I held off for quite a while in deciding whether or not to make an endorsement of this blog as to the Tenth Congressional District race for someone to step into the shoes of outgoing Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate.
One big reason was that, as the premier place for online discussion about the merits and detriments of the individual candidates for the GOP nomination for IL-10, I felt that the discussion would be freer and seem less directed if I didn't pick a side. (If you have been following my thoughts on the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, you can see how my admitted bias comes through in my unabashed and totally committed support for Mark Kirk over his GOP opponents, even my law school classmate Patrick Hughes.) Given the importance of this seat to the GOP, and being a believer (in most cases) of the power of a primary to test and battle-harden primary candidates to (theoretically) produce the best man/woman to compete against the Dems in the general election, I held out for a long while so that this blog could be a forum for free discussion about the candidates -- and I think over the past few months, we've left few, if any, issues unaddressed.
Now that we're almost to the finish line, however, I've decided to take a position and put the official Team America stamp of approval on one of the several fine candidates who are making their bid for the nomination. While I believe that many of the candidates, including Bob Dold, Arie Friedman and Dick Green are all talented, committed Republicans, it's really Beth Coulson who I think is the obvious choice in the GOP primary.
I think Beth's credentials and record of public service pretty much speak for themselves, and I don't really want to rehash those here lest they start to sound like a list of bulleted talking points I read off a Coulson campaign flier. It's enough to say that she is the only candidate with an established record of serving the public and dedicating herself to improving the quality of life for her constituents. She is one of the most hardworking politicians that I've come to know in the course of this election cycle.
The thing that really sealed the deal for me over the course of the last months, and even weeks, of this election, is how she's conducted herself as a candidate. She's simply an honest, genuine, very humble person, and that really comes out in her campaign style. I have seen her attend numerous events for other candidates at which she came to show support for the GOP and the honored candidate, but avoided attracting attention to herself (some have criticized her for not being a more "aggressive" campaigner in that respect, but that's not who she is).
She has also avoided the negative rhetoric of her opponents, which in the last few weeks has become increasingly shrill. It's perfectly fair to attack someone on their record if you don't agree with them. But I find that I don't like the increasingly negative tone and venomous way these "comparisons" are being made. (The old adage about being able to disagree without being disagreeable has been largely cast aside by some of the candidates, it seems).
As I've said often over the years, the voters in IL-10 are, for the most part, highly educated, intelligent and generally like to think of themselves as independent, notwithstanding any party affiliation they may claim overall. Lots of ticket-splitters, and lots of people that liked Mark Kirk's mantra of "vote for the person, not the party," if I recall that one correctly. I don't think voters in the 10th are going to react well to the negativity that I've seen on the trail and arriving in my mailbox. Beth Coulson has taken the high road and stayed above all that.
Finally, I think Beth is the best fit for this district to take on the Dem nominee (and it's not clear at all right now if it will be Julie Hamos or Dan Seals) in November. Beth's opponents have ran to her right, trying to capture the conservative vote, but Beth has stayed true to her principles and ideals, even knowing that they may not be popular with every single Republican. Much as I think a hard-core idealogue can't win overall in Illinois (which is why Mark Kirk's GOP opponents are unelectable against Alexi Giannoulias), a fire-breathing right-winger can't win in IL-10. Not all of Beth's GOP primary opponents fit that description, but their tacts to the right in the course of the campaign cast serious doubt on their abiliy to appeal to a broader base of voters in November, which is necessary to win in this District. That was the secret to Mark Kirk's success, and there is only one candidate in this race that's like Mark Kirk.
So, for TA, the choice is clear: Beth Coulson to accede to Mark Kirk's seat in Congress for the 10th District seat. I hope you'll join me in voting for her on Tuesday.