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Londrigan turns to face Davis

Friday, Mar 23, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tom Kacich

Betsy Londrigan’s big win in the 13th Congressional District Democratic primary — taking 24,334 of the 53,226 votes cast, or almost 46 percent in a five-way race — seemed to surprise everyone but her.

“Nobody on our team thought about percentages. We know that we are on the ground every day, all day for nine months. Our confidence came from our interaction with the voters,” she said.

As for Londrigan’s Republican opponent in November, U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, the National Republican Campaign Committee was quick with its take on the contest with this message Tuesday night.

“Elizabeth Warren acolyte and D.C. insider Betsy Dirksen Londrigan couldn’t be further out of touch with the district,” said Maddie Anderson of the NRCC. “Repeatedly touting her Dick Durbin and Emily’s List endorsements tells voters everything they need to know about her — she does not share their values. We look forward to watching Rodney Davis soundly defeat Londrigan in November.”

* Roll Call

13th District. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, a former fundraiser for Sen. Dick Durbin, won the Democratic nomination over a field that included Erik Jones, a former congressional staffer and Illinois assistant attorney general. Perennial candidate David Gill has been a thorn in Democrats’ side in previous cycles but was destined to finish a distant third or fourth. Londrigan had support from Durbin and EMILY’s List and will face GOP Rep. Rodney Davis in the general election. While Trump won the central Illinois district with nearly 50 percent, this race could certainly get more competitive. Rating: Likely Republican.

Davis is going to be very tough to beat even, I think, in a wave year.


DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján today announced that small business owner, non-profit leader, and IL-13 Democratic nominee Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has earned a spot on the DCCC’s highly competitive Red to Blue program.

Betsy Dirksen Londrigan has worked hard in central Illinois to earn a spot on Red to Blue by surpassing aggressive goals for grassroots engagement, local support, campaign organization and fundraising. Beyond her demonstrated abilities to build a winning campaign infrastructure, Londrigan has deep roots in the district and a persuasive health care message that helped drive her to a decisive victory in the Democratic primary.

“Betsy Dirksen Londrigan almost lost her son to a life-threatening illness, and she is running for Congress to ensure that families like hers have affordable health care coverage when they need it most,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “Betsy has shown that she is going to put working families above Washington politics and special interests, and fight to create jobs, rebuild infrastructure in central Illinois, and make health care more affordable. With her deep roots in the district and impressive primary victory, Betsy has shown that she is ready to compete and win in this district in November.”

* She knows how to raise money

Londrigan, who is a professional fundraiser, collected more than $600,000 for her own campaign, plus got an endorsement from the Emily’s List political organization that earned her more than $185,000 in uncoordinated campaign assistance, mostly mail pieces.

I didn’t see all that many stories about Londrigan’s Democratic primary, probably because, as far as I could tell, the candidates stayed positive. Coverage follows conflict and there wasn’t much of any conflict in that one.


  1. - Arsenal - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:01 am:

    I guess the Republicans have probably tested it, but tying Londrigan to Elizabeth Warren seems odd. Warren just isn’t despised the way Clinton and Pelosi are.

  2. - Nishi - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    I voted for Jones in the primary, but there were two great choices and I’m happy with Dirksen Londrigan as the nominee. I think this is the best chance to flip the 13th. Davis put off a lot of voters by not hosting in-person town halls last year.

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    It’s going to be Roskam and now Hultgren that will have my attention.

    Roskam will find the hill far steeper than he thinks it is now.

    Hultgren will need to be less bland, but be more visible and ahead of things that will reappear. The day, even in that district, where a mere voting record and party affiliation meant security, is over. Both now, party and record, need defending, not leaning.

    To the Post, however, Davis is someone that walks a real fine line constantly… he can be seen by some as a member who reflects his district while being a GOP member true to his party as well. Davis can also be seen that he works his district to get a feel where he should be, and where he can stay or go with the district’s blessing.

    Fine lines are walked, while not being outworked.

    Tough to beat with that kind of cake Davis bakes for himself.

    November looms, Davis knows what he needs to do in that district, and how to articulate it too. The rest will be up to the voters.

  4. - Pritzker Bahama Cabana Co. - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Davis will waltz right back into office, as he should. He works his district hard and reflects its geographic diversity well when it comes to policy.

    Davis will beat yet another Dick Durbin-backed candidate in IL-13, much to Durbin’s chagrin.

  5. - Anon221 - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    OW- “Davis can also be seen that he works his district to get a feel where he should be, and where he can stay or go with the district’s blessing.”

