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A few thoughts about the CD2 race

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013

* As you already know, Robin Kelly won the 2nd Congressional District special primary yesterday with 52 percent of the vote. Debbie Halvorson received 25 percent and Anthony Beale got 11 percent.

From the February 22nd Kankakee Daily Journal

The campaign of 2nd Congressional District candidate Debbie Halvorson got a boost today with the results of a new poll of 500 voters likely to cast a ballot in the upcoming election.

The former congressman, D-Crete, now leads with 21 percent of the vote, with former front-runner Robin Kelly polling 17 percent. […]

Conducted Feb.17-19, the poll was conducted by Victory Research for WCKG AM Radio.

Pollster Rod McCulloch said that Halvorson’s opponents’ negative advertising about Halvorson regarding issues involving gun control may have backfired.

* I didn’t report on this poll. But NBC5 and the Huffington Post did.

Why did I shy away?

We Ask America ran two polls for me in the days leading up to the election, which I shared with subscribers. Both showed Robin Kelly with large leads and the second poll showed she was most definitely surging upward.

With my own current polling, it seemed to me that the pro-Halvorson poll was just not credible, so I didn’t run it.

* Speaking of Halvorson, a whole lot of commenters predicted yesterday that the black vote would be divided and Halvorson would win.

Here’s the thing, folks: Chicago-area black people vote in higher numbers than anybody else in the region. Black wards pretty much always have the highest turnout. And, in this instance, the voters knew enough about the campaign to know who was who and went with Kelly. She even won Ald. Anthony Beale’s 9th Ward with over 50 percent of the vote. That is quite a feat.

* And speaking of Beale, his concession speech was bitter and way over the top, perhaps to mask his humiliating defeat in his own back yard. Watch…

Beale ran a terrible race. He didn’t raise money, claimed he had a field operation when he really didn’t, and could never focus on an issue that would resonate with voters. I’m almost positive he would’ve lost even without Mayor Bloomberg’s intervention.

* Meanwhile, on the Republican side

The race among Republicans to replace former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is too close to call.

Chicago resident Paul McKinley was leading fellow Republican Eric Wallace by about two dozen votes as of late Tuesday night. But with a handful of precincts outstanding, no winner was declared.


Paul McKinley calls himself an “ex-offender” who wants to get other ex-offenders to work. That’s why he ran as a Republican candidate in the special primary to replace Jesse Jackson Jr.

McKinley served prison time for robbery, he says. Now he’s on a mission to offer “street repentance.”

“Street repentance means to help a young man to not go in the same direction that I went,” McKinley says in this campaign video.

With 99 percent of the precincts reporting late Tuesday, McKinley was in the lead with just a couple of dozen of votes over Eric Wallace.

* Roundup…

* Ald. Beale blown away by Kelly win: “Wow. That’s what money buys you,”

* Kelly easily wins Democratic race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in Congress

* Kelly Takes Aim At NRA In Victory Speech

* Crowd cheers “Robin! Robin!” as Kelly declares a new day in the battle against gun violence

* Candidate backed by Bloomberg wins Democratic primary in Chicago

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LincolnLounger - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    Can somebody explain to me why anybody in Illinois still would dream of using Rod McCulloch as their pollster? I don’t mean to be personal, but come on!

  2. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    I called this one wrong, at every step of the way.

    That’s what happens when you have friends in the race.

    Next time: just pay attention to Cap’nFax and shut up.

  3. - The Captain - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:29 am:

    Here’s the thing about Beale, the oppo on him is broadly known, salacious, explosive and hilarious and yet no one cared even enough about him to drop it. He was little more than a vanity candidate and he campaigned like it.

