Congressional hopeful asked to quit over remarks on God and gay marriage
Republican leaders called Thursday for Susanne Atanus to drop out of the GOP primary for the 9th Congressional District after she told the Daily Herald this winter's bitter weather is a sign that God is angry over abortions and same-sex marriage.
During an interview with the Daily Herald editorial board this week, Atanus said she believes God is angry because of same-sex marriage, abortions, civil unions and gay rights, resulting in severe weather and autism, among other things.
Her comments went viral on Thursday, resulting in a backlash online and among state party leaders.
On Thursday, Atanus said she will not drop out of the primary against David Earl Williams III, and as of late in the afternoon she said she still had not heard from the GOP leaders.
"I'm not withdrawing from the race. I don't know why they are not standing behind me," Atanus said. "They should talk to me personally. I will not back out of the race."
Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said in a statement on Thursday, "The offensive statements by Susanne Atanus have no place in the modern political debate, and she has no place on the ballot as a Republican."
"Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately."
Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, distanced himself from Atanus in the same statement.
"Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time," Robinson wrote.
Cook County GOP Chairman Aaron Del Mar has not made a statement on the issue and was unable to be reached Thursday because he was out of the country.
Atanus, who lives in Niles, continued to stand by her comments.
"I am a Christian. I care a lot about the world and I care a lot about my obedience to serve God the right way," she said. "I can't turn my eye and look the other way when I know that abortions, gay rights and civil unions are making God very angry."
The 9th congressional seat is held by Democrat Jan Schakowsky. The March 18 primary will determine if Schakowsky faces either Williams or Atanus in the fall.
Williams, of Chicago, has some issues of his own. He has a domestic violence order of protection that was brought by a former girlfriend and approved by a Washington, D.C., judge in December.
Williams' campaign manager, Rae Ann McNeilly of Taxpayers United of America, called it a "frivolous, unfounded claim" that resulted from a six-month, casual long-distance relationship.
Meanwhile, on more traditional issues, Atanus said she would work to eliminate the stock indexes, including the S&P, Dow Jones and Nasdaq, to fix the economy, while Williams favors what he calls a "fair" tax -- a 23 percent national sales tax on all new goods and services. Williams does not want to raise the minimum wage, while Atanus said she thinks it is needed to get the economy moving.
On immigration, Williams said he doesn't believe in amnesty but would like to see a path to citizenship for immigrants that could include work visas or military service. Atanus said she believes in open borders and that people should be able to travel freely without passports.
While Williams said he is not OK with the NSA listening and reading American phone calls and emails, Atanus said she thinks domestic surveillance is necessary for national security.