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Former Breitbart editor thinking about Schock race

Friday, Mar 20, 2015

* The reporter and the subject know each other, so I’ll believe this Bloomberg piece when I see it

This week began like most of Mike Flynn’s recent weeks. The conservative strategist was in a slow, tedious war with Comcast, trying to get NBC affiliates in some key political states to run a two-minute commercial from his Conservative War Chest PAC. The providers had been uninterested in taking money for a video jeremiad against their news divisions, so they’d been resisting. Cleta Mitchell, the ultra-connected conservative attorney and American Conservative Union board member, was making legal arguments. By Friday, if there was no progress, she’d prepare an FCC complaint, and the well-covered crusade against media bias would escalate.

And then Aaron Schock happened. The Illinois congressman’s somewhat surprising resignation (he’d been tumbling from scandal to scandal, but had not told leaders that he’d be leaving) opened up a congressional seat in the stretch of rural Illinois where Flynn was raised. In 2010, he’d consulted for Bobby Schilling, a Republican candidate who unseated a Democrat in a district that overlapped with the new 18th. (A Democratic gerrymander, in 2011, merged parts of the districts and helped shore up Schock while taking out Schilling.) Conservatives in the district called Flynn and told him to consider running.

“This is a longstanding conservative district, and I think the people who live there are annoyed by their representation,” said Flynn. “It’s the same story all over Illinois. I don’t know what these elected officials are doing. We have these professional politicians who are totally failing us.” […]

Flynn… estimated that he’d need $500,000 to $700,000 to mount his own bid. He’d spent more than 20 years in politics, much of it in Illinois, much of the recent work in the high-dollar world of issue PACs. If he was convinced that the money was there, he imagined an anti-establishment campaign that could capitalize on conservative disappointment with the new Congress. He hadn’t lived in the district in 20 years (at 47, he’s 14 years older than the disgraced Schock), but he had roots there, and an existing family business. He had a message.

“I can’t believe this Republican Congress is funding something that the courts already found to be illegal,” he said, referring to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. If he won, and he got a 2017 vote on the speaker of the House, he’d be inclined to back “a conservative” instead of John Boehner.

These seats don’t come up a lot, so there’s always a scramble when they do. But he hasn’t lived in the district in 20 years and is likely a totally unknown quantity there.

* He is probably best known for being the former editor-in-chief of Breitbart’s Big Government site. But he has done quite a bit of political work. From a year ago January

The Tea Party Patriots announced today the addition of Michael Flynn to serve as Political Director of a newly formed Super PAC – Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. With years of campaign and political experience, Flynn will lead the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund’s efforts to grow the Tea Party’s presence in Congress as it continues its fight against the Washington establishment.

“Michael Flynn brings more than 20 years of experience in policy development, legislative affairs, media relations, political campaigns, and crisis communications to the team and we are thrilled to have him,” said Jenny Beth Martin, Chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. “His immeasurable expertise will help us achieve our goal of electing candidates who are fighting to secure the economic future of our country.”

Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon said, “Mike Flynn was a trusted adviser to Andrew Breitbart and understands the nature of the fight ahead. With his detailed knowledge of the Tea Party and political campaigns he is the perfect choice for the Tea Party Patriots. Breitbart News looks forward to having Mike continue as a contributor on our pages.”

More background on Flynn is here. For Statehouse types, he’s Libby Brunsvold’s brother. He’s also a former Illinois House GOP staffer.

Keep in mind that the 18th CD is pretty darned conservative, and that special GOP primary will likely be loaded with hard-right voters.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Roadiepig - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    Hasn’t lived here for 20+ years? Great . I’m sure if he did win he would only be doing it for the good of the people of his district .


  2. - anonin' - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:21 pm:

    So a wing nut in the race with LaHood seems to make Cuz4Congress even more viable

  3. - lil' enchililada - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:25 pm:

    Bobby Schilling for 18th District Congress!

