I know we're all distracted right now by the prospect of Senator Mark Kirk in 2009. But, until a decision about a possible special election is made, Mark still has a congressional battle to fight, and life otherwise goes on in the 10th District.
Footlik Follies: The last congressional election just got finished and Mark Kirk has not even been re-sworn in for his 5th term, but since congressmen have to run every two years, there's never much down time between elections, even under normal circumstances. So, right on cue, guess whose name has started cropping up in the news, lately? That's right, former candidate Jay Footlik, who got smeared by Dan Seals in the February 2007 Dem primary battle.
Footlik showed up on my Google Alerts just this morning for a talk he will give at Temple Jeremiah in Northfield this Sunday, entitled "The 2008 Elections: Were They Good for the Jews?" After Footlik got clobbered by Seals, I lost track of him, so I'm not sure if he ever moved into the 10th District for good. Last I think I heard, he had rented a house in Arlington Heights or something, so I'm not sure if he ever actually purchased anything.
Will Footlik run again? Who knows, but if he does, his recent job history as a foreign lobbyist is going to be a problem for him, as commenters have pointed out here before. Just the other day, I saw a blog post critical of Footlik for lobbying for the government of Turkey, to the tune of $25,000 per month, in part to oppose the adoption of Armenian genocide legislation. I don't want to get in the middle of that issue here, but you can bet that whatever Footlik seems to have been up to for the past year, folks here in the 10th District may not like it.
Terry Link Petition Scandal Update: I was a bit surprised to see that one of the two men accused of perjury and forgery for submitting alleged fraudulent nomination petitions for State Senator Terry Link has been found unfit for trial. Jerry Knight, who has been known to call in to WKRS and speak with host Libby Collins about his involvement with Link, was found to need treatment before he could stand trial, which treatment he is currently receiving in Minnesota. It appears that the case against the other defendant, Kenneth Davison, will proceed.
Speaking of Link, can you believe Link's milquetoast response to the utter outrageousness of the Blagojevich arrest? He's "disappointed" because, darn it, it's a "shame." Well, well. Hope the voters of the 30th Senate District find themselves 'disappointed' enough with Link next time around to boot him (if he's still on the scene). Meanwhile, Link continues to push his pet project for a Waukegan casino for all he's worth. Besides Link and the mayor of Waukegan, does anyone else really want this project?
OTHER STUFF: I'm sure the Blago scandal will continue to unfold, and have a toxic effect on many democrats statewide, especially if "Senate Candidate #5" is the subject of a serious bribery investigation. We all thought Blago would go down eventually, but the sheer craziness of the senate seat scandal, coupled with the national profile of the issue due to the fact it was Obama's seat, gives this story a much greater importance than it otherwise could have had. It made the front page of the Wall Street Journal, for cat's sake, plus enjoying wall-to-wall coverage on many manjor news outlets.
Look for 2010 to be a much better year for the Illinois GOP than we otherwise might have thought, if only they can stop stabbing each other in the back long enough to take advantage of this moment in history.
I promised myself I'd let the Kirk senate thing go for now, but what if he did win a special election? Would the GOP have any hope of holding on to the 10th District? If it does get redistricted out in 2012, would it would be worth gearing up for a huge fight? Who could carry the banner for the GOP? I'm already starting to hear some names being floated. How about Keith Gray, who ran against Terry Link?