Thursday, December 20, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

IL-03 Roundup #2

there's been a slew of news in this race, for everybody running. rep. lipinski got the afl-cio endorsement [PDF] and the afscme endorsement. this isn't a surprise given the association of speaker madigan with lipinski, and madigan's closeness with the unions. lipinski also got the endorsement of pipefitters local 597.

mark pera got the endorsement of NARAL/Pro-Choice America as well as the endorsement of forrest claypool, who won almost 70 percent of the vote in four il-03 townships during the 2006 primary. pera was also endorsed by reformers ald. manny flores, ald. brendan reilly, ald. scott waguespack, st. sen. dan kotowski, st. rep. john fritchey, and mwrd commissioner debra shore.

jerry bennett has announced the endorsements of 66 local mayors; the southwest sider blogger lists them all. the one that is missing is the one undoubtedly supporting lipinski.

jim capparelli has no new endorsements since the last post. capparelli's website has an audio component to it's front page, which may have been there before (i often mute sound on my computer).

the politico called lipinski one of the five most vulnerable in 2008 primary challenges:

Lipinski has never been able to win over a large majority of Democrats in his Chicago-based district since he was appointed as the nominee after his father’s abrupt resignation in 2004. His relatively conservative voting record within the Democratic caucus has prompted attorney Mark Pera to mount a well-funded and well-organized challenge.

meanwhile, the national journal has taken notice of kos' efforts to lick lil lip.

the local newspapers are giving the race attention. clout street, the chicago tribune blog covered the endorsements that pera and bennett picked up. archpundit also covered pera's endorsement by local reformers. ray hanania, of the southwest news-herald wrote this column on the race:

In the end, the Democratic Primary election comes down to an organization effort. And there, Lipinski has the edge.

In the primary battle two years ago against John Kelly and John Sullivan, Lipinski won by a landslide, with 56 percent of the city’s 46,000 votes and 53 percent of the suburb’s 36,000 votes.

Work the numbers. Lipinski was solid in several heavy voting wards in Chicago, trailing Kelly by 400 votes in the 19th Ward, where Irish voters vote for the Irish above all else.

Lipinski’s vote margin in the suburbs were strong across the suburban areas of the district. He did better, though, in the city, mainly because he won huge voter support in the district’s other key wards, the 23rd, 13th and 11th.

Can Lipinski lose? Maybe, if the powers that be who represent voters in the 3rd District turn their backs on him and on his father, who spent years helping all those communities and leaders.

read the whole thing, which reflects the current conventional wisdom about the race.

jerry bennett has been getting increasing coverage. the daily southtown covered bennett's presentation before a gage park high school class:

While not a household name, Bennett is the best-known of Lipinski's opponents. More than 20 area mayors recently endorsed his candidacy. As Palos Hills' part-time, $28,000-a-year mayor - a post he has held for 27 years - and as a regional leader on several planning boards, Bennett touts his governmental experience as the characteristic that sets him apart from his opponents.

ray hanania (as well as archpundit) covered bennett's s-chip announcement. the reporter online covered a rally, where bennett says lipinski “has not done the job” and is a “Republican in Democratic cloth.” a radio interview with bennett can he heard here.

mark pera probably scores the best in the last couple of weeks, since his netroots following has been active in keeping his story alive. one of them posted this story from chicago's fox news on youtube. local tribune papers covered pera's endorsements by citizen action/illinois, claypool and naral. the blogosphere has been on fire for pera this month, starting with an in these times article, to archpundit's coverage of pera youtube offerings, openleft's coverage of candidate statements to dailykos writeups here and here. pera is also getting coverage in the capitol hill outlets, the hill and roll call. it's no surprise, then, that aaron krager argues that pera is winning the media war.

the capitol fax blog had a lively discussion about the turmoil of the lipinski campaign, with rich miller, as usual, providing some common sense.

not so new, but at least new to his website, dan lipinski offers up an old brochure [PDF]. interestingly, i think lipinski's new slogan ("representation you have come to expect!") is probably more accurate than his old one ("leadership. commitment. experience.").

capparelli has a new, printable issues page. he has a welcome video up, as well.

the bennett campaign got back to me shortly after posting the first post, and i gave them the opportunity to answer those questions. their campaign headquarters is located at 7229 W. 103rd St, Palos Hills, IL, 60465. (Phone: 708-907-5063), which is open everyday. they feel like their grassroots support is strong:

we have more than 70 Mayors from all over the region backing Jerry's campaign. Mayors are at the absolute grassroots level, ensuring the quality of life in their towns and communities is addressed and providing those essential services from water to libraries to parks and rec. Mayor Bennett is also a life-long South Sider and his extensive network of family (he's one of 13 brothers and sisters), relatives, friends, colleagues and civic contacts are doing everything from making phone calls to hosting coffees to telling their own friends and neighbors to collecting small-dollar donations for the campaign. Our Southside Swarm is also gearing up for a strong field effort in these weeks leading up to the Feb 5th Election Day.

they report they have "lots of "at home" projects - calling, netroots networking, etc - for at web-savvy folks!" email alex [] or call 708-907-5063, if you are interested.

pera put up a new cable ad, the youtube version is here. the campaign also sent out two direct mail pieces, available on the website. the "end this war" mailer is justified by a "fact sheet for this mailing." [PDF]. the campaign also released a third video message from the campaign to voters. that's using your web.

since the last post, the pera campaign has been joined by two new employees, deputy fund-raiser trevor montgomery, who is an iraq war veteran, and community outreach and field organizer, maura kelly. a video of montgomery is up on youtube here.

if the first posts in this series was designed to lay a foundation, this next group will be focused on looking at the fundamentals in this race. like blocking and tackling decide football games, the fundamentals decide elections. there are five fundamentals that are thought to be decisive in the outcome of elections:

1. the candidates
2. money
3. the environment (deciding factors that campaigns can't change)
4. the climate (deciding factors that campaigns can influence)
5. their organizations

probably the biggest deciding factor *right now* in this race is the political environment. while the incumbent has about a third of those polled who support his re-election, this is still a machine district. and it's not just any machine district, but the core of the chicago political machine. it will take more than half a million dollars to be competitive with the machine candidate in this district. there is such a strong undercurrent in the last two weeks that any campaign that hopes to be competitive will need to buttress itself and its voter base from the effect.

add to this the fact that the primary is february 5th. the machine is hoping that the weather is nasty -- typically, this is called precinct captain's weather, because some believe that only those who benefit directly from the chicago system will come out in such weather.

the bennett campaign seems to expect to import some of their own lil machines into the district for his benefit. many of the towns and villages who's mayors have endorsed bennett have non-partisan elections. that doesn't mean they don't have parties -- or machines -- just that they are not known by the democratic or republican label. we cannot know how committed these mayors are to bennett's election, but if they are, then machine or precinct captain's weather may not tilt the campaign one particular way. however, bennett can only benefit from importing lil machines if he's got his support id'ed by the time they come in (for the most part).

the final environmental factor that will strongly influence this race is the obama effect. barack obama drives turnout in illinois. his presence on the ballot in the primary of 2008 will have the same effect as his presence on the ballot in the primary of 2004 -- it will boost turnout significantly. and it will boost turnout beyond the normal surge turnout expected in a presidential year. turnout will be super-surged, and all those extra voters are not likely to go to the machine. of course, the good precinct captains know this, and they may have a plan to respond.

in many ways, as candidates the jury is still out for the non-incumbents. lipinski is, at best, a D candidate. that's a D for below average, not democrat. mark pera has shown promise, but i don't think he's shined (yet) like dan kotowski or deb shore did in 2006. his campaign says:

By any objective measure, Mark Pera is the viable challenger to Congressman Dan Lipinski. With less than 50 days to the election, Mark, myself and our campaign staff have been up and running full-time and over-time for nearly five months out of our offices here in Countryside. We have been up on cable TV since the end of October with two TV ads ("It's Time" and "Pain at the Pump"). We have four top-notch direct mail pieces out the door and in the hands of Democratic voters. The video messages that we have posted online at our Web site and on YouTube are watched by thousands of viewers. We've set the framework for this campaign and, perhaps most importantly, we are directing the new people and resources that have joined us to increase the pace of the campaign. For example, we recently opened a second field office in the city.

