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Congressional stuff

Wednesday, Oct 3, 2007

* Keep an eye on GOP state Rep. Dan Brady for Jerry Weller’s seat. Yesterday, Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) confirmed widespread rumors that she wouldn’t run for the post, adding

Radogno said she would like to see someone with elective experience run for the slot - someone like GOP state Rep. Dan Brady, who represents the Bloomington-Normal area.

“I think it would be good to have someone who has been elected in a larger area than one municipality, although that doesn’t preclude anyone from being elected. We’ve elected people to Congress with no elected experience,” she said.

* The district includes just a tiny sliver of Bloomington, but Brady, after initially being unsure about a bid, is starting to work it much harder. There are other Republicans considreing the race, but Brady could be the one. Here’s a bit more on that topic

Brady said Tuesday he is still mulling his chances. He has spoken with GOP leaders in the counties that comprise the 11th District and is reviewing polling numbers.

He said Halvorson’s entrance in the race would have no bearing on his final decision, which could come later this week.

But, Brady said, “Certainly, she would be a formidable candidate.”

* Still, there’s a big impediment to a Brady candidacy

Last year, Weller beat Democrat John Pavich with 55 percent of the vote. Almost half the vote was cast in Will County, leading many local Democrats and Republicans to now express a preference for a candidate from Will County

Those Will County guys are pretty provincial, and they may not work as hard for an “outsider” like Brady. We’ll see.

* Meanwhile, it looks like the primary field is being cleared for Senate Majority Leader Debby Halvorson’s bid…

Her announcement immediately halted potential runs by Democrats Jerry Weber, president of Kankakee Community College, and John Pavich, who lost to Weller two years ago.

But one-time Republican congressional candidate Bob Gorman of Frankfort, who is running as a Democrat, said he is in the race to stay despite Halvorson’s announcement.

“If she thinks everyone is going to step out so she doesn’t have to do the work, she’s wrong,” he said.

Will County Democratic Chairman Myron Brick said, “It’s a free country, but I would encourage him not to waste his time and money.”

Brick said Halvorson’s entry into the race changes the political equation for Democrats and Republicans.

“I don’t know who the Republicans will put forward, but they better think long and hard before they take on Sen. Halvorson, head to head,” he said.

* But there’s also a big impediment to her candidacy…

“Debbie Halvorson is associated with the Democratic rule in Springfield, and they’re not doing a good job,” [Will County GOP chairman Jack Partalow] said, referring to the ongoing feuding among Jones, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) that has resulted in a record overtime legislative session this year.

* In other news, Democrat Bill Foster, who wants to replace outgoing GOP Congressman Denny Hastert, has released his fundraising totals for the quarter

Democrat Bill Foster appears to be a front-runner in the 14th Congressional fundraising race, having amassed an estimated $408,000 campaign war chest during the most recent period, he told supporters in a conference call Tuesday.

More than 80 percent of Foster’s donors are first-time donors, and nearly three-quarters are scientists like Foster, a former Fermilab physicist. Half the funds are on loan from Foster himself, a millionaire who lives in the Mill Creek development west of Geneva.

* The number of first-time donors and fellow scientists is interesting, and that last part about half coming from himself is an important number to watch…

Foster “has to be able to spend a lot more than $200,000 of his own money to win. We’re looking at $2 million,” said David Wasserman, an editor at The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan newsletter of electoral politics. “A solid week of TV commercials in the Chicago media market is expensive. He’s going to need to tap into his personal wealth to debunk voters’ perceptions of him as inexperienced.”

* But there’s also this

[Foster’s] campaign ended with over 200 donors contributing in the last six days of the quarter.

None of the other candidates in the race, including the favored Republicans, have released their totals yet.

* More news…

Wall Street Journal: GOP Is Losing Grip
On Core Business Vote

* Mark Pera (IL-3) in Top Five ActBlue Hotlist

* Manzullo announces reelection bid

* Hastert leads Romney’s IL delegate slate

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Unrelated, but... - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:14 am:

    The Hill

    Democrat Lipinski’s primary enemies coming from his left
    By Sam Youngman
    October 03, 2007
    Mark Pera, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney in Illinois, is running hard against Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) and has enlisted some serious party heavyweights to help him unseat the congressman.

