Biss opens new Evanston field office for gubernatorial campaign

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Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

On Thursday, Biss opened his first campaign field office in Evanston.

Ryan Wangman, Summer Managing Editor

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) opened his campaign’s first field office in Evanston on Thursday and celebrated the achievement with supporters in the latest step on his quest to secure the Democratic gubernatorial bid early next year.

Biss, speaking to a standing room-only crowd that filled the space and poured out the office door, said he was humbled and inspired by the amount of support he’d seen on the campaign.

The office, located at 912 Sherman Ave., will serve as a place to “continue what we have begun to build,” he said.

“Thank you to the overwhelming response we have had to this campaign, not just from the community of Evanston, not even just from the 9th Senate District, but from across this region of the state,” Biss said.

Allie McRaith, the field organizer for Evanston and the surrounding areas, said she and a team of interns worked on designing the office in the week leading up to the opening to get the space ready.

Spaced out along the office’s walls are hand-painted purple pictures, one reading simply, “Biss for Illinois” and another a more lighthearted “Biss, please” over a painted outline over the state of Illinois. In the front corner of the store, there is a chalkboard counting down the days until the gubernatorial primary in March of next year.

McRaith said the office was “volunteer headquarters” and urged attendees to get involved through canvassing, working phone banks and donating items to the campaign. She also outlined the path for the campaign going forward.

“This part of the phase is about visibility and grassroots and that will continue obviously, but in the fall we’re going to start petitions,” McRaith said. “I’ll be here almost every day.”

Campaign volunteer Laura Frisch said at the meeting that she was first introduced to Biss when he helped her with her own campaign for library board member in Morton Grove. She said he wasn’t as concerned about telling her who she needed to talk to or what she needed to do, but was more interested in why she wanted to be a board member.

Frisch said that Biss told her he wanted to run for office for “the better good” and to fix some of Illinois’ problems. She told The Daily she believes politics and grassroots organizing have the ability to enact change on the local level.

“We get the chance here to say this is really a powerful, people-based campaign,” Frisch told The Daily. “When Daniel Biss came out and said, ‘I need people to organize some groups in coffee shops and people’s homes,’ I (said) ‘Sure!’”

Biss also said at the opening that — excluding fellow gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker’s $14 million self-funded campaign contribution — his campaign had raised as much money as every other candidate’s campaign combined. He credited that success to his volunteers and their efforts to spread his campaign message and asked for them to continue to do more.

“Join me in responding to the … frightening and dark situation not just in Illinois but in this country by saying, ‘Listen, no one’s going to do this for us,’” Biss said. “We have a responsibility to grab a hold of this moment and fix things ourselves.”

Biss will take on Democratic candidates including Ameya Pawar, Chris Kennedy and Pritzker in the primary on March 20, 2018.

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Twitter: @ryanwangman

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