Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Running Out for Q4 Fundraising

Now that Christmas is past, and the New Year is almost upon us, the next thing we can look forward to is the reporting of this past quarter's fundraising results. Two races that we are especially interested in, of course, are the U.S. Senate race and the IL-10 race to succeed Congressman Mark Kirk.

In the Senate battle, Dem Alexi Giannoulias was last quarter's fundraising champion on the Dem side, but has been spending money like water to fend off a strong challenge from former U.S. Attorney David Hoffman. While I have little doubt that Alexi had another strong quarter (he can always generate the cash, it seems), I'm more interested to see if Hoffman raised any money of his own, and even more interested to see how much they each spend trying to trash each other. Of course, the heat will get turned up even more this next month, but we really won't know much about the post-Q4 numbers until after the primary is over and the vote is in.

On the GOP side, we expect Congressman Mark Kirk to have another huge fundraising quarter. I am quite confident that none of his competitors will even come close.

The other race that will be interesting to watch is IL-10, where Seals vs. Hamos and the posse of GOP contenders will be spending every dime they have to get over the finish line in February.

Any predictions for what the Q4 results will reveal?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Andy Martin On The Air

For those that have been asking the question, 'just who the heck is Andy Martin,' and why does he have it in for Mark Kirk, this audio of a radio interview of Martin may answer some of your questions.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Andy Martin Inadvertantly Assists Mark Kirk's Campaign (UPDATED)

I'm still on vacation and Mrs. TA refused to let me bring my laptop, so I can't provide any links, but TA readers probably have learned by now that perrenial candidate and muckraker Andy Martin is trying to make waves by airing radio ads proclaiming a rumor that has long circulated among detractors of Congressman Mark Kirk, namely, that he is a homosexual. The rumor itself, though unfounded as far as TA knows, is nothing new. Believe me, if I had a dollar for every time someone Googled something like "mark kirk gay" and ended up hitting TA, I'd have a nice retirement fund. In any case, since I'm updating my blog from my Blackberry, I can't provide any links.

Suffice it to say, Martin is being widely denounced for trying to leverage such unworthy tripe as a legitimate campaign issue. Even Patrick Hughes has denounced Martin's tactics. But, what I wanted to check in with everyone to point out is that Martin has inadvertantly done Mark a favor by raising this now, plenty of time before the primary, and more importantly, before the general election. If you thought the DSCC wasn't going to try to leverage this in some way, you're not too swift, as my fifth-grade teacher used to say. By bringing this up now, and in such an ugly way, Martin has set it up so that every Republican candidate that aspires to legitimacy must denounce any association with such garbage, and it also effectively removes the issue from the Dems backroom whisper campaign.

Well done, Andy, even though you weren't planning on giving Mark a boost. More on this when I return.

UPDATED 12/29/09 2:30 p.m.: I'm back home now, but I'm a bit busy, so we will do more of an update later. But for now, I wanted to note that Rich Miller over at Capitol Fax Blog appears to be agreeing with me that the fact that this whole issue was brought up by Andy Martin gives Kirk invaluable political coverage just because it was brought up by Andy Martin:

Imagine, for a moment, that a vicious rumor has been circulating about you for years. Pretty much everyone in politics has heard it at one time or another. Many don’t believe it, but it’s still out there and, like a zombie, refuses to die.

Well, what better way to have to confront it and flatly deny it than when a perennial and often outrageous candidate whom the entire political/media establishment views as a complete leper airs out the rumor via a tiny radio buy during the zero awareness zone between Christmas and New Year’s Eve? [snip] From here on out, if anybody ever brings up this rumor again, Kirk and the media can just associate that future comment with the “discredited” Andy Martin. Case closed.

Rich also places blame on the two 'sources' cited by Martin in the radio ad:

The fact is that [Jack] Roeser and [Raymond] True got busted outside their little ultra-conservative comfort zones. And instead of owning up, they ran away from their own comments. That was probably predictable. But what bothers me far more is that nobody in the media has yet bothered to press Roeser and True to come clean. After all, without those comments, Martin couldn’t have run that radio ad. They are as responsible as he is.

Roeser and True are both longtime Illinois political players. They regularly make endorsements and contribute money to campaigns, whether directly or through their respective organizations. So while we’re all publicly bemoaning Andy Martin’s little ad, perhaps we should also be focusing on the source of this hateful nonsense - and on the candidates those two guys support.

Rich doesn't mention it specifically, but Roser and True both support conservative candidate Patrick Hughes.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all those who are celebrating today!

Take a break and enjoy some time with your families for a few days. All the other blogs seem to be doing the same, so we'll be back in a few.

We'll need some time off to get ready for this next month!

Peace, TA

Monday, December 21, 2009

Get Ready for the Campaign Deluge

I spent a relatively politics-free weekend (nice for a change), but in the back of my mind, I was thinking with a sense of morbid curiosity about what we're about to experience starting in about two weeks, given that the Illinois primary is so ridiculously early (Feb. 2nd).

After the first of the year, we're going to have little over 30 days for dozens and dozens of candidates all vying for public office to make themselves and their positions known to voters. Through radio, TV, direct mail, social networking, and just about every other medium you can think of (old-fashioned billboards, anyone?), we are all going to be inundated with the smiling faces of these clean-cut, American-as-apple-pie candidates trying to worm their way into your hearts and living rooms to get you to come out and "VOTE!" Of course, some of those pictures may be of scowling candidates and nasty messages if the ads are negative, which many of them will be. Just look at the stuff being put out by Alexi Giannouias and David Hoffman as they go toe-to-toe for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate.

Of course, many candidates are not waiting for the beginning of the new year to push their message (I've already been carpet-bombed by the Bob Dold campaign with one-page mailers in my mailbox), but conventional wisdom holds that average voters are simply not going to be engaged until after we get past New Year's Day.

The conundrum- save everything you have for when the voters will start paying attention (but risked being drowned out by the torrent of mailings and evening news ads) or start early and spend a significant amount of your war chest now, when the voters might not be focused, but will be less inundated. ???


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bob Dold Goes Up on TV in IL-10 GOP Primary (UPDATED x2)

Looks like Bob Dold is the first GOP candidate to announce a network TV ad. The ad will begin running today on Fox News. The commercial was produced by Ken Kurson of Jamestown Associates. It's not clear how much Dold is spending nor how often this will run, but I've pinged the Dold campaign to find out. The Chicago media market, of course, is extremely expensive.

(UPDATED 1:40 p.m.) I just called Beth Coulson's campaign to get their reaction, and while they say they fully plan to be up on TV and will have plenty of resources, they would not tell me when or how big they will hit the airwaves.

(UPDATED x2: 2:00 p.m.) Here's an article from The Hill.

From a Dold press release:

Dold For Congress Launches First Television Ad

The campaign of Republican Robert Dold, Congressional candidate for Illinois’ 10th District, launched their first television ad Thursday. The 30-second spot, called “Economy,” makes the case for why Dold is the clear choice to represent the 10th District of Illinois in Congress. The television ad will air during primetime on the top-rated cable stations.

The ad can be viewed at:

“I’ve been running a grassroots campaign across the 10th District in an effort to reach out to voters and spread my message of bringing small business common sense to Washington, Dold said. He continued, “The television ad will supplement our campaign by reaching a larger part of the voting population.”

Dold is the only candidate who has been able to garner strong grassroots support throughout the district, where he has won the endorsements of the New Trier, Elk Grove and Vernon Township Republican Organizations.


Cindy Hebda Easily Survives Dem Ballot Challenge in 59th Legislative District in 7-1 Decision

Vernon Hills Trustee Cindy Hebda, who is running for the GOP nomination in the 59th Legislative District, today easily survived a challenge to her petitions that was filed by the Madigan Democrats (specifically Steven Rosenzweig, who is chairman of the Vernon Township Democrats).

We first noted this back in November, and criticized the Dems for interfering in a GOP primary. So, we are pleased that the Dem fishing expedition has been soundly rejected by the State Board of Elections. In fact, although the hearing officer had recommended that Hebda be kicked off the ballot, apparently the SBE counsel disagreed, and the vote today by the SBE itself (which is split 4-4 among Dems and Republicans) voted an astounding 7-1 in favor of keeping Hebda on the ballot.

This sets up a three-way primary battle between Hebda, second-time candidate attorney Dan Sugrue, and businessman Mohan Manian.

