Senate, presidential race in forefront at Democrat Day

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SHARE Senate, presidential race in forefront at Democrat Day

The U.S. Senate race and the presidential election were at the forefront as some of the state’s most prominent Democrats gathered Wednesday morning at an annual breakfast in Springfield.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan stumped for Hillary Clinton, calling the Illinois native “one of us,” while U.S Sen. Dick Durbin praised Senate hopeful Tammy Duckworth via a video message. He called Duckworth the “best” and “strongest” candidate.

It was a much more national focus for the Democrats, a day after Republicans celebrated their day at the Illinois State Fair.

Duckworth herself blasted Sen. Mark Kirk for not showing up to Republican Day at the fair, the day before. She broke into a bit of a comedy routine during her speech, mentioning Kirk’s “best hits,” like ‘bros before hos.’ She then likened his statements to those made by some Republican presidential candidates, calling Kirk a “pioneer” for the Republican party. And she joked that Kirk didn’t show up to the fair on Wednesday because he didn’t want to be seen with Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Duckworth said she’d stand tall against the “assault on organized labor” both in the state and in the country.

Later, U.S. Senate candidate Andrea Zopp — who is expected to kick off her campaign at the State Fair later Thursday — told the crowd she’s the product of American opportunity and will be traveling the state to seek input to “return vitality” and “to secure the future” of the state.

The Cook County Democratic Party pulled a bit of a surprise Wednesday by voting to remain neutral in the March 15 primary for U.S. senator.

A day after the Illinois Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto of a labor arbitration bill, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton called the override taking a “stand.”

Rauner had called the vote a test of Cullerton’s leadership.

“The Senate Democrats are open to compromise. We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don’t work for Gov. Rauner,” Cullerton said.

Illinois Speaker Michael Madigan told the crowd the Democratic Party in Illinois is strong, and that Democrats in the House will stick together despite “verbal abuse” and a barrage of “criticism” by Rauner and his administration.

He said he’ll continue to fight for the middle class.

“We’ve taken a lot of criticism, taken a lot of verbal abuse, but we are united,” Madigan said. “We are prepared to work cooperatively and professionally to adopt a spending plan, a budget for the state of Illinois, which would help and protect middle-class families,” Madigan said.

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