The importance of party backing, or lack thereof
Thursday, Aug 29, 2013
* Years ago, I asked House Speaker Michael Madigan how his precinct captains were able to get majorities for all of his ward’s Democratic candidates in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won the 13th Ward.
Madigan said his captains were ordered to not talk to people about the presidential race. Voters, he said, like to make up their own minds about top of the ticket contests, so it’s best not to ever argue with them.
The race for governor is pretty much the same. A captain who gets into a long discussion at the doors over the governor’s race is not gonna be able to convince those voters to go along with the ward’s choices for judge, or some other obscure elected office.
That being said, in some wards, townships and suburban and Downstate counties, party leaders can have an impact. The late John Gianulis of Rock Island County was one of those guys. There are a few others.
Mostly, though, the party structure just isn’t all that effective. I remember when Dan Reitz ran his first election for the House. Local county chairmen actually complained that Reitz was walking too many precincts. Clueless much?
* The bottom line here is that Gov. Quinn’s slating by the Cook County Democrats will have some impact, but only in certain wards and with certain types. Same goes for his support by the vast majority of Downstate and suburban chairmen and chairwomen.
In a close race, that backing might prove crucial. But slating for top offices is a bit overrated, so I tend to at least somewhat agree with Bill Daley here…
Again, in a close race, it might turn out to be crucial. Maybe. It just depends on the reaction the captains and committeemen get at the doors, if they even walk precincts.
Daley needs to figure out how to crush Quinn, and all the door-knocking in the world won’t turn those votes around. It’ll be all about the paid media.
And, by the way, I’m still not convinced that Daley can actually turn those votes around. The path just isn’t all that clear to me.