The spot is the next-best thing to an open seat and is a pick-up opportunity for the GOP, since the current incumbent, Carol Sente, was appointed to the office to fill the shoes left by retiring State Rep. Kathy Ryg. Sente is facing a stiff primary challenge from Buffalo Grove Mayor Elliot Hartstein.

So, campers, this is definitely shaping up to be one to watch. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bill Cadigan Out of IL-10 GOP Primary (UPDATED)

Our friends at Illinois Review are reporting that Winnetka attorney (and former staffer for retired Congressman John Porter) Bill Cadigan is withdrawing from the IL-10 race.

We first profiled Bill Cadigan way back here. Bill is apparently leaving due to insufficient financial resources, which is a shame, as everyone that met Bill seems to agree that he is a solid candidate and good material--definitely with the potential to be a rising star in the IL GOP if he chooses to remain in politics.

Good luck, Bill, and we hope you will continue to stay involved.

I don't know if Cadigan intends to specifically throw his support behind any other candidate, but we'll see. Conventional wisdom would suggest that Cadigan's withdrawl and a thinning field will help the remaining male candidates (Bob Dold, Arie Friedman, Dick Green, and Paul Hamann) against State Rep. Beth Coulson, the only remaining female GOP contender.

/09 7:00 a.m.: Mick Zawislak of the Daily Herald has an article on Cadigan's withdrawal from the IL-10 race. Per Mick:

Cadigan said he hasn't decided which of the other candidates he may support.

"I'm withdrawing from the race, not withdrawing from the candidates and causes I think will move the country ahead," he said.

Berkowitz of Public Affairs also notes Cadigan's surprise move, and takes the opportunity to note the up-and-coming candidacy of pediatric physician and veteran navy helicopter pilot Arie Friedman.

has been making a bit of a splash around the Republican primary circuit, but his biggest enemy is time. Since Friedman got in late, we haven't had a chance to profile him here, but we'll try to do so soon.

Finally, Lynn Stiefel of the Pioneer
Press has been doing a series of profile articles on the IL-10 candidates on both sides. Read here profile on State Rep Beth Coulson here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Democrats Lament: Mark Kirk's Primary Lead "Nearly Insurmountable"

As we reported late Sunday, recent polling by the Chicago Tribune of 600 likely Republican primary voters showed Mark Kirk with a huge lead over the other GOP primary contenders in the U.S. Senate race -- Kirk with 41% compared to 13% for all other candidates combined. No one, not even Patrick Hughes (who has claimed to be the only candidate that can beat Kirk) broke more than 3%.

With less than two months left, and no appreciable resources among the other candidates, compared to Kirk's millions in campaign funds, most other news sources, even Democratic ones, seem to agree that this is pretty much over... probably to their dismay, as I think most on the left would have relished the opportunity to run against a political unknown with polarized political views, rather than the much more moderate and experienced Kirk. Daily Kos lamented that Mark Kirk's lead is "nearly insurmountable" over Patrick Hughes "the supposed darling of the tea-party right," while the Swing State Project blog said:

For the GOP, the most notable number may be that Patrick Hughes, who's gotten all the buzz as the guy behind whom all the right-wingers are coalescing, is actually getting nowhere at all. Hughes is at 3, tied with virtually unknown Kathleen Thomas (a former school board member from Springfield).

WGN News had a story on the race yesterday. The sound quality on this clip isn't the best, and when I first heard it, I thought the announcer said "5'2" Congressman Mark Kirk is miles in front of the primary Republican pack." I thought, Mark's not a tall man, but surely he's not just 5'2". Of course, the announcer actually said "five term" Congressman Mark Kirk, but that made me do an initial double-take. ;-)

Meanwhile, Pat Hughes and Mark Kirk both appeared in front of the Tribune editorial Board yesterday. The article, by Rick Pearson of the Tribune, was not overly detailed, but you could tell that Pat, it seems, came across as a very angry man, who is fighting a battle based on what he perceives as party purity. Kirk, on the other hand, seeks to be the best representative for the people of Illinois, even if that means (heresy!) reaching out to independents and some reasonable Democrats (after all, there must be some).

"Are we going to be the party of the principles of Ronald Reagan, which is limited government, low taxes and our traditional social values and a strong national defense? Or are we going to be the party of Arlen Specter and Olympia Snowe and the policies of Barack Obama?" Hughes said. Specter is a Pennsylvania Republican senator turned Democrat, and Snowe is a Republican senator from Maine who often votes with Democrats.

But Kirk maintained he would do a better job for the state by "building a coalition of Republicans, independents and some Democrats" concerned about debt, increasing taxes and regulation. Kirk said Republicans should want someone "who not just wins the primary ... (but) actually goes on and wins the general election" for the first time since Sen. Peter Fitzgerald in 1998.

Well, unfortunately here is another example of political inexperience at work. One way to definitely NOT get a favorable view from an editorial board (especially the Trib) is to come across as an angry party zealot who is more concerned with the doctrine of his political party than helping the citizens of Illinois. It's nice that Pat feels very passionately about his mission to help reform the Republican party into whatever he thinks it should be, but a newspaper board, much like the common citizen of Illinois, isn't going to give a rat's ass about how pure a party soldier you are. They want to know what you will DO to address issues like jobs, Iran, health care reform, nuclear weapons, etc., etc.

But if you want to talk about being a good Republican, I was thinking this morning about all of the work and support that Kirk has done over the years, which we have witnessed firsthand here in Lake County, in supporting other Republican candidates (yes, even very conservative ones like Dan Sugrue) and carrying the water for the elephant, as we like to say. As far as I know, Pat Hughes only recently discovered what he sees as an opportunity in politics, and did not spend the last 10 years knocking on doors, attending political rallies, fighting for just causes, and trying to make a positive difference for the people of the state. That would be Mark Kirk, my friends.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Congressman Mark Kirk Holds Commanding Lead in GOP Primary Poll for U.S. Senate; Giannoulias Continues As Dem Front-Runner

The Chicago Tribune has released a poll showing fifth term Congressman Mark Kirk of the 10th District with a commanding lead over all other GOP candidates in the race for U.S. Senate. The new poll, which was taken between Dec. 2 through Dec. 8 of 600 likely Republican primary voters, shows Kirk with 41%, with his nearest challengers, Kathleen Thomas of Springfield and Patrick Hughes of Hinsdale, both at only 3%. Bringing up the rear are John Arrington and Andy Martin, each with 2%, and Donald Lowry and Robert Zadek, each with 1%, with 1% voting for 'someone else.' 46% are undecided.

The Trib poll also shows State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias with a good lead (31%) over his nearest opponents, Cheryle Jackson (17%) and David Hoffman (9%), but that race is considerably tighter than the GOP primary.

Interestingly, my law school chum Pat Hughes has been campaigning as the only candidate that can beat Kirk in the primary, but these results don't seem to back up that contention--either in terms of making this a race, or even standing out from the pack of also-rans. Kathleen Thomas, an unknown school board member from Springfield, appears to be doing at least as well. But both are in the basement compared to Kirk.

Pat put a lot of effort into wooing the endorsement of Senator Jim DeMint of the Senate Conservatives Fund but, thus far, DeMint has not endorsed. An article in the American Spectator suggested that DeMint had given up on Hughes, but DeMint's camp stated that he is still "monitoring" the race and hasn't yet decided whether to bet on Hughes. Well, given these poll results, that bet just became a bit more of a long-shot.

Even if a DeMint endorsement eventually came through for Hughes, Kirk has had the support of many other conservative Republican leaders for some time (Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority leader, who is as conservative as DeMint, comes to mind), and most commentators seem to agree that Kirk's lead is safe. Pat has been covering the state trying to garner grassroots endorsements, but also seems to be being beaten handily in the ground war as well (at the last count, Kirk had 15 township endorsements, Pat had 4).

DeMint says "We believe it is too early to count Hughes out." Um, well, with less than 60 days to go before the primary, and with the holidays mixed in, there's very little time for "monitoring" of this race before throwing in or not; it's been full speed ahead for some time now, and if the numbers haven't moved out of the cellar for Kirk's opponents (Hughes or anyone else), it's not likely they will--certainly not in time to make any difference.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Libertyville Township Endorses Mark Kirk, Dan Sugrue, Others, In Marathon Endorsement Session

I was very proud today to participate in the Libertyville Township GOP endorsement session, led by longtime Township Chairman John Emerson, a Libertyville attorney. Emerson orchestrated an impressive event, which started before 9:00 a.m. and did not wrap up until 5:00 p.m. We knew we were in for a bit of a marathon session given that candidates in most of the races got an amazing 10 minutes each to talk and answer questions (a handful of the downballot races like comptroller ended up getting 5 minutes each). In total, by my count, we heard from 35 candidates over the course of the day, so you can understand why it took a while.

