Illinois state Rep. Amy Grant, R-Wheaton, apologized after making disparaging comments in a recorded telephone call about her opponent, Ken Mejia-Beal, which referenced his race and sexual orientation, Quad City Times noted.
Organizations and elected officials condemned the Grant made during a fundraising call. State Reps. Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest; Greg Harris, D-Chicago; and Emanuel "Chris" Welch, D-Hillside, in a Sept. 21 virtual news conference, called on Grant to apologize.
"I deeply regret the comments I made about Ken Mejia-Beal and reached out to apologize to him this morning. These comments do not reflect my heart or my faith," Grant wrote in a short statement.
Later, Mejia-Beal issued a statement criticizing Grant's apology and calling her comments "hurtful, degrading, and wholly unacceptable."
According to a statement Equality Illinois released, Grant said of Mejia-Beal, "He's afraid of the reaction people might give him, not because he's Black, but because of the way he talks. He's all LGBTQ, he wants to work for the chronically ill…" The organization also said Grant made a pointed racist remark by saying "all we need is another person in the Black Caucus."
"Even in the age of Trump, Illinoisans expect their elected officials to act with integrity and in accordance with Illinois values of equality and inclusion. Amy Grant fails even that basic test," Equality Illinois said. "She is clearly unable to represent all of her constituents with equal care and respect. Her apology is insufficient for an elected official in 2020.
"Homophobia and bigotry must have no home in DuPage County or anywhere in Illinois. Grant must drop out of the election. If she does not, the voters of the Forty-Second District must reject her and send a message on Election Day that love trumps hate."
The Illinois House LGBTQ Caucusconsisting of Majority Leader Greg Harris as well as state Reps. Kelly Cassidy, Yoni Pizer, Lamont Robinson and Sam Yinglingalso criticized Grant.
After word got out about Grant's comments, contributions to Mejia-Beal's campaign skyrocketed. According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, Citizens for Gregory Harris contributed $57,800 while entrepreneur Fred Eychaner gave $5,800; also, the campaign received donations from Illinois SEIU ( $2,500 ), the Illinois Federation of Teachers ( $1,000 ) and SMART Local 265 ( $5,000 ).