    Curiously enough, all those heavyweights traditionally have been aligned with Lipinski’s party.

    NARAL Pro-Choice America last week endorsed Pera in this Democratic primary, making Lipinski the only Democrat on its target list so far. And a number of other groups, including pro-stem cell research groups, are joining in to help Pera unseat a congressman that many in the reliably Democratic district say is a Democrat in name only.

    Pera has put up impressive fundraising numbers and said Tuesday he expects a stellar third quarter due to the efforts of the netroots. As The Hill reported this week, Pera raised $55,000 on ActBlue, hauling in $30,000 during the last week of the quarter.

    Pera can add to that about $2,500 that NARAL’s political action committee contributed Friday when the group endorsed his bid.

    NARAL political director Elizabeth Shipp said Pera approached her group earlier this year after making the decision to run.

    While Shipp said the group is excited about going to work to help elect Pera, its target is Lipinski.

    “We’re certainly going to take him on,” Shipp said of Lipinski.

    In 2006, Shipp said NARAL had about 1,000 members on the ground in the district. This time around, she said it has about 2,500 members, supporters and activists ready to go to work.

    “We’re starting to ramp up there,” she said.

    As it did in 2006, NARAL is looking to focus on micro-targeting to sway pro-abortion rights voters in districts where they can swing an election.

    The difference between Lipinski’s district and others the group targets, Shipp said, is that this time it will focus on pro-abortion rights Democratic voters instead of pro-abortion rights Republican and independent voters.

    In that district, pro-abortion rights Democratic female voters come to about 47,000 households NARAL will be looking to “educate.”

    Shipp said the endorsement and financial contribution were first steps. Organization members will soon go out in the field with a poll to identify voters they might be able to sway.

    The congressman is opposed to abortion rights, and his critics, including Pera, said he “sits with the Democrats, but he consistently votes with George Bush on the issues.”

    Pera describes himself as a pro-abortion rights, pro-stem cell research Democrat who is in favor of withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

    He will start to try to inform voters in the district about these differences when he goes on TV — if all goes as planned, by the end of this month.

    Pera declined to talk specifically about some of the groups supporting his candidacy, except to say, “people in general are angry.”

    Despite the home-equity loan he and his wife took out to get their campaign rolling, Pera said his fundraising has been strong, and he “will have more than enough money to get our message out.”

    A spokesman for Lipinski said the congressman is “just focused on doing the work for the people of the third district.”

    In 2006, Lipinski took just more than half the Democratic primary vote, but his opposition was evenly split between two candidates, financial planner John Kelly and Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney John Sullivan, who took 25 and 20 percent, respectively.

  2. - Old Elephant - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:16 am:

    “The district includes just a tiny sliver of Bloomington…”

    Are you sure about that? It’s hard to tell, but from the map I have it looks like most of Bloomington (but not much of Normal) is in the district.

  3. - Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Creek, Il - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:19 am:

    Being a Republican from Will County, I would agree that the GOP candidate should be from Will County. I would also agree that Will County GOP precinct people tend to work harder for Will County candidates.

    My question for Rich is: Who will the Democrats replace Debbie Halvorson with down in Springfield? Who would you “anoint” Rich to run for her old Illinois Senate position if you were the King-maker for the Illinois Democrat Party?

    Would it be Will County Executive Larry Walsh who formerly was down in Springfield as a state senator? Would it be either one of the Will County (Myron Brick) or Kankakee County (Don St. Germaine) Democrat Chairmen?

    Who would be Rich Miller’s choice to replace Debbie Halvorson down in Springfield? There is a young attorney named John Anderson from Monee, Illinois who is on the Will County Board who has also been mentioned as a possible replacement for Debbie.

    As Bill O’Reilly would say, “What say you, Mr. Miller?”

  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:21 am:

    ===My question for Rich is: Who will the Democrats replace Debbie Halvorson with down in Springfield===

    One thing at a time. She has to win first.

  5. - former 11th disrict res - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:32 am:

    Myron Brick is not one of the better county chairmen in the state. He did very little to raise money for his candidates in the last cycle and only added to the already vitriolic Dem infighting in Will. Don’t know anything about Don St. Jermaine. Larry Walsh is a good guy, but seems happy where he is. And I’ve met John Anderson, who is a smart decent guy. He’d get my vote.

