* Pundit and prognosticator Bob Novak classifies retiring Republican Congressman Jerry Weller’s seat as “Leaning Democratic Takeover” in a recent newsletter update…
Illinois-11: Rep. Jerry Weller (R), another Republican under a cloud of scandal and suspicion of corruption, will retire from Congress at the end of this term. Weller is married to a Guatemalan lawmaker and says the long-distance relationship was becoming a strain.
This district stretches West from Chicago’s South Side, including Joliet and Ottawa, and reaches South to Bloomington. It was a near tie in the 2000 elections, but Bush carried it by seven points in 2004. It is wedged between the districts of retiring Representatives Dennis Hastert (R) and Ray LaHood (R), and politically it lies between them — slightly more Democratic than Hastert’s 14th District and slightly more Republican than LaHood’s 18th.
While the district leans slightly Republican, the shadow of Weller’s corruption could give Democrats an edge. Early Democratic candidates include Kankakee Community College President Jerry Weber (D). The Republican field is still nascent. Depending on the nominees, this could go either way, but unless Weller’s shadow departs quickly, this one looks like the Democrats’ strongest chance in Illinois. Leaning Democratic Takeover.
* The Joliet Herald has more potential candidates in a story today…
Joliet Mayor Art Schultz is talking to his family about whether he should run for Congress.
State Sen. Debbie Halvorson plans to spend this weekend in Washington, D.C., as she explores whether to make a bid for the U.S. House. […]
State Sen. Christine Radogno, a Republican who made an unsuccessful bid for state treasurer last fall, is considering a bid. She lives in Lemont, just outside the 11th district, and her Senate district covers part of Will County.
Other Republicans mulling a bid are New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann and Chris McNeil of Frankfort, who made an unsuccessful run last year for the Legislature.
Democrats who might run include candidates who lost to Weller in past elections, John Pavich, a Beecher lawyer who ran a year ago, and Tari Renner, an Illinois Wesleyan University professor who ran in 2004. Jerry Weber, the president of Kankakee Community College, might also run.
Another potential candidate is former state Sen. Patrick Welch, a Democrat who was defeated in his 2004 re-election bid, said several Will County Democrats. Welch, of Peru, had served in the Senate leadership team during 22 years in the chamber.
Welch is one of the newest names on that list. Also, state Rep. Brady says he’s undecided on whether to run for Rep. Weller’s seat.
* Meanwhile, I kinda doubt that Mark Pera can defeat conservative Congressman Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, but his campaign is drawing national attention from some influential blogs and websites. Faithfully Liberal has an interview with Pera…
This campaign is receiving more blogger support than any other primary campaign in the country as far as I can tell. As an example, on Sept. 23, Markos Moulitsas wrote a piece on DailyKos endorsing our campaign. Over the next 24 hours, we received more than $10,000 from more than 200 people. In early September, we had a similar experience. That kind of response tells us that our message is resonating and gives the campaign a big lift.
The blogs, sites like Act Blue, these are communication modes that were in their infancy in 2004, made a major impact in the mid-term elections in 2006 and are now an invaluable tool for campaigns. We’ve made a quality, up-to-date Web site and blogger communications a campaign priority. That sets us apart from other candidates.
A number of folks out there, such as the people at Prairie State Blue, Larry Handlin, Howie Klein, Eric Stoller, David Sirota and others, deserve credit for boosting this campaign’s profile. They’ve helped get our message out and clue people in on Congressman Lipinski’s background and voting record. Their hard work compliments the work we do everyday at our campaign office. We hope they keep it up in the months ahead.
* Exerpts from Kos’ endorsement…
And today, the machine is spitting out primary challengers in the district to dilute the anti-Lipinski vote. One of the other primary challengers, Palos Hills mayor Gerald Bennett, has a history of lauding Lipinski, including in Lipinski’s press release announcing his reelection […]
Now, suddenly, when it looks like Lipinski could go down in a primary, this huge Lipinski ally somehow decides it’s time to get into the race? It couldn’t possibly be more transparent. Not that the Chicago machine ever played things deftly.
So here’s our chance to fight back against an undermocratic machine, against an unDemocratic Democrat.
* ActBlue, a website devoted to raising funds for Democratic candidates, reports over $40,000 in contributions to Pera so far. That pales in comparison to the $136,000 raised on behalf of Dan Seals, one of two Democratic candidates who want to challenge Congressman Mark Kirk, but it ain’t bad.