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National Journal ranks Illinois races

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2012

* From the National Journal

Three wave elections in a row have done plenty to scramble the House landscape. This year, it’s unlikely another wave will develop–at least any wave that could overwhelmingly benefit one party. Instead, we’re likely to see an anti-Washington backlash, one that could cost a number of members their jobs, even if neither side sees a big net increase.

* The National Journal looked at 75 US House districts that it deems the most likely to change hands. Here are the Illinois rankings

3. IL-08 (R, Rep. Joe Walsh): Walsh complained recently that Democratic nominee Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and former Veterans Affairs official, uses her service as a way to duck political issues. She would have to address issues more if Walsh didn’t keep sticking his foot in his mouth. The seat gave President Obama more than 61 percent of the vote in 2008, and 45 percent of its residents are nonwhite. As one of Walsh’s colleagues might say, the cake is baked.

8. IL-10 (R, Rep. Robert Dold): Of all the Republican-held House seats, this one gave the greatest share of its 2008 presidential vote to Obama. But Democrats failed to capture it from Mark Kirk in several attempts last decade, and they couldn’t keep Dold from holding it for the GOP in 2010. Dold’s legitimate moderate streak (and a formidable war chest) gives him a glimmer of hope, but Democrats have a strong, moderate nominee in Brad Schneider. Schneider will hammer Dold all autumn for his two votes for the Ryan budget plan. Obama could win the district with 60 percent again, and it would be difficult for Dold to peel off a full sixth of Obama supporters from Schneider.

16. IL-17 (R, Rep. Bobby Schilling): Democrat Cheri Bustos is quickly raising cash in a district that, like nearly every other GOP-held seat in Illinois, got more Democratic after redistricting. The swing districts outside Chicago’s orbit aren’t quite as fertile ground for Democrats as the ones closer to the city, but Schilling is competing at a structural disadvantage.

17. IL-11 (R, Rep. Judy Biggert): Biggert is a moderate on social issues, and that helped her appeal across party lines against tough opposition in 2008. But Obama won 54 percent in that seat; he took 61 percent of the vote in the new seat. Obama probably won’t do as well this year, but that still makes it tough to figure out the math necessary for Biggert to beat well-funded ex-Rep. Bill Foster.

23. IL-12 (Open D, Rep. Jerry Costello retiring): Though the district voted for both John Kerry and Barack Obama for president, Southern Illinois is exactly the type of predominantly white, working-class place where Democrats have had serious trouble recently. Republicans think businessman Jason Plummer can wrestle the seat away for them. Democratic nominee Bill Enyart, who commanded the Illinois National Guard, joined the race just weeks ago after the Democratic primary winner dropped out for health reasons. Enyart seems like a great recruit so far, but he has a lot of money and name identification to make up in a hurry.

53. IL-13 (R, Rep. Tim Johnson): Republican nominee Rodney Davis has never appeared on the district’s ballot; GOP county chairs chose him to replace Johnson after the incumbent declined to run in the general after winning the primary. But Democratic nominee David Gill might have appeared before voters too many times. He lost to Johnson three times in the last decade, and a more Democratic district might not be enough to boost him over Davis this year.


* A fundraising chart from Crain’s

* More

The only candidate to have a clear fundraising advantage is freshman Rep. Robert Dold.

The North Shore Republican had more than $2.1 million in the bank after hauling in $711,084 in the three months ended June 30, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

His Democratic opponent from Deerfield, management consultant Brad Schneider, raised almost as much in the quarter — $582,342 — but had only $567,623 in cash on hand after spending most of the $1.5 million he’s raised so far on a tough primary. […]

In the open downstate seat of retiring Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, Republican candidate Rodney Davis has outraised Democrat David Gill by almost 2-to-1, making it less likely to become one of the state’s hottest races.

…Adding… Oops. I forgot to make mention of the Tribune’s scathing editorial about Joe Walsh

Our “true heroes”? As opposed to what, exactly?

Walsh’s opponent is Democrat Tammy Duckworth, who flew combat missions in Iraq as a member of the Illinois Army National Guard. In 2004, Duckworth was piloting a Black Hawk helicopter when it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade fired by insurgents. She guided the aircraft safely to the ground, then passed out from loss of blood. Her comrades dragged her from the wreckage, wrapped her in bandages and whisked her to safety. Duckworth, who lost both of her legs in the attack, was awarded the Purple Heart.

Those are facts.

A military website interviewed her a few weeks after the attack.

“I hope this is the worst thing that happens to anyone in the 106th during this deployment,” she said. “This is not so bad. There is always somebody worse off than you are. I’m just glad it was me and not one of my guys out there.”

Now what was that, Rep. Walsh, about true heroes?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - so.... - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    I wouldn’t write off Dold. He managed to beat a candidate with near universal name recognition in a district that should have gone Democratic years ago.

    With regard to IL-13, there is no way that seat is flipping. Davis is already out-raising Gill to a significant degree, and Gill is just way too liberal for that district.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 11:50 am:

    Feeling better about Rodney Davis every day. The money just reinforces those feelings. Gill will have more hurdles than Davis, and in that district, the hurdles will be the difference.

    Walsh might be “done”, or as it was said above, “the cake is baked”. Very very tough road for Walsh, and he doesn’t seem to like to help himself, rather, Walsh likes to make it more difficult, and then blame everyone else for his difficulties. Time is also against Walsh, especially when you have to waste so much of his time cleaning up self-inflicted messes.

