet another move for the Illinois Democratic Party organization since the departure of former House Speaker Michael Madigan, who was chairman of the party from 1998 until he resigned in February 2021.

Madigan has pleaded not guilty to federal racketeering charges leveled against him in March in connection with utility giant Commonwealth Edison’s admission that it gave contracts, law business and jobs requiring little or no work to friends and political allies of Madigan in hopes that he would look favorably upon the company’s Springfield agenda.

Under Madigan, the state party became a largely insular institution in which its primary goal was to elect House Democrats who would support him staying on as speaker. Other Democratic candidates, meanwhile, were often left to fend for themselves for any campaign coordination. The party’s most valuable asset under Madigan was its bulk-rate postage meter, which non-House candidates had to pay to use for lower-cost campaign mailings.

But since Madigan left, the party has sought to reorganize itself and create a structure more in line with other state Democratic organizations. That work started under the party’s new chair, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson, who took over in March of last year.

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly greets U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin during the official dedication ceremony to open the visitor center and factory grounds at Pullman National Monument and State Historic Site on Sept. 6, 2021. Kelly took over as state party chair last year. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The coordinated campaign will involve sharing data, communication plans, voter engagement, get-out-the-vote and vote-by-mail strategies along with multi-candidate mailings and legal assistance at the polls in support of Democratic candidates across the ballot. It represents the latest evolution under Kelly’s open the party strategy, party officials said.

“The upcoming midterm elections are absolutely crucial to ensuring our state continues on the right track and Organize Illinois 2022 is ready to support our Democratic nominees as we get voters to the polls this November,” White said in a statement released to the Tribune.

“This coordinated campaign will benefit all Democratic nominees by efficiently using shared resources, data, and messaging to ensure Illinois remains a beacon for our shared values,” White said. “We’ve all seen just how extreme Illinois Republicans have become. Illinois Democrats can and will fight back with a united front at every level.”

The coordinated campaign has been signed off on by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch of Hillside, Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park and the state’s statewide elected officials who are seeking reelection.

The program also is expected to support candidates for secretary of state and the U.S. House once voters select nominees in the June 28 primary.

The program is notable not only for being launched in advance of the primary, but also for being signed off on by all of the major Democrats as a state party operation under Kelly.

Pritzker, the billionaire entrepreneur and an heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune, is expected to fund the operation under Kelly, though last year she was not his choice for state Democratic chair. Pritzker has given indications he may not support Kelly for a full term as party chair when the Democratic State Central Committee meets after the primary.

Durbin backed Kelly for chair and his allies on the state central committee are supporting her reelection as party chief. Kelly announced she would seek reelection to chair the party organization late last month.


via “Illinois Politics” – Google News

June 6, 2022 at 05:18AM

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