BELLEVILLE – Judicial candidates Chris Kolker and Heinz Rudolf signed pledges to repudiate tactics of others that they themselves would not use or condone, though neither have responded to a request for comment regarding steamfitter business manager Totsy Bailey's remarks made at a Democratic rally in Caseyville on Sept. 17.
Bailey predicted that J. B. Pritzker would win the race for governor, while warming up an audience that included Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.
Bailey said, “He won’t win if you don’t get out and vote. You need to early vote.
“Like I say, East St. Louis, vote early, vote often…Whatever you can get away with.”
Pritzker took it as an attempt at humor that failed.
He provided a statement that, “Voting is no joking matter, particularly in an election with so much at stake.”
Pritzker encouraged all Illinoisans who are able to exercise their right to vote.
State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly, current candidate for Congress, stated after the event that he didn’t hear Bailey’s remarks.
He said anyone with evidence of fraud should call his voter integrity hotline.
Kolker and Rudolf, both running for circuit judge, attended the rally.
Bailey’s members in Local 439 gave $1,000 to Kolker’s campaign last November, and gave $1,000 to Rudolf’s campaign this August.
Kolker signed a voluntary code of conduct for his campaign, and Rudolf signed one four years ago that remains on file at the state election board.
The code appears at the end of Illinois election law, with a signature line.
A signer promises to conduct an open campaign and limit attacks on an opponent to legitimate challenges to his record; not to use character defamation, libel, slander, or scurrilous attacks on a candidate’s personal life; not to appeal to prejudice; not to misrepresent, distort or falsify facts, or use malicious and unfounded accusations to create doubts about integrity or patriotism.
A signer promises, “I will not undertake or condone any dishonest or unethical practice that tends to undermine our American system of free elections or that hampers and prevents the full and free expression of the will of the voters.
A signer promises to defend and uphold the right of every qualified voter to full and equal participation.
“I will immediately and publicly repudiate methods and tactics that may come from others that I have pledged not to use or condone,” the pledge says.
St. Clair County Clerk Tom Holbrook, who oversees elections, responded to a request for comment.
He said he was as the rally, “with a couple thousand of my close friends.”
He said he didn’t hear Bailey, and he would respond after watching the video.
Holbrook called back and said, “What he said was wrong.”
He said his office has done everything it can to purge voter rolls and digitize the rolls.
“We’re part of a national system that tracks this,” Holbrook said. “We take it seriously.”
“If we find something, we report it to the states, the federal and the local.”
Local 439 gave $500 to Holbrook’s campaign in April.
“I’m proud of their support,” he said. “That doesn’t mean I agree with what he said.
“The best way to bring it to the forefront is to be open about it. Sunshine is the best antiseptic.”
East St. Louis election board director Kandrise Mosby viewed the video and commented that her board can’t control anyone’s speech.
“What I can say is, we administer fair and honest elections,” she said.
“Our citizens expect that from us and they do right. We have upstanding citizens in the city of East St. Louis.
“It’s said so much, but I love our community and our citizens and it’s my honor to serve the citizens.”
Durbin didn’t respond to a request for a statement.
Fifth District appellate court candidate Kevin Hoerner, who appeared with Pritzker in a photograph of the rally, didn’t respond.
St. Clair County associate judge John O’Gara, also in the photograph, didn’t respond.