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COMMENTARY: What’s with Manar’s disinformation release on McMillan’s education stance?

Illinois state Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and his PAC known as Friends of Andy Manar released a press release Tuesday regarding opponent Seth McMillan (R-Taylorville) and his stance on educational reform.

Manar’s campaign team claims that McMillan is “contradicting his own website” regarding his position on education funding reform.

The release goes on about McMillan describing Manar’s education funding reform efforts as a “Chicago bailout” with some noting his stance conflicted with that of Gov. Bruce Rauner, who signed the bill into law and Rep. Avery Bourne, who had co-written a support letter in favor of the bipartisan bill.

The release continues in attacks toward McMillan regarding a February radio interview regarding the bill and cites tweets from Sunday, stating support for it, which Manar claims contradicts the stance published on McMillan’s campaign website.

Don’t get me wrong: I dislike Andy Manar with a passion. He’s terrible in regards to constituent relations and his voting record does clearly contradict his own views — which may be because the majority of his district leans Republican.

How does he still manage to get elected? Manar was elected with a dismal 42 percent voter turnout in 2014 against Linda Little, only two years after he was elected following redistricting. In comparison, the voter turnout average for this same region in the 2016 presidential election only went up 2 percent.

With Decatur and Macon County suffering the consequences of a continued exodus with people leaving the state, the voter base for both parties have gradually gone into decline since 2015 due to high rates of taxation in addition to the 2017 personal and corporate income tax hikes.

I reached out to McMillan late Tuesday evening for comment and he issued the following statement:

I’ve been consistent on this issue and have always supported a fix to the funding formula. Changing the formula is what I was referring to in my tweet. Andy Manar continues to run from the fact that he supported cuts to education in the form of prorated general state aid payments, another point that I made on Twitter.

I appreciate the honesty coming from McMillan, which brings me to my last remarks: Can’t we have one [expletive]¬†election where mudslinging isn’t involved? Is it too much to ask for there to be a clean election without verbal attacks? I know McMillan has tried his hardest to campaign without dealing with this crap or resort to negative campaigning, and it only makes sense for him to fight back.

For anyone wishing for this political circus to go away for the 2018 cycle, we’ve still got 197 days to go — unfortunately. Meaning we’ve got many more attack emails, press releases and in the near future, radio and television ads, to come.

Commentary Note: Prior to my commentary, I wasn’t favoring anybody in this race. It’s still too early for me, a registered non-affiliated independent, to make such an informed decision as to who to vote for in the state senate race in District 48. But I wanted to note how much disinformation campaigns aggravate me, whether they arrive via email, snail mail or fax, because that is not the way political candidates should reach out to voters. You deal with that crap long enough and registered voters won’t show up like they used to.

An equally aggravating statistic: the 2014 gubernatorial race was only determined by a statewide average of 46 percent voter turnout. With automatic voter registration set to begin this summer, the big question still remains: will these people bother to vote or will they continue as being non-voters? I’m highly skeptical of the assumption that voter turnout will increase, especially in local legislative districts/

About the Author

- Jake Leonard is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. He is general manager of Heartland Internet Media Networks and an active contributor to four newspapers for Pana News Group. He also serves as chairman of Tri-Counties Libertarian Party and Capital Area Libertarian Party, deputy candidate recruitment director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and as chairman/co-founder of the Libertarian Party Millennial Caucus.

COMMENTARY: What’s with Manar’s disinformation release on McMillan’s education stance?