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Ozinga, Rangel, Rush

Tuesday, Aug 5, 2008

* Thanks to a reader for sending this direct mail piece from Republican congressional hopeful Marty Ozinga. I strongly encourage all readers to do the same.

You can click the pics for larger images…


* The Illinois Republican Party has a new Internet video bashing Democratic congressional candidate Dan Seals. The Repubs have been attempting for several days to make some hay out of fundraising for Seals done by powerful Congresscritter Charlie Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. You can find more background on the story here, here, here, here and here. It’s a mostly inside the beltway “scandal” that isn’t exactly earth-shattering. Rangel is accused of using a rent-controlled apartment for his campaign headquarters, in apparent violation of NY law. He’s since closed that office.

Anyway, the IL GOP vid ends with this tag line: “Dan Seals. He’ll do anything to buy your vote.” That’s quite the charge.

And here it is…

* The Rangel thing is also an issue in Democrat Debbie Halvorson’s campaign versus Marty Ozinga…

[Halvorson[ also has set up a joint fundraising committee with Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, for a future fundraising event. The Ozinga campaign has sought to portray the relationship negatively following a story in the New York Times alleging that Rangel, whose home and office in Harlem are in a rent-controlled building, is getting favorable treatment from his landlord. The office is the address listed for the joint fundraising committee with Halvorson.

Rangel responded Friday to the article, telling reporters at a news conference he is paying the maximum rent allowed by law and he is not getting special treatment. […]

Regarding Halvorson’s fundraising, Sere said Halvorson’s affiliation with Rangel shows she has a pattern of “forming close alliances with fellow career politicians who just so happen to have this scandal or that scandal attached to their names,” a reference to efforts by the Ozinga campaign to tie her to unpopular Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Ozinga issued a press release Wednesday calling attention to the committee titled “Halvorson Fundraising Committee Based out of Rangel’s Sweetheart Apartment.” […]

[Halvorson campaign manager Brian Doory] declined to respond to the Ozinga criticism of her joint committee with Rangel.

* Meanwhile, Bobby Rush announced yesterday that he’s cancer free

Rush returned to Congress last Wednesday. His doctors said they are not discouraging him from jumping back into politics as he continues his recovery.

“I don’t know that asking Congressman Rush to sit down and relax would be good for him,” said Dr. Elizabeth Blair, the surgeon who removed a tumor the size of a large plum from his jaw earlier this year.

* Related…

* White House Says No to Special Session

* Recovering Rush seeks care for all

* Congressman Rush: “I No Longer Have Cancer

* Congressional hearing today on CN, EJ&E purchase

* For lawyers who choose public service over private enrichment, new financial hope - Legislation to unburden some of up to $60,000 in law school debt is awaiting president’s signature

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 9:34 am:

    Ozinga is endorsed by his own employees.
    That’s good, right?

  2. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 9:38 am:

    The Ozinga mailer looks good and says the right things. Ozinga looks like a blue-collar Everyman. The only thing I might change is the size of the employee’s pic. Not sure it needs to be that big on both sides.

  3. - just wondering - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 9:40 am:

    How many thousands is it that Ozinga has given to Blagojevich and Daley over the years? And how much state and city business has his company received?

    yeah, there’s some relationships I trust.

  4. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 9:43 am:

    I know when I am considering a candiate there is no more reliable opinion then some guy who works for the canidate and is compltely behodlen to them for a job.

    If the best endorsement Ozinga can get is a person on his payroll then he is in big trouble. Ozinga must not think much of the average person if he belvies they will be moved by support from people dependent on him for a job.

  5. - just wondering - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 10:09 am:

    “Vote for my boss, or I’ll be wearing cement shoes.”

    just kidding

  6. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 10:13 am:

    Once again, I am seeing Halvorson running a national campaign with national support from special interests and political insiders who want to flip this congressional district and don’t know anyone living there, and Ozinga running a local campaign with local support.

    Halvorson is depending on support from outside the District, and Ozinga is depending on support from inside the District. Her money is coming from outsiders, and Ozinga’s is coming from locals.

    Two different campaigns. Because there are two different thoughts on how US Congresspeople are elected. Since 1994, when Gingrich won control of the US House, he has claimed and others have affirmed, that he “nationalized” the House races and branded the GOP into a win. Previous to this, the Democrats have ran Washington and claimed that every House race was local. There are reasons to believe that both are correct. On the other hand, instead of using sweeping generalizations, each District should be considered differently. I believe that for some Districts, a national branding and national approach is correct, but for many Districts, local issues still triumphs.

