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HomeIllinois NewsNevins: Are GOPers so desperate to oust Durbin we won't scrutinize challengers?

Nevins: Are GOPers so desperate to oust Durbin we won’t scrutinize challengers?



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Potentially on 2020 GOP US Senate ballot: Mark Curran, Peggy Hubbard, Tom Tarter

By Jennifer Nevins - 

It was sixteen years ago that Michael Gerson coined the term that President George W. Bush would use to great effect: “The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.”

Originally, the President used it to champion his “No Child Left Behind” education program, the phrase intended to vividly encapsulate the propensity of school teachers to expect lesser results from Hispanic and black students.

President Bush himself seldom used the powerful phrase again, but it caught fire with many of us conservatives who saw in it an even more fitting application: a tidy way to summarize Democrats’ patronizing treatment of minority groups outside of the classroom.

Indeed, it is hard to conceive of a more accurate  missile with which to blast all facets of Progressive paternalistic nonsense-the acceptance of underachievement, the shocked surprise at overachievement, the underestimating of agency, and refusal to expect anything more than just good enough. Conservatives, we loved to stress, see people as people-and have no need to make the distinctions the Left does as naturally as breathing.

But we are now in the year 2019. Primary season is here. In Illinois, we have now have several Republican primary candidates circulating petitions to unseat Dick Durbin in 2020 – among them political newcomer Peggy Hubbard, former Lake County sheriff and attorney Mark Curran, and Downstate physician Dr. Tom Tarter.

And the Gerson shoe is – for a surprising number of conservatives – on the other foot.  

Peggy Hubbard

For her part, GOP candidate Peggy Hubbard – who rocketed onto the scene in 2014 with her live Facebook rants in which she courageously called out the black on black crime in Ferguson and beyond – is a woman with a compelling life story.

As she tells it, she has a hard scrabble background as she was raised in a St. Louis ghetto to a single mother. She is a former member of the Navy. A former court officer.  A former police officer. A former IRS analyst. A former abused wife and a former single mother.

She is also a former Democrat who recently admitted she voted for Obama both in 2008 and 2012.

Additionally, – in spite of Peggy Hubbard’s insistence that she supported Donald Trump in 2015 – official records show that she did not pull a GOP primary ballot in 2016 to vote for Trump nor any other GOP primary candidate.

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Incredibly – and incredibly often – a typical response to that bit of truth telling is as follows: "Yeah, so?  They all voted that way. Leave it be. The past is in the past."

They all voted that way.

No – actually they didn’t. Of course, it is true, that most black Americans voted for Obama. But looking at 2012, approximately 1.4 million black Americans voted for the Republican candidate (the author can’t bring herself to mention his name, but Utah is not missing him).

It’s normal for progressives to lump all non-whites into one unthinking hive, but must we conservatives do it too? Conservatives are certainly entitled to not care if their candidate was bamboozled not once but twice, but for heaven’s sake don’t regard the concern like it is out of bounds. It is not.

Leave it be. What on earth for? Is this a primary or a coronation?

Peggy Hubbard must be scrutinized.  So too must Mark Curran. So too must Tom Tarter. So too must anyone else who thinks enough of their background, their abilities, their virtues, to get into the muck and mire of the Senate race. This is a primary. And primaries are for fighting. It should be an exercise in political discernment, not in political correctness. If one cannot see past color, it is on them, but the character assassinating of those with the temerity to put it out there needs to stop. It is what the Left does.

The past is in the past. Quite possibly it is. In Hubbard’s case, and in anyone else’s. But outright dismissal of the old saying ‘the past is indicative of the future’ is what guides not only the historian, but voters as well. Otherwise, a candidate’s background and voting record wouldn’t matter and we would hand every guy or gal a blank slate. But we don’t.

Or do we?

Will we learn from the past? 

In the days of Illinois conservatives being backstabbed by the likes of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk and more recently,  U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, there seems to be a curious lack of caution as it pertains to the 2020 U.S. Senate all-important race.

People I know who swore up and down and up again that they would ever allow themselves to be fooled again seem very eager to dismiss any sort of questions as out of hand.

Sadly, some of these folks – good conservative folks – have no trouble ascribing the very worst of motives on those who raise the red flag. Remember when so many of us bemoaned the fact that Obama’s race and Hillary’s gender seemed to give them immunity to all criticism?  After all –who wants to be called a racist, a misogynist, a bigot?

Remember that?

I have already aggravated a number of you, so I may as well go on to suggest that  if  a wide swath of the conservative voting base in this state is going to approach this primary as a game of ‘hear no evil, see no evil” we may as well vote by cast our votes by drawing straws.  

