Democratic gubernatorial candidate Daniel Biss plans to announce a new running mate on Friday — two days after dropping Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa from his ticket amid backlash over comments the rookie alderman made about Israel.
A Biss campaign source confirmed the announcement but would not offer details on the pick.
Several sources said Biss had interviewed state Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, for his new running mate. But the Biss campaign would not confirm the selection.
The state senator from Evanston is moving quickly in an effort to get past the embarrassment of asking his first choice to step down after only six days on the ticket.
The clock is ticking for all of the gubernatorial candidates.
Tuesday marked the first day to begin gathering the signatures they need to get on the 2018 primary ballot. Candidates must have a running mate before they can begin circulating the petitions, however. Democratic rival Chris Kennedy plans to announce his choice for running mate next week.
Ramirez-Rosa, 28, was chosen as Biss’ lieutenant governor pick last week. But Biss on Wednesday announced the two had “reached a difficult decision.”
“Growing up with an Israeli mother, grandparents who survived the Holocaust, and great-grandparents who did not survive, issues related to the safety and security of the Jewish people are deeply personal to me,” Biss said in a statement about the decision.
At issue are comments Ramirez-Rosa made last year about U.S. divestment from Israel. Speaking to the Real News Network, the 35th Ward alderman said the U.S. government “has subsidized the oppression of the Palestinian people, and it’s time that stopped.”
“I have not heard much discussion about the relationship of the U.S. with Israel, with divesting from Israel to support the people of Palestine. Not a lot of that was discussed this weekend. And I think that’s a conversation that needs to be had,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
Congressman Brad Schneider dropped his endorsement of Biss over the comments and after pressure from groups and his GOP opponent Jeremy Wynes.
Ramirez-Rosa in a statement Wednesday said “the difference of opinion we have on the role the BDS movement plays at the federal level would make it impossible to continue moving forward as a ticket.”
The Palestinian-led movement encourages boycotts of companies that do business with Israel.