Illinois state Rep. Sue Scherer is seeking reelection to the 96th Illinois House District but a political newcomer is challenging the bid.
Scherer, a five-term incumbent Democrat first elected in 2012, faces Dr. Lisa Smith, a Mt. Auburn-based pediatric nurse practitioner in the Nov. 8 general election. Scherer had her closest general election race in the old 96th in 2020, winning by 2,877 votes against Republican Charles McGorray.
Since then, her fellow House Democrats redrew the district changing it from a competitive district won by Joe Biden by 6% in 2020 to one in which he would have won by 18 points under the new lines, cutting out several rural areas in Sangamon, Christian and Macon counties.
Smith, who commutes to Springfield to work at the Hope Institute, said she’s running in the Democrat-dominated district because she was frustrated with high income, property and gas taxes, budget issues and Gov. JB Pritzker’s COVID-19 mandates.
“We have 10 children – we adopted seven of them – that we have raised here, had them in public school (and) we have three boys that are in the military fighting for our freedom,” Smith said. “Sometimes, I feel like those freedoms are getting chopped away at, particularly with this governor and some of his mandates and things that he tried to impose on us during COVID. I was sitting here with the gas taxes and the grocery bills and thinking, ‘There’s got to be a better way.'”
How the Illinois House 96th District has changed
Scherer had done well in a district that sandwiched strongly Democratic portions of Springfield and much of Decatur together with rural areas in Sangamon, Christian and Macon counties, winning her first four terms to the General Assembly with relative ease, only seeing competition in her first two primaries in 2012 and 2014.
However, her 2020 close call would have made her one of the state’s most endangered incumbents had redistricting not occurred and put her in a district that now largely rides along the I-72 corridor between Springfield and Decatur. The old district had stretched down into Rochester, Kincaid and Edinburg along State Route 29; those areas are now in the 95th District, Rep. Tim Butler’s new home.
As a result, the district is much more Democratic than it used to be, as Joe Biden would have won the new district by 8,134 votes in 2020, an 18% victory over Donald Trump.
At the state level, JB Pritzker would have won by 7,420 votes in the 2018 gubernatorial race, beating then-Gov. Bruce Rauner by 20%. Rauner would have only had 35% of the vote in the district, with Pritzker only getting 55% due to nearly 10% of voters going for third-party candidates.
Rep. Sue Scherer (Democrat, incumbent)
Source of personal income: As a state representative, Scherer makes $69,464 a year.
Past political experience: Scherer has spent the previous nine years in the General Assembly representing the 96th District; before then, she had never run a campaign for office.
On the Issues
Scherer did not respond to an interview request, but her website says that she places a heavy emphasis on “Protecting middle-class families; Providing equitable education; creating jobs; protecting Second Amendment rights (and being) against right To work.”
Dr. Lisa Smith (Republican, challenger)
Resides: Mt. Auburn
Past political experience: This is Smith’s first campaign.
On the Issues
Illinois inflation and the economy
“It’s not really a hard thing to address. We really need to bring down (taxes).
Our governor gave us a 2-cent reprieve on gas taxes, which nobody will even feel, then he’s going to impose that tax back on us in January, then another one next June or July. We’re going to get double-taxed next year. There’s no talk from the Democrats about abolishing these taxes, taking them down permanently. Instead, it’s just tax, tax, tax.
I think what we need to do is look at our system a little bit differently; lowering taxes, lowering regulations, (allow) businesses to come in, that increases revenue. There’s other ways to make money besides taxing Illinois people and I think we need to look at those.
I don’t know if we can solve (inflation) in the General Assembly. But inflation is at 8% and our wages have not gone up. Everybody’s feeling this.
“The Democrats put in what they call the ‘SAFE-T’ Act, I call it the no-cash bail act.
That comes against not only the citizens’ safety but (against) police and not supporting them. The SAFE-T Act imposes things on police that they weren’t funded for and they didn’t provide them with any funds. It restricts your law enforcement officers when you’re pursuing people on if they can use force when they arrest people. We are putting these things on police officers that they should not have to worry about.
Number 1: fund your police officers; hire more police officers; make it safer for police officers to go out and arrest these people and then hold these criminals for an adequate time in jail until they have a hearing or trial. Some of this stuff is very bad and these people should not be walking around.”
“I look at it from two different perspectives: the Christian perspective and my belief that every life is made in God’s image and that there is a person in there at conception – when a baby starts to form, that’s a person to me; and the scientific view – I know what babies look like and I’ve seen them born at each stage. These are not pieces of flesh; these are living human beings. They can feel things, they can hear you. There is a scientific reason that I say there is a person inside this mom; it is not just a blob of flesh.
I walk the walk: I adopted seven children that some might say did not deserve to live. These seven children are wonderful. I have some gifted children; I have some with disabilities. I’ve got one at West Point; I’ve got one in the Army at Fort Hood; these are kids that people would have thrown away and they are going to be great people.
If I believe that is a person, a human being inside of a mother, I think that I have a duty to protect that innocent person. I think the majority of people believe that some of our laws have gone too far with this. Even if they are pro-choice, there comes a point where they say, ‘That is just not humane.’
I don’t know (how far I’m willing to go). There’s always going to be these exceptions for the life of the mother. I’ve seen this stuff, I’ve witnessed this stuff, I have more experience than most people. I understand that argument and I have a lot of sympathy for that. There are some exclusions, but I don’t like abortion being used as birth control. That’s the situation that we have come to.”
Lisa Smith’s campaign finances
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Scherer had $203,021 on hand at the end of the second quarter in June.
At the end of the second quarter, Smith had $915.21 on hand.
Lisa Smith’s endorsements
Smith has been endorsed by Illinois Family Action, an arm of the Illinois Family Institute, a group that has, in the past, espoused anti-LGBTQIA rhetoric and is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Other Illinois House races
The Scherer-Smith battle is the only race in the area that is contested, as four races – with two incumbents, one newcomer and one returning member – are not contested.
In the new 87th District north of Springfield and centered in Lincoln, Republican Bill Hauter, an anesthesiologist from Tazewell County, is running unopposed. Hauter defeated outgoing Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress in the June 28 primary.
Butler is also running unopposed in the new 95th District, which contains much of the north and west sides of Springfield, along with Chatham and Rochester. Despite only voting for Donald Trump by less than 10 percentage points in 2020, no Democrat stepped up to face the three-term incumbent, nor did members of third-parties. Butler beat Republican operative Kent Gray in the primary.
In the 100th District southwest of Springfield, Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, is also running unopposed. Davidsmeyer faced no primary competition.
In the new 108th District west of Springfield, former Rep. Wayne Rosenthal, R-Morrisonville, will return to the General Assembly, as he too is running unopposed. Rosenthal left his seat in the old 95th District two months into what would have been his third term in 2015 in order to become director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
He was replaced by Avery Bourne, who won three terms prior to becoming Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin’s running mate in this year’s Republican gubernatorial primary. The new 108th takes portions of that 95th and combines them with much of the old 99th District, currently held by Rep. Sandy Hamilton, R-Springfield, Turner’s opponent in the 48th Senate District.
via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/Nxzm49R
October 12, 2022 at 06:05AM