With the primary race for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District coming to a conclusion next week, former judge-turned Democratic candidate Ann Callis is pulling out all the stops, releasing her third TV ad in three weeks.
Traditionally Republican for the past century, District 13, which is composed of numerous counties, including parts of Madison and Champaign counties, was part of the 2011 redistricting – a move that some argue gives Democrats a fighting chance to take the Congressional seat.
Last May, Callis, the former chief judge of the Third Circuit Court, announced her resignation from the bench to pursue her aspirations of becoming a congresswoman.
But to make those aspirations a reality, Callis will have to first win a crowded Democratic primary on Tuesday, with her toughest competition seemingly coming from an academic, University of Illinois professor George Gollin, who recently received an endorsement from the Chicago Tribune.
As of Feb. 26, Callis’ war chest was double the size of Gollin’s, with $449,496 cash-on-hand, according to opensecrets.org.
However, in the last few weeks, Callis has dipped into those funds, releasing three recent television ads. The first ad highlights her support for veterans while the second focuses on her judgeship.
“As a judge, I held people accountable when they did wrong” Callis said in the ad. “That’s why I cracked down on violent criminals, and stopped the big banks when they tried to kick families out of their homes.”
In her latest ad, released March 12, Callis said her commitment to standing up for seniors is one of the reasons she has the support of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare.
The media blitz may have come too late though.
At least one group believes the support Callis has received from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee may have hurt her chances for election – so much so that the National Republican Congressional Committee has even accused Callis of trying to hide the real reason she is running for Congress: U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader of the U.S. House.
In an October blog post, NRCC points to an interview Callis gave last August, when she told voters she was not approached by Washington Democrats about running for Congress.
“Why would Ann Callis lie about something so small? Is she trying to hide the fact that Nancy Pelosi is her driving force behind her run? Spoiler alert: We already know she is,” the NRCC claims in the Oct. 28 post.
The post adds, “Ann Callis is already being dishonest with Illinois families. Whether it’s her reason to run or her loyal support of Nancy Pelosi, Callis has made it clear that she will say and doing anything, even if it’s dishonest, to get elected.”
Besides Gollin, Callis also faces competition in next week’s primary from David Green, a social policy analyst at the Center for Prevention Research and Development, a division of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.
On the Republican side, incumbent U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis will square off against Urbana attorney Erika Harold, a former Miss America.