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Gill mulling another run as Dems turn to Callis

Monday, Apr 29, 2013

* Democrat David Gill on his loss to Republican Rodney Davis last November

“When you look precinct by precinct, you see the impact that John Hartman had,” Gill told me last week. “I would have won by at least a point and a half had there not been a John Hartman.”

Yeah, and if Davis wasn’t on the ballot, Gill would’ve won by a landslide.


He was a weak candidate. End of story. If Gill runs again and wins the primary, he’ll be a weak candidate again.

* As I told subscribers last week, the DCCC is pinning its hopes on the chief judge of the 3rd Judicial Circuit Ann Callis

Callis was in a similar situation before. Two years ago Democrats tried to talk her into running in the 12th Congressional District, for the seat that had been held by former U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville. She took a pass that time — “I came to the conclusion that at this time, I could not leave a community that I love, employees and colleagues of Madison County Circuit Court that have become like family to me,” she said — and the seat eventually went to Rep. William Enyart, another Democrat.

But Democrats now want her to run in Davis’ 13th Congressional District, even though her home outside of Troy is in the 15th District represented by Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville. […]

As the chief judge in the 3rd Judicial Circuit, she has name recognition in several counties in the southern end of the district, she has contacts and money (she self-funded her campaign for judicial retention last year and her father, Lance Callis, is a Granite City trial lawyer who made millions by investing in the Argosy Casino in Alton, then selling his shares in 2005) and she has a good reputation.

Callis can self-fund, which is a big plus for the DC folks. Expect an announcement soon.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - LittleLebowskiUrbanAchiever - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    David Gill,

    You’ve had your chance(s). Please go away.

    Callis looks like a good candidate. Wished she lived in the district though.

  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    –Lance Callis, is a Granite City trial lawyer who made millions by investing in the Argosy Casino in Alton, then selling his shares in 2005) and she has a good reputation.–

    Those were the days, taking those licenses public. Good work if you can get it.

  3. - Shore - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:17 pm:

    “Callis can self-fund, which is a big plus for the DC folks”

    This isn’t 2002. With superpacs, online fundraising and increased contribution limits not to mention ofa this is less of an issue. the resources will be there. After the question of whether or not she’s a plummer type flake or a passable foster type I think it’s a question of whether Davis and congressional republicans screw up enough over the next 16 months to get people to want to turn back to pelosi. I guess no, but we’ll see.

  4. - wordslinger - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    – I think it’s a question of whether Davis and congressional republicans screw up enough over the next 16 months to get people to want to turn back to pelosi. I guess no, but we’ll see. –

    I’m not sure it works that way. Congress is about as popular as the clap, but I don’t think that has an impact on individual districts.

  5. - Adam Smith - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:25 pm:

    Both the DCCC and the NRCC still believe in the unicorn that is the “self-funder.” Once upon a time you could toss half a million or a million in a race and be sitting pretty. To really self-fund now requires at least $3 to 4 million. If you know anything about asset management, you need a net worth in the $25 million range to spend $3 million cash with the chance you may never see it again. That’s some pretty major wealth (and a pretty stupid use of it, IMHO).

    Also, the committees love to turn a blind eye to grave weaknesses when they see the chance to lure a self-funder into a race. (See Plummer, Jason)

    It’ll be lots of fun to re-try every case this lady has ever heard. Bet you there are a few that might elicit some second-guessing…

  6. - Anon City Worker - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:36 pm:

    What about Goetten? He was a first time candidate who narrowly, and unnecessarily, lost to Gill in the primary. Any rumors on him running again? Seemed like a quality candidate on paper… and yes, I know the old adages about winning games on paper…

  7. - Brendan - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    Callis’ waiting does not surprise me. She’s just waiting for the right opportunity at the right time. Right time in this case may mean having her 20 years in the judicial retirement fund so she can run for Congress without worrying about taking a pension cut.

  8. - Filmmaker prof - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    In all fairness Rich, Davis isn’t exactly a dynamo candidate either. The only real difference, as I can see it, was that Gill was already damaged goods.

  9. - The Captain - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:27 pm:

    Gill far exceeded my expectations raising $1.3 million in 2012 after raising only peanuts in his last two races but he ran against a first time candidate in a Presidential year and still came up short. I can’t really see a scenario where the environment gets more favorable for him than it was in 2012, maybe his best chance has passed.

  10. - Downstater - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:33 pm:

    Callis would have to defend her reputation of overseeing the “judicial hellhole” in Madison County. Plus, she has never had to state here positions publicly or run a real race. In Madison County the judges are picked, with the very large financial assistance of the local trial lawyers and then they run mostly unopposed. She would have had a much easier race in the 12th last year and passed on that one. Plus, Davis raised $400,000 in the first quarter.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    I got “4 Cannoli” on Davis …

    Gill needs to just realize, “its over”.

    Callis sounds like an interesting candidate, and while Davis has to run on 18 months of Freshman votes, Callis has her judicial record to defend, and a philosophy, sometimes, is hared to explain away.

    Make the 5 Cannoli …

  12. - Pot calling kettle - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    If the DCCC had backed Gill from the start, I think he could have won. Instead, they backed his primary opponent and then came in late on the general.

    At this point, however, it’s time to move on. Unfortunately, I think the DCCC does a crappy job picking candidates. I would rather see them provide some basic training and resources (like limited access to voter and funding databases) to candidates who meet certain criteria (fundraising, endorsements, documented outreach, a solid campaign plan). If there are a couple of players in the primary, let the cream rise and then support the winner.

  13. - Johnny Justice - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 2:54 pm:

    Gill was a very strong candidate. He beat the Democratic establishment in a very low turnout primary. With the left of center independent Hartman in the General Election, it was like 2 Dems running against 1 Republican. Difficult for any Dem to overcome. Hartman garnered 20,000 & Gill lost by 1000, so you’re wrong to pooh pooh this Rich. Gill came so close, he deserves a 2d shot if he wants it.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 3:01 pm:

    thbis would be a “4th” chance, but who’s counting?

    Or is it a 5th? 3rd?…Gill has been on a LOT of ballots running for Congress.

  15. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    The chief judge of the Madison County courts? Got on the bench by appointment?

    Sounds like an insider, party hack. Sorta Brad Harriman with a law degree.

  16. - so... - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==thbis would be a “4th” chance, but who’s counting?

    Or is it a 5th? 3rd?…Gill has been on a LOT of ballots running for Congress.==

    It would be Mr. Gill’s 5th try, if memory serves. He ran in 2004, 2006, 2010 and 2012.

  17. - Keep Calm and Carry On - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 4:05 pm:

    The gift that keeps on giving.

  18. - Anonymous - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 5:47 pm:

    Gill only ran one time in a District, in which he had a chance of winning, and that’s the only one that counts. When Gill ran in the old Republican District against Johnson he was simply paying his dues.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 5:57 pm:

    ===Gill only ran one time in a District, in which he had a chance of winning, and that’s the only one that counts. When Gill ran in the old Republican District against Johnson he was simply paying his dues.===

    “…only one that counts.”

    Attention, any time you voted for Gill in the past, it didn’t count, even if you voted for him once, or twice, or …

    “…he was simply paying his dues.”

    That’s alot of dues! If you win on the first try, did you NOT pay your dues? After paying dues for a 3rd time, do you get a reduced “dues” fee, or if you pay “dues” twice, you get your next “dues” half off?

    I get confused on dues, and elections and votes not counting. I am use to, you run, you win, you lose. Do election boards put a “Shhh, this candidate is paying dues” next to the name, how does it work?

  20. - FoxValleyPride1 - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    Well, sometimes having your name on the ballot over and over eventually pays off. Of course, I suppose it helps to have an ice cream store that (coincidentally) shares your name that you can run television ads for (but only during campaign season… ’cause that’s when ice cream sells the best, ya know.)

    Anyway… back to Gill. The DCCC and others who might have backed him shied away primarily because of his signature issue; single-payer healthcare. It’s a very popular idea amongst rank-and-file Democrats… but NOBODY in Washington is brave enough to walk up to a mega-zillion dollar health insurance firm and tell them, “We’re gonna put you guys out of business.” And they’re not going to back a candidate who not only advocates just that, but makes it the centerpiece of his campaign.

    It’s unfortunate, because I genuinely believe he stands on principle… and it’s a darn good principle to stand on. But it just ain’t gonna get him the backing he needs to get elected. I just hate to see another corporate backed RepubliDem win another Democratic primary. But hey… Que sera sera.

  21. - Madison - Monday, Apr 29, 13 @ 10:50 pm:

    I’m with Willy on this one. Annie turned down a chance to run against a far weaker opponent (Plummer) in a far better democratic district? (12) in an election cycle that was far more favorable. (presidential) To make matters worse right wingers hapless Brady and sidekick Plummer won all those counties with ease in 2010.
    Willy doesn’t have enough cannoli in Oswego to to save Anne Callis if she pursues this untimely strategy

  22. - anon - Tuesday, Apr 30, 13 @ 11:53 am:

    Why doesn’t the Democratic Party pick candidates who stand on the issues, not those who are related to insiders? Goetten was his father’s child, a state’s attorney. Callis became a judge after she practiced law for two years. Her father was the lawyer for the Madison County Democratic Party. Nepotism reigns supreme. I want someone who believes in something and has courage of conviction. It would be nice to have another Democratic doctor in the house!

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