As often happens, some segments ran a bit long, so we ended up about an hour and a half over the scheduled time for the day, but every one of the committeemen (as well as the candidates) whom I spoke with was glad of the opportunity to hear more from the candidates than the standard 2 or 3 minutes that most townships allow due to time constraints. I think it speaks a lot of the commitment of our township committeemen that they were willing to sacrifice an entire day to give our GOP candidates a full hearing and make a decision based on as much information as we could obtain.

I also have to say that I was really, truly impressed with the quality of the candidates who presented themselves today. Many of them I knew, but some, like Lt. Governor candidates Jason Plummer and Brad Cole, Comptroller candidates William Kelly and Jim Dodge, U.S. Senate candidate John Arrington, and 10th Congressional District candidate Arie Friedman, were impressive candidates who I had never met or had much exposure to. Many of these candidates had compelling personal stories and great ideas. And, I have to say, with only a very few exceptions, I really think that the crop of GOP candidates we are fielding are people of great intelligence, integrity and vision.

Simply put, the GOP candidates for Illinois offices get it. They realize that the state has been mortgaged almost to the point of bankruptcy by former Governor Blagojevich and the rest of the Democratic party, and it has reached a crisis situation. The constant refrain of the day was 'jobs, jobs, jobs,' followed closely by clamping down on spending, reforming the state pension plans, and reducing the deficit. The rest of the state is starting to realize the disaster brought on by years of one-party rule, and the GOP as a whole is buzzing with excitement at the prospect of many Republican victories in November 2010. But, they all realize that a GOP landslide is not just going to fall into our laps, no matter how favorable the political climate may be.

In any case, here's the run-down of the endorsements for Libertyville township. Note that where no candidate got at least 60% of the vote after two rounds of voting, no endorsement was made, but in certain cases, the top three voter-getters were noted. I should say that in races where there was no endorsement, that certainly does not mean that no candidate merited the endorsement; quite the opposite, in fact, as it really means that many of the candidates are so good, it was simply too hard to pick among them to get a 60% majority for any one candidate.

First up is Congressman Mark Kirk, who won the endorsement for U.S. Senate in the first round of voting (I also heard that he won Maine Township today, something like 48-1). Mark covered a number of topics, from policy to politics, and as usual, impressed the committeemen with his experience and deep grasp of foreign policy. An honorable TA mention goes to my friend Patrick Hughes, who is dipping his toes into his first political race. From what I saw this morning, Pat has matured a lot as a candidate, and even deftly handled the policy question on Iran that I threw at him. If it wasn't for the fact that Pat was running against Mark Kirk, I'd probably support him, but there are very few people who can really hold a candle to Mark Kirk, and Pat simply isn't there yet. I look forward to great things from Pat if he stays involved in politics, but the choice this morning was clearly Mark Kirk as the best candidate, and the best hope for retaking this U.S. Senate seat.

In the Governor's race, there was a second round of voting but still no clear 60% winner. Thus, the top vote-getters, in order of the greatest number of votes, was former Attorney General Jim Ryan, political consultant Dan Proft, and DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom.

For Lt. Governor, State Senator Matt Murphy was endorsed after a second round of voting.

In the 8th Congressional District, Long Grove Mayor Maria Rodriguez was endorsed after a second round.

In the 10th Congressional District, there was no 60% winner after two rounds of voting, and the top vote-getters were State Rep. Beth Coulson, businessman Bob Dold, and veteran navy pilot and physician Arie Friedman.

For Comptroller, Jim Dodge was endorsed (note the correction from earlier where we erroneoulsy reported that there was no endorsement).

Finally, in the 59th District, our favorite attorney Dan Sugrue won the first round vote for the endorsement (Sugrue was also endorsed by Vernon Township last Monday night).

Appellate Court Justices Mary Schostok and Ann Jorgenson were also endorsed.

Yawn. Time for a nap now.

12/13.09 ALSO- I was remiss in not noting that per our tradition in Libertyville, all non-contested primary candidates were endorsed as a pro-forma matter, which include Sheriff Mark Curran, County Clerk Willard Helander, Treasurer Bob Skidmore, Superintendent of Schools Roycealee Wood, and Judge Wally Dunn.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Congressman Kirk Identifies Eleven-Worst 111th Congressional Spending Projects (UPDATED)

Not much time to write this morning, but I wanted to call everyone's attention to a new list compiled by Congressmen Mark Kirk of our own 10th District and Tom Price, of Roswell, Georgia, which adds up about 16 billion dollars of utterly stupid and/or wasteful projects that were approved by this Congress.

We'll have more on this later.

UPDATED: Here's some Fox News video:

ALSO- looks like the race for the 59th state legislative district is heating up on the Dem side, as the Daily Herald's Animal Farm blog is reporting that Buffalo Grove Mayor Elliot Hartstein, who is running against appointed incumbent Carol Sente (the favorite of Michael Madigan) is picking up substantial support from labor interests.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

State Rep. Beth Coulson Gets High-Powered Endorsement from Former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar

Former Illinois Governors that aren't in the slammer or headed there seem to be in short supply nowadays, but one notable exception is Jim Edgar, who enjoys a pretty much untarnished brand and reputation, especially among Republicans who remember better days in this state. Edgar has now officially come out for State Rep. Beth Coulson in the race to succeed Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate. Coulson's camp just now issued this press release:


(December 9) - Today, former two-term Republican Governor Jim Edgar announced his endorsement of Elizabeth Coulson for Congress in the 10thCongressional District.

"As governor, I worked closely with Beth Coulson," said Edgar. "I find her to be a person of tremendous talent, integrity and compassion. The same qualities that have made her an effective state legislator will make her an excellent member of Congress. The 10th District will be well served by electing Beth Coulson to Congress."

Edgar cited Coulson's experience as a State Representative, in the State Legislature she worked towards property tax relief and crafting the Patient's Bill of Rights health care legislation, as reasons to support Coulson's campaign. The 10th District is a critical race for the party in 2010, Edgar's endorsement underscores Coulson's ability to win the race in November for the Republicans. Her policy vision includes combating the federal government takeover of health care, fighting against destructive cap-and-trade taxation, and to extend tax relief for 10th district families and businesses to spur economic growth.

"I am honored and humbled by Governor Edgar's endorsement," said Coulson. "Governor Edgar's tenure was a model in fiscal responsibility, something we need to replicate at the federal level by resisting the temptation to spend money we do not have. We need to send a fiscal conservative to Congress with the policy knowledge and legislative experience to reign in runaway federal spending."

"I will serve our community in Congress the same way I did in state government which is by being honest, by being responsive to my constituents and by voting my district," Coulson added.

Gov. Edgar's endorsement follows on the heels of endorsements Coulson has received from the majority of Illinois Congressional Republicans - Reps. Judy Biggert, Timothy Johnson, Aaron Schock and John Shimkus - as well as virtually every Republican member of the Illinois General Assembly - including leaders State Rep. Tom Cross and State Sen. Chris Radogno - and local elected officials and civic leaders in the 10thCongressional District.


Waukegan and Shields Townships Host IL-10 GOP Debate Tonight

I am remiss in not plugging this event earlier, but a great opportunity to meet the GOP candidates for IL-10 is being hosted by the Waukegan and Shields Township Republican Organizations. The event will begin at 7:00 at the Greenbelt Cultural Center, 1215 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL.

The event is open to all interested voters. There is no admission fee, but donations to PADS Crisis Center will be accepted. Requested items from PADS include: disposable razors, deodorant, dry laundry soap, reams of 20# paper, postage stamps, and new socks.

For more information, please contact David Pfeifer at 847.309.5573 or email WaukeganGOP

I also wanted to pass along an open letter from my friend David Barkhausen, who is a Lake Bluff Trustee, and happens to be a Beth Coulson fan, but urges all interested voters to attend the event regardless of who your favorite candidate is. If you have not yet made up your mind, all the more reason for you to attend so you can make an informed decision:

Hi, Everyone –

This is to inform some of you, and remind others, of the 10th District Republican Congressional candidates forum taking place tonight (from 7:00 to 8:30) just up Green Bay Road at the Green Belt Forest Preserve “Cultural Center”. This is a very roomy and attractive meeting facility in what, in better weather, is also a very nice forest preserve site. This forum is hosted by the Waukegan Township Republican Organization with some assistance from our Shields Republican group.

This Congressional contest, of course, is the primary contest to replace Mark Kirk, as Mark is now running in the primary for the U.S. Senate.

There are at least five good and serious candidates in the race – State Representative Beth Coulson from Glenview, businessmen Bob Dold and Dick Green and attorney Bill Cadigan all from the New Trier area, and Dr. Ari Friedman from Highland Park. While Beth, a highly respected legislator who has repeatedly been re-elected in a heavily Democrat-leaning district, is my preference from the standpoints of both qualifications and electability, these are all very good and qualified candidates who deserve consideration and whom we want to stay involved in Republican politics regardless of the outcome of this race.

Given the ridiculously early primary date of February 2nd (first Tuesday in February) set by the Democrats in the Legislature to help Pres. Obama in the Illinois primary two years ago (and not changed back to March thereafter), the election will be nearly upon us when the holiday season ends.

Furthermore, there is one additional opportunity to vote early this year. In addition to “Early Voting” that begins (at Lake Forest City Hall) the Monday three weeks before primary election day (January 11th), voters now also have the option of requesting a ballot by mail from the county clerk’s office for any reason up to 40 days before the election. That means that the voting process can begin as early as Christmas Eve – in two and a half weeks!!

For those of us who are precinct committeemen and committeemen candidates, that means we need to be getting the word out early and more than once about all candidates in these races (this race, the governor’s race, etc.) and the opportunities to vote early. Requesting a ballot by mail will be especially important for family members who will just be home for the holidays. I will be glad to help with the drafting of letters to voters in our precincts.

Anyway, I hope to see you tonight. The Green Belt Forest Preserve Cultural Center is easy to reach and to find. It’s on the east side of Green Bay between the stoplights at 14th street (Pulaski Drive) on the south and 10th street on the north. It’s no more than a 5 minute drive north of the 176-Green Bay Road intersection.

Many thanks for your interest. Please forward this to others who might be interested.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dan Sugrue Nabs Vernon Township GOP Endorsement for 59th District; Dold Wins Vernon's IL-10 Endorsement (UPDATED)

GOP candidate and attorney Dan Sugrue of Green Oaks handily won the endorsement of the Vernon Township GOP organization last night.

The vote was 11-2-1, with two votes going to Vernon Hills Trustee Cindy Hebda, and one vote going to Mohan Manian.

Hebda is being backed by Vernon Hills mayor Roger Byrne and State Representative Ed Sullivan Jr., among others, but is battling a petition challenge brought against her by the Democrats. The hearing officer's decision went against Hebda, and the State Board of Elections is expected to rule this week.

While this blog endorses Sugrue, Hebda is a worthy candidate, and the Dems ought to butt out of the Republican primary, IMHO. Let the Republican primary voters decide who their candidate should be, thank you.

Other Vernon Township endorsements include Adam Andrzejewski for governor (no endorsement for Lt. Governor, but it was between White and Murphy); Bob Dold for 10th Congressional District, Dodge for Comptroller, and Patrick Hughes for U.S. Senate.

I understand that Hughes just barely got 60% (required for the endorsement) in a contentious voting session, and the Vernon Township Chairman, Don Castella, is very conservative and a declared Hughes supporter, so the shock here is that Hughes struggled that much to win the endorsement. Hughes won't do so well in neighboring Libertyville Township's endorsements this coming weekend, if I guess correctly (not to mention that I have a vote in that one...)

UPDATED: Don Castella, Vernon Township Chairman, sent me a press release that sets forth all of the endorsements from the Vernon endorsement session last night. But I take issue with Don's suggestion that Kirk was surprised by the endorsement of his opponent, Pat Hughes. I think Kirk thought his chances in Vernon with Castella running the show were slim, so the real surprise was that it took Hughes three rounds of votes to get the endorsement, which he got by a bare minimum margin. The way the press release reads ("Kirk lost the Senate endorsement outright") makes it sound to me like Kirk got crushed on the first vote. Not so.

Complete Vernon Township Endorsement Session Results

Lincolnshire, IL Dec 8, 2009: Vernon Township's Monday evening GOP endorsement session surprised local incumbents Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL 10) and IL State Senator Matt Murphy (R-27), who both failed to garner the nod in their respective state-wide races for US Senate and Lt. Governor. Kirk lost the US Senate endorsement outright to Hinsdale Businessman Patrick Hughes who grabbed the Vernon endorsement with 64.3% of the committeeman vote. Senator Matt Murphy finished ahead of Pastor Randy White in the Vernon Lt. Governor endorsement voting with 57.1%, but failed to garner the requisite 60% for the endorsement.

Businessman Robert Dold scored an impressive 85.7% -14.3% victory over second-place finisher State Rep. Beth Coulson in the IL Tenth Congressional District Vernon GOP endorsement race. No other candidate received a vote in this important contest.

In the GOP Governor endorsement contest, businessman outsider Adam Andrzejewski of Hinsdale, scored a first-round victory with 64.3% of the vote. State Senator Kirk Dillard and Dan Proft of Wheaton each garnered 14.3% of the Vernon vote for governor.

The only other gubernatorial candidate to receive votes was former Attorney General Jim Ryan, who got 7.2%. Bill Brady, Bob Schillerstrom, and Andy McKenna were all shut out.

In the other contested statewide race, Orland Park businessman, Jim Dodge, scored a first-round victory with 64.3% of the Vernon GOP endorsement vote for Illinois Comptroller.

TV personality William Kelly finished second with 21.4% and former Illinois Treasurer, Judy Baar Topinka, finished third with 14.3%.

Running unopposed, Attorney General candidate Steve Kim, Secretary of State candidate Robert Enriquez, and Treasurer candidate Dan Rutherford all received endorsements.

Second District Appellate Court Justice Ann Jorgenson sailed to a 100% - 0% endorsement shutout of challenger Kenneth Moy in her contested race for the Second District Appellate Court Vernon GOP endorsement.

Second District Appellate Court Justice Mary Schostok received 100% of the votes for the other Second District Appellate Court Vernon GOP endorsement.

Running unopposed, Lake County Clerk, Willard Helander, Lake County Treasurer, Robert Skidmore, Lake County Sheriff, Mark Curran, and Regional Superintendent of Schools, Roycealee Wood, all received endorsements.

Green Oaks attorney Dan Sugrue scored an easy endorsement victory in the Illinois 59th House District contest, garnering 82% of the Vernon GOP endorsement vote over Vernon Hills teacher, Cynthia Hebda, and Libertyville businessman, Mohan Manian, who each received 9%.

Running unopposed, State Representatives Ed Sullivan, Jr. (R-51) and Sidney Mathias (R-53) were also endorsed.

Running unopposed, 19th Circuit, 4th Sub-circuit Judge Wallace Dunn was endorsed.

Running unopposed, Lake County Board members Aaron Lawlor, Ann Maine, and Susan Loving Gravenhorst were all endorsed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Democrats Julie Hamos and Dan Seals Stake Out Their Positions in IL-10; But Who Can Forget Dan Seals and "The Side of Peace"

The Chicago Tribune's Clout Street blog has an in-depth look at the two top contenders for the Dem nomination for IL-10 to succeed Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate.

On the one hand, we have perennial candidate Dan Seals, who is now in his fifth (at least) year of running for this seat. TA has no knowledge of any other accomplishments Seals has achieved in those five years that would indicate why anyone would want to support him. I guess maybe Dan Seals is the Dem answer to GOP contender Patrick Hughes (who has never been elected to anything either), an "issues" candidate whose pitch is, 'vote for me because I promise I will think like you when I'm in office,' as opposed to, 'vote for me because I've shown by my deeds and experience (not just words) what I can do for you.'

Seals has positioned himself as the most anti-war candidate, coming out against Obama's surge plan, but given Obama's lack of previous support for Seals (Obama has never done anything more for Seals than be caught in one joint photo and cut a last minute radio ad that got no play), that's probably not much of a risk for him, unlike the position Alexi Giannoulias finds himself in.

Yet, Seals also wants us to believe that, although he's a peacenik (and who has lost his biggest issue since Iraq is now over), he would be the strongest supporter of Israel, even more so than his primary opponent Julie Hamos, who is Jewish and happens to be the daughter of Holocaust survivors.

