State Rep. Suzie Bassi's 11-year reign serving the 54th House District residents is coming to a close, and the Palatine woman doesn't hide her devastation over losing the Republican primary to small-business owner Tom Morrison.
Bassi, 64, also doesn't mask her contempt for what she calls the dirtiest campaign she's ever been involved in, and hesitates when asked if she will get behind Morrison when he faces Democrat Matt Flamm in the November general election.
"I find it very difficult to support people who can't tell the truth," Bassi said. "The principles of honesty and integrity are important to me."
Morrison received 5,405 votes, or 54 percent compared to 4,538 votes, or 46 percent, for Bassi, unofficial totals showed.
Bassi credits Morrison, 34, for his hard work walking most of the district, but said he purposefully lied and distorted her voting record relating to the number of times she voted "present." Morrison maintains his charges about her voting record were accurate.
She also felt the race hit a new low last weekend when protesters descended on Holy Family Catholic Church in Inverness to pass out leaflets highlighting Bassi's support for abortion rights.
"Picketing my place of worship was out of bounds," Bassi said. "I understand these tricks go on but I thought we were above it."
Morrison said members of the Illinois Citizens for Ethics PAC orchestrated passing out leaflets in response to the mailers sent by the Personal PAC painting him as an extremist who wants to imprison women who get abortions.
Bassi said she feels a number of other factors contributed to her loss, including an anti-incumbent movement. She also thinks she lost a number of independent voters, who pulled a Democratic ballot to oust Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
"It ended up being a no-win situation for me and I understand that," Bassi said. "I'm just humbled and grateful for the support I did receive."
Bassi said she'll use her remaining months in office to tackle a number of issues, one being to pass a measure she introduced that would limit free public transit rides to low-income seniors. She also wants "to clean up the ethics bill" and gather enough petitions for a referendum on changing legislative redistricting in the state to make it less arbitrary.
Morrison acknowledges the healing that has to be done within the party before November and said he'll extend an olive branch to Bassi supporters.
"I think it's sour grapes on Suzie's part," Morrison said. "Ultimately, this wasn't personal against Suzie Bassi. It was about new ideas."