Following provocative comments regarding gays and abortion, Illinois and Chicago Republican leaders are calling on Susanne Atanus to withdraw as a Republican candidate for the 9th congressional district seat now held by Rep. Jan Schakowsky.
On Monday, Jan. 20, Atanus, 55, told the suburban Daily Herald editorial board that God is punishing the American people with scourges like dementia and autism because of marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights.
“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus insisted during the endorsement session.
“God is angry,” she continued. “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”
Andrew Wellhouse, communications director for the Illinois Republican Party, issued a statement to Chicago Phoenix that insists the party will not support the Niles-resident’s bid.
Jack Dorgan is the chairman of the party.
“The offensive statements by Susanne Atanus have no place in the modern political debate, and she has no place on the ballot as a Republican,” he said. “Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately.”
The 9th congressional district encompasses much of Chicago’s North Side, where many of its Republican members hold more moderate social views. The Chicago party organization is standing up against Atanus’ statements.
“Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP,” said Chicago Republican Party chairman Adam Robinson. “Nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.”
Atanus responded by saying she will not step down from her campaign and questioned why the party won’t support her.
If Atanus withdraws, David Earl Williams III, 30, of Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood, would be the lone candidate going into the Mar. 18 primary election.