Democratic Mailer

State Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, is portrayed in a Democratic mailer as standing with child molesters. No evidence is provided

A new Democratic mailer suggests state Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst, R-Kankakee, stands with “accused child molesters,” but it provides no direct evidence.

The flyer in question says, “One of Lindsay Parkhurst’s biggest donors gave $100,000 to an accused child molester. Lindsay Parkhurst is standing with the same insiders who gave $100,000 to an extreme Republican politician, even after he was accused of repeatedly sexually molesting young girls.”

“Accused child molesters should be rejected — not elected,” the flyer says. “Lindsay Parkhurst’s supporters disagree.”

The mailer concludes, “Lindsay Parkhurst will stand with anyone — except for us.”

Parkhurst’s donor is apparently Lake Forest businessman Richard Uihlein, who gave $100,000 in 2017 to a political action committee that aired ads for Roy Moore, a losing GOP Senate candidate from Alabama.

Before a December 2017 special election, a number of women accused Moore of molesting them when they were in their teens and he was in his 30s. Moore, who lost the race, denied the allegations and has not been charged with any crimes.

Uihlein, a frequent contributor to Republican candidates in Illinois, donated $5,400 to Parkhurst’s campaign in 2016, a year and a half before allegations surfaced against Moore.

In an attempt to further hammer its point, the Democratic mailer said Parkhurst “repeatedly” opposed money to process thousands of untested rape kits “that would put rapists behind bars.”

But she never specifically voted against processing the kits, only the budgets that paid for the program, along with the rest of state government.

This is a standard tactic of Democratic mailers — portraying Republicans as opposed to popular programs when they vote against entire budgets.

The latest mailer is paid for by the state Democratic Party, led by House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago. In the 79th House District, Parkhurst is facing Lisa Dugan, D-Bradley, who was representative for a decade until leaving in 2013.

In a text message, Parkhurst said her record is clear that she stands against child molestation and sexual assault. She said she co-sponsored legislation to track the location and status of sexual assault evidence, or rape kits; make it a crime for police officers to have sex with people in their custody; bolster hospital personnel sexual assault training and record-keeping; and strengthen school sexual assault reporting.

Parkhurst said Dugan and Madigan are resorting to “shameful tactics” to win.

Dugan didn’t return a call for comment.

The Democrats’ latest attack resembles one leveled by the Republicans in 2016 against then-Rep. Andy Skoog, D-La Salle, in the 76th House District.

The GOP mailed a flyer that accused Skoog of taking “dirty money” from the same political groups that donated to a lawmaker later arrested and convicted of possessing child pornography. Those groups gave no money to the lawmaker after he was arrested, and there was no proof of any link between Skoog and the other lawmaker.

The Republican piece was likely in response to a Democratic mailer accusing Skoog’s opponent, Jerry Long, R-Streator, of renting a house to a sex offender, which was true, and opposing money to track sex offenders, which was not. Long won.

This year’s election is Nov. 6.

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