Here’s a recap: the election season has had a lot of ups and downs.
UP: Almost immediately after I filed my paperwork, I wrote up some initial pieces with my primary concerns, and in particular listed a number of concerns around ethics/governance/transparency. Then a report in late December in the Daily Herald about Cathy Johnson’s departure and another in the Journal & Topics about the shadiness of the district’s purchase of the District 59 administrative building, gave me reason to hope that others were equally concerned.
DOWN: things were quiet in January. Then, in February, several anonymous individuals accused me of racism on Facebook and NextDoor, and, worse, an anonymous individual tried to cause me harm in real life. At the same time, my friend tried to call on the incumbent Slate to commit to running their campaign ethically and with integrity, but Bill Dussling’s reply was merely to claim they would not violate the law.
UP: as time passed, I continued to connect with individuals who offered their support, both financially (funding yard signs and significantly defraying brochure costs) and in terms of volunteering. I was able to hand over a large number of brochures to some volunteers who spearheaded efforts in Elk Grove, while other volunteers did the same in Arlington Heights. Frustratingly, we had a very very cold March — which is, of course, by design, as the politicians want to make it as hard for challengers as possible!
Also UP: I made contact with individuals who shared information on seriously shady things going on in the district administration — reasons why Johnson, as well as two others left, and other shenanigans. After receiving FOIA information, I wrote up an extensive report on what I was able to find out, and I’ve been told that this has been shared widely.
DOWN: despite this, the Daily Herald took no interest in this information, and endorsed the incumbent Slate, without really any reason other than their incumbency. I’m told there are personal connections but it also seems to be their general practice to endorse incumbents, so I don’t know.
UP: After extensive deliberation and back-and-forth, the Attorney General’s office determined that the school board had violated the Open Meetings Act with regard to their conduct in terminating Cathy Johnson the prior September. This was covered in the Daily Herald, and, while it didn’t cause them to reconsider their endorsement, and Bill Dussling was not willing to admit to any wrongdoing (yeah, I know, no surprise) it was a certain degree of vindication.
DOWN: After smaller-scale efforts to discredit me, I was roped into the larger Pritzker/Democratic party effort to tar challengers to incumbents as “extremists.” Then, this past weekend, the teachers’ union funded a postcard with the most extreme degree of character assassination yet. Although it wasn’t personally dispiriting, I have no idea how many people were taken in by it, and it certainly revealed that the union, despite calling themselves “professionals,” are nothing of the sort, and that the incumbent slate is willing to stop at nothing to win. Honestly, it left me vacillating between doing my best to garner any remaining votes, and hoping I’d lose just so I don’t need to have anything to do with these people who revealed their true character. (No, this isn’t just “how politics works” — these are truly awful people who are ginning up a Culture War and making absolutist demands of fealty to their causes, just for the cynical objective of winning the election by riling up voters, and this is Illinois, where “politics as usual” has cost the state dearly.)
UP: whether I win or lose, I am so grateful for the support I’ve received throughout this campaign. Yard signs, donations, brochure help — but also words of support in person, on Facebook, by text or in e-mails. Thank you, everyone!