    Your “Davis can also be seen” comment doesn’t jive with his “Where’s Rodney” personality flaw. I think Betsy has a real chance to “term limit” Davis this Fall. The Biss blueness of Champaign County hopefully will be there for her, too.

  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    –“…D.C. insider Betsy Dirksen Londrigan couldn’t be further out of touch with the district,” said Maddie Anderson of the NRCC.–

    I wonder why these DC committees even bother hiring actual people to do press. A See-and-Say toy could do their jobs. Pull the string, get the banal canned response. “The cow goes ‘moo.’” The democrat is out of touch.”

    FWIW, I’m guessing Maddie Anderson is a DC insider who’s never been to the district.

    –Maddie Anderson, Regional Press Secretary: Anderson has previously served in various roles on presidential, statewide, and congressional campaigns. She was a state political director for Governor Bobby Jindal’s presidential race in Iowa, Deputy Press Secretary for Carlos Beruff’s Senate race in Florida, and most recently, Communications Director for Rep. Brian Mast’s (FL-18) congressional campaign also in Florida. Anderson was raised in Annapolis, Maryland, and received her B.A. in Political Science at Eastern University in Saint Davids, Pennsylvania–

  7. - Retired Educator - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:14 am:

    Davis is well liked in the district. His popularity crosses some political barriers. On a personal note Congressman Davis helped me with a couple things that needed almost instant attention. He did what was asked and went well beyond what was asked for. I like the idea that I have a Congressman who will listen, and take the time to help when it is necessary. Rodney Davis has my vote all locked up.

  8. - Duopoly - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:15 am:

    Agree with OW about Davis, he’s one of the least bad of a horrible lot in the US House.
    In the 13th you also have a lot of shoot, pollute, and swindle types who actually get out and vote. It seems the Dems continue to run a blowout “pre-vent” game staying GOP-lite. This also prevents them from winning.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    ===“Where’s Rodney” personality flaw. … The Biss blueness of Champaign County hopefully will be there for her, too.===

    Hope is not a plan.

    I can very much appreciate the “Where’s Rodney” drum beat, and while it’s going to be a prong used against him, for it to resonate, partisan Dems will feel that more intensely, the question will be Indies that Davis can show who he is, will they believe that “Where’s Davis” line of attack.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, I am saying in your own short comment an ingredient cited… was hope.

  10. - Anon221 - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:24 am:

    “We hope” is also based on Davis’s Trump scorecard-

    From FiveThirtyEight-

    I’m an Indy, and I’ve been voting against Davis for years. Unfortunately, there was never a strong enough candidate or national sentiment to swing enough votes against him. I believe that will not be the case this year. My belief and my hope, yes, but Hope Changed things in 2008:)

  11. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    ===I’m an Indy, and I’ve been voting against Davis for years. ===

    That doesn’t qualify you as an Indie that Davis needs, you’ve voted against him and he still won.

    ===My belief and my hope, yes, but Hope Changed things in 2008.===

    Who won that district in 2008?

    I don’t think it’s a complete walk or Londrigan has no shot or…

    If I’m ranking, Roskam is by far the most vulnerable if you had to choose between he, Hultgren or Davis.

    It’s all good, it’s why we have elections.

  12. - Blue dog dem - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:38 am:

    Professional fundraiser. Politician. Is there a difference. Tried google but came up empty.

  13. - A guy - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:39 am:

    ==Roskam will find the hill far steeper than he thinks it is now.==

    It coulda been, but it ain’t. The guy emerged in a gaggle of women, nearly all of whom would have posed a much stiffer fight. Roskam won by 18 in a huge headwind. As much as Hillary won by. Even people who might be ticked with him will vote for him overwhelmingly. He get 57 or better.

  14. - ItsMillerTime - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    In 2012 Davis barley beat his opponent David Gill by 1,002 votes, so he is certainly beatable.

  15. - lolliniois - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:53 am:

    Davis likes to talk a “bipartisan” game but you’ll never find him challenging his own party or President on anything. Hiding from townhalls in his own district is the only reason he can keep up the appearance of being “well-liked”. It won’t be hard to tie Davis to Trump positions and that could very well sink him in November. Trump only won by 6% in the 13th in 2016 and his support has likely fallen off since then.

  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:54 am:

    This is the cycle to try, and Londrigan’s focus on health care is an issue voters care about. If Davis loses, though, that means a lot of presumably safe seats have been lost in a wave.