In a sense, everything I have said here goes far beyond Peggy Hubbard, although understandably her supporters are unlikely to buy that. In this election – and in those that will follow – we conservatives have to apply the same standards, the same concerns, and yes, the same leeway if so desired, to all candidates running under the Republican banner. To question the background, the motivations, the record, of ANY candidate is simply a corollary to good judgement.

Scrutiny, friends, is not a smear.


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  1. Why is only Peggy Hubbard scrutinized in this article? Where is the research on Mark Curran and Tom Tarter. Tom also voted as a Democrat, but alas, Jennifer Nevins is supporting Tom and so she refrains from putting out official documents about his voting record. And THAT’S the rest of the story.

  2. Nothing but a smear job on Hubbard.
    Nevins said all candidates needed to be vetted but only trashed Hubbard.
    No mention of Curran running as a Democrat and holding office and tutoring illegal immigrants how to evade ICE. Or Tarter and all the malpractice suits he’s been involved in.

  3. We can’t look at this article in a vacuum. Jennifer Nevins and her friends like Linda have been leaving many other comments about Peggy Hubbard. Jennifer is right, we should scrutinize every candidate, but I did that. I scrutinized Peggy the first time I heard about her back in January. I researched what I could and I reached out to Peggy to both learn more about her and invite her to come out to Palatine for some Q&A. In April, Peggy came out to our Lincoln Day Dinner to meet people, and in June she came out to our monthly meeting for Q&A. I also talked to her at length about topics like legalization of marijuana, opportunity zones, gun control, law enforcement etc. Yet, every time I speak out on her behalf, I was getting questioned by Jennifer, Linda, Connie, and Judy … no need for last names here. They know who they are.
    I am all for scrutinizing a candidate, but have some respect for those of us who have scrutinized her and have reached the conclusion that Peggy Hubbard is sincere and passionate about her beliefs. She may not have been a life long Republican, but many of her life-long values are conservative. This is true for many blacks, the Democratic party is out of touch with many of their long-held values.
    Again, I appreciate the need to scrutinize, but in this article Nevins did nothing but point out the need to scrutinize Peggy Hubbard while ignoring those that already have. I’m disappointed in this article as it is written.

  4. Dennis and Tim,
    Thank you for highlighting the over- arching point of this article.
    There is no requirement to scrutinize every candidate in an article. If you would like to write an article scrutinizing Tarter, Curran, or anyone else, it’s a free country ( for the time being anyway) and you are free to do so.
    Scrutiny is not a smear. If you would like to point out an inaccuracy in this piece please do so. However, the voting record is what it is- not a smear. If you don’t like the light being shine on it, that is your issue. Not mine or anyone else’s.

  5. I have a BIG problem with the LYING Peggy Hubbard has done, particularly her telling folks she walked petitions for Trump in the Primary when documents obtained proved that was a blatant lie! St. Clair County confirmed NO petitions were circulated for a Trump in the county. Then she lied and said she supported Trump in the primary, LIE. She didn’t pull a ballot in the primary. Also I cannot trust Hubbard, who claims to be ProLife, yet voted for Obama over a ProLife candidate twice. Nobody ProLife would vote for a Obama candidate especially since Obama was THE FIRST democrat to support infanticide on the record. I reached out to invite Peggy Hubbard to attend a Republican picnic last summer. I have proof of messages sent to her telling her twice, she could speak at the picnic. Although she declined the invite, she has since LIED publicly saying that the reason why she couldn’t attend was because I told her she couldn’t speak at the event. I have proof of her lying and confronted her and she refused to apologize for lying. Then she threatened me because I called her out on it saying she would report me for harassment. Outrageous. This woman is unfit to be elected. I will NOT tolerate blatant liars like her who will draw a tax payer subsidized paycheck. We don’t need to send more liars to Washington! With all her bankruptcies, foreclosures, rogue GoFund me accounts, lawsuits, and inconsistencies in her stories, not to mention no clear platform offering solutions to problems … voters should be weary about her ability to serve the people. Her campaign feels like a publicity stunt!

  6. IL GOP seem to be only interested in maintaining their expense accounts, campaign warchests and easy jobs at the expense of Illinois citizens. Never have I heard them fighting for votes in the city, never have I seen them push back on the socialists and communists who have taken the state over and are indoctrinating our children. If all you have to offer is a less liberal platform then GFY, hopefully your assets are all in IL when it collapses. FIGHT for your lives, or live in the Midwest California with crappy weather and higher confiscatory taxation. IL GOP is spineless and republican in name only. IL GOP non-binary party. I’m building a home out of state to move to and so is everyone else that can afford to. Thanks Jennifer for the 🔥

  7. NO, Since you and Linda are crazy for scrutinizing PH you need to be just as quick to scrutinize Tom who you are supporting he voted Democrat too. But you do not mention it in your article. What a shame!!

