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A busy bee

Sunday, Oct 31, 2004

Barack Obama will try to gin up Democratic turnout tomorrow in a series of Get Out the Vote rallies. He’s in southern Illinois and then Kentucky tonight (for a Democratic US Senate candidate). Here’s tomorrow’s schedule:

9:00 AM         Metro East GOTV Rally
11:30 AM        Quad Cities GOTV Rally         
1:00 PM          Rockford GOTV Rally
2:30 PM          Peoria GOTV Rally
5:15 PM          Springfield GOTV Rally
7:15 PM          Champaign GOTV Rally
9:50 PM          Chicago GOTV Rally

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Sunday morning wrap-up

Sunday, Oct 31, 2004

My weekly newspaper column talks about the Beth Coulson and the Ricca Slone races and how women legislators from the two political parties have behaved quite differently in the contests.

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Yesterday, Bob Novak and Al Hunt both predicted on CNN’s Capital Gang that Congressman Phil Crane would lose.
NOVAK: One thing that saddens me, it looks like Phil Crane, the senior Republican in the House of Representatives probably going to lose in Illinois in the carnage of the Republican party in Illinois. Phil Crane was a presidential candidate. He was one of the leaders of the conservative movement, with his (INAUDIBLE) when he was a college professor, the Democrats (INAUDIBLE) I hope I’m wrong, but it looks like he’s going to go down.

HUNT: I think elsewhere, that there will be four or five GOP incumbents, including Phil Crane, who are going to lose.

The Waukegan News Sun has a homestretch article on the Crane race, as does the Chicago Tribune.

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Just in time for Halloween, the Daily Southtown’s Kristen McQueary has an excellent article today about ghost candidates.
In five races — most of them concentrated on the Southwest Side — Democratic incumbents along with newcomer Dan Lipinski face Republicans who don’t return phone calls, answer doors, raise money, seek publicity or campaign — yet all managed to collect hundreds of signatures to get on the ballot.

In some cases, they have not even voted in Republican primaries, instead pulling Democratic ballots.

A Daily Southtown review of the petitions they filed to get on the ballot shows connections between the Democrats and some of their GOP “challengers,” revealing a wink-nod campaign tactic both parties use to protect incumbents.

Read the whole story.

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The Decatur Herald & Review has a piece today on appointed Rep. Bob Flider’s massive outspending of Republican opponent Scot England. I plan to have the real story in the Capitol Fax tomorrow about why the Democrats have spent so much money on this race.
“The amount of money per vote that Bob is spending is obscene,” said England, a former WAND-TV news reporter. “Somebody has lost their mind.”

Flider said he has always felt confident about the race, but because it was his first election contest, he was making an extra effort that would not necessarily be needed if he had been in office for several years.

“My opponent has been a TV personality, and his name recognition is very high,” Flider said. “We’ve had to explain my record of helping schools and creating jobs and also my 12 years of public service” as a village trustee and mayor in Mount Zion.

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The Southern Illinoisan has two interesting stories today. The first is about record spending in state races:
The Illinois U.S. Senate race, the 5th District Supreme Court and State Senate 59th District campaigns have raked in more than a combined $24.5 million.

The second is about the role of religion in local races.

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No link to this, but the Champaign News Gazette has a story about some late dirty tricks in Rep. Naomi Jakobsson’s district. Jakobsson is a sure-fire winner in this district, but someone dredged up an old Human Rights Commission complaint against A Woman’s Fund, which Jakobsson ran.
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And, finally, here’s Doug Finke’s weekly Copley column. As always, he’s got a couple of funny bits.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Maybe not even worth mentioning

Saturday, Oct 30, 2004

A Marmion Academy assistant football coach has accused state Sen. Chris Lauzen of committing battery during an altercation after the football team’s final game last weekend.

Authorities have not filed charges against Lauzen, who called the allegation “a lie.” But police are investigating the claims of the 26-year-old McHenry man who said the Aurora Republican grabbed him by the arm, poked him in the chest and swore at him.

Lauzen said he touched the coach with two fingers to hold him at arm’s length after the coach approached him aggressively.

“I had two extended fingers, (as if to say) ‘Just get away from me,’ ” said Lauzen, a state senator since 1993. “He came to me. He was the guy being restrained. He was the guy told by the head coach, ‘Back off, back off. You’re out of line.’ “

Matthew K. Welch, a Marmion graduate who is the team’s offensive coordinator, filed a complaint with Aurora police Thursday, claiming Lauzen confronted him after the team’s season-ending victory against Aurora Central Catholic High School. [Snip]

The school’s headmaster, who did not see the incident, called the complaint “much ado about nothing.”

Head coach Tony Tinerella, a dean at the school, said he saw the argument from across the field and told Welch to stop yelling. Tinerella said he did not know who started the altercation.

