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Bost, Shimkus, Raja

Wednesday, Aug 26, 2015

* The Post-Dispatch looks at the DCCC’s alleged problems recruiting a candidate against freshman US Rep. Mike Bost

In Illinois’ 12th Congressional district, national Democrats got a turndown earlier this summer when St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson decided not to run after being courted by the DCCC. The district covers part of the Metro East and Southern Illinois.

“It’s surprising that Democrats haven’t found a top recruit in the 12th District,” [Nathan Gonzales Editor & Publisher of The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report] said. “This is a district Democrats (in the Legislature) drew to elect a Democrat. They lost the seat in a terrible midterm election, but there shouldn’t be a lot of excuses as to why they can’t find someone to run in a presidential year.”

He said that Bost, 54, a longtime member of the Illinois House, is “easy to underestimate as a candidate.”

“It’s hard to see how Democrats get anywhere near a (U.S.) House majority without winning this seat,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales is absolutely right about the dangers of underestimating Bost as a candidate. The DCCC did that last year and got its clock cleaned.

But the reason that the DCCC is having “troubles” there is that it refuses to bow to the wishes of the St. Clair County Democrats, who have their own candidate - CJ Baricevic. The D-trip doesn’t want anything to do with Baricevic, but St. Clair will control that Democratic primary, so unless they have something really meaty on the guy, they should probably just back the heck off because they’re gonna lose. And if they do have something on him, then it’s oppo dump time. The filing process officially kicks off next week.

* And speaking of the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report…

Illinois’ 15th District.

* State Sen. Kyle McCarter is openly talking about challenging Rep. John Shimkus in the GOP primary. McCarter discussed the possibility with fellow Republicans before and on the recent Family-PAC cruise on Lake Michigan. Local sources caution that there can be a large gap between what McCarter says and does, and he would need financial help from an outside, anti-establishment group, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Shimkus had $1.2 million in the bank on June 30 and would have the support of GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner.

McCarter floated his name for lieutenant governor in the run-up to 2014. He doesn’t seem to enjoy being in the Illinois Senate, but a move against Shimkus would likely be futile.

* Moving northward

Villa Park Village President Deborah Bullwinkel announced plans Tuesday to run for the Democratic House nomination in the 8th Congressional District.

Bullwinkel joins Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg and state Sen. Michael Noland of Elgin in trying to succeed U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth. The two-term congresswoman is vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mark Kirk, who is seeking re-election.

Bullwinkel, 47, is in her first term as village president of the DuPage County suburb after first being elected to the Village Board in 2009. In announcing her congressional bid, she stressed her gender while attacking the Republican-controlled House.

If she can raise some money, being the only woman in a three-person race could very well be a big help in a Dem primary. But Raja has raised a ton of money and has been solidifying his endorsements, so it ain’t gonna be easy.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:24 am:

    I had read this report earlier today. There could certainly be some interesting dynamics being played out here in Southern Illinois.

    I’ve known Bost and Shimkus ( and their records or lack thereof ) and agree both should be vulnerable. I have not known McCarter as long. But all 3 either do or have “represented” me.

    A GOP primary involving Shimkus and McCarter would definitely be interesting. And if the Dems could get their act together Bost would definitely have his hands full to retain his seat.

    Lets see what happens!

  2. - Betsy - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    To Rich’s point, here is another endorsement today for Raja from David Axelrod.

    Illinois Congressional Candidate Scores Axelrod Endorsement

  3. - The Velour Nail - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    John Shimkus is a political survivor who is generally well supported in his district and has a formidable war chest. It is hard to see how McCarter could unseat him.

  4. - The Captain - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    There is so much dysfunction in IL-12, I wonder why that could be. It’s almost as if, and I’m speaking purely hypothetically here, it’s almost as if someone keeps deliberately sabotaging it for the Democrats there. Huh.

  5. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    Maybe this would be a good time for Jason to get involved again!!!!

  6. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 11:44 am:

    Who does McCarter think will bankroll him against Shimkus?

  7. - 4 percent - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 12:28 pm:

    McCarter would get smoked.

  8. - Annon3 - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 12:35 pm:

    Isn’t Shimkus about done, he did have a pledge of self imposed term limits?

  9. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 12:44 pm:

    Shimkus said he would only serve 8 years and that he would return to Madison County and teaching. So much for believing what he promised.

  10. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 12:53 pm:

    Conservative Dem Kovarik would be a heck of a candidate against Bost. Problem for Dem bigwigs,no one could own him. Might even beat Bost in Jackson County…….

  11. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    Could they get someone to move into the district and run? Goetten?

  12. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    St. Clair County and their organization will have a lot to say about any potential candidate to run against Bost - geographically, a very small part of the District, yet very influential in the financing, direction and choices of candidates.

    Over the past 40 years I have had a love-hate relationship with the organization, their actions, decisions and operation.

  13. - LGHB - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:26 pm:

    Shimkus may have a war chest but his popularity among GOP voters is not very high. He has largely worn-out his welcome in that office. I talked with a Shimkus large donor a year or so ago & even he talked about “finding a different place for him”. Many conservatives within his district know that his Heritage Foundation conservative scores are low & he largely votes with GOP leadership (which is nowhere near popular where I live). Many of the GOP voters I’ve talked with don’t trust him. Nearly every Lincoln Day Dinner I’ve been at where Shimkus speaks there is a luke-warm reception to his speeches. McCarter is well liked by the GOP in his district, especially where I live & he is much more responsive to voter questions. The war chest is about the only thing that has kept a real challenger to Shimkus in the primary. He’s had different primary challenges over the years but the candidates were less than appealing. I’m ready for him to retire.

