Chicago, IL US House-IL01 candidate Jimmy Lee Tillman, II ( R ) continues to rack up endorsements throughout his campaign. The Chicago Tribune editorial board and the University of Chicago College Republican are among the growing list of electorate that is supporting the long shot. The Black republican, in the strong democratic district, is breaking the stranglehold with his message of “working and not resisting to bring the necessary and much needed resources to the 1st Congressional District.”
The big question for voters of the 1stCongressional District is … why? Why can’t this South Side/south suburban district entice an array of qualified, competitive candidates to challenge entrenched Democratic incumbent Rep. Bobby Rush?
Rush has served the solid-blue 1st since 1993. We’ve joined with a chorus of constituents who complain Rush is practically invisible. He missed 27.2 percent of votes in 2017, according to GovTrack.us. He’s had health and family issues, but also legal issues. He was ordered this year to pay $1.1 million on a delinquent bank loan dating to a 2005 Chicago church he purchased, according to the Better Government Association. The district, facing economic and gun violence problems, deserves new representation.
Seeking to oust Rush is Republican Jimmy Lee Tillman II of Chicago, son of former Ald. Dorothy Tillman. Tillman, who’s failed to take this seat previously, grew up a Democrat. He struggled in the past to make a case for his candidacy and says he’s getting no help from the Republican Party. Yet this time Tillman makes an intriguing argument: As an African-American Republican in the U.S. House, he’d be positioned to work with President Donald Trump and Republican leaders on issues of importance to constituents. The Democratic black caucus has frozen out Trump, Tillman notes, even as the roaring Trump economy has brought African-American unemployment to record lows. Tillman cites voting rights for African-Americans and reparations as two issues he’d raise with Republicans. “By me shining a light, I feel like I can start the healing in this country by black citizens,” he told us.
Also in this race: independent candidate Thomas Rudbeck of Chicago. Long-term, the district is best-served by new political blood. We give the nod this time to the long-shot challenger. Tillman is endorsed.
Adam Chan, of the University of Chicago College Republicans, called Tillman's race a “game-changer.” The students are working on campus and in the 4th and 5th wards to share with young and independent voters Tillman's message and to offer an active alternative to Rep. Bobby Rush, who will be collecting a garnished check ,