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Dems have two new congressional candidates

Thursday, Nov 10, 2011

* There’s been a lot of grumbling out there that maybe the Democrats lining up to run against Republican Bob Dold in the northern suburbs might not be First Tier types. They’ve raised cash, and they’ve been working hard, but they haven’t generated a ton of buzz and local leaders have not rushed to support them.

But a new candidate has now announced, and he has some local support and a well-known media pro behind him

John Tree, a businessman and Air Force reservist who has worked in Israel with the Israeli Air Force, is jumping in the 10th District Democratic primary, joining the two other major contenders who want to defeat freshman Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.).

Tree’s late entry in the race comes as Democrats Ilya Sheyman and Brad Schneider have been campaigning for months in the north suburban and North Shore communities–but neither has solidified Democratic support.

“Democrats are hungry for a win and ready to work for it,” said Lauren Beth Gash, Democratic state central committeewoman for the 10th District. “…They are looking for a candidate they can get strongly behind.”

Gash said Tree was an “incredibly impressive candidate which is not to say the other candidates in the race aren’t.”

Tree makes his candidacy official on Thursday. He already has mustered a team of political professionals with experience in Illinois campaigns.

“No one has really consolidated Democratic support” in the tenth said Peter Giangreco, a Tree advisor who will also handle his direct mail. “There have been a few endorsements but there is nobody who can really talk about jobs and deliver a critique of Bob Dold in the way John Tree can.”

* The Jewish vote is extremely important in the 10th CD, and Tree’s campaign is emphasizing his work with the Israeli Air Force

In 1995, Tree served as Chief of West Mediterranean Logistics for the 16th Air Force, responsible for logistics support for Tunisia, Morocco and Israel. John was on the ground in Israel on twelve different occasions collaborating with the Israeli Air Force on military security. His security clearance allowed him to see realities that most Americans don’t see, fueling his strong support for the State of Israel.

Tree is currently a colonel in the Air Force Reserve. He’s also and MBA who worked for Procter & Gamble and Kellogg as well as run a small business.

* Tree’s Internet video

* After saying a month ago that he had no interest in the race, Democrat Matt Goetten has changed his mind and will run against Republican Congressman Tim Johnson

Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten announced today he’s decided to take the plunge and seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House seat in the new 13th Congressional District.

“I am running to serve middle class families by creating jobs and stopping the erosion of our future coming out of Congress today,” Goetten said in a statement.

“Whether it was serving our country overseas or standing up for victims of Greene County, I have risen to the call of duty throughout my life. I can no longer stand by and watch as a passive observer while teaching my children to stand by their convictions. We owe our kids a sound future, but Congress isn’t giving them a chance to get ahead.”

Goetten, 39, who was first elected as state’s attorney in 2004, a member of the Illinois Air National Guard, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 as a judge advocate general with the Illinois Army National Guard.

* Goetten started out as the backup in case former state Rep. Jay Hoffman decided not to run. A month ago, after Hoffman announced for Johnson’s seat, he predictably dropped out

“I can still see Afghanistan in my rear view mirror, and that was nine months that I can’t get back with my kids. And so, looking forward at the potential of a fifteen-month congressional race and the time away from home, it was just the determination that I made that my family is more important to me at the current time than seeking higher office in Congress,” he explains.

* But then when Hoffman announced a bid for the Illinois House and dropped out of the congressional race, Goetten decided he’d made his decision and was going to stick with it

At a recent Champaign County Democratic Party dinner, Goetten repeated that family considerations would keep him from running for Congress in 2012.

* Not long after Goetten’s reiteration, some district politicos announced their support for Dr. David Gill, who has run against Johnson three times before. From a November 2nd press release…

David Gill announced [Nov. 2] that he has been endorsed by State Representative Naomi Jakobsson and Illinois Senator (retired) Deanna Demuzio, as well as by Champaign County Board Chairman C Pius Weibel, Urbana Alderman Eric Jakobsson, former 13th District candidate James Gray and the Jersey County Democratic Party and its chairman, Mark Pohlman. Madison County’s Southern Illinois People for Progress and its chairman, former 19th District state central committee candidate Pam Gronemeyer, also have endorsed and are supporting Gill.

* So, is Goetten, the Greene County State’s Attorney, really in it this time?

