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Suburban House Dem challenger reveives press boost

Monday, Jun 30, 2008

[Posted by Kevin Fanning]

* Another suburban Democratic challenger running in a traditionally safe Republican district got some significant press today.

Aurora Austriaco, who is running against Rep. Rosemary Mulligan in Illinois’ 65th Legislative District, was featured in a piece in the Sun-Times on the possibility of becoming the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly:

Aurora Austriaco is running to represent Illinois’ 65th Legislative District. She’s knocking on doors four days a week, aiming to become the first Asian American elected to the Illinois General Assembly.

To get there, she’ll need to knock off a 15-year incumbent–state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, who represents voters in a district that includes portions of Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Niles, Rosemont and Chicago’s Northwest Side.

The article adds that:

Austriaco won 10,641 votes in the Democratic contest, compared with Mulligan’s 5,358. On election night, Mulligan shrugged it off by telling the Journal, a local community newspaper, that 2008 was “a very unusual year.” Many Republicans, she speculated, took Democratic ballots to weigh in on the epic battle between Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton.

It is no doubt that Mulligan will have a tough race. However she has been extremely careful on how she has been voting lately.

For instance, Mulligan was one 14 Republicans to break with her party and vote on a motion to table and effectively kill the gaming expansion component of the capital bill on the last night of session.

* The real crux of the story is how unusual it is that a democrat stands a chance in this district:

The district is a traditional Republican redoubt. That would appear to put Austriaco’s bid in Don Quixote territory, but the times, they are a-changin.’ The Illinois GOP is looking to the November election as a patient would prepare for a visit from Dr. Jack Kevorkian. A mercy killing might be the order of the day.

That, on top of exploding gas prices, a tanking economy, and the Barack Obama juggernaut, could make Austriaco a history maker.

Austriaco joins Democratic candidates like Dianne McGuire of Naperville who have been generating lots of buzz. If the Republican party can’t hold on to these two spots, then it is truly in a dire jam…

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - Skeeter - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:36 am:

    Since Diersen/GOP doesn’t comment here, I must ask:

    Why are you “promoting” these two Democrats?

    If they win, it will be your fault.

    Don’t tell me there is a difference between “covering” and “promoting.” I refuse to believe it.

    I post, since Diersen/GOP doesn’t have to.

  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:41 am:

    Oh yeah.

    Every GOP candidate is in trouble. It’s the “meme of the year”, courtesy of every paper trying to sell enough ad space to pay the bills.

    What a bunch of empty blathering.

  3. - GOP - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:48 am:

    It’s not Rich’s fault if Rosemary loses. This is a very tough year for the GOP. Rosemary is in a serious fight but I do think she will prevail. Remember, Axley lost that Senate seat to Kotowski and Schakowsky is the Congresswoman there. I just hope Rosemary is focused and ready.

  4. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:50 am:

    GOP- I wrote the post. Also, quick correction. Kotowski defeated Dave Sullivan. Your point is very valid though. He was the last state senator to represent a part of Chicago, and Mulligan has parts of that district.

  5. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:52 am:

    ===Don’t tell me there is a difference between “covering” and “promoting.” I refuse to believe it.===

    Skeeter, you can chose to ignore reality. But the fact of the matter is that when a Democrat poses a serious chance to win in Naperville, or Mulligan’s district, than it is most definitely worth covering.

  6. - Pat collins - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:55 am:

    Well, certainly Mulligan can’t count on any conservative support. We will see what being Planned Parenthood’s patsy in the legislature does for her now.

    My prediction = not much.

  7. - Rob_N - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:56 am:


    Correction to your correction: Kotowski beat Axley in 2006.

    Sen. Axley was appointed (mainly by herself, thanks to the weighted vote of her Elk Grove Twp. GOP committeeman position) after Sen. Dave Sullivan stepped down mid-term.

    Rep. Mulligan’s 65th State Rep district overlaps the east half of Sen. Kotowski’s 33rd Senate district.

  8. - Reality - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 10:59 am:

    …”The district is a traditional Republican redoubt. That would appear to put Austriaco’s bid in Don Quixote territory, but the times, they are a-changin.’ The Illinois GOP is looking to the November election as a patient would prepare for a visit from Dr. Jack Kevorkian. A mercy killing might be the order of the day.

    That, on top of exploding gas prices, a tanking economy…”

    AND why on earth would we want to elect more DEMOCRATS in Illinois? The last time I checked they control the Senate, the House and the Governor’s Mansion and yet the state is going from bad to worse?!?!?

    It looks to me like the Illinois Republican’s can and are making the case that a change is needed in Springfield.

