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Campaign roundup: Delegation grumbles about remap; Burn rates; Supreme race; Wildest 2022 primary?

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2021

* There’s obviously more to this Lynn Sweet piece, so go read the whole thing

Democratic Illinois [US] House members huddled Tuesday at the headquarters of the House political operation [in a session organized by Rep. Robin Kelly, also the chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois] to air grievances against the draft congressional remap drawn by Senate President Don Harmon and Speaker Chris Welch and figure out what to do next, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. […]

· The Harmon/Welch draft map was released Friday with the 14D-3R lines considered weak because, under the right circumstances — if 2022 is a GOP year — Reps. Marie Newman and Lauren Underwood could find their own Democrats drew them what, in reality, could turn out to be swing districts. Two other downstate districts also did not maximize Democratic strength. […]

· The DCCC is trying to keep its fingerprints off of a 15D-2R draft map it is promoting, parts of which have been shown to members. Since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi controls the House by only three votes, the Illinois remap — by Democratic mapmakers — now has enormous national significance for 2022.

· There is no consensus among House incumbents — or state Democratic powerbrokers — over 15-2 or 14-3. […]

Keep this in mind. Illinois Democrats in Congress have NO power over mapmaking. It is entirely in the hands of the state House and state Senate and Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who must sign the new map.

The only real power the congressional delegation has over the remap is if they can pull off any friendly/allied state legislators. The House Democrats have 73 members. If the delegation can yank three members off, they can defeat a map they hate. But playing that game can have consequences.

* Check out the burn rates of these folks

Kinzinger is weighing whether to run for another term, and if he does, he will need the cash for an inevitable GOP primary with the strongest challenger so far — super Trump loyalist Catalina Lauf. Leveraging anti-Kinzinger sentiment among Trumpers, she raised $809,652 and has a $216,804 balance after spending $592,847. […]

As of Sept. 30, [Mary] Miller raised $616,921, spent $303,853 and has a balance of $413,769. […]

LaHood collected $1,502,419 so far this cycle, spent $658,086 and has a balance of $3,934,903. […]

No substantial GOP opponent has surfaced yet to take on Democrat Underwood, who won reelection by a point in 2020. She has a strong fundraising operation, hauling in $2,470,574 to date this cycle. After spending $1,243,422, Underwood has a balance of $1,765,060. […]

Freshman Democrat Marie Newman, who is blasting the Democrat draft map because it throws her into a potential swing district — with Kinzinger in it to boot — raised $690,255 to date, spent $355,223 and has a balance of $437,873.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, on the other hand, has raised $3.3 million with operating overhead of $733K, or 22 percent. He really knows how to do it. Lauf’s overhead was 73 percent. These DC-invention candidates are all about the overhead.

* Press release…

The Hon. Elizabeth M. Rochford, a sitting judge in Lake County’s Nineteenth Judicial Circuit and candidate for the Democratic nomination to Illinois’ Second Supreme Court District, reported raising over $149,000 in the third quarter of 2021 – eleven times as much as her closest opponent. Judge Rochford’s support came from a diverse coalition of legal professionals, organized labor, elected officials, and small dollar individual donors.

“I’m humbled by the enthusiasm my colleagues, friends and fellow Illinoisans have shown my campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court,” said Judge Rochford. “I’ve traveled across the district these last few months hearing from community members and sharing my story, and in every county I meet wonderful people who expect the highest quality from their court system. I am very grateful for their support.”

Former State Senator Susan Garrett said, “Judge Rochford’s early momentum and fundraising success make her a clear frontrunner in the open seat for Illinois’ newly redrawn Second Supreme Court District. Experience does matter and these contributions prove that people respond to Judge Rochford’s qualifications and her unique combination of experience, service, and commitment to equitable justice.”

Rochford announced her campaign on July 15th, 2021. The Second District of the Illinois Supreme Court is comprised of DeKalb, Kendall, Kane, Lake and McHenry counties.

Judge Rochford is a sitting judge and former assistant state’s attorney and full-time solo practitioner. She has served on the Illinois Judges Association Board of Directors since 2015 and is currently its Secretary, in addition to chairing literacy and access to justice initiatives.

* This is gonna be one weird primary race

Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Barry Vaughan formally announced his candidacy to retain his seat on the Court, vowing to “keep liberal Chicago politics out of our courtrooms.”

Vaughan will compete in the Republican primary set for next June with Greenvllle attorney Tom DeVore and Fourth Judicial Circuit Judge Michael McHaney.

“All of us have seen how divisive political agendas have started to creep into every facet of our lives,” Vaughan said in his announcement last week outside the Fifth District Court in Mt. Vernon. “That cannot be allowed to happen to the justice system.”

“Keeping liberal and activist agendas out of the courtroom and making sure that our system is fair for everyone—not just elites—is one of my core principles. I believe that everyone who sets foot in my courtroom should have their voice heard and get a fair shake.”

The candidates are vying for the permanent seat vacated by Justice David Overstreet, who was elected to the Illinois Supreme Court last year.

DeVore you know. McHaney you’ll remember for being the judge who gave Gov. Pritzker his first court loss and was overturned. He also threatened Pritzker with a contempt charge.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Al - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:07 pm:

    Congressman Kinzinger has what it takes to be US Senator. Like former Senator Peter Fitzpatrick he is a serious man who would represent us well.


  2. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:08 pm:

    Very healthy for the GOP to have their candidates burning through so much money on attacking each other a year before the general election and many months away from the actual primary.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:13 pm:

    === Congressman Kinzinger has what it takes to be US Senator. Like former Senator Peter Fitzpatrick he is a serious man who would represent us well.===

    Who exactly is Kinzinger’s statewide base?

    It won’t be downstate Trumpkins


  4. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    While the remap is ridiculously important, taking nothing away from it, but as Rich points out, as an example, Krishnamoorthi has the financials where he needs them…

    … who exactly is going to best Foster, Krishnamoorthi, Casten, Underwood or Schneider these days for the GOP… “districts” that had opportunities?

    Recruiting winners? Lauf? Ugh.


  5. - Red Ketcher - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:24 pm:

    Vaughn is the Lesser of the Evils.
    Guess ” Chicago Politics ” war cry makes sense.
    But Danger is the Bizarre Politics of his rivals.


  6. - phocion - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:29 pm:

    Seems like Raja is setting the table for when Sen. Durbin retires.


  7. - The Captain - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    When I first got involved in campaigns a few decades ago burn rates like these would be disqualifying. But modern campaigning has changed quite a lot and in a lot of cases these kinds of burn rates are entirely justifiable.

    You’d have to look under the hood at each one to see what they’re really spending their money on, if they’re wasting it on bloated staff or unnecessary consultants then it could still be disqualifying.

    But most candidates, especially hard dollar federal candidates, are investing in online fundraising and that takes early dollars. You’re buying lists from others and you’re also continually spending money on digital for acquisition. Those costs are either frontloaded or frontloaded and ongoing. And typically you’re paying a digital fundraising firm a monthly fee or retainer while that’s going on.

    The hope is that as the cycle progresses these investments build the kind of lists and followers that will help you fill your coffers later in the cycle. But this process has definitely altered the expenditure calendar in a cycle and it forces you to rethink the conventional wisdom on burn rates from years back.


  8. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:36 pm:

    ===investing in online fundraising and that takes early dollars===

    They’re also getting ripped off. And Lauf has a ton of consulting fees, which is a feature, not a bug.


  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:42 pm:

    The Lauf burn rate is like the churning of grift not building a campaign kind of burning.

    All before any map is finalized… as a challenger…

    Goodness.


  10. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:45 pm:

    Yet another example of why judicial elections are so flawed. Many states have better judiciaries with Governors appointing candidates advanced by screening panels, with some states also requiring approval of some positions by their senate or another body.

    While appointment of judges doesn’t solve all problems, it screens out the bottom-feeders and stops candidates from having to make wacky campaign promises.


  11. - ZC - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:45 pm:

    That 15-2 map is crazy but were I an IL Dem, I’d probably be happy it’s out there, so I could be more “moderate” and reject it. So much about politics is about media expectations, you could shoot that down now and say, “Aha, we’re ‘only’ 14-3.”


  12. - Kyle’s mom - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    I read Vaughan’s and he sounds like an activist/extremist himself, albeit in the other direction. Weird race is right.


  13. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:50 pm:

    ===These DC-invention candidates are all about the overhead.===

    That’s the grift. They’re skimming 50 cents or more from every dollar the right-wing created outrage-grievance-fundraising platforms that troll the rubes 24/7.

    It’s a profitable model, but it depends on gullibility. Cleary there’s no shortage of that.


  14. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    I still think Kinsinger should run for Secretary of State and if he won sit back and pick his next slot. But if he has to move and he wants to run again for house and I don’t know why even if house flipped he would get nothing from Republicans, I think he could beat Underwood or Casten


  15. - Rasselas - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 1:26 pm:

    so “[K]eeping liberal and activist agendas” out of the courtroom is about being “fair”? Conservatives don’t have activist agendas?


  16. - Fav Human - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 2:24 pm:

    Until the districts are made final, a lot of serious players will be on the sidelines.

    No one should seriously expect a district where Lauf is the leading candidate.

    And why is Underwood at a 50% burn rate? Only Newman’s 51% is higher among the sitting members mentioned


  17. - The Ford Lawyer - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    Whenever I see Judge McHaney’s name, the image I get is of Mr. Haney from Green Acres. Maybe they should have Arnold Ziffel moderate the debate.


  18. - Lake Villa Township - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 3:44 pm:

    How has Lauf spent 500k when she doesn’t know what her district will look like, actually unbelievable LOL


  19. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Wednesday, Oct 20, 21 @ 3:54 pm:

    ==I still think Kinsinger should run for Secretary of State and if he won sit back==

    I agree. Adam v. Alexi. Two dudes taking on each other.


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