* The Golden Horseshoe Award for best Senate Democratic campaign staffer goes to Jill Dykhoff…
Hands down. The senate Dems had many great campaign managers this cycle but Jill stands out the most. Mike Jacobs was an underdog who NO ONE thought could win. Jill was disciplined and driven and never let any of the negativity surrounding the race get to her. Jill deserves to be commended for the outstanding job she did. There wouldn’t be 40 seats in the state senate without Jill and her work on the Jacobs campaign!
The SDems did have a lot of stars this year, so it was a difficult decision, but Jill dragged Sen. Mike Jacobs across the finish line when pretty much everyone - including her own bosses - had given up on him. She’s the most deserving.
* Sam Strain is our runner-up…
Sam Strain, Campaign Manager for Andy Manar, deserves the win. Not only did he work tirelessly from the start of Andy’s campaign and bring home a win for the Senate Dems (without taking time off to go visit his family or take a breather from rough campaign life), he did it with a great attitude.
I don’t know anyone else who worked as hard as he did to pull off a seamless campaign without major “boo-boo’s” and faulty press releases. Everyone knows Andy Manar’s race was the number one target for Christine Radogno. And no offense to Manar but even he has to admit managing a race for a candidate with Andy’s background in campaigning, is much harder than managing any “normal” first time candidate. Overall it was a great well run campaign – great field campaign, regular e-blasts, good looking mailers, and amazing fundraising levels. Strain was on top of it and anyone who denies it, is not giving due credit, where it is deserved.
That campaign was indeed almost flawless. Great candidate, excellent staff.
* The Golden Horseshoe Award for best Senate Republican campaign staffer goes to Helen Albert…
Helen Albert for Mike McElroy. She ran yet another of many hard fought races, this time in a district the opponent drew for himself. Helen is the epitome of persistence and hard work.
Helen is leaving the SGOP staff soon. I wish her nothing but the best. She’s run several winning campaigns over the years. It’s just too bad that she’s leaving on such a down note.
* Runner-up is Rachel Bold…
Rachel Bold ran Bill Albracht’s campaign. She parachuted into the race from Springfield after Albracht had parted ways with two prior managers. Rachel’s first test was to gain the confidence of the local organization, which viewed the party establishment with considerable suspicion. Her level temperament and ability to communicate her ideas in a respectful manner won over those around her. Regardless of the race’s outcome, Rachel demonstrated natural leadership abilities and prodigious communication skills that will serve her well on the next campaign or any future endeavor.
Albracht was an impossible candidate to deal with. Rachel didn’t win the race, but she won a lot of respect back in Springfield.
* OK, campers, let’s move on to today’s categories…
* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Democrats
* Best campaign staffer - Illinois House Republicans
I know you may be getting tired of hearing this, but the contest is about the intensity of your nominations, not the number of votes. No explanation means your vote won’t count. At all. So, write the best nominations you can. Thanks.