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Ditka endorses Hughes for Senate

Thursday, Oct 1, 2009

* Former Bears coach Mike Ditka has endorsed conservative Republican US Senate candidate Patrick Hughes. Hughes is up against Congressman Mark Kirk, among others, in the Senate primary. From a press release…

Speaking to a gathering of Hughes supporters at Ditka’s Restaurant last night, Da Coach said, “I pledge all my support to Patrick Hughes and I will help him in any way I can. Patrick Hughes stands for the same mainstream values that Mike Ditka stands for. Patrick Hughes knows who he is and what he believes. He knows that Washington is not the answer to all of our problems today.” […]

Hughes continued, “I said that my campaign would seek the support of grassroots Illinois residents, not the Washington lobbyists and politicians who my major challenger Mark Kirk has courted for endorsements and money. Mike Ditka represents the values of real grassroots voters of Illinois in the finest sense.”

Maybe now Hughes will get some mainstream media coverage. The MSM has almost completely ignored the guy, although ABC7 did run a recent report that quoted Hughes whacking Kirk for missing a congressional vote to extend unemployment insurance benefits…

One of Kirk’s opponents in the Republican primary, conservative businessman Patrick Hughes opposes the unemployment benefit extension, calling it too expensive and suggested the moderate Kirk intentionally avoided the vote for political reasons.

“My sense is that this is someone who acts like a politician, who does things based on political aspirations and not in what he truly believes in,” said Hughes.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wndycty - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    Mainstream values? Is Ditka practicing “mainstream” values with his investment in the Chicago Bliss Lingerie Football team? Hey I am not opposed to lingerie football but its hard to have an investor in such an endeavor lecture me about mainstream values.

  2. - Team America - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Unless there’s a few million to go along with the endorsement, it will be tough for Hughes to compete with Kirk on the fundraising side. Q3 results are going to be very interesting.

  3. - Shore - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:12 pm:

    Kirk will come out with a preposterous fundraising number in the next 10 days-eric elk usually puts it out on a monday, and hughes will have 40k or so against kirk’s millions. 40k is enough for a poll and a few yard signs.

    It looks awful for the chicago msm that they spent months pondering kennedy and jackson and a guy who represents the gop base for u.s. senate gets zero coverage. then again local news is pretty awful.

    Unless ditka is bringing the political equivalent of the 46 D with him to beat up kirk, I don’t see an endorsement from a guy whose best moments were 23 years ago mattering much.

  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:12 pm:

    “[Insert name here] stands for the same mainstream values… [Insert name here] knows who he is and what he believes. He knows that Washington is not the answer to all of our problems today.”

    Honest to god, anyone can say these things, and we’ve been hearing everyone saying it. The reason Hughes is not getting any news is because with statements like this, he isn’t making any news.

    We hear this stuff every two years, and we only buy it when the incumbant sucks too much to ignor any longer. Hughes has to say something. Having Ditka only helps because having a celebrity say anything helps, even when it is standard boilerplate nonsense.

    Mr. Hughes, talk to us like we are adults, and perhaps you will get our votes. You will make news when you speak to us without catch phrases. Everytime we hear a phrase that sounds like a campaign phrase - we will stop listening to you. You do not have a political record of experience for us to review for qualifications. You need to give us real reasons to vote for you besides Ditka’s endorsement and catch phrases.

    Hughes continued, “I said that my campaign would seek the support of grassroots Illinois residents, not the Washington lobbyists and politicians who my major challenger [Insert opponent’s name here] has courted for endorsements and money. Mike Ditka represents the values of real grassroots voters of Illinois in the finest sense.”

    Good grief!

  5. - Scooby - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:23 pm:

    I apologize for the “drive by” comment, but this needs to be said: Mini Ditka.

  6. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:36 pm:

    Just another bad personnel move by Ditka. Ricky Williams trade anyone?

  7. - 10th Indy - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:40 pm:

    @ Michelle Flaherty - That was coffee out the nose funny!

  8. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:43 pm:

    Um, didn’t Mike Ditka come out in support of Pat Quinn?! This makes no sense.

  9. - Team America - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:56 pm:

    Maybe Ditka just likes politicians names “Pat.”

  10. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    All those cigars and steaks are clogging up his judgement.

