Illinois State House candidate accused of sexist, racist language

ByCraig Wall WLS logo
Friday, February 23, 2018
Illinois State House candidate accused of sexist, racist language
A state house candidate is accused of using sexist and racist language in a meeting with an attorney general candidate.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Illinois State House candidate is accused of using sexist and racist language in a meeting with an attorney general candidate.

Top Illinois Republicans called on Burt Minor to drop out of the Illinois State House race Thursday.

The comments causing the current firestorm were ones Burt Minor directed at Republican attorney general candidate Erika Harold when he was helping her build her DuPage County operation. Minor is the Winfield Township GOP chairman.

This all came to light because of an email Thursday sent by the House Republican floor leader alerting certain members that Minor was using their names as endorsers.

Rumors had circulated in Republican circles for months about Burt Minor's repeated uses of the N-word and a homophobic term during a meeting with Erika Harold last fall. She confirmed the conversation Thursday.

"He asked me if I had children and I said I did not. He then asked me whether I was married and I said I wasn't. And then he asked whether I'd ever been married I said I have not. Then he said well are you a lesbo?" said Erika Harold, Republican candidate for attorney general.

Harold said she was shocked.

"And so I told him I'm not. But I also made clear that someone's sexual orientation should not be used to disqualify them from running for office," said Harold.

House Republican Floor Leader Peter Breen personally met with Minor to confront him about those comments.

"Mr. Minor confirmed to myself and to a witness that he did use the full N-word and that he had asked her if she was a lesbian," said Breen.

Harold, who is African American, was also stunned when Minor asked her if the N-word was ever appropriate to use.

"I was shocked by that as well and I told him it's never appropriate to use that word, and he repeated it a couple of more times, saying the full word and I made clear that I thought that was offensive," said Harold.

Minor who is running for Jeanne Ives' House seat, has pictures on his Facebook page with Gov. Rauner and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But Republican Party leaders were quick to condemn his comments.

"Burt Minor's racist and demeaning language has no place in the GOP or our society. He should drop out of the race," Gov. Rauner said.

Late this afternoon Minor issued a statement saying in part, "Not all Republican voters are comfortable discussing issues of race and sexual orientation. I wish it were different, but it is a reality those of us active in the Republican Party's leadership confront, not infrequently. My discussion with Erika was an attempt to point out this unfortunate reality, it was in no way meant to be offensive."

Jeanne Ives called on Minor to quit the race calling his comments "inexcusable, indefensible and disqualifying."

Minor gave no indication in his statement that he would drop out.

He called this a misunderstanding that he intends to clarify to voters leading up to the primary, adding there is no place for racism and intolerance in the Republican party.