'My post was in poor taste' -- Democrat drops out of DuPage County Board race

  • Hadiya Afzal

    Hadiya Afzal

 
 
Updated 7/27/2020 4:42 PM

The Democratic nominee for a District 4 seat on the DuPage County Board is dropping out of the race and apologizing for an "irresponsible" tweet she posted about protests in Portland, Oregon.

Hadiya Afzal, a recent college graduate from DePaul University, confirmed Monday morning she is ending her campaign to unseat Republican incumbent Tim Elliott, a Glen Ellyn attorney, in the November election.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

DuPage Democrats are preparing to slate another candidate to replace Afzal on the ballot, party Chairwoman Cynthia Borbas said.

In a span of 10 hours Sunday, Afzal announced she was withdrawing her bid because her tweet had become a distraction after she initially defended herself on Facebook. Her tweet drew criticism from both sides of the aisle.

"As a young activist, I made the decision to run for office in DuPage County Board District 4 to bring progressive policy changes for the community I grew up in and care deeply for," Afzal wrote in a withdrawal letter. "Early Sunday morning, I posted a personal Tweet regarding the protests in Portland, Oregon. My post was in poor taste and doesn't reflect the values I was raised with and hold dear. I do not support or condone violence in any form. I appreciate and support the role that law enforcement plays in keeping our communities safe."

Afzal's post surfaced after conservative social media personality Andy Ngo shared a screenshot to his Twitter followers Sunday. Afzal has made her Twitter account private.

The screenshot shows Afzal wrote that she was repeatedly watching a video of a clash between protesters and officers and "laughing every single time." The brief clip appears to show a federal officer throwing a projectile over a barricade, and then a projectile hitting the same officer in the head.

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Protesters demonstrating against police brutality and racism have resisted the presence of federal agents deployed to Portland.

Before dropping out, Afzal wrote earlier Sunday on her Facebook page that "right-wing activists" had launched a "bad-faith smear campaign" against her and that she was targeted by a "wave of coordinated racist, sexist and Islamophobic harassment."

"The comment, taken out of context, is extremely disappointing," Afzal wrote. "I do not condone violence in any form, and indeed have been one of many voices calling for policy changes to our policing problems today."

Afzal did not immediately return a request for further comment.

Afzal narrowly won a five-way primary race to become the Democratic nominee. Afzal had 4,447 votes, or 28.23% of those cast, followed by Lynn LaPlante, a Glen Ellyn violist, with 4,399 votes, or 27.92%.

Democrats are seeking legal counsel regarding the slating process, but it's the party's understanding that precinct committee persons in District 4 have until mid-August to select another candidate, Borbas said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I'm sure that they will obviously consider Lynn as she was in that tight race," Borbas said.

It was ultimately Afzal's decision to drop out of the general election race and shows "decisive action," the party chairwoman said.

"I think that really we will reframe the conversation, that we all agree that violence is never the answer and then refocus on the issues," Borbas told the Daily Herald.

She also issued a formal statement on behalf of the party.

"We want to be absolutely clear that we do not support violence of any sort," the statement read in part. "While tensions may run high on a national or local level, we must always push for peaceful change and solutions."

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