This week, a number of blogs and news articles have revisited the issue of Congressman Mark Kirk's vote over the Cap and Trade bill and wondered whether Kirk's vote will hurt him with conservatives. I think there must have been a lull in the health care debate, since this issue seems to have sprung up again. Even the Daily Herald looked for a few local GOP opinions on the issue to supplement an AP story. I tend to agree with what Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Venturi had to say, which was:
"There's still grumbling, absolutely," Dan Venturi, Lake County Republican Party chairman, said Friday. Venturi adds, however, that Kirk has addressed the matter in a number of public forums and isn't hiding from the issue.
"I think it's the Democrats trying to revitalize a divisive issue," Venturi said. "If they can weaken him in the primary, that would be to their advantage."
Team America was also queried by the DH, and here's what we had to say:
Mettawa resident Larry Falbe, who authors Team America's 10th District blog, said the initial vote startled some Republicans.
"The shock and surprise of most Republicans has long since worn off and they've turned their attention to more pressing issues like health care," Falbe said. "He (Kirk) has worked very hard to explain his position."
This blog has always been more about politics than policy, so while others seem very interested in the debate over whether Congressman Mark Kirk can lure conservatives to his side in the primary based on his ideology, I wanted to remind everyone that a critical component of this campaign is going to be raising enough money to compete with the Democrats in the general election.
So far, it seems clear that Mark Kirk is the only Republican candidate that has any hope of raising the probably $20 million that it will take to be competitive in this race. The Q3 cutoff date for raising funds (September 30th) is coming up awfully fast, and it will be very telling as to what Kirk's GOP competitors will report on the filing deadline October 15th.
So far, from what I can tell from the FEC website (although it can be hard to navigate and I'm never 100% certain I'm interpreting it right), no other GOP candidates had raised enough money ($5,000) to have to report to the FEC as of Q2. While I suspect many of Kirk's competitors will have raised enough pittance to at least file a report, I will be shocked if anyone comes even close to the 7 figures that Kirk will no doubt be reporting.
It's a simple fact that it takes money to compete in politics and get your name and message out. Unless one or more of Kirk's competitors starts raising some serious dough, it's not hard to see where this primary race is headed.