Drag queens and how they got pulled into politics
“I was doing what I thought was a private act of kindness.”
—Alicia Florrick, the first woman to serve as governor of Illinois, explaining why she’s running for the U.S. Senate
On April 3, 2014, while on a campaign stop, Alicia Florrick was approached by Robert “Bobby” Thompson about running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Mark Kirk, the longtime incumbent. Thompson, a retired police officer who served nine years as state representative at the age of 37, was also running as a Democrat but told Florrick he’d “never forgive me if I didn’t” run.
Thompson, who would go on to chair the Illinois Democratic Party, asked if Florrick would consider running for the position after hearing the news.
And so on March 7, 2014, Florrick, who had been a registered state Democratic Party member for eight years but no longer signed cards when she attended state Democrats’ fundraisers, announced her candidacy and her campaign began. In the weeks that followed she began working on the campaign like a “futurist politician,” as she recounted in a video that’s now been viewed more than 1 million times.
She didn’t start out with much money, she hadn’t done anything to set herself apart, and in 2014, she hadn’t raised any money at all, with most of her money coming from what she describes variously as “loud” and “sensational” local Democratic Party events.
But she was in it to win it.
“I was doing what I thought was a private act of kindness in return for a favor,” she says in the video. “I’m now officially running for U.S. Senate.”
The next year, Florrick won the Democratic primary election with more than a half a million votes and defeated Republican challenger Sean Bagniewski, who was seeking to represent Illinois’ 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House.
“While no one was really prepared for what was to come, we were all just hopeful,