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.

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