Chemberly Cummings, Democratic Party, Illinois, News -

Illinois town’s election of first black mayor a sign of trouble for GOP

Chemberly Cummings, Democratic Party, Illinois, News -

Illinois town’s election of first black mayor a sign of trouble for GOP

In Illinois, Democrats picked up seats that they have never been able to win before in recent local elections, including the first African-American mayor for the town of Kankakee.

“We had a pretty good day,” said Dan Kovats, executive director of the Illinois Democratic County Chairmen’s Association, according to the Huffington Post. “We won in areas we normally would win, but we also won in areas Republicans never expected us to be competitive in. They were caught flat-footed.”

One of those wins was the election of Chemberly Cummings as mayor of Kankakee, the town’s first African-American mayor. The victory is no small feat in a region that is predominantly white and Republican.

–Black democrats are starting their own groups to work outside of the DNC–

“There’s this concept in Bloomington-Normal that everybody is conservative,” said Cummings, a 34-year-old State Farm employee. “But we are a group of people who are actually concerned about the issues in our community. I also think … when you have the representative of a party who is negative, I think you’ll start to see some things change. Nobody wants to be associated with something negative. They want to be associated with the positive.”

While these were just local elections, there could be national reverberations for the Republican Party generally, as the results of these races could be a sign of more to come for the Democratic Party, as grassroots movements are springing up across the country against Donald Trump and against the Republicans. Progressivism is the word of the day.

In Illinois, Democratic candidates were boosted by Rep. Cheri Bustos’s program, called Build The Bench, which is an all-day boot camp to help people build successful campaigns. Bustos created the program after noticing that, at the local level, there were not enough Democratic candidates. The program was meant to boost the party numbers on seats that matter at a smaller, but more significant, level.

“I am incredibly proud that the majority of our graduates who were on the ballot in April municipal elections won their races,” said Bustos. “If we want to be successful in the heartland, we need to connect Democratic candidates for office at all levels with the best practices, skills and expertise needed to run winning campaigns.”

Even those candidates who were part of the program who lost their races, like Jodie Slothower, are looking ahead to more ways to help unseat Republicans. Slothower is already working on a progressive movement to oust Rep. Rodney Davis, with 2,000 members as part of her mobilization group, Voices of Reason.

“We have events planned all the way through August,” Slothower said. “We’re going to keep up the pressure on the congressman. We’re figuring out how to take what we’ve learned here and bring it to other communities. We have a lot of work to do.”


The post Illinois town’s election of first black mayor a sign of trouble for GOP appeared first on theGrio.

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