November 16, 2015

Duckworth’s Campaign Criticized As She Loses Local Support

Illinois senate candidate Tammy Duckworth suffered a major setback to her campaign when her fellow Democratic House member and seatmate in Congress, Rep. Danny Davis, announced he is endorsing her primary opponent, Andrea Zopp.

In an interview with Chicago Magazine, Davis revealed that Duckworth asked him for an endorsement:

Did Duckworth ask you for an endorsement?

Yes, she said, “Can I count on you for an endorsement?” We’d had that conversation.

In the interview, Davis also joined the chorus of Illinois Democrats criticizing the Washington, D.C. Party establishment for lining up behind Duckworth without considering Zopp or consulting local Party leaders:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee endorsed Tammy Duckworth without even bothering to talk to Andrea Zopp. Prominent people in the African American community, including Jesse Jackson, were troubled by this sign of “disrespect.” What do you think?

I thought that was unfortunate. I certainly was not contacted in terms of who I thought a good candidate might be for the Democrats to run. The DSCC can do what they want, but they’ve got to talk around to different entities. I would have felt much better had I been contacted in any shape, form, or fashion.

To add to the bad news for Duckworth, influential Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz published a blistering analysis of her non-existent campaign over the weekend with the title: “Where, oh where, is Tammy Duckworth?” Hinz writes:

Duckworth has all but disappeared from the public stage in recent months even as one challenger, former Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp, hits the hustings hard, and another, state Sen. Napoleon Harris, says he’s preparing to jump into the race, too.

He goes on to detail just how anemic Duckworth’s campaign has been:

Consider that, in most weeks, I receive just a handful of emails from Duckworth’s office or campaign, the recent ones dealing with veterans’ issues and an endorsement by a county chairman’s group. Her Facebook page, something her campaign urged me to look at, had all of 10 postings in October, most of them just brief notes. Her campaign website linked to four media stories involving her since Oct. 1.

The last time the candidate, who still is little known in much of the state, had a media availability of note was on Democrat Day at the Illinois State Fair in August. The last time she made any real news in Chicago was when she appeared before the City Club—in May.

When the best a campaign can point to as a sign of their effectiveness is a handful of Facebook posts, it’s unsurprising that Duckworth is losing local support as top Democrats give Zopp another look.