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Too close for comfort?

Monday, Oct 25, 2004

Democratic congressional candidate Melissa Bean and the League of Conservation Voters have been using quite similar issues in their allegedly uncoordinated TV ad campaigns against GOP oldster Phil Crane. Bean says he’s out of touch with his constituents, and so does the LCV’s ad. The LCV blasts Crane for wanting to allow oil drilling in Lake Michigan and then Bean issued this statement today.

For Immediate Release  
October 25, 2004  

LAKE ZURICH – Melissa Bean, candidate for U.S. Congress in Illinois’ 8th District, will hold a news conference to discuss Congressman Phil Crane’s hostility towards the Great Lakes.  Crane has refused to support the Great Lakes Restoration Act, a common sense and urgently needed proposal to ensure clean-up and the long-term protection of the Great Lakes.  Bean supports the legislation. 

Beach closings along Lake Michigan are more and more common, mercury levels are rising and agricultural wastes threaten the source of drinking water for 28 million people.  Lake Michigan is the Eighth District’s primary source of fresh drinking water.  Action is needed to protect the Great Lakes for future generations.   

The bill has strong bipartisan support.  Congressmen Ray LaHood, Don Manzullo and Mark Kirk (whose district borders Lake Michigan) support the Great Lakes Restoration Act.  Why doesn’t Phil Crane?

It’s obvious that Crane is out of touch. And we drink the water out of Lake Michigan so we all want it to be as clean as possible. These are no-brainer issues that anyone devising a campaign against Crane would use. But Bean’s message and the LCV’s message are similar enough that they could be opening themselves up to charges of collusion. Crane is just desperate enough to use something like that, too.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

New Poll

Monday, Oct 25, 2004

ABC-7 Chicago just ran the results of a new poll. Barack Obama 70, Alan Keyes 20.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      


Monday, Oct 25, 2004

Top officials with the United Auto Workers and the Operating Engineers union have formed the Justice for All PAC. The PAC’s first filing shows it has collected about $500,000, mostly from Metro East trial lawyers. Three guesses where that dough is heading.

1) Democrat Gordon Maag’s Supreme Court race.

2) Democrat Gordon Maag’s Supreme Court race.

3) Democrat Gordon Maag’s Supreme Court race.

Normally, I’d wait to write about this until tomorrow, but I figured the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform’s new campaign finance blog would be telling the world about the new PAC sometime this afternoon. Just one more reason to have my own blog this year.

Those trial lawyer guys know how to ante up, eh? They’ve given the state Democratic Party so much money that Speaker Madigan has been able to blow 400 large on a Tier 3 House race in Decatur.

And Maag will need the bread since the National Chamber is expected to drop at least another million into Republican Lloyd Karmeier’s coffers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Against all odds

Monday, Oct 25, 2004

Give him his due, Governor Rod Blagojevich always finds a way to break through the media clutter, even a week before a presidential election. Yesterday, he “leaked” to every reporter in town a letter to the FDA asking permission to import some flu vaccines from Britain.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich says his administration has negotiated a tentative agreement to purchase at least 30,000 flu vaccinations from British wholesalers, but federal regulators must approve the deal.

Blagojevich’s office said a letter would be sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday requesting its approval of the deal, which would allow the state to provide flu shots to Illinoisans at risk for serious complications from the flu.

The Illinois Department of Public Health would distribute the vaccinations to nursing home residents across the state, Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

Ottenhoff did not know how many of the state’s roughly 100,000 nursing home residents may have already received a flu shot. She said the new vaccinations would supplement the 35,000 doses the state is receiving from federal authorities for Medicaid patients.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

A little background on today’s issue

Monday, Oct 25, 2004

The Morris Daily Herald article about the controversy in Rep. Careen Gordon’s campaign can be found here.

Tribune columnist Dennis Byrne has his own take on Rep. Bob Churchill’s difficult re-election race.

The most fairly balanced major media background story on the Illinois Supreme Court race that I’ve seen to date is in the Chicago Tribune. The reporter avoided the overtly anti trial lawyer snarkiness that has totally overpowered most regional articles about this campaign.

While we’re on this subject, here’s an excerpt from a Southern Illinoisan story about the Illinois State Bar Association’s decision that ads for both candidates were misleading:

The committee reported that Maag’s commercials paid for by the Democratic Party of Illinois regarding the Nashville Republican’s rulings are misleading. The committee also wants Karmeier to disavow advertisements paid for by JUSTPAC, a group not affiliated with the judge, for suggesting the Glen Carbon Democrat is a liar.

