Quinn distances himself from supporter linking Republicans to the KKK

Jun 13, 2014

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s campaign is distancing itself from a supporter who is linking Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan. IPR'S Alex Keefe reports. 

The Reverend Walter “Slim” Coleman was one of several clergy who endorsed Quinn at an event on the South Side Thursday. Coleman talked up the importance of registering “unlikely voters”, people who feel isolated from the political process.

But then, with the Democratic governor silently at his side, Coleman warned against another kind of “unlikely voter.”

"That’s an unlikely voter that began way back in 1961 and ’62 with the Ku Klux Klan, that grew up through the militias, that came outta the militias and, and, and – came in to call themselves conservatives, and then came in to call themselves Republican. That’s a movement that brings an evil that we have got to stop!”

Coleman also suggested Quinn’s Republican rival, Bruce Rauner, stands for evil.

Quinn left the event without taking questions. His campaign later said via email the governor disagrees “strongly” with Coleman’s comments and believes they have no place in politics.

Rauner’s campaign declined to comment.