    If you believe that politics is local, Ozinga should win. If you go with the Gingrich plan, Halvorson should win.

    Ozinga continues to demonstrate that he is not a heartless businessman, (or as the anti-Ozinga reporters like to call him, a “mogul”, or a “magnate”, as though we still live in the Victorian Guilded Age). Instead Ozinga, and this flyer makes this point, has been demonstrating his compassion and the community support he has been giving charity in the 11th District over the past 30 years. Instead of falling into the Democrat’s stereotypical anti-businessman cartoon portrayal, Ozinga is showing that he cares about voters on a personal level, blunting this political attack.

    Do you hate businesspeople? Then Halvorson is your pick. She is a professional politician - and a good one. Do you hate politicians? Then Ozinga is your pick. He is a successful businessman with a record of community service and philanthropy - and a good one too.

    When Halvorson gets hammered for her ties to Jones and Blagojevich, or for any state and local issue, her national staff sputters and drops the ball. The people running her campaign don’t know diddly about Joliet and the 11th, so she gets hurt. When she gets jumped by Jackson on the Airport, her national staffers freeze up, don’t they?

    Ozinga has his Bush problem. He has an Obama problem. How does that impact? To outsiders, Ozinga could be beat because they also don’t know the local issues.

    Both good people. Good race. We’ll see!

    Finally, don’t insult the nice guy who took the risk of appearing on this flyer. Don’t claim he is a dupe, a stooge, or an idiot. Unlike us bloggers, he is out there making a statement with courage. There will be ugly partisans out there who will berate him as a flunky, but he looks man-enough to take it. He knows his boss, and supports him. He has the right to say so, and the freedom to speak out. Don’t insult a brave man.

  7. - siriusly - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 10:16 am:

    Is that Nick Ylverton in that mailer? Wow, I’m surprised that he endorsed Ozinga!

  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 10:18 am:

    I am happy that Rush is cancer-free.

    Charlie Rangel is a good guy, and Ozinga is just messing with Halvorson on this, while pointing out her base of support outside the District.

    And Dan Seals didn’t win in 2006 when everything was going his way. He doesn’t have much of a shot this year either.

  9. - Been There - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 10:41 am:

    VM, the reason Halvoson needs to run a “national race” is that her supporters (union workers, local farmers & horsemen, small businessmen, etc.) don’t have the where-with-all to send in big donations. Ozinga on the other hand, just walks into his country club and asks his friends and family to pony up. Or his vendors that make a lot of money off of him. That is his version of running a local campaign. I am not blaming him for that. He should go after any source he can. But there are reasons for Halvorson to go after the national support.

  10. - Rob_N - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    Re the beyond-the-pale attack on Seals…

    Buy stock in mops and floor cleaner; there seems to be a lot of peeing in pants going on in the 10th. These sorts of over the top BS attacks are going to backfire as they only help Seals energize his already enthusiastic base.

    This Obama quote about Republicans sums it up nicely: “They’re very good at negative campaigning. They’re not so good at governing.”

  11. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 11:10 am:

    You might be right!

    Halvorson is beloved by the little people too poor to support her campaign, forcing her to reach outside the District to win against Mr. Heartless Moneybags milking his rich vendor friends for dough as they golf at his private country club.

    You’re too smart for the rest of us! You’ve discovered that prejudices and stereotypes can be such time savers! Who needs to be open-minded or rational?

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 12:04 pm:

    > LOL

    Should I counter with “Do you hate workers? Then Ozinga is your pick.”

    That would take the discussion up a notch. Talk about using stereotypes and prejudices!

  13. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 12:06 pm:

    Sorry dropped quote, I meant to start with: –Do you hate businesspeople? Then Halvorson is your pick.–LOL

  14. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 12:08 pm:

    Debbie needs to get some more local types involved in her campaign.

    Marty is hitting the right buttons, but it’s a ways to Election Day.

    This will be a good race to watch.

  15. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 12:43 pm:

    You are looking at it one-sided.

    “Do you hate businesspeople?”
    “Do you hate politicians?”

    I give both sides. You do not.