    Has Ditka backed anything that has won since his Super Bowl Shuffle?

  11. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 12:59 pm:

    Team Sleep - Ditka didn’t officially endorse Pat Quinn, but he said some nice things about him and had words of encouragement in an interview.

  12. - Cosmic Charlie - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:03 pm:

    Ditka is a clown. Now if Buddy Ryan were to endorse that would mean something to me.

  13. - HouseSalad - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:07 pm:

    In his rightward lurch for the primary and fundraising, Kirk is very fearful that he will be asked this question in a media interview so it’s on record:
    “Do you support President Obama’s trip to secure the Olympics for Chicago or do you agree with the Republicans that he should be focused on “more pressing issues”?

  14. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    “suggested the moderate Kirk intentionally avoided the vote for political reasons.”

    That sure sounds like Kirk. Kirk also blew off the vote on the guy who shouted “you lie.” He talks about leadership, but he sure avoids doing it. It is almost like he hears a voice telling him “Look out! Right behind you! It is a controversial issue! Run, Kirk, Run!”

    But he sure can lead on the ACORN issue though. What courage!

  15. - Quacktastic - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:16 pm:

    I’ve got respect for Da Coach, but really does he have to refer to himself in the third person. We are still dealing with the Bob Dole syndrome and that was 13 years ago.

  16. - Harvey - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:20 pm:

  17. - well - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:23 pm:

    Speaking of lying, OdysseusVL, I direct your attention to roll call vote 699, which was the vote on the Joe Wilson reprimand:

    You will notice that Kirk did, indeed vote.

  18. - Da Who Cares - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    Who actually cares what Da coach says or any of the celebrities

  19. - South of I-70 - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:38 pm:

    Ditka endorsed far left Governor Quinn (D) too

  20. - Okay Then... - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:51 pm:

    I listened to Pat Hughes last Sunday on Tom Roser’s show. I agreed with a lot of what he had to say, but I couldn’t help thinking that he was not quite U.S. Senate material, though.

    He would have been better advised to start at the county or state level, based on what I heard.

    Mike Ditka, notwithstanding…

    I am still voting for Mark Kirk because of his foreign policy and federal policymaking experience.

  21. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:52 pm:

    There are far better choices for Ditka to have endorsed. There are true patriots and conservatives who actually exercise their right to vote. Candidates like
    Eric Wallace
    John Arrington
    Robert Zadek
    Don Lowery
    Kathy Thomas
    Tom Kuna

  22. - Chubs Mahoney - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 1:55 pm:

    Small town liberal is right:

    Also, I don’t think it’s accurate to label Quinn “far-left”.

  23. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:02 pm:

    Enough with the “Ditka endorsed Quinn” stuff. He didn’t formalluy endorse Quinn, he just spoke highly of him.

    Further comments that claim the endorsement as fact will be deleted.

  24. - proud vet - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:03 pm:

    Politico reported on Ditka’s endorsement of Quinn:

  25. - Cousin Ralph - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    Who ever emerges as the alternative to Kirk has a good chance of winning the primary. Hughes just helped himself alot. The problem with Mark Kirk is Mark Kirk. As much as Republicans want to win this race, and as much as they would love to get behind someone who can win the Gen., Mark Kirk is just too tough to stomach. Good day for Hughes, dark skies appearing for Kirk.

  26. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:06 pm:

    pv, kind words do not equal an endorsement. Read the story you linked…

    ===It doesn’t sound like an outright endorsement===

    Again. Enough.

  27. - proud vet - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:07 pm:

    I apologize for using the word endorsement. According to Politico, Ditka “supports” Quinn for Governor. According to Quinn’s YouTube account, Ditka gave a “testimonial” in support of Quinn’s candidacy:

  28. - Ghost - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:29 pm:

    Vm I had the same reaction to Hughes comments.

    At the same time I have not seen much reporting on Hughes position on various issues, much less reported stances that go along with the political adjective “conservative buissness man” which seems to have become part of his official name.

  29. - dupage dan - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 2:45 pm:

    So, Cousin Ralph,

    Ya gonna sit out the general if your guy loses the primary? You would guarantee another dem in the senate seat for the duration. If this is the case you must be one happy conservative the way this state has been going. Things are going great here in Illinois!

