Illinois politicians are a bunch of cowards. Few are willing to answer the political courage test – an issue-based questionnaire – from Project Vote Smart, which compiles data on political candidates. That means they lack courage, says Vote Smart board member Adelaide Elm, because it’s not a “gotcha” questionnaire.

“The candidates are allowed to answer questions in their own words if they want to, they don’t have to respond to every question in order to pass this test. There are no right or wrong answers to the political courage test,” she said.


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Elm says 20 years ago, 72 percent of candidates for Congress nationally would respond; now it’s 20 percent nationally, 17 percent in Illinois. She says serious contenders are terrified to do it, because whatever they say, their opponents will slam them for it.

In the races for the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, seven candidates in Illinois responded, and they’re all longshots: either minor-party candidates or Democrats and Republicans running in districts where they’re badly upside-down.

Nevertheless, Vote Smart does its own research and compiles data anyway, which voters may find at

The Illinois candidates who did answer the questionnaire:

U.S. Senate:

Sharon Hansen (Libertarian)

U.S. House of Representatives

Dist. 3 – Sharon Brannigan (R)

Dist. 5 – Nancy Wade (Green)

Dist. 6 – Michael Mason (D)

Dist. 9 – Susanne Atanus (R)

 Dist. 12 – Paula Bradshaw (Green)

 Dist. 18 – Darrel Miller (D)

In addition, none of the three candidates on the ballot for governor responded, and six of the 189 candidates for the General Assembly responded.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /