Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dem Hopefuls Crowd 10th District Congressional Race to Battle Congressman Bob Dold (UPDATED)

Veteran reporter Steve Sadin of The Patch has been doing a great job lately on keeping an eye on local affairs in the 10th District and Lake County, and he posted a nice update on the 10th District race from the Dem side, now that petition filing is getting close to closing.

As Sadin notes, so far, it seems that incumbent Congressman Bob Dold has not drawn a GOP opponent. We have not heard anything on the street about any credible candidate sticking his or her neck up to discuss a possible run, to say nothing of actually circulating petitions (I'm sure we would have heard about that), so I think it's safe to say that Dold will run unopposed. I suspect his million-dollar-plus warchest probably also had something to do with dampening the enthusiasm of any potential Republican competition.

Not so on the Dem side, as in addition to the candidates we've been talking about over the past few months, Sadin notes that yet another one has filed petitions (Aloys Rutagwibira of Hainesville), for a grand total of five Dem primary hopefuls: Rutagwibira, progressive activist and organizer Ilya Sheyman of Waukegan, Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider, air force reservist and businessman John Tree of Long Grove, and Mundelein attorney Vivek Bavda.

Assuming that all of the Dem candidates survive any petition challenges and that they all stick it out (the Dems in the 10th have had a history of not shying away from contested primaries), it will be interesting to see how having so many candidates on the ballot will effect the race. I think at this point, our view is that Ilya Sheyman is the likely beneficiary, as he seems to be the most organized and have the best boots-on-the-ground campaign team (as well as having been in the race the longest). Both Tree and Schneider will have to rely on spending money to buy help and name recognition. The other two, well, lots of people run for Congress for lots of reasons, and it's not always to actually win.

Stay tuned campers, it's about to get very interesting.

UPDATED: Today, Crain's blogger Greg Hinz dishes on several congressional races and implies that the 10th is not the red-hot pick-up prospect that the Dems planned for, largely due to the failure of the Democrats to recruit a top-level contender to battle Bob Dold. Hinz's take:

Mr. Obama's popularity also will be a factor in the north suburban 10th Congressional District.

GOP incumbent Bob Dold, a sometimes-moderate in an increasingly conservative Republican Party, on paper is vulnerable. But his stock has risen among GOP pros, and Democrats oddly were unable to recruit any of several state lawmakers who would have been instant favorites in the 10th.

We'll see who wins the Democratic primary: contenders Brad Schneider, Ilya Sheyman and John Tree all have a shot. Then we'll see if Mr. Dold really can convince voters he's been reborn in the mold of John Edward Porter or Mark Kirk, the district's prior two moderate GOP congressman.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

State Senate Races In Lake County Will Make For An Interesting Cycle

Hi everyone, and hope you are all enjoying the holidays. I need to get some actual work done this week, so for now, I thought I'd see if anyone has any thoughts on the race to replace outgoing State Senator Suzi Schmidt in the 31st District, since Daily Herald reporter Russell Lissau just did a big article on the fact that the GOP candidates (all four of them) seem to be lagging behind County Board Member Melinda Bush on the Dem side.

While we're on the subject of State Senate races, it looks like State Senator and Lake County Dem Chairman Terry Link may have a serious contender in Vernon Township GOP Chairman Don Castella (it looks like the other potential Republican contender, Greg Jacobs, is going to get kicked off the ballot for filing with an insufficient number of petition signatures). Don is a pretty conservative guy, for sure, but he's also very, very good at social media (he's a prolific Facebook poster) and I think he's the kind of opponent that Link could easily underestimate.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dold Blinks on Temporary Payroll Tax Extension; Will House Do The Same? (UPDATED)

UPDATED: As you probably know by now, the House is expected to pass the two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

* * *

Well, despite the steadfast attempt of the House and several members of the U.S. Senate to hold out for a year-long payroll tax cut extension, it seems to now be clear that the Senate is not going to budge. Facing this stalemate, it looks like the House is going to have to negotiate, or many folks will be impacted. From Congressman Bob Dold:

