The campaign between Highland Park pediatrician Arie Friedman and West Deerfield Township Supervisor Julie Morrison to succeed retiring state Sen. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) intensified into an all out war of words Monday.
Morrison, the Democrat, issued a news release accusing Friedman of transforming himself from a Tea Party Republican when he ran in the 2010 GOP primary for Congress against Rep. Robert Dold (R-Kenilworth) and five other rivals to a moderate in 2012.
Earlier: State Senate Candidates Switched Parties
“There are a number of issues that Dr. Friedman is silent about and a number of issues he has flip-flopped on,” Morrison said. “From his support of the Tea Party, his affiliation with the NRA, and his support of the Paul Ryan budget, Arie Friedman refuses to clarify his positions on the issues that make our community safe.”
Friedman calls himself a “proud Republican” and claims he is focusing on issues he considers most important for voters in Illinois and the 29th State Senate District like economic and fiscal problems. He has no affiliation with the National Rifle Association, according to Campaign Manager Paul Miller.
“I have been forthright, proactive, and completely transparent on my positions regarding the entire range of problems facing our state today,” Friedman said. “I have spoken extensively over the last two years on an amazing variety of important subjects. I rightly choose to emphasize the economic and fiscal issues that threaten our state.”
Morrison Criticizes Friedman’s Pro Choice Bona Fides
Morrison also criticized Friedman’s claims he is pro choice because he has made financial contributions to an anti-choice political action committee which has endorsed people like Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry).
Friedman claims his donations to the group are for issues other than a woman’s right to choose. “My support of Family PAC was based on their strong support of small business—in particular their support of inventors and developers of new technology,” he said.
In the last week Friedman has come under fire from both Republicans and Democrats for his position on a woman’s right to choose, according to an article in the Illinois Review. Morrison Campaign Manager Bill Doerrer called Friedman a liar for claiming to be a moderate.
“During his 2010 run for Congress, Dr. Friedman ran as the Tea Party alternative to Bob Dold, received an "A" rating from the NRA and openly supported dangerous limitations on a woman's “right to choose,” Doerrer said. “Why is Dr. Friedman ashamed of his affiliations with the Republican Party, the Tea Party, the NRA and anti-choice organizations?”
Friedman Emphasizes Fiscal Issues
Not shy in his retort, Friedman stressed his emphasis on fiscal issues which he claims the Illinois General Assembly has been ignoring. He accuses Morrison of avoiding a discussion of economic issue facing Springfield.
“I am a social moderate who is laser focused on reining in Springfield’s fiscal irresponsibility by reducing spending, taxing, and borrowing,” Friedman said. “Once again we see that Mrs. Morrison steadfastly refuses to address Illinois’s fiscal and economic crisis.”
Doerrer rejected Friedman’s accusations against Morrison claiming she has addressed all of these issues on her website. According to Doerrer, Morrison’s moderate credentials are bolstered by endorsements from Garrett and former Rep. John Porter (R-Wilmette).
“Throughout her tenure as West Deerfield Township Supervisor, Julie Morrison has been accountable to her constituents and maintained an open, transparent form of government,” Doerrer said. “Julie has identified her support for letting the (Gov. Patrick) Quinn tax increases expire, defending education funding, and implementing tax credits that reward job creation.”