Illinois Politics

Where do Illinois Democrats stand on supporting President Joe Biden's reelection bid?

U.S. Mike Quigley is the lone member of the IL delegation to say Biden should drop out

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Only one U.S. representative from Illinois has publicly said President Joe Biden should not be the Democratic nominee.

However, on Monday, more health questions surfaced as The New York Times revealed a Parkinson’s expert has visited the White House.

"He was in a very tough race. He's now in a much tougher one. And he hasn't shown any ability to change the course of the campaign,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, the lone member of the Illinois delegation to say Biden should drop out.

Quigley said polling shows there are implications beyond the White House.

"Both houses are controlled by a single digit number of seats. All those seats are contested. And they're all very close, and every vote counts. And the top of the ticket on presidential years is absolutely critical. You're not going to win without a strong top of the ticket,” Quigley said.

U.S. Reps. Danny Davis, whose own age of 82 was questioned in his last campaign, and Jan Schakowsky are both steadfastly supporting Biden.

“Joe is the candidate. He's my candidate. And he's America's champion, and we need to keep him there,” Davis said.

“When Biden is at his worst, he's a thousand percent better than Donald Trump,” Schakowsky said. “So, I think that we need to go forward, and I think anything else is just a total distraction from making sure that we win and that we beat Donald Trump.”

Schakowsky said the president called her to thank her after she spoke in his defense on MSNBC. With mere weeks to go before the Democratic National Convention, Schakowsky believes Democrats’ time would be better spent conducting get-out-the-vote efforts and avoiding party in-fighting.

“What kind of chaos is going to ensue?” she asked. “We don't want to be spending our time squabbling—and I think there will be squabbles over who is going to take Joe Biden's place. Well, we don't need to do that. We have Joe Biden.”

U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly shared her support for Biden on social media, writing, in part, “I am proud to support President Biden & Vice President Harris, and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish over the next four years.”

The president sent a letter to members of Congress early on Monday, writing that he’s staying in the race. But that hasn’t stopped those who question if he’s capable to serve another four years. On Monday, there was a shouting match at times during the White House briefing between the press secretary and reporters after a report from The New York Times revealed a Parkinson’s expert had visited the White House eight times in eight months to meet with White House doctors. Karine Jean-Pierre said she cannot confirm why Biden’s White House physician met with the Parkinson’s specialist.      

U.S. Rep. Jonathan Jackson also supports Biden and told NBC 5 Chicago that there isn’t anything at this time that could change his mind. He did say, however, that if the president chooses to step down, he would support Vice President Kamala Harris as the nominee. Jackson is the son of Jesse Jackson, Sr., who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s seven years ago. The congressman is choosing not to speculate on the possibility that the president may be battling a diagnosis.

“Even if that were the case, I'd like to see the best treatment provided. And people are dealing with all kinds of aging issues, and so wouldn't be surprising. But I know he has the best care,” Jackson said.

As for Gov. JB Pritzker, he’s stepping up his role as a Democratic surrogate for the Biden-Harris ticket. This weekend, he’s speaking to Indiana Democrats and Ohio Democrats alongside U.S. Sen. Cory Booker. On Tuesday, House Democrats will meet behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. They’ve been told no cell phones are allowed inside that caucus session.

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