    Plummer should be OK. If Plummer comes off arrogant, and is still standoff-ish on the taxes, that elitism could come back to haunt him. Also, the perception that Plummer is a negative candidate, and always seems to go negative, that might turn off more people this time around. Plummer must have something positive out there to hang his hat on, or continuing the negative all the time, with all the negatives about himself, will bring more into focus Plummer’s negatives as Plummer tries to tighten the screws.

    Interesting read, Thanks, Rich.

  3. - ZC - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 11:51 am:

    We were discussing the possibility of a Tribune endorsement for Walsh the other day. I think the odds of that are sinking fast. Duckworth may well be the highest profile Democratic Tribune endorsement of the cycle.

  4. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:10 pm:

    Dold is pushing hard on protecting women’s rights and access to health care. He’s also supporting public education. He knows he has to reach out to non-Republicans. His last flyer stated the following:

    “Based on his voting record and commitment to put people before politics and progress before partisanship, the “National Journal” recognizes Congressman Dold as one of the most ‘independent’ representatives in Congress.”

    Quite a different message from the last election.

  5. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:11 pm:

    NJ forgot to factor in the impact of the Woodie Romney-Plummer’s tax return strategy. He will be sinking like a rock as that drags on.
    Daddy will drop another million and Woodie will back on the allowance again.
    Fire, Aim, Ready

  6. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:21 pm:

    How sad would it be if the only Republican from that group to come out on top turns out to be Rodney Davis, the Pat Brady employee from the state gop who is easisly the least impressive of the 6 profiled.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===…who is easisly the least impressive of the 6 profiled.===

    You really want to go with “easily the least impressive” with ALL those …dunno about that.

  8. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:30 pm:


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:34 pm:

    - just sayin’ -

    Plummer is more impressive than Davis?

    I know Jason would “gladly match (his) leadership and (his) executive experience up to most anybody’s.” but you would too?

  10. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    Plummer is ranked way too low. The Dems are going to have a heck of time holding that one. Other than Duckworth win, that’s the closest thing we have to a sure thing. It sure is depressing though.

  11. - Skeeter - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    Biggert is ranked way too high. I like Foster, but Judy has been around for a long time and she’s generally liked. She’s not an extremist. I don’t see her losing.

  12. - Paul - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 1:38 pm:

    Do not count the amount of money that will be spent yet. There could be a lot of Super Pac and 504(c) money entering the fray late in the election season. When it is too late for the candidate to raise more money and respond.

  13. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 1:55 pm:

    NJ should have just reported, “no surprises”. I don’t see much change, except Walsh and Plummer passing one another on the road - one going and one coming. More 2010 than 2008.

  14. - Shore - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:32 pm:

    further proof of why brady is finished in republican politics.

    you left out the dccc and superpac spending that has been announced.

  15. - Oz - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:35 pm:

    It’s time we make all these political positions “at-will” employees. The election cycle is way to long. Like four years for the president and then they waste the first year doing nothing and the last year is all about “fun (sic)raising”!

    Better yet let’s just go to a straight democracy instead of representative democracy. We have the technology today to handle it..

  16. - Professor - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    Tammy Duckworth came to my class when she was Illinois Director of Veterans Affairs, A male student who seemed annoyed with her position on the War asked if she was advocating the US just “cut and run”. She looked at him and answered, “I landed my plane with both legs gone. I don’t ever cut and run.” The student crawled under his chair. This is a lady of substance, quite a lady.

  17. - Kilroy - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:45 pm:

    The media and the professional election industry must be licking their chops at all that money….mmmmmmm…..

  18. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:46 pm:

    @ZC -

    That quote from Duckworth is not uncommon (she herself has downplayed the mantle of hero consistently), although I’m glad it was included because its dated to long before she entered politics. It speaks tremendously to her character.

  19. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    BTW, I had to laugh at the reference to Plummer as a “businessman.”

  20. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    If memory serves, Dan Seals was formally endorsed by Obama who then carpet bombed the 10th with radio ads with Obama speaking about Seals. Dold still won.

    Two of the best campaigners in recent history that I have run across are Dold and Walsh. Don’t write either one of them off just yet. Walsh running his mouth in a stream of consciousness type of way proved extremely popular among his followers. Too bad his new district is so heavily gerrymandered against him.

  21. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    ===BTW, I had to laugh at the reference to Plummer as a “businessman.”===

    Or whatever his Dad wants him to be that week …

    BTW, YDD, did you read the above about the Gill/Davis race … just asking …

  22. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 3:06 pm:

    Schock’s totals are simply eye-popping. If he isn’t trying to build up for a possible statewide run or pushing for a committee chairmanship, I would be, ahem, shocked. Sorry - had to go there.

    Dodd’s and Duckworth’s fundraising totals are impressive.

  23. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 7:21 pm:

    The Duckworth race is a snoozer in terms of outcomes, but a lot of fun to watch Walsh thinking he has a shot and shooting his mouth off.

    In the races other than 12 & 13, the demographics are the biggest part of the story–and that’s primarily what the National Journal is looking at. Candidates matter, but demographics matter more. 13 is done and will go R.

    12 is hard to decide–give Willy material for years or have an adult win.

  24. - Paul - Wednesday, Jul 18, 12 @ 8:45 pm:

    Team Sleep, Schock has an extremely safe district. When the 17th Congressional District was made more favorable for Democrats, they mad Schock’s 18th District solid red. Schock does not really have to spend much money, it ends up in his bank account.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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