When I first heard about Susanne Atanus last fall, I wrote her off immediately. How could she ever win an election? Who would vote for such a wack-a-doo?
You’ve probably never heard of Atanus if you don’t live in Illinois. She’s a Republican candidate for Illinois State Representative who will be running against Democrat Jan Schakowsky in the fall. She ran against David Earl Williams III, a young moderate Republican.
Atanus has gotten lots of attention for her unusual beliefs. She has said things like:
“God is angry…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.” [source]
“I am a conservative Republican and I believe in God first,” Atanus said. She said she believes God controls the weather and has put tornadoes and diseases such as autism and dementia on earth as in response to gay rights and legalized abortions. [source]
She is so off-the-rails that the Republican party gave her no support:
“Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately,” state party chair Jack Dorgan said in the statement, with Chicago chair Adam Robinson adding that “Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time.” [source]
Despite all these things, Atanus still managed to win the primary last week. What was her secret? I believe it lies in the behavior of Williams in the video below. While Atanus rambles on and on, Williams rolls his eyes, fidgets in his chair, cracks his wrists, and mutters to himself.
Who was his campaign manager? Who prepared him for these events? This primary should have been a no-brainer. He should have walked away with the win, facing Schakowsky in the fall. Instead, Atanus goes on the ballot.
It’s hard to believe Williams is 30 years old, because his behavior is that of a high school student. No wonder the residents of the 9th congressional district didn’t feel comfortable voting for him. Additionally:
Williams is not without his own controversy. He was recently ordered by a Washington, D.C. judge to undergo a mental evaluation and attend anger management classes. There is a domestic violence order of protection against him after allegations of harassment towards a former girlfriend. [source]
Still, he should have been able to defeat someone who blames mental illness on gay people. I’ll be watching this race a little more closely in the fall.