Female Democratic leaders turned up the heat on Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady at a press conference on Friday, pressuring him over a growing scandal in the Cook County Republican Party.
State Senator Iris Martinez, State Representative Karen Yarbrough and Chicago Alderman Leslie Hairston gathered downtown to address the media at noon. They discussed a scandal that has led to the resignation of the Executive Director of the Cook County GOP amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and accused party chairman Lee Roupas of a cover-up.
"Illinois women are demanding the truth from GOP standard-bearer Senator Bill Brady," the Cook County Democratic Party wrote in a press release. "Women and all voters should be concerned that a cover up of this magnitude was perpetuated by Illinois Republicans."
The Huffington Post reported on the allegation and ensuing cover-up earlier this week. According to interviews and internal party documents obtained by this site, Cook County Republican Party (CCRP) executive director Jeremy Rose was accused of misconduct by a woman in the Chicago Young Republicans a year ago. CCRP Chairman Lee Roupas apparently turned a blind eye to the allegations when he hired and subsequently promoted Rose; in June, when a whistleblower sought to shed light on the complaint against Rose, Roupas allegedly organized a campaign to undermine and replace her in the party establishment.
At the press conference, Rep. Yarbrough insisted that gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady push for the firing of all parties involved, including Chairman Roupas, and that Brady's own role in the cover-up be investigated. And in a scathing talk, Sen. Martinez described Brady as against women, demanded accountability and took a passing swipe at Brady's new Wikipedia page--which has been scrubbed of some unpopular policy positions and replaced with "a series of canned talking points."
The story is especially potent in the governor's race, where Brady holds a lead over incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn. Democrats have been advertising aggressively in recent weeks to portray Brady as anti-women, citing his votes against mammogram coverage, against paid family leave and against abortion even in case of rape or incest.
Those points, paired with an alleged cover-up of sexual misconduct within his party and an attempted takedown of the woman who tried to draw attention to the story, does not play well for Brady.
Sources in the Chicago Republican organization tell HuffPost Chicago that Lee Roupas is not planning to resign in this matter, as Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady is reportedly standing behind him, hoping to hold ranks until the November elections.
Chairman Brady is not related to candidate Brady by blood. But they are related by politics, and if the chairman fails to make this go away, the candidate could pay the price.
Sen. Martinez drove that point home Friday, saying the scandal proves that Bill Brady and the Republicans place politics before women's rights.