SPRINGFIELD -- Longtime Republican state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan is crossing party lines to back Democratic Des Plaines Mayor Marty Moylan for the Illinois House.
In a letter this week, the 20-year lawmaker hones in on women's issues in her endorsement of Moylan over Republican Susan Sweeney of Park Ridge.
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"Our daughters and granddaughters deserve better than to refight battles over their basic freedoms," the letter reads. "If you value the independent leadership I have worked to provide, and believe our leaders should put our interests ahead of extreme ideology, the choice this fall is clear."
Moylan said it was an "honor" to have Mulligan's backing.
But Sweeney shot back saying Mulligan's assertion in the letter that Sweeney opposes abortion in cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger isn't true.
"I will continue to run a fact-based campaign focused on bringing fiscal responsibility to our state, even if career politicians are intent on lying about my positions and distracting voters from their record of higher taxes, more debt, and job losses," Sweeney said in a statement.
Mulligan has long been known in the area as a Republican who supports abortion rights. She is serving her last term in the Illinois House after an unsuccessful primary bid this spring.
Mulligan missed a deadline to get her name onto the primary ballot, and after she did, House Republican Leader Tom Cross backed Sweeney for the spot. Mulligan attempted a run as a write in during the March primary, but Sweeney won.
Despite the letter backing Moylan this week, Mulligan hasn't always had nice things to say about the mayor.
When Moylan was considering a run against Mulligan last year, Mulligan told the Daily Herald she thought Moylan was "a little cocky."
Mulligan's cross-party move is rare, but not unprecedented.
In Lake County in 2006, nearly 30-year Republican state Sen. Adeline Geo-Karis lost a primary bid for re-election. Afterward, Geo-Karis backed Democrat Michael Bond to replace her, and Bond went on to win.
Sweeney and Moylan are battling for the Illinois House in the 55th District, which includes parts of Des Plaines, Park Ridge and Mount Prospect. Partly because no incumbent is in the race, the contest is one of the most-watched and most expensive in the state.