Largest Illinois political group declines to endorse in Presidential race

Largest Illinois political group declines to endorse in Presidential race

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Largest Illinois political group declines to endorse in Presidential race

The largest American Arab political organization in Illinois Tuesday announced they would not endorse a candidate in the hotly contested race for President of the United States. The organization is traditionally Democratic and it is a blow to Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton

By Ray Hanania

rayhananiacolumnpodcast_-8The Arab American Democratic Club in Illinois Tuesday announced they would not issue an endorsement in the race for President of the United States, saying neither of the two leading candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have been “considerate” of American Arab interests and called the election debate “troubling.”

The group traditionally endorse a Democratic candidate and has widely supported Democratic candidates running in statewide and regional offices.

The position reflects growing concern among many Arabs, mainly Muslim Arabs, who are offended by some of the rhetoric from Trump, but also angry with the historically anti-Arab policies of Hillary Clinton who served as the First Lady during the eight year term of her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and later as the U.S. Senator from New York where she has supported many anti-Arab laws and bills.

Hillary Clinton also served as Secretary of State under President Barack Obama and has been widely criticized for her refusal to prevent Israel’s military assaults against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Here is the full press release from the Arab American Democratic Club and its board:

Vote Yes campaign button, Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Vote Yes campaign button, Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

We have now heard three presidential debates and we finally were able to see the Democratic and Republican candidates’ right up next to each other. We, as Arab Americans, are very concerned. This election year has been divisive, often times xenophobic, and less than inspirational. The derogatory rhetoric regarding issues that are of concern to our community has been frightening and definitely un-American.

Neither Trump nor Clinton has been considerate of our people nor have they addressed our concerns. The Republican nominee continues with his nonsense speeches, would not back down from the stop and frisk ideology, and even bragged about cheating people out of money, legally. That is not the America we want, or know. Clinton continues to take issue with Congress on the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of terrorists. The so called “No Fly, No Buy” legislation perpetuates a deeply flawed, discriminatory, and dubiously unconstitutional watch listing system.

This election cycle has been very troubling .The presidential candidates, including Senatorial and Congressional, Republicans and Democrats alike, purposely evaded and ignored the Arab and Muslim communities. There has be no serious engagement in helping to resolve the problematic issues domestically and abroad and have decided not to include our communities leadership in the political process . Therefore, the Arab American Democratic Club has made a decision not to endorse any candidates.

We direct you to vote your conscience on November 8, 2016. As a Democratic organization, we hope you will vote for the Democratic candidates on the ballot.

Voting sticker issued to voters in Cook County elections in 2016. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Voting sticker issued to voters in Cook County elections in 2016. Photo courtesy of Ray Hanania

Local elections are next year on April 4, 2017. The Arab American Democratic Club will be hosting our annual brunch for the local candidates prior to the election. Politics at the local level have a greater impact on our lives than at the national level. It is here that the Arab and the Muslim communities can make a difference.

Samir Khalil, president of the Arab American Democratic Club, said that an announcement about the group’s annual brunch, which has attracted large attendance in the past, is forthcoming.

Khalil released a list of candidates supported by the board of the Arab American Democratic Club, which focuses only on statewide and local regional elective offices in the November 8, 2016 General election.

The November 8 election is a national election and includes national, regional and statewide contests for government office. On April 4, 2017, voters in Illinois will chose from candidates running in local and municipal elections such as for city and village president, mayor, trustee, alderman and more.

Here is the official list of candidates released by the Arab American Democratic Club:

In the Tuesday, November 8, 2016, elections, the Arab American Democratic Club endorses:

State of Illinois

#16 Susana Mendoza – State Comptroller

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

#51 Barbara McGowan – Metro Water RD (6 yr)

#52 Mariyana Spyropoulos – Metro Water RD (6 yr)

#53 Josina Morita – Metro Water RD (6 yr)

#58 Marty Durkan – Metro Water RD (6 yr)

Cook County

#62 Kim Foxx – Cook County State’s Attorney

#65 Karen Yarbrough – Recorder of Deeds

#67 Martin M Stack – Board of Review 1st District

#67 Michael Cabonargi Board of Review 2nd District

Illinois Appellate Court

#71 Eileen O’Neill Burke – Appellate Court

#72 Bertina Lampkin – Appellate Court

Cook County Circuit Court

#73 John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr – Circuit Court

#74 Rossana Patricia Fernandez – Circuit Court

#75 Alison Conlon – Circuit Court

#76 Alexsandra “Alex” Gillespie – Circuit Court

#79 Brendan O’Brien – Circuit Court

#80 Maureen O’Donoghue Hannon – Circuit Court

#82 Daniel Patrick Duffy – Circuit Court

Illinois Appellate Court

#201 Joy Virginia Cunningham


YES – Safe Roads Constitutional Amendment

YES – Retention of Judges

For more information on the Arab American Democratic Club, visit their website at:

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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