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Aaron Schock withdrawal roundup

Friday, Apr 26, 2013

* Let’s start our roundup of Aaron Schock’s decision not to run for governor with the Sun-Times report

“He said back in the fall he was going to see whether he thought he could do more good running for re-election for Congress or running for governor,” Schock aide Steve Shearer told the Peoria Star late Thursday.

Schock, 31, ultimately decided to remain on Capitol Hill, where he serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, said Shearer, Schock’s chief of staff and campaign manager.

But the young third-term Peoria congressman also faced the reality of a crowded GOP field — and a tough general election race if he prevailed. […]

“Aaron realized he is only 31 and is not willing to risk everything against Rauner’s millions and probably Lisa Madigan,” said one state House Republican familiar with Schock’s thinking.

* That last point is worth noting

Had Congressman Schock survived a brutal Republican primary race, he still would have faced the daunting challenge of either facing an incumbent governor, Pat Quinn, or a popular attorney general with a well-known family name, Lisa Madigan. Or even throw in the longshot possibility of running against Bill Daley, former Secretary of Commerce and brother of Chicago’s former mayor, Richard M. Daley. All three would be tough opponents, making this race for governor “mission impossible,” that could have resulted in ending his promising political career.

* Another factor

In February, the House Ethics Committee announced it would continue an investigation into Schock over allegations he sought donations of more than $5,000 per donor to a political action committee. The super PAC backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who was running in a House primary against Rep. Don Manzullo. Kinzinger won the March 2012 primary.

At the time, Schock spokesman Steve Dutton said Schock hadn’t done anything wrong and the case was “without merit.”

* And yet another factor

Shearer said Schock’s increasing seniority in the House after the changeover of members in the previous two national congressional elections was a significant factor in the decision not to seek the governor’s office. Schock is only two seats away from the halfway point of seniority on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.

Schock also serves on the House Administration Committee and in an advisory role to the House Republican Conference.

* Schock has had a storied career so far, and he’s only 31

The 31-year-old won an unexpected write-in victory for the Peoria District 150 School Board in 2001 by a 20 percent margin over the incumbent board president while still a student at Bradley University. Three years later he won an equally difficult victory in a majority-Democratic state House district where he served for two terms before running for Congress in 2008.

In the House especially he has proven to be a prolific fundraiser, bringing a host of high-profile speakers to central Illinois including former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, House Speaker John Boehner, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, then-President George W. Bush, first lady Laura Bush, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former House colleague Allen West.

During the first three months of 2013, Schock brought in just shy of three-quarters of a million dollars to his federal campaign fund, and was sitting on a war chest of about $2.7 million, according to disclosure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission.

He could very well be the future of the GOP in this state.

* A look ahead

His decision not to run leaves only one Republican candidate at the moment with access to major campaign cash, Chicago investment mogul Bruce Rauner, though Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford has raised some hundreds of thousands of dollars.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:00 am:

    Isn’t there a Senate seat up in 2014 also? Why are all these guys pining after a miserable job firing people and cutting programs (or otherwise making them mad by raising taxes) but no one wants to take on Durbin?

  2. - Cincinnatus - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:02 am:

    Congressman Schock’s fresh face and energy is what the ILGOP needs to revitalize itself. I wish him all the best.

  3. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:06 am:

    –He could very well be the future of the GOP in this state. –

    No question.

    Giving up the safe House seat would have been a tough call under the best of circumstances.

    Being in the majority on Ways and Means is one of the best gigs in politics. Besides the enormous influence you have on who pays what (or not), you can raise a boatload of money.

    It will be interesting to see if Schock throws that fundraising ability behind one of the candidates in the gov. primary. My guess is it will not be Rauner, lol.

    I imagine Schock will deliver some payback to Rauner, one way or the other, before it’s all over.

  4. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:06 am:

    ===but no one wants to take on Durbin? ===

    They’ll find a token.

  5. - John Wood - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:16 am:

    Smart play.

  6. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:26 am:

    Not a fan of his personally, but I admire his political skills. I hope he exacts revenge on Rauner big time. It would send a message throughout the Party and the political community that he thinks and acts long term.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:28 am:

    I am so pleased Congressman Schock is not throwing caution to the wind and chasing the windmills of being Illinois’ governor … today.

    At 31, Schock, literally, has had a very full career, and a career others in the late 40’s and beyond would trade for tomorrow. Throw in that 13 years from now, 2 full Guv elections and the doorstep of a third, by the way, Aaron Schock will be just 44.


