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Backlash, hinky numbers, conservative questions, and questionable promises

Monday, Nov 23, 2009

* At least one Tribune reporter is not pleased with Andy McKenna’s new TV ad. A mid-morning Clout St. article, “McKenna’s misleading campaign ad on Quinn,” makes some of the same points that I did with subscribers earlier this morning…

It’s not the first time that a Republican statewide candidate for governor in Illinois has resorted to the use of misleading newspaper attributions. In his failed 2006 race for the GOP nomination for governor, businessman James D. Oberweis used four fake headlines from real newspapers across the state in his TV advertising.

Underscoring that McKenna’s campaign didn’t need to misattribute the Tribune, it also released an accompanying radio ad using the same “hides the truth” accusation with no reference to the newspaper.

McKenna campaign spokesman Lance Trover responds…

“Last week Governor Quinn characterized his record as governor as “Missions Accomplished,” this at a time when the state is facing bankruptcy and near record unemployment while the governor is refusing to launch any effort to tackle — or even acknowledge — these issues until after his primary election.

“By any sane, rational definition, that is hiding the truth.

“His assertion was such a prominent point of his presentation, that the Tribune even used it in the headline and the lede. We understand the seriousness of making this accusation about Governor Quinn. Rather than facing the possibility of being charged with using political hearsay, we cited an article using the governor’s own words to demonstrate our point: he is hiding the truth.”

Here is what Quinn actually said

“You’ve got to have a governor who gets things done. That’s what I’ve done. I took over at the worst time Illinois could ever have in our history, a very dark, dark hour,” Quinn said. “And we’ve, day after day, got missions accomplished whether it’s in ethics or getting things done for ordinary people in the budget or getting jobs.”

I wrote at the time that the Tribune was mischaracterizing the “missions accomplished” quote, so I guess it’s garbage in, garbage out.

* Speaking of false claims, Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman sent out a fundraising e-mail today that points to poll numbers which don’t really exist…

In the last few days, much has been made of an internal poll we conducted. Geoff Garin, our pollster and long-time advisor to Senator Durbin, shows in a polling memo that in a general election Alexi Giannoulias loses to Mark Kirk by 17 points, and I beat Kirk by 5 points.

Bottom line: I am the strongest Democratic Senate candidate to take on Mark Kirk for the November election.

Actually, the memo shows Mark Kirk leading Hoffman 40-30, and leading Giannoulias 40-37. It’s only after the “push” questions, both positive and negative, that Hoffman edges out Kirk.

* It’s tough to discern whether David Axelrod actually told James Warren that he has concerns about Alexi Giannoulias or whether Warren just assumed it. Either way, it would be nice if the Chicago Media Cooperative story was more transparent…

Mr. Axelrod concedes that he and Mr. Obama failed to persuade Attorney General Lisa Madigan to run for the Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama. “She would have walked into the seat,” Mr. Axelrod says. White House qualms about the Democratic frontrunner, Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois treasurer, are self-evident, with worry that the Republican challenger, Representative Mark Kirk, will be needlessly formidable.

“The Blago saga will hang heavy over our politics, and that’s what Kirk’s banking on,” Mr. Axelrod says.

* Speaking of Kirk, Politico has a piece about how a conservative US Senator may get involved in Kirk’s primary

If you’re an underdog conservative running for Congress, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) should be on your speed dial these days.

A favorite of the tea party crowd and a longtime scourge for Democrats and some Republicans alike inside the Senate chamber, DeMint has emerged as the leading benefactor for any Republican who wants to challenge the establishment candidates backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. […]

And DeMint is considering offering an endorsement to attorney Patrick Hughes, who is challenging Kirk in the Republican primary for Obama’s old Senate seat in Illinois. DeMint has met with Hughes twice in the past two months to discuss his campaign, and DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund website is polling respondents on whom they support in the Hughes-Kirk primary.

“This is a national race … so an endorsement from Sen. DeMint or any great conservative leader like him is welcomed and would be helpful,” Hughes said Thursday, after meeting with DeMint for a second time.