Rep. Dold Calls on House To Pass Two-Month Payroll Tax Extension Immediately

Calls on Senate to Appoint Conferees Immediately and work Towards a Long-Term Solution

U.S. Representative Robert Dold (IL-10) issued the following statement today on extending the payroll tax holiday:

"For months I have been advocating for the extension of the payroll-tax holiday and have been working in a bipartisan way in Congress to find common ground so we can get things done for the American people. It is clear that the Senate will not negotiate with the House so I am calling on House Leadership to immediately pass the Senate’s temporary two-month extension. Furthermore, I am calling on Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to immediately appoint Senate conferees so that both bodies of Congress can come together and work out a long-term solution. 

"It is unfortunate that the American people have to worry this holiday season about whether or not they will be giving more of their hard-earned money to the government. That is why I believe it is necessary to pass the two-month extension so that the people of Illinois aren’t faced with a tax increase on January 1st. But let me be clear- the Senate must come to the table and work with the House so that we can find a permanent solution so that hardworking Middle Class families aren’t faced with the same uncertainty in 60 days. In the spirit of the season, let’s end the games immediately and pass the two month extension."


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

When Does a Vote For a $1,000 Tax Cut Become A Vote for A $1,000 Tax Hike? Only In the 10th Dem World of Fuzzy Campaign Math (UPDATED x2)

So, you might ask, since when is holding out for a $1,000 tax cut instead of settling for a $167 tax cut actually a vote to raise taxes on middle class families by $1,000?

You might want to ask Democratic congressional hopeful John Tree.

From a John Tree e-mail asking for $10 for his campaign fund to defeat that horrible, tea party sympathizing Bob Dold:

It's unbelievable.  In the midst of this very tough economy, Congressman Bob Dold voted this morning to raise taxes on middle-class Illinois families.
On Saturday, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly - Democrats and Republicans - for a bipartisan compromise on the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment benefits.
Congressman Dold could have shown some courage and broken with the Tea Party crowd that runs the House Republican leadership and voted for a bipartisan payroll tax cut extension. Instead, Dold voted to raise taxes on middle-class families by an average of $1000, just in time for the holidays.

Really, Mr. Tree? Let's read Congressman Dold's explanation of this vote:

Dear Friend,

As you may have heard there is a debate going on in Congress today about extending the payroll tax cut for working American families. The President asked Congress for a one year extension on the payroll tax cut and that is what I supported. Last week the House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation that provides a one year payroll tax cut and protects seniors' health care for the next two years by ensuring doctors in the Medicare program don't have their reimbursements cut by more than 27 percent. The Senate in turn passed a measure to cut taxes and protect seniors for only the next sixty days. I voted today to take this bill to conference to work out the differences.  

Under the House plan an American worker making $50,000 is certain to receive a tax cut of $1,000 next year. While under the bill passed by the Senate on Saturday that same worker would only be guaranteed a $167 tax cut. Another feature of the House legislation is a pay freeze for congressional members. The Senate didn't include this key provision in their bill. 

Now the Senate is refusing to take the bill to conference to work out the two sides differences and is refusing to come back to Washington before the end of the year.

Hmm... I guess you, the voter, can take a look at the position taken by each campaign and decide who you are going to support. That's what makes our Democracy great. But, I would suggest to you that Tree's position that not supporting the Senate's temporary $167 tax cut is not the same as voting for a $1,000 tax hike. It's much more logical to use that same logic against Tree's position and point out that the Senate, if they did nothing more, would be supporting a $833 tax hike for the year, compared to the House cut of $1,000. This kind of disingenuous manipulation of the facts is something that most 10th District voters are smart enough to see right through.

By the way, I went over to the Tree website to see what his press release on this issue stated, and I noticed that Tree has completely reworked his biography to make his relationship with his current (second) wife and the parentage of his children clear. I can only assume this is in response to our previous post questioning his original vague language on the subject, since Tree brought it up on his website in the first place.

While you have to give Tree credit for tacitly admitting his misleading language by fixing it to address our concerns, I do have to say that such actions only encourage me...