“He is in it 100 percent,” said spokesman Dan Herkert. “We will be touring the district in the next two weeks.”


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LincolnLounger - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:23 pm:

    Tree does, indeed, look very impressive. Dold will have his hands full there.

    I’m not clear what the enthusiasm for Goetten is? What does he bring to the table? It better be more than Greene County.

  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    No offense to Sheyman or Schneider, but it is very true that neither was going to be a strong opponent for Dold. This is a top, if not the top, potential Democratic pick-up in the country. There is too much at stake for Democrats to allow a weak nominee to emerge. Tree seems like someone with the perfect background for the district and I am excited he’s in the race.

    Illinois should have been able to send 4 new Democrats to Congress. Costello’s decision makes that tougher, and Gill was going to go down in flames again. I feel much better about our prospects with these new candidates in the mix.

  3. - 13th resident - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:29 pm:

    Good primer on the kind of stories Goetten can tell:

  4. - East Sider - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:38 pm:

    I think it’s clear that Goetten got out because Hoffman shoved his way in. Then, when the king political opportunist (Hoffman) decided to poach Holbrook’s vacant house seat, because it would be the easiest for him to win, Goetten would’ve looked a little silly saying he was back in (after all the talk about his family). I think after a few weeks, he swallowed his pride and jumped back in.

  5. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:53 pm:

    ===I think it’s clear that Goetten got out because Hoffman shoved his way in.===

    I think you have a fuzzy head.

  6. - just sayin' - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 12:59 pm:

    Dold’s got trouble.

    What’s Tree’s middle name I wonder.

  7. - NSider - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:03 pm:

    47th - I have to disagree with you on this one. (And interesting choice of the past tense “was.”)

    Brad Schneider is the best Democratic candidate in the 10th CD race and the only one who can beat Dold.

    Schneider’s background, local ties and vision provide the right contrast to Dold’s Tea Party credentials. Schneider’s proven he can raise money and is gathering more local and national endorsements daily. Tree’s entry seems a little too late and too vanilla in my opinion. Luckily for him you only need 600 signatures to get on the ballot.

    Regardless of our personal opinions, I agree the district is a TOP target and whoever wins the primary needs our full support.

  8. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:11 pm:

    Agreed Nsider. I don’t personally know any of the candidates (which is weird, because I used to be pretty active up there). So thanks for giving me some info on Schneider.

    I’m taking the Al Davis position on this race: just win baby! Dold isn’t going to go without a major fight, and whoever the Dems nominate better be prepared for a battle royale with enormous national implications and attention.

    Having said that, if the DCCC tries to nationalize the race, they’re making a big mistake. The 10th isn’t a microcosm of the national electorate and the voters there tend to think for themselves. They won’t be swayed by talking points written in DC and an over-managed candidate will find it hard to gain traction.

  9. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:26 pm:

    “Dold’s Tea Party Credentials.”

    And so the mudslinging begins, while the local Tea Partiers continue to keep their distance with Dold and claim he is too liberal for them. In fact I’m not sure right now who is complaining the most about Dold’s votes in Washington, the Tea Partiers or the Democratic Party.

    Interesting to see that the Tree campaign included his official military photograph to use for publication to announce his campaign for office.

    Wasn’t it Mr. Kirk who was slammed for using photographs and his military credentials while in military garb during his last campaign? Or is there a new fine white line about this now that some Democrats (Tree/Duckworth) are doing this?

  10. - J - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    NSider, I’m not sure agree with you on the whole “proven he can raise money” thing. He had a decent first quarter, and then he got doubled by Ilya in the second.

    The first quarter is when you pick the low hanging fruit (ie friends and family). He’s raised $400k in 2 quarters and has given his own campaign $100,000. For comparison’s sake Bob Dold has almost $1 million on hand.

    Schneider wasted a quarter,and apparently only hired a campaign manager after the debacle.

    I don’t know what happened with Schneider’s campaign over the past quarter, but if I’m the DCCC, I’m going to give John Tree a long hard look, and would very seriously contemplate pulling the plug on Schneider.

    There’s only one resource you can never get any more of in a campaign, it’s time. Brad Schneider wasted 3 months and doesn’t have anything to show for it.

