David Earl Williams III, a Republican candidate in the 9th District primary, is refusing to disclose where he works, and up until this week, he had not told his employer that he was running for Congress.
Williams, a Chicago resident, faces Susanne Atanus of Niles on March 18, and the winner of that race will take on longtime Democratic incumbent Jan Schakowsky in the fall. Williams' name became highly publicized last week after controversial comments made by his opponent went viral.
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During an endorsement session with the Daily Herald in January, Williams said he had not told his employer that he was running. Williams said Friday that it wasn't until this week that he told his employer about the campaign. According to the Federal Election Commission, Williams filed his statement of candidacy back in June.
On Friday, Williams said his bosses were supportive but won't let him disclose where he works because they don't want to be affiliated with the campaign.
His campaign manager, Rae Ann McNeilly, also executive director of Taxpayers United of America, said it was to protect his job security that Williams waited so long to tell his employer.
"When someone is running for office, there is a political affiliation and the employer might have an issue for that," McNeilly said. "He is not the first one not to inform his employer until the campaign became viable."
McNeilly added that the lack of disclosure is not about keeping a secret.
"The biggest fear is that campaign work is going to take away from your performance on the job," she said. "The incumbent gets to run on the taxpayers' dollar, but that's not the case for someone employed in the private sector."
Williams has said he works in logistics. He served in the Navy from 2002 to 2006 and has also worked as a model and event promoter in the past, according to his campaign website. He is working on a bachelor's degree in political science from DePaul University online.
Atanus does not work right now and listed her occupation on a Daily Herald survey as "campaign manager."