  8. Interesting article. I was very supportive of Peggy Hubbard until recently when I heard her say that she voted Republican in the 2016 primary and voted for President Trump. From what I have seen and read since then it appears her statement was not true. I will say that I found that very disappointing.
    Not sure at this time who I will be supporting in the primary.
    I will say that I appreciate this stuff being brought out in the public eye.
    Thank you Jennifer Nevins.
    I will be looking forward to seeing some scrutiny of the other candidates as well if any should choose to post it.:

  9. I totally agree. I remember when Joe Walsh won the primary in 2010. Shortly thereafter, we discovered he had been arrested for driving without a license, faced foreclosure on a piece of property, used to be pro-choice etc. The list was long. But we felt who he is now is far more important than who he was. Of course later, we realized he was a chameleon, offering himself up to whomever offers the most bucks. We discovered he had no moral base, no ethical compass. Buyers remorse is now in full swing as he attempts to primary the greatest President I’ve seen in my lifetime. So I have some real misgivings about Peggy Hubbard. I do not engage in identity politics nor do I think the GOP should EVER! However, let’s discuss the seat she’s running to obtain. THE U.S. SENATE! Not a small position, and for 6 years no less. The very fact that she voted for Obama in 2008 & 2012, tells me she’s not very savvy politically. I’m just a voter and I saw who Obama was in 2008. It was apparent, in your face apparent. Now maybe Peggy has had a epiphany that made her go from pro-abortion candidates to pro-life candidates – good for her! Maybe she has come around as many African Americans have about the Democrat Party. But one thing is for certain….I cannot trust her to discern righteousness from wickedness. I cannot trust her to make key decisions that affect America. I cannot trust her cause she has no voting record…outside of Democrat. Perhaps in time she can prove herself at which point I’ll be more than happy to support her. But for someone who has never held an elected position and voted for Obama TWICE!!! No thank you! I will never ever again support another Joe Walsh!

  10. I’ve known Mark Curran since 2010. He left the Democrat party over abortion, he’s a strong pro-life Catholic. I know him as Sheriff, and he came in under budget every single year as Sheriff. He put himself in the jail for a week to see it from an inmates perspective. He made all kinds of Christian ministry in the jail available throughout his 12 years. In his mind, it’s a chance to rehabilitate them while in his custody. I also know under his leadership, he ran one of best Sheriff offices in the nation. Now the issue of tutoring illegal immigrants on how to evade ICE is a new one. Mark Curran is a rule of law kind of guy. I don’t know anything about Tarter. Lastly, I know he supports Trump!

  11. Gene,
    Rocky said he looks forward to seeing more scrutiny of other candidates. He didn’t say he was looking for that from ME.
    As I said above-if you or anyone else wants to write an article scrutinizing them-have at it!
    Anyone who knows me knows that I am leary of anyone who has made public statements against our President. That includes Mark Curran. I am already on the record with that. The topic here is a phenomenom in the IL GOP wherein people-and not just myself-are being called racists etc. etc. because we point out that Peggy Hubbard has a problematic background by almost any objective measure.
    If you have an issue with it-that is your problem.

  12. I believe Sheriff Mark Curran is a strong Christian, that is not something to question. He is strong on pro-life. The big question is on immigration. It is no secret that as Sheriff, he opposed Trump’s immigration policies. He called them anti-immigrant policies. Sheriff Curran had a conversion, a St. Paul like conversion on immigration. Those were his words not mine. This is not a slander, I am sharing what he himself has written in the past. Unfortunately, he was also on a radio show in 2018 where he said that Trump was bad for the Republican party, and needs to be gotten rid of. Those were very harsh words. Curran defends these words by saying he was angry at the time. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, but one thing is clear in my mind. Donald Trump and Mark Curran do not see eye to eye on immigration. Some Republicans may like that others will not. I think that is a fair assessment.

  13. I know Mark Curran very well and behind the pious front is a man who has supported sanctuary state and Bruce Rauner against Ives—pro-life had nothing to do with his switch of parties, it was just easier for him to run as a Republican without a huge primary fight and his stiffing of Trump and Ives shows where he really is at on this issue.
    I could also talk about his attempt to save his incompetent sister from being fired by threatening our Lake County States Attorney with a primary if he did. I could go on about him stiffing my friends by not keeping his word, attacking their character unfairly and corruptly trying to fire them from his staff for blowing the whistle on corruption.
    I’d like to know when Tom Tarter voted Democrat—I was head of Republicans for Glenn Poshard, the last time we had a semi-honest candidate for Governor. Sometimes party asks too much and George Ryan was it.
    At the moment, Tarter seems like the best of a sorry lot, even though I am sure he is not a hard core conservative. I think we need the downstate vote to save the Shimkus seat and the next door seats that could go down, too. I know Curran and Hubbard won’t lift a finger for Ives and who ever wins the primary in the 14th Congressional district.