Mark has the talent and vision to provide real leadership for residents of the 3rd district. Since 2001, he has served as President of the Lyons Township High School Board of Education, which has an attendance area of 80,000 residents. The district is one of the top school districts in the state. As director of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office's Environment and Energy Division, he and his team was responsible for prosecuting major industrial polluters and well-known utility companies that were working against the public interest. It's these civic and law and order credentials that have helped him earn the trust and support of some of the leading reformers in Cook County and the state.

jerry bennett is still too new to the race. he's played an insider's game, to the extent he can, and hasn't really had the level of public appearances one expects from an a-level candidate. the bennett campaign tells us that the local mayoral network is significant in the southside and southwest side. they will leverage that as much as they can. bennett has been, by all accounts, an effective mayor who has organized his fellow mayors to gain influence in the state. but bennett's late entry is problematic. bennett's name recognition outside his town is limited. in pera's poll, capparelli had better name recognition than bennett. pera's name recognition was higher than either of them -- due to his earlier start.

jim capparelli has been almost invisible outside his base. so who knows?

the political climate favors the reformers. that's why there's so many looking to claim that label in the race. lil lip is vulnerable, and pera's campaign has specifically been designed to take advantage of that:

We're hearing from voters that they have decided to vote for Mark Pera on Feb. 5. The reason they most often cite is that our campaign is on the right side of the issues that the voters care about deeply, whether it's the Iraq war, energy and the environment, choice, personal privacy, stem cell research or health care. They think our current Congressman's leadership on these issues is inadequate, the don't like how Lipinski was put in office and voters want change. They know Mark can bring about that change.

the campaign that can seize the reformer label in this race seizes the advantage. that's why the pera campaign (and its allies) have worked so hard to grab the reformer label and present this race as one between pera and lipinski. this rankles the campaigns of the other two candidates, each of which brings their own advantages to the race.

actblue offers one way to tract money. at this date, actblue shows:

Jerry Bennett
Contributors: 22
Amount: $8,140

Jim Capparelli
Contributors: 5
Amount: $300

Daniel Lipinski

Mark Pera
Contributors: 1,859
Amount: $118,066

the bennett campaign tells me that they have raised $100,000 in the first 30 days of his campaign. yet even if they continue this pace, they still don't get to $500,000 (which rich miller reminds us is the "price" of competitive *state* legislator races in illinois -- there are three state senate districts in il-03). there's a reason why we advise campaigns to start early. pera may have outraised lipinski in the last quarter, but lipinski ended it with more cash on hand. i'd call that a tie.

it's a little harder to compare organizations. the word seems to be that lipinski's organization is crumbling. demoralized, even. there are rumblings that lipinski senior has seized control of his son's "organization" in order to right the ship. i wonder if it matters. the lipinski name isn't what it used to be. madigan will be the machinehead who decides where the resources go. if the speaker wants to keep this seat, and he's willing to sacrifice some other races he's interested in, he will. but we won't know until the last two weeks. the afl-cio and afscme endorsements could be vital to mobilizing behind lipinski -- if they get into the middle of it.

there's very little question that the pera campaign has the best organization at this moment. they've been aggressive about raising money, and this has allowed them to go on the air and in the mail. they've been outrageously successful at gaining earned media. they have opened a second field office, and plan "an amazing Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy and we're fortunate to have the support of the volunteers and constituent groups we need to move from planning to action in the upcoming weeks."

i wouldn't underestimate the bennett organization. they have put together a "kick-ass chicago team to run bennett's campaign." he needs it. palos hills is a small town in the district, and the 3,000 votes he's gotten there in the past isn't close to what is needed to be competitive. in 2006, there were more than 81,000 votes cast in this primary. no one would be surprised if it went over a hundred thousand in february. the real question is, where will the extra votes come from? if they come out of the city, and the 19th ward holds its voters for lipinski, the incumbent wins.

numerous calls and emails to the capparelli campaign were not returned for this report...

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's a Snow Day...

it started snowing last night. what fascinates me the most about when it snows is just how quiet it gets. very few cars are out. kids stay in. there are no animals or insects making noise. the snow falls by itself. it doesn't seem like the city (or a suburb) at all.

that's not what i expect. but i like the quiet. seems almost like the country. or another country. with snow.

we had 3-4 inches outside our door, which seems like a lot for the south side...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Withdrawals and Challenges

for me, this is one of the most interesting periods in the illinois election cycle because it is basically opaque, if not completely hidden from view. i always find it interesting when candidates who claim to hold progressive values challenge their opponents with the purpose of having them thrown off the ballot. if you can ever get proof that a candidate is politically expedient before electing them to office, this is it.

so far, eleven challenges have been resolved by withdrawal (for candidates who are not running for judges). in two cases, the objections were withdrawn:


in the other nine cases, they were resolved when the challenged candidate withdrew from the race. two other candidates (who were not challenged), also withdrew.

Congressional Races:
(Obj. Pending)
11/13/2007 1:15 PM

Candidates Remaining: Arthur Jones, Michael Hawkins

(Obj. Pending)
11/19/2007 4:12 PM

Candidates Remaining: Melissa Bean *, Randi Scheurer

so-called progressive candidate randi scheurer objected to farnick's paperwork.

two senate candidates, both republicans, have withdrawn in their senate primary races, leaving lone candidates remaining in both those (primary) races:

11/13/2007 1:06 PM

Candidates Remaining: Dan Duffy

(Obj. Pending)
11/19/2007 11:23 AM

Candidates Remaining: Tim Bivins

seven candidates in primaries for the illinois house have withdrawn, all but one under the cloud of objections filed by competitors:

(Obj. Pending)
11/27/2007 1:38 PM

Candidates Remaining: Luis Arroyo *, Wayne Strnad

(Obj. Pending)
11/26/2007 9:48 AM

Candidates Remaining: Ken Dunkin *

11/6/2007 3:18 PM

Candidates Remaining: David Miller *

(Obj. Pending)
11/26/2007 9:06 AM

(Obj. Pending)
11/26/2007 9:06 AM

Candidates Remaining (open seate): Andre Thapedi, Syron Smith, Yvette Williams, Sean Smith

(Obj. Pending)
11/13/2007 3:41 PM

Candidates Remaining: Darlene Senger, Michael Bowler

(Obj. Pending)
11/21/2007 1:45 PM

Candidates Remaining: Scott Eisenhauer

I have heard, but not confirmed, that at least one objection has been upheld by the state board of elections, throwing a primary challenger off the ballot.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IL-14 Update

each race has a lens through which a political campaign can be viewed. in the il-03 race, the lens is the emergent scandal surrounding dan lipinski and whether any challenger can coalesce their social and political networks before the bombardment of advertising begins. in the il-14 race, that lens is the concurrent special election.

denny hastert's resignation announcement last night sets up a special election, who's primary most likely will be conducted concurrently with the primary for the november 2008 general election. in several ways, this sets back campaigns, because they basically have to start all over again. illinois' election laws are (from my perspective) quite arcane. by law, there was no vacancy until hastert’s resignation takes effect. "Dan White, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said he had yet to receive notice of Hastert's resignation." one assumes that this will come today. this begins the countdown. the governor has to call an election within 120 days of the vacancy for both the primary and the "general" (it's easier to call it a special election, and i will) elections. the governor has five days to set a date for these two elections; the primary is expected to coincide with the february 5 primary in illiois. apparently, as bill pascoe writes, "NO election (including a primary election) can take place fewer than 50 days after the creation of the vacancy."

But Illinois law also sets periods for collecting signatures, for filing candidacies, and for challenging candidacies. It’s my understanding that when you add up these discrete periods, you end up with a time frame of 50-57 days as a minimum requirement before ANY election -– including a primary election -– could be held.

cq notes, though:

The state board of elections prefers that there be at least 72 days between the day the governor sets the special general election and when the special primary election is held, to allow for enough time to prepare. That 72-day window is not binding in state law, though, and the state elections board could oversee the election under a more compressed timetable if the governor so mandated.

