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Cook moves Bost race from “Toss Up” to “Lean R” as new poll shows growing lead

Tuesday, Oct 23, 2018

* Cook Political Report

St. Clair County prosecutor Brendan Kelly remains one of Democrats’ most prized recruits of the cycle. The Irish-Catholic Notre Dame graduate and Navy veteran has been called the “Conor Lamb of Downstate Illinois” and is exactly the type of moderate Democrat who has done well here in the past. But President Trump’s popularity in this coal and steel-heavy district looks like it might be too much for Kelly to overcome.

A new New York Times/Siena College poll shows Bost leading 48 percent to 39 percent (up from 44 percent to 43 percent a month ago). Trump, who carried the seat 54 percent to 40 percent four years after Barack Obama won it by two points, is coming to Bost’s hometown this Saturday for a rally, and they have a decent story to tell: U.S. Steel announced earlier this year it would add 800 jobs at its old Granite City works as a result of tariffs.

Moreover, the GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund has been aggressive in attacking Kelly’s prosecutorial record, alleging more than 50 percent of county crimes were pled out. Kelly has said he won’t vote for Nancy Pelosi, but this is one place where Trump’s base appears to have reawakened in the past month. In addition, Bost just won the endorsement of a large teachers’ union. The race isn’t over, but it’s a Democratic frustration.

The Illinois Education Association endorsed Bost last week.

* Besides the 9-point Bost lead, that new NYT poll had other bad news for local Democrats

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?

    Approve 50%
    Disapprove 43%
    Don’t know 7%

Would you prefer Republicans to retain control of the House of Representatives or would you prefer Democrats to take control?

    Reps. keep House 48%
    Dems. take House 43%
    Don’t know 8%

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Cook moves Roskam to “Lean D,” moves Hultgren to “Toss Up”

Friday, Oct 12, 2018

* Cook Political Report

It’s not saying much, but House Republicans have seen more bright spots in the past week of polling since the Kavanaugh confirmation fight than they saw in over a month. Both sides agree Democrats’ enthusiasm advantage has narrowed, and Republicans are benefiting from their base “waking up” in red districts. However, there’s little evidence of movement in blue and swing districts.

Republicans suddenly feel more confident about several incumbents who have previously been tied or behind but have the luxury of sitting in Trump-won districts: Reps. Mike Bost (IL-12), John Faso (NY-19), Claudia Tenney (NY-22) and Steve Chabot (OH-01). They’re also newly optimistic about Toss Up open seats in Trump country, like Kansas’s 2nd CD and North Carolina’s 9th CD.

However, it shouldn’t come as a shock that the highly charged Supreme Court fracas has barely moved the needle in high-income, Clinton-won suburbs. Republicans are especially concerned about Reps. Mimi Walters (CA-45) and Peter Roskam (IL-06), who now appear to be narrowly behind. In fact, there’s evidence the map was beginning to polarize before the Kavanaugh fight.

Republicans continue to face especially strong headwinds in states where gubernatorial races aren’t going well for them. Illinois, where GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner trails by more than 15 points is a particular concern as Roskam and Rep. Randy Hultgren (IL-14) face an onslaught of Democratic cash in the Chicago media market. […]

Rating Changes

    IL-06: Roskam - Toss Up to Lean D ←
    IL-14: Hultgren - Lean R to Toss Up ←

Yikes. If a traditional Republican like Randy Hultgren could conceivably lose to a young African-American woman who was previously unknown in an 86 percent white and 3 percent black district encompassing most of McHenry County, parts of DeKalb County, northern Lake, western Kendall, etc. then we may be in for one really weird election night, campers.

* Meanwhile…

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, running for re-election in the 14th Congressional District, has released his third ad of this campaign season.

As a senior member of the Science Committee and Chair of the STEM Caucus, Randy Hultgren is focused on training the next generation of leaders in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

“I am working to make us a leader in STEM, by providing our kids with the building blocks for success and strengthening our economy with good and high paying jobs. That means encouraging innovation in our schools and businesses, and establishing scholarship initiatives so our kids are prepared to succeed.” Said Rep. Hultgren. “To keep us competitive in the future, we have to be working at it today.”

* The ad

…Adding… One of my best guys tells me this ad is only on cable and he only put $50K behind it. Apparently, Hultgren has only spent $187k since 9/11. Meanwhile, Underwood is pushing 250 points a week on broadcast.

…Adding… Underwood got the Daily Herald endorsement

Her knowledge of issues across the spectrum is impressive. Her stances on the issues are reasonable.

Hultgren a reliable red vote in a district that by all accounts is turning purple. He’s been a solid congressman, but not an exceptional one.

Underwood could be exceptional. We endorse her.

* Related…

* Underwood talks health care during McHenry County campaign stops - Democrat says people with pre-existing conditions must be protected: Underwood made three stops in McHenry County to talk with voters during forum sessions. She stopped at Huntley High School to speak with students, traveled across town to talk with seniors at the Huntley American Legion Post 673, and ended the night at a National Coming Out Day celebration at Mixin Mingle in Woodstock.

* Incumbent, challenger in Illinois’ 14th Congressional District stake out positions on health insurance: Underwood has said during numerous campaign events that her decision to run for office was motivated by a promise from Hultgren to support repealing the portion of the Affordable Care Act that protected health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, which she felt was broken when Hultgren voted for the American Health Care Act.

* Why one nurse is running for Congress

* Election 2018: A year for women in McHenry County?

* GOP-Held Illinois District Pounded with Outside Money as Election Nears: The independent spending arm of the environmentalist League of Conservation Voters political action group is dropping $291,000 to run negative advertisements against Roskam on digital platforms throughout the district. Naral Pro-Choice America, another national liberal organization, will shell out $148,000 over the coming weeks on digital advertising opposing the incumbent. The group is also mobilizing its supporters this weekend to canvass for Casten. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Casten, is pouring another $109,000 into the district against Roskam. … The independent expenditure arm of the Koch brothers-backed group Americans for Prosperity is injecting $55,700 into the district to support Roskam with advertising and canvassing. And the House GOP’s campaign committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, is adding a cool $1.5 million to its budget for the district over the next several weeks, Roskam told the Tribune.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Budget and BIMP stuff (Updated with this week's password)
* Pritzker unveils business guidance; takes questions on budget, legislature, EO
* Reader comments closed for the holiday weekend
* Senate President Don Harmon talks to reporters
* Madigan's closing statement
* Sunday programming note
* *** UPDATED x1 - Gaming bill passes Senate 42-14 *** Sen. Martwick is in town to vote for the Chicago casino bill
* *** UPDATED x5 *** Amendment introduced to allow remote legislating
* 2,352 new cases, 75 additional deaths
* House approves gaming bill 77-32
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Sen. Dale Righter cleans up Eastern Bloc member's mess
* *** UPDATED x1 *** IDPH stops reporting historical nursing home COVID-19 outbreak data
* End of session cheat sheet
* Social media isn't real life
* New approp, BIMP amendments surface, casino push continues, cannabis bill hits a snag with Pritzker thumbs down
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's stories

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