SPRINGFIELD – "…And when I have the opportunity to find common ground, that doesn't make me a sellout to my own party," President Barack Obama said during his speech last month before the Illinois General Assembly. When Democrat House member Ken Dunkin rose to his feet, cheering in agreement, the president smirked, "Well, we'll talk later Dunkin, you just sit down."
The president's jab was all about Rep. Dunkin not showing up at the Capitol last fall during a crucial vote to override Governor Rauner's veto of a state employee union arbitration demand.
Dunkin's absence called down the wrath of Speaker Madigan, employee unions, the Democrat Party and district voters.
Monday, the president took last month's scolding one step further by endorsing Dunkin's primary challenger Juliana Stratton and narrating an ad for her campaign – an unheard of political maneuver for a president to get involved in a state rep race.
But the president has very high unfavorabilities nationwide, and perhaps only a highly-charged race in his hometown Chicago would welcome his involvement. Governor Rauner and his supporters are writing checks to Dunkin's campaign, while independent pro-Rauner committees are doing mailings, TV and radio ads for Dunkin.
Still, if by any chance Dunkin were to survive the challenge, it would be a huge embarrassment for the lame duck President Obama.
The president's ad for Stratton via CapitolFax's Rich Miller:
If this were my District, I would vote early and often for Mr Dunkin.
That’s OBummer. A good machine politician, to the very end.
Hey, where’s Kirk Dullard at?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTtUbzYDzB0
If I vote for Ken Dunkin, where do I go to get my $50.00 bill?
Get in line.