The Illinois election code does require, though, that the candidacy filing period for a special congressional election occur 50 to 57 days before the special primary election.

to me, the really interesting thing about this illinois review article (right-wing blog) was the admission by "one former State Board of Elections counsel [who] said the fact is no one really knows yet how to handle a special election at the same time a primary is being conducted. They are two completely different elections, and demand two different sets of signature petitions. But the state code doesn't make the procedure clear." and there's the rub. no one really knows how to handle a special election at the same time as a regular (primary) election.

there is the thought that this special election -- the first for congress in 2008 -- will provide a few hints of voters’ overall direction for the upcoming national campaigns, perhaps a bellweather.

The Democrats, in their 2006 upsurge, captured several House seats in districts that traditionally have favored Republicans. The contest in the 14th District — where Hastert has long dominated House races and where President Bush took 55 percent of the vote in 2004 — may test whether the Democrats continue to have the momentum to put even more Republican seats into play, or whether the GOP position has stabilized to some degree.

perhaps. but this is unknown territory, and one that requires both the candidates and their campaigns to work harder, raise more money, and push their supporters harder:

The dual nature of the campaigning – for the special election and the regular primary – could become costly for candidates who will be forced to intensify their efforts since it is unlikely that a primary voter would vote for two separate candidates for the same office to cover different time spans.

this isn't unheard of (there are examples where people are on the ballot for two different things, such as a party office and a government office), but the 14th congressional district doesn't really have a democratic party organization that one can rely on to get this across to voters.

the race for the open seat in il-14 is one of the most covered campaigns in illinois. there's an entire blog dedicated to it (although it came out of the 2006 campaign and has a decided laesch p.o.v.). hiram wurf continues to cover the race from a few miles away. aaron krager has put together a fine analysis of the race.

as i mentioned above, in a real sense, the campaigns must start over. they must pass petitions again, and mobilize volunteers to circulate petitions rather than persuade voters or identify supporters. the complexity of one's campaign organization is increased. the advantage goes to the candidate and/or campaign that can best handle this increasing complexity -- who can, in a phrase, do two or more things at once. and there's a clear benefit to those who have done this before.

many believe that this benefits john laesch, who was the 2006 democratic nominee. laesch does have the support of the netroots -- especially the netroots outside of illinois. he also has the benefit of having spent time in every corner of the district. if the electorate is not that familiar with john, the district's political activists are. he enjoys the support of many of them. he is apparently the first in the race to get a union or special interest group endorsement.

one thing that the laesch campaign has excelled at is getting earned media (they pretty much have to), and they are doing this again. they've been good about using youtube in the same way, including, for example, putting up video of press conferences that may not have been attended by the press. (you can also find debate footage at the friends of laesch youtube page.)

the consensus front runner in this race appears to be bill foster. for a first time candidate, foster entered the race remarkably prepared. in 2006, foster took off ten months to volunteer for patrick murphy's successful run for congress, and he hews closely to the positions that propelled murphy to election. but probably the biggest advantage that foster brings into this race -- and perhaps why he's perceived as the front runner -- is that he knows, and is prepared to do, what it takes to win a seat in congress. open seats for congress are more competitive and more driven by money. congressional quarterly's CQ Politics’ Top 10: Money Leaders in Open-Seat House Races names foster as one of the most aggressive candidates raising money for an open seat in congress -- along with two of the republicans running for the seat. david wasserman, an editor at the highly regarded cook political report, predicts that winning this seat will cost at least $2 million.

foster has convinced others that he's serious about winning this seat. his endorsement page not only includes early indicators like civic action, but illinois behemoths like dan hynes (state comptroller) and leading illinois progressives like alexi giannoulias (state treasurer and obama ally). and it's gotten him into the candidate's boot camp.

foster would like to make this race "a national referendum on the policies of George Bush," but some progressives want to make it a referendum on bill foster. i guess they identify foster as the front runner, too. much has been made of foster's willingness to caucus with the blue dog democrats, and his focus on fiscal responsibility. others simply object to the presence of a self-funder -- especially since their favored candidate isn't raising that much money. this hand-wringing about a serious candidate in a district with a pvi of +5 R forced chris bowers to admit, "it is important to note that Blue Dogs and Bush Dogs are not the same thing... To put it one way, a Patrick Muphy Blue Dog is the sort of Blue Dog to whom I can provide enthusiastic, activist support for Congress."

what some may not see is that foster is bringing new people into the democratic process and, presumably, into the democratic fold. that should be something that progressives support. "More than 80 percent of Foster's donors are first-time donors, and nearly three-quarters are scientists like Foster, a former Fermilab physicist." he's expanding the base in an area that is decidedly red, "The Foster campaign reported 680 contributors in the third quarter filing period," with a large number saying that they were first time contributors. and he's doing it based on issues that progressives support: "The first, second and third issue is Iraq," foster says.

you can see this focus in the second of foster's youtube videos, Bill Foster: We Must Change Course in Iraq. foster's youtube page also sports a biography video. foster's campaign also hosts a blog, has a facebook group and a flickr page. and, as i was writing this, foster's first television ad went up.

jotham stein was first in the race and has been making the rounds building support. he was the first candidate to hire staff, and has been dedicated to raising the money he needs to compete. his website is the only one to have a spanish version, which is interesting since approximately 20% of the district is hispanic. the numbers are far higher for democrats in the district.

early on in his run, stein used former candidate christine cegelis to guide him through the process of running for office. his background in the law and policy has given him the basis for the most extensive issues proposals of the democrats running. stein says,

I know I can do much better. In this campaign, I will offer real solutions to many of the real problems facing our country. From defeating global warming, to having a strong national defense, to more jobs for our district, to guaranteeing food and health care to our kids, I am taking a stand.

along with the usual facebook page, stein adds a myspace and he's taken advantage of the democratic party's partybuilder tools.

joe serra entered the race last. he comes at the race from a different position. serra says, "I am running because I feel that the elected officials in Congress today are not getting the peoples business done. I am running to rebuild our greatest asset - our military." unique among the candidates, serra has applied for endorsement by democracy for america, which requires that you fill out their simple questionaire.

stein's field director noted that "hastert just threw a wrench into a lot of field programs out there." he observed that most people are still focused on the presidential campaigns, and they are undoubtedly not aware of the fact that they will face three different elections in the next 120 days. needless to say, few understand that the campaigns *again* have to collect 873 signatures to get their candidates on the (special election) ballot. how these four campaigns interact with the electorate over that time will be key to their success.

the foster campaign has been concentrating on their mailings and phone banking. they prepared to run in the special election all along, they tell me. the moment hastert stepped down, the campaign emailed its supporters and they got immediate replies, i am told. their focus now, as expected, would be to prepare for another round of passing petitions. their campaign office (1035 E State St, Suite J, Geneva) has been a hub of activity and potential volunteers are asked to email to find out more.

the foster campaign is also speeding up the hiring of additional staff in preparation for the special election. both the foster and the stein campaigns had about two dozen people circulating petitions for them for the regular primary, as well as the candidates and members of their families. given the compressed nature of this next run (about three weeks to pass petitions), they will probably need double that.

the stein campaign has been doing coffees and door-to-door of late, working out of their campaign headquarters at 115 campbell in geneva. they understand that a "grassroots movement is needed," that this period is all about educating the public. they are re-focusing on getting jotham on the ballot for the special election, although no specific plans had been made yet. stein's field director admits that "people are going to be confused" by all this and they've made plans to make the process a little easier. that includes taking advantage of an already planned large event and getting people involved at that point. but they "can't comment on specific plans for a special election right now."

the volunteer who answered the phone at the laesch campaign conveyed the location of their campaign offices at 46 w downer place in aurora, but didn't feel comfortable answering more questions. she passed the message along, but i didn't get a call back from them.

efforts to reach joe serra were not effective.

