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New opponent emerges for Nikki Budzinski, with support from Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein

Green Party 13th District congressional candidate Chibuihe "Chibu" Asonye campaigned in Champaign-Urbana Thursday, June 6th, with her party's presumptive presidential candidate, Jill Stein.

A 27-year-old Green Party candidate has entered the race for Congress in Illinois’ 13th District.

On Thursday, Chibuihe “Chibu” Asonye stumped with Green Party presidential hopeful Jill Stein in Champaign-Urbana.

Asonye is a residence hall director at the University of Illinois and a former Democrat. She says she tells her Democratic family and friends, that the party isn’t serving them.

“I experience what they experience in the Democratic Party. They want me to continue on and think it’s gonna change. I’m sitting here looking at them telling me how nothing’s changed,” Asonye said.

Asonye is campaigning to join Democratic incumbent Nikki Budzinski and Republican challenger Joshua Loyd on the November ballot. The 13th Congressional District stretches from Urbana to East St. Louis.

Asonye said her top policy priorities are student loan forgiveness, Medicare for All including dental insurance and election reform, like ranked choice voting and lowering the ballot signature requirement.

Third party candidates can file to run in the 2024 election in Illinois between June 17 and June 24.

Israel’s war in Gaza top issue during Jill Stein’s visit

A woman with white, short hair speaks into a microphone. She is wearing a blazer. The back of a head is in the foreground.
Presumptive Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein campaigns on June 6, 2024 at Neil St. Blues in Champaign. Emily Hays/Illinois Public Media

Presumptive Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein visited Champaign-Urbana on Thursday, on the invitation of Asonye, who she called an “amazing candidate.”

“We’re here to support her, and also to really give a big kickoff to our petition drive,” Stein said.

Stein said she has already started collecting signatures to get on the November ballot in Illinois. According to her website, the Green Party is on the ballot in Wisconsin and Michigan and is still petitioning in other Midwest states.

Israel’s war in Gaza was the top issue Champaign County locals brought to her during her visit, Stein said. If elected, Stein promised to stop the transfer of weapons to Israel until they end what she called genocide against Palestinians. She said Israel must also stop occupying any territories it has claimed after 1967.

“Biden will not draw a red line,” Stein said. “He said he would draw a red line in Rafah and then he didn’t. He said he would draw a red line if US weapons were used in Rafah. We know that they are. They are being used to murder civilians and children in Rafah.;

NPR reports Israel used a US-made bomb on a United Nations school compound in Gaza on Thursday. Israel said it was targeting militants there. 

Biden did pause the transfer of some bombs to Israel in May. However, he said publicly that Israel had not yet launched a major ground invasion into Rafah, despite reports of troops and tanks in the southern Gaza city.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has labeled himself the most pro-Israeli president in US history for moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, while also criticizing Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the death toll from the war. 

Other top concerns Stein said she heard about in Champaign-Urbana were about the health care system and the lack of affordable housing. 

Stein has run in previous presidential elections, including the face off between Trump and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton and other Democrats blamed Stein for Clinton’s loss to Trump. 

“We take votes away from the the pool of voters who won’t otherwise vote,” countered Stein. “That’s not taking votes away. That’s giving people a reason to vote.”

Stein’s 2016 vote total was larger in some key swing states than the margin between Clinton and Trump. Exit polls also found most of those who voted for Stein would not have voted for another candidate.

Emily Hays is a reporter at Illinois Public Media.

Picture of Emily Hays

Emily Hays

Emily Hays started at WILL in October 2021 after three-plus years in local newsrooms in Virginia and Connecticut. She has won state awards for her housing coverage at Charlottesville Tomorrow and her education reporting at the New Haven Independent. Emily graduated from Yale University where she majored in History and South Asian Studies.

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Severe storms possible Thursday evening and overnight

From the National Weather Service in Central Illinois: A line of t’storms will affect the area late Thursday afternoon into the overnight hours. Some severe storms are in the forecast, with damaging wind gusts and large hail. Stay weather aware and be ready to take shelter when storms approach.