    “We got the liberals right where we want ‘em - we’re surrounded by ‘em”!

  30. - Cousin Ralph - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:00 pm:

    I never sit out a general and will vote for Kirk if he wins the primary. The problem is, we nominated Judy against Rod. We were told that she was the sure bet to win. Once she won the primary, the liberal Republicans who supported her did’nt raise any money for her. GOP primary voters remember that and will be less likely to buy into again.
    I’ve been around politics a long time. I heard all factions in the party claim that it’s candidate is the only one who can win, or the only one who can get the base to turn out, etc…. We can nominate a “good conservative” who proves to be a bad candidate in the general. We can also nominate a “moderate” who does’nt inspire the base resulting diminished turnout. I dont see Kirk as a shoe-in in the general. D.D. snoop around Kirk’s cong. dist and ask what people there think of him. I have. I stand by my previous post. A majority of GOP primary voters will give serious consideration to whoever emerges as the alternative to Kirk.

  31. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:13 pm:

    Ditka’s politics are part of his charm. He might scare Attila the Hun, but Atilla’s dead and it’s a free country.

    Of course, if he had stayed in Aliquippa and worked in the mines or steel mills, he might have a different (but just as ferocious and sincere) perspective.

    I always thought Axelrod pulled off a great coup when he got Mike to do the video for Daley.

    One of the best Ditka stories comes from both Fencik and Payton. In his first act after he was hired, he told the assembled players that they were going to win the Super Bowl — and “half of you in the room won’t be here.” Those who laughed or snickered, weren’t.

    Also, he’s like the Sinatra of Chicago. He does a lot of stuff — and dishes out a lot of cash — for things you never hear about.

    Great BBQ, Steak and Pork Chop sauces, too.

    After Halas, greatest Bear coach/player ever.

  32. - Abe Froman - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:15 pm:

    Kirk will win the primary even if all but one right wingers drop out. He connects with the 99% of voters who have never heard of Capitol Fax and takes positions that are center-right and well thought out. He does his homework and avoids shrill partisanship. Just what the public clamors for.

    For the upteenth time let’s all remember-Jack Roeser got 25% of the primary vote against Jim Edgar in 1994 and Edgar went on to set a record in November. The handful of whack job wingnuts who populate this blog and others have proven time and again that they can’t raise real money, that what they think is a “mainstream” candidate is a fringe candidate and that their messages have no pull with the vast middle ground of the electorate.

  33. - OdysseusVL - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    “He does his homework and avoids shrill partisanship”

    As we saw with his “leadership” on the ACORN issue.

    Come on, Abe. Get serious. Shrill partisanship is pretty much the tag line to his senate run.

  34. - History Lesson - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:20 pm:

    Is this same Mike Ditka that thumbed his nose (and middle finger) at Chicago when he coached at New Orleans? His endorsement means nothing.

  35. - Abe Froman - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:45 pm:

    Odysseus you are way off base. ACORN picked the fight with Kirk by sending its goons into his district on one of their law-breaking ghost voter registration drives last year. Kirk takes up this issue and he is suddenly “shrill?”

    Kirk is communicating for the first time with millions of voters from around the state. Voters who are, by and large, much more conservative than the limousine liberals in his district. So I guess he wants to connect with them and win the election. Wow, what a surprise.

    Remember the paragon of liberal virtue, Dick Durbin. The pro-gun, pro-life, blue dog Democrat who went completely 180% when he ran statewide and had to appeal to Chicago Democrats. I be that would be considered sensible to you. And Kirk has not and will not ever approach such drastic changes in postions as Durbin did.

  36. - The Prophet - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 3:56 pm:

    An endorsement by Mike Ditka is worth something. A derogatory comment about a political candidate by Mike Ditka is worth even more. The one that would be “priceless” would be if Mike Ditka were himself to actually run for an elected office (like Mayor of Chicago). Mike Ditka (aka. Mr. Grabowski) is the kind of guy who would receive one hell of a lot of votes were he ever to choose to run for a state or county political office. There are a lot more people out there that can relate to a Grabowski than to one of the other pampered political candidates. Mike Ditka could write his own ticket in Illinois were he to choose to do so. He has my family’s vote whenever he decides to run for political office. P.S. Mike, please think about the Mayor of Chicago slot when you have the time. “Mayor Ditka”-it just sounds so right, doesn’t it? Da Mayor, da Bears, yeah, I like it!