Monday, November 26, 2007

IL-03 Roundup

if media was all that mattered, the race against rep. lipinski would be lopsided. lipinski has generated a lot of negative publicity in his run-up to re-election, and you'd expect someone to take advantage of it. the incumbent faces a mini-scandal, one that doesn't particularly help his image as he tries to separate himself from his father (who handed him the seat in 2004). kristen mcqueary lays out the reasons for the lipinski scandal, and rich miller, of the capitol fax blog, summarizes:

Bill Lipinski games the system to get his kid elected to Congress. The son keeps his dad’s cronies on the payroll, and two of them (includng one who remains on the payroll) are getting payments from his father’s childrens’ charity fund, which doesn’t appear to be doing a lot of charitable work except for Dan Lipinski’s benefit. Dan shares an office with his daddy’s lobbying firm and even pays that firm for advice, but he insists he never talked with daddy about a project that the elder Lipinski is working on.

mark pera has emerged as the early netroots favorite. he's demonstrated that he's serious about this race, lining up pat botterman as his campaign manager and julie sweet as his deputy. pera has gotten the dfa endorsement and convinced the local dfa groups (all outside the 3rd) to send in the troops. pera just announced the endorsement of citizen action, which has been a bellweather endorsement in past races.

pera has two videos up on his youtube page, "Mark Pera on the issues" and his first television ad, "It's Time". it's no surprise that pera is generating support from the netroots, given his efforts to appeal to them in the language we understand.

but pera is also following the traditional campaign plan, having commissioned a benchmark poll by penn, schoen and berland [PDF]. archpundit breaks it down:

401 Likely Democratic Primary voters +/- 5%

Lipinski Re-elect 35 percent
Wrong Track: 81 percent

Generic Congressional Approval: 37 percent

our own maven notes that mark pera won the ballot lottery.

also jumping into the race has been former prosecutor and army reserves lt. colonel jim capparelli. capparelli's main justification for entering this race appears to be that pera and the baby lipinski both live in western springs (does lipinski *really* live in illinois???). but unlike the pera campaign (to this point), the capparelli presence has just been catching up. he talks on his website talks about campaigning at the metra stations, and there seems to be a sparse nature (so far) to the website. as yet, no one seems to have seen him (although you'd expect that to change).

capparelli also generated some publicity, has a youtube page, where you can find this introductory video. his website now hosts a blog, although it appears to be only for the purpose of answering questions (or taking testimonials) rather than actively engaging the netroots or incorporating them into his campaign.

one capparelli supporter says, in the capital fax blog, that "the unions are playing a huge role in city elections and Capparelli has been lining up their support." that certainly remains to be seen, although the citizen action endorsement for pera (who's board and members who vote on endorsements is full of union representatives) may forebode otherwise. it's been reported that capparelli has the endorsements of local 399 of the operating engineers and teamsters local 786. that comment may be indicative of the strategy and expectations around the capparelli campaign and it will be interesting to see whether union support favors one candidate or is dispersed across the field.

one of the big disputes in this campaign is the presence of machine plants, or shills, expected to divide the anti-incumbent vote (for the incumbent's benefit). jim capparelli has taken great exception to being called a shill for the machine [PDF] even though it is said that "Many of his positions — on the war and abortion, for example — appear to mirror Lipinski’s." palos hills mayor jerry bennett also faces the accusation that he is the machine plant. kos has examined bennett's past and identified this continuing connection between bennett and lipinski:

Palos Hills mayor Jerry Bennet -- a Lipinski ally -- is supposedly running a legit race. Yet he endorsed Lipinski two years ago -- an endorsement that has been reposted on Lipinski's new and updated campaign site:

Gerald Bennett, the Mayor of Palos Hills and a health care executive, said Congressman Lipinski's proposals were an "excellent approach to helping American families become better health care consumers."

"The Congressman should be lauded for working with colleagues in both parties to craft initiatives that will not only improve health care availability and delivery, but also have a great chance of being enacted," Mayor Bennett said.

and yet, appearances can be deceiving. unlike john kelly, who was regarded as the shill in lipinski's first democratic primary in 2006, bennett has come to play. he's put together a well-regarded campaign team, with alex behrend, mia phifer, vasyl markus and lake research partners (celinda lake's polling firm). bennett garnered the endorsement of the other challenger in 2006, john sullivan.

bennett's reason for running can be found here:

A life-long Democrat and South Sider, Jerry Bennett is the only person running in Illinois 3rd Congressional District with the background and broad-based appeal in both the City of Chicago and the Cook County suburbs to win the February 5th Democratic Primary. Voters previously supportive of Dan Lipinski are fed up with the Congressman's support of George W. Bush and Jerry Bennett offers both realistic Democratic change voters seek and experience required.

the real problem is that lipinski seems to have alienated every single democratic constituency there is. given that democrats don't always agree on their priorities, it should be no surprise that there are different people running against a vulnerable democrat for seemingly different reasons. if only he wasn't mired in scandal and the machine wasn't under serious strain, he might have a better chance of weathering the storm. the presence of three serious challengers (at this point, i'm taking their word for it) certainly increases lipinski's chances at re-election.

what will be interesting to see is whether voters coalesce around one single candidate. if this is going to happen, it will begin before the television commercials get aired or perhaps even the billboards and lawn signs go up. voter contact is the only reliable means for generating such a consensus. as such, it's interesting to look at the ground activity of these campaigns.

the capparelli campaign reports that they've been making a big push going door-to-door for at least the last three weeks "with a big mailing." they've been hitting different wards in the city and get started at 8am every saturday morning. while they have a campaign headquarters (5602 1/2 w 63rd st), they appear to meet at different locations each saturday (so call the office if you want to help out). jim capparelli has also been making the veteran's circuit, speaking at a veteran's day rally as well as at local vfw halls in the district. their campaign calendar shows a couple of fundraisers scheduled over the next few weeks.

the pera campaign has been out in the field a little while longer. the campaign reports that mark pera has been going to train stations every (weekday) morning and walking with volunteers in the afternoons. they have also been conducting weekend canvassing with both the northside and oak park dfa groups. they report that they have a major outreach push on for december 1st and 2nd, as well as an id canvass on the 8th. the campaign reports fund-raisers planned for the 10th and 13th. most of their volunteer activities start out of their campaign office, at 7061 s. willow springs rd in countryside, although northside dfa car pools in from the city. i can't seem to find a calendar on the website, but i might have missed something.

the bennett campaign also has a campaign headquarters set up at 7229 w 103rd st in palos hills. the volunteer who answered the phone (they were in the midst of "a big conference call") didn't feel capable of answering any other questions about the campaign.

the lipinski campaign clearly relies on the machine for his re-election. the problem with this strategy this february is that the on-going battle between the governor and the speaker may divert forces from helping lipinski. there isn't a lot of crossover wards where the speaker will be defending incumbent state house members and il-03. and one just doesn't get the impression that lipinski's seat is that important -- at least, not more important than the speaker's forces in the general assembly. it matters how these four campaigns divide the map, where they concentrate on -- and where they have pre-existing support.

all four democrats can be contributed to online through actblue.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Most Important Race You Never Heard Of

in chicago, there are really two classes of alderman: alderman who are merely alderman and alderman who control their wards (and play a role in chicago and cook county politics). those who fall in the latter, more powerful category, serve as their ward committeeman.

being the democratic (or republican or, now, green party) committeeman is a thankless task. it's an unpaid position, with substantial expectations, and probably more (in my mind, useless) meetings than you can imagine. but there's also a lot of power in the position -- although less than there used to be under patronage regimes. committeeman have the power to slate candidates in their wards, they fill partisan positions inside the polls, they are the central organizing point for regular party activists in their wards, and they get to fill elected positions that become vacant before their terms end. as we all know, they also can fill empty positions on their party's ballot if no one runs or they resign their place on the ballot. they get a weighted vote in cook county democratic party decisions (determined by the partisan turnout in the last primary in comparison to the county partisan vote).

on february 5th, 2008, wards in chicago will be electing ward committeemen for their four year terms. township committeemen (outside of chicago) elected their's in march, 2006.

there has been talk of challenging as many ward committeemen as possible, both within progressive circles and union circles. but it's hard to get people, even candidates, excited about something most people never heard of. it has been a long tradition that democratic committeemen, especially, had employment within either the chicago city or cook county government. this is still largely the case. but there looks to be more contested races for ward committeeman than in march 2004.

