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More on the lack of a woman running for governor

Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017

* We’ve discussed this topic before, but here’s a new story from Illinois Public Radio

A website that popped up this month asks a question as its URL: arethereanywomenrunningforilgovernor.com. It then very simply answers it with a bright red “NO.” A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.

Kady McFadden is the deputy director of the Illinois Sierra Club. She’s one of the people behind the site. She says the idea came up over dinner with several other women who also hold powerful positions. “It sort of felt like the elephant in the room that we needed to address - and the first thing we wanted to talk about before we could dive into the race itself. As colleagues - as female colleagues that work in politics, that care about issues in our state, it was one of the first things on our minds,” says McFadden.

* And here’s Katelynd Duncan writing in Crain’s

For the past 10 years, I have worked with candidates across the state of Illinois running for local and statewide office. Over and over again, I have seen donors who are reluctant to give money and campaign resources to female candidates. Research has shown us that, when women decide to run, they are elected and re-elected at the same rate as their male counterparts. However, with the epic spending no longer limited to the “sexy” top-tier offices such as president, Senate or gubernatorial races, down-ballot races cost more than ever.

The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported that the governor’s race here in Illinois is averaging about $120,000 spent per day. There are still 18 months until the election—a race for a single office that, according to Politico, is on track to become the most expensive statewide contest in U.S. history, possibly topping a record $300 million.

So what does this all mean? It means that consultants, candidates and donors need to adapt and evolve. Fast. Gender aside, the traditional donor pool cannot keep up with this level of campaign spending and raise enough money to win. The bar of fundraising expectations has been raised to a level that renders potentially viable candidates—not just women, but especially women—irrelevant if they don’t have the resources to run.

That’s where we step in. Not only do we need to build a pipeline of talent at the local level—we need to give them checks. Change starts at home, and we need more women to run for local school boards, public libraries and boards of commissioners. We need to donate to them, too.

While bipartisan campaign finance reform is a pipe dream, donating to women candidates can be a reality. There are currently dozens of women running for office in Illinois right now, each one an opportunity to invest in the future of our state.

And until we start making that investment, we surely will have the same male candidates over and over again.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:18 pm:

    Haven’t the women behind this web site ever heard of IWIL? Loretta Durbin and others have been training and supporting women for public office for years, and doing great work. IWIL alumna are in elected offices all over the state.


  2. - Snucka - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    Yes, some of the women behind the site are IWIL alumni. It seems odd that Kady or one of her friends would start a website rather than “run for something” themselves.


  3. - ChrisB - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:23 pm:

    Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe women are the smart ones here?

    /s


  4. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:24 pm:

    Women Rising in Illinois is already doing a lot of that local organizing. Also Action Illinois is out there recruiting and organizing promising women candidates. I personally know of five women in my area who have already announced. This is on the DEM side. But I also know of several on the R side.

    It’s happening. I am seeing a lot of movement.


  5. - Robert the 1st - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    =A group of professional women in the state are behind the effort to draw attention to the issue.=

    Why doesn’t one of them run?


  6. - Saluki - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:35 pm:

    The Republicans also have a training program for women seeking to get involved in politics. The Lincoln “Excellence in Public Service” Series.


  7. - Scott - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:42 pm:

    They talk the talk, and don’t walk the walk!! If they want a woman to run - then throw their hat in the ring. They are just being a hypocrite


  8. - 51st Ward - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:44 pm:

    As an organizer from Mt. Greenwood, look no further than Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer.


  9. - view from the cheap seats - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:49 pm:

    missed the outcry when Bustos was pushed out of the race for the billionaire to challenge Rauner…


  10. - Ron Burgundy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:53 pm:

    Yes, if anything is the primary factor for putting this race out of reach for many, it is money. However, there are at least 7 men running on the Dem side and untold numbers of other men on both sides who are being intimidated away by the very same thing. I think a solid female Dem candidate in this race right now would do at least as well financially as any of the other candidates save Pritzker and would coalesce some support. I think “so why isn’t anyone trying?” is a valid question. Dawn Clark Netsch and JBT proved that winning the party nomination can be done. Blame the system is too simplistic. Might be some truth to their having too much sense to get in, though.


  11. - TopHatMonocle - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 1:54 pm:

    Leave it to a fundraising consultant to say that campaign finance reform is a pipe dream, and the real problem is people not writing enough checks to candidates.


  12. - Not It - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:04 pm:

    Julie Hamos would have made a great Governor.


  13. - Amalia - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    look at the entire business of politics, not just the elected officials, and ask your self if there are enough women in positions of power. chief of staff, campaign manger, not just candidate. It’s a pretty male field. make changes in all places.


  14. - Das Opinionator - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    I would guess that it’s partly because of the increasingly vitriolic nature of Illinois politics. Women tend to receive much more public abuse than male candidates. When you throw IPI’s comments section into the mix, I think many women who would consider running for governor probably realize that they would end up just as hated as Michael Madigan, and probably be threatened far more than the Speaker.


  15. - SOIL M - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    I would be glad to support Christine Radogno for Gov. The party that sold its soul should consider someone like her.


  16. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:31 pm:

    ==we need more women to run for local school boards, public libraries and boards of commissioners.==

    Cannot speak for boards downstate, but in the suburbs, there are no shortage of women serving in these positions. Add Park Boards to it too. I’ve seen many of them recruited to run for higher office and many prefer to stay where they are.

    Women really need to WANT to run for these positions and slog their way up, like several have; Radogno, Bellock, to name a couple, but there are many, many more.

    And just because they think they’re perfect and ready doesn’t mean they are any more than men who consider it. I’ve seen incredible sums of money go to women candidates (Dems have done this more than the GOP, but they’re improving).

    These people (men and ladies) would do well to start talking to their daughters in high school about these public service positions the way they would about medicine or law or any other vocation. The indoctrination starts early. Get them into internships and see if they like it. My bet is that plenty of them would.


  17. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 2:33 pm:

    Ron B, to expound on your point (which was made very well), if Penny was the Pritzker in this race, the field would likely have been cleared long ago. Her brother?? Uh, no.


  18. - Ginhouse Tommy - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 3:11 pm:

    This will probably get me banned but a female Governor probably wouldn’t have the smarts to get us out of this mess but then again a female Governor would have the smarts not to get us into it in the first place. A little compassion goes along way. Ciao.


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 3:28 pm:

    Ive learned in life that women are far too smart to get involved with Republican Party. Well unless they have been bought.

    Since Rauner does all the buying in the Republican party this question really should be put to him.


  20. - Periwinkle - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 5:59 pm:

    Okay I’ll say it. Ginhouse Tommy, don’t be daft.

    There’s research showing that it’s harder for women to feel like they’re ever qualified to run for public office, plus they’re less used to promoting themselves in the types of ways necessary for American politics. So they’re less likely to throw their hats in the ring.

    Training programs like IWIL’s and organizational support is critical to help fill that confidence gap but we need much, much more of that and hopefully we’ll get it soon. I know a lot of women who woke up angry on November 9. Some of them will run, and I hope we support them.


  21. - huey - Wednesday, Jul 26, 17 @ 9:13 pm:

    The superior thinking gender usually are wise enough to stay away from messes like Springfield politics


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Reader comments closed until Tuesday
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