    Tem more years, if he continues his rise. Schock will be close to Chairing Ways. Ten more years, Congressman Schock may be Secretary Schock, maybe Ag Secretary, or Transportation Secretary, who really knows ALL the options, but staying in Congress gives Aaron every option I stated, and so many more I haven’t even thought of …today.

    Politics is also about calculations, and the “math” of running two races, both with questionable outcomes…at 31.

    What is the most disappointing is that the act of …retreat(?) … is seem by some as weak. This IS the powerplay move for Aaron Schock. Holding his powder and watching this from the sidelines may lead to 3, maybe 4 GOP names ending their careers for the windmills.

    Thirty-one. Worked from school board, to the General Assembly to be considered a strong candidate for governor, who bows out, to fight another day …today …at 31.

  8. - Ruby - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:34 am:

    Aaron Schock has made a good choice. But I truly doubt that he will waste his time or energy on payback against any candidate. I believe he is a decent person trying to work for the common good.

  9. - The Captain - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:47 am:

    Most of the people pinging my email inbox this morning think this benefits Rauner the most. Maybe they’re right but my thinking is that if anything Rauner benefited from a fractured opposition and this helps consolidate the anti-Rauner options. I thought Schock, Rutherford and Dillard were all fighting for the same slice of the pie and this development helps Rutherford with downstate moderates and Dillard with Chicago area moderates, of which there are more. The Republican primary vote may be negligible in the City of Chicago proper but it’s still Chicago area-centric with a little less than 60% of the vote coming from the Chicago media market. If the non-Rauner donors decide to coalesce around Dillard as has been rumored this could be the start of a significant Dillard upswing.

    Then again with so much focus on the moderate candidates and the moderate wing of the party you could see Brady quietly consolidate the rest and have the conservative wing of the party push him through and surprise everyone on election day again. In 2010 Brady won with about 20% of the vote despite only taking about 7% in the Chicago media market, where 59% of the statewide vote came from. It seems like it will take more than 20% to win the Republican primary this time around but the downstate 2010 Andrzejewski vote is in play for Brady this time as well as the Downstate 2010 Jim Ryan vote which will likely be split between Brady and Rutherford. I don’t know how likely it is that Brady could increase his statewide total over 2010 but it’s certainly plausible.

  10. - Chavez-respecting Obamist - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 9:50 am:

    Smart move. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him.

  11. - justbabs - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    The longer he stays in Congress, the less likely that he will run for a statewide office. Congress does not lead to Springfield, but it can lead to Chairmanships or Cabinet positions. This a decisive step he’s taking. Hope he realizes that.

  12. - just sayin' - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    The IL GOP is in such miserable shape, anyone with more sense than dollars will not bother.

    It’s likely just going to be Rauner on an ego tour.

  13. - shore - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    The reality is that most his press in dc thus far has come from what they call in professional sports “off field behavior” and frankly Schock hasn’t earned the right to be taken seriously for these positions. The pictures on wonkette, the parties, the abs, the magazines, he has behaved very much like bachelor/kid from peoria experiencing his first taste of “the life” which isn’t a positive development.

    You contrast him to another gop congressman named Justin Amash, a guy about his age from Michigan and has spent most of his time thus far on committee work and trying to galvanize the libertarian movement. You don’t read about him at parties, he doesn’t take off his clothes for magazines, he works, and he tries to lead-albeit a bit out of the gop mainstream.

    “He’s only 31″-Dan Hynes was a pretty young guy when he was elected statewide, Jesse Jackson jr, Evan Bayh, elected at a young age-many many others who’ve not gone onto realize their potential. He had a great shot in a state party lacking leaders of his generation and in a state as a whole looking for alternatives and he frankly blew this opportunity because he didn’t buckle down.

  14. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    We think SHore is a little harsh.
    The Congressman has proven a lot. Just look at how the tax code has transformed America!
    And exactly how does one galvanize whack job libertarians?
    Fire, Aim, Ready

  15. - BleugrassBoy - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Excellent decision by the Congressman.
    This state is so screwed up I don’t know why anyone would want the Governor job.

    Nope - better to stay safe in Congress (or Senate) and move up in the ranks Nationally as others have pointed out. Can’t blame him for wanting to spend more time in DC.

  16. - CU Voter - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:25 am:

    John Kasich made the jump from Congress to Gov in Ohio. There are probably other examples. But I think as a general rule you’re correct about the paths usually being separate.

  17. - shore - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Kasich made the jump from congress to goldman sachs to the Ohio Governor’s mansion. Blago was a congressman.

    “Congress can lead to cabinet positions”-you’re assuming we win a presidential race anytime soon, which increasingly looks as likely as carlos marmol getting through 1/3 of an inning without giving up 2 touchdowns.

