Morrison, Trevor battle for votes in changing district
Republican state Rep. Tom Morrison and Democratic challenger Maggie Trevor have been knocking on doors to pitch their credentials to voters in a Northwest suburban district they agree is growing more politically diverse.
The 54th House District, which includes portions of Arlington Heights, Barrington, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and South Barrington, traditionally has been solidly Republican. Morrison, a Palatine resident who defeated 12-year incumbent Suzanne Bassi in the 2010 GOP primary, is seeking his fifth term.
But in 2016 -- when Morrison was unopposed -- Hillary Clinton won the district by 13 percentage points in the presidential race, prompting local Democrats now to get behind Trevor, who grew up in Rolling Meadows but returned in 2015 after time on the West Coast.
During a recent interview with the Daily Herald Editorial Board, the candidates agreed there are more younger, traditionally Democratic voters who have moved to the district. But they disagreed about what voters' priorities are and which candidate would have the greater appeal.
Morrison, who holds conservative views on fiscal and social issues, has spent much of his campaign focusing on the former, calling for a property tax cap and state constitutional amendment to enact pension changes and voting against the 2018 state budget he characterized as unbalanced because of the state's unpaid bills.
Much of his campaign literature tries to tie Trevor to longtime House Speaker Mike Madigan.
"What I remind voters is look, 'Maybe you vote for Hillary Clinton for president or Dick Durbin for senator, but if you vote for a Democrat for state rep, whether in Palatine or Park Ridge or Schaumburg, you are essentially handing another 2-year term over to Mike Madigan as speaker,'" Morrison said.
Trevor, who runs her own market research and business consulting firm, said she knocked on 5,000 doors to get her name on the ballot and wasn't slated by party bosses. She's now focusing her campaign efforts on Democrats, independents and "soft R's" -- those who vote occasionally in Republican primaries.
"I hear a lot of things you're hearing," she told Morrison during the interview. "But I'm also hearing the flip side. I'm hearing parents who are afraid to send their kids to school because of guns. I'm hearing women who are terrified of losing their reproductive rights. I do hear people who are upset at Madigan. I hear people who are upset at (Gov. Bruce) Rauner," Trevor said.
Trevor believes her support of abortion rights is in line with district voters' views -- and was the same position held by Bassi.
Morrison said he talks to some union members in the district who oppose his approach to pension reform but plan to vote for him because of his support of gun rights.