Candidates in 8th Congressional District clash over mailer
Democrats in the primary race for the 8th Congressional District seat are clashing over a mailer sent by candidate Raja Krishnamoorthi's campaign criticizing rival and state Sen. Mike Noland for his vote last April against funding for autism, HIV/AIDS and epilepsy treatment.
Noland is emphatically defending his vote as a stand on principle against what he describes as a "fund sweep" bill to restore funding for programs previously cut by Gov. Bruce Rauner.
Fellow 8th District Democratic candidate and Villa Park Mayor Deb Bullwinkel also criticized the mailer and even asked that Krishnamoorthi apologize for it.
The mailer, paid for by Friends of Raja for Congress, pairs photos of Noland and Rauner while describing Noland's role in the 57-1 Senate vote as an attempt to keep "Rauner's cuts for the vulnerable in place."
"I'm not voting with our dysfunctional governor," Noland responded. "My vote was for revenue."
A "fund sweep" is a measure that takes state revenue intended to pay for one program or service and using it for another or for general expenses. Critics like Noland say it is only a way of avoiding long-term decisions on budgeting.
Noland said he interprets the mailer as an attack on his commitment to his autistic son, who is as dependent on such special-needs funding as anyone.
"I was setting aside my own personal interests for the greater good," Noland said. "It's a matter of principle. I'm no longer voting for sweeps ... I will stand alone when it's the right thing to do. This was the right thing to do."
As the only vote against the proposal in April, Noland's move had no practical effect on the outcome.
Krishnamoorthi, who also has a son with special needs, said Noland's vote offered no alternative for affected families.
"I respect Mike Noland as a person and a father and I would never question his devotion to his family," Krishnamoorthi said in a statement. "This isn't an attack on Mike Noland's parenting. It's an attack on his judgment. We have too many members of Congress who cast votes without regard to the impact on people and families -- especially the most vulnerable."
Bullwinkel, who's worked as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities, also criticized the mailer.
"Donald Trump would loudly applaud Raja using a dirty trick questioning the motivation of a father with a special-needs child," she said in a statement.
"He should apologize for this personal, political attack and stick to the issues voters care about."
Justin Lamorte, Krishnamoorthi's campaign manager, responded that the mailer is not a personal attack on Noland, but a question about his judgment.
"The person who should apologize is Sen. Noland to those thousands of Illinois families in need when he voted against restoring these cuts," Lamorte said.
Krishnamoorthi noted that Noland voted in favor of another "fund sweep" in Springfield back in 2008.
Noland does not dispute that but said that vote occurred during his early years in the General Assembly when he didn't recognize fund sweeps for what they were.
The only Republican 8th District candidate on the ballot in the March 15 primary is DuPage County Board member Pete DiCianni.
The 8th District is roughly centered in Schaumburg and includes parts of northwest Cook, northeast DuPage and northeast Kane counties. Incumbent Tammy Duckworth, a Hoffman Estates Democrat, is running for U.S. Senate.