Now that the festivities of last night are over, we can take a step back and ask if what happened in the 10th District means a lot for this coming November, or whether events outside the District will in some ways have more of an impact.
First, in case you have been too busy shoveling snow to hear, Dan Seals crushed Jay Footlik, about 80% to 20%. The best and most up-to-date vote totals I can find are as follows:
Cook County: 315 of 331 precincts reporting
Dan Seals: 39,306 votes 83.20%
Jay Footlik: 7,935 votes 16.80%
Lake County: (all precincts reported, but late absentee ballots and provisional ballots not included)
Dan Seals: 33,549 votes 79.20%
Jay Footlik: 8,650 votes 20.50%
Incumbent Congressman Mark Kirk got 25,366 votes in Cook County and 17,980 votes in Lake County.
So, what does this mean?
First, it's clear that Footlik turned out to be no real threat to Seals, and probably helped Seals in the sense that it made Seals gear up his organization early, raise money, and spend money on name recognition, which will no doubt pay dividends for the general election. However, Seals' success is also probably due in large part that Footlik turned out to be a much weaker candidate than expected. He did better in Lake County than Cook County, as we predicted, and I do not know how he did among Jewish voters, who he considered his key demographic, but it's clear that he made many missteps along the campaign trail. Aside from the "meshugana" mailing, which was widely panned and made more than a few Jewish voters who thought Footlik was pandering to their ethnicity very angry, he trailed off in fundraising as his early national money peetered out as the campaign went on. He also confronted a very angry and motivated base of Seals supporters who were very vocal on the campaign trail and the blogosphere that they considered it a grave affront that an upstart like Footlik would DARE challenge their anointed candidate.
On the other hand, Footlik did Mark Kirk a favor in that he forced Seals to make a bunch of appearances in public debates, spend money that will have to be replenished, and send out a bunch of mailers and take positions that may well come back to haunt him. The kiss of death for a candidate is always an attack on their credibility, especially a candidate like Seals who has no actual legislative accomplishments and must run on a platform of 'you can trust me to do better for you in Washington.' I don't care what your positions on this issues are, however, if I don't find you trustworthy, I'm not going to send you to Washington to represent me on those issues.
That's where Seals finds himself now- he is the Dem nominee, and he has a nice target painted on his back. All of the subtle credibility issues that have been brewing just under the surface as to Seals are now going to be brought to the forefront, as Seals begins to match up directly against Kirk. Among the several issues that have been raised about Seals and his lack of veracity are:
--> Claiming to be a "current" Northwestern Professor since last October, when the single night class he is scheduled to teach doesn't being until April 2008
--> His claim to be a "Presidential Management Fellow" when that program did not actually exist until President Bush initiated it (Seals was an "Intern" under a similar, but not the same, federal program)
--> Seals often claims to be a "Director" of GE Capital, rather than his real title of "Director of Marketing", which falsely leads one to believe that Seals was on the Board of Directors
Although we have been quite willing to point out these issues, the mainstream media and other sources are now getting into the act, as we have been reporting for some time now. And, if you didn't catch it from yesterday's post, check out this Northwestern student blog which uses some very colorful language to describe Dan Seals (no, I didn't pay them to put this post up).
So, not to belabor this, but Seals is going to have to defend himself vigorously against the allegations of lack of truthfulness that will be lobbed from now until November.
The vote totals themselves as to the Dems vs. the Republicans are rather startling, which can be summed up in one word: Obama. It's clear in Illinois that Barack Obama was very, very successful at motivating the Dems to come to the polls, and obviously enticed many Independents and probably a few Republicans to pull a Dem ballot to vote for Obama. It's also quite possible a lot of that overall vote total was women voting for Hillary Clinton, who is sometimes overlooked as also being a native of Chicago (Park Ridge), and probably garnered many voters who wanted to vote for a woman. There is little argument that the Dem side of the presidential race was just more exciting on many levels than the GOP.
But, will that translate into all of these folks sticking with Seals for the fall? Doubt it. As we have often noted here, voters in the 10th are notorious ticket splitters. A whole lot of folks who wanted to vote for Obama or Clinton had no choice but to vote for a Dem since they had to select a Dem primary ballot. But, these voters will all have a chance to vote for Kirk in the 10th, regardless of which Dem candidate is at the top of the ticket in November.
AS TO OTHER RESULTS: The key race I was watching was the Eddie Washington v. challenger Angelo Kyle for 60th Dist. State Representative. As most know, Washington fell out of favor with Lake County Dem Czar Terry Link, who is facing lots of his own integrity problems. Link picked Kyle to step in for Washington, and supported Kyle to the hilt, even bringing in people like 59th Dist. Representative Kathy Ryg to stump for Kyle in North Chicago (what was she thinking?). Well, Washington squeaked by, with most of the vote counted, Washington beat Kyle, 42.53% (3,911 votes) for Washington to 41.21% (3,790) votes for Kyle. The third challenger, Tony Elam, got a respectable 16.26% (1,495 votes).
Link is no doubt smarting from this defeat. And Washington is not going to forgive easily, not against Link, and not against Kathy Ryg, or anyone else who tried to screw him. As Washington told the News-Sun, people don't want Terry Link to the "the king of kings."
An interesting vote factoid: In last night's primary, Terry Link got 17,730 votes. In the Nov. 2006 general election, where he ran against Sheilds Township Supervisor Chuck Fitzgerald, Link got 23,506 votes (these are Lake County totals only). So, in an Obama wave, why did Link get almost 6,000 LESS votes than in his last contested election? Could it be that Petition-Gate is having an appreciable toll on his popularity? Perhaps even more telling is that compared to the votes garnered by Kathy Ryg (State Rep in 59)(10,593 votes) and Eddie Washington and his competitors (State Rep in 60)(9,196 votes total among Washington, Kyle and Elam), Link pulled about 2,000 less votes ("undervotes") than the two state representative districts put together (which together make up the 30th District).
It'll be an interesting fall election up in Waukegan and North Chicago.