  14. He said “if any should choose to post it”. Read before typing.
    You guys are spending so much energy fighting over which non-credible candidate will face the evil senator that it’s laughable. None of your candidates will break 40%.

  15. A) Curran came in under budget every year because he asked and received millions more from the county board than he knew he would spend. It was a shell game. He’d beg the board for $60 million, knowing he was only going to spend $55-57 million, then parade around like a fiscal hawk for returning $3-5 million. B) Yeah, he put himself in jail….for the TV cameras. Out of the 7 days he was an “inmate”, he spent a majority of that time in his office, eating carry out food, and enjoying the comforts of freedom. He’s a liar if he tells you that he spent every night and all night in his cell, only ate the food from the jail’s kitchen, and gave up his cell phone and internet access. C) He was probably the worst Sheriff that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has had in modern history. Oh sure he’ll tell you otherwise, but ask the people who know….his former employees and more specifically his former undersheriffs, chiefs, and deputy chiefs….none of them would ever willingly go back to work for him.

  16. Gene Pushel, I read the article and I have the same concerns as Jennifer Nevins. I was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago where Peggy Hubbard was asked if she ever voted Republican in a primary. She responded that she did vote Republican in the 2016 primary but it appears she didn’t vote at all in that election.
    Peggy Hubbard appears on the surface to be a great candidate but I, along with some others, have some reservations about her.
    As I stated, I welcome scrutiny of the other candidates from anyone, not just Jennifer Nevins.

  17. The article would have been better if it mentioned all seven republican U.S. Senate candidates.
    I’ll vote for Dr. Robert Marshall. He’s an army veteran and former Burr Ridge village trustee. In 1998, he ran for Congress, in the 3rd District. he won the primary by defeating two Republicans. He’s pro-life, and he wants to ensure that Congress will defund Planned Parenthood. He’s a member of the NRA, and he wants to ensure that Congress won’t restrict any gun rights. He agrees with President Trump about immigration, including building the wall and deporting more illegal aliens. He says that, whenever Congress increases spending in one department, they should cut spending in another department and that the total amount that Congress spends, each year, should never be more than it is now. His site is http://www.citizensforrobertmarshall.net.

  18. As an Hispanic I welcome with open arms all Walk Away Democrats. I joined the Republican Party in 2010 after being an Independent for 30 years. After 2020 I will go back to being an independent…I see no sign right now that the Illinois Republican Party has any interest in welcoming minorities….especially if they voted for Democrats in the past.
    President Trump knows what he is doing by attracting minorities to the Republican Party, Unfortunately, Illinois Republicans only talk like they want the same thing…I have no time for this phoniness…or downright meanness. Our state is broken in so many ways. I fully support Peggy Hubbard…NOBODY in Illinois has a better chance at defeating DICK Durbin. She is his worst nightmare. Democrats can’t use the race card against this real fighter. Her family has already practically disowned her…but it is not stopping her from fighting for them still…she has learned how terrible the Democrats truly are and how blacks have been lied to for so long.

  19. Totally agree with you, Dennis Wagner, I came to those same conclusions last winter when I took the time to get to know Peggy Hubbard. I will not support anyone that has no chance to defeat Dick Durbin. President Trump needs fighters not losers running for office. He is doing his best to attract Walk Away Democrats…and he is succeeding.

  20. LMAO…Who will be the obligatory sacrificial lamb that Republicans will present to Dick Durbin and the Democrats. I can’t wait to see the qualified credentials of that individual deserving of Republican voter support. Illinois Republicans are clueless about knowing how to fight the Democrats who have ruined our state and caused over 500,000 to leave our state. Time to go back to being an Independent.

  21. I see the same faces on here are replying by their usual negativity. The only thing you gentlemen left out was that people not supporting Peggy must be a racist. Maybe you figured out that is not a winning way? Oh, and Gene Pushel, Tarter noted R, but nice try. You must have him mixed up with that other Doctor who actually voted for Bernie.

  22. I totally agree with you Dennis. We had her out for our Republican Steak Fry and she spoke to the NIRW, too. Most all of us support her and she is invited back for our Lincoln Day Dinner. She has ran the high road not engaging the likes of the others hating on her for no reason. The opposition candidates have run as Democrats and voted as Democrats in past elections. Worst of all they have not supported Donald Trump until they announce they run for candidate as a Republican in name only. They do not have a conservative conviction like Peggy Hubbard. Core convictions mean something.

  23. What a sham. Conservatives need to scrutinize candidates? Okay we did. Mark Curran was a democrat also. Of course you didnt bother to scrutinize his party affiliation in the past. He supported drivers lic. for illegals also. We dont need a Chicago Democrat for US Senate. We need someone with passion and guts. Like Peggy Hubbard.