Illinois Democrats want more seats as contenders eye primaries

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Illinois Democrats have the governor’s office and all other statewide constitutional offices along with supermajorities at the statehouse and both U.S. Senate seats, but they want more.

Wednesday was Governor’s Day at the Illinois State Fair. At an off-site brunch, Democratic Party of Illinois Chairwoman U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Matteson, said Democrats need to maintain their existing seats and gain more, even targeting one of her Republican colleagues by name.

“And, please, let’s send some more back to Congress,” Kelly said. “Let’s send [Compton, Illinois, Republican U.S. Rep.] Mary Miller and her friends packing. That will help us, too.”

Illinois loses a seat in Congress because of population decline and Democrats control drawing Illinois’ new congressional map. U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, isn’t seeking another term.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White also isn’t seeking another term. He told fairgoers at the Governor’s Day lunch to replace him with a Democrat.

“We want to make sure that Democrats retain the constitutional offices and the state offices in the state of Illinois this last election,” White said.

There could be four candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Illinois Secretary of State. White said he expects more people to announce.

The primary is June 26, 2022. That’s when candidates vying for either the Republican or the Democratic nomination for various elected offices square off.

After the filing period early next year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker, an incumbent, could face U.S. Army veteran and Chicago-area nurse Beverly Miles. She told WMAY on Wednesday that Pritzker’s major flaw was making unilateral decisions during the pandemic.

“I would make no blanket decision across the board and say ‘hey all of the businesses need to be shut down,’” Miles said. “We need to look at the hot spots, we need to be looking at the data, and yes I will bring [the Legislature] back in so that we can discuss, ‘OK, what areas need to be shut down and what areas need to be open?’”

Miles also said the masking in schools is a recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not a mandate like Pritzker has made. She has previously said she wants to debate the governor.

After a stump speech at a Governor’s Day event at the Illinois State Fair, Pritzker wasn’t definitive when asked if he would debate Miles.

“Well, I look forward to having this opportunity to meet her,” Pritzker said. “I don’t know her, but I do want to honor her service to our country, serving in the military as she has, and I look forward to the opportunity to get to know her a bit.”

Republican Day is Thursday at the Illinois State Fair. There are three announced candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

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