Illinois Republican Gubernatorial Bill Brady acknowledges applause during a debate between the Illinois Republican candidates for Governor in Springfield, Ill., Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Is Bill Brady distancing himself from the Tea Party movement?
Brady, who spent the summer attending Tea Party events all over Illinois, was invited to two events over the weekend, but skipped them both. His cancellation left organizers feeling miffed, but they conceded it likely won't hurt his chances of election against his Democratic opponent.
“He was scheduled to be there,” said Steve Stevlic, organizer of a Chicago Tea Party event in Morton Grove this past Sunday, Sept. 12th, the second-biggest day on the Tea Party calendar, after Tax Day. The date's has newfound importance to the Tea Paryt constituency because conservative commentator Glenn Beck has encouraged his listeners to develop a “9/12” mentality, when the country was united following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.Brady confirmed his attendance in July.
“They told me that it was on his schedule," Stevlic said, "but that didn’t mean he was going to be there.” (Brady was also listed as a speaker on the Bloomington Tea Party’s website.)
Brady instead spent Sunday among inner-city Latino and African-American voters. He marched in the Mexican Independence Day Parade and attending an anti-violence rally at Robeson High School on the South Side.
“He was never on the Tea Party schedule,” Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh said. “That may have been something they had planned, but we just couldn’t fit it in with all the other things he had scheduled today.”
Stevlic understands that -- “if I was a politician running in Chicago with a nine- or ten-point lead, I would probably do the parade instead of the Tea Party” -- but wishes his group had received more advance notice. Brady was touted at the featured speaker at the event, which still drew a few hundred people.
Stevlic pointed out that Brady was not the first choice for governor among most Tea Party members, who supported Adam Andrzejewski or Dan Proft in the Republican primary. (Andrzejewski spoke at Sunday’s event.) After the primary, Brady reached out to the Tea Party movement, but “that seems to have stopped,” said Stevlic.
Brady was scheduled to appear at this Saturday’s Right Nation Chicago, a conservative event hosted by Glenn Beck. But last week, Crain’s Chicago Business reported that “[h]is spokeswoman says he has two long-scheduled Downstate fundraising events that day and just can’t make it.”
“I think if he does not attend Right Nation then it’s safe to say he’s distancing himself from the Tea Party,” Stevlic said, adding, “he’s lucky he’s running against Pat Quinn.”