  6. - Boone Logan Square - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:43 am:

    Pavich’s 45% is the floor for a Democrat — and that was against an incumbent before his questionable Latin American dealings got widespread media exposure. Halvorson is a much more experienced and well-known campaigner, and will have more financial support than Pavich — or Tari Renner — had. This district may be as difficult for the Republicans to retain as OH-15 will be this cycle.

  7. - Squideshi - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    “Will County Democratic Chairman Myron Brick said, ‘It’s a free country, but I would encourage him not to waste his time and money.’”

    It’s a little bit less of a free county ever since the Democratic leadership, and others, worked to impose a primary system upon established parties in Illinois that violates the constitutional right to freedom of association. There is no freedom of association if Democrats are forced by state law to allow a Republican to run in their primary as a Democrat. Even though the state may administer primary elections, they are not wholly public affairs, and the state has no business telling a party who they must or must not allow to participate in their primary election.

  8. - JGatz - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    If I recall, Pavich put up some decent numbers for a newbie candidate. Any chance he could be in the mix, either for this position or to fill a spot like Halvorson’s?

  9. - Fire Ron Guenther - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:48 am:

    So long as Myron Brick is Chairman of the Will County Democrats, the GOP can keep this seat in the 11th CD.

  10. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:59 am:

    Squid, what the heck are you talking about?

  11. - Takin' Care of Business--Wall Street Style - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:25 am:

    I think the main difference is that people that are at the highest levels of business now, grew up as, and were always culturally, Democrats.

    A second difference is that some people are waking up to the fact that the GOP, no differently than the Democrats, will also spend every dime in the treasury.

    Exception being that the Republicans will tell you how sorry they are to have to do it.

  12. - former 11th disrict res - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Pavich put up around 45%, I believe, and didn’t get any support from the national party. It might be good seasoning for him to work on the local level.

    And I agree with Ron G. From what I’ve seen and heard, Myron and his “work” as chairman will continue to plague the Will County Dems. They could have had a good leader instead of Myron (the guy was working for SEIU and knew how to organize, but I forget his name) but the establishment went with Myron. Well, maybe a presidential election will enable the Dems to sidestep myron and bring home a victory.

  13. - True Observer - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:27 am:

    Why did it have to be like this?

    Now I’m stuck.

    I did what any normal person would do. He was the U. S. Senator with a future. I know the senior guy is Number 2, but they put the flunky up there like they used to do on the High School Executive Committee.

    I mean with all the appointments and contracts, I had to sign up with Obama.

    Looks like Hillary’s got it all wrapped up. And she’s one mean lady.

    What good’s having the Senator if you don’t have the President?

    To make things worse, I’m a Delegate Candidate for Obama. In other words, I’m running to vote against Clinton.

  14. - Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Creek, Il - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:34 am:

    Whoops, I got ahead of myself like you suggested, Rich. Debbie Halvorson has to win first. Any thoughts on your part as to who the strongest GOP candidate for Weller’s position would be (in your opinion)?

    I would only comment that it would probably have to be an individual from Will County to have a chance of beating Halvorson. Who among the Will County GOP would have the necessary name recognition? My first thought would be Will County GOP Chairman Jack Partelow but I doubt that Partelow would interested in Weller’s old position. Partelow has the necessary name recognition, is well-liked and respected by everyone in the Will and Grundy County Republican Party, and has the required moderate GOP stance on the issues that would allow Independents and some Democrats to throw their votes his way. However, Partelow is also a very smart guy who probably wouldn’t want to subject himself and his wife to the meat-grinder that candidates for political office must put themselves through to get elected.

  15. - Levois - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:56 am:

    Things are interesting out south. I wish I knew more about the area to make an assessment about what’s going to happen.

  16. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 10:59 am:

    Dan Brady is a “star” in the Illinois GOP spectrum. We don’t have many, but since one already bowed out (Senator Radogno), it would be nice if another stepped in (Rep. Brady). Brady is smart, eloquent and hard-working. I like him a lot, which is more than I can admit for many HGOP members I’ve come across.