DeMint conducted an online poll and Patrick Hughes won

Fans of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) are also, apparently, fans of atty Patrick Hughes (R) — which could turn out to be a bad thing for the NRSC.

Over the weekend, Hughes won an online straw poll of visitors to DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund website, which gauged which candidate DeMint backers wanted to support in the race for Pres. Obama’s old SEN seat in IL. Hughes took 74%, while Rep. Mark Kirk, the favorite candidate of DC GOPers, garnered just 8%, barely over half the number of people who voted for “other.”

“Other” came in second. No surprise, but not good for Kirk. Still, DeMint has made it clear that he only intends to involve himself with winning candidacies and Hughes has shown us nothing to indicate he can beat Kirk.

* Keep in mind when reading this next piece that the national GOP always promises Illinois big bucks and doesn’t deliver, so it’s yet to be seen how far they’ll go. The climate has changed, but Kirk’s general election is the only real high point so far…

Illinois’ top Republican says he’s received a “commitment” from the national party to invest big bucks here in hopes of a GOP breakthrough in the 2010 elections.

State GOP Chairman Pat Brady said no one mentioned any specific numbers at a meeting he held Friday afternoon with Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. But “significant help” was promised, he said.

“Mr. Steele says he’s very committed to Illinois,” Mr Brady said in a brief phone chat. “Illinois is a top tier state for them.”

* Related…

* Lyons Township GOP backs Hughes, Topinka, Plummer: Saturday morning’s Republicans of Lyons Township candidate forum ended with endorsements for Patrick Hughes for U.S. Senate, and fell one vote short of backing Dan Proft for governor. Andy McKenna was the next highest vote gubernatorial vote getter — at 14. 29 votes were needed for endorsement.

* Dems claim Rauschenberger not a Republican: Well, the Senate Democrats are trying to expand a DuPage County court ruling used last cycle to bump an opponent off the ballot against Sen. Carol Pankau. In the case of Rauschenberger, they claim that because he pulled a Democrat township election ballot last cycle in order to vote for his sister for Elgin Township Trustee (there was no Republican primary), that he is now ineligible to run for office as a Republican.

* Press Release: U. S. Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson today announced the launch of an online petition against sending more troops to Afghanistan and the withdrawal of American military forces still in Iraq. The petition can be found at BRING OUR TROOPS HOME. “It is time to take care of America again and time to bring our troops home. And it’s time for people at the grassroots to make their opinions known about a war with no end in sight that claims precious lives and resources that we so desperately need at home,” said Jackson.

* Edgar cuts ad for 41st House race: Former Gov. Jim Edgar was spotted at the Capitol on Friday filming an ad that’ll back Elmhurst Republican Brien Sheahan for the 41st Illinois House district. That’s the seat currently held by Bob Biggins, who’s not seeking re-election. Sheahan, a DuPage County Board member, once worked for Edgar. He’d be the second former Edgar staffer to get the former governor’s nod. He already endorsed former aide Kirk Dillard for governor.

* Gingrich to raise cash for Ethan Hastert: Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich is set to host a Dec. 11 congressional fundraiser for the son of former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert… Ethan Hastert, an Elburn attorney, is running against state Sen. Randy Hultgren of Winfield Township, Mark Vargas of Elgin, Jeff Danklefsen of Geneva and Jim Purcell of Batavia.

* Few Statewide Illinois Candidates Sign Fair Campaign Code

* Foes try to knock Green Party off ballot in 14th Congressional District

* Low Tea Party moment symbolic of muddy week: Catherina Wojtowicz, of Chicago’s Mount Greenwood community, an organizer for a Tea Party splinter group, Chicago Tea Party Patriots, falsely claimed that the Houghs fabricated their story. In an e-mail, she called them operatives of President Barack Obama who “go from event to event and (cry) the same story.” When the Houghs spoke at the Lipinski event, some Tea Partiers ridiculed them. They moaned and rolled their eyes and interrupted. Midge Hough began to cry.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Abe Froman - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 12:19 pm:

    Ditka’s endoresement didn’t make Hughes a credible candidate or raise him a million dollars. And voters in Illinois have actually heard of him. Unless gadfly DeMint comes calling with a bag full o cash, his endorsement will be nothing but fuel for the right wingers to use for their self-immolation.