To claim that JUSTPAC is “not affiliated with the judge,” borders on the sublime. Look at the JUSTPAC contributions to Karmeier and you’ll see they almost always contribute money to his campaign so he can run “positive” ads the same day that JUSTPAC spends money on “negative” ads attacking Maag, and it’s usually the same amount.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Poll has Karmeier ahead

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

5th Supreme Court District Republican candidate Lloyd Karmeier is leading Democrat Gordon Maag, according to a new poll commissioned by a biz group and conducted by a GOP pollster. The poll has Karmeier leading 43-40 with 17 percent undecided. The survey of likely voters was taken Oct 17 and 18 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent. Here’s more.

A September poll by the same group had Karmeier leading 40% to 37% with 21% undecided. [Snip]

16% of those interviewed viewed Maag positively and 17% viewed him negatively. 22% viewed Karmeier positively and only 9% saw him negatively.

The poll had some other things to say about the district as well, according to the article:

67% of respondents feel the Illinois Supreme Court is headed in the “wrong direction,” and only 12% believe the high court is headed in the right direction.

The Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, a strong backer of Maag, was viewed favorably by 21% of respondents and unfavorably by 38%.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce was viewed favorably by 59% of respondents and unfavorably by 11%

President George W. Bush leads Democrat challenger Sen. John Kerry 45% to 42% among respondents. Bush led Kerry 48% to 41% in the September poll

In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Barack Obama led Republican Alan Keyes, 52% to 27%

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Money Dump

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

Remember this morning’s Capitol Fax when I told you about the rumor that the National Chamber was gonna dump $950,000 into Karmeier’s race? The IL Campaign for Political Reform had this tidbit today on their new blog:

WOW!! The US Chamber just dumped $950K into the Illinois Republican Party, which in turn gave $911K to Judge Karmeier (R-5th). Never seen a transfer like those two before… When’s the election, again?

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Flippy the Dolphin?

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

As I told you today, Cong. Phil Crane is running a negative TV ad against Melissa Bean, and now they are hitting her hard on the “flip-flopping” thing.

OCTOBER 22, 2004


WAUCONDA, IL – Illinois Victory 2004 will welcome Democratic volunteers for Melissa Bean to the 8th District on Saturday, October 22 with a free distribution of “flip-flops” for precinct walkers in Lake Zurich. The “flip-flop” giveaway will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. at Paulus Park, 400 Whitney Road. GOP supporters also will be joined at the event by “Flippy” the Dolphin, whose own piscine acrobatics reflect Bean’s flip-flops on tax issues

“Melissa Bean has flip-flopped on so many issues that other Democrats should know what it’s like to walk a day in her shoes,” said Illinois Victory 2004 spokesman John McGovern.

Out-of-district Democrats are sending volunteers into the 8th District to help prop up Bean’s wobbly campaign. Like Bean, most of the volunteers who will hit Lake Zurich on Saturday are non-residents who will try and impose their liberal agenda on mainstream, conservative voters.

“Melissa Bean doesn’t live in the 8th District, so it’s no surprise that she must import more Democrats to create an illusion of support for her campaign,” said McGovern.

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

Gaming backgrounder

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

Here’s a fun little story in the Journal & Topics about gaming expansion.

According to both House Gaming Committee chairman State Rep. Lou Lang of Skokie and State Senator Dave Sullivan of Park Ridge, draft gaming bills are being circulated among lawmakers that include a number of potential casino scenarios. At the heart of most of those scenarios is a strong push by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley for a land-based casino. Possible sites mentioned include Navy Pier and near McCormick Place.

“Efforts are being led by Mayor Daley and organized labor to resolve the casino issue,” said Sullivan during a telephone interview last week. “The mayor’s reached out to legislators for a land-based casino.”

Sullivan said that in the discussion stage are proposals that call for casinos in Rockford, Waukegan, the South suburban area, Chicago, Rosemont and Des Plaines. As many as three or four of those sites could host a casino, said Sullivan explaining that Illinois’ depleted treasury is forcing legislators to consider approving more than one new gambling location.

Also being pushed, primarily by organized labor, is allowing slot machines at race tracks throughout the state.

“Could there be three or more casinos? asked Sullivan. “Yes. I’m not sure how to guess whether there will be a casino in either Des Plaines or Rosemont. It’s been five years since Rosemont Mayor Don Stephens started trying to get one there.”

The entire story is worth a read.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      


Friday, Oct 22, 2004

It looks like 101st House District GOP candidate Scot England and his wife both flipped out a little this week. As Capitol Fax has already told you, the Democrats are spending about $400,000 in this district on behalf of appointed state Rep. Bob Flider, even though England, a former WAND-TV reporter, has raised only about $12,000 this fall. They’ve event sent a couple of senior staff into the race, probably because it’s so close to Springfield.