    True, the Republicans have had their problems in the past but the Democrats are into a second term of Gov B and total control of the state government and what has that done for us lately?

    Stalled ethics reform, legislative pay raises, lack of a capital bill (we even had one of those under the R’s), the list goes on and on.

    I’ll tell you, some of these “safe” democrats better be concerned. Especially in District’s like the one represented by Karen May. Her opponent Tim Stratton is working hard and is in a District that has a classic independent / moderate north shore streak to it. They have no problem crossing over to vote for a good R. Same with Beth Coulson’s district.

  9. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    ===Sen. Axley was appointed (mainly by herself, thanks to the weighted vote of her Elk Grove Twp. GOP committeeman position) after Sen. Dave Sullivan stepped down mid-term.===

    I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing that out.

  10. - the Other Anonymous - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:17 am:

    The district is actually fairly moderate to liberal. It only elected Republicans because the GOP’s candidates were very, very middle of the road, if not “Rockefeller Republicans.” And, as GOP points out, the district is already represented by Democrats in the state senate and the US House.

    The fact is, that if Mulligan was not so tightly identified with promoting certain liberal social issues — abortion, gay rights — the seat would have been safely in Democratic hands years ago.

    But the reality is that Mulligan, despite her personal views and voting record, is part of a Republican Party that is increasingly run by conservatives, not moderates. Her voting record (and, quite frankly, her abrasive personal style) will not endear her to conservatives; and liberals are ever more likely to associate any Republican with very conservative issues, regardless of the individual’s voting record.

    Kevin’s right that Mulligan is in trouble; she’s just lucky she’s been elected as often as she has.

  11. - Ghost - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:21 am:

    Mulligan makes an excellent point about the vote numbers being skewed by folks crossing over to support Obama or Hillary in the Dem primary. The question thoguht is whetehr they crossed over to support turmoil, or because they felt strongly about one of the canidates?

    While there may be a number of Obama republicans this novemebr I would bet Mulligan can still count on their support locally. Still, it is aparent from her recent voting trends that Mulligan is worried about her seat.

  12. - Legal Eagle - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:39 am:

    What’s amazing to me is that everybody thinks that the state Democrats’ incompetence and dysfunction in Springfield and in Cook County won’t hurt them this fall. Are people that stupid, that they will vote for Obama and then for every Dem on the ballot? That has not been the history of races in the northern suburbs.

  13. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:45 am:

    One thing is for sure. If in addition to holding all statewide elected constitutional offices, the Dems capture the WH, increase their majorities in the US Congress, and win a veto-proof majority in both sides of the IL GA, the public won’t have the R’s to kick around anymore.

    I’m actually looking forward to Mexican-style one-party rule and the “accountability” that goes with it.

  14. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 11:50 am:

    ===I’m actually looking forward to Mexican-style one-party rule and the “accountability” that goes with it.===

    lol, don’t you think it’s done wonders over the past few years in IL?

  15. - Cal Skinner - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 12:06 pm:

    I don’t think it is a surprise that Rosemary voted against gambling expansion. She has always held that position with which I am please to agree.

  16. - Willie Stark - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 1:37 pm:

    While granting that Rod is an utter embarrassment to the Democratic Party, has perversely hijacked populist progressive ideals (Willie Stark ought to know), and should, post haste, be impeached, from where comes the idea that the Republicans would actually be any better?

    What do they have to offer? Cut the gas tax? That’s a plan to stir the voters’ imaginations. Hell, they can’t even be bothered to say much bad about Blagojevich. Republicans are the party of big corporations that are laying people off, foreclosing on their homes, and cutting their health care benefits. The public knows that. In a roaring, good times economy, not such a liability. Now…

    The fact is, their standard bearer, George W. Bush, has led their party to oblivion. Every Illinois Republican Party official ought to be getting down on his/her knees and praying to that prince of peace they never tire of reminding us that they love so much, that Sy Hersh’s piece in the New Yorker about the looming likelihood of an Iran attack is dead wrong. This country isn’t going to be stampeded into war fever again. Rather than benefit McSame, it will be the coup de gras for permanent minority status for Republicans across the country. Anyone catch Mitch McConnell’s statement that it will be “impossible” for the Senate Republicans to take back the Senate. Not even trying to pretend. Wow!

  17. - Captain America - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 2:18 pm:

    I think the key to these races with moderate Republican incumbents like Mulligan and Coulson is how many new voters register and vote. Most of these voters are likley to be voting for Obama and never having voted for either Coulson or Mulligan also may be likely to vote for the Democratic legislative candidate. In additon I believe that Republican tunrout may be much lower than usual because of general demoralization.

