LaPointe’s challenger: ‘I’m just a protest vote’
by BRIAN NADIG
Republican Michael Harn, who barely got on the ballot to challenge state Representative Lindsey LaPointe (D-19), predicts he will lose by 40 percent on Nov. 8.
However, a vote for him will serve as a “protest vote” against the Democrats’ control of state government and their policies, he said.
THE RECENT remapping of the 19th Illinois House District makes it nearly impossible for a Republican to win the seat, Harn said, as the district now extends farther south into Old Irving Park while losing the north section of Gladstone Park.
“IT’S A MORE LIBERAL democratic seat now,” Harn said, who grew up in Chicago and went to Whitney Young High School.
The U.S. Navy veteran, who now lives in Portage Park, describes himself as “a Reagan Republican.”
A driver for Pepsi, Harn said that his own union, Teamsters Local 727, endorsed LaPointe and refused his request for a non-endorsement in the race, adding that the union was not going to go against a Democrat in the race.
No Republican ran for the 19th District race in the primary, clearing the way for the GOP to appoint Haran to the ballot, but he had to collect a couple of hundred of valid signatures on his nominating petitions to officially make the ballot.
Harn said that he made the ballot by “one signature” after a LaPointe supporter filed a challenge to his petitions and many of the signatures were eventually ruled invalid due to district boundary changes. He said that it cost him $2,000 in legal and other fees to defend himself in the challenge, which he called a waste of time for both sides given his underdog status.
“LIKE I’M REALLY going to win,” Harn said. “I’m just a protest vote.”
LaPointe defeated real estate broker Tina Wallace in the Democratic primary, winning about 75 percent of the vote.
LaPointe, who lives in Jefferson Park and has worked as a social worker, was appointed to the state House in 2019 and was then elected in 2020.
LaPointe said that when she is not in Springfield, she spends as much time as possible attending community meetings and events so that she can talk directly to constituents and hear their concerns.
“IT DOESN’T matter if you voted for me. I just want to get to know you, and I want you to know me,” LaPointe said.
LaPointe said that “public safety, cost of living .. mental health (services) access” are among the top issues voters want to discuss.
The General Assembly will continue to look at ways to address these concerns and that in some instances funds have been allocated but unfortunately there can be implementation delays, such as the approved funding for more license plate readers. Chicago police officials have said that these readers in connection with observation cameras play key role in apprehending criminals and finding stolen vehicles.
LaPointe said that it has become clear to her while on the campaign trail that there is “a lack of trust in elected officers” and that there is a “need for continued ethics reform.”
Harn said that the top three issues are “the economy, the economy, the economy.” He added that when when the economy is strong, crime and other problems will start to improve.
Permanent “tax relief for average citizens” is needed, and the temporary tax relief being given at grocery stores and gas stations seems to be little more than an attempt “to buy votes” before the election.
On the issue of abortion, Harn said, “I don’t care” as long as taxpayers do not have to fund it. “It’s already legal in Illinois. It’s going to be legal in Illinois,” he said, adding that Democrats are focusing on the issue to hide the multiple challenges facing the state, including its debt.
LaPointe has said that she is “committed to continuing the fight to keep Illinois and the country a safe place for full access to reproductive healthcare.”
LaPointe said that on education, the state needs to pay its fair share, reducing the heavy reliance on local property taxes to fund school districts.