  4. - Votecounter - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:30 am:

    Going to all of the clerk and election sites for Covering the 2nd district all of the votes cast are in and counted for the Republican race McKinley is ahead by 23 votes unless they expect 30 or so absentee ballots and by the size of the vote that would be allot McKinley wins. I don’t think the powers that be understand McKinley could be a serious challenger and if gets some money he will be. Kelly is from the suburbs all the votes are in the inner city where McKinley’s from. don’t go by the primary nobody in the city takes a GOP ballot but in the general they are on the same ballot. McKinley is going to go after the Democrats and their failure from the neighborhoods perspective. With the shootings and housing trouble and unemployment all long term problems he could make it a race. If the Republicans are seen as helping McKinley it could help to open the black voters to the GOP but if not…

  5. - Stones - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    I thought some of the pro-NRA crowd might cross over and pull a Halvorson ballot in the S. suburbs. Obviously that didn’t happen.

  6. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    It seems as though some are stating that Rod McCulloch, a Republican hack who calls himself a pollster, cannot be trusted. Let me ask the non-partisan Illinois Policy Institute for their unbiased opinion to clear things up here.

  7. - langhorne - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:38 am:

    glad to see mel reynolds polled less than 1%, for a total of 453 votes and an 8th place finish.

  8. - regular democrat - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:41 am:

    RICH-Im quite sure u know of Rod McCulloch and his past. Anything with his name on it is pure fantasy and u probably know it. I cant say what I really want to say about that guy because I respect your blog and how u run it.

  9. - The Captain - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:44 am:

    Kelly: 53%
    Halvorson: 23%
    Hutchinson: 8%
    Beale: 12%
    Others: 4%

    Kelly: 52%
    Halvorson: 24%
    Hutchinson: 3%
    Beale: 11%
    Others: 10%

    Within a point on each of the top 3, off quite a bit downballot.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    Bad Form, Beale.

    I gave you way too much credit. Stay in the 9th Ward, and save the state and the country the headache.

  11. - Esquire - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    At least Rod McCullough has not been prosecuted for his campaign related work during this election cycle.

    I heard Kelly’s victory speech in which she thanked her supporters (Schakowsky, Davis and Quigley — Hats off to Quigley for making an endorsement at the last possible moment) and mentioned one “Mary Emanuel.” I am sure that she meant to recognize Mayor Emanuel.

    Her effort to convert her election into a national referendum on the N.R.A. was somewhat over the top.

  12. - Same Old Same Old - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Rod McCullough — seriously?!?! Just another reason why the Halvorson campaign was a joke.

  13. - Esquire - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    Just listened to Beale’s speech. Oy!

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    - The Captain -,

    Careful not to “crow” too much …

    Well done.

  15. - ZC - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 10:07 am:

    Black wards have the highest turnout and my suspicionis that AA older women are the turnout champions. (A frightening number if AA men can’t vote, but save that for another day). It looks to me like either Robin Kelly or Toi Hutchinson had the inside track on this nomination, and Kelly grabbed the pole and never looked back.

  16. - Votecounter - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    Halverson started at 24% and even after 2 million spent beating her up she ended up at 24%. Curious

  17. - siriusly - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    I’m always shocked when a candidate blames money for losing. Especially a Chicago Alderman. Did you not spend any money to get elected Alderman? Money isn’t evil people, it’s a tool that you use to help win elections. If you don’t have enough, you usually can’t win. Silly.

  18. - Ann - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    ZC, why do you say a shocking number of AA men can’t vote? My guess was that you’re talking about felony convictions, but that’s not a bar in Illinois, right?

  19. - Will Caskey - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    Beale “ran this race the old-fashioned way.”

    Presumably meaning the way before television and direct mail became standard campaign tools.

    Also I like that if being anti-gun is “the future of the Democratic Party then we are in big trouble.” I got some bad news for you bro…

  20. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    It was Halvorsen and Toi’s bad luck that the race was the only one in the country and a billionaire with point of view was itching to spend money.

    It was wise on Kelly’s part to keep hammering on the NRA to attract Bloomberg’s attention.

