Democratic Party of Evanston endorses Biss, Suffredin among others in Democratic primaries


Daily file photo by Colin Boyle

State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) speaks at an event. Biss received the Democratic Party of Evanston’s endorsement for his gubernatorial campaign.

Amelia Langas, Copy Chief

The Democratic Party of Evanston voted Sunday to endorse State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) for the 2018 Democratic primaries.

The group announced in a Sunday news release that Cook County commissioner Larry Suffredin, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), Cook County Board president Toni Preckwinkle, and Metropolitan Water Reclamation District commissioners Debra Shore and Kari Steele also received the group’s endorsement for the 2018 Democratic primaries.

Earlier that night, about 500 members of the organization packed into the Unitarian Church of Evanston to cast their votes for the DPOE’s endorsements in the March 20 primary elections.

Biss won the group’s endorsement for governor after receiving 85 percent of the vote — the highest received by any candidate Sunday night. Suffredin received the endorsement for Cook County commissioner, Cassidy for state representative of the 14th District, Preckwinkle for Cook County board president and Shore and Steele for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board, all of whom are incumbents.

“Evanston is a really important community in Democratic politics in general … because we have a lot of voters, they’re progressive and they vote, and we have a diverse electorate,” Eamon Kelly, Evanston’s Democratic committeeman, told The Daily. “It’s an important endorsement in terms of winning.”

For attorney general, state representative of the 17th District, Cook County assessor, Cook County treasurer and other positions on the Water Reclamation District board, the DPOE did not endorse a candidate.

Kelly said that in order for the organization to endorse a candidate, at least two-thirds of members must agree on the candidate. The turnout Sunday evening was more people than he’s ever seen attend an endorsement vote, Kelly said.

He said he views this boom in DPOE membership as a result of two things: the fact that Biss, an Evanston resident, is running for governor and the administration of President Donald Trump.

“I think a lot of this is a reaction to Trump and the newly energized electorate that … wants to be engaged in the democratic process,” Kelly said.

Gayle Anderson (Weinberg ’64), who attended the event and has been a member of the DPOE for about 25 years, told The Daily she came to hear about each candidate’s experience in government and to see what made each of them stand out. She added that an endorsement from the DPOE is “valuable” to candidates because it comes from a large number of informed community members.

Anderson said she was happy to see the women who are running, and she thought they were “some of the best candidates.” She said she was also interested in Biss.

“I’ve spent a great deal of time investigating who I think would be the best governor,” Anderson said. “Daniel Biss, he learns from his mistakes. He has made some errors, he has felt, in some of his legislative issues, but he’s the only one who has legislative experience and that’s important.”

While all candidates for each position were given a chance to speak, the crowd applauded Biss with particular energy.

Biss described his visit to Mahomet, Illinois — a historically conservative town, he said. He said he wasn’t expecting a huge turnout, but when he entered the room where his talk was being held, it was packed.

“People were excited to take back our state, to transform our society,” Biss said. “People have been energized and engaged by the tragic nightmare of having Bruce Rauner as our governor and Donald Trump as our president. … we are witnessing my friends, the Evanstonization of Illinois.”

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