On Sunday, the New Trier Dems held their Endorsement Session for the March Democratic Primary. As expected, the large field of impressive candidates vying to win a place on the November Mid-term ballot drew what felt like a record crowd of NTD members. They filled the Winnetka Community House’s largest conference room and with few exceptions stayed in their seats through a full afternoon of presentations and endorsement votes.
Most of us can remember more than one election in the past when we were faced with choosing the “least offensive” candidate. That was far from the case on Sunday. Personally, I can’t remember any past endorsement meeting that featured so many attractive candidates competing in so many consequential primary races. With only a few exceptions, the candidates’ presentations – their noteworthy backgrounds, their solid qualifications, their personal principles and public priorities – made the task of choosing which one to personally endorse a tough, but pleasant, challenge. (In one case, the Attorney General contest, we actually weren’t able to reach a 60% consensus – a bit more on that is explained in the endorsement list below.)
How did we Democrats end up with a primary contest so rich with admirable candidates? I think we can thank the 2016 election of Donald J. Trump for some of it. Soon after the flukey election of that dangerously unqualified and demonstrably ignorant man to our nation’s highest office new faces began appearing in political contests at every level of government. And these service-minded Americans are not going to disengage any time soon. I’m optimistic that they will be an important part of American politics far into the future.
And here in Illinois, our present political scene offered opportunities that attracted more than the usual number of candidates in certain races. Bruce Rauner’s disastrous run as Governor can be ended in November, and six Democrats are competing for the chance to end it. The announcement by our popular Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, that she won’t seek reelection has attracted eight candidates for that office. And the decision of State Rep. Laura Fine to run for the State Senate seat being vacated by Senator Daniel Biss as he runs for the Governorship, opened a Primary contest that has attracted five aspirants to be the next State Rep. for our 17th House District.
So last Sunday is now history. We New Trier Democrats completed the first big step in this very important election year and voted on our endorsements. Between now and the March 20 Primary Election those candidates will be able to use our endorsement in their communications and will be receiving specific support from our Organization. (As North Shore Democrats, proud of our independence, we recognize that some of our members will continue to support un-endorsed candidates until March 20 is past. This happens in every primary race and it’s what separates us from the lock-step Republican mentality that is so unhealthy in a democracy.)
The next big event to mark in you calendar is the February 18 Sunday afternoon Rally at the Wilmette Recreational Center (see details in the news item below). You also might consider making a personal statement on the Trump government this Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Women’s March in Chicago (details also below).
It’s still only January so we’re just getting started. Between now and next November we can all be involved in changing the distressing direction of our state and our national government. We have the candidates capable of playing a big role in that change. But they’re going to need all of us to help them make it happen.
NTDO member since 1973