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Chicagoland Is Teeming With Presidential Hopefuls Ahead Of The Illinois Primary

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 10, 2016 8:05PM

Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and John Kasich meet ahead of the March 3rd GOP debate in Detroit, Michigan. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
With the Illinois primary elections less than a week away, nearly every major candidate for president, along with some of their surrogates, are in town stumping for votes.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton will appear for a “get out the vote” rally in north suburban Vernon Hills Thursday evening at 7:15 p.m. “At the event, she will discuss her plans to break down the economic barriers that favor those at the top and build an economy that works for everyone,” the Clinton campaign told the Sun-Times. Clinton appeared last month at a rally in Bronzeville, along with several high-dollar fundraisers. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, also appeared in Illinois this week in north suburban Evanston and in Austin on Chicago’s West Side.

Meanwhile, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will host a rally in south suburban Summit tomorrow beginning at 5:00 p.m. at Argo High School. Sanders was also in town last month for a speech to a near capacity crowd of 7,000 at Chicago State University.

The biggest Republican event will likely be carnival barker Donald Trump’s rally at the UIC Pavilion, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Friday. Thousands of both pro Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters will likely be on hand for the event. A Facebook event calling for a 4:30 p.m. protest beginning on the UIC Quad has nearly 10,000 people saying they’ll attend, and more than 180 staff and faculty signed a letter asking UIC officials to call the rally and "anathema to the mission of UIC."

Trump rallies have become increasingly known for outbreaks of violence, with protesters often being attacked by supporters. At a rally on Wednesday night in North Carolina, an African-American man was sucker punched by a white man in a cowboy hat while being led out of the venue, while police looked on. Mashable reports the African-American man was then tackled by police, while the white man was not ejected or immediately arrested on the scene.

It’s these type of incidents that have staff, faculty and other potential protesters worried. Professor Julie Peters, who signed the letter, told Fox News:

“I'm not actually concerned about what’s going to happen out on the street. I'm concerned about what is going to happen inside the forum. We’ve seen on camera what happens when people who are protesting Donald Trump are escorted, if you will, out of that arena.”

In addition to Trump, Ted Cruz will also be in town on Friday at a fundraiser the Illinois Republican Party is hosting in honor of Gov. Bruce Rauner. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and starts at $500 for a seat, with price brackets that go all the way up to $40,000.

Ohio Governor John Kasich was also in Illinois this week, appearing at 2 town hall meetings in the Chicago suburbs. Speaking in Palatine, Kasich said that he refused to get deep down in the mud that’s been slung throughout the GOP primary. I refuse to get down in the mud to be elected president of the United States, said Kasich, according to the Tribune. "You have to show respect to people.”

Though Rauner has not chosen to endorse a particular candidate, WLS reports Kasich had some supportive words for Rauner regarding the budget crisis, which has dragged on for 9 months:

"This is the Land of Lincoln. You can't melt down financially in this state and survive - this is ridiculous, why don't you tell 'em all to get along better. Get the legislature to work with the governor to get this state fixed before more businesses leave this state!"