  21. - Dave Fako - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    Some general observations:

    Kelly’s team should be congratulated on running a smart, focused and disciplined campaign that worked very well in the current political environment and national debate on guns and capitalized on the opportunities created by the changing dynamics of the race. However, I think even they would agree that the changed dynamics of the race (multiple credible candidates dropping out), Bloomberg’s money, lack of another well funded alternative, etc. gave them a boost.

    Bloomberg’s money clearly influenced the race, and from a very casual anecdotal observation, I would argue it helped Kelly more than hurt Halvorson (see next point).

    Halvorson still got 1/4 of the vote despite not really running a campaign, only a few points lower than she earned in March 2012. Albeit, she earned about 8K fewer votes than in 2012 - in a much more crowded field. Most (including me) argued early on she had limited growth potential (if any), but it also appears she had a floor she would not drop below (our polling showed this, and, most other credible polling had her in the low - mid 20’s all the time). Halvorson performed well in K3 / Will, but as I argued yesterday, even a doing 75% there was not going to do it for her as the race existed at the end. However, if the race remained as divided as it started, she would have been in position to win. So, did Bloomberg’s $ really do anything to Halvorson other than keep her where she naturally was going to end up anyway?

    Toi’s exist probably helped Halvorson a little in the K3 / Will area, but in the end this had a marginal impact on Halvorson’s % and raw vote totals.

    Bloomberg’s biggest impact was chasing Toi out of the race, this set up a clear path for Kelly without serious credible opposition to leap frog over Halvorson.

    Purely hypothetical, but what does this race look like if Trotter stays in (and does not bring a gun to an airport), Toi stays in and remains viable, Harris actually spends money to compete and Beale still gets his 10% and Kelly runs the same campaign? Kelly may still win, but with

  22. - titan - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    @ZC - why can’t a frightening number of AA men vote?
    If you’re refering to felony convictions, Illinois restores voting rights automatically upon release from confinement in prison (if the feet are on the pavement outside of the pen, they can register and vote).

  23. - Dave Fako - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:08 am:

    continuing previous post - but with…

  24. - Dave Fako - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:09 am:

    trying to say Kelly may win with under 30% as I described above, but I suspect a different outcome based on the polling I saw if the dynamics did not change as much.

  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:12 am:

    ===but I suspect a different outcome based on the polling I saw if the dynamics did not change as much.===

    Way too many variables to speak to a different outcome with limitied dynamic changes…

    Like the “if ‘if and buts’ were candies and nuts …” kinda feel.

  26. - Dave Fako - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    The different outcome is hypothetical, but, based partially on polling, other data and an understanding of the political dynamics and culture in that District. If Toi stays and and remains viable (say 12% which is close to where she was polling), Trotter stays and gets 12%) and Harris gets about 8% (close to his early polling numbers) that is 32% off the table, mostly coming from what Kelly got, and maybe a little off of Halvorson. I also would argue that Trotter would have done much better than my stated number for various reasons, and this assumes Harris and Toi does not catch on fire but still spend money. These are not unknown variables, they are at least partially based on data.

  27. - The Captain - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:38 am:

    What if Jesse Jackson Jr. doesn’t decide to use his campaign funds as personal funds?

    No, wait …

    What if Mel Reynolds doesn’t commit a crime opening the door for Jackson?

    No, wait …

    What if Jackson had run for Senate back in 2004 and squeezed out Obama so this seat wasn’t even open now?

    No, wait …

  28. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:43 am:

    - The Captain -

    lol … well played.

    Not taking anything away from your analysis, - Dave Fako -, my point is there are way too many “moving parts” to just throw everybody back in the race and “make soup”

  29. - Dave Fako - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:46 am:

    making soup is fun….but I think we all agree that the shifting dynamics of this race were as a big of (or bigger) influence on the outcome as the actual campaigns.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 11:54 am:

    If you are going to make soup, then take out the Bloomberg ingredient, and instead of soup at that point, it might be salad.