  11. - J - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:31 pm:

    Louis, I’d like to remind you about the little incident where Kirk was tweeting for his campaign from inside the Pentagon.

    Pictures are fine, but candidates need to be careful to separate military duties from campaigning. Kirk didn’t do that. So far Duckworth and Tree have.

  12. - fed up - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 1:58 pm:

    Dolds tea party credentials stack up well against Schneider who is a Pelosi water carrier. Wow wer can all play this game.

  13. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 2:07 pm:

    “I know what it takes to get the economy moving, but I’m keeping that secret to myself.”

  14. - shore - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    this guy is running against 2 jews in the primary. one has the left wing volunteer base in his pocket, the other has been working the faux aipac wing of the party. I don’t know where he gets the support. He might try jay footlik if he thinks a centrist hawkish democrat will do well in the primary.

    democrats should have gotten duckworth and the raja dude in a room and said one of you gets to run in the 10th the other gets the new 8th. decide and we move on. as rick perry would say. oops.

  15. - Carl Nyberg - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 2:13 pm:

    Louis Atsaves, military regulations are available online.

    Kirk got in trouble for various things.

    1. He engaged in campaign activities while on duty.
    2. He used photos that created a misleading impression about what his duties were.
    3. He flat lied about his entire military career. He made statements that were later shown to be untrue about just about everything he did in the military.
    4. And Kirk had trouble following orders about not politicking while on active duty.

    Using old military pictures is allowed. Going for your drill weekend to get pics for your campaign is pretty sketchy, but probably permissible.

  16. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 2:28 pm:

    The Tree campaign would give Dold and the NRCC fits. If Tree can prove himself to be a good candidate, he will cause the NRCC and the Illinois Victory folks to redirect $$$ and help to the 10th and will take the $$$ and help away from Bobby Schilling and Jason Plummer. It’s a good tactical move for the Dems.

    I don’t know if Goetten is a good candidate or not. The challenge for Gill’s backers will be to get walkers behind him in terrible weather and to make people forget the stinkers he left behind in the times he’s run before now.

  17. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    The Tree campaign and the DCCC should be careful not to make the same mistakes made in the 8th. That goes the same for the race in the 13th.

    Ideologues are a funny bunch. They don’t care at all about Electability. If they did, Julie Hamos and Tammy Duckworth would be in Congress right now.

    The 10th, 13th and 8th have plenty of liberal ideologues who are more than willing to skip voti g in the races where the most electible D candidate doesnt fit their litmus tests or brand image. Or vote for a third-party candidate.

    And if you go negative or even heavy-handed by massively outspending their choice in the primary—forget about it.

    No offense to the other candidates, but i wish Frerichs was running against Johnson.

  18. - The Fox - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 3:43 pm:

    The drums are banging again in Washington and the Middle East with talk of “preemptive” strikes against Iran. We don’t need another Israel lobbyist i.e. Tree in Congress to drag American troops into further battles. Dems can win the seat with a better choice.

  19. - Team America - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 3:50 pm:

    Sweet has Sheyman’s reaction to Tree’s entry into the race, blaming “Chicago political bosses”. This is going to be a fun one to watch.

  20. - Springfieldish - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 5:23 pm:

    Wow, Louis AND Team America making comments here? That, in and of itself, is a good indicator that Dold is worried.

  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 10, 11 @ 9:25 pm:

    Democrats have already the mistake of nominating someone outside the district three times and it cost us votes. Mr. Tree should run in the 6th district where he lives. Plus, Schneider and Sheyman have much more money in the bank than Tree and have been campaigning for months. Not to mention the fact Tree starts off $1.2 million behind Dold

  22. - VanillaMan - Friday, Nov 11, 11 @ 1:32 am:

    The more one sees of Dold, the better. He will be hard to beat.

  23. - ebgill - Friday, Nov 11, 11 @ 9:41 am:

    I’m very glad to see an alternative to Schneider and Sheyman. Bavda didn’t quite make it in my book for his in explicable health care positions that put most of the financial burden on nurses and other medical paraprofessionals. I still need to know more about Mr. Tree, but I have to add in response to comments made herein that that Tree’s military credentials are real where Mark Kirk’s were not so much, and that is why Tree is allowed to talk about his military experience and Kirk just looks foolish when he attempts to do the same.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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