    Is it stated too simply? Perhaps. But that seems to be the jist of what each camp is telling voters. Halvorson’s staffers are trying to paint Ozinga as a conscience-less Monopoly Man who abuses laws and does insider deals. Ozinga’s staffers present Halvorson as a Blagojevich/Jones insider politician.

    You don’t see Halvorson presenting herself in a straight forward manner, “I am not a businessman”, but you do see Ozinga saying directly, “I am not a politician”. What do you think this all means?

    So that’s the bottom line. Both parties have a long history of using these selling points, don’t they? Everytime an anti-Ozinga reporter or Halvorson staffer speaks about Ozinga, they always smear him as an unscrupulous businessman. Everytime a Ozinga staffer speaks about Halvorson, they smear her as a politician.

    What would you deduce from this?

    Both candidates are worthy of office, in my opinion. One is a politician, and the other one is a businessman. They are both good at what they do. If you love politicians or hate businessmen, then vote for Halvorson. If you love businessmen or hate politicians, vote for Ozinga.

    It is a love/hate thing.

  16. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:08 pm:

    VM: Your first post seemed pro-Ozinga.

    I agree that the campaigns are overly simplistic in their self portrayal and their presentation of the opposition. I disagree with your conclusion (if it is yours and not just a presentation of what you think they are trying to put forth), Halvorson has business ties and leanings and Ozinga will become a politician if he isn’t already.

    In my (dream) world this campaign would be about issues: stances on health care (universal coverage or not), trade (free vs fair vs something else), energy (what to use and how much), foreign policy, business regulations (what to regulate and to what degree), etc.

  17. - Amber - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:20 pm:

    Team America Blog ( has a ton of coverage on the Rangel-Seals connection.

  18. - shoreman - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:21 pm:

    Largely because he is not a district native and gets the base of his support from liberals who tend to be more north side than north shore politically, Dan foolishly thought that an anti-iraq war stance could also mean change on Israel policy. Voters maybe pro-choice in the district and hate the president, but are very very conservative on Israel, and Kirk would be better served exploiting Dan’s Israel Youtube mistakes rather than this rangel business.

    I don’t know the inside baseball on Ozinga, and will admit I am a moderate Republican, but I like the fact this common man image he is portraying versus a career legislator, especially right now.

  19. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:39 pm:

    The one thing I won’t buy is that Ozinga is a “common man.” He is a very wealthy business man, a whole different animal.

  20. - Balderdash - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:42 pm:

    I’m not a politician (but I am)
    “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” right?

  21. - chiatty - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 1:52 pm:

    Ozinga is a “common man”. Holy hotcakes, that’s a load of concrete on the brain! This guy is running a campaign to try to make people forget how much money he has, while Halvorson’s campaign is being helped by national democrats, which here is translated into a big-money campaign. The truth, of course, is somewhat different. Ozinga is zillionaire whose business has been significantly aided by political connections over the years. Halvorson has no money but has served the state well for several terms in the Senate. She has the good fortune of being in the race in which her opponent bailed out, but she will have a battle against this well-financed foe. If he gets any traction (doubtful), he’ll get boatloads of help from the national republicans. We’ve seen this movie before.

  22. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 2:03 pm:

    No biggie? With the NYT and Washington Post pounding on an extremely powerful Democratic Representative it sounds a little more newsworthy to me.

    It appears that Rangel has his own “Rezko” type of connection with his current landlord. And three luxury apartments strung together into one big living quarters? Using Rich Miller’s favorite, that must be just a “coinkidink” and not because he is a Congressman heading up one of the most important House Committees around? And the fourth apartment unit was his campaign HQ?

    There is a “Rezko” in every state I guess.

    Rob N’s quote of ““They’re very good at negative campaigning. They’re not so good at governing.” Sounds like the 10th Congressional Democratic Organization to me. They accuse Kirk of everything and anything and credit him for nothing. And they have been doing it for 8 straight years now.

  23. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 2:05 pm:

    A Chicago big wig who owns a cement company and gets lots of quesionable State contracts who has decided to legitimize himself by becoming a politician…. HBO mini series or real life…..

  24. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 2:41 pm:

    I like both Ozinga and Halvorson. Both will be a good congressperson. Each brings their own strengths to the office. They are very different too. If you want an experienced politician, vote for Halvorson. If you want an experienced businessman, vote for Ozinga. We should all be so lucky as voters in the 11th.

