Shimkus to face tough opposition
Thursday, Jan 31, 2008
* On one of my first days as an intern on Capitol Hill I sat in the House gallery to watch the debate over raising the minimum wage. During some of the downtime a representative came up from the floor to talk to the citizens, and explain what exactly was taking place. He fielded questions from the audience, passed around his voting card, and was very helpful. What was most admirable about the gesture was that it was simply out of kindness, and not to gain anyone’s vote. That representative was John Shimkus.
In the upcoming election gestures like these may not be what stick out in voters’ minds. Shimkus will be facing off against Joe McKenamin of Springfield or Daniel Davis of Chatham, both of whom are vying for the Democratic nomination.
McMenamin and Davis squared off this week in an hour long debate at the University of Illinois at Springfield sponsored by the campus college Democrats. Both have as contrasting styles as their respective ages, with Davis at 26 and McMenamin at 55.
No matter who wins the race to go up against Shimkus, both will go after his discarded, self-imposed congressional term limit of a twelve years. Voters don’t take kindly to broken campaign promises. Pledges like “Read my lips, no new taxes” come to mind.
* President Bush has also taken a liking to Representative Shimkus:
With an abysmal approval rating of around 20%, this connection to the President is not likely to go over well in 08′. At the debate McMenamin took a shot at this when he said:
* The mostly civil debate turned a bit heated at one point though when the two candidates went after each other. Davis, a Harrisburg native, brought up the fact that he lives in the 19th and has for most of his life, while McMenamin doesn’t. Davis recently moved from Springfield to Chatham to be within the boundaries. The law requires a member of Congress to live in the state, but not necessarily in the district. McMenamin asked for a rebuttal on that one, and responded:
The 19th, which is one of three congressional districts that includes part of Springfield, leans Republican and extends to Pope and Massac counties at the southern edge of the state. However, Senator Durbin previously held the seat before Shimkus. No matter who wins the nomination either candidate will press Congressman Shimkus on both his allegiance to President Bush and his broken campaign promise.