Report: Black Lawmakers Boycotting Duckworth Event

Rep. Tammy Duckworth
Rep. Tammy Duckworth / AP

Black officials in Illinois are shunning an upcoming "unity" event for Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth saying she has neglected black community issues and is taking their support for granted, according to news reports.

The Chicago Sun Times first reported on Wednesday that members of the Chicago City Council and the state legislative black caucus are declining to attend a black unity breakfast with Duckworth in Chicago next Monday.

Many of the officials had reportedly endorsed Andrea Zopp, who lost to Duckworth in the Democratic Senate primary last week:

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"Why would we want to express unity with Tammy Duckworth, who was selected for that spot by the Washington insiders at the Democratic National Campaign Committee?" said a powerful member of the City Council’s 18-member black caucus who asked to remain off-the-record. …

Word is the boycott support group includes powerful State Sen.Kwame Raoul, State Sen. Kim Lightford, State Sen. Toi Hutchinson, State Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, Ald.Howard Brookins (21st), Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) and Ald.Leslie Hairston (5th).

"It was taken for granted we would suck it all up — [Duckworth’s] candidacy — and it was patently unfair," the source added.

Alderman Roderick Sawyer told Politico that Duckworth has not spent enough time campaigning in Chicago or supporting black community leaders in their fight for police accountability. Sawyer also said Duckworth did not invite many black officials until after the event was already arranged, calling this "evidence of how there is a disconnect between the Duckworth campaign and communities of color."

Sawyer told Politico that the officials were open to finding another time to meet with Duckworth "if she’s willing, to give her the opportunity to talk about what her plans are and to ask for our endorsement."