Longtime Democratic Rep. Danny Davis, 80, is defending his Chicago-area House seat against 31-year-old progressive challenger Kina Collins in today’s Illinois primary.
In Oak Park, a liberal bastion just west of Chicago, several voters who were part of a slow trickle — about a dozen voters over 45 minutes mid-morning — into the polling place at the Nineteenth Century Charitable Association said they had backed Collins, a community organizer, because they wanted to see a generational change within the party.
Edward Solan, a 75-year-old retiree, said he voted for Collins because Davis “has been around too long, and it’s time for a change.”
He said the reality that the House Democratic leadership — Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn — are all over 80 years old was a “contributing factor” in his vote.
“Danny Davis is older than I am. I knew when it was time to retire, and I think it’s time he does,” Solan said. “Not that I have any great disagreement with his record, but it’s time to move on.”
Ray Gobis, a 60-year-old electrician, also said he voted for Collins, and that “part of it is age.”
“It’s time to retire,” he said of Davis. “It’s not that I’m crazy about any other candidate. It’s just that some people maybe stick around a little too long.”
“When you get older, you lose your energy,” Gobis said. “I think some people that are elderly may have a lot of energy. But I don’t see Danny Davis going out and being in the limelight, or bringing up subjects and being in front of the camera. We just don’t see him. I think part of it is just he’s elderly, he’s collecting a nice paycheck.”
But some voters said they saw Davis’ years in Washington as an asset.
Carol DiMatteo, a 79-year-old retiree, said she backed Davis because of his seniority in Congress. He was first elected to the House in 1996.
“We can have the best people that have no power,” she said.
She said she believes Davis “has the power to make things happen. And I think he has the general population in mind.”
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