SEP 19, 2022
Illinois Democrats enlist help from VP Harris to boost Democratic turnout in ‘Roe-vember’
Vice President Kamala Harris, center, celebrates at a rally at the University of Illinois Chicago with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, left, and Gov. JB Pritzker, right. [FOX News]
Mid-term elections often yield losses for the party that controls the White House. But with an electorate angry over the overturning of Roe v. Wade and Republican candidates taking hard-right approaches, Vice President Kamala Harris and Illinois Democrats are pushing voters to the polls to defeat candidates they believe are too extreme.
Harris visited Chicago Friday to hold a discussion on abortion with elected officials, abortion providers and University of Illinois Chicago students as the issue remains a focal point for Democrats. Harris and other Illinois Democrats speaking at Friday’s rally after the roundtable made abortion the defining issue of the campaign and urged Democratic voters to turnout to ensure Republicans suffer defeat in blue Illinois.
“This is the home of hope and change,” Harris said, referencing former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign slogan. “And so we need you to get the vote out this November because truly this election I do believe will determine the future of not only your home state, but our home country.”
Though President Joe Biden remains unpopular on average with most voters, Harris and Illinois Democrats touted their accomplishments over the last four years in Illinois and last two years in the White House.
Gov. JB Pritzker listed off a series of accomplishments during his first term, such as legislation raising the minimum wage and balanced budgets, telling supports his opponent Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) voted against them.
“It’s Democrats that deliver for the people of Illinois, but we can’t rest when we know that Darren Bailey is waiting in the wings to undo all the progress with the stroke of a governor’s pen,” Pritzker said.
Harris also weighed in on criticism of Bailey.
“I’ve been traveling the country and I can tell you from everything I know about your opponent, he is one of the most extreme anti-choice candidates in the country,” Harris said.
Democrats’ view of Republican candidates as extremists was a common theme for the party’s candidates, who did not shy away from linking Bailey and Republicans to right-wing extremism. Pritzker called out Bailey for controversies surrounding his campaign through the summer, saying he is promoting “anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.”
“In 2022 folks, hate is on the ballot,” Pritzker said.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot directly linked Bailey to former President Donald Trump, who endorsed Bailey in the Republican primary.
“So make no mistake, Trump is on the ballot. His name is Darren Bailey and we need to send him back to the farm,” Lightfoot said. “Trump is on the ballot in every single one of the Republicans you are going to face when you are going into the voting [booth].”
Bailey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment. But in a fundraising message to voters, Bailey said, “I’ll go back to my farm after I clean up the mess you and JB made and restore Illinois. In the meantime, get off your elitist high horse and remember who puts food on your plate.”
Attorney General Kwame Raoul tried to appeal to Republican voters and called on them to reject the party’s right wing.
“I want to appeal to them because I think there are some Republicans and independents who have a conscience,” Raoul said. “I just want them to vote their conscience.”
However, Treasurer Mike Frerichs said he wasn’t interested in trying to get Republican votes, and Democratic nominee for secretary of state Alexi Giannoulias wouldn’t draw any similarities between Republicans and Democrats.
“If you look at who is getting elected on the other side, it’s the folks who say the craziest shit in the world,” GIannoulias said.
Illinois Democrats told voters protecting democracy and abortion rights were the most central issues in November. House Speaker Chris Welch (D-Hillside) proclaimed November “Roe-vember” as Democrats try to mobilize support from voters angry about the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.
“To all the right-wing office holders who have been cheering on the January 6 insurrectionists, making it harder to vote, lauding the Supreme Court for taking away reproductive rights and rallying behind a national abortion ban, we’re coming for you,” Pritzker said.
Harris said voters should also pay attention to federal races, noting a national ban on abortion after 15 weeks introduced by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) would apply to Illinois despite the state’s strong abortion laws if Democrats lost their thin majority in Congress and eventually lost the White House.
Harris also gave a vote of confidence to Pritzker and Illinois Democrats and said, “what you all are doing here in Illinois really is providing a model for the rest of the country about giving voice to the people.”
“We need more Gov. Pritzkers and to elect more around the country to make sure that we protect these rights,” Harris said.
The Illinois Republican Party released a statement Friday saying Harris was focusing on the wrong priorities.
“The Vice President needs to answer questions regarding the Biden Administration's role in fueling the inflation crisis, and where she stands on Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot's failure to keep our communities safe,” the statement read.
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