    I also doubt Kirk is too worried about Lyons Township. What claims to be an organization there is little more than a right-wing debating society that hasn’t delivered votes for quite a while.

  2. - Shore - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    1. I’m not sold hughes is done. a lot of these conservative challengers-hoffman, rubio-in florida started to do well once people gave them half a chance and looked at the records. there’s no moderate base big enough to get past the conservatives. I realize I am supposed to be a kirk cheerleader here, but I am not sure his polling shows his supporters completely committed.

    2. I’m skeptical of steele, Maryland lost 3 gop seats that were long held while he was there and despite his onetime win, the party didn’t break the threshold. The RNC will have a lot of rich targets and has a lot of ground to make up and I doubt it will waste money here when it can get surefire wins elsewhere. Haley Barbour, the RGA chief has a much better record.

    3. if you read the axelrod story, he also notes an upaid debt to jan schakowsky. It’s not noted what that is. I’d love to know.

  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 12:41 pm:

    I must have been tired when I looked at the DeMint poll over the weekend because I don’t remember there being a question about Kirk on it. lol Furthermore, whatever text I saw “around it” seemed to focus on Hughes winning the Primary and no more, which I believe (and always have and will) may be a bit short-sighted.

    Anyway, the poll itself seemed to spark quite a bit of controversy on some of the Conservative blogs.

  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    Dare I say it? I “sort kinda” agree with Shore’s #1 only because it seems as if Hughes has picked up some momentum.

    People are talking about his interview on “Champion News” where he definitely sounded better than ever before (though rehearsed all the way around). Still relentlessly bashing Kirk, though, for Cap&Trade (which is getting old, fast) and the some of the rest probably could have been pulled off of Kirk’s position statements.

    Add the two meetings in D.C., one endorsement, and the results of a poll that everyone seems to still be arguing about, you can say he’s had a good week, maybe his best week so far.

  5. - Boone Logan Square - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    From what I read of Warren’s story, all Axelrod told him was that Madigan would be unbeatable in the Senate race. Warren could quite easily infer that the White House did not see Giannoulias as being as strong as Madigan. I sense that if Axelrod had said anything specific about Giannoulias that Warren would have used a more specific sentence than he did. What’s there may be inferred by the quote.

  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    ===maybe his best week so far.===

    That’s all relative.

  7. - Will County Woman - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:12 pm:

    what a hoot!

    truth, honesty and the american way


  8. - 10th Indy - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:22 pm:

    Poor Alexi. That white house bus keeps rolling over him.

  9. - Shore - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:25 pm:

    I am glad someone agrees with me. I do not agree with Kirk on everything, most things, but not all.

    The larger issue that this cycle is demonstrating to us is that the GOP still doesn’t have a coherent agenda so that no matter what the cycle, the candidate whether it’s for senate or dogcatcher can point to 5 things and say this is me and my party and have voters say, I am ok with that.

  10. - Anon - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:56 pm:

    ***===maybe his best week so far.===

    That’s all relative. ***

    Maybe it was an up week?

  11. - Chicago Cynic - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 1:59 pm:

    Just curious if this so-called Hughes momentum even exists beyond some hard core activists. I know I’m not in their target demographic, but I don’t have a clue who he is.

  12. - John Bambenek - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:07 pm:

    The hard core activists are less than enthralled with his spartan voting record.

    It strikes me as the case of a top-down annointed moderated being shoved on the party vs a top-down annointed conservative being shoved on the party. Either way, the voters are tired of being shoved.

  13. - Pat collins - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:24 pm:

    national GOP always promises Illinois big bucks and doesn’t deliver

    Did the NATIONAL GOP really promise in the past, or was that from Bob K. I seem to remember his claim to fame was his “connections” could bring in bucks.

  14. - Ghost - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:42 pm:

    Is De-mint that well known amongst the primary voters to have influence on the election? he looks like somone known only to a few.

  15. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:50 pm:

    Aw, shucks. Saw the title of this post and figured it was going to be about Giannoulias. Had a comment halfway written before I determined otherwise.

