‘Dog Whistle’ Sounded Against Congresswoman Kelly (Chicago, IL) — Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Illinois AFL CIO, and abortion rights group Personal PAC recently chose to endorse State Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) over incumbent Congresswoman Robin Kelly for Illinois Democratic Party chair ahead of Saturday’s vote. Pritzker, AFL-CIO, and Personal PAC have called into question Congresswoman Kelly’s ability to effectively lead the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) with federal regulations barring many fundraising activities usually expected of the chair.
Other leaders have backed the congresswoman. 6th District Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller stated, “I am disturbed by Personal PAC interjecting itself in the race for Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) and stand in solidarity with DPI Chair, Congresswoman Robin Kelly. I am withdrawing as a co-host for tomorrow night’s Personal PAC fundraiser. Robin is a pro-choice champion in Congress and I strongly reject the implication that her leadership jeopardizes the pro-choice movement here in Illinois.” Miller has pulled out as co-sponsor of an upcoming Personal PAC fundraiser.
Miller, with thinly-veiled accusations of racism, continued by saying, “As a Black woman, I am mindful of the dog whistles used to raise legal questions about the first African American and first woman to lead the Democratic Party of Illinois. Robin has followed the rules set forth by the FEC and the party has flourished under her leadership. Personal PAC did not raise the same questions about the previous chair when he was under federal investigation and ultimately indicted.”
State Representative Will Davis has followed suit, saying, “Last year we had a momentous election when Congresswoman Robin Kelly became the first Black and first female Chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Since then, she’s successfully built out a robust, diverse, and accessible party, all while raising the necessary funds to move our state party forward — notably within the approved guidelines of the FEC. Now, we have a Governor who wants her out. Why? Because he has to control the Party.” Pritzker is running for re-election in November against downstate Republican Senator Darren Bailey. Davis further slammed the governor and called into question Pritzker’s decisions by stating, “It’s shameful that he wants this fight now on the eve of an important November election, and while concurrently jeopardizing our chance of getting the DNC Convention in Chicago. As Governor and a Democrat his primary objective should be to unite Democrats, not create division. Working together is how we win across the board. Robin Kelly is the best choice to lead the Democratic Party of Illinois and I support her; the Governor should also.”
In March 2021, Pritzker supported Chicago Alderwoman Michelle Harris against Kelly in the race. Kelly won with 52% of the weighted vote, which was held to replace former chair Michael Madian after he stepped down. Kelly is also supported by Democratic Senator Dick Durbin.
The DPI vote for chairperson will be held on Saturday in Springfield.
‘Dog Whistle’ Sounded Against Congresswoman Kelly