40% of the committeeman running are incumbent committeemen AND alderman in their wards AND uncontested in 2008. they are:

4th Toni Preckwinkle
5th Leslie A. Hairston
6th Freddrenna M. Lyle
9th Anthony A. Beale
10th John A. Pope
14th Edward M. Burke
21st Howard B. Brookins
23rd Michael R. Zalewski
29th Isaac "Ike" Sims Carothers
33rd Richard F. Mell
34th Carrie M. Austin
35th Ray Colón
36th William J.P. Banks
37th Emma M. Mitts
40th Patrick J. O'Connor
44th Tom Tunney
45th Patrick J. Levar
47th Gene Schulter

two of these are incumbent committeemen AND alderman in their wards who face no opposition candidates BUT have curiously had their filings challenged:

1st Manuel "Manny" Flores
30th Ariel E. Reboyras

there are 12 incumbent committeemen running without opposition but who do not serve as their ward's alderman:

8th Todd H. Stroger (Alderman: Michelle Harris)
11th John P. Daley (Alderman: James Balcer)
12th Antonio "Tony" Munoz (Alderman: George A. Cardenas)
13th Michael J. Madigan (Alderman: Frank Olivo)
19th Matthew J. O'Shea (Alderman: Virginia A. Rugai)
26th Roberto Maldonado (Alderman: Billy Ocasio)
27th Jesse White (Alderman: Walter Burnett, Jr.)
38th Patricia J. Cullerton (Alderman: Thomas R. Allen)
39th Randy J. Barnette (Alderman: Margaret Laurino)
46th Tom Sharpe (Alderman: Helen Shiller)
48th Carol Ronen (Alderman: Mary Ann Smith)
49th David Fagus (Alderman: Joe Moore)

none of these incumbent committeemen were challenged.

in total, that is 32 wards where the incumbent committeeman is running without opposition in 2008.

five incumbent committeemen/alderman are running against challengers (astrisk marks incumbent):

17th Ward
Latasha Thomas *
Yvette Williams

both candidates faces objections to their paperwork.

22nd Ward
Ricardo Munoz *
Jose M Gutierrez

jose gutierrez faces a challenge to his filing.

25th Ward
Daniel S. Solis *
Ambrosio Medrano
Joseph Mario Moreno
Cuahutemoc Morfin
Robert Martinez

danny solis, next runner-up (in the february aldermanic race) temoc morfin and robert martinez all face objections.

28th War
Ed H. Smith *
Carol G. Johnson
Velda Brunner

both challengers, carol johnson and velda brunner were challenged.

50th Ward
Ira I. Silverstein
Bernard L. Stone *

surprisingly, stone did not challenge state senator silverstein's paperwork. he may regret it. you may have noticed that this is the only challenged incumbent who did not win the lottery to get his name first on the ballot.

there were two wards where the incumbent committeemen who are not their ward's aldermen who are running in 2008. both drew challenges:

31st Ward
Reinaldo "Ray" Hernandez
Joseph Berrios *

joseph berrios, cook county democratic chair, drew objections. he also lost the lottery to his challenger.

41st Ward
Ralph C. Capparelli *
Mary O'Connor
Patricia A. Mulligan
Frank Coconate

frank coconate drew a challenge, as one would have expected.

two new aldermen are running for to be their ward committeemen against the incumbent committeemen:

7th Ward
Sandi Jackson
William M. Beavers *

this will probably be the most expensive committeemen's race in the city. sandi's husband, and political partner, congressman jesse jackson has asked the federal election commission for permission to transfer almost a million dollars into a local account for this race. you will remember that sandi jackson handily beat beavers' daughter, darcel, for alderman. darcel had been appointed to complete her father's term when he left the city council to fill john stroger's county commission seat.

24th Ward
Sharon Denise Dixon
Dennis Deer
Larry G. Nelson
Roger Washington
Julius Anderson
Reva Williams
Michael D. Chandler *
Joe Ann Bradley

deer, washington, anderson, Williams, chandler, bradley were all challenged.

there were nine democratic committeemen who decided not to run this time. in two of those wards, new aldermen run unopposed for committeeman:

2nd Bob Fioretti
16th JoAnn Thompson

congressman bobby rush, who is currently the 2nd ward committeeman passed petitions but did not file to run for re-election. rich miller wonders why here.

in five of these retirements, the new aldermen in those wards are running for the committeeman's position, but are opposed by other challengers:

3rd Ward
Pat Dowell (ald.)
Kenneth "Ken" Dunkin

ken dunkin faces objections to his paperwork.

15th Ward
Toni L. Foulkes (ald.)
Emma Tate Higginbottom
Michael Smith
Gerald Frazier
Fred McGee

18th Ward
Lona Lane (ald.)
Joseph C. Ziegler, Jr.

lona lane, originally appointed by mayor daley in 2006, faces a challenge to her filing.

20th Ward
Willie B. Cochran (ald.)
Wardell Lavender

wardell lavender is being challenged.

42nd Ward
John Corrigan
Brendan Reilly (ald.)

in two wards, the incumbent committeeman chose not to run, and the incumbent aldermen choose not to run for committeeman:

32nd Ward
John A. Fritchey
Roger J. Romanelli

roger romanelli is being challenged on his filing. finally:

43rd Ward
Tim Egan
Charles E. Eastwood
Michele Smith

so what to make of all this? i'm going to order these contested races from what i expect to be the most competitive to the least competitive. until we know which challenges are upheld and whether any candidates withdraw, it seems that the top two most competitive races will be on the northside, in the 43rd and the 50th wards.

in the 43rd, we have former aldermanic candidates tim egan and michele smith running again (a year since they were on the ballot), this time against alderman daley's chief of staff, charles eastwood. many expect this to be a bloodbath, but it's odd that none of the candidates or their forces challenged another candidate(s). michele smith took vi daley into a run-off, so it would seem that she would be favored. eastwood has not been on the ballot before, and will need to raise his name recognition just to be competitive. egan received only 12% of the february vote, where he was relying on his neighborhood. his last financial disclosure report showed $8,214.00 COH. smith was still reporting a debt of $7,598.80 in her last filing. eastwood has to marshall the machine forces, perhaps bringing in people from other wards, in order to fend off the challenge from the two former aldermanic candidates. he certainly benefits from having two opponents instead of one -- which may be why there's been no challenges. this race starts with all the hallmarks for a close race. only time will tell if it turns out that way.

in the 50th, we have state senator ira silverstein running against incumbent alderman/committeeman bernard stone. silverstein is said to be a reluctant candidate for the spot, and apparently has gotten the mayor's pledge to stay out of the race. jan schakowsky and former aldermanic challengers naisy dolar and greg brewer are supporting silverstein, and it appears that some of the major jewish organizers in the ward are, as well. this should make it a tight race, if silverstein is motivated enough to take an anti-stone message into the east side of the ward where independent voters are predominant. the mythical power of winston towers, five hi-rise buildings with about 1000 voters each, will be negated by a solid showing in the rest of the jewish neighborhoods.

the race in the 3rd ward has all the makings of a tight race. there are a couple of reasons for this. pat dowell, who beat the hat, dorothy tillman, with a tremendous amount of union money and help, has become fairly close to the mayor and his machine. ken dunkin has been on the ballot, too, serving as state representative from the ward. dunkin ended the last report with $78,367.49 COH while dowell found herself with a debt of $5,333.82.

in the 24th ward, alderman sharon denise dixon sets up a rematch with the man she beat (michael chandler) in the april run-off. this west side ward tends to be decided more by who gets out on the streets than how much money is spent. dixon spent a measely $42,399.49 to win her aldermanic seat, and ended the last reporting period with $24,432.75 COH. chandler spent $143,398.26 in the attempt to fend off dixon's challenge, and ended up with $2,493.26 COH. whether or not he can compete against dixon and a beavy of other challengers depends on whether he retained his ward organization having lost the ability to keep people in jobs. it also depends on whether chandler can convince ike carothers or perhaps jesse white to help him out. dixon has proven to be an effective organizer; the question now is, how good a politician is she? i suspect that one or more of the other opponents will not survive the challenges made to their paperwork.

this is the first political test for alderman toni foulkes in the 15th ward, who's running to replace the man she beat (ted thomas) in april as committeeman. her main opponent is emma tate higginbottom, who runs the major food pantry in the ward. higginbottom expects substantial support from the daley machine. foulkes, who had major support from the unions (she was a member of the ufcw union), will need to re-energize her support base if she wants to take thomas' other seat. foulkes ended the reporting period with $4,207.25, having spent $176,977.74 to defeat the incumbent alderman last spring.

