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State Rep. Kelly Cassidy attacked on social media, allegedly by backers of Burke

This article shared 18664 times since Mon Feb 26, 2024
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Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy—a supporter of Cook County state's attorney Democratic candidate Clayton Harris III—posted on social media that a backer of Eileen O'Neill Burke, who's running against Harris, verbally attacked her in a political race that has become increasingly contentious.

On X (formerly Twitter), Cassidy posted, "An @EileenCookCnty supporter posted a picture of my face and attacked me for backing @ClaytonforCook. I knew her campaign was fueled by the same right-wing accounts that rallied for Paul Vallas [in last year's Chicago mayoral election]. Here's how they're showing up in my mentions. #twill"

Below that caption were screenshots of Cassidy, who happens to be lesbian. One has a comment from Dennis Thome, Ph.D. that read, "Why are that chick's glasses so crooked???," to which another user, Jonny Danger (@JonnyDanger14), said, "That's a dude."

However, there were other negative comments. Another user, AugustWest219 (@AugustWest21313) posted, "Anything this beast supports[,] I'd be against." And a user named Chicagoan (@CSullivan90) stated, "She's married to 'genderqueer' and 'they/them' [Candace] Gingrich. Yes, Newt's half-sister. What a strange world we live in." @CSullivan90's X profile reads, "Former Democrat; Anti-Socialist; Gay Not Queer - #LGBwithoutTheT."

But even with those posts, Cassidy received mixed responses. Poster Alex Justin (@hm52nx49j4) stated, "So if someone doesn't agree with you, they are right-wing? By the way, Clayton sucks. Big Time!" However, another social-media user, Andrew Herrera (@czech_mex_) expressed sympathy: "I'm so sorry you are being put through that. Nobody deserves that kind of treatment."

Cassidy told Windy City Times that the posts "were familiar because this was the same troll army that propped up the Paul Vallas campaign . They used the same tactics, tone, tenor and ugly rhetoric then, and these are the folks who are supporting [Burke]. Frankly, the reason I'm not supporting her is because she railroaded an 11-year-old Black boy and vacated an order of protection that [made] a Black trans woman vulnerable."

"And they didn't even acknowledge that my tweet was about her unapologetic railroading of this young man," Cassidy added. "It's just them talking about 'how ugly she is' or misgendering [me]. We have too much at stake, as an LGBTQ community, to risk going backward."

As for the responses to her post—specifically, one that stated the state rep needed to grow a thicker skin—Cassidy said, "To the folks who say that, this isn't about my feelings, frankly. I didn't tweet that because they hurt my feelings. I put that out there because people need to know the kinds of people who are supporting this woman. And I have incredibly thick skin; I've been called worse things by better people."

In a statement to Windy City Times, Don Black, Burke's campaign manager, said of the original posts, "We strongly condemn this type of hateful, sexist language. To be clear, these accounts have no affiliation to our campaign and unfortunately just distract from the important differences in this race, like our opponent's anti-union and anti-choice record."

Regarding Black's statement, Cassidy was skeptical, saying, "It's interesting that they can say that to you—but this has been going on for a week. They're sorry they were caught."

—Andrew Davis

This article shared 18664 times since Mon Feb 26, 2024
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