    No one had a ground game of consequence, no one had tv even close to Bloomberg, the issue of guns overwhelmed the field, the candidates themselves, and the media, by its size and scope against those targeted.

    Shifting dynamics of any race can change any outcome, but I can not think of any race that even comes close to the oddity this race was, so to even think outside the box in this race, with all this race entailed leads to no true outcome that could be changed or measured by how it would change.

    Strange bird this race.

  31. - The Captain - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 12:17 pm:

    == but I can not think of any race that even comes close to the oddity this race was ==

    Really? Do we have normal races here in Illinois? Think 2004 Jack Ryan and Alan Keyes, or 2010 Quinn/Scott Lee Cohen/Simon, or really the entire 2010 Governor’s race in general, filling the vacancy for the Obama Senate seat convicted a Governor and put the replacement in a General Assembly committee hearing and gave us the phrase “we are the Senator”. The list goes on and on.

  32. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 12:28 pm:


    In regards to Outside Money sneaking in and devouring everything in its path, while candidates didn’t know what to do; say in, drop out, punch harder, … to my point on the oddity, I stand by that.

    “Jack!” and Alan Keyes was self-inflicted,

    The LGs for both sides in 2010 were like the LaRouchie’s winning with Stevenson, so I had seen that movie before.

    The Obama senate seat (Burris) was at one point considered criminal, and the Alexi-Kirk race was not this odd…

    So, I stick to my thoughts, but the trip down Memory Lane was fun.

  33. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    I rather enjoyed the NRA being made the bogeyman. Who cares about jobs or families, when the big, bad NRA is around. So much easier to demonize them than to blame the actual criminals or those who ruin the community.

  34. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    ==Stay in the 9th Ward, and save the state and the country the headache.==

    That, then, is a problem for the 9th Ward and its neighbors. This is the guy who looked into opening up landfilling in the city. Great idea for his campaign account, not so hot for his constituents.

    There is a lot that could be said about Ald. Beale and his judgment. It may be enough to say he hired Delmarie Cobb to work on a campaign in 2013.

  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 2:35 pm:

    Since Bloomberg bought his candidate, I hope he stays interested after the dust settles enough to make her do something. I doubt it.

  36. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Quit whining about Bloomberg money. Robin Kelly was going to win this with or without Bloomberg in the race.

    Halvorson’s message was “I’ve been to Congress (but ignore the voters ousted me after one term).”

    Hutchinson’s message was “I’m as progressive as Robin Kelly (except for the guns).”

    Beale’s message was “I can’t decide on a message.”

    Kelly won b/c she was the better candidate and raised the requisite money.

    Robin Kelly was a Barack Obama fan and political contributor from before when it was cool to give to Obama.

    Bloomberg’s money went to the candidate who was going to win b/c Bloomberg wanted to make a point. But Kelly didn’t win b/c of Bloomberg’s money.

  37. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    ===The LGs for both sides in 2010 were like the LaRouchie’s winning with Stevenson, so I had seen that movie before.

    And another example seems to be making the Captain’s point ;)

  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 4:45 pm:

    ===And another example seems to be making the Captain’s point ;)===

    My point, of all the oddity, this was just a Strange Bird race. He can claim we have them all the time, but even with that, this is just a bit off even that path, given the monies, the responses to the monies, the fact it’s a special election to top that off …

    Asking which is the oddest might even be splitting hairs at this point (snark), but I still stick to my …. “ballots”.

  39. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 4:48 pm:

    I’ve been blogging for about 10 years with some notable gaps in the last couple years. I thought about if I have to hang it up for some reason, the last post should have been, I picked the wrong decade to stop sniffing glue.

  40. - Fed up - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 4:55 pm:

    I have to believe Kelly was going to win no matter what. The media pointing to this as a major win for the anti NRA crowd is a joke and lazy it’s not like the district flipped from a anti Obama pro gun rights conservative. Triple j was a chair of Obamas campaign and a gun control advocate nothing has changed in the district. Hopefully, Kelly gives the district the attention it needs to develop economically.