in the 41st Ward, ralph capparelli faces another tough race, four years after he lost his long held state representative seat to fellow incumbent michael mcauliffe (a republican). his main challenger appears to be edison park chamber president and local business owner mary o'connor, who may benefit from the alliances she has with mcauliffe, cook county commissioner peter silvestri and alderman brian doherty, all republicans. if she can combine their organizations with her business alliances, she will be formidible. russ stewart calls capparelli's organization decrepit. the 41st has become a haven for chicago police and firemen, who may prefer an o'conner to a capparelli. if capparelli can only mobilize a dozen precinct workers, he can only rely on about $6,055.06 in his ward organization and another $3,180.78 in his person account.

there's a lot of expectation that the 7th Ward race between alderman sandi jackson and democratic committeeman (county commissioner and former alderman) william beavers will be competitive. i don't buy it. the jackson/beavers feud seems to be long-standing, and the jackson's have figured out how to take the beavers' to school. this race may be getting national exposure, but all the more reason for jackson to wipe the floor with beavers. jackson is seeking permission from the fec to spend up to $827,869 in his congressional campaign account on this race. he is supposed to hear back sometime in december. this race might be competitive -- it is beavers' last gasp -- but i'm extremely sceptical. he doesn't have the energy, nor the power in the ward anymore, to motivate his once loyal followers in what is increasingly seen as nothing more than a family feud.

in races less likely to be truly competitive, lona lane faces an aldermanic rematch in joseph ziegler. lane got 49% in february, against ziegler's 11%, 6458 votes to 1495. lane ended the last reporting period with $39,792.56; ziegler had $5,774.04.

there is another aldermanic rematch in the 17th Ward. latasha thomas, protege of terry peterson, faces challenger yvette williams for the committeeman seat that thomas holds. thomas got 66.55% of the february 2007 vote, with 5948 votes. williams was third, with 1196 votes and 13.38%. thomas has $28,549.95 COH left over from her aldermanic race, williams raised so little (<$5000) that she filed on paper.

in the 20th Ward, new alderman willie cochran faces wardell lavender. i just don't know enough about this race to know if lavender can be competitive. cochran ended the last reporting period with $5,671.24.

in the 25th Ward, we again find an aldermanic rematch for the committeeman's seat. alderman/committeeman danny solis faces former alderman ambrosio medrano (who solis had kicked off the aldermanic ballot) and former aldermanic candidate temoc morfin, who would have forced a run-off with solis if votes for medrano would have been counted. temoc has kept his insurgent group of supporters together since the aldermanic election, and it remains to be seen if morfin and medrano can get solis into a shoot-out. solis had $63,347.25 COH at the end of the last period.

in the 22nd Ward, ricky munoz faces nominal competition in an aldermanic rematch with jose gutierrez. gutierrez got 1079 votes in february 2007, or 24.87%, against munoz's 2466 votes and 56.83%. gutierrez spent $80,521.92, with $3,473.55 left over to get his thousand votes. munoz had $33,405.82 COH at the end of the last reporting period.

races i expect won't be very competitive (or candidates will withdraw) at all: it hard to see how local economic development organization director roger romanelli competes against progressive state representative john fritchey in the 32nd ward. i question whether john corrigan will stay in the race against his friend, brendan reilly in the 42nd ward. in the 31st ward, ray hernandez gets far against joseph berrios (who will be on the ballot above this slot). and the same factor applies to the 28th ward, where ed smith will be on the ballot for recorder of deeds...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cook County Races

in all the hubbub about the presidential and congressional candidates in this february's primary, we may have forgotten that there are other races here in cook county that will be on the ballot.

one incumbent gets to elect herself (when she votes), in kind of a surprise. dorothy brown, our circuit court clerk, drew not a single challenger. it may be a thankless task, so that explains the lack of a republican or green party challenger, but dorothy, you may remember, ran against da mayor last february. some speculated, because she announced before jesse decided if he'd get into the race, that she was a plant, drawn into the race to dilute the black vote. well, she didn't exactly make the mayor mad. the fact that she draws no opponent will not dampen that speculation.

the local race everyone is likely to watch is the open seat for state's attorney. tom allen, alderman from the 38th ward, has already posted here. assistant state’s attorney anita alvarez offers perhaps the best credentials out of that office: she "oversees the day-to-day operations of more than 900 assistant state’s attorneys in eight different divisions handling felony prosecutions and civil actions." howard brookins, alderman of the 21st ward, is seen by many as the front runner, having hired mike noonan to run his campaign and gotten perhaps the earliest start. cook county commissioner larry suffredin has forrest claypool's endorsement and looks to be running a similar kind of reform campaign. assistant state’s attorney bob milan was in line by 9, but got the last spot out of the lottery. tommy brewer, also a evanston resident, completes the ballot for state's attorney.

candidates in the state's attorney's race have already been making the rounds. carl's proviso probe points to this video of the candidate forum at the proviso township democratic organization. anita alvarez and tommy brewer both drew challenges to their paperwork, and will be forced to deal with that before concentrating on their campaigns. brewer appears to be most likely to get thrown off the ballot (speculation based on other people's comments). alvarez claims that someone who works for howard brookins is the person who challenged her petitions "at the last minute." this story appeared on the local abc station as i write this.

the county democratic party could not agree on a candidate to slate in this race, since neither brookins, allen nor suffredin could manage a clear majority:
Among the committeemen, Brookins got 107,904 in weighted votes, Allen 90,861, and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin 66,522. Anita Alvarez, the third-in-command at the state's attorney's office, got one committeeman's vote for 4,875. Her boss, First Assistant State's Attorney Bob Milan, got none, as did lawyer Tommy Brewer and state Transportation Department Chief of Staff Clayton Harris III.

Seven committeemen rose to speak for Allen, and six spoke on Suffredin's behalf.

Allen has locked up support from many of Chicago's unions, and Suffredin said he was the best candidate to face Republican Tony Peraica in the fall. Brookins said he's not afraid of stepping on toes.

this was probably the biggest blow to brookins, who thought he had the votes to win. at this point, there seems to be a concensus that this race will come down to brookins and alvarez, if she can raise enough money to be competitive. that speculation assumes that suffredin and allen will cancel each other out. this will definitely be one of our primary races to watch in february. what i will be paying attention to is which of these candidates plant their flag in the other competitive races (such as IL-03) -- areas likely to see higher turnout than the rest of the county.

on the republican side, tony peraica drew an opponent in edward barron. both republicans have seen objections to the paperwork they filed with david orr's office.

another race that has the potential for getting competitive will be that for cook county recorder of deeds. as carl knows, karen yarborough has been chasing eugene moore out of office, and there was some speculation that she would challenge moore for this one. when i asked her about that, she laughed. "too much work," she said. "i already have one (unpaid) position that is like that." instead, she is backing ed smith, alderman of the 28th ward, who is the last of the independents elected with harold washington in 1983. smith probably made the most ernest run at an incumbent during the slating meeting, but fell short. our favorite machine plant, john t. kelly, has also jumped into this race. both kelly and smith have received objections to their filing.

an even lesser known race, if that's possible, is the cook county board of review. two seats (the 2nd and 3rd districts) are up in 2008, and both incumbents are running for re-election. but only cook county democratic chair, joseph berrios, drew a challenger. i don't think it will surprise anyone that challenger jay paul deratany has objections filed against him, in the hopes of knocking him off the ballot. welcome to chicago!

finally, we are in for a lively race for the metropolitan water reclamation district. after deb shore brought interest to this race from progressives in cook county, i think people look at this as a real office worth running for. as such, we got a lot of candidates running for the three seats open in 2008.

