[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…