  4. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:27 pm:

    A very far right candidate popping out of a crowed primary would be the only chance the Dems might have to take the seat (if only until the next general election). That would make for a fun race.

  5. - walker - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    Family has a local business? He might still have a lot of local connections. 20 years isn’t so long to be away, if he can bring some big money to the race.

  6. - Wordslinger - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:46 pm:

    Geez, I hope Flynn offered to take Weigel out for dinner and a show before he, um, filed his “report.”

  7. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 2:50 pm:

    Great. Just what we need. Wingnut comes home. Is that a reality series on Fox?

  8. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:03 pm:

    Without comment to that specific Tea Party group, but many of them are nothing but used car salesmen who raise huge sums of money to spend on staff and fundraising with very little to go to candidates.

    If he runs, I hope his role is well investigated.

  9. - Wordslinger - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:14 pm:

    LL, that’s kind of harsh on used car salesman.

    But you’re right on the TP scam.

    In 2013-14, Tea Party Express raised $9.5 million, with less than $400K going to candidates or issues advocacy.

    The balance went to fundraising, including $3.5 million for “consulting” to its founder

  10. - vole - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:17 pm:

    Great representation he would provide — to maybe 10% of the electorate at most? Be nice if if this moderately conservative district could elect a moderate who might represent the other 90% at least 20% of the time. Jeez, like D.C. needs another T bagger. There ain’t enough T paper in D.C. for them now.

  11. - Team Sleep - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:18 pm:

    These guys are insufferable.

    Back in 2010, I remember watching these TEA Party folks flail about while trying to “help” campaigns like Bobby Schilling’s. Most of them had no clue how to phone bank, talk to people when walking door-to-door or even how to handle an irate voter who asked a tough question. They took all the credit for Bobby Schilling’s and Joe Walsh’s wins, and then if either former Congressman voted differently on a given issue they hooped & hollered and made fools of themselves. And their “hope” for this seat is an inter-connected PAC person whose daughter is a super lobbyist? Please.

  12. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    Could be entertaining.

  13. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:32 pm:

    If this guy could lobby Comcast to fix my cable and Internet connection, I might give him a shot.

  14. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:33 pm:

    =Keep in mind that the 18th CD is pretty darned conservative, and that special GOP primary will likely be loaded with hard-right voters.=

    Yes, it is way right of Ted Cruz.

  15. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:34 pm:

    This is a very republican district but I’m not sure it’s a very breitbart district.

  16. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:37 pm:

    I am his target voter, but I prefer local experienced political veterans over ideological purists.

    Don’t waste your money or our time. You aren’t from here anymore than Hillary is from Park Ridge.

  17. - I-72 Blues - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    I’d hardly consider that Media Matters link as “background”.

  18. - Fr. Murphy - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:41 pm:

    Slays me the way these gov’mint hatin’ Tea Party folk just can’t wait to get their mitts on a gov’mint paycheck.

  19. - ventihot - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:45 pm:

    Hey wait a second, this is Darrin La Hood’s seat. Who does this clown think he is coming in here and acting like he deserves this cushy congressional seat.

  20. - I-72 Blues - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:47 pm:

    Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville) has been looking to upgrade for years. He might see this as an opening.

  21. - Team Sleep - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 3:51 pm:

    I-72 - even as a card carrying Republican, I like John Sullivan enough that I think his better bet is to wait for a statewide office. I think he would be a good candidate for Comptroller or even Secretary of State. His views on social issues would not be an impediment (hopefully) for Chicago and suburban voters and he is a likable guy.

  22. - anon - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    the 18th isn’t that “conservative.” Schock wasn’t that “conservative.”

  23. - QCLib - Friday, Mar 20, 15 @ 5:25 pm:

    Since the Schock scandals have started, I probably check this site three or four times per day. I can’t help it.

    Hopefully this guy has no chance. Outsiders running have always kinda bugged me.. Even Bustos basically living in Des Moines for several years before running didn’t sit well with me.

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