Mulligan, House Republicans Rift Widens
Rep. Rosemary Mulligan says she’s an independent voice in politics; Susan Sweeney said Rep. Mulligan was taking the focus off the most important issues facing the state.
The break between Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, committeeman of the Maine Township Republicans, who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 1993, and certain House Republicans, appears to be widening.
Rep. Mulligan, who would have been the incumbent in the newly drawn 55th State House District if she had won the primary in March, has in recent weeks endorsed independent candidate Dee Beaubien over Republican David McSweeney in the 52nd State House District and Democrat Marty Moylan over Republican Susan Sweeney in the 55th State House District.
Rep. Mulligan said she disagreed with Sweeney on a range of issues including abortion. Sweeney is pro-life, while Rep. Mulligan is pro-choice, which, she said, represents a greater portion of residents in the area.
Two letters, one sent last week to voters and one sent this week, announced her support of Moylan. She said a third mail piece regarding her support of Moylan would be distributed to voters this week.
“I’m just disappointed that House Republicans put up a candidate that is diametrically opposed to all the things I’ve worked for all these years,” Mulligan said. “Sweeney is completely unacceptable to me.”
In the first letter, sent to approximately 35,000 women in the 55th House District, according to a report by Journal and Topics Newspapers, Mulligan stated, “Susan Sweeney and her extremist allies will not represent our views in Springfield. They will put women’s lives in danger by opposing their right to make reproductive healthcare decisions, even if they’re the victim of rape, incest or when their life is at risk.”
At a political debate between candidates for the 55th House District and the Illinois 22nd State Senate District at Des Plaines City Hall on Oct. 24, Sweeney said she opposed abortion except in the instances of rape, incest or when the mother’s life was at risk.
Sweeney fired back in a statement released by her campaign last week:
"Illinois is headed for a fiscal cliff. I am running because I want to help prevent us from going off that cliff. Obviously, that is not Marty and Rosemary's priority. I will continue to run a fact-based campaign focused on bringing fiscal responsibility to our state, even if career politicians are intent on lying about my positions and distracting voters from their record of higher taxes, more debt and job losses."
Earlier this year, the party did not support Rep. Mulligan's bid, she said. While she was reeling from the death of a close friend, Rep. Mulligan relied on the Illinois House Republican Committee to circulate and finalize her candidate petitions, and they intentionally did not do so adequately, she alleged, because of political differences. She announced she would retire from the state legislature after her current term concluded in May 2013.
In the second letter sent to voters regarding her endorsement of Moylan, Rep. Mulligan stated she had worked to be an independent voice for communities.
“I’m supporting Marty Moylan because he is a leader who will work for seniors in our community and carry on my commitment to safe neighborhoods and fiscal responsibility,” Rep. Mulligan stated in the second letter.
Rep. Mulligan further stated, “Like me, Marty believes our elected officials should work across party lines to balance budgets, cut spending and stretch every dollar.”
Rep. Mulligan said she fulfilled her duty as committeeman of the Maine Township Republicans by hosting a forum for all the candidates, including Sweeney, to make a presentation to residents and ask for their votes on Sept. 29. Subsequent to that meeting, she made personal choices for her endorsements.
Aaron Del Mar, chairman of the Cook County Republican Party, issued a statement on Oct. 24 condemning Rep. Mulligan’s endorsement of Moylan and calling for her to step down from her position as committeeman of the Maine Township Republicans.
“I cannot condemn Mulligan for supporting the candidate of her choice, though I strongly believe she’s backed the wrong candidate as Susan Sweeney will make an excellent State Representative and will fight to bring fiscal sanity back to our great state,” Del Mar stated. ““However, if you are elected as Republican Committeeman you have a duty to coordinate the efforts of the Republican Party in your Township, regardless of your personal feelings.”
Rep. Mulligan said she would not seek reelection as committeeman of the Maine Township Republicans, but she intends to complete her term. Furthermore, she said, Sweeney does not currently live within the district, and would need to move if elected.
Robert Stefanski, Sweeney’s campaign manager, stated in an email to Patch that this year was different in that regard, but it was not unique. Since 1970 candidates have been allowed to run in newly-drawn districts after redistricting.
“This time is different because last year, Michael Madigan gerrymandered this district in order to divide communities in an attempt to get one of his loyalists elected,” Stefanski stated. “Madigan drew Susan out of the district because he did not want anything getting in his way.”
Sweeney, who is a substitute teacher and was a client manager for IBM, has been active in local school districts, and cooperated with a group of other concerned parents to begin posting videos of board meetings online. Rep. Mulligan challenged the portrayal of Sweeney as a community activist.
“They claim that she’s been a community activist in the area for a long time, but I moved into the area in 1965, and last year was the first time I heard of her,” Rep. Mulligan said. “If she’s such an activist, why hadn’t I heard of her?”