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*** UPDATED x1 *** A look at some progressive wins in Democratic primaries

Friday, Jul 15, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico interviews Abdelnasser Rashid, a progressive who defeated Rep. Mike Zalewski (D-Riverside) in the primary

Along with knocking out a powerful lawmaker, Rashid’s victory is significant because of how he won: using his full name and showcasing his ethnicity, including his wife in full hijab.

The 32-year-old Chicago-born community organizer had run unsuccessfully in previous races — for Cook County Commission in 2018 and Cook County Board of Review in 2020. In both those races, he was advised to Americanize his name to “Nas,” a nickname he sometimes uses, and to downplay his background. The thinking was that he needed to be palatable to voters who might have prejudices against Arabs or perceived foreigners.

Rashid ignored the advice then and set out on his latest campaign with optimism that voters would accept him for who he is.

“We believed that once people got to know me, that they can move past any preconceptions,” Rashid told Playbook.

Like other successful candidates, he spent countless hours walking the district, “personally knocking on close to 7,000 doors,” he said. “There’s nothing more powerful than real conversations — not just to share your vision but to hear what’s going on in their lives.”

Political observers see Rashid’s success in the 21st District, which includes Cicero and Berwyn, and Delia Ramirez’s victory in the newly created 3rd Congressional District, as proof that the suburbs are becoming more diverse.

Yes, they’re becoming more diverse, but also much more welcoming, at least in the Democratic primary.

* Allie Lichterman with the People’s Lobby, which put a ton of progressive volunteers into the field this spring, has a Sun-Times op-ed

Heading into the midterm elections, media outlets and political party leaders insisted that “tough-on-crime” policies would be on every voter’s mind; if elected officials wanted to win, they must back off reforms or face losses and the wrath of police unions.

In Cook County, primary election results told a very different story. Progressives who talked about non-carceral solutions to violence won big.

Movement-grown state Rep. Delia Ramirez beat a powerful sitting alderman in her bid for Congress. Toni Preckwinkle held onto her role as Cook County board president while supporting jail decarceration and bail reform. Organizer Anthony Quezada defeated a long- time incumbent for Cook County commissioner on a platform that included a civilian first responder program.

Meanwhile, the Fraternal Order of Police failed to convince the public that reforming the criminal legal system will undermine public safety. The clearest test was on Chicago’s Northwest Side, home to many police officers and assumed to be conservative. […]

While the FOP poured $100,000 into trying to scare voters, concerned community members with the People’s Lobby had actual conversations with people in those same neighborhoods. We knocked on the doors of over 8,000 people and spoke directly with thousands of them. What we heard may surprise the FOP and the pundits.

We brought up ending money bond at every door, and voters understood that denying people the presumption of innocence does not keep us safe. What does is school funding, racial justice, health care, bike lanes, reforming our regressive tax system, and much more.

It’s not like any of these candidates sent out mailers promising to let more people out of prison. But they didn’t run away from the issues and talked about other things that society can do to address crime. And all the winners worked hard and fielded strong campaigns.

Also, Delia Ramirez won DuPage County 67-20 over Gil Villegas.

* Trying to ham-handedly gin up fear among the primary electorate failed miserably. WTTW

[Rep. Delia Ramirez] actually won two races on Jan. 28. She was also elected as the Democratic State Central Committeeperson, defeating Iris Martinez, the Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. Martinez campaigned with Catanzara, and endorsed many of the same candidates backed by the police union. Ramirez will now have a say in how the Democratic Party of Illinois operates. […]

Ald. Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd Ward) said it was a miscalculation on the part of Democratic moderates like Martinez to respond to the spike in violence during the pandemic by supporting so-called “tough on crime” measures and seeking the support of Chicago’s police union.

“It didn’t resonate,” said Rodriguez Sanchez, who has advocated for legislation decreasing funding for the Chicago Police Department and increasing funding for mental health treatment and social services. “It was a landslide.”

The Chicago FOP-funded mailers were over the top and not very well produced. But they and others will be back in the fall against folks like Sen. Rob Martwick (D-Chicago). They probably won’t do much better. Martwick, a former FOP ally, represents a district that all statewide Democrats have won by double digits the past three cycles. The “closest” race was Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s first win in 2016, and that margin in Martwick’s new district was still about 12 points (she won by 4.6 in Martwick’s current district). She then took the district by 38 points two years later.

*** UPDATE *** Not exactly a fabulous ROI…


  1. - Over It - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:10 am:

    In the late winter, IL-03 polling showed Delia approaching 50% to Gil’s ~20% with equal spends mostly due to the fact that she was a women and because of her Chuy, Jan, and Bernie endorsements. IEs actually spent more on her than Gil’s IE’s did for him, so it wasn’t equal, and her state campaign committee spent ~200k on state central committee direct mail. This wasn’t about any issues, it was about identitarian politics and money spent decently well on paid media.

  2. - SaulGoodman - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:15 am:

    **This wasn’t about any issues**

    **her Chuy, Jan, and Bernie endorsements**

    These two things don’t go together…

  3. - Over It - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:17 am:

    Saul, i disagree- endorsements are often about relationships, not issues.