    But it seems that a lot of you posters just don’t like Ozinga because he is wealthy. Is this a crime? Can you tell us why being a good businessman is a disqualifier? Which state contract do you find questionable? Do you have a bombshell for us, or are you just assuming? Why do you mean Ozinga needs to legitimize himself? To whom? Why wouldn’t he be already? What about all the things he has done in the past regarding his gifts to community organizations? He even spends money in Europe helping people there. Are these the warning signs of a creep? Ozinga seems to be a successful businessman that cares for people, whether they work for him or live thousands of miles away. What’s the problem?

    I know Halvorson is a good politician. She is a good lady. She comes from great people and a great town. She worked her way up the ladder. She has always been a hard worker, even in high school. She sincerely believes in the feminist liberal agenda popularized during the 1970s. She is no fake. While I may disagree with her solutions, I don’t disagree with her diagnosis. I can say nice things about her.

    What’s your problem?

    I have always believed that the 11th is too conservative for Halvorson, not that the 11th is conservative, but that Halvorson is that liberal. If Ozinga reveals her positions, I believe the majority of voters in the 11th couldn’t support her. But if they would elect a Democrat like Halvorson, this would be the year. Obama is strong in Illinois, and he just might have coat-tails, which admittedly, would be a rarity, but so is many things about Obama, right?

    I have been watching this race closely and I have no idea who will end up the winner.

  25. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 3:57 pm:

    VM you mean how In 1994, Ozinga’s reliance on front companies backfired. Metro Mix, run initially by the two South Side churches but eventually taken over by three different minority investors, became self-sufficient. When a bid came up for an $11 million concrete contract with the city, Metro Mix actually beat out Ozinga for the deal. Furious, Ozinga bought out one partial owner, assumed majority control, and quickly shut the business down. Just two years later, he sued the city, arguing affirmative action programs were unconstitutional because they discriminated against white business owners.
    Ozinga argued that the city was disenfranchising white contractors.

    Then he got going again with the shill company seeking these minority contracts as detailed in the 2005 tribune investigation found exploited minority contracting provision of the City of Chicago by pretending to be minority owned by in truth being controll by Ozinga and putting the profit in his pockets only? The Ozinga used metro mix to profit from contracts that he could not legally obtain so he set up a shill to skirt the law, would be a start of the questionable contracts. Not to mention the 25k donations Ozinga made right before securing various other contracts with the City of chicago.

  26. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 4:14 pm:

    Sorry, but the facts disagree with you…

    Chicago Tribune - 4/23/08: ==Ozinga said he started Metro Mix as a way to create jobs and promote economic development in minority neighborhoods.

    Metro Mix initially had trouble being recognized as a minority-owned business—officials said Ozinga’s ties to the company were too close—so the group restructured with new minority ownership to meet requirements. Eventually, however, Ozinga had a disagreement with one of the new partners in the mid-1990s, and the company folded.==

    No mention of exploitation. No mention of Metro Mix being started by two South Side churches. No mention of Ozinga being “furious”.

    Ozinga’s business was accused in 2005 of taking advantage of a Chicago policy of helping minority-owned businesses with his company Metro Mix. No official wrongdoing was proven in that case.

    Sounds like you would rather believe rumors than facts, doesn’t it?

  27. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 4:17 pm:

    If you do not trust businessmen, or believe that they are only out for themselves, then if you live in the 11th, you can vote for Halvorson.

    But don’t smear candidates because they are businessmen and you just don’t trust them.

  28. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 5:07 pm:

    ==The one thing I won’t buy is that Ozinga is a “common man.” He is a very wealthy business man, a whole different animal. ==

    In what way does wealth contradict commonality? Are you saying that Ozinga is special because he is wealthy? Why would that be a disqualifier? Does an individual loose their morality or something if they become wealthy? Does the examples Ozinga has displayed for years with his work in community funding display some kind of lack of morality?

    It sounds like a bunch of jealous pouting. Instead of recognizing the abilities found within successful community business leaders, partisans refuse to see the benefits.

    Did you lose your soul when you earned enough money to pay your bills? Does being hungry or poor somehow qualify you to become a leader?

    While I see that Halvorson’s experiences in political office as an asset, I also see Ozinga’s experiences as an asset. Why can’t you?