Well, for anyone new to Dan Seals, you might want to recall the famous video (about 5 minutes in), in which, when asked what "side" you come down in the event of a conflict between Israel and Iran, he answered that "you come down on the side of peace." Oof.

Julie Hamos, on the other hand, thinks that the President made the right decision, especially with regard to setting a timetable for withdrawl, which rankles most Republicans, even those that think Obama made the right decision with respect to the Afghan surge.

The good news is that this war seems to be heating up quite nicely -- even Ellen of the Tenth has had to come in to try to rescue her hero, Dan, from Big Bad Julie. Good luck with that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Bob Dold States He's Against Transfer of Terror Suspects to Thomson Prison (UPDATED)

Contrary to a Chicago Tribune report that 10th Congressional candidate Robert "Bob" Dold had split with the viewpoint of Congressman Mark Kirk and did not oppose the White House plan (supported by Governor Pat Quinn and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin) to ship former Guantanamo Bay terrorist suspects to the Thomson Illinois prison, Dold sent out a press release today denying that such was his position.

Here's the Dold press release:

Dold: Keep Terrorists out of Illinois Prisons

Republican Robert Dold (R-10) for Congress, is staunchly opposed to the White House’s proposal to transfer terrorists housed at Guantanamo Bay to an Illinois prison.

“I’m opposed to closing Guantanamo Bay—the U.S. spent $200 million on the facility and many of its initial issues have been corrected,” Dold said. “I, in no way, support the transfer of terrorists to a prison in Illinois.”

Dold continued, “My concern is not about terrorists escaping the maximum security facility, but about them receiving medical treatment at the North Chicago Military VA hospital, which is in the 10th Congressional District. I’m also concerned that relatives or acquaintances who visit them in prison could potentially become a security threat to our community.”

My stance on this issue has been consistent since it came to light, and is posted on the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board questionnaire:


UPDATED: Backyard Conservative has a statement from 10th District candidate Dr. Arie Friedman (which appears to have been written before Dold sent out his press release above -- in fact, it may have helped prompt it, as you will see):

Arie Friedman stands firm against transferring GITMO prisoners to Illinois

Highland Park, IL - Candidate for Congress in the 10th District and former Naval Officer Arie Friedman today strongly rebuked his fellow candidates, Bob Dold and Dick Green, for telling the Chicago Tribune that housing jihadists in Illinois was not a problem. "I don't fear that they're going to escape from a maximum security, a super-max facility. That's not my concern," said Dold. "The choice to move prisoners to Illinois would be 'a reasonable approach to due process'" according to Green. Stated Friedman: "I am stunned and disappointed that my fellow Republicans can't see the bulls eye that will be placed on Chicago and the northern suburbs if Al-Qaida suspects are housed in Illinois. Take into account the large Jewish community and abundance of synagogues in the area - this would be a no-brainer target for Al-Qaida."

In an earlier statement Friedman expanded upon the issue: "Like Congressmen Manzullo and Kirk, I find it unacceptable for the federal government to bring these dangerous prisoners to our region. Additionally, I find it difficult to comprehend that our own governor would even consider the possibility that housing Gitmo prisoners in Illinois would represent a meaningful job creation opportunity. Bringing these enemy combatants to the region would not enhance our national interests or international standing. Rather, it would put the Thompson Correctional Center directly in the sights of terrorists the world over. Worse, the targeted communities would not be strictly limited to the immediate area around the prison. As far as the world is concerned, the Thompson prison is located in Chicagoland and all of us would be possible targets. Lastly, as a member of the Jewish community, I am surprised and disappointed that Governor Quinn does not understand that our synagogues and religious schools will be the specific targets of terrorists wanting to make an international statement. We do not need terrorists in the 10th District's backyard."

Alexi Giannoulias Sticks With Obama's Troop Surge Plan: A Down Payment On An Endorsement? (UPDATED x4)

As we noted a few days ago, the presumed front-runner for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate, current State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, has a problem coming up in his rear-view mirror, and his name is David Hoffman, former Asst. U.S. Attorney and recent Chicago Inspector General.

Just like GOP candidates must be wary of the right-wing of their own party, Dem candidates can't neglect their left-wing base, at least in the primary. President Obama's recent (and at least a good step in the right direction (UPDATED: Karl Rove seems to agree) decision to send his generals most of what they asked for to support the war in Afghanistan presents a problem for many fairly moderate Dems that road Obama's coattails into office, but now a face a choice between supporting their dear leader, or going it alone to please the left wing base of their party.

Today, Politico looks at this issue and notes that the conundrum has reached the U.S. Senate race as Alexi finds himself to the right of his two chief adversaries (and in general agreement with his presumed GOP rival, Congressman Mark Kirk):

In Illinois, former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman and Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson – two outsider candidates waging uphill bids in the battle for Obama’s old Senate seat – have staked out positions to the left of frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, the cash-flush state treasurer who supports the president’s plan.

What Politico doesn't note is that Alexi doesn't really have much choice here -- about the only way he's going to have a chance in the general election against Mark Kirk is to have the White House come in, and come in big.

Let's leave aside the well-known issue that Alexi was not the White House's first choice for this race, nothwithstanding Alexi's basketball relationship with the Prez. Per the New York Times a few days ago:

Mr. Axelrod concedes that he and Mr. Obama failed to persuade Attorney General Lisa Madigan to run for the Senate seat vacated by Mr. Obama. “She would have walked into the seat,” Mr. Axelrod says. White House qualms about the Democratic frontrunner, Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois treasurer, are self-evident, with worry that the Republican challenger, Representative Mark Kirk, will be needlessly formidable.

“The Blago saga will hang heavy over our politics, and that’s what Kirk’s banking on,” Mr. Axelrod says.

Well, Alexi's need to set up Obama's strong support later in the general election pretty much boxes him in to sinking or swimming with the President now.

Will this wedge issue be enough for Hoffman to pull it out? It's still too early to tell, even though there's basically only two months until the primary. But Obama's decision has handed Alexi his first big foreign policy decision, and he's come down on the side of his likely opponent -- Mark Kirk -- in the event he makes it to the general.

I still think Alexi's going to win (the primary). But his road just got a little tougher.

UPDATED 9:35 a.m.: Here's an AP article .

UPDATED x2 9:55 a.m.: Senator Dick Durbin doesn't know what to think. Better take a poll, pal, or wait until you see what it does to Alexi, I guess. Sheesh, you're not even up for election and you have about a zillion dollars in your campaign account. How about a little leadership on the issue? Or are you a little gunshy in the wake of your disastrous push of the Great Lakes Gitmo?

UPDATED x3 11:35 a.m.: Will the left even show up to the general mid-term election at this rate?

UPDATED x4 12:20 p.m.: Popular opinion appears to be solidifying that GOP contender Pat Hughes' bid to usurp Mark Kirk as the presumed GOP nominee for U.S. Senate has simply not gotten far enough, fast enough, to have any real chance of winning. It's a good thing, too, considering that Alexi is up with a new commercial and the comments over at Capitol Fax Blog suggest that it's a winner. Check it out. As they say downtown, you can't fight somebody with nobody, so it's good that Illinois is not Florida.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dick Green Spends Some (Green) in IL-10 Cable Ad Buy

CQ Politics is reporting that 10th Congressional District GOP hopeful Dick Green is going up on cable TV with a campaign ad, the first Republican of the race to do so. CQ reports that Green will spend $100,000 over three weeks on the ad.

As we previously reported, Green lagged other GOP primary candidates in Q3 fundraising but has the personal ability to pump a lot of coin into the race, and while (to TA's knowledge) he has not publicly stated a dollar amount he'd be personally willing to spend, he has stated something to the effect that he would have whatever resources he needed to compete and win.

Catching Up With Congressman Mark Kirk and the U.S. Senate Race

I spoke with the Kirk for Senate campaign in the past couple of days and they remain highly confident that Congressman Kirk will win the primary to battle the Dem nominee, who still looks like it will be Alexi Giannoulias, but prosecutor David Hoffman does look like he's coming up in the rear view mirror. Alexi's gaffe the other day in branding his million dollar+ inheritance from his family banking interests as "minimal" sparked a video from the Hoffman camp that won't be doing Alexi any favors if it gets some play:

(h/t Capitol Fax Blog)

So, what's Mark Kirk been up to? First, he's still taking shots at the Dem health care plan, in case you've forgotten about that beast:

He's also working towards his redemption on the Cap and Trade vote, which annoyed conservatives to no end and even confused Team America at the time. The timing on this is good, considering that Climate Gate threatens to finally expose the misrepresentation of global warming data that many had suspected, but now appear to have some solid proof - so solid, in fact, that the latest news is that the head of the Climatic Research Unit in the United Kingdom is going to step down while an investigation is underway. Just in time for Obama's appearance at the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference. Sweet.

Meanwhile, in the 10th Congressional District, while the GOP contenders keep duking it out, I am wondering how things look on the Dem side. Someone reported to me that they saw their first Julie Hamos sign west of I-94 the other day, but the Dan Seals v. Julie Hamos sign war has been going strong for weeks in Dem bastions like Wilmette, where they take their primaries as seriously as a range war between the sheepherders and the cattlemen. You can decide which side is which in that analogy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bird Overdone in IL-10 and Other Thanksgiving Stories

I hope everyone had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - TA took some time off from politics, but is better for it and is ready to dive in for a rockin' and rollin' primary race, and then on to the general.

There's been some interesting developments here and there over the last couple days, so let's spend some time playing catch-up, and then we'll start hitting hard later this week.

First off, the Daily Herald is reporting that the on-again, off-again campaign of 10th District GOP contender Patricia Bird is finally over - not that it ever really got too far off the ground. As we suggested a while ago, her attitude seemed much more attuned to running for school board, not Congress, and after TA watched her performance at the RJC GOP debate, Bird earned the very first official "Not Recommended" designation from Team America. This doesn't do too much to winnow the GOP field down, since we still have six candidates - but it leaves State Representative Beth Coulson as the only female contender, which should be an advantage for her.

We also saw a major endorsement for U.S Senate for Congressman Mark Kirk coming from fellow Congressman Aaron Schock of the Peoria area. As Rick Pearson at the Chicago Tribune's Clout Street blog opined,

Schock’s endorsement could help Kirk as the socially moderate Chicago-area congressman tries to establish conservative bona fides to win the GOP primary in a crowded field. Kirk’s opponents have questioned his conservative credentials.

Schock, who represents a traditionally conservative central Illinois district, lauded Kirk’s opposition to the federal stimulus program, the Democratic-led House health care reform proposal, and labor-backed “card check” legislation that would make it easier for unions to organize.

Schock joins Congressmen Judy Biggert, John Shimkus and Peter Roskam in endorsing Kirk - each of whom, with the possible exception of Biggert, are all seen as more conservative than Kirk.

It's becoming more and more apparent that the Dems are really concerned about keeping the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Roland Burris in Dem hands - especially if Mark Kirk gets the GOP nomination and IL State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias gets the Dem nod. Some of the best info about Giannoulias is being set forth by his own inter-party competition, as shown an interview of Dem contender (and former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Chicago Inspector General) David Hoffman by Public Affairs host Jeff Berkowitz. (h/t Illinois Review).

Of course, the best result for the GOP is for the Dems to effectively beat up and bloody Alexi in the primary, but that he hangs on to be the Dem nominee for the general.

On the GOP side, Mark Kirk still appears to be the strong front-runner, despite effort from my law school chum Pat Hughes to gain traction. Lately, Hughes has been working hard to win the endorsement of conservative senator Jim DeMint, who heads the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF). Hughes promoted the fact he went to D.C. last week to beg for the SCF's support, but we've heard nary a word as to whether any such endorsement will issue. Hughes doesn't need an endorsement from a South Carolina senator nearly as much as he needs big money to gain some much-needed name recognition among primary voters. So, even if an endorsement by DeMint/SCF comes eventually, unless there is a gigantic check attached to it, it's not going to get Pat where he needs to be.

If the SCF endorsement was obtained by Hughes already, I would not have announced it over Thanksgiving weekend either, so maybe his trip wasn't for nothing. We'll see. However, according to the SCF website, "SCF only endorses the most rock-solid conservative Senate candidates nationwide. These candidates must also have the potential to win." It's the second sentence that ought to be troubling to the SCF, in terms of whether Hughes is a good investment. So far, no reputable polling shows Hughes anywhere near to striking distance with Kirk - and with millions in campaign funds to Hughes' pittance, Kirk will obviously spend whatever it takes to emerge victorious in February.

I've been thinking about Pat's message lately, and I have a few questions I'm saving for him when he comes to the Libertyville Township endorsement session in a few weeks. But here's one freebie: If Hughes' shtick is that he's an unwavering platform conservative who can be counted never to sway from rock-solid conservative ideals, with no compromise (just check out his talking points set forth at the SCF website), how the heck is Pat going to attract moderate Republicans and independents to enable a win in the general?

In a recent discussion with Pat, it became clear to me that Pat thinks that Illinois is a lot more conservative than anyone else seems to believe. Well, tell that to Alan Keyes (who received only 27% of the vote in his 2004 senate battle against Barack Obama - and, of course, Obama went on to win Illinois in the 2008 presidential election with 61.9% of the vote). Regardless, no Republican can win in Illinois unless a large majority of self-identifying Republicans (both moderate and conservatives) as well as a hefty portion of independents vote for the GOP nominee. Otherwise, the Chicago machine is simply going to roll right over us, as usual. I simply don't think that any candidate besides Mark Kirk has the experience and organization to stand a chance.

We have about two months and some change before the February primary. With Christmas/Hanukkah mixed in, that's not much time for the primary candidates to make their moves. I think the U.S. Senate race on the GOP side is pretty much over with Kirk the inevitable winner, but IL-10, and of course, the governor's race, is still pretty much open, though I predict a front-runner will emerge in both by the first week or two in January. Stay tuned to Team America as we move forward...

Monday, November 23, 2009

No Clear Front-Runner for GOP Nominees for Governor and Lt. Governor

We haven't talked a lot here about the GOP primary for governor and Lt. governor, mostly because we tend to focus on local Lake County or 10th District issues, or races with a local connection, like the U.S. Senate race, where 10th District Congressman Mark Kirk is considered the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

That is not to say that the offices of Guv and Guv Lite are not important; to the contrary, despite the fact that in many ways, House Speaker Michael Madigan is the real power in this state, if the GOP could win back the governor's mansion, we'd at least have a fighting chance to address the many challenges facing this state, and also have a hand in the upcoming redistricting process.

So with that, I'd like to turn it over the readers this morning to weigh in on your objective analysis of where the governor and lt. governor races are headed, especially considering that right now, it still seems to be anybody's race. Let's try to stay away from rote cheerleading for your respective candidates (we'll be able to tell) and try to list objective strengths, weaknesses, etc., especially as to their chance to win the general election.

For a refresher, the candidates are:

For Governor:

Kirk W. Dillard
Bill Brady
Robert J. "Bob" Schillerstrom
Adam Andrzejewski
Dan Proft
Jim Ryan
Andy McKenna

For Lieutenant Governor:

Don Tracy
Jason Plummer
Randy A. White, Sr.
Brad Cole
Matt Murphy
Dennis W. Cook

Also, remember that while people sometimes 'buddy up' to run as a mini-slate (i.e., Andy McKenna and Matt Murphy), they do not officially run together or appear together on the ballot, so it's completely possible that one of two people running on any such 'buddy' ticket might get elected and the other not.

Have at it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Memo to Patricia Bird: IL-10 Race Not a School Board Election

Russell Lissau of the Daily Herald had a pretty in-depth article on GOP hopeful Patricia Bird, who is running for the Republican nomination to replace outgoing Congressman Mark Kirk, who is running for U.S. Senate. Bird seems to be a bit of an odd duck (ha ha) based on the interview, and it seems that her campaign style might be a little more suited to running for School Board President or something:

Bird insisted anyone has a right to run for public office. She has not hired a campaign manager or staff and said she doesn't need to do any fundraising to win the election - even though past 10th District races have cost candidates millions of dollars.

"I am a firm believer that fundraising does absolutely nothing to improve or market campaigns the way they should be marketed," she said.

She has also annoyed GOP leaders in both Cook and Lake Counties, according to the article.

I attended and live-blogged the RJC debate this past Sunday at which all seven GOP contenders were present, and I would score Bird's performance at about a C-, given that she read her closing statement, and offered little to differentiate herself from the pack, except that she has banking experience.

