Chicago Alderman launches congressional campaign to make Rep Bobby Rush successful

A Chicago city councilor who was running for the post of Illinois secretary of state dropped her bid for the title, announcing Wednesday that she had instead launched a campaign in Congress to succeed incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush ( D-Ill.).

“After careful consideration and many conversations with my family and supporters, I announced today my candidacy for Congress in the 1st District of Illinois,” Ald said. Pat Dowell, a Democrat who represents the 3rd district on the south side of the city. The Chicago Sun-Times first reported on Tuesday that Dowell was due to announce this week whether she would change her political race.

In a tweet, Dowell expressed gratitude for the support she had received during her campaign for Illinois Secretary of State, but said that “recent events both here in Illinois and across the country, made me decide to run for Congress. . “

Rush said on Tuesday he would not seek re-election to Congress. The lawmaker and former Black Panther, who was first elected in 1992, has said he will not step down from public service and plans to continue his work as an activist minister.

“Please don’t think I’m cutting and running,” the 75-year-old congressman said Tuesday at Roberts Temple of God in Christ Church, a church known for hosting the funeral in 1955. of Emmett Till, a black child from Chicago who was brutally beaten and murdered by white men in Mississippi. “I will remain at the forefront of the battlefield, organizing my community. “

Rush’s announcement opened the field for a host of candidates to try to succeed him in the strongly Democratic 1st District, which the state’s new Congressional map says covers part of the southern Chicago suburbs and the southern Cook County. Rush did not indicate who he plans to support for the Democratic primary in June, but said on Tuesday he plans to do so in “the next few weeks.”

Six candidates had already entered the race before Rush announced he would no longer be running, including community activist Jahmal Cole and Reverend Christopher Butler. Lawyer Karin Norington-Reaves will officially participate in the race on Sunday, according to the Sun-Times, and Democratic State Senators Elgie Sims, Jacqueline Collins and Robert Peters may also participate.

When applying for Secretary of State, Dowell lagged behind its competition in fundraising. But despite stricter fundraising rules at the federal level than at the state level, the alderman will likely be able to convert a large portion of his public funds into federal money. She can also use her state’s money for generic party building, such as voting efforts.

With an existing paid operation and extensive experience as a politician, Dowell is likely to become the leader in the race to succeed Rush. The candidate said her platform is to ensure voters receive enough federal resources, to protect voting rights and access, to be a strong advocate for gun control, to protect safety social and health insurance and to provide “health care for all”.

In her announcement, Dowell also said that Rush “has led the fight for racial justice and inspired many” and that she wants to “recognize the many contributions” of her “life of service to advancing civil rights and protecting underserved communities, especially those of color.

Rush was widely known for decades as the co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Its co-founder, Fred Hampton, was killed in his sleep at the age of 21 during a police raid in 1969. Rush also experienced the shooting death of his own son in 1999, something that he would describe later while arguing for firearms legislation.

Since then, Rush has continued his activism by becoming an ordained minister, Chicago city councilor, and formidable member of Congress. In March 2012, lawmakers intentionally broke House dress code by wearing a hoodie on the floor in honor of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager who was dressed alike when a neighborhood watch volunteer shot him in Florida.

Rush’s long tenure in Congress has not been without criticism. He received a backlash from progressives for supporting the 1994 Crime Bill, federal legislation that contributed to the mass incarceration of blacks and browns. In 2016, Rush said he was “ashamed” for voting for the bill.

Rush is leaving Congress after approximately three decades of service, during which he became the only person to defeat former President Barack Obama in an election, in the 2000 Democratic primary for the 1st District. He is the 24th House Democrat this year to announce that they will not stand for re-election. Eleven House Republicans have also said they will not seek re-election, in a year the GOP hopes to gain control of the House after several years of being a minority.

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