    I don’t care for him, but Rutherford has worked extremely hard or it at least feels that way, so hopefully this gives him a shot. I’d lose 30 lbs though.

  18. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    –Evan Bayh, elected at a young age-many many others who’ve not gone onto realize their potential.–

    Evan Bayh was a popular Dem governor and Senator in a GOP-tilting state. If not becoming president means not realizing his potential, he’s a member of a pretty big club.

  19. - langhorne - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    aaron has a sweet deal. woulda been crazy to give it up to go thru two nasty elections, just to win the job of mucking out state government. esp because i dont think he would win. career suicide at 31.

  20. - Ahoy! - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    –He could very well be the future of the GOP in this state.–

    If that is the case the Illinois GOP are in trouble. One of his problems in a state-wide bid is that he’s a conservative from downstate. He very well matches his District, but would have a lot of problems in a State-wide general election.

    The future of the GOP in general needs to look a lot more moderate or will continue to serve as the minority party. Someone like Mark Kirk needs to be the future of the party, he actually won a high profile race.

  21. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    - I wish him all the best. -

    I have to say, Cinci, I think you may regret Schock leaving the race. He would have pulled a lot of downstate votes from Brady, the guy that beat Dillard last time.

    Hopefully Schock has come to the realization that he’s far too right wing to have a future in Illinois statewide office. The IL GOP better find a young Mark Kirk if they want to revitalize their party.

  22. - Susiejones - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    never did think Aaron would run; he has a long career ahead of him as has been pointed out by others. I like Aaron and wish him all the best. good decision on his part.

  23. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    –If that is the case the Illinois GOP are in trouble. One of his problems in a state-wide bid is that he’s a conservative from downstate.–

    Yet the Club for Growth calls him a RINO, encourages a primary challenge from the right and takes out negative ads against him.

  24. - Ruby - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    —Someone like Mark Kirk needs to be the future of the party, he actually won a high profile race.—

    Mark Kirk won his seat in the US Senate because he ran against a very weak Democratic candidate with serious corruption and competence issues.

  25. - Rich Miller - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 1:45 pm:

    Keep on whistling past the political graveyard, Ruby.

  26. - Jim - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:12 pm:

    Rich, I’m a fan of Mark Kirk. But Ruby is correct — Giannoulias was a weak candidate with corruption issue. Why deny the indisputable?

  27. - Endangered Moderate Species - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 3:28 pm:

    Schock’s withdrawal is a feather in the cap of Rauner’s team. They targeted Schock early and took the fight to him before the race was on the mind of voters.

    It is like a game of Texas Hold-Em. The guy with the most money forces the others to go all-in if they want to see the turn card. Schock is wise to fold this hand.

  28. - walkinfool - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Never bet against Mark Kirk in a general election contest.

    When he’s 100%, he should take de facto command of the IL GOP.

  29. - walkinfool - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:15 pm:

    It might just be me, but Schock has always impressed me as too shallow for a real job.

  30. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:52 pm:

    A really wise move by the young Congressman. Yet better days are likely yet to come for this talented fellow, hopefully to the true betterment of ALL Illinoisans or Americans one day. As they say, there is much to be said for the old Adage that “Timing is everything.” The sooner talented Elected Official learn and accept that plain reality, the better. This wasn’t his time…

  31. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:53 pm:

    Was meant to read “Officials”–i.e. in the Plural sense…!

  32. - Sonic - Friday, Apr 26, 13 @ 4:53 pm:

    A Pyrrhic victory if anything for Rauner. He is already been made unelectable by a long series of negative stories with a common thread.

    He believes the law is for the little people. While he can’t be bribed he is far more corrupt. He has cynically gamed the system for personal gain. From 3 illegal homestead property tax exemptions to giving former DNC chairman Ed Rendell $300,000 in campaign contributions for PA Governor and then doubling his Pennsyvania pension business after Rendell took office (aka pay to play) to calling Obama’s Secretary of Education to get his daughter into the best school in Illinois for which she absolutely did not qualify, and all the other things that have already been printed about him that show a clearly corrupt man. When voters start tuning in on the Race for Governor these things will be brought to those voters who will be revolted by his brazen selfish greed.

    And if anyone thinks the Schock org didn’t generate these findings and get them in the media that person is blind. Rauner is not going to become governor but he will be spent dry by his equally greedy consultants taking advantage of Brucie the same way he has taken advantage of taxpayers.

    Aaron Schock will rise. Rauner is going to sink, even with that ugly feather in his cap. Victory?

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