Rob Martwick and Erin Jones square off in negative campaign mailers in race for 10th Senate District seat
by BRIAN NADIG
In recent campaign mailers in the Illinois 10th Senate District race, incumbent Robert Martwick calls his Democratic challenger Erin Jones a “Trump Republican,” while she claims that the crime bill that he supported poses a “serious threat to public safety.”
Jones said in an interview that Martwick’s views are “incredibly radical” for the district, especially given the high number of first responders living there.
“This is the Democratic primary (Jones is running in). This is not the general election,” Martwick responded
More than $1 million could be spent on this race, with most of that coming from Martwick’s campaign. Martwick, an attorney, has served as a legislator for 10 years, and Jones, a detective, is an 18-year veteran of the Chicago police force.
MARTWICK contends that every challenger he has faced in the primary while serving either in the House or Senate has been a police officer and a Republican pretending to be Democrat.
“Erin Jones was a precinct captain for Trump. So why is she running in the Democratic primary,” one of Martwick’s mailers states.
“Was there anyone more in support of Donald Trump than the Northwest Side GOP Club? That whole organization was for Trump, and she was for Trump,” Martwick said. He added that Democratic voters despise Trump and that the voters he has met on the campaign trail are appreciative of the message on the mailers.
JONES responded that she may have to send Martwick a “thank you” card for the mailers because many voters have told her they saw the mailers and invited her into her home to discuss the real issues affecting families.
“It’s sure made me more recognizable than anything, (and) his ads are incredibly misogynistic” Jones said, referring to a mailer which appears to falsely portray her with blonde hair.
Jones said that she volunteered her time for the GOP club in 2018 to help a friend, Ammie Kessem, who was running against Martwick for the 19th District House seat. She said that she has “no regrets” about helping a friend but that she is a lifelong Democrat who has never taken a Republican ballot. “I’m very pro-choice (and) Planned Parenthood was (once) my primary health care provider,” she said.
“I help my friends when they need it regardless of party lines,” Jones said.
“(Martwick) really needs to let this go … Trump lost, Biden won,” and the average voter is more interested on how to repair Illinois than discussing the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Jones said.
“I can work with anybody,” and voters see through the “divisiveness” which Martwick is trying to create with his negative campaign, Jones said.
Martwick countered that several of Jones’ Facebook postings demonstrate her conservative ideology, including opposition to the lifting of the parental notification requirement for minors seeking an abortion, raising money and voting for GOP candidates, and in a Tweet comparing the “Left” to a “radical Marxist regime” shortly after many Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.
Jones said that Martwick keeps hammering away on the Republican message because he cannot defend his views that have made the state less safe and are out of touch with most 10th District voters.
Jones said that Martwick is being supported by the People’s Lobby, a group that has called for defunding the Chicago police and using that money for schools and COVID-19prevention. She said that on its social media, the group has pictures of an “abolish police” sign and caricatures of police officers with pig faces.
Martwick said that the People’s Lobby fights for environmental justice, and provides opportunities to those in need and other issues important to working families.
IN A MAILER, Jones contends that Martwick is a “supporter and ally” of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s and that House Bill 3653, or the SAFE-T Act, which he supported “hinders police effectiveness and leaves victims vulnerable.”
The mailer claims that the bill will facilitate the release of violent offenders because it will end cash bail and will provide violent offenders who are on home monitoring two “vacation” days a week.
Jones said that the “reckless” bill also “criminalizes” policing with its rules on body camera usage and makes it more difficult for officers to effectively do their job.
Martwick said that the bill does not defund the police as its critics claim, and that its focus is about reform and accountability. He said that it address police misconduct, such as “knowingly and intentionally” not being truthful on a police report or turning off a body camera in order to cover up important information.
Martwick added that the current bail system is not working, as too often violent gang members are being bailed out by their gangs while suspects accused of less serious offenses may stay in jail because they cannot afford bail. The bill includes provisions in which those charged with violent crimes such as carjacking can be held in jail while awaiting trial, pending a “denial of partial release” hearing, he said.
Martwick said that he successfully advocated for collective bargaining rights and qualified immunity for the police to be included in the reform bill.
“That’s the two most important things (police groups) told me to (get in the bill),” he said.
The provision allowing those on home monitoring to leave two days a week is intended to allow those awaiting trial to apply for a job, see a doctor or get groceries, and judges can add restrictions and special conditions as needed, Martwick said.
Jones said that as senator she would push for legislation that prioritizes safety and that a lot of the Democrats she has met on the campaign trail support the police and are worried about crime.
Jones has said that she became politically engaged about 5 years ago when she was one of dozens of city workers who former alderman John Arena (45th) filed a police accountability complaint against because of “racially charged” comments she allegedly made on social media about a controversial mixed-income housing project at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy.
Arena kept a spreadsheet of current and former government workers, including teachers, who he claimed made offensive comments. Jones said that she has never been served with the complaint but that she did receive death threats.
Martwick was appointed senator in 2019 after Arena, who at the time was also the 45th Ward committeeperson, convinced another committeeperson to switch his support to Martwick. This gave Martwick an edge in the weighted vote selection to fill the vacancy, which was created when John Mulroe left to become a judge.
Jones claims that Arena and Martwick were allies, but Martwick has said that he was not involved in Arena’s decision to file complaints.
Prior to his appointment as senator, Martwick had served as the 19th District state representative since 2013. Martwick, who also is the 38th Ward Democratic committeeeprson, said that during his time as legislator he has fought for pension reform that protects government workers and helps make sure massive tax hikes would not be needed due to pension debt.
Due to the recent remapping, Jones lives just outside the district’s northern boundary and would have to move into the district if she were to win.
The district includes parts or all of Gladstone Park, Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Norwood Park, Edison Park and Oriole Park.
It is considered a Democratic-leaning district, but a Republican has held the district’s western half House seat for years. Lindsey LaPointe (D-19) and Brad Stephens (R-20) are the Senate district’s two House representatives.
Jones’ campaign is being supported by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, and she has been endorsed by Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st) and County Clerk of the Circuit Clerk Iris Martinez.
Martwick’s endorsements include Planned Parenthood Illinois Action and Equality Illinois and in the past the police union has endorsed him.
There is no Republican candidate in the general election.