    ==In my (dream) world this campaign would be about issues: stances on health care (universal coverage or not), trade (free vs fair vs something else), energy (what to use and how much), foreign policy, business regulations (what to regulate and to what degree), etc. ==

    Sorry, but those are your issues, and we all have to respect one another enough to allow voters within each congressional district to do the prioritizing and deciding. Just because a candidate has the “right” answers, doesn’t mean that the candidate should be elected. Look at who we have as governor right now as an example.

  29. - archpundit - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 5:45 pm:

    How does citing a story relying only on Ozinga qualify as ‘facts?’

    From the Trib story in 2005
    By 1994, the new 51-percent owners of Metro Mix were Chestang, the African-American involved in the old Metro Mix firm; Jose Diaz, a Cuban-American with some experience in the concrete industry, and Goei, the native of Indonesia.

    Goei lived in Grand Rapids, Mich., where he was a race relations official for the Christian Reformed Church. Martin Ozinga’s father, also named Martin and a major donor to Christian Reformed causes, contacted Goei about becoming a Metro Mix owner. Goei ended up commuting to Chicago, staying during the week in the home of Martin Ozinga’s father in suburban Evergreen Park

    Unlike the church group, the three minorities–Goei, Chestang, and Diaz–invested their own money in Metro Mix. Each wrote checks for $ 68,000 to obtain 17 percent, or 51 percent total, of the new company. The Ozingas held 49 percent.

    Goei was designated president. He recalls that Martin Ozinga told him to accomplish three things: make Metro Mix profitable, independent and self-sufficient. “And I believe that’s what I did,” he recalls.

    In fact, he says, he accomplished it too well.

    In 1994, he submitted a bid on behalf of Metro Mix for an $ 11 million city concrete contract, competing directly with a bid from Ozinga. He says he thought there was little chance the upstart company would get the job.

    But when the bids were opened, Metro Mix won.

    Soon, the firm had 25 trucks, painted solid red to distinguish them from Ozinga’s red-and-white striped ones. Goei says sales doubled, as did employment, with the vast majority of the workers being minorities.

    Martin Ozinga, meanwhile, was on a yearlong, around-the-world backpacking trip with his six sons. He made it a point never to touch base with the office.

    When he returned, he was upset to learn that Metro Mix won the lucrative city contract, Goei says. This ultimately led, he says, to the Ozingas telling him he would be fired and closing Metro Mix.

    Martin Ozinga tells it differently. He says that when he returned from his trip, he found that Goei was making decisions without consulting the Ozingas, including buying a second concrete plant, just blocks from an Ozinga Bros. facility. Plus, he says, Metro Mix was growing too fast and losing money.

    “We’ve got a very good name in this industry,” he says, “and I’m not going to let one of my companies file for bankruptcy.”

    Available public documents do not resolve the dispute.

    The Ozingas took control of Metro Mix by buying the 17 percent of the company’s shares owned by Diaz, the Cuban-American. Now holding 66 percent of the shares, the Ozingas shut down Metro Mix.

    The third minority owner, Chestang, says he learned about the company’s demise when he called back to the office while on vacation.

    Goei has since moved back to Grand Rapids, where he now owns one of the area’s largest retail flower chains and is a prominent advocate for minority businesses.

    He says the Ozingas did not want to compete with their own spinoff. “They felt we were infringing on their right, their ability to maximize their profits,” he says.

  30. - Jimmy - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 5:56 pm:

    Re: 10th
    Kirk could only get 53% going against a guy in his first race when no one west of Winnetka had any idea who Seals was. And Kirk lost the Jews in Highland Park 2 to 1 so I don’t see how the Israel stuff is relevant. And, there are far more churches out here in Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect than temples.

    Seals has some work to do, but Kirk comes off like such a priss, I think this race is going down to the wire.

  31. - Pot calling kettle - Tuesday, Aug 5, 08 @ 8:26 pm:

    VM, you are being way too defensive today. I never said being a wealthy businessman was a bad thing, I said it was not the same as being a “common man.” It’s not. In 2006, the median household income was $48,201. Someone who makes millions a year is not the common man. He may strive to understand the common man, he may employ the common man, but he is not the common man.

    If Ozinga wants to run on his credentials as a successful business man that is fantastic. He might be a great employer, benevolent to the community, a moral paragon. Just don’t pretend he is something that he is not.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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