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Congressional roundup***Updated x1***

Friday, Jun 27, 2008

[Posted by Kevin Fanning]

* Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times is hearing rumors of a potential replacement for Senator Obama if he wins in November…

• • Pssst! Sneed hears rumbles that U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, who is this/close to Sen. Barack Obama, and U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel are talking up Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Director Tammy Duckworth as Obama’s replacement — if Obama is elected president.

• • Top tip: Sneed previously reported that Gov. Blago, who will choose Obama’s replacement, had also quietly been pushing Duckworth.

• • Top headache: Word is U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who’s angling to be Obama’s replacement, has been grabbing the Excedrin bottle lately — ever since Duckworth’s name appeared in Sneed’s column.

* Democratic candidate Colleen Callahan says she has raised close to $250,000 so far for her 18th Congressional District campaign:

The next Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports, covering the period through Monday, will be available to the public in mid-July. Callahan said she expects to have cash on hand totaling “in the neighborhood” of $130,000 to $140,000.

Other contenders for LaHood’s congressional seat are Aaron Schock of Peoria, a Republican serving in the Illinois House; Sheldon Schafer of Peoria, the Green Party nominee; and Bradley Carter of Peoria, the Constitution Party of Illinois nominee.

Callahan also picked up an endorsement from Comptroller Dan Hynes…

The Democratic comptroller, in endorsing Callahan, said she would provide “proven, mature leadership.” Hynes said later the comment was not meant as a shot at the 27-year-old Schock.

“Age is not an issue and should not be an issue,” he said.

Callahan thanked Hynes for the endorsement, saying, “I hope to add my name to his reputation of being an effective public servant.”

* Hiram Wurf has Candidate Scott Harper’s response to Congresswoman Judy Biggert’s recent vote against granting emergency benefits to the unemployed:

‘With unemployment rates climbing and with families suffering from rising gas prices and home foreclosure costs, Judy Biggert continues to be out of touch with the people of this district,’ said Harper (D-Lockport.) ‘She has been part of the problem in Washington and her latest vote against giving relief to people who’ve lost their job is simply unconscionable. Unfortunately, though, this vote is indicative of the real Judy Biggert.’

* Representative Melissa Bean discusses Canadian National’s proposed purchase:

Bean, addressing the potential impact of the purchase on Metra’s proposed commuter line that would run from O’Hare to Joliet: “This deal throws STAR Line under the bus. It’s taking the tracks STAR Line passenger rail would have run on. Now they’re saying maybe they’ll give us a little easement so we can lay tracks, which is very cost prohibitive. But there’s no question that this entirely undermines the planning by all the municipal leaders who have been involved and pushing for that.”

* The Tribune believes that the Millionaire’s Amendment decision most likely won’t impact Illinois:

In Illinois, the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Millionaire’s Amendment in federal campaign finance reform will have negligible impact on political contests this fall.

The amendment might have been triggered in the U.S. Senate race, in which incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin is being challenged by Republican physician Steve Sauerberg.


In the 14th Congressional district, Republican Jim Oberweis and Democratic Rep. Bill Foster each have dropped more than a $1 million of personal wealth into their campaigns, making the amendment a wash.

* I’m not sure if I agree with the Trib on this one. There was no mention of the potential for wealthy congressional candidates like Steve Greenberg, who is challenging Rep. Bean, and Marty Ozinga, who is running against state Sen. Havlorson, to have triggered the amendment.

Either one of the two could decide to pour more of their own money into the race, and that could easily have an impact on both elections.

*** UPDATE *** The Tribune is now reporting that the Supreme Court’s decision is unlikely to change Ozinga’s mind about how much money he will spend:

“He’s not planning to spend a ton of money out of his pocket. The honest answer to that question is, he has not made a decision on how much exactly he is going to spend,” said Andy Sere, Ozinga’s campaign manager, on Friday.


Ozinga told the Tribune in April that he would not spend more than $350,000 of his own money.

Ozinga seems to be doing pretty well in terms of his fundraising efforts so far, so it would make sense for him not to spend too much of his own money. However, one never knows what will happen until November creeps closer.

* It looks like Michelle Obama will be headlining a fundraiser to help suburban congressional candidates:

Michelle Obama is scheduled to headline a Monday night fundraiser that Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Chicago) is hosting to benefit two suburban congressional candidates.

Tickets to the private event are expected to go for $1,000 a piece. Sharing the windfall are Dan Seals of Wilmette, who’s running in the North Shore’s 10th District, and state Sen. Debbie Halvorson of Crete in the southwest suburban 11th District.

My guess is that the event will bring in some serious dough…

- Posted by Kevin Fanning        

  1. - pointed - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:55 pm:

    Duckworth is a nice person and given a lot to her country, but I really don’t think we owe her the Senate seat. if Duckworth wants the seat shw should get in line and run like every one else.