  17. - Anon221 - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 10:58 am:

    Also in 2012, there was an Independent candidate drawing votes away from Gill, and possibly some from Davis. Davis also out funded Gill in that race. This time around, and also with the Trump factor, those two factors most likely will not play to Davis’s favor.

  18. - Jen - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    Agree this would be the year to try and upset Davis, but he has a great constituent service operation. He will be hard to beat.

  19. - FormerGOPer - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:20 am:

    Watching her commercials, my thought was they might help win the primary but cost the general. They were far left of even a competitive district.

  20. - TooManyJens - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:29 am:

    Davis’ supposed ‘centrism’ is a sham. His visibility has increased this term because the GOP found in him someone who was eager to go on TV to defend even their worst, most unpopular policies. He likes to bang on about how he represents a purple district, but whenever constituents speak up against his actions, he smears us as “paid protesters” and “extremists” and says we only oppose him because he’s a Republican. Nothing makes him angrier than constituents pointing out the negative effect his preferred policies would have on the lives of the people in IL-13; that’s just not “civil”. He represents his donors and his party, not his district.

    He’s also shown that he doesn’t have a strong grasp of policy, as all he can do in his TV appearances is repeat talking points. Ask him a question that takes him off his comfortable pre-set rhetoric and he flails.

  21. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:41 am:

    Davis is my Congresscritter & in these parts isn’t popular. While we may not representative of the district, the negative comments have gotten louder, more intense, and more numerous since Trump. The way he did town halls and unwillingness to answer a direct question (ask Jim Leach of WMAY if Davis ever answered the question “Will you repeal the individual mandate?”) have angered many people - some people say he dances around a question better than Fred Astaire. At least LaHood’s will answer a direct question.

  22. - an interested musician - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Rodney Davis is anything but accessible to his constituents. He *never* holds in-person town halls except for groups of donors. It’s a rare occasion that he has open office hours, and then only for one hour, usually in a small town far from the major population centers of the district. My one in-person interaction with him at one of those one-hour office hours was painful. Once he realized that I was (respectfully) asking him to support something he didn’t agree with, he became nasty and condescending. All he had to do was say he could agree to disagree. That would have been fine, but he became defensive and angry. This is not what I want in my representative.

  23. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    She doesn’t fit this district.
    It’s Davis’ to lose - but he won’t.

  24. - G'Kar - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    I’ve been meaning to ask–is Londrigen related to Everett?

  25. - See ya later - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 12:18 pm:

    Rodney Davis stopped doing town halls after Trump was elected, and he’s been silent on Trump ever since.

    The 2018 mid term will be about Trump. The 13th District doesn’t share Trump’s lack of values, including infidelity, authoritarianism, an affinity for Vladimir Putin, or Chinese tariffs on soybeans and pork.

  26. - TooManyJens - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===She doesn’t fit this district.===

    This district very nearly elected David Gill.

    Those of us who aren’t GOP supporters are every bit as much real Americans and real constituents as those who are. That’s something Davis doesn’t understand. And we’re ready to bust our tails to get out and make ourselves heard this year.

  27. - jake - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 1:05 pm: has done as objective and thorough as possible projection of Republican vs. Democratic odds for every congressional district in the U.S. This is based on past voting patterns for candidates at all levels. Their method is basically to throw dice (in the computer) weighted according to past results, and see how often it comes out Republican and how often Democratic. For IL-13 it comes out 71% likely Republican, 29% Democratic. They have not taken into account in the statistics the evidence of a possible Democratic wave this year, so they think the odds for Democrats are a bit better than this analysis based entirely on the past several elections. Bottom line: competitive.

  28. - VanillaMan - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    That was in 2012, an election year for Obama, and Davis’ first run.

    Since then Davis has won with nearly 60% of the vote - twice.

    Last mid-term showing was against Ann Callis and she had incredible national support - he won 59%.

    District 13 isn’t Anti-Trump. Unlike Northern Illinois, District 13 went Trump 50-44.

    She doesn’t fit.

  29. - Smitty Irving - Friday, Mar 23, 18 @ 2:08 pm:

    VanillaMan -
    Valid points all. Yet … I live in the district, there is a difference this time. The volume, tone, and number of anti-Davis comments means even if he wins, he’s going to have to earn it. Parts of his district overlaps with Durbin’s after the 1990s remap and in 1992 and 1994 voters went against their party. The political anger is palpable and real, and a Blue Wave may take Davis out. If it doesn’t, he’ll know he was in a political fight.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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