  14. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    LGHB - I’m on the outside looking in, but you fairly well expressed the sentiments of friends that I do talk politics with. McCarter is probably popular, but to the point of being “responsive to voter questions” he fails miserably - he has never responded to a dozen inquiries I made to his office.

  15. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:42 pm:

    And, honestly, I can not recall any candidates challenging Shimkus in any Primary - help me out.

  16. - LGHB - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:52 pm:

    illini - He’s always responded to my questions either in person or via email. My political circle also gets responses as well when they approach him. I can’t speak for your experience.

    Now it’s been awhile since I really got involved within the Congressional side of the races but back in 2008 there was a veterinarian from the Metro East area who did horrible against him. Prior to that, my memory gets foggy but I want to say there was another challenge too.

  17. - Shore - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:53 pm:

    Bullwinkel is one of the best political last names in a long time.

    Shimkus is the kind of Republican I could see a tea party challenge nailing in the right moment.

    The DCCC has been comically inept in Illinois for decades. No blue state has had more flops for them.

  18. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    Shore - I agree completely about the Ill Dem Party and the DCCC - especially as it relates to any races South if I-80.

    But with the $20 Million Rauner has to spend. we may start seeing some interesting campaigns.

  19. - Blue dog dem - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    Baricevic will lose worse than Enyart. District is becoming more conservative every day. Bad candidates=bad results.

  20. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 2:05 pm:

    CJ Baricevic needs to be reminded of the Jason Plummer lesson/rule: run for something local or wait your turn. Seriously - not everyone needs to start at that level. He needs to “wait” for a judicial opening.

    What is Senator McCarter thinking?! Shimkus did support Randy Pollard for the Frank Watson opening, and my guess is that Senator McCarter has never forgiven him for that. Some of these elected officials take this stuff way too personally and act like they are owed something even when old alliances or friendships may be the driving force behind a certain endorsement or recruitment.

  21. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 3:32 pm:

    LGHB - I was talking specifically about Primary Challengers. He has had Dems running against him in the General, even if it was a Angela Michael ( an absolute joke of a candidate running as a Dem and twice no less ), and again the DCCC did not or would not counter with a viable alternative.

    I know, and am friends with many of those Dems who have who have run against JS over the past 20 years and can tell you that the DCCC offered little, if any support.

    Granted his $1.2 million in his campaign fund is daunting, but, I agree “good old John” is starting to wear a little thin, even on his normally reliable supporters.

  22. - Pyrman - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 3:57 pm:

    I think CJ has a great chance at beating Bost. The best thing for CJ is for the DCCC to stay out of the race, they ran a terrible race in 14.

  23. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 4:45 pm:

    Pyram - I have my doubts, but I hope you are right. And you are right - keep the DCCC out of this race - they have never helped any S. Illinois Dems in previous elections.

    My money ( such as it is ) never goes to the DSCC or the DCCC - it never gets back to the local races.

  24. - Northsider - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 4:47 pm:

    I can’t believe I’m the one, this far down the thread, to mention “Raja & Bullwinkel”.

  25. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 5:45 pm:

    Northsider - I met and talked with Raja some years ago in Marion - very impressed with him, his credentials and ideas. He would be a formidable candidate, a very responsible and qualified individual. If I could vote for him, I would!!!!

    And, yes this is getting very late in the thread!

  26. - South Central - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 6:32 pm:

    I live in McCarter’s district. As much as I wish he would find something else to do other than be state senator, his becoming US Representative wouldn’t please me. He’s no Frank Watson, if you know what I mean. He, McCarter, once made it very clear to me where my concerns ranked against those of an “important contributer.” (his words)

    However, I think he could do reasonably well in a primary. He’s to the right of Shimkus, and this area really supports him.

  27. - illini - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 7:24 pm:

    South Central-we are probably political opposites. That is OK.

    Granted he is no Frank Watson, but he has been re-elected by our district! Granted, he is to the right of Shimkus, and those positions will play well in this area ( Damn it - we should all know better ), but good luck!

  28. - Saluki beancounter - Wednesday, Aug 26, 15 @ 9:07 pm:

    People look at the numbers. Illinois 12 is not the same district that Jerry Costello won for all those years. The re-districting of 2010 cut the Democratic margin. The other numbers that must be looked at are the FEC financial reports. The R’s are dumping money like crazy in Bost’s coffers. Baricevic is failing miserably at fundraising. He is relying on the old East St. Louis machine to carry him. That machine is gasping its last. Baricevic will carry St. Clair, barely, maybe Madison and lose the balance of the district. He won’t have the resources to respond to the avalanche of attack ads that will hit him next August. I agree with Illini that Bost is vulnerable but not to a weak candidate with thin to non-existent support outside St. Clair.

    McCarter won’t pull the trigger. But Shimkus needs Davis back on his payroll. Maybe he’ll get that chance.

  29. - truecolors - Thursday, Aug 27, 15 @ 5:27 am:

    I think people underestimate just how much the voters are sick and tired of the sane bs candidates. DCCC doesn’t back CJ because he won’t bow to Pelosi. Plus. He doesn’t want to have the incompetent DCCC involved. Plus. Bost may have had it good hiding in Springfield for 20 yrs but now everyone can see he is not his own man, he is for sale, selling jobs to China, allowing Rauner to destroy Southern Illinois but what does Bost care. He has his tax payer funded $600k mansion in Murphysboro and his tax payer paid mail program. I wonder if he has had Michael Vick over to murder dogs yet. Enyart was a horrible candidate. The Death of the Southern Illinois Democrats is vastly full of crap.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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