there are eleven democrats who filed to run for the mwrd commission this february. starting of the ballot will be diane jones, who ran for chicago city clerk this last february. a mwrd employee (at least, she was), diane had the singular distinction of winning "a third of the votes and beat[ing Miguel] del Valle in every African-American ward by margins of 200 to 2,000 votes.” next on the primary ballot will be the democratic slate of incumbents kathleen meany [pdf] and frank avila and perennial candidate dean maragos. next comes kathleen o’reilley, who benefits from the irish-sounding (could be irish -- what do *i* know!) name -- a plus in the chicago area. then we'll see the other incumbent, cynthia santos [pdf]. cynthia apparently lost the party's endorsement because she "went on vacation during slating." lacking an independent power base, this may be a fatal blow to santos' re-election hopes. finishing out those who submitted their petitions during the opening minute is mariyana spyropoulos, who has already blogged here. completing the democratic primary is ronald oliver of chicago, marlon rush of lansing, matthew podgorski of park ridge, and derrick stinson of chicago.

every single candidate for the mwrd has been challenged. i'm unfamiliar with more than half of these candidates, so i'll let someone else create the odds: "The outlook: Jones, Meany and O'Reilley are the early favorites, primarily because of their gender and surnames."

finally, the green party has put together a full slate of candidates for the mwrd: nadine bopp, rita bogolub and john ailey. these candidates have also had their filings challenged.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Petitions Challenges Update

180 objections have been filed before the state board of elections, the overwhelming number of them coming today (tuesday, november 11). 76 of the challenges were directed towards (mostly) court candidates. the rest were distributed among the races most likely to be in the public eye leading up to february 5.

there were 12 challenges, one each for all the presidential candidates -- obama, though, got 2 challenges. all these challenges came from one person: richard mayers of berwyn, the controversial green candidate in the third congressional district.

there have been 5 challenges (one withdrawn) in the u.s. senate race. republican candidate norm hill was challenged by three different objectors (including mayers). mike psak was also challenged. mayers' challenge of dick durbin was withdrawn.

there have been 14 challenges in the congressional races, 6 against democratic candidates, 3 against republican candidates, 4 against green party candidates and the moderate party in the 8th congressional district was challenged. the two democrats in the 1st congressional race, doc walls and bobby rush, were each challenged. in the third congressional district, mayers challenged the incumbent and his green party primary opponent (pohlen), while himself getting challenged by green party members. one republican, wardingley, was also challenged, which may have been the deciding factor in his withdrawal.

jagla, democrat in the 6th, was challenged. democrat randi scheurer, who has called herself a progressive, challenged a fellow democrat, farnick. the candidate representing the party of randi's husband bill (the moderate party) was also challenged. the green party candidate in the 10th was challenged. baldermann, republican in the 11th, dilger, republican in the 14th, the green party candidate in the 16th, and roney, democrat in the 19th, all got challenged.

there have been 14 challenges in illinois senate races, 13 in democratic races. 5 of these have come in the three-way race in the 5th legislative district. the incumbent (ricky hendon) has objected to paperwork filed by his two opponents, and amy sue mertens filed objections against hendron and bedi. another objector challenged mertens paperwork. there were three challenges in the 3rd legislative district, one each against each candidate. the two candidates in the 30th legislative district each got challenged. these three races could very well be the races to watch among illinois senate races. the races in the 3rd and the 5th seem most interesting.

there was one challenge each in the 2nd (the incumbent), 20th (the challenger), 45th (open) and 51st (democratic challenger) legislative (senate) districts.

there have been 59 challenges among candidates for the illinois house. 48 of these challenges have come against democratic candidates, 6 against republicans and 5 against green party candidates in races for 23 house seats. the largest amount of challenges (16) have come in the race for the 32nd house seat where milton patterson is retiring. all six democratic candidates for this southside seat have been challenged. 6 objections were filed in the 33rd district, 5 against the incumbent (marlow colvin), one against his challenger. 5 challenges have been filed in the 28th district, one each against the challengers of incumbent robert rita. the race for the 32nd promises to be very interesting. the 33rd race looks exciting at this point. the race for the 28th probably not so much.

the complete list of challenges in congressional and illinois general assembly races follow:


Illinois Senate:

Illinois House:

Monday, November 12, 2007

On This Veterans Day

i'm a "rocket kid." that's what we called ourselves, those of us who grew up in brevard county, home of kennedy space center, during the height of our commitment to space exploration. on the upside, we were blessed with the best that the government could provide -- brand new schools, public school teachers with phd's -- to go along with our brand new homes, new roads and new courthouses. on the downside, we were told that there was the highest concentration of spies in the country, that there were soviet ships off shore, that we were on the priority target list in the event of a nuclear attack. it's no wonder we never learned "duck and cover."

so it was no surprise, or not much of one, when my gifted classmate wayne joined the marines after college. it was a surprise when he returned in a box. wayne died in the beirut barracks bombing, almost 20 years before george w. bush ever thought about terrorism, or recognized it as a threat to the country.

today marks the official celebration of veterans day. in the past, i would have celebrated veterans day by remembering my friend wayne, his wife susan, and their (then young) daughter, as well as the other veterans who died for our country. since we invaded iraq, though, i mark each each veterans day with a countdown -- it's one less year that they can call my wife back to active duty.

my wife, for those who don't know, is a retired navy senior chief. she still has a few years left on the individual ready reserve (irr), and so far has not been one of the hundreds called back to service because they had a desired skillset. my wife denies it, but i know that she has one of those skillsets. periodically, my wife gets official communication from the department of defense. less so now, but these scare me. i always make mrs. bored open them up right away. i insist upon it.

our president may not understand this, but war effects the entire nation. he may have asked that we "return to normal" after 9/11, but he's made that more difficult for millions of american families. this president has never explained his thinking, or given us a set of goals that he intended to achieve, or an exit strategy that would allow us to judge for ourselves the success or failure of his military moves. nor can one believe our admirals and generals about the length of tours -- or time at home -- because of the erratic decision-making of this president.

thousands of americans have died -- and more americans have died as the result of this president's military decisions than died as a result of terrorists' -- and tens of thousands have been wounded. thousands more come home with emotional wounds, wounds that may never heal. millions of american families are in worse shape than ours -- they are on edge, hoping that their fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, mothers, wives, daughters and sisters, grandchildren or neices or nephews will come home -- or not be returned to the battlefield.

president bush may not realize this. other americans may never think about it. but i remember. on this day (actually, yesterday), i hope you will, too...

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lots of Challenges, Lots of Games

rich miller, in his capital fax, has been talking about prospective battle between michael madigan, the speak of the house, and rod blagojevich, the governor, in the upcoming democratic primaries on february 5th. now that the filing deadline has passed, we get a better idea of whether -- and where -- this battle will be fought.

it does seem like there are more contested primaries against sitting democrats in the illinois house this time. 20 democratic incumbents have drawn challengers, some of them rather credible challengers. 60% (no. = 12) of these seats are based in chicago, close to the center of both madigan and blagojevich. this is significant because even though chicago provides the largest plurality of the democratic majority in the illinois house, the speaker has been extremely protective of his democratic incumbents downstate.

in contrast, only two republican incumbents face a primary. looking at these republicans, though, offers an interesting contrast between the way that madigan runs his side and cross runs his. all of madigan's incumbents had their paperwork ready to be filed on "opening day" and were in line to be counted as 8am on october 29. this puts them into the lottery to be first on the ballot. but one of the two contested republicans (shane cultra) had to withdraw his initial paperwork and resubmit his petitions in order to get on the ballot. this may be because rep. cultra was unaware that he would be challenged -- which is more likely in the bigger rural house districts.

the battle between the governor's allies and the speaker's allies is not the only influence in what has driven these contested races. other factors are at play, as well, some local and some personality driven. and a lot of these races are rematches from 2006. but the governor-speaker divide is the most dominant one, and the one that will undoubtedly come into play in the races that end up being truly competitive. these contested races will winnow themselves down -- one rematch, robert shaw vs. david miller in the south suburbs, has already seen the non-incumbent (shaw) drop out. challenges will be made, in fewer cases, opponents will withdraw, and the invisible primary (the money race) will be the biggest challenge.

some of these incumbents appear, on paper at least, vulnerable. many have not kept up with their fund raising. rep. elga jefferies reported only $193.26 cash on hand in her last semi-annual report. her former opponent, paul chadha had more COH that she did: $4,710.50. esther golar only had $3,429.69 COH, certainly not enough to ward off potential challengers (she drew two).

