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DCCC makes costly error; Schock can’t see writing on the wall

Monday, Sep 29, 2008

* The DCCC made a pretty stupid mistake when it waited until just the other day tot release these relatively (in campaign terms) ancient poll numbers

A Global Strategy Group poll conducted August 17-19 of 400 likely voters with a 4.9% margin of error shows Dan Seals within striking distance of Congressman Mark Kirk 39%-46% with 14% undecided. After voters are informed with each candidates’ message and bio, Dan Seals comes out ahead 45%-40%.

At the presidential level, Illinois Senator Barack Obama leads the district 51%-36% over Senator John McCain. President Bush’s approval rating in the district is an abysmal 21%.

“Republican Congressman Kirk is clearly extremely vulnerable for voting with his Republican leadership 88% of the time,” said DCCC Midwest Regional Press Secretary Ryan Rudominer.

* Kirk’s campaign released its own poll two weeks ago which showed him with a 22-point lead.

* That poll prompted Charlie Cook to downgrade the Democratic challenger’s prospects from “tossup” to “lean Republican”…

While we still expect Kirk’s lead in polling to close between now and Election Day as Democratic voters “come home,” it is notable that he appears to maintain a significant lead against 2006 Democratic nominee Dan Seals.

Unlike some of his perennially targeted peers, Kirk has been aggressive in going after his opponent early on in the general election campaign. He has leveraged his financial edge over Seals to run ads accusing the Democrat of wanting to raise the capital gains tax and holding a subsidized-gas stunt in the district that clogged traffic and earned a police fine. For his part, Seals will label Kirk as a pro-war Bush ally who is out of touch on the economy and in the pocket of big oil.

Republican polling showing a 20 point gap in this race paints a picture that is likely to fade over the next few weeks, as Democrats ramp up their attacks on Kirk and Seals has more of a chance to tie himself to Obama. But Kirk has run an impressive campaign to date, and has put more distance between his own standing and that of the top of the GOP ticket than we expected. This race is still highly competitive, but for now, it moves back to the Lean Republican column.

That won’t help at all.

* Meanwhile, GOP congressional frontrunner Aaron Schock is still having trouble with that Bush fundraising issue…

State Rep. Aaron Schock’s campaign manager said Friday that if U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign pays the local costs of police and fire protection during a visit to Springfield last month, then they might consider doing the same for Peoria.

Might consider?

Considering that Springfield is billing Obama’s campaign for a public event that could be attended by anyone for free (unlike Schock’s purely private event that charged an admission price), Schock may have to do more than maybe consider a refund…

A city of Springfield spokesman said the city, behind a policy of Mayor Tim Davlin, will charge Obama’s presidential campaign approximately $50,000 for a visit to the Capitol City on Aug. 23 to announce that Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., would be his running mate.

* And there was more on the Bush visit in today’s Peoria paper

Police Chief Steven Settingsgaard got his picture taken with President George W. Bush in July, when the president attended a fundraiser at Angus Weaver Farm in support of state Rep. Aaron Schock, who is running for Congress. […]

What we’re not sure about, though, is whether the chief paid the $5,000 asking price for the picture, if he got to keep the photograph for free, or if he even walked off with a photograph. Plus, who was “they?” He declined to answer follow-up questions we had about the picture.

Regardless of the merits of reimbursing the city, this has become a political no-brainer.

* More roundups…

* Ill. congressional candidate capitalizing on Obama

* Congressional ad battle focuses on George Bush

* Bill to block CN buy fails in House

* Bean, Greenberg share economic goals

* Cook Report Downgrades Dan Seals [With Seals TV ad]

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Shore - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:19 pm:

    Kirk is going to have a really tough race up here, and I am a long time supporter of his. He’s not around a lot and there are a lot of people that think he’s gone Washington. If Obama continues to heat up it will be interesting to see if he can hold it off, but this is definitely not blowout city, and that pollster doesn’t have a golden track record.


  2. - VanillaMan - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:21 pm:

    Schock has allowed a non-issue to become a stumbling block. Under no circumstances should any candidate expect their neighbors to pick up expenses incurred during their campaign.

