Key questions about State Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) and her campaign remain unanswered following a recent debate with her challenger, Alyssia Benford (R-Bolingbrook).
The debate, less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election in the 98th District, was broadcast in the morning live over WJOL.
Manley could supply no specifics regarding a late August robocall from Secretary of State Jesse White on her behalf that claimed Benford lied about her record, and that she was a “Trump-loving Republican.”
“I want to know what about my record that I lied about and where the connection from Trump came from,” Benford said.
At first, Manley said it must have been something that White “read about or heard,” and then when pressed said that White offered to make the call and that she didn’t write the script.
“You’re not answering the question,” Benford said. “He made the call on your behalf.”
Separately, Manley did not challenge Benford’s charge that she (Manley) has lied about being a licensed certified public accountant (CPA) in Illinois. Benford is a licensed CPA.
“She lied to the Sun-Times editorial board last week that she has been licensed since 2004,” Benford said in her closing statement. “She isn’t even currently licensed as a CPA in the state of Illinois. If someone will lie about their profession they will lie about anything.”
Manley said nothing to defend herself against Benford’s charges during her closing comments that immediately followed Benford’s.
On Oct. 20, the Chicago Tribune editorial board endorsed Benford. The endorsement cited the robocalls: “….Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, sent out robocalls to voters, voiced by Secretary of State Jesse White, that tie Benford to President Donald Trump. Apparently Manley doesn’t have a strong record to stand on so she’s trying to tarnish Benford’s.”
The editorial board also cited Manley’s support for the 2017 income tax increases.
“Manley went to Springfield five years ago promising to be fiscally prudent,” the endorsement said. “Instead she has voted for higher taxes, stop-gap budgets and a phony budget introduced by House Speaker Michael Madigan that was $7 billion out of balance.”
“So whom will voters hold accountable for the state’s financial mess?” the endorsement continued. “Benford, who’s running for the first time? Trump? Or Manley? Voters in this suburban district need to wake up. Benford is endorsed.”