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Chicago, IL– Infamous grifter and Florida resident Dan Proft recently released a list of candidates to support in the April 4 Illinois municipal elections. Proft, known for distributing right-wing propaganda designed to mislead voters, once again thinks he can prop up his own radical agenda through deceit. Proft’s “newspapers,” distributed throughout Illinois, routinely spewed racist, homophobic rhetoric that his endorsed candidates will no doubt bring to local school boards if elected.
At a January training hosted by Awake Illinois and the Leadership Institute, candidates were offered access to Proft’s pink-slime papers by Brian Timpone. Timpone, who helps Proft operate his pay-to-play network, “told those in attendance his publications ‘can punch back for you,’ and added, ‘If somebody is giving you a hard time, we can fix that.'”
While the extreme views of candidates on the ballot in April are sometimes harder to spot than those of Proft’s once preferred gubernatorial nominee, Darren Bailey, the same network of external power players has banded together to impart regressive policies that will hurt Illinois’ students. Since voters already rejected their extreme vision for Illinois last November, Proft and his allies are now using a different strategy to effect the same backwards agenda.
Top donor to Proft’s People Who Play by the Rules PAC, Dick Uihlein, is also getting involved in municipal races via the New York-based 1776 Project PAC, which endorsed several candidates in Illinois who fit their definition of “un-woke school board members.”
Uihlein has thrown his money at races across the country for years, notoriously backing extreme conservative candidates; his donations commonly support “firebrand anti-establishment candidates who typically defend broad access to assault weapons and assail transgender rights.”
Uihlein’s Restoration PAC also contributed $13,000 to Awake Illinois in 2022, a group known for espousing anti-LGBTQ+ views who have actively recruited, trained, and supported fringe candidates in the upcoming election.
“Candidates who would align themselves with proven far-right zealots like Dan Proft and Dick Uihlein are unsuited to represent the interests of students, parents, and teachers in Illinois. Having tried and failed to influence the outcome of statewide elections in 2022, these bad faith actors have returned to seize power through supposedly nonpartisan candidates,” DPI Executive Director Ben Hardin said. “Now, they cower behind buzzwords like ‘parental rights’ and ‘pro-family,’ but they’re working from the same playbook, and voters deserve to know who’s really on their ballots.”
In response to organized efforts by these extreme organizations, the Democratic Party of Illinois has launched an unprecedented program to identify and prevent fringe candidates from being elected to local boards. DPI is opposing candidates backed by known far-right organizations as well as those who have embraced values and policies that contradict those of the Party including banning books, blocking full spectrum sex education, teaching revisionist history and ignoring public health. To identify candidates that DPI is recommending or opposing, voters can visit DefendOurSchoolsIL.com.