CHICAGO (CBS) — In a rare move, President Barack Obama is joining the fray in an Illinois House race, backing a first-time candidate against a Democratic incumbent in a race that has become a proxy war in the battle between Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Obama has endorsed Juliana Stratton for state representative in the Illinois 5th District, against incumbent state Rep. Ken Dunkin, who has frequently drawn the speaker’s ire by leaving him without enough votes to override Rauner’s vetoes of labor union and budget issues.
The president recorded TV and radio spots for Stratton, a first-time candidate for public office, who currently is on leave from her job as head of the Center for Public Safety and Justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“I’m endorsing Juliana because this campaign is a fight for the future of our neighborhoods. It’s about supporting those who will stand up for our children, our seniors, and our working families. Like me, Juliana is tired of the violence on our streets. Julian will crack down on gun violence and fight for tougher penalties for violent offenders. And, as a mom, Juliana knows how important child care is, and she’ll work to restore child care funding to help working families,” he said in a radio ad for Stratton.