By SAM CHOLKE
Democratic candidates for elected office tried to fire up South Side residents on Aug. 10 with dour predictions of what a Republican controlled Illinois government would look like.
“There’s something shady with Brady,” said Governor Pat Quinn about his Republican challenger in the governor’s race, state Sen. Bill Brady (R-44). “We’ve got to stick with the party of working people, of everyday people, of Barack Obama.”
Quinn joined Democratic hopefuls Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), the candidate for Cook County Board president; Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, candidate for the U.S. Senate; state representatives Esther Golar (D-6) and Will Burns (D-26), who are seeking re-election, at the Charles Hayes Family Investment Center in an early election season push to get out the vote.
“You all are out on a beautiful August evening listening to people talk about an election three months away. I’m not worried about the people in this room,” said Burns, who represents the north side of Hyde Park and Kenwood.
All sitting politicians, candidates admitted the state is in rough shape — but not as bad as it would be if Republicans came to power.
“The lives of our community is a political game down in Springfield,” Burns said. “The Republican Party is betting on, praying, we stay home on election day — they’re already measuring the drapes.”
Candidates advised that voting on election day was the least residents could do for their Kenwood neighbor, President Barack Obama.
“The Republicans would like nothing better than to take Barack’s senate seat,” Preckwinkle said. “We need to support Democrats up and down the ticket. The Republicans would like to take the governorship of the president’s home state — they want to embarrass him.”
The crowd of roughly 60 was slow to warm up to candidates, but applauded both Preckwinkle’s disparagement of Republicans and her vow to clean up after her own party at the county.
“I’m not on a revenge kick. I’m not going to be looking for heads to chop off,” she said about her campaign pledge to clean up a county government that the crowd described as “cancerous with corruption and bad management.”
“The principle challenge of government is finding good people to do the work,” Preckwinkle said.
The crowd was cool towards Giannoulias, except when he criticized his opponent, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk. The candidate’s stories about his immigrant parents and his plans to create jobs in Washington were met with a few nods from the crowd. But it was descriptions of Kirk as “bought and paid for by Washington lobbyists” that drew applause, a sign that campaigns this election cycle could become bruising battles as the Nov. 4 election approaches.