I have not decided completely if we're doing endorsements for IL-10 on this blog, given that there are several excellent contenders, but I think we can safely give Ms. Bird the official Team America "Not Recommended" stamp right now.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dems' Idea of an Economic Boost: Fill the Prisons with Terrorists? (UPDATED x3)

As you have probably heard by now, the big job creation idea of the week that has is being pushed by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin is to ship around 100 terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay prison to downstate Illinois.

Senate candidate Mark Kirk is strongly opposed to the idea, and has started an online petition that you can sign. The Dems, of course, are shouting "fear monger!" and tell us we have nothing to worry about. Well, read about what's happening in Britain with this same kind of set up.

Durbin is trying to ram this idea through by citing the desperation of people for jobs. Great. Durbin has been the #2 guy in the U.S. Senate for how long now? Obama's economic turnaround plan is basically a failure that has saddled us and our kids/grandkids/greatgrandkids with astronomical debt. The Dems control almost every aspect of state government here in Illinois.

And the best they can do to promote jobs is bring the worst of the worst here to Illinois.

Forget about the political issues. Simply from an economic job creation issue, this fiasco highlights the complete ineffectiveness of Democrats to boost our economy in a way that is sustainable and creates private sector jobs, rather than relying on the federal government to save the day.

The MSM had darn well better get Giannoulias, Hoffman and Jackson on the record as to whether they support this. There's a reason why Durbin, who's not up for election this cycle, is leading the charge on this. Don't let the Dem candidates off the hook.

Mark Kirk has staked out his position, kids. What's yours?

UPDATED 11:40 a.m.: Here's a press release from the ILGOP that answers my questions. Unsurprisingly, the Dems that are brave enough to take a stand on the issue are in lockstep with Durbin. But Alexi doesn't want to take a stand:

Why is Alexi Giannoulias Dodging the Thomson Issue?

Democrat Senate candidate “declines to take a position on the issue” on Saturday, “skips the debate” on Sunday;

IL GOP Chair: “Alexi’s silence is deafening.”

CHICAGO – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady today called on Democrat Alexi Giannoulias to end his silence on the biggest homeland security question to face the State of Illinois since September 11th.

While Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin and every other Democrat running for U.S. Senate says they support a plan to bring roughly 200 terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to Thomson, Illinois, Giannoulias refuses to take a position.

On Sunday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that while Democrats Cheryle Jackson, Jacob Meister and David Hoffman all supported the plan, “other prominent Democrats, including Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Senate…declined to take a stance on the issue.”

Last night, the Associated Press reported that the three Senate candidates reiterated their support at a candidate forum in Rockford, but “Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer, skipped the debate.”

“If Alexi Giannoulias cannot take a stand on a critical homeland security issue, he is not ready to be a U.S. Senator,” Chairman Brady said. “While Congressman Kirk leads the effort to defend the security of Illinois families and all other Democrats in the race state their position, Alexi Giannoulias declined to take a stance. Alexi’s silence is deafening.”

# # #

UPDATED x2 2:20 p.m.: From The Hill:

A handful of the state's congressional delegation took to the mics on Monday morning in Chicago, where Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) announced his intention to amend the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill.

"I will offer the Kirk Amendment to the upcoming supplemental appropriations bill requiring a ‘Homeland Insecurity Impact Statement’ on the potential impact on O’Hare and the Willis (Sears) Tower in Chicago before federal funds can be used to bring al Qaeda terrorists to Illinois. If we are serious about creating jobs in Illinois, we should rein in spending and reduce regulation, and not bring terrorists to our state," the Illinois Senate candidate said.

UPDATED x3 4:00 p.m.: Here's some coverage of this afternoon's press conference by Kirk, Biggert, Roskam and others.

Also, the ILGOP continues to pound away at Alexi Giannoulias for not having the guts to take a position on the Thomson prison issue with another press release:

Alexi, Just Take a Position on Thomson Already!

Senate candidate still refuses to tell the voters where he stands

CHICAGO – Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady repeated his call for Democrat Alexi Giannoulias to take a position on the biggest homeland security question to face the State of Illinois since September 11th.

Responding to the Party’s release earlier today, Giannoulias released a statement this afternoon that once again refused to tell the voters whether he supported or opposed bringing GITMO detainees to U.S. soil. “I pledge to work with all the parties involved to find a resolution that protects our national security and maximizes job creation,” Giannoulias said in a prepared statement.

“Alexi Giannoulias’ double speak sounds like the worst kind of politician,” Chairman Brady said. “While Congressman Mark Kirk leads the effort to defend the security of Illinois families, Alexi Giannoulias refuses to even take a position. Is he afraid the voters won’t like his opinion? Is that he doesn’t know enough about homeland security to be a U.S. Senator? Alexi, just take a position on Thomson already!”

While Governor Quinn, Senator Durbin and every other Democrat running for U.S. Senate says they support a plan to bring toughly 200 terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to Thomson, Illinois, Giannoulias refuses to take a position.

On Sunday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that while Democrats Cheryle Jackson, Jacob Meister and David Hoffman all supported the plan, “other prominent Democrats, including Alexi Giannoulias, who is running for Senate…declined to take a stance on the issue.”

Last night, the Associated Press reported that the three Senate candidates reiterated their support at a candidate forum in Rockford, but “Alexi Giannoulias, the state treasurer, skipped the debate.”


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Live Blogging NOW at the 10th District Forum

Okay folks, here we go... starting in a few minutes.

6:30: Intro by Dr. Michael Menis. Welcome to new members and guests, and all 7 candidates.

Bob Dold
Beth Coulson
Bill Cadigan
Dick Green
Arie Friedman
Paul Hamann
Patrica Bird

6:40: Introducing candidates present- Mark Kirk, Dan Sugrue, lots of precinct committeemen.

6:42: Mark Kirk has been asked to speak. Mark is talking about the notion of moving terrorists from Gitmo to a prison here in Illinois. (we'll have more on this another day) Kirk says that the terrorists that may be moved here are some of the most dangerous of all. In a federal facility in the U.S., these individuals will have a right to vistors- that means that 1000 Al Queda followers and family members could be coming in Illinois to visit with and interact with these prisions, not to mention moving through O' Hare airport. look at

6:45: Kirk says that due to a change in the law to strip the governor of his power to lease state-owned land, this may need a vote of the General Assembly. (imagine that).

6:47: Kirk touches on his work for the Jewish community.

Opening Statements:

Bob Dold: Strength of US lies with businessmen and women and not the federal government. He’s a small biz owner; he knows what you need to do to meet a payroll.

Beth Coulson: Experience over last 25 years- gov’t spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. Washington seeks to exercise too much control over us. Businesses are pusnished. Policy choices- reduce property taxes, reduce state spending. It all begins with reforming our tax and spending policies. Would extend income tax credits, oppose bailouts. Has a legislative record to back up her comments and has health care credentials and experience.

Bill Cadigan: Worst economic downturn in 80 years; Israel faces gravest threat in its history. Invokes the name of Mark Kirk and mentions like Kirk, he worked for John Porter. We all remember Porter’s passion and commitment to Israel. Republicans are now the party of reform; people like Steve Raschuenbeger and Patrick Collins are supporting his campaign.

Dick Green: President of his bond firm in California at age 24 and grew rapidly; 1993 started his own business and funded it. Has been quoted in publications including the WSJ.. Has been a committeeman in CA and done the door knocking and envelope stuffing.

Dr. Ari Friedman: The goal of what we’re doing here is to pick someone who not only can win, but will make the best representative. Background as a naval officer and currently a pediatrican. Built a business from scratch in a difficult economic environment. Was a naval aviator. Important to him as a naval officer that the military be used properly. Looks forward to being one of the few physicians on Capitol Hill.

Paul Hamann: Licensed electrical engineer. Would be second licensed engineer in Congress. Registered energy professional; lifetime resident of Lake Forest. Problem solver; fiscal conservative. I’m a thoughtful leader and consensus builder.

Patricia Bird: Resident of Mount Prospect. Currently owns her own company. Raised Episcopalian; currently Catholic like her husband. There’s a lack of accountability; need an increased Republican voice; need to get them in and back to communicating with the public.

Question #1: How to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb?

Dold: Need tougher sanctions, do what is necessary. Iran’s prez has to be stopped. If Israel stikes, we’ll be with them shoulder to shoulder.

Coulson: Do whatever it takes; maybe add resources to certain federal agencies; cut off funding from U.S. that ends up in hands of terrorists. Israel is the only democracy in the ME; we must not appease terrorism.