  37. - colt 45 - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 4:49 pm:

    i’m not sure what a ditka endorsement means, in a republican primary, in illinois, in 2009 but, hey, good for hughes. there will probably be a lot of people who vote for hughes in the primary then come home for kirk in the general…

  38. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 5:28 pm:

    “My sense is that this is someone who acts like a politician, who does things based on political aspirations and not in what he truly believes in,” said Hughes.

    “My SENSE (emphasis added) is….” Interesting choice of words.

    Mr. Hughes, Mark Kirk explained that he was UNABLE to vote. He also clearly stated in his statement how he WOULD HAVE voted had he been able.

    The type of “politician” to whom you refer: 1) would have refused to make a comment, 2) would have issued a comment without stating how he would have voted had he been able, or 3) would have attacked someone with a “distraction” to avoid a debate over the legislation itself and his position v. someone else’s.

    Question: Why didn’t you choose to focus more on Kirk’s position v. your own in front of the Press, instead of attacking him for being unable to vote?

    Could it be that you were trying to take a punch at Kirk while avoiding a real discussion regarding YOUR position–considering a 10% unemployment rate?

    With all due respect, I am beginning to sense that your response may be the type we should expect from one who acts like a politician and who does things based on political aspirations.

  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 5:38 pm:

    Never say never, but I doubt Ditka will run for office. He’s too comfortable in the private sector. Some tried recruiting him for the 04 Senate race and he wouldn’t do it.

  40. - Will County Woman - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 6:32 pm:

    In this bad economy and job market, what would Hughes propose an alternative to the “too expensive” unemployment benefit extension?
    Mark Kirk should have voted in favor of the extension, but that he did not vote against it isn’t bad politically speaking.

  41. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 1, 09 @ 8:46 pm:

    The Prophet, excellent post, best snark in a long time.

    Mayor Ditka! LOL. Like everyone will overlook the Jilly’s/Rush Street/overage frat boy life he leads. I almost thought you were serious.

    And endorsing Hughes in his own restaurant. Every media with him in 04 was taped or live from Ditka’s. Best pr he ever got. Pathetic.

    I bet if anyone here hired Ditka’s to cater a political event, you could get Da Coach’s endorsement too.

    “I support dis guy with all my heart. Try the pork chop, don’t forget to tip your waiter. Go Bears! Goodnight everybody.”

  42. - Red & Green - Friday, Oct 2, 09 @ 12:32 am:

    Mark Kirk worked really hard to make himself seem inevitable as the Republican candidate. The problem with the ‘inevitable’ strategy is that any little stumble can prove fatal. Remember Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani, as the most recent examples? Kirk has spent weeks now on defense, trying to explain his Cap & Trade vote, being booed repeatedly at Republican gatherings, and explaining why Pat Hughes is a nobody. Well, Mr. Nobody seems to be stirring things up pretty nicely.

    Now, Kirk will finally be able to brag he has raised tons of money. But remember that Texas Senator who looked like Huckleberry Hound? Phil Gramm raise a ridiculous amount in ‘96 for President - something like $50 million and got a single delgate. There is not enough money to sell a candidate the electorate isn’t buying.

    Now someone earlier said Hughes will only show $40,000 on the reports. If that is true, Kirk probably wins. But if Hughes has over a couple hundred thousand on hand without the media paying him any attention and only being in the race for a few weeks, Kirk is probably toast no matter how much money he’s got.

  43. - Team America - Friday, Oct 2, 09 @ 8:41 am:

    === …explaining why Pat Hughes is a nobody. ===

    Red & Green - when has Mark Kirk even acknowledged Pat Hughes? You’re living in a dream world, friend.

  44. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 2, 09 @ 9:21 am:

    But if Hughes has over a couple hundred thousand on hand without the media paying him any attention and only being in the race for a few weeks, Kirk is probably toast no matter how much money he’s got.

    I disagree, but we’ll see. Everyone had written Kirk off the last time he ran in his district, and I predicted he’d get 9; maybe if real lucky, even get into double-digits. He did well considering the District.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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