    It doesn’t matter who is technically correct, if a candidate wishes to gain the votes of constitutents, they are to ensure that those whose votes they wish to gain are not paying any costs generated by that campaign.

    Otherwise, don’t expect anyone to vote for you!


  3. - Vote Quimby! - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:35 pm:

    Is Schock this clueless? I agree with VanillaMan– this could and should have been resolved long ago with a simple check and he would be rolling into Washington. Like Rich said, comparing Obama’s free public visit to Springfield and Bush’s by-appointment-only photo op and handshake are apples and oranges. Or, for more current analogy, comparing credit default swaps to Treasury bonds. I’m all for new blood in politics, but haggling over things like this can do absolutely no good for a campaign, especially one raising this much money.


  4. - Spinning Out of Control - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:42 pm:

    {After voters are informed with each candidates’ message and bio, Dan Seals comes out ahead 45%-40%.}

    Their biggest mistake would be suggesting that voters in one of the most highly educated district’s in the country are stupid. “Let’s see, once we have one of these people on the phone we will paint horns on Kirk, position him somewhere in the Bush family tree, and then gauge voters opinion again and see if we like that result better; and if so, then publish it.

    This push polling data no doubt enjoyed selective release in an effort to influence fund raising. Receptive, but not yet contributing or maximized partisans can be naive and easily manipulated with efforts like this.

    Where are the cross-tabs however? Those answering the phone and participating in the survey aside, the average voter in this district is just simply not that stupid to be manipulated in the same way.

    {For his part, Seals will label Kirk as a pro-war Bush ally who is out of touch on the economy and in the pocket of big oil.}

    It is no secret within the district that Kirk continues to serve in the U.S. Naval reserve, and performs his duties at the Pentagon in Washington, while the rest of the do nothing congress takes its weekend breaks and vacation. Even if they disagree with the war, most district voters (except the far out loonies) respect Kirk’s additional service to the country in this regard. Kirk has also been an outspoken critic of certain aspects of the prosecution of the war, even taking his criticism face to face with both Bush and Rumsfeld, and this is pretty well known in the district as well.

    As far as being painted as a “friend of” or “in the pocket of” big oil, good luck with that one. When BP wanted to make changes to its Whiting, Indiana refinery so it could process much more Canadian crude oil. To do that however BP also sought permits to discharge higher amounts of ammonia and other chemicals into Lake Michigan from the Whiting refinery.

    Kirk took the lead on opposing this effort almost immediately, and almost single handedly defeated it, while other congressional reps with districts along Illinois Lake Michigan lakefront sat idle and did almost nothing to help this effort.

    We already have all kinds of boobs in this area like Suffredin and Shakowsky, that talk the talk all day long to anyone that will listen, but when it comes actually walking the walk, they often come up lame.

    While Cook hedges his bets somewhat (considering he has a lot more territory and other races to cover) and can’t be expected to know everything about a single race, I would have thought by now that even he had figured out that Kirk is highly respected in the district, and Dan Seals (v. 2.0) may have less chance this time around than even last time, despite his home state (vote for me I look just like Obama) campaign that seems completely bereft of original thought. Nowhere else is this more poignantly displayed than his failure to even bother moving into the district for the re-match.


  5. - Skeeter - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 12:58 pm:

    With regard to Schock —

    At risk of sounding too partisan, Schock is completely unfit for Congress and his handling of this is more evidence. He is “Illinoi-ese” for “Palin.” He just does not have a clue. From his China comments to this we are left wondering: Does he do any research before speaking? Does he even care?

    He is going to win because the district will favor the GOP, but the real Skeeter — a 100 pound German Shep. — would do a better job in Congress than Schock. At least the Germ. Shep. would know how to keep his mouth shut when necessary.


  6. - Dennis P - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 1:09 pm:

    @Spinning out of control

    Kirk did not take any lead in fighting BP. He went out in a rowboat and held a press conference. Eddie Vedder did more to fight BP with his song at lollapalooza. And in the end, isn’t BP expanding the plant anyway? Kirk is a master at the appearance of action.

