The surprise congressional primary win by Susanne Atanus — who gained widespread attention for blaming autism and weather disasters on marriage equality — has Illinois Republican leaders at a loss, Journal & Topics Newspapers reported.
Atanus, who narrowly defeated David Earl Williams III earlier this month, has been asked to abandon her candidacy by both state party chair Jack Dorgan and Chicago party chair Adam Robinson, rather than continue to challenge incumbent Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) for the 9th District congressional seat in November. Williams has since suggested online that Schakowsky encouraged her own supporters to vote for Atanus, thus enabling her to avoid running against Williams.
Journal & Topics also reported that, despite her victory, Atanus was not mentioned at all during a party meeting in Maine Township. Char Foss-Eggemann, the new GOP Committeeman for Maine Township, reportedly intends to meet with local party officials before making a statement on Atanus’ candidacy.
But, Foss-Eggerman stated during her own candidacy that she would support all GOP candidates, a response to former committeeman Rosemary Mulligan supporting state Rep. Marty Moylan (D) during his successful 2012 campaign.
Atanus gained national attention in January after telling the Chicago Daily Herald, “God is angry. We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions.”
Her platform also includes support for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour — an argument championed by labor and progressive activists — as well as using 20 to 25 percent of corporate profits after taxes to fund state and local governments. Atanus has also indicated support for a more open immigration policy, and called for the U.S. and other countries involved in World War II to contribute to a $10 billion damages fund for Israel, Jewish people and victims of the Holocaust.
“The news media is distorting what I said,” Atanus told Journal & Topics in a phone interview. “The main issue is the 99 percent do well. I want prosperity and peace for all through publicly traded companies. I’m running because the 1 percent is getting 76 percent of the profits and it’s not right.”