There’s another race on the ballot that is almost as important. And if political insiders are to be believed, it has gotten much closer than most people realize, with an upset being within the realm of possibility. This is the contest for Illinois attorney general between state Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, and the GOP nominee, Erika Harold, an attorney from Champaign.
* It’s not easy to “define” a young African-American woman as hard-right on social issues because it seems so counter-intuitive to average voters. And Raoul’s Downstate TV ads have been no different than his Chicago TV ads, so he’s talking about LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and “Obamacare.” I’m assured that everything in those ads has tested well, but if that’s the case then these constant rumors about a tightening race might undermine that testing
Can Harold win? The “wave” environment would suggest not, but if voters are looking for a check on JB Pritzker and Speaker Madigan and they can’t bring themselves to vote for Gov. Rauner, she might be a realistic option. At least, that’s what the Republicans are hoping for. It’s probably too bad she can’t just come right out and say that in an ad, but much of her money is coming from Rauner, so it’s unlikely that she can or will.
* Press release…
Today, Democratic candidate for attorney general Kwame Raoul released a new ad - “Scared” - featuring two Illinois voters who speak candidly about their preexisting conditions and fear that Republican Erika Harold will take their healthcare coverage away.
Courtney: I have been living with endometriosis for 20 years.
Linda: I was healthy, except for the MS. Scared to death with the MS.
Courtney: I was having to make choices between groceries or the medication I needed. When people like Erika Harold threaten Obamacare, I can’t believe how little she values people like me with preexisting conditions.
Linda: The threat of Obamacare being taken away is one of those sort of bad dreams. So when I hear that politicians like Erika Harold wanting to repeal Obamacare, I get angry, and honestly get scared.
I think the last poll showed something like 50% downstate don’t know either candidate and remain undecided. That’s a gigantic number to swing one way or the other.
Kwame has done a good job of lining up the establishment, while Harold is carving out some downstate territory as an independent. The Rock Island Argus and Moline daily endorsed Harold over the weekend for what they call her independence.
My money’s on Kwame, but she’s making it interesting.
I think the threat of coverage for preexisting conditions narrative is effective. I do question using the term, “Obamacare.” That word can be toxic in some circles who might have supported Raoul. Take that out and I think they’d be more effective.
Raoul’s ad says “Scared” - but I think he’s the one that’s unnerved. His previous ads haven’t put Harold away, and there’s general anxiety among Democrats that the GOP position is firming up a bit.
I could see Harold outperforming Rauner by 8 points. Bruce could conceivably close the gap to 8. Harold has no chance to win by 4, but could she win by 1or 2? If she gets more help from Rauner and Griffin, I think yes.
“Are there polls showing a nail-biter? If not, sounds like reporters looking for a decent horse race.”
I don’t understand why they produced an ad calling it Obamacare. There are still a ton of people, even in Illinois, for whom that is a bogeyman. Most Democrats running in general elections talk about the Affordable Care Act. Must be some interesting polling.
“I don’t understand why they produced an ad calling it Obamacare.”
Kwame Raoul has made a career out of being perceived as Obama’s chosen successor. Not that it is necessarily true: Raoul was appointed to Obama’s State Senate seat by the ward committeemen, but he wasn’t Obama’s preferred choice. Raoul using Obama’s name to defend the president’s signature accomplishment makes perfect sense.
While I don’t doubt Harold will finish the race closer than 10pts, it’s in both her interest and Raoul’s to make it seem “close”. Close enables Harold to raise $ and gin up the GOP faithful that they can win somewhere statewide. And Raoul’s most likely path to defeat is to be complacent, a la Hillary Clinton. He wants all the Dem activist groups - and Madigan - riled up by the prospect of a Harold win.