Yesterday, news broke that Republican Kevin Ake has filed petitions to run for Cook County Commissioner. According to the Chicago Tribune, Ake was found guilty of a felony hate crime in 2002 after he left more than 100 phone calls harassing a lesbian YMCA director about her sexual orientation. Ake is running against Kevin Morrison, the first openly gay Cook County Commissioner in history.
Ake currently serves as treasurer of the Elk Grove Township Republicans. Elk Grove Township Republican committeeman Russell Nowak dismissed Ake’s hate crime, telling the Tribune, “What they did years ago shouldn’t matter…People have done stupid stuff when you were younger, you know?”
Democratic Party of Illinois Executive Director Abby Witt and Cook County Democratic Party Executive Director Jacob Kaplan released the following joint statement:
“Hate and homophobia have absolutely no place in the politics of Cook County or the State of Illinois. It is extremely disturbing to learn of Mr. Ake’s background and candidacy, as well as the Elk Grove Township Republican Party’s dismissive attitude towards his hateful past. This is especially troubling after we saw a neo-Nazi win the Republican nomination for the 3rd Congressional District in 2018 and run again in 2020. Not only must must Mr. Ake withdraw his candidacy immediately, but he should be removed from his Republican leadership position and unequivocally denounced by the Cook County Republican Party and Illinois Republican Party at once.”