CHAMPAIGN – The chairman of the Champaign County Republican Party has called upon Illinois Senate candidate Al Reynolds of Danville to withdraw his candidacy in the Nov. 2 election.
Reynolds is opposing incumbent Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, in the 52nd District that includes most of Champaign and Vermilion counties.
"I call upon Mr. Reynolds to immediately withdraw his candidacy for state Senate in the 52nd District," said party Chairman Jason Barickman. "His negative comments are unwarranted, gross stereotypes of minorities and specifically, African-American men.
"Mr. Reynolds' opinions are in stark contrast to the core values of the Champaign County Republican Party and are personally offensive to me."
Champaign County leaders have been cool to Reynolds' candidacy from the beginning, a point the candidate complained about. Reynolds has raised only about $6,000 and hasn't received any money from the Champaign County party. He did get a $250 contribution from the Vermilion County Republican Party in September.
"Mr. Reynolds independently ran as a write-in candidate and has implied that he was not being supported by the Champaign County Republican Party," Barickman said. "We had been concerned about his candidacy for other reasons, but comments of this type are disgusting and are the final straw. The voters of Champaign County deserve a better choice than they've been given by Mr. Reynolds."
At a candidate forum Wednesday night at the Champaign City Building, Reynolds said that black men "find it more lucrative to be able to do drugs or other avenues rather than do education."
The forum was co-sponsored by the NAACP and the Champaign County League of Women Voters.
Reynolds is the former head of the East Central Illinois Tea Party.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, Craig Golden, chairman of the Vermilion County Republican Party, and the county party's executive committee called for Reynolds to
suspend his campaign or withdraw.
An e-mail from Golden said: "Mr. Reynolds got on the ballot by virtue of his write-in candidacy in the February 2010 primary election. He was not a member of the Vermilion County Republican Party and had returned to Danville less than three years ago. His remarks were a gross generalization and dealt with racial issues which have no place in a political campaign in 2010, or any other year."