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Democrat Blames Rush Limbaugh for Primary Loss

Bill Sarto, who lost a primary bid, said the conservative radio commentator inspired female voters to cast their ballots in favor of women.

Bill Sarto, a Democrat who lost in the primary race for Kane County chairman, said Rush Limbaugh is at least partly responsible for the March 20 result.

Sarto ran against Sue Klinkhamer, whom he said benefited from a backlash over comments the conservative radio commentator made about women and contraception.

“Sue Klinkhamer can probably give Rush Limbaugh an assist here,” Sarto said.

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Limbaugh drew criticism when he made derogatory comments about a Georgetown University law student after she testified before Congressional Democrats about a private insurance mandate for contraceptives.

Sarto said he believed women went into the voting booths thinking “there’s a war on them" because of what Limbaugh said.

Klinkhamer, a former mayor from St. Charles, ran what she called an "anti-campaign." She hardly spent any money but she still defeated Sarto with 56 percent of the vote. She couldn't be reached for comment for this story. 

Sarto pointed to figures complied by Geoffrey Petzel, a fellow Democrat who lost his primary race for the 6th Congressional District nomination last week, as a indicator of a potential trend. After speaking with Sarto and finding they both had similar outcomes, Petzel examined dozens of races in Kane, DuPage and Lake counties to see if there was something larger happening.

Petzel, who finished third in the primary behind two women, studied Democratic and Republican primaries in which a man was running against a woman in races at the federal, state, county and local levels.

Petzel said he found the Republican winners were nearly evenly split between the sexes—14 out of 30 contests were won by women. But on the Democratic side, the female candidate prevailed in the vast majority of the races—25 out of 28 primaries.

“I think the results probably shocked everybody," Petzel said. "Even the candidates that were expected to win won by a higher majority than they were seeing in the weeks before the election.”

Petzel said he intends to study more primaries of the suburban Chicago and downstate Illinois to see if his trend played out there.

Petzel's analysis fails to factor out primary contests involving incumbents. Five of eight incumbents in the contests Petzel studied were women.

Petzel and Sarto also were careful not to directly place blame on women voters for their losses. They described the suspected trend as one in which Democratic voters seemed to favored women instead of intentionally voting against men.

Maureen Yates, one of the two candidates who got more votes than Petzel, finished second in the 6th Congressional District Democratic primary behind another woman, Leslie Coolidge. Coolidge will face Republican incumbent Peter Roskam in November's general election.

Yates believes Petzel's figures could connect to a larger voting trend: a response to perceived attacks on women.

"If they continue to fight women’s rights, they are going to lose and they deserve to lose," she said.

A gender gap exists, particularly in Congress where women make up less than 20 percent. More women, according to Yates, are becoming involved in politics because of what conservatives like Limbaugh are saying.

"Women are waking up," Yates said.

Sandy Kaczmarski March 29, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Perhaps this means there is a war on men losing to women candidates? There are only 17% of women in Congress which represents a decline from previous years. While I like to see women elected and wish there was more equal representation since we are 51% of the population, I hope voters still look at the best candidate and the qualifications each brings to do the job. Bill, there's always a loser in an election. Move on.
robert poznanski March 29, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Sounds like "sour grapes" to me! The best candidate, we like to think, "always wins!" Sue Klinkhamer, has probably found a new way to run for public office! Leave the voters alone (without the phone ringing, at dinner time) and allow them to use their intelligence, and ability to pick a candidate, with out the constant bombardment of a "standard" campaign, and look what happens! This HAD to ruffle, a few feathers! I, personally, thought it was great! The" woman", question, on the other hand, is really pushing the envelope, considering where we are in our social,as well as,"political evolution", isn't it??
th woodbury March 30, 2012 at 02:56 AM
the only reason mr. sarto lost is luck of being a socialist democrat. any one who has ties to the obama regime better jump ship before the whole ship goes down!
Bill Baar March 30, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Sarto ran a good campaign. This is a sad way to end it.
Grant Crowell April 14, 2012 at 06:44 PM
The reason Bill Sarto lost to an opponent that did even campaign? It's because he's a complete goofball. Watch this video and you'll see why he got voted out of office with only 13% of the votes in his attempted re-election. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFeA-pM0o8Y

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