Age, ethics and money to be key issues in Illinois 7th District congressional race

Archived version of Danny Davis' campaign web page showed AI-generated photo of him looking younger, thinner

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, February 6, 2024
Age, ethics, money to be key issues in Illinois 7th District race
Danny Davis faced backlash after an archived version of his campaign web page showed an AI-generated photo of him looking younger and thinner.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- U.S. Rep. Danny Davis is facing what could be a very challenging reelection bid with the March primary now just six weeks away.

Davis is facing four other Democrats next month, including Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, organizer Kina Collins, who ran against Davis the last two elections, as well as two other newcomers Nikhil Bhatia and Kouri Marshall.

Age, ethics and money will be three important issues in the 7th District congressional race. The district stretches from the West Side down to the South Side.

Davis is looking to hold off two potentially significant challengers in the March 19 primary.

Davis is running for a 15th term, announcing a new round of endorsements from a group of state lawmakers on Monday.

Despite facing two serious challengers, Davis said he's feeling good based on polling and the feedback in the district that he see has as a green light for reelection.

"We are on a roll, that we are moving towards victory, and that at the end of the day I will be reelected," Davis said.

Collins, who challenged Davis the last two elections and came within six points in 2022, hopes the third time is the charm.

"I think that we really are looking forward to tapping into people who have not voted in primaries before first time voters and a younger voter base, but I also just think that we cannot count out seniors," Collins said.

Collins, who trailed badly in fundraising, is getting a huge boost this week. She reported more than $600,000 for her campaign coming from ticket sales from an upcoming benefit concert to be held for her by The Strokes on March 8.

Conyears-Ervin is also hoping to end Davis's three decades in Congress.

"We know that working families want someone new and different, but they want someone like them. That's me. I'm the working mother in this race. I'm the financial expert in this race," Conyears-Ervin said.

Conyears Ervin did not want to address ethics concerns raised by an Inspector General's Report that found she fired two staffers who raised concerns about unethical behavior by the Treasurer.

Davis called her "ethically challenged."

"I'm not going to go pick for Pat, because when I'm going to address the needs of the residents," Conyears-Ervin said. Said.

Davis addressing an ethics complaint that claimed he improperly used congressional funds for campaign purposes.

"Every dime that we spent was approved by the ethics committee," Davis said.

Davis also downplayed his age. He is 82.

But an archived version of his campaign web page, since taken down, shows an AI-generated photo of Davis, looking younger and thinner. His media person admitted she generated the AI photo because she had a hard time getting Davis to get well-groomed for a photo shoot.

That staffer Tumia Romero told ABC7 she did it on her own without using campaign funds, denying it was done to make Davis look younger. His office putting out a statement defending the use of AI as a way to "effectively communicate with constituents."