    Congressional delegation members have a lot of influence within their own parties. This is especially true for several of the current GOP Congressional members from Illinois. Their staffs are tapped into for campaign assistance and management and Congressional members can help make-or-brake local and state-level races. From Brady’s perspective, a win in the 11th CD would vault him into another stratosphere. The same would probably go for Halverson, although I’m not as familiar with the Dem side.

  17. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 11:14 am:

    Vote for John Anderson!

  18. - paddyrollingstone - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 11:41 am:

    “NARAL will have 2500 members supporters and activists” ready to go to work in 2008 in one district? No way - this has to be BS. How many NARAL supporters are registered to vote in Lipinski’s district? I bet it is not even close to 2500.

  19. - the wonderboy - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 12:28 pm:

    I would love to see Brady run for the seat, though it will be a tough fight. I am pretty sure his opponents will remind the voters that he should consider running for the seat in the district where he resides…but that is unlikely since he shares office space with Tim Johnson. Anyway, it would be an interesting battle if it came to him and Halvorson in the general.

  20. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 12:59 pm:

    I doubt the WillGOP will be excited about Partelow For Congress considering the lack of leadership he’s shown finding candidates for this and other safe offices.

  21. - FED UP - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 2:05 pm:

    Halvorson is E Jones and Blagos assistant majority leader in the Il senate post her picture next to theres and look at all we have accomplished fed indictments fed subpeonas wasteful lawsuits refusal to call a ethics bill lots of fun plane rides slashing needed programs from the district but hey we got all of E. Jones family state jobs and contracts. She is part of the problem in springfield not part of the answer in washington.

  22. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 2:09 pm:

    14th- Senator CPA and Foster, if it happens, might just be the most bizarre congressional race in the US in 2008.

  23. - Super Mega - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 3:54 pm:

    As far as the GOP side goes, the only legitimate candidates at this point are Tim Baldermann and Chris McNeil.

    Judging from what happened at the Will Co. fundraiser the other night, Baldermann has petitions and a title and McNeil has the grass roots support and may be putting together a campaign committee.

    Unfortunately, Art Schultz has some health problems and is too old (71) to run for Congress, otherwise he’d be a lock. Dan Brady doesn’t seem interested, plus he comes from a very small slice of the district.

  24. - anon - Wednesday, Oct 3, 07 @ 9:46 pm:

    sm, yo are using the term “legitmate” pretty loosely.

  25. - Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Creek, Il - Thursday, Oct 4, 07 @ 6:45 am:

    Super Mega, I disagree that Dan Brady isn’t really interested in Weller’s slot. He was at the Will County Republican fundraiser at Narnia Estates along with Judy Barr Topinka speaking on his behalf. That tells me he is interested.

    Art Schultz would carry Joliet but that would be it. People in the rest of Will County view Art as an appendage or puppet of his city manager, John Mezera. Mr. Mezera and Schultz have annexed everything from Texas to Canada to the city of Joliet. They are perceived as bullies and conquerors at the gate by every other community in Will County. Art’s kid has been in the press and in trouble for allegedly fixing tickets for friends and relatives. I know that isn’t Art but it isn’t what I would call good publicity for Art either. Art better stay in Joliet where he is politically safe. He has the Joliet riverboat and casino trade with their money to prop him up there.

    Anon @ 12:59 may feel that Partelow has failed to exhibit leadership within the Will County GOP but most Will County Republicans including myself would disagree with his view. But, that is what makes this a great country. We can all have a different opinion.

  26. - Squideshi - Thursday, Oct 4, 07 @ 11:27 am:

    “Squid, what the heck are you talking about?”

    I’m talking about the fact that Democrats and Republicans have worked together to implement a primary system in Illinois that (1) REQUIRES established political parties to accept, as their candidate, anyone who wants to run on their ticket, regardless of the party’s wishes and (2) REQUIRES established political parties to allow anyone who wants to interfere in a party’s internal decision making process to do so, by requesting that party’s primary ballot and influencing who that party’s candidates will be, regardless of the wishes of the party. It’s an unconstitutional violation of the right to freedom of association, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled, also implies the right NOT to associate. Political parties are private voluntary associations of individual members; and regardless of the Illinois primary system setup by Democrats and Republicans, it is the constitutional right of these members to decide who is allowed to associate with the party, run as its candidate, and participate in its internal decision making.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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