    I know for a fact that Coulson’s opponent, Daniel Biss is doing a very good job raising money and is an extremely hard worker in terms of campaigning, He was knocking on doors on Skokie Sunday afternoon and evening before Memorial Day.

    Austriaco appears to be a very attractive candidate, and Laura Washington’s flattering profile will lead voters in Mulligan’s district to give serious consideration to Auatriaco’s candidacy.

    I thenk the real albatross in the November 2008 election is the Bush-Cheney administration, not Blagojevich. Therefore, Cook County Republican moderates like Coulson and Mulligan are very much in jeopardy.

  18. - Reality - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 3:30 pm:

    It’s the state Republican candidates job to point out the record of the incumbent Democrats in state government and offer solutions. The MSM and even bloggers usually lag behind the sense of the public out there. For all the doom and gloom out there Beth Coulson will win. Mark Kirk will win and some of these new, heretofore unheard of state Republucan candidates will surprise some people and they are the future of the party. I’m not an apologist. The national Repulicans lost the public trust the same way the State R’s did. That’s too bad. The Dems have just proven that loosing public trust is an equal opportunity sport.

  19. - Skeeter - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 3:53 pm:

    With regard to your 10:52 post –

    I was joking. You need to read Diersen/GOP [I know, I know. I’m probably the only one who reads some of that stuff] where he usually alleges that any “coverage” is “promoting.”

    Of course, he also said the Tribune is killing the Wheaton parade, so admittedly most of what is written by GOP makes no sense at all.

  20. - Kevin Fanning - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 4:06 pm:

    Skeeter I have to start learning your sense of humor. That may be the second time now when I failed to get the sarcasm. Funny though looking back on that original comment.

  21. - Legal Eagle - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 4:09 pm:

    Incumbents like Coulson and Mulligan have been walking precincts and raising money and going to ten community meetings a week for over a decade. No challenger can ever catch up to that simply by “walking in Skokie on a Sunday”. They’ve both had much more qualified challengers who walked every day for a year, and didn’t beat them. That’s an earned advantage that well-liked incumbents like them have.I just don’t believe that the well-educated voters in the north suburbs will vote out an incumbent just because they may think that Obama will save the world.

  22. - Republican waiting for the next GOP disaster - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 4:15 pm:

    Serves those do-nothing, seat-warming Republicans right. Let them get washed away in the coming tsunami. Few Republican voters will shed a tear or notice the difference when a Dem clears out the deadwood. A better Republican will have a better chance against the first term Dem in two years. Sometimes that’s the best option available to get rid of some of these entrenched players.

    My question is, how small to the caucuses of Frank Watson and Tom Cross have to get before they have to stop using the title “leader” for anything?

    Speaking of Tom Cross, the Dem running against him got around 5,000 more votes than Cross did in the primary. And that rookie Dem had almost no money or organization.

  23. - Anonymous - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 4:49 pm:

    I have to admit that I’ve been amazed watching Aurora’s rise. We were law school classmates that worked on projects together and I remember very vividly feeling at the time that she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. But watching as she worked the system over the years, I’ve been impressed and realized I may have misjudged. Obviously she possesses a different skill set and I won’t be surprised if she wins this.

  24. - The Original Reality - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 7:43 pm:

    …was not big on all-caps, incoherent and inappropriate punctuation, bad grammar and incorrect spelling. ;)

  25. - reformer - Monday, Jun 30, 08 @ 9:20 pm:

    The GOP organizations are in disarray in Mulligan’s two biggest townships. Rosemary is in trouble because her own base is shakey, the Dems above her on the ballot including Kotowski will win big, and Obama will bring out many new voters. Her abrasive style is unlikely to impress voters if she walks.

  26. - Bruno Behrend - Tuesday, Jul 1, 08 @ 8:10 am:

    “Waiting Repub” above nails it.

    With Rs like Mulligan, why not have the district get the “real thing?”

    The plight (if one can call it that) is more proof that the “Wait til next year” strategy of the Republicans who cower from a Const. Conv. is doomed to failure.

    To cowardly to run on anything, and too venal to allow for a “farm team” independent of their pension-seeking pork & payroll patronage piggery, these idiots are presiding over the destruction of an entire political party, with the national party not far behind.

    With a convention, they have an opportunity for a resurgence of sorts. Absent a convention, they have nothing but continued decline.

  27. Pingback Another endangered Republican... | Extreme Wisdom - Tuesday, Jul 1, 08 @ 8:23 am:

    […] Suburban House Dem challenger receives press boost […]

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