‘A red pillar of resistance’

October 5, 2018 GMT

DIXON – With the general election is just over a month away, Republican candidates for a multitude of statewide offices came to Ronald Reagan’s hometown to rally the troops, encouraging the crowd to bring back conservative values and fight the “Madigan machine.”

Incumbents U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger and state Rep. Tom Demmer; state Rep. Brian Stewart, who’s seeking a move to the Senate; attorney general hopeful Erika Harold; Jason Helland, who’s vying for secretary of state; Jim Dodge, who’s running for treasurer; and Darlene Senger, comptroller candidate, all attended the “Keep it Red” rally at the Dixon Elks Lodge, attended by about 50 people and hosted by the Lee County Republican Central Committee.

Kinzinger – who’s facing Rockford immigration lawyer Sarah Dady in the 16th District – opened the night outlining what lies on the road ahead.

“Our opponents are a formidable one, but we are up against a narrative of resistance,” Kinzinger said. “They will chase Sen. Mitch McConnell out of restaurant. They will destroy the personal character and make accusations. And they will vandalize the Winnebago County Republican headquarters.”

He always will choose the side that brings results instead of resistance, he said.

Kinzinger also touted the growing economy as a promise kept by President Donald Trump.

“We passed a huge tax reform that puts money back to the people. We’re bringing companies back to the United States, giving us an edge in the world economy. We’ve increased our military spending, so we have the power to fight the Chinese and the Russians if we ever meet them on the battlefield,” Kinzinger said.

Senger questioned incumbent Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s loyalty to the position.

“If Mendoza wins, there’s a possibility she will run for the mayor of Chicago and leave the position open for the governor to fill,” Senger said. “But I’m going to roll up my sleeves and be a problem-solver for the next 4 years.”

Jim Dodge, who is running against Libertarian Michael Leheney and incumbent Democrat Mike Frerichs, also echoed fiscal responsibility.

“I’m a numbers nerd,” Dodge said. “My new favorite number is 2.6 billion. That’s the amount of penalty interest Illinoisans have been pre-committed to spend over the next 25 years because of our bond rating.

“The cost of incompetence is $2.6 billion dollars because of bad decisions in Springfield.”

Dodge and Senger have been making the rounds, campaigning statewide on the issue the two offices should be merged.

Helland questioned incumbent Secretary of State Jesse White’s long tenure, and cited what he considers irresponsible spending.

“White had 17 carpenters on his payroll to put picture frames in all of the DMV offices across the state,” Helland said. “He also said that he wouldn’t run in 2010, and again in 2014, so let’s give him a retirement plan of his own.”

For his part, Helland campaigned in an old police cruiser, and cited his everyday decisions as examples of his conservative values.

“I live within my means and drove that car for 20,000 miles before it broke down,” he said.

Rep. Brian Stewart, who’s leaving his post in the 89th District in a bid win the seat of outgoing 45th District state Sen Tim Bivins (the evening’s emcee), is facing Shabonna lumber yard manager David Simpson in the Nov. 6 election.

Stewart thanked Bivins for his years of service, and vowed to do what his supporters need once in his new office.

Demmer, of Dixon, who represents the 90th District, is facing Dixon Democrat Amy Davis. He rounded out the night by saying Republicans need to stand up to a possible “blue wave” come election time.

“There needs to be a new future for Illinois,” Demmer said. “There needs to be a red pillar of resistance, not a blue wave.”

Dixon school resource officer Mark Dallas, who prevented the May 16 Dixon High School shooting from turning tragic by confronting and wounding the shooter with no further injuries, also spoke, urging lawmakers to support a Senate bill that would fund more school resource officers in smaller districts.

“This is not a partisan issue, it’s about keeping our children and our community safe.”

Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti did not make the rally because she was attending the governor’s debate in Chicago, but she did send a short video.