Question #2: What should be the U.S. Policy on the Palestinian issue and peace process?

Cadigan: Administration needs to insist that negotiations are fair and even between both sides. Should go back to not imposing conditions on Israel before they undertake the next round of the peace process.

Green: US should have an Unbalanced approach; need to stand by Israel; they are our allies; that’s the best way to achieve peace. We need to stand by Israel or it will energize their opponents.

Questions #3: Do you believe there is a possibility for a two-state solution?

Friedman: Two-state solution won’t work; puts a enemy in heart of Israel. Prime reason for Israel is survival of the Jewish people; the mindset of the Palestinian people must change for there to be a peace.

Hamann: Wants to work with Isralies: Palestinians use terror against Israel as a fundraising effort; part of peace is predicated on making it a win-win situations for each side to

Question #4: If you could design a health care reform bill, what would it contain?

Bird: We should have been addressing this a long time ago; we need to fix the existing issue. Can’t do public option because the economy is in the dumper. Remove fraud from agencies like medicare; working on insurance for victims of the economy.

Dold: No question that the health care system is broken; so what do we do about it? Can’t scrap the current system; should be able to purchase plans across state lines and plans should be portable. Tax breaks to go out and purchase your own plan; have government stay out of the way between you and your doctor.

Question #5: Does congress must address the issue of pre-existing conditions?

Coulson: Yes; need to do that and more. Need to have access to quality health care but you must do it incrementally. We passed a young adult heath care bill; need to do things like that.

Cadigan: Dems got it wrong by denying choice and denying competition in marketplace; new bill would hurt health care providers especially those that provide services to medicare patients.

Question #6: What’s the best way to bring down the cost of health care administration?

Green: Lot of the increase in health care spending reflects the choice of a healthy nation. Two choices; either government mandates it, or you let the consumer choose. Green goes with the second. It’s not a national crisis as the administration would like you to believe.

Friedman: Only two ways you can change how you reduce costs; relationship with your physician should be sacrosanct and not in the role of a “gatekeeper” – otherwise you can never trust that they are making a decision based on your needs, not some other incentive.

Question #7: What are the best approaches to addressing nation’s future energy needs?

Hamann: Nuclear. Would have voted against cap and trade. Solar is a no; costs are too prohibitive compared to cost recoupment.

Bird: Nuclear is an excellent option. Grew up downstate in Peoria and Rockford, we had a nuclear plant. Hybrid cars; hard time to buy them due to the economy but we need to concentrate on transportation costs; big booster of public transportation.

Question #8: Are we experiencing man-made global warming; if so, how do we reduce it?

Dold: Lots of studies out there on both sides, so he can’t answer that question. Warming is occurring, but the amount due to humans is very small. We do need to be talking about conservation and energy reduction. Would have voted against cap and trade. Everything needs to be on the table, especially nuclear. We need to act quickly on nuclear.

Cardigan: Irresponsible for congress to consider something like cap and trade when the science isn’t proven yet. Agrees nuclear is the way to go.

Question #9: How can US best reduce its independence on oil?

Coulson: Must have a holistic energy policy that looks at everything, nuclear, solar, etc. Also have to be conservationists. We get a fair amount of our power from nuclear already; we need to find a way to dispose of the waste.

Friedman: Energy is freedom. That’s why we are the most prosperous people on the earth. Decreasing our dependence on foreign oil is important.

Question #10: What steps would you do to increase long-term growth?

Green: Need to put free market principles to work; if you empower entrepreneurs, you will increases growth. Stimulus bill did nothing but created government spending; need to empower people to create jobs and growth.

Hamann: Infrastructure spending is needed to put people to work. Also the National Science Foundation would help long-term growth. Would like to move funding “upstream”

Question #11: With deficit out of control, what steps do you take to avoid being at the mercy of foreign investors?

Cadigan: Must have balanced budgets and need to start now. Can’t rely on tax increases. First response of people like Cook County Democrats is how do we tax people.

Bird: Need to get job market going and stop deficit dpending.

Question #12: Is the US overextended aboad?

Friedman: Close, but not yet. Iraq is starting to wind down, but we’ve planned for a long time to fight two wars at the same time anyway. When he was on active duty, we had a great military but it’s even better now. But we need to have a clear mission and that’s to fight the enemy where we find them.

Dold: We’re not overextended in Afghanistan but close; having people do several tours of duty is a problem. It’s been over two months since there was a request for more troops, why haven’t we acted? We need to give men and women in harm’s way everything they need to do the job.

Question #13: Do you support immigration reform?

Hamann: Immigration is touchy with engineers because of H1-B. He’s content with current programs that we have. 12 million illegal aliens now; can’t do anything radical. Small steps to allow them to follow the normal law.

Coulson: A proponent of protecting the boarders; it’s an economic issue as well as security issue. Federal government should strandline process to become legal citizens. Following the rules take time and we need to continue to allow them to come, but the rules must be followede:

Question #14: What role should Congress play to improve education?

Bird: Need more incentives for higher education. Lots of potential out there.

Green: Strong supporter of school choice; we spend as much on Children in Chicago as Naperville, but they don’t get the same education. Need more charter schools. The Obama admin has shown some courage in supporting charter schools but need more.

Audience Questions:

Constitutional term limits for members of Congress?

Dold: Would look at legislation to limit terms; 8 to 10 years ought to be enough.

Green: Support term limits; 8 for congressman, 12 for senator. Problem is federal government has so much control over so much money, it’s a big problem.

If health care reform passes before you get to congress, how do you reverse it?

Green: Not just health care; need to put back in Bush tax cuts if they expire. Need to get people to stand up and say, enough government.

Coulson: Depends on what’s in health care, eventually. The house bill was huge, was passed just to have something. What comes out of the senate is much more important. If this bill goes on the backs of seniors, we’ll do what we did in the 1980s, and that was to get rid of it because it was done on the backs of seniors. How we pay for all of this is kety; we need small incremental changes, not government takeover.

GOP’s greatest strength and weakness in upcoming elections?

Hamann: Obama’s weakness is Iraq and Afghanistan. He would pull out of both. He doesn’t want to spend another trillion dollars over the next eight years. Obama will increase strength in Afghanistan which is the wrong move.

Dold: America has taken a look at Obama and decided that this is not the hope and change people wanted. Obama believe that government has the answer to all of our problems. We can pick up seats because we believe that we don’t need large and overreaching government.

Does it make a difference as to who the Dem nominee is?

Bird: Everyone has a right to run. Don’t know much about either candidate. Impartiant as to either one.

Friedman: Both are dangerous. A speech from Julie Hamos a few months ago was part of the reason I entered this race. Predicts that Hamos will win and will be extremely well funded and organized. Need someone who will interest voters in the district.

Closing Statements:

Bird: She’s reading. There is lax leadership in Congress. Best candidate because she’s the only person with banking experience.

Hamann: He got in because of energy issues. Loves the National Science Foundation. Would pull out of wars; not defending much. Considers himself the anti-war candidate.

Friedman: Not the candidate to end war. Agrees with a lot of the statements of the other candidates. Believes he has moral authority on war issues and health care. He’s not a politician. This is key district. Need someone who has commitment. Believes what they are saying, and has moral authority.

Green: Budget deficit- one month was 176 billion. Larger than the entire annual deficit before. It’s going to go on and on unless we stop it. Stop stimulus and TARP spending. Dems want to increase discretionary spending 12%. Need to change culture in Washington. Can’t tax and spend our way to prosperity. Change the culture and change the policies and that’s what he wants to go to Washington to do.

Cadigan: Agrees that Hamos will be the nominee. So, who presents the greatest contrast to Julie Hamos. She’s a product of the Chicago machine. We don’t like Chicago-style politics. People like Patrick Collins will stand with him to present the contrast to Julie Hamos. Need to hold her accountable for everything that democrats have done in Springfield.

Coulson: Has been a legislator for many years; always listens and gathers the evidence. I don’t represent special interests, I represent you, I work seven days a week as a legislator; I will work seven days as your congresswoman. You may not agree with everything in my record, but I will always come back and listen to you. I would never have voted for cap and trade.

Dold: I believe that our best days are yet to come. 3.4 million dollars a minute in deficit spending, forgone investment is a security problem. If you’d told me what was happening in this country a year a go, he would have said it was a different country you were talking about. Need a small business owner to go to Washington. Scoutmaster who knows that integrity is the key attribute. Need your help and support.