* From the Betsy Dirksen Londrigan campaign…
Today, nonpartisan forecasters at Cook Political Report upgraded Betsy Dirksen Londrigan’s chances of winning in IL-13, shifting their rating of the race from Likely Republican to just Lean Republican. Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman specifically cited Londrigan’s strong candidacy and her focus on the issue of health care as reasons why the race is becoming more competitive.
“This confirms what we are already seeing on the ground here in central Illinois: Betsy is exciting voters and making this a race through her hard work and her focus on issues that matter to Illinois families every day, like protecting their access to affordable health care,” said Kate Martucci, Londrigan’s campaign manager.
Here’s what Dave Wasserman had to say about the IL-13 rating change:
In 2011, Illinois Democrats tried to draw the 13th to elect one of their own by connecting the disparate college towns of Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal and Edwardsville with union-heavy cities like Decatur and the state capital of Springfield. But since 2012, GOP Rep. Rodney Davis has defied that creative cartography, winning reelection by comfortable margins.
Davis has succeeded in part because he’s an affable, energetic member who eschews heated rhetoric, works diligently on the Agriculture Committee and chairs the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership. He’s also benefited from Downstate Illinois’s drift away from national Democrats: in 2008, the 13th CD gave Barak Obama 55 percent. In 2016, President Trump carried it by six points and Davis won it by 19.
But, this is the kind of seat that could be problematic for Republicans in a wave, and Democrats have a credible candidate in Springfield fundraising consultant Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. Londrigan can’t definitively trace her ancestry to late Illinois GOP Sen. Everett Dirksen, but in March she defeated four primary opponents with 46 percent of the vote and has raised over $1 million to date.
For a first-time candidate, Londrigan has spent an above-average amount of time around politics: she helped her husband ran (unsuccessfully) for state senate over a decade ago and she’s raised money professionally for Sen. Dick Durbin and the Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation. She’ll talk about her grandparents’ farm and opposition to tariffs to try to build appeal in the 13th CD’s soy-heavy rural counties.
It won’t be easy for Democrats to portray Davis as a Trump lackey; he rescinded his support of Trump in October 2016 after Access Hollywood. But Londrigan says Davis’s 2017 vote to repeal the ACA is what motivated her to run against the “Trump/Davis agenda.” She’ll use the personal story of her son’s life threatening tick bite in 2009 to illustrate her commitment to affordable health coverage.
To win, Democrats will need to convince voters that behind Davis’s likable demeanor lurks a voting record out of step with the district. And the more GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner looks doomed to defeat, the more plausible Londrigan’s path could become. Davis remains the favorite, but the race moves from Likely Republican to Lean Republican.
Londrigan’s campaign is gonna have to convince every possible African-American and college student to vote this November. And students, especially, don’t usually vote much during off-year cycles.
* In other Downstate congressional campaign news…
Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to stop in O’Fallon next week for a fundraiser for U.S. Rep. Mike Bost.
The event is scheduled for 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the O’Fallon Regency Conference Center, said Dustin Rhodes, the campaign manager for Bost, a Murphysboro Republican. The event is closed to the press.
…Adding… Oops. I forgot about this. Bost got pwned…
* Election 2018: Story-lines emerging: Now the second-most-expensive congressional race in the state outside of Chicago, the fight between U.S. Rep. RODNEY DAVIS, R-Taylorville, and Democratic challenger BETSY LONDRIGAN has ballooned into a $2.6 million affair. Londrigan has spent about $557,000 of the $779,000 she has raised; Davis has spent $886,571 of $1.8 million.
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