1.) ILGA-02 (Democratic; Chicago):
Edward J. Acevedo * 10/29/2007 $13,766.01
Daniel I. Fitzgerald 10/29/2007 none
Francisco Rodriguez 11/5/2007 $40.00

2.) ILGA-03 (Democratic; Chicago):
Luis Arroyo * 10/29/2007 $26,910.66
Wayne A. Strnad 10/29/2007 $328.30
Ruben Calderon 11/5/2007 none

3.) ILGA-05 (Democratic; Chicago):
Kenneth "Ken" Dunkin * 10/29/2007 $78,367.49
Kenneth Sawyer 11/5/2007 none

4.) ILGA-06 (Democratic; Chicago):
Esther Golar * 10/29/2007 $3,429.69
Jerry Washington 11/5/2007 none
Darryl Smith 11/5/2007 none

5.) ILGA-09 (Democratic; Chicago):
Arthur L. Turner * 10/29/2007 $20,238.57
Dorothy L. Walton 10/29/2007 none

6.) ILGA-10 (Democratic; Chicago):
Annazette R. Collins * 10/29/2007 $33,962.16
Chenika Collins 11/5/2007 none
Eddie Winters 11/5/2007 none

7.) ILGA-25 (Democratic; Chicago):
Barbara Flynn Currie * 10/29/2007 $212,125.72
Sharon Latiker 11/2/2007 none

8.) ILGA-26 (Democratic; Chicago):
William D. Burns 10/29/2007 none
Paul Chadha 10/29/2007 $4,710.50
Phillip Jackson 10/29/2007 none
Elga L. Jefferies * 10/29/2007 $193.26
Ranoule Tatum 11/2/2007 $19.83
Julian C. Williams 11/5/2007 none
Kenny Johnson 11/5/2007 none

9.) ILGA-27 (Democratic; Chicago):
Monique D. Davis * 10/29/2007 $29,529.73
Stanley S. Moore 10/29/2007 none
James L. McCorkle 11/5/2007 none

10.) ILGA-28 (Democratic; Chicago):
Robert "Bob" Rita * 10/29/2007 $9,405.51
Michael E. Mayden 10/31/2007 none
Earick D. Rayburn 11/5/2007
Marquez D. Elem 11/5/2007 none
Pamela Caston 11/5/2007 none
James J. Taylor 11/5/2007 none

11.) ILGA-29 (Democratic; South Suburbs):
David E. Miller * 10/29/2007 $62,711.34
Robert Shaw 11/5/2007 WITHDRAWN $6,700.00

12.) ILGA-30 (Democratic; South Suburbs):
William "Will" Davis * 10/29/2007 $48,969.74
Maureen Forte 11/5/2007 none
Mark S. Headley 11/5/2007 none

13.) ILGA-33 (Democratic; Chicago):
Marlow H. Colvin * 10/29/2007 $39,845.57
Derrick Prince 11/5/2007 none

14.) ILGA-38 (Democratic; South Suburbs):
Al Riley * 10/29/2007 none
Toni T. Ashmore 11/2/2007 none

15.) ILGA-56 (Democratic; Western Suburbs):
Paul Froehlich * 10/29/2007 $24,783.17
John W. Moynihan 10/29/2007 none
Anita Forte-Scott 10/29/2007 none
Charlotte Kegarise 11/5/2007 none

16.) ILGA-60 (Democratic; Waukegan):
Tony Elam 10/29/2007 none
Angelo D. Kyle 10/29/2007 $1,749.68
Eddie Washington * 10/29/2007 $56,373.71

17.) ILGA-71 (Democratic; Quad Cities):
Mike Boland * 10/29/2007 $66,064.11
Jerry Lack 10/29/2007 none

18.) ILGA-78 (Democratic; Chicago):
Deborah L. Graham * 10/29/2007 $13,767.63
Phyllis M. Logan 10/29/2007 none

19.) ILGA-79 (Democratic; Downstate):
Lisa M. Dugan * 10/29/2007 $37,412.40
Jarman Myron Porter 11/5/2007 none

20.) ILGA-91 (Democratic; Downstate):
Michael K. Smith * 10/29/2007 $18,827.90
Marvin Bainter 11/2/2007 none

1.) ILGA-32 (Democratic Primary - Open Seat; Chicago):
Lawrence A. "Anton" Seals, Jr. 10/29/2007 none
Andre Thapedi 10/29/2007 none
Bobby Joe Johnson 11/2/2007 none
Syron M. Smith 11/2/2007 none
Yvette Williams 11/2/2007 none
Sean J. Smith 11/5/2007 none

2.) ILGA-92 (Democratic Primary - Open Seat; Downstate):
G. Allen Mayer 10/29/2007 none
Jehan Gordon 11/2/2007 none

3.) ILGA-107 (Democratic Primary - Open Seat; Downstate):
Patti J. Hahn 10/29/2007 none
Travis G. Loyd 10/29/2007 none

1.) ILGA-49 (Republican; Western Suburbs):
James (Jim) Krenz 10/29/2007
Timothy L. Schmitz * 10/29/2007

2.) ILGA-105 (Republican; Downstate):
David W. Tomlinson 10/29/2007
Shane Cultra * 11/5/2007

1.) ILGA-48 (Republican Primary - Open Seat; Western Suburbs):
Dave Carlin 10/29/2007
Michael G. Connelly 10/29/2007
Douglas P. Krause 10/29/2007

2.) ILGA-50 (Republican Primary - Open Seat; Western Suburbs):
Anton L. Graff 10/29/2007
Kay Hatcher 10/29/2007
David Richmond 10/29/2007
Terry Hunt 11/5/2007

3.) ILGA-66 (Republican Primary - Open Seat; Western Suburbs):
Laura Bartell 10/29/2007
Christine K. Prochno 10/29/2007

4.) ILGA-96 (Republican Primary - Open Seat; Western Suburbs):
Darlene J. Senger 10/29/2007
Michael G. Bowler 11/5/2007
Michael F. Wisniewski 11/5/2007

5.) ILGA-104 (Republican Primary - Open Seat; Downstate):
Terry Baldwin 10/31/2007
Scott Eisenhauer 11/5/2007

* incumbent
websites come from candidates at the board of elections.
COH figures from from illinois board of elections.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Cubs Rally...

i like chicago. it's a great sports town. sure, people here don't seem to appreciate the miami dolphins (for some reason), but when they are playing the way they've played this season, who can blame you?

my wife and i watch lots of sports. we were both disappointed at the end of the wnba season, and enjoyed more than a few sky games. so it's not much of a surprise that we went to the cubs raley on monday, even though we are southsiders (and sox fans -- for me, they are not mutually exclusive). there is actually political content, if you look for it:

go cubs go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jerry Weller (IL-11) Not Running?

the respected capitol fax blog reports "Congressman Jerry Weller is not yet circulating his nominating petitions." for those who don't know, candidates have to collect signatures to get their names on the ballot in illinois, collecting an equivalent of .5% of the number of partisan voters in the last primary election. the daily southtown, a local paper of sorts for the northern end of the 11th congressional district in illinois, also notes:

Rumors are circulating that Weller may decide against another term, particularly in light of the bad press he is receiving over his Guatemalan financial interests. Phone calls, I'm told, have been made to his top donors indicating he may be preparing to "hang it up." His family, after all, lives in Guatemala. That's a long commute.

not to mention weller's recent naming as one of the "22 most corrupt" in congress, in an annual report by citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington.

weller feeds the "republicans are corrupt" meme, and his getting subpoenaed recently in the duke cunningham investigation/brent wilkes trial reinforces that.

the good news is that emily's list and local democrats have been talking to illinois senate majority leader debbie halvorson about running for this seat, regardless of what weller decides. the daily southtown reports that "Halvorson is meeting with Emily’s List recruiters this month to discuss a possible congressional bid." recent comments might indicate a desire to get out of the current environment in springfield. but, as the southtown notes, she could run without having to give up her senate seat -- a choice preferred by most incumbents.

halvorson would be an incredibly strong challenger -- and would probably clear the democratic field if she gets in the race. her entry, especially with the support of national groups like emily's list, would instantly pull this seat into the competitive column (doesn't hurt that weller has many ethical problems). and if it became an open seat, halvorson's candidacy could put this into the leans democrat column fairly quickly.