When Governor Pritzker’s hand-picked candidate, State Representative Elizabeth “Lisa” Hernandez (D-Cicero), was elected to head the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) as the first Latina replacing U.S. Representative Robin Kelly (Matteson), the first Black to hold that position, it was a “slap in the face” to the Black community, Alderman David Moore (17th) said.
The governor’s decision to select the first Latina DPI chair over the incumbent Kelly “further divides the Black and Brown coalition,” Moore said.
“People are OK. They are living together, working and married to one another. It’s the ones at the top who are keeping us divided. Governor Pritzker is looking at his interests to be president. He will need that Latino vote. He’s looking at his interests. Politics is not having public friends or enemies, just public interests. You have to find out what the core interests of what people are,” Moore said.
“There is a big divide in the Democratic Party. We as Black people are getting the tail-end of everything. We have supported the Democratic Party for so long … a Party that is picking and choosing but does not have the best interests of the people.”
U.S. Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Representative Delia Ramirez last Friday, July 29, announced they would vote for Hernandez. Those two votes were responsible for Kelly’s decision to bow out of the race.
Pritzker had lobbied key elected officials to back Hernandez, like Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. Pritzker said because of Kelly’s federal status by law (Federal Election Commission’s rules) she cannot solicit campaign funds for candidates running in state elections.
The choosing of both women resembled the political “clashing of the Titans” in that Hernandez was backed by Pritzker, and Kelly, who replaced Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan as chair of the DPI, was backed by powerful Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.
Ironically, for the 2021 DPI chair election, Pritzker had endorsed Alderman Michelle Harris (8th) who was running against Kelly. This time, Pritzker flipped the script and selected Hernandez which has created a quiet storm of resentment from several Black leaders with Moore being the most vocal.
“These battles impact us … every negative indicator, whether it is around wealth, health, education, Black people lead. When Black people benefit, everybody wins,” Moore said explaining that other people of different races “will not be able to see true equity until we see it.”
Referring to Kelly’s not being elected for a second term, Moore said, “We have been so married to our party that has not been married to us. There is a battle brewing between Pritzker and Durbin since Madigan’s leaving the DPI. There is a power struggle that is going on between two white men to lead Black folks.”
Moore said it is clear that “you have white men picking someone who will be loyal to their cause. People you support will not always be the ones who support you, but still support them if you truly believe they are helping the people because it’s always got to be bigger than you,” Moore said in a video posted on his Facebook page.
As a federal elected official, Kelly cannot publicly endorse anyone, which was one of several reasons why Pritzker opted to select Hernandez, but despite that, Moore said he still backed Kelly.
The State Central Committeeman position is an unpaid position, but they make decisions on people who get elected to paid positions and make policy that impacts people. Many times they make decisions without the input from the community.
Last Friday, Kelly bowed out of the election saying, “Unfortunately, it has become clear that support for my re-election as chair will come up just shy of the necessary majority. Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration for chair.”
Still fuming from Pritzker’s and the 34-member State Central Committeemen’s move, Moore told the Chicago Crusader, “Here you have a rich white man get rid of Kelly. The State Central Committeemen who voted against Kelly did not go to the people who elected them. Now, Kelly is out as the head of the Democratic Party of Illinois.”
Representative Hernandez did not return several calls placed to her office and her cell.