  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 2:55 pm:

    It was his best week so far within the context of the Hughes campaign. WHAT?!!!!!

  17. - CircularFiringSquad - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 3:01 pm:

    Capt Fax:
    Speaking of transparent do ya think they give us a number on how much MacArthur Foundation cash is coming their way?
    Speaking of cash …was Gags Brady promised the same million promised Sharon Sharp, Loleta, etc, etc?
    Speaking of Cash and Gags we see is now trying to charge fora litegov debate in SPI. TugboatOutsider’s pet rock and the others…we can hardly wait.

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 3:17 pm:

    Nice. I’m defending myself–and why?

    Shore, I don’t AGREE with you. I said “sorta kinda”…SEEMS. SEEMS. How good is a good week within the context of the Hughes campaign? Have you been watching the response to the “survey” and the meetings? Nice, huh? And very doubtful that if Hughes could even get through the Primary that he’d get any pennies from heaven because he’s NOT going to draw in the Independents he’s looking for.

    So, yes–overall it’s been an “up week” for the Hughes campaign. Done.

  19. - Ghost - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 3:37 pm:

    The GOP canidates remind me of the election with Kodos and Krang:

    Kodos:”Tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward! Upward, not forward! And always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom! ”

    Brockman: “The politics of failure have failed; we need to make them work again”

    Kodos:”It does not matter which one of us you vote for. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed!”

  20. - Steve-O - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 3:51 pm:

    Confusing endorsement by Lyons. They endorse 2 conservative candidates: Hughes & Plummer, yet they also endorse Topinka. Go figure.

    I don’t see Hughes getting enough traction to even come close to Kirk. He’ll make some noise, but in the end, Kirk will coast to victory in the primary.

    I don’t know how many endorsements Plummer has gotten, but it seems like quite a few in the suburbs lately, so maybe he is getting some traction. I imagine it will come down to Plummer and Murphy in the LG race.

    I really hope Jim Dodge can knock off Topinka…

  21. - Pat collins - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 4:07 pm:

    Confusing endorsement by Lyons.

    Makes a lot of sense to me.

    A moderate as Governor can do a lot of harm. A moderate as Comptroller does no harm, and name recognition on the ballot might help the whole ticket.

  22. - Moving to Oklahoma - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 4:23 pm:

    Don Lowery is the better of the conservative candidates. Patrick Hughes is a johnny come lately who has voted twice in his entire life. He is too busy to vote, but he wants to be U.S. Senator.

    Since Lowery is a downstate candidate, he cant get the time of day. typical.

  23. - Belle - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 4:34 pm:

    The Houghs have a sad case. i do feel sympathy for them. They should not be misrepresented by anyone. And they should expect to encounter some nastiness, from both sides, of the health care debate. Did anyone try to take the woman to a doctor before it was too late? Payments can be made in installments. Been there and done it.

  24. - OdysseusVL - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 5:09 pm:

    When you have health insurance, you see the doctor for things that might seem minor.
    When you don’t you put off those visits hoping to get better on your own.
    You have no right at all to be critical of the family for the decision that was made.
    And no, you definitely should NOT expect to encounter some nastiness. People who are civilized can discuss matters without becoming nasty.

  25. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 5:26 pm:


    There are times when individuals and/or their families are “vulnerable” for all the right reasons. I’ve always found that no matter how public they are, it’s best, and most compassionate, to leave them alone until they work through those vulnerabilities–often without comment, as difficult as that may seem.

    Just saying.

  26. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 5:41 pm:

    Sorry. Should have said, “There are times when individuals and/or their families SEEM “vulnerable”….

    I’m definitely having problems with that word today.

  27. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 09 @ 5:59 pm:

    What was your comment, AA? Please share.

  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Nov 24, 09 @ 9:56 am:

    If Hoffman finds his poll numbers sooooooo convincing, why doesn’t he just run the ads touting his positives and pounding Alexi for his negatives?

    I’ll tell you why: Hoffman doesn’t believe his own poll. I’d LOVE to see the negative messages he tested on himself…I’ve seen him address a crowd, and that guy thinks he’s the Second Coming.

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