SKOKIE, IL — Challenger Kevin Olickal leads State Rep. Denyse Wang Stoneback in the race for 16th District state representative after the two Skokie Democrats faced one another in one of the few contested state house primaries in Chicago’s north suburbs this year.
Olickal, 29, held a lead of more than 560 votes out of more than 9,400 votes cast over Stoneback, 52, in the district, which includes all or part of Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove and Chicago’s 40th and 50th wards.
According to unofficial results, Olickal took 60 percent of votes cast in the city, while Stoneback received 57 percent of those cast in the suburb.
The race represented a rematch from two years earlier, when both ran for the seat against former State Rep. Mark Kalish, who had been appointed by longtime State Rep. Lou Lang following his 2019 retirement.
“Two years ago I challenged an appointed incumbent who said he was pro-choice but when the time came to vote, he turned his back on us,” Stoneback said at a League of Women Voters of Evanston candidate forum last month.
“With your support, I won that election and last year I was happy to repeal the last anti-abortion lawn in Illinois, the passage of this bill may never have even happened if my predecessor was still in office,” she said.
Olickal said he had not planned to run again this year.
“However, several community members, organizations, stakeholders, repeatedly came to me with their concerns about their representation. They were feeling unheard, forgotten and left out,” Olickal said at the forum, hosted by the Skokie Public Library.
“And after I saw the incumbent fail to support our state’s most historic gun violence prevention bill, HB 562 and learn of her decision to hire someone, a chief of staff, who was responsible for the mishandling for large incidents of harassment, discrimination, I knew I could not remain on the sidelines,” he said.
The race has split unions and local Democratic politicians. Even though Stoneback is the founder of a gun violence prevention nonprofit, a trio of gun control advocacy groups have endorsed her opponent.
House Speaker Chris Welch, State Rep. Jonathan Carroll, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action PAC and Personal PAC have endorsed Stoneback, who was also endorsed by the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune.
State Sen. Ram Villivalam, U.S. Reps Raja Krishnamoorthi and Chuy Garcia, the National Association of Social Workers, LiUNA Chicago Laborers’ District Council and Teamsters Joint Council No. 25 have endorsed Olickal, a part-time law student and the executive director of the Indo-American Democratic Organization.
The contest among the two Skokie Democrats has turned negative at times, with an advertisement from Stoneback pointing to an unnamed campaign contributor it alleges has previously “given $30,000 to anti-choice pro-gun Republicans,” while mailers from Olickal’s backers have equated Stoneback’s decision not to vote on House Bill 562 as having “refused to support universal background checks on gun purchases.”
Although Stoneback did abstain from the vote on the bill, a competing bill that she sponsored would have gone farther than the one that passed by requiring mandatory fingerprinting for gun licenses. Democratic legislative leaders determined it did not have sufficient support among their party’s supermajority to bring it to the floor for a vote.
According to campaign finance reports, Stoneback’s campaign has received about $45,000 from Welch’s campaign, $30,000 from south suburban State Rep. Kelly Burke, $29,000 each from Aurora State Rep. Barbara Hernandez and Deerfield State Rep. Bob Morgan and $15,000 from the Illinois Federation of Teachers Committee on Political Education since May 31.
Olickal’s campaign committee has received nearly $60,000 from LiUNA, over $31,000 from Gun Violence Prevention PAC and $20,000 from Villivalam’s campaign committee in contributions and transfers during the five weeks leading up to the primary.
16th District Illinois House of Representatives Democratic Primary Election Results
|Denyse Wang Stoneback||4,340||77/78 precincts|
Unofficial results via the Chicago Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk. Check back for updates as results come in.
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June 29, 2022 at 08:53AM