The Democrats have decided to crush this guy, for no particular reason other than they can. England had to quit his job to make the run and claims to have mortgaged his house and car and spent all of his savings - which was supremely stupid, frankly, but still sad. And this week he cracked. I usually have zero sympathy for candidates. Nobody ever holds a gun to a candidate’s head and tells them to run (some precinct workers are occasionally “persuaded,” but not candidates). They get what they get. But there’s no reason for this.

(No hyperlink because the story has already disappeared into the Decatur Herald & Review’s paid archives.)

DECATUR - Republican Scot England is denouncing attack ads state Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, is airing this week, claiming Flider is using more than $200,000 in donations from the Illinois Democratic Party to try to buy the election.

England and his wife, Jayne, voiced their frustrations during a news conference Wednesday at the Decatur Civic Center.

Jayne England said her husband “is not boring” and is “a loving husband and father” who has spoken at more than 200 churches in the past six years. She said each morning before he leaves their Sullivan home, Scot prays for Flider.

“Now, he is trying to destroy my husband,” Jayne England said. “Those ads pale in comparison to the phone calls being made by Flider supporters. They range from lies about raising your taxes to more personal lies about our family. No matter who gets the most votes on Nov. 2, we know who the better man is.” [Snip]

Flider denied England’s accusations. He said Wednesday that England started running negative attacks on him six months ago and he has taken them in stride. [Snip]

England’s news conference ended with England following three Flider staff members, who were tape recording the event, out the civic center doors shouting at them to “go back to the hole you crawled out of and tell Julie Curry what I said.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Sparse turnout for guv

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

The one place where Governor Blagojevich is supposed to be popular is the suburbs. Either he has a terrible advance staff (not) or something is not going well out there.

Making his first public appearance in Elgin since being elected governor in 2002, Rod Blagojevich on Thursday night predicted Democrats will gain ground in the GOP stronghold of Kane County.

Given the paltry crowd of 70 people attending the event at The Centre of Elgin, it seemed apparent that Kane County Democrats have a long way to go before wrestling dominance away from the opposition party. [Snip]

The governor offered the Kane County Democrats help.

“I’ll endorse you if that would help you,” Blagojevich told the crowd. “I’ll endorse your opponent if that would help.”

In many parts of the state, the punchline of that joke would be taken seriously.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Don’t let the door hit ‘ya

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

The Quad City Times editorial page has had enough of Alan Keyes.

Return to sender

Just two months ago, we welcomed Alan Keyes’ arrival in Illinois to take on Barack Obama. We figured it would show diversity of thought among African-Americans who too often are wrongly presumed to think and vote in lock step. We thought this out-of-state Ph.D. would elevate the political discussion.

Well, we were wrong.

Sure, he’s articulate, throwing around big words endlessly. But he inevitably devolves into an onslaught of vicious, inaccurate attacks.

In the end, he is simply another weird footnote in the long, strange history of Illinois politics.

We wish him a safe return to his home state of Maryland.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Money totals

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

The Illinois Campaign for Political Report has a new chart that plots campaign fundraising totals. Good stuff. Hope they keep it updated.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

PDA campaigning

Friday, Oct 22, 2004

Boing Boing posts this message from a reader about how PDAs are being used on campaigns:

With regard to the PDA stuff, canvassing operations have been using them to enter data at houses about voters. They use them to store maps of neighborhoods. This helps them control their databases and collect information more efficiently. [Snip]

Also, when contacted voters reveal their preferences and begin discussing what issues are important to them, some of the canvassers use the PDAs to show commercials and videos that specifically target the things voters are discussing.

Look into it a little more. It’s pretty fascinating how much technology is being harnessed by campaigners this year.

I wonder if they’re entering individual voter information and issue preferences into those PDAs and then uploading the data into a central computer bank, which could then spit out super-personalized direct mail, e-mail and robocall follow-ups.

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

* Harmon rolls out some supporters
* Was Sullivan more involved than he claimed?
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Various updates
* Seidel: Filing suggests Arroyo could be preparing to plead guilty
* Question of the day
* Proft shuts down both of his campaign committees
* Perhaps now inoperative: "We did everything legit and clean here"
* Senate President Cullerton refunds $60,000 to disgraced former Sen. Martin Sandoval
* Pritzker signs "License to Work" into law
* In wake of tuition hike, governor asks U of I to expand free tuition program
* Brady asks the right question, but the answer to date is far from clear
* Pols shelling out big bucks for legal fees
* State agrees to delay forcing foster kids into managed care
* Senate President preview
* Hat caper probe to continue
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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