  2. - Anon - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 2:59 pm:

    A point of possible correction, I believe that the amendment was triggered in the special election in 14. The same dynamics may not be in play this fall, but I believe they were in play during the spring.

  3. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:12 pm:

    Interesting. I am surprised to hear Duckworth is being pushed by Drubin.

  4. - Kevin Fanning - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:14 pm:

    There was this complaint that the DCCC filed in February with the FEC for Oberweis not notifying Foster of triggering the Amendment. However, Foster ended up spending over a million of his own money too. So the Trib was right, in that instance it was a wash.

  5. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:14 pm:

    Yeah, the CN is “taking the tracks” that are *already owned* by the business it seeks to acquire. I think the STAR line is the entity that needs to prove its worth, and Metra needs to see if the EXISTING freight railroad EJ&E or its successor CN can accommodate it, not the other way around. BTW, the Chicago bottleneck is a national freight and commerce concern which might be addressed by the CN acquisition, whle the STAR line would be a nice amenity for the outer suburbs to access O’Hare, but would hardly be the most trafficked commuter rail line in Chicagoland even if it did start operating.

  6. - Ghost - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:27 pm:

    I suppose its time to give up the dream of high speed rail then.

  7. - Napoleon has left the building - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:31 pm:

    Wrong thread I know, but FYI - the Senate sent 50+ bills to the Governor today. Didn’t see any budget bills in that group.


  8. - phocion - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:36 pm:

    It would be rich, and poetic justice, if Duckworth got the Senate seat. Schakowsky alienated a large number of women supporters by dumping Hillary. She must have calculated that a woman for the Senate seat would be a healing balm. Too bad it won’t be you, Jan. Better get some extra-strength Excedrin! Your former female supporters will just have to find a real feminist champion to rally behind in Illinois.

  9. - Kevin Fanning - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:38 pm:


  10. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 3:40 pm:


    If the STAR line is to use DMU’s (Diesel Multiple Units which are basically powered coaches) and the line was extended to Chicago Heights, I believe the estimate for a train that would stop at all the intermediate stations was about 2 hours from end-to-end, and maybe 1 hour for an express train from Joliet to O’Hare that only hit the major stops. This is not intended to be a “High Speed Rail” line.

    True high speed rail needs to be designed from the ground up, with no slow freight trains, grade crossings, or other hazards in the way, and track and equipment that is designed to take advantage of high speed technology. Just like they do over in Europe and Japan.

  11. - so-called "Austin Mayor" - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 5:14 pm:

    “Your former female supporters will just have to find a real feminist champion to rally behind in Illinois.”

    Good luck with that.

    – SCAM
    so-called “Austin Mayor”

  12. - MouthofBabes.. - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 5:18 pm:

    No only is Duckworth a poor choice, but so is Shoutkowisk. The Illinois Senate is full of talented young members that would make far more sense than either of these screamers.

    Whoever Durbin is pushing I oppose.

  13. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 5:26 pm:

    Not found of Schakowsky, and I seriously doubt much of the state would be once they got to know her, but likewise I don’t like the idea of a Duckworth appointment either. Much like I don’t appreciate millionaire business types coming out of nowhere to run for Senator or Governor, I’d prefer someone with actual legislative experience in the job. Get your on-the-job training in the minor leagues, not in the Senate.

  14. - Rob_N - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 6:03 pm:


    It’s an appointment, not an election, so there’s no “getting in line”. Whoever is appointed will have to run in two years to keep the seat. Is that somehow unclear?

    Mouth of Babes,

    Would you prefer the Democratic Governor of a Democratic State appoint a Republican to replace a Democratic Senator? Sheesh.

    Ron Burgundy,

    Yeah, millionaire business types who come out of nowhere and forego on-the-job-training in the “minor leagues” to run for governor… like George W. Bush in his run for Texas guv.

    I see your point. ;)

    Then again, Maj. Duckworth is currently head of the Illinois VA. It may be an appointed position, rather than elected, but it is a position which requires one to navigate the halls of government nonetheless. Is Veterans’ Affairs not “minor league” enough for you, Ron?

  15. - DuPage Mod. - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 7:55 pm:

    I will never pull another Democratic ticket if that political hack, Duckworth, is appointed. I’ve never met a more underwhelming candidate in my life.

    Fritkowsky is just as bad.

  16. - jb7 - Friday, Jun 27, 08 @ 8:30 pm:

    dan hynes is clearly the best pick since he has statewide appeal, which i think is crucial to this selection. however, as has been discussed on here before, hynes may be a problematic choice in rod’s eyes.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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