Congressman Eric Sorensen (D., Ill.) can’t stand how dumb his constituents are, and he isn’t afraid to say it.
The freshman representative frequently takes to X, formerly Twitter, to sound off on the intelligence of his constituents, or lack thereof. A former meteorologist who made history in 2022 by becoming the first openly gay member of Congress from Illinois, Sorensen has claimed the residents of his Western Illinois district can’t spell names properly and are too ignorant to understand climate science. He's said they know less than his European friends about politics in Washington, D.C., and that they have more in common with the electorate of Alabama—a state he once said was populated by anti-LGBTQ bigots.
Sorensen’s blunt attitude about his constituents could come back to haunt him in 2024 as Republicans look to flip his seat. Sorensen already faces a tough reelection campaign, after scraping by with a 4-point victory in his purple district in 2022.
The Illinois Democrat delivered his most recent jab against his voters in a tweet Saturday suggesting Americans needed his help locating Morocco on a map of Africa following the deadly 6.8 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 2,900 on Friday.
I have found that many Americans lack knowledge of geography, especially internationally. A refresher is important…especially with big news events.
— Eric Sorensen (@ERICSORENSEN) September 9, 2023
"I have found that many Americans lack knowledge of geography, especially internationally," Sorensen said in response to his post. "A refresher is important…especially with big news events."
In April, Sorensen bragged on a podcast interview that his European friends are much more knowledgeable about domestic and foreign affairs than his constituents in Western Illinois, whose ignorance he attributed to "collectively a societal thing."
"Whenever my friends from Europe come here to Illinois, they know a lot more about what’s going on in the world," Sorensen said. "They know a lot more about what’s going on in our country and Washington, D.C., than probably most people here do."
Minutes later on that same podcast, Sorensen said the makeup of his district "looks a lot like" Alabama. But in May 2019, a heated Sorensen took to the air and railed against Alabamans for being anti-LGBTQ bigots after Alabama Public Television pulled an episode of the children’s cartoon Arthur that featured a gay wedding.
"Adults in that state think that traditional marriage is appropriate for the children," Sorensen said in the broadcast. "This is absolutely absurd to me. Not only does it shelter LGBT kids from seeing any role model, but these kids are the most at risk for suicide when they grow up. Personally, I can’t imagine that my nieces Sydney and Hartley are not able to watch that and understand that I have a partner, we love each other every day."
"It’s absurd, and I’m glad I’m not in Alabama," the future lawmaker said.
Sorensen’s apparent poor opinion of his constituents stretches back to long before he retired as a meteorologist to run for office in 2022. More than a decade earlier, in November 2010, he stated bluntly that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R.) could never replicate her reelection victory as a write-in candidate in his state because "Illinois voters wouldn’t have gotten your name spelled right."
Go Murkowski go! Illinois voters wouldn't have gotten your name spelled right. Go go go!
— Eric Sorensen (@ERICSORENSEN) November 3, 2010
Sorensen’s office did not return a request for comment.