    Oh, and a master at appearing to reside here, when he hasn’t actually lived in the district since he first worked for Rep. Porter.


  7. - Spinning Out of Control - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 1:33 pm:

    Dennis P;

    Perhaps the EPA should have been there to take air samples at La La pallooz A.

    We already know the dangers of second hand smoke. Hopefully your company has no random testing procedure however, because good luck to you if your lotto ball pops up for that one. The effects of the air quality on you from the musical mayhem event seem almost to the point of being of the first hand variety. The Clinton defense on inhallation has already been tried before, so you will have to become more creative. Maybe Eddie Vedder could use another “roadie” however if your number pops up.

    The issue with BP; was not the expansion of the refinery, but rather the application for permits to dump exponentially more hazardous chemicals into Lake Michigan. The applications for the increased dumping into the lake was withdrawn as a direct surrender to actions that Kirk put into motion after this aspect of the expansion was discovered ( and before it was even publicly announced). Expansion is good for job creation; except when it threatens the environment, especially the source of our drinking water. That same water is used to make the Kool Aid too. Take a lesson from Jonestown however and when someone tells you the punch is not that good, then opt for something a little less bitter and that won’t be as damaging in the longer term.

    As for residency; Kirk not only lives in the district, but just as importanlty he pays his share of property taxes to help finance the school districts where the children of the voters he represents attend school as well.

    Dan Seals either has no level of awareness of how voters perceive the residency issue; or he does not care. Either way, he will suffer at the ballot box as a result. Don’t worry though, because the local residency issue will only be a fraction of the total margin of defeat.


  8. - charles in charge - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 1:41 pm:

    So Schock now takes his cues from Obama?

    It’s pretty funny how, while the national GOP tries to paint Obama as “born of the corrupt Chicago machine,” etc., its own Congessional hopeful is waiting around to see what Obama does to find out which way the ethical winds are blowing.


  9. - SangamoGOP - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 2:11 pm:

    Maybe Schock’s campaign manager could’ve issued a statement that indicated when Congressman Weller actually voted for or against the economic rescue plan, Aaron would pay the bill. Ooops. Can’t do that, Weller and Schock share a campaign manager.


  10. - Just My Opinion - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 2:54 pm:

    All of my life, my politics have slanted slightly to the GOP, still mostly voting for the person. I was a fan of Bob Michel and Ray LaHood. I will NEVER cast a vote for Schock. He’s too wet behind the ears and if he is starting out even before being elected trying to dodge a major issue like reimbursing a city in his own district for the expense of police protection at a fundraiser and he can’t understand why he needs to do that, then every single person in this district needs to vote for Colleen Callahan. She has much more experience and way more years on her. I for one would welcome a change of both party and gender for this position.


  11. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 4:04 pm:

    Schock’s not ready for prime time.

    The DCCC poll release is pathetic. It might as well have been taken in August 2007.


  12. - ConservativeVeteran - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 4:09 pm:

    Rep. Kirk should run as a Democrat. His latest rating from Gun Owners of America is 0%, and his latest rating from Planned Parenthood is 100%. He voted against an amendment that would have banned gay marriage. In May 2007, when 11 republican congressmen went to the White and told President Bush that they opposed the Iraq surge, Kirk was their leader.


  13. - EmptySuitParade - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 5:47 pm:

    There is no comparison between the Obama and Mr. Dreamy events…..Schock even kept the media at arms length at his political fundraising on private farm. Obama invited the world and had it in the middle of town….Write the check Aaron, write the check.
    BTW how would have voted on the Wall Street bailout?


  14. - Little Egypt - Monday, Sep 29, 08 @ 11:44 pm:

    BTW, has anyone noticed that in the ad Schock is running with the giant windmills, NOT one of them is moving and producing one single KW of energy.


  15. - Fan of the Game - Tuesday, Sep 30, 08 @ 8:29 am:

    Shock should bite the bullet and pay the bill. Is the bad press worth $38,000?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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