O'FALLON, Ill. (AP) — Police are investigating a judge's claims that she was shoved by a congressional candidate during a homecoming parade — a dust-up that has the woman demanding a "proper" apology from the House hopeful who considers the matter "silly."
St. Clair County Associate Judge Laninya Cason, a Democrat-turned-Republican, told reporters Monday that Bill Enyart, a Democrat vying for southern Illinois' 12th Congressional District, pushed her aside while she wearing a shirt supporting his Republican opponent, Jason Plummer, during the event last weekend.
Mr. Enyart's campaign manager, Jason Bresler, said the two accidentally bumped and that Mr. Enyart immediately apologized, labeling the matter "political campaign silly season."
"He did apologize immediately when he accidentally bumped into her, as witnesses have attested," Mr. Bresler said Monday, having stressed earlier that "on a crowded parade route, people bump into each other all the time because these are low-key, fun events for voters to meet candidates at all levels."
Judge Cason said later Monday on a St. Louis-based conservative's radio show that if Mr. Enyart makes a "proper" apology, she would drop efforts to have him charged, saying, "I won't be bullied."
Judge Cason and a GOP precinct committeeman from Belleville told O'Fallon police that Mr. Enyart came up behind Judge Cason during the parade, commented about Judge Cason's Plummer-supporting clothing and pushed her arm, forcing her to the side before handing his campaign flier to the same person Judge Cason had approached.
"Enyart took it too far," Judge Cason said.
Judge Cason is a candidate for circuit judge in the Nov. 6 general election, having switched party affiliations after being passed over by Democrats for the circuit judgeship.
Mr. Enyart, the former head of the Illinois National Guard, faces Mr. Plummer and the Green Party's Paula Bradshaw in the race for the 12th District, which includes a dozen counties from Alton south to Cairo along the Ohio River.
O'Fallon police Capt. Mark Berry said his department's investigation of the alleged shoving incident should be completed within days and be presented to St. Clair County's state's attorney, Brendan Kelly, for review. Mr. Kelly has declined to comment, saying he hasn't seen any of the police findings.