Dems Say Ammons Pushed for Bennett Seat Within an Hour of His Death — The Illinoize

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In the wake of a messy appointment process to replace the late Senator Scott Bennett, dirty laundry is being aired on both sides of Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana), who was spurned for the appointment.

On a Champaign County Democrats Facebook page, a post congratulating Ammons for being named Vice Chair of the House Democratic Women’s Caucus was highjacked by her husband, Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons.

“A sham these important accomplishments played no role in determining the appointment to the Senate vacancy,” he wrote.

Democratic leaders then piled on.

Bennett’s widow, Stacy, who finished the final three weeks of Scott Bennett’s term in the 102nd General Assembly, said the Ammonses had “gone way too far.”

“I very much appreciated you and Representative Ammons coming to the house and bringing flowers until I learned that she had been making numerous calls about getting Scott’s seat less than hour after he died,” Stacy Bennett wrote. “Honestly, I am still shocked by all of this and imagining Representative Ammons making calls about Scott’s senate seat while I was telling my 9 year old children that their daddy was never coming home is almost too much to bear.”

County Democratic Vice Chair Cari West-Henkelman, who ended up appointing Bennett’s successor after County Chairman Mike Ingram threw his hat into the ring for the appointment, criticized the Ammons pair for their actions.

Aaron Ammons called Henkelman, a woman, racist and sexist.

“It’s clear to anyone who has done any work on themselves that the ignoring of Leader Ammons was racist and sexist,” he wrote. (By the way, Carol Ammons has previously been stripped of her position in House Democratic leadership.)

West-Henkelman repeated the allegations about the phone call.

“Carol literally called Mike [Ingram] within minutes of [Bennett] dying to say that she wanted his seat,” she wrote. Or how about the subsequent phone calls to say that if Carol wasn’t given that seat that y’all would ruin Mike [Ingram’s] political career? Or how about the phone call to me after [Ingram] gave me his proxy where y’all screamed and yelled and tried to bully me? Or how about the talking out of both sides of your mouth saying that it’s an “unwritten rule” that Carol should get the seat but then criticize the party for “doing what they always do.”

Sources say that in the wake of Bennett’s hospitalization, a group of family friends went to the Bennett home to put up Christmas lights to keep the holiday “normal” for the Bennett’s two children. Included among them was Ingram. Shortly after the group learned of Bennett’s death, we’re told Ammons called him to express interest in being appointed to the Senate.

“She treated the tragedy as a tremendous opportunity,” a source said.

Ingram declined to comment about the call with Ammons, but did not deny the story.

Carol Ammons did not respond to a message from The Illinoize Thursday.

Aaron Ammons denied West-Henkelman’s statement.

“You began your comment by “alleging” without any evidence that Representative Ammons made these calls. I haven’t heard Mike say any of what you are publicly claiming and I haven’t heard Carol say anything like that either,” he wrote. “I can see that you have no problem publicly accusing hard working Democratic elected officials of threatening other elected officials. What makes you think that’s ok? We have never threatened [Ingram]. We’ve never told him we would ruin his political career.”

Through campaign filings, Ammons has indicated she plans to challenge for the Senate seat in a primary next year, though she hasn’t stated those intentions publicly.

If Ammons does seek the Senate, likely turns into one of the most bitter, expensive, contested primaries in the state.

via The Illinoize

January 21, 2023 at 11:08PM

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