SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) – Rep. Lisa Hernandez (D-Cicero) is now unopposed for the chair of the Illinois Democratic Party.
Hernandez was expected to face off against the current chair, Congresswoman Robin Kelly (D-2), at a meeting of the Democratic Central Committee Saturday. But Kelly announced Friday she withdrew her nomination from lack of support.
“Unfortunately, it has become clear that support for my re-election as chair will come up just shy of the necessary majority,” Kelly said.
Kelly narrowly won her first term in March 2021. She was elected after long-time party leader Mike Madigan resigned.
Hernandez was the pick of many top Illinois politicians, including Governor J.B. Pritzker and Speaker of the House Chris Welch, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-1), and Rep. Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) as well as the Illinois chapter of the labor union AFL-CIO.
Many of those preferred Hernandez over Kelly as federal law bars Kelly from raising money for state campaigns.
“[Hernandez] will be able to alleviate the severe fundraising challenges the party faces with a federal office holder as chair and will be able to set our state and local candidates up for success in November,” Pritzker said before Kelly dropped out of the race.
Congresswoman Kelly had the backing of other top party officials, including Sen. Dick Durbin and mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot.