Although these "bolters" represented fewer than half the counties of the state, their action was significant and the contagion might spread. Consequently, one week later Douglas turned aside in the Senate from the pending question upon which he was speaking to address his fellow senator's on the condition of political parties in Illinois. In a speech characteristically abusive he denounced the leader of the "bolters" as an ex-Mormon with an unwholesome record, and he fastened upon the recalcitrants the name of "Danite," by which they were known during the remainder of the campaign. He took care during the course of his remarks to state that in his opinion Buchanan was not a party to the attacks made upon him from the ranks in Illinois.
The Democratic press of the state immediately lined up with the rival conventions. A majority of the editors of the state favored Douglas, who had thus far been intrusted with a large part of the federal patronage of the state. The Whig editors took no part in the quarrel; the Buchananites were sadly in the minority. Some of the Douglas supporters went so far as to place the name of Douglas at the head of a column on the editorial page, as if the election of a senator were to be determined by popular vote. This, added to the direct nomination of Lincoln by the Republican convention, gave additional color to the popular aspect of the campaign. It was as if the two were running for the presidency rather than for an election to a senatorship through a state legislature.
[Illinois State Register, Springfield, June 17]
Mr. Lincoln is recommended for Senator and however unusual such an issue may be, it is now plainly and squarely one before the people of the State for United States senator—Stephen A. Douglas on the one side and Abraham Lincoln of the other; the Democracy of the one against the black republican principles of the other.