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Kelly breezes to Democratic nomination in 12th congressional district

  • Brendan Kelly chats with Williamson County Democratic Party chairman Cody Moake Tuesday morning, during his 12-county Election Day run that began in Cairo at 5 a.m. It ended in his home county of St. Clair, where he voted.

    Brendan Kelly chats with Williamson County Democratic Party chairman Cody Moake Tuesday morning, during his 12-county Election Day run that began in Cairo at 5 a.m. It ended in his home county of St. Clair, where he voted.
    Holly Kee photo

  • David Bequette

    David Bequette

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 3/21/2018 3:26 PM

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly handily defeated his primary challenger for the 12th congressional Democratic nomination on Tuesday, and will face Republican congressman Mike Bost and a Green Party candidate in November.

With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Kelly had 39,962 votes. His challenger, David Bequette, of Columbia, had 9,420. All votes are considered unofficial until they are canvassed.

Kelly, the first state's attorney in Illinois to file suit against big pharmaceutical manufacturers, vowed he will continue to address Illinois' opioid crisis as he campaigns around the 12th district.

His lawsuit, considered a model for similar suits around Illinois, charges that drug companies tried to maximizing profits by deceiving patients about the dangers of certain prescribed opioids -- which he claims has led to unwarranted addictions, overdoses and deaths.

"We need to rethink the way we take care of one another," said Kelly.

Bequette, a marketing consultant, community organizer and former U.S. Marine, accepted only individual contributions for his primary campaign.

"If we are going to speak out and expect campaign finance reform, then it would be hypocritical to take money from special interest groups," Bequette said.

Kelly defended his acceptance of PAC money.

"What we have accepted is different from the dark money," he said. "If you look, our funding is from organization that have issues important to people in southern Illinois."

While all of Bequette's funds are from individuals, about 95 percent of Kelly's contributions are individuals and nearly 80 percent of those have given $200 or less.

Kelly said improving the 12th district's infrastructure must also be a priority.

"Here in southern Illinois we have roads and bridges that are crumbling and children that can't do their homework because they don't have a reliable internet source."

Along with Bost, Kelly will also meet SIU professor and Green Party candidate Randy Auxier in the November general election.