State

GOP urges Ill. congressional candidate to withdraw

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Illinois Republican officials are calling for a Chicago-area congressional candidate to leave the GOP race after she blamed bad weather on legalized abortions and gay rights, but Susanne Atanus said she won't back down.

Jack Dorgan, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, said the 55-year-old's comments to newspaper's editorial board were "offensive."

"She has no place on the ballot as a Republican," he said in a statement to the (Arlington Heights) Daily Herald. "Her candidacy is neither supported nor endorsed by the leaders of our party, and she should withdraw from the race immediately."

Adam Robinson, chairman of the Chicago Republican Party, also distanced himself from Atanus.

"Atanus is not in any way affiliated with any of our efforts in the Chicago GOP, nor have we ever supported, endorsed, or assisted her in any way at any time," Robinson said in a statement.

Atanus, of Niles, is running against David Earl Williams III in the March primary for the 9th Congressional District, which includes part of Chicago and its northern and northwestern suburbs. The winner will face U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, in the November general election.

Atanus said she stands by her comments and won't withdraw.

"I don't know why they are not standing behind me," Atanus said.

Atanus told the Daily Herald's editorial board Monday that she believes God controls the weather and said tornadoes and diseases – including autism and dementia – are a response to gay rights and legalized abortions, the newspaper reported

She continued to defend her position in an article published Friday.

"I care a lot about the world and I care a lot about my obedience to serve God the right way," she said. "I can't turn my eye and look the other way when I know that abortions, gay rights and civil unions are making God very angry."

Atanus isn't new to politics.

She ran for the seat in 2010, but lost in the primary. She was removed from the ballot in 2012 because she didn't have enough valid signatures.

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Information from: Daily Herald, http://www.dailyherald.com

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