The GOP race to succeed outgoing Congressman Mark Kirk (who is running for the U.S. Senate) in Illinois' 10th Congressional District has been quite a roller-coaster ride, with candidates jockeying for position, money and support.
Some, like Bill Cadigan and Patricia Bird, have dropped out altogether, and some, like Dr. Arie Friedman, have come on surprisingly strong from seemingly out of nowhere.
Businessman Dick Green, who basically announced for the race even before Congressman Kirk decided to run for the U.S. Senate instead of a sixth term in Congress, seems to have been somewhat invisible on the campaign trail, but is now papering households with direct mail (TA got THREE on Saturday alone, although I think that was a timing error and Team Green meant for them to arrive over a period of days). "This race is far from over," Green told Team America the other evening in a chat on Facebook.
But, frankly, the race seems to have been boiling down for some time now between two front-running candidates, State Representative Beth Coulson, and businessman Bob Dold. Coulson recently got a strong endorsement from the Daily Herald, and also from the Pioneer Press, but today the tables were turned a bit, as Bob Dold got the upper hand with the Chicago Tribune endorsement, likely the most important of the three newspapers mentioned.
Coulson got an honorable mention:
We greatly admire state Rep. Beth Coulson, the Glenview Republican who has the endorsements of Porter and former Gov. Jim Edgar. We give her credit for her solid work in Springfield on health care.
But Dold came away with the top prize:
We think, though, that Republicans have an even better candidate: Kenilworth businessman Robert Dold, who is making his first run for office.
Dold served as an investigative counsel for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, has an MBA from Northwestern and runs a small business. Congress needs more people who genuinely understand what it takes to put people to work — and how government puts up roadblocks to employment. Dold makes a convincing argument that he does.
He's not a political neophyte: He has been active in local and national Republican politics for years. But he is making his first run for office and he would bring a fresh, common-sense perspective to government. Dold is endorsed.
If anyone cares, the Tribune picked State Rep. Julie Hamos over two-time loser Dan Seals. But, at least we can take comfort that the Tribune has paid attention to one drum we have been beating, that Dan Seals seems to care little about his community, except perhaps when he's running for office:
Wilmette business consultant Dan Seals is making his third run for the seat. We endorsed Seals in his two previous primary campaigns (but supported Kirk in the general elections). We like Seals, but we also hear 10th District residents asking why he hasn't been more involved in community efforts in the district. His primary focus seems to have been on asking for their votes. Our endorsement goes to state Rep. Julie Hamos of Wilmette. She has a fine record on ethics reform, domestic violence laws and early childhood education. She patiently and quite skillfully engineered new law that shored up the finances and instituted critical pension reforms for Chicago-area mass transit.
As one commentor recently queried, we have not had anyone release any polling data for quite some time, nor has anyone released any Q4 fundraising results. So, it's not clear how this all is playing with the electorate.
Will newspaper endorsements (which are essentially split) make the case for either Dold or Coulson? Will Dick Green's carpetbombing direct mail strategy for the 10th District win the day or just annoy 10th District environmentalists with the waste of paper? Will Arie Friedman come in with enough votes to encourage him to remain involved in politics?
These questions and more will be answered in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned...