As a lifelong Illinoisan and a political junkie, I’ve come to expect bizarre things from our state’s politicians. However, I don’t think I’ve seen anything as bizarre in recent Illinois political history as this petition-circulating stunt by the campaign Republican U.S. Senator Mark Kirk:
David Applegate, a staff member for Rep. Tammy Duckworth’s (D-Ill.) Senate campaign, was walking around at the Columbus Day parade in Chicago when he was approached by a woman with a clipboard.
She asked him if he wanted to sign a petition. That was odd in itself, since Applegate was wearing a Duckworth campaign shirt, and the woman was wearing a campaign shirt for Sen. Mark Kirk (R), whom Duckworth is trying to unseat. It got weirder when she said the petition was about raising the minimum wage, an issue Kirk doesn’t even support.
Applegate, confused, said he worked for Duckworth, and the woman walked away. He saw her again later, standing with another woman who was also wearing a Kirk shirt and holding a clipboard. He got closer and looked over one of their shoulders. There were “raise the wage” stickers covering the tops of their petitions, but peeking out from underneath them was Mark Kirk’s printed name.
You’re probably not going to believe me when I say this, but it’s true…an individual working for the Kirk campaign (not sure if it was a volunteer or paid campaign worker) tried to disguise nominating petitions to get Kirk on the Republican primary ballot for U.S. Senate here in Illinois as petitions for an effort to raise the minimum wage in Illinois, something that Kirk has strongly opposed. That is extremely unethical for the Kirk campaign to try to deceive Illinois voters that way.