Chicago, IL– Today, the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) has released details of its unprecedented effort to prevent extremist conservatives from implementing regressive platforms on school and library boards throughout the state. As national groups continue to funnel dark money into Illinois to prop up fringe candidates, DPI is fighting back to defend its values of diversity, equity and inclusion that make our education system stronger for our children.
“Illinoisans deserve to know the truth about candidates’ ideologies before they head to the ballot box, and DPI will make sure voters have the resources they need to make their decision,” DPI Chair Lisa Hernandez said. “As conservative groups attempt to mask their radical agenda behind supposedly nonpartisan candidates, DPI is committed to supporting credible candidates who will oppose efforts to ban books, revise history, and limit reasonable sex education. We can’t afford to sit back while kids and families are at risk.”
Following an extensive analysis of over 500 districts, DPI has identified 84 recommended and 74 opposed candidates in school and library board races across the state. Opposed candidates include those affiliated with extreme national conservative groups as well as those aiming to implement anti-equality, anti-truth agendas in their districts. Some of their radical political platforms include banning books, teaching revisionist history, ignoring common sense public health measures, and blocking comprehensive sex education.
This unprecedented plan will include mail and digital advertising sent to a base of Democratic voters in target districts, reaching hundreds of thousands of individuals and households in Illinois. The paid communications program will highlight extremists on the ballot, support credible community advocates that DPI recommends, and direct voters to DefendOurSchoolsIL.com, where they can find additional information about races in their districts. In addition, the Party is supporting direct voter contact efforts through consultation and candidate training led by DPI’s Regional Political Organizers. DPI will invest nearly $300,000 statewide to support recommended candidates and expose fringe candidates.
“We’re providing organizing support alongside direct mail and digital communications to make sure we reach voters where they are, especially in these typically low-information races. Many extreme national groups know that they can hide their regressive agendas behind so-called nonpartisan candidates due to a lack of access to clear and accurate information about the names appearing on ballots,” DPI Executive Director Ben Hardin said. “We’re proud to implement this innovative program to make sure voters everywhere can support candidates who align with their own values despite efforts from right wing groups to disguise their real platform and take over our school boards.”
This initiative is launching as DPI implements a new party building directive under the leadership of Chair Hernandez to provide year round support to Democrats through grassroots organizing and continuous voter engagement.