  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 6:25 pm:

    - ArchPundit -

    Glad you stuck it out. Don’t choos now to stop either.

    You have to stick around, Jason Plummer is going to come back down in your neck of the woods, you haveta be around for that!

    He is now the young version of the “Monopoly” guy, instead of Rich Uncle Pennybags, he is going to be Rich Nephew Quarterbeers, the new Trustee of Dad’s bank.

    “You can’t go, all the plants will die!”

  42. - Glass half full - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 8:35 pm:

    Kelly got over 50% in the 9th Ward????? The constant bleating of patronage being evil we’ve been spoofed for the last 20 years has finally come full circle. With patronage, neighborhoods we’re stronger (if you moved they’d pull your letter) and organizations actually had captains who took pride in their community (job fear is a wonderful thing).
    Yesterday was the kickoff for a new full contact wealth sport where you collect as many Congressman & Senators as possible.

    Seems we didn’t have as many punks running loose when the men of the neighborhood we’re actively involved in th epolitical process.

  43. - ZC - Wednesday, Feb 27, 13 @ 9:17 pm:

    Maybe better late than never … yes after some research I had better retract part of my early-day comment, thanks for the Cap Fax education. Male AA disenfranchisement in Illinois, that part.

  44. - Mr. Grassroots - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 1:31 am:

    I agree with Carl. Robin Kelly would have won this race regardless of the Bloomberg Super PAC. Our internals showed many things, but essentially that Halvorson was the big target. In retrospect, she made herself an easy target.

    What the Super PAC did for Robin Kelly, I will admit, is propelled her onto the national scene. As you all know for a local Congressman, that is a double-edged sword. A balancing act. If Kelly buys into the national stuff and ignores the locals, that is bad for the 2nd district. She can and I believe will do both, which could end up being her greatest accomplishment of all.

  45. - OpenlineBlog - Thursday, Feb 28, 13 @ 3:57 am:

    This race is a good reminder of why Illinois continues to elect the wrong candidates.

    Bloomberg’s firepower was huge combined with many Dem power brokers helping Kelly due to the Whitakers, Obama, Axelrod crowd, but OBJECTIVELY, if the race was truly about guns, then Anthony Beale has an actual track record on gun legislation AND he is a gun owner.

    The much bigger question should be why Bloomberg backed Kelly and not someone else like Beale. And, that answer can likely be traced to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington DC.

    And, we also should note Anthony Beale was the only candidate we heard consistently talking about jobs, economic issues and getting Peotone. He had the right message, just not the same firepower.

    Instead, we end up with an ethically-challenged, rubber-stamp of the White House, the Mayor of Chicago and the Mayor of New York.

    And, Illinois continues to elect the wrong people.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Driving Dead Episode Four: The Chase
* “The Driver’s Side” – News From The Motorist’s Perspective
* Carjacking Suspect Returned To Illinois To Face Charges, Including Murder
* Cubbie power elicits little more than a yawn from some of us these days
* Where Am I Located?
* Kotowski's Replacement To Be Sworn Into State Senate
* Americans Receive Out-Of-Network Medical Bills That Reach 'Exorbitant' Heights, Report Finds
* Report: Many U.S. States Fall Short On ID Card Access For Homeless LGBT Youth
* Legislative Panel Recommends Mautino For State Auditor General Post
* Chicago Alderman Stalls Charter School Moratorium Resolution

* IEMA Announces Elgin Community College Attains ‘Ready to Respond Campus’ Designation - Elgin one of five Illinois campuses to receive distinction
* New Mortgage Loan Interface Increases Efficiency, Compliance
* State Fire Marshal Ushers In Fire Prevention Week - “Hear the Beep Where You Sleep!”
* October Is Illinois College Application Month! - Over 130 High Schools Will Hold Events to Help Students Get to College
* Illinois Takes Part in Nationwide Community Banking Study, Findings Announced

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