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The Mechanics

Elections Mon Nov 01 2010

Who Cares About a State Representative's Race?

As you may have heard, some people (but probably not very many) are going to be voting on some stuff tomorrow. It's been a wild campaign season locally and nationally, and both will probably see some shakeups. But unlike the fights for governor or senator, there's one tight race that isn't between a Republican and a Democrat and most Chicagoans (particularly those outside of the Northwest Side) know little about: the fight for state representative in the 39th district.

State rep races usually fly well below the media's radar, overshadowed by races for higher offices. This year has been no exception: much attention has been paid to Quinn vs. Brady and Kirk vs. Giannoulias. But the fight in the 39th district between eight-year incumbent Democrat Toni Berrios and insurgent Green Party candidate Jeremy Karpen should be worth watching tomorrow. While the winner will not be the most powerful politician in Illinois, an incumbent loss would result in the only Green Party politician in any state house in the country.

Continue reading this entry »

Micah Uetricht / Comments (7)

IL10 Race Wed Jan 20 2010

MA Lesson: Never Let Your Guard Down

There's a post up over at the excellent 10th District Advocate blog comparing Illinois's upcoming senate battle to what happened in Massachusetts. The post makes some good points: Julie Hamos is a bit like Martha Coakley and just because you're in a very blue state doesn't mean it can never go red. Most astutely, it highlights an important lesson from last night and it's not "stay frosty," it's "pick the right candidate."

The problem in the Massachusetts senate special election was that the Democrats thought one of theirs would win nomatter who it was so factoring in the ability to win a general election didn't happen. The same mistake could easily happen in Illinois, as the 10th District Advocate warns in terms of picking Dan Seals or Julie Hamos. The lesson also applies to the upcoming Illinois senate race. The truth is, Mark Kirk is a much stronger candidate than he could be (certainly far more viable than Scott Brown in MA). Liberal voters should remember last night when they go to the voting booth.

And the same goes for Illinois Republicans. Don't presume Mark Kirk will win the nomination. In fact, Tea Party Nation (a.k.a. the far right) is gearing up to help conservative challenger Pat Hughs to beat Kirk and win the Republican nomination. If there's anything that last night taught us, it's that anything is possible.

UPDATE: Chicagoist highlighted a poll today noting Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk, the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees vying for Senator Burris's senate seat, are neck and neck.

Daniel Strauss / Comments (6)

IL10 Race Tue Jan 19 2010

Big Endorsements For Dold

Republican businessman Bob Dold is collecting some big endorsements in his quest for Mark Kirk's former House seat. Congressional Quarterly reports that he recently snagged Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar's backing. This comes after former Vice Presidential nominee Dan Quayle gave Dold the thumbs up. Here's a snippet from the CQ report (linked to above):

Dold -- who's going after the seat being vacated by Rep. Mark Kirk -- announced the endorsement of Illinois Sen. Richard Lugar.

No, Lugar doesn't represent anyone who'll be voting in the primary, but he does have stature within the GOP, and his support lets Dold demonstrate backing by national Republicans.

Last week, the Dold campaign rolled out the endorsement of another name that will be familiar to primary voters: his ex-boss, former Vice President Dan Quayle.

Even with the endorsements, CQ still rates this race "leans democratic" meaning candidates Julie Hamos or Dan Seals are more likely to win the seat.

Daniel Strauss / Comments (1)

Democrats Tue Jul 28 2009

Julie Hamos' Campaign Announcement.

Spunky and likable.

Ramsin Canon

IL10 Race Mon Jul 27 2009

Hamos In IL-10, Please Hold Your Districting Comments to the End

As expected state Representative Julie Hamos, a keen eye for health care and transportation issues in the General Assembly, announced she'd announce she'd pursue the open 10th District Congressional seat being vacated by Mark Kirk as he aims for the U.S. Senate. I kind of like Hamos ever since I heard two lobbyists, one progressive and one corporate, complain about dealing with her on the same bill.

Anyway, in case you were worried, Hamos, like Alexi, Raja, and the rest, is "For Illinois".

No, Hamos does not live in the district yet. It's fair to keep in mind that it's not like these district have some, uh, meaning whatsoever. They're pretty close to just being arbitrary lines drawn around 600,000 people. And, as I'm sure you've heard by now, there is no specific residency requirement in the U.S. Constitution:

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

She'll face among others Dan Seals. Primary season in Chicagoland is upon us.

Ramsin Canon

IL10 Race Wed Jul 22 2009

Swing State Project on IL-10

Swing State Project takes a look at the race for what will be Mark Kirk's open seat in the north suburban 10th Congressional District. Here's their rundown of the GOP field as it stands:

  • Businessman Dick Green, CEO of Briefing.com
  • Businessman Bill Strong, former Illinois finance chairman for John McCain's Presidential campaign
  • State Rep. Ed Sullivan
  • Businesswoman/ex-Mount Prospect mayoral candidate Patricia Bird
  • Lake County Board Member Ann Maine
  • Wilmette Village President Chris Canning
  • State Rep. Beth Coulson

They also note that Dan Seals, who lost to Kirk in two consecutive cycles, is in the race. Given that Seals underperformed President Obama in the 10th District by almost 10 points, I wonder if he is the best candidate. Were people just that enamored with Kirk, or did he hit his limit with support? A similar problem arose for Christine Cegelis in the 6th Congressional District; after losing a spirited campaign to Henry Hyde in 2004. Supporters of Tammy Duckworth, who was drafted to run in the open seat in '06, pointed out that Cegelis, while scoring nearly 45% against the aging Hyde, still under-performed Kerry in the district by 2%.

Seals' losing thousands of Obama voters could be worrisome to Democrats eager to finally take a seat that voted for the Democratic Presidential nominee at nearly a 2/3rds clip in 2008. But the entire calculus has to change without Kirk in the race; not only was Kirk particularly popular with independents, but Seals was buoyed by netroots and grassroots desire to take a blue seat away from a Republican incumbent. As an open seat, that could dissipate.

Ramsin Canon / Comments (2)

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 2 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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