The Cost of Establishment Endorsements
Yesterday I got an email from a man who attended Sunday’s League of Women Voters’ forum at Elmhurst City Hall. He told me he liked my bold policies but also appreciated that I was willing to run against the Establishment Republicans.
I hear this a lot as I knock on doors and chat with voters. It seems in this election—more than in any other—voters understand the high cost of Establishment Endorsements. We’ve all seen Republicans whom we elect—and in whom we entrust with our tax dollars—squander our money. We’ve seen Republicans from our district—like Dan Cronin, Kirk Dillard, and John Milner—vote along with Democrats to raise the sales tax and taxes on candy and soft drinks. We’ve now heard former governor Jim Edgar say we shouldn’t take tax increases off the table and Kirk Dillard mocking the anti-tax pledges that some of us have signed.
So when Conservative voters discover that moderate Republicans like Jim Edgar—who favors gambling expansion and tax increases—endorse candidates like Brien Sheehan, we wonder what this cost the formerly anti-tax candidate. It’s become common knowledge in political circles that to gain Jim Edgar’s endorsement, Kirk Dillard had to refuse to sign any tax pledges (and now he goes so far as to ridicule them). So it’s not too much of a stretch to think that this is the reason Brien refuses to pledge against increasing any and all taxes. While Illinois has more than 40 different types of taxes, Brien’s pledged to oppose raising only two. Two! That’s not very comforting. And it’s why Conservatives are worried.
The same goes for Chris Nybo. While he’s never been seen as a friend of the tax-payers (he supports no-bid contracts and is on record saying “relationships” and back-room handshakes can trump transparency with tax payers and open-bids), his unofficial backing from Dan Cronin also has voters nervous. We’re in the worst economy most of us have seen in our lifetimes, we’re struggling to pay bills, to find jobs, to save for college, and yet Dan Cronin voted along with Democrats to increase the sales tax—to take more money out of our hands!—to bail out the CTA and give seniors free rides on the CTA and Metra. Working people, struggling families, pay more for everything now so all seniors (even if they’re rich!) can ride the train for free.
What could he have been thinking? Well, we’ll probably never know, but we can assume he was promised something in return for his vote. Politics as Usual means lots of strings attached. And those strings are almost never connected to the right place—the voters!
My opponents may have the Old Boys Club endorsements from the politicians and may have the machines fueling them with money and “boots on the ground,” but those endorsements come at a high price: they’ve cost these candidates the voter’s trust and respect.
My campaign is all about all of us: the voters, the tax payers, the good people of the 41st District. It’s not about Politics as Usual; it’s not about being a Party puppet, beholden to all sorts of other interests. If you want your voice truly represented and your hard-earned money spent wisely (and less of it taken), don’t vote for the puppets of the ones who’ve gotten us in this mess. Vote for me on Feb. 2.