By Lauren Grimaldi
As the clock keeps ticking closer to the March 20 Illinois primary, campaigns are heating up across the state. The Better Government Association and ABC 7 News will hold forums for the Republican and Democratic candidates for the position of Attorney General on March 7 in Roosevelt University’s Ganz Hall from 6 to 8 p.m.
The race for Illinois Attorney General was blown wide open last September after incumbent Lisa Madigan’s decision to not run for the position in 2018. Madigan had held the position since 2003 and was expected to run again.
This announcement has led eight Democrats to join the race to compete for the party’s nomination. The candidates for the Democratic nomination are as follows State Representative Scott Drury, Sharon Fairley, Aaron Goldstein, Renato Mariotti, former Gov. Pat Quinn, State Senator Kwame Raoul, Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering and Jesse Ruiz.
The Republican race is much less crowded with only two candidates vying for the nomination. Former Mayor of Burr Ridge Gary Grasso and former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Erika Harold are running against each other. Harold holds a law degree from Harvard University. Harold and Grasso will speak at the forum from 6 to 6:45 p.m. before the Democratic candidates take the stage at 7 p.m.
Madeleine Doubek, the Policy & Civic Engagement Director of the Better Government Association, will moderate the forum. She said that the Better Government Association believes the election for this position is critical to the state of Illinois.
For the first time in 16 years, citizens of the state can vote for a new attorney general given Madigan’s decision to not run for reelection.
“The Illinois attorney general plays a pivotal role in providing open access to our governments, in protecting consumers, working as the people’s lawyer and, in particular now, in setting a tone and relationship with the federal government and with oversight of changes at the Chicago Police Department,” Doubek said.
Doubek said that the Better Government Association wanted to host the event to give voters a way to learn more about the candidates for Attorney General on both sides.
“For all those reasons, we think it’s critical that voters educate themselves about the Republicans and Democrats seeking the office. We’re happy ABC 7 Chicago and the Better Government Association can partner to provide this important public service to voters. We’d love to see Roosevelt students in the seats and engaged in the forums on March 7,” Doubek said.
Dylan Warren, a senior paralegal studies major at Roosevelt, said he is looking forward to the event being held at Roosevelt.
“This is a great opportunity for Roosevelt students to get involved in a really important election. I only hope there’s enough space in Ganz for all the candidates to stand on stage,” Warren said.
Warren said he has followed the race for attorney general closely and believes it is important for voters to track the campaign donations each of the candidates are receiving.
“Nobody is really saying anything extraordinary, but they all have different contributors and endorsers. The state’s Attorney General is given a really broad grant of authority,” Warren said. “At times, they also have the opportunity to intervene on the national level. Due to that, it is somewhat a political position and not a strictly legal one. Keeping in mind who contributed to a campaign, who endorsed the candidate is a must in this election.”