  4. - Paul C. - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:18 am:

    Rich, I have a question about this “The Chicago FOP-funded mailers were over the top and not very well produced. But they and others will be back in the fall against folks like Sen. Rob Martwick (D-Chicago).” I don’t think there was a Republican Primary in that district. Other than gathering signatures to run as an Independent, how would anyone run against him in the Fall?

  5. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:19 am:

    === endorsements are often about relationships, not issues.===

    Explain “politics makes strange bedfellows” in the context of working together in campaigns or governing.


  6. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:26 am:

    ===how would anyone run against him in the Fall? ===

    Republicans can petition someone onto the ballot.

  7. - Paula - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:27 am:

    The story of this Primary is low voter turnout caused by the June 28th Primary date and its proximity to the 4th of July holiday. Progressives and Trumpsters both benefited from the low turnout. Not sure if the progressive gains are sustainable in a “normal” year. That said, Suburban Dems may start worrying more about Primary elections rather than General Elections if this keeps up. It’s also clear, that a return to 2018 policing/law enforcement is not a good message in a Democratic Primary…

  8. - Medvale School for the Gifted - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 10:45 am:

    Abdelnassar Rashid knew that using Mike Madigan brand against Mike Zalewski was the way to go. And Rashid’s campaign sponsor sure had an axe to grind with Madigan. So they doubled down really good. Abdelnassr’s name could have been Rocky the Squirrel and he still would have won.

  9. - Paula - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:05 am:

    ==using Mike Madigan brand against Mike Zalewski==

    This could be a problem for Dem incumbents in 2024.

  10. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    ===in 2024===


  11. - Stinger - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:18 am:

    Madigan didn’t kill Z. PNA did. Full stop.

  12. - Anon324 - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:26 am:

    Being a Dem and campaigning with Catanzara makes one wonder about the judgment and decision-making. The guy is anathema to the overwhelming majority of the party. Iris is probably going to have some explaining to do when her primary comes up.

  13. - Roman - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:27 am:

    As the old Democratic organizations take their last dying breaths, progressive have become more and more ascendent in primaries. That is particularly evident in geographic areas that are not traditionally seen as progressive hot beds, like the Northwest side and the suburban portions of the new 3rd CD.

    The same is true in the opposite direction on the GOP side as the old business/country club establishment shrinks. This year’s low turn-out June primary magnified the influence of the ideological base of both parties. Their folks are almost always fired up about voting.

  14. - Medvale School for the Gifted - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    No way PNA bear Z. Z knew his district and voted accordingly. I’m sure those associated with PNA want to think that. But then again, they did a pretty good job stretching the truth and making Z look anti-abortion. So there’s that disingenuous part of the campaign, yes.

  15. - Amalia - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:35 am:

    Martwick may well have an opponent. the Silvestri County seat is up and Podgorski of NWSide GOP is running against suburban Maggie Trevor. gotta go full out team Blue, Rob.

  16. - TNR - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 11:43 am:

    == Madigan didn’t kill Z. PNA did. ==

    This is anecdotal, but having walked for Z (and having talked to others who did the same,) Madigan/Z Sr./ComEd came up occasionally at the doors, PNA did not. Which is not to say PNA wasn’t a problem for him. Terry Cosgrove’s statement was harmful. I just don’t think there is one “full stop” factor that his loss can be pinned on.

  17. - TheInvisibleMan - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 12:12 pm:

    “Suburban Dems may start worrying more about Primary elections rather than General Elections if this keeps up.”

    If they haven’t started worrying about it yet, they are already too late.

    There just isn’t a bunch of constant noise coming from the top down about needing to replace a bunch of ‘DINOs’ so it isn’t as obvious to the general public. Instead It’s coming from the bottom up in the overall vote totals in primary elections.

    The underlying cause as I see it is because of the go-along-to-get-along attitude of a lot of suburban democratic organizations, they have been yanked far to the right as the overton window has moved.

    The population didn’t move that far though. In my suburban county, it seems to me there is a larger disconnect between the county democratic organizations and the public than in recent memory.

    The progressive candidates aren’t getting elected because it is a ’shift of equal measures in the other direction from the far right’. They are getting elected because they didn’t move to the right to begin with.

  18. - Telly - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 2:33 pm:

    Polling has consistently demonstrated that Chicagoans are concerned about crime and generally have positive feelings about the Chicago Police Department. But that positive feeling does not extend to Cantazara and the FOP — who are seen as Trump surrogates, which is a big problem for any candidate they support in a Dem primary.

  19. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 2:39 pm:

    ===a big problem for any candidate they support in a Dem primary===

    Or the general, for that matter.

  20. - low level - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 3:45 pm:

    The FOP created “New Vision Democrats of Cook County” didnt know their you know what from a hole in the ground. Their volunteers sat there at my polling place on election day, barely making any effort to hand me their palm card. I had to ask them for it.

    Crump’s mailings were amateurish. Total clown car stuff.

    Its a shame because I felt with the right message and good campaign, Sonya Harper was vulnerable. Whatever slow start Harper got off to, she and the Speaker’s mailings were focused and effective.

  21. - Genuinely Confused - Friday, Jul 15, 22 @ 4:02 pm:

    So FOP endorsed one judicial candidate and then gave money to her opponent? Very confusing.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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