Headmaster John Milroy said his understanding of the incident suggests the allegations are unwarranted. [Snip]

“I’m just trying to stand up and do what I think is right,” Welch said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      


Last post for a while

Saturday, Oct 30, 2004

Heading out for a relaxing day, so this will be it for a while.

Before I go, I forgot to add this to the daily roundup (from The Race is On blog):

NEW SENATE RECORD!!!
The Forby-Sommers race in far Southern Illinois’ 59th Senate District (one of Illinois’ poorest districts) reports combined receipts of $1.99 million for the general election, which breaks the record set by Susan Garret and Kathy Parker, who reported a combined $1.98 million in receipts in their 2002 general election race in the North Shore’s 29th Senate District (one of Illinois’ richest districts. While records may be made to be broken, in our book this is not a positive trend.

I love the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, but I hope they aren’t suggesting that it’s somehow acceptable for political parties and candidates to spend lots of money in rich districts but not in poor districts.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      


Saturday noontime wrap-up

Saturday, Oct 30, 2004

The Daily Southtown runs an AP story about increased voter registration. It’s way up:

Illinois voter registration is at an all-time high this year, with more than 7.5 million residents eligible to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, state officials said Friday. [Snip]

In 2000, the last presidential election, 7.13 million Illinois residents registered to vote in the general election. Statewide voter turnout for that election was 69 percent.

The state’s record registration was set last spring, when nearly 7.14 million people registered to vote in the primary. The state’s voting age population is about 9.1 million, according to the state board.

Requests for absentee ballots have been high for the general election this year, indicating a high voter turnout is likely, though the number of absentee ballots actually returned won’t be known until after the election, White said.

In the Chicago suburbs of Cook County, for example, 38,817 absentee ballot applications were mailed out this year, compared with 24,598 mailed four years ago. Cook County Clerk David Orr expects voter turnout to come close to the county’s record high of 76 percent, set in 1992, when more than 1 million votes were cast.

Cook County has 1.38 million registered voters this fall, up from 1.3 million in the 2000 general election, when voter turnout in the county was 72.9 percent.

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The Southern Illinoisan is very skeptical of yesterday’s $15 million coal project announcement by Governor Rod Blagojevich and targeted Sen. Gary Forby. And there’s a very coincidental ad placement right in the middle of the story:
Is it an economic boon for the dying Southern Illinois coal industry or an 11th hour election ploy? That question played out in Southern Illinois Friday afternoon and was answered strictly along partisan lines.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich rolled into Southern Illinois to announce the release of $5 million in funds to conduct a front-end engineering and design study on a project to build a 500-megawatt coal gasification power plant and mine in Williamson County. [Snip]

Flanked by a host of only Democratic legislators, Blagojevich said all attending the press conference had worked to support the effort, but the governor singled out state Sen. Gary Forby and labeled the Benton Democrat as the “driving force” in securing the project and funding. [Snip]

While the Democratic governor was touting the announcement as the revival of the ailing Southern Illinois coal industry, his Republican counterparts cried foul at the timing of the press conference — held only three days before the election, as Forby is locked in a too-close-to-call race with Republican challenger Ron Summers, also of Benton.

ADVERTISEMENT - STORY CONTINUES BELOW
[This advertiesment, believe it or not, is for Forby’s Republican opponent, Ron Summers]

State Sen. John O. Jones, R-Mount Vernon, said the actual decision to fund the $5 million — $2.5 million from the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board and $2.5 million from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity — was made more than six weeks ago.

================================================

The State Journal-Register runs a piece about a fired Republican state worker.
The former head of internal affairs for the Illinois Department of Revenue said he was fired after complaining about security cutbacks at the agency and because he is a Republican.

Doug Howard, 50, who now lives in Tennessee, also said he was ousted shortly after complaining that Revenue administrators refused to lock down the Willard Ice Building after the fatal shooting of a security guard in the Capitol just four blocks away.

“I made my opinion known to a few people that I spoke with that day, and frankly, I believe that it got back to (the administrators),” Howard said. “I think my termination … was retaliation.”

Revenue spokeswoman Geraldine Conrad said neither politics nor Howard’s complaints about security led to his firing.

================================================

And the Daily Herald has a story about Island Lake limiting the number of political yard signs.
In Island Lake, the village board passed an ordinance Thursday night to ban political signs on public property. That means no signs can be in parks, next to streets or at subdivision entrances. Signs are allowed only in a property owner’s yard with permission.

“I swear there are more signs than dandelions in Island Lake for the April elections,” said Trustee Tom Martin, who admits he had signs for five candidates in his yard this month. “This is basically set up to improve the looks of Island Lake during campaign time.” [Snip[

Martin said the ordinance Island Lake passed Thursday will eliminate hundreds of campaign signs in front of polling places on election day, because land there is village property.

“Signage is one of the key marketing strategies in any campaign,” Martin said. “I would prefer to see candidate performance records established with name recognition to be the key decision at the polling place.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


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