UPDATED: The Daily Herald spoke to Congressman Dold and asked him if the vote to have a formal negotiation with the Senate on the payroll tax issue was a political "punt." According to the DH:

He said "absolutely not."

"I think what we don't want to do is say we're going to do (the payroll tax extension) for two months." He called that "a punt" instead.

The article continues:

Dold said he's spent time talking to Kirk - his predecessor in the 10th Congressional District in northern Cook and Lake Counties - about the deal.

"We have notices that we are ready to come back at any time," Dold said.

"It is the right policy because one of the lessons of Europe is that you can't run retirement security programs without contributions to retirement security," Kirk told C-SPAN. "Seniors have enough to worry about as it is without the Congress voting on a bipartisan basis to undermine contributions to Social Security."

UPDATED x2: Seems like Greg Hinz at Crain's is drinking the Dem Kool-aid on this one.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Cheer with Lake County Conservatives

Last night I spent a nice evening with the movers and shakers of the Lake County conservatives, as a guest at the annual Republican Assembly of Lake County (a/k/a the RALC) holiday party. As usual, the event was held at White Deer Run golf course in Gregg's Landing in Vernon Hills. Coincidentally, Don Castella, who is Vernon Township GOP chairman and is running for the Republican nomination for 30th Senate District to take on incumbent State Senator Terry Link, is having a fundraiser there this coming Tuesday at 5:30 pm. The event even featured a surprise drop-in visit by Congressman Joe Walsh. Walsh spoke very briefly (for Walsh) and noted that while he is very excited to be running in the new 8th District to face (most likely, we think) Tammy Duckworth, he is a bit sad that no part of Lake County is in the new district.

Without further ado, here's my pix:

Colonel Raymond True, the founder and chairman of the RALC, gets things going.

Mundelein Trustee Ed Sullivan, Sr., Rita Mathias and State Representative Sid Mathias.

County Board Chairman David Stolman and Sid.

David Stolman and Lake County GOP Chairman Bob Cook.

Waukegan Township GOP Chairman and County Board candidate David Pfeiffer, former county board member Bob Powers, and former county board member and candidate for State Senate, 31st District, Larry Leafblad.

County Board Member Ann Maine, former 30th Senate District candidate Keith Gray, and Joanne Tonge.

State Senator Dan Duffy and attorney and Lake County State's Attorney Candidate Bryan Winter.

Dan Duffy, long-time GOP anti-tax activist Jack Martin, and Ray True.

Dan Duffy, businessman Eric Burgess, Kris Duffy and former Lake County Recorder of Deeds candidate Dana Sabonjian.

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, Green Oaks Trustee Dan Sugrue, and candidate for 29th State Senate District Arie Friedman, M.D.

Lake County Recorder of Deeds candidate Bob Bednar and State Senate Candidate (30th District) Don Castella.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Calling Bullpucky On Barack for Test Message 'We didn't know it was this bad'.

Some time before the November 2008 election, when Barack Obama was really picking up steam and about ready to roll over HRC, it became pretty apparent to many that the 'hope and change' hype surrounding Obama was simply starting to take on a life of its own, and that no one, even the Obamastar, was going to be able to live up to the expectations that were being set, even half a year before the actual election. I therefore found it quite telling when, as early as May 2008, the Obama campaign was already working behind the scenes, subtly, it seemed, to try to manage expectations without dampening enthusiam and hope... because that's really all the campaign had.

Now we are hearing a new test theme being thrown out there by the Obama camp to see how it plays: essentially, if only we had JUST KNOWN how bad the economy was before the election, we could have let the American people know just how bad the first few years of the Obama presidency would be (not his fault, mind you), but you know, just so expectations were not put so darned high and unrealistic that we now look like we completely failed.

Well, I have to call bullpucky on Obama; first of all, he knew it was bad, and he told us, sorta, that the next president (him) was going to need time to fix it... and that was when the deficit was a few trillion LESS than he cranked it up to be currently:

"Well look," Obama said. "If I'm elected I won't be sworn in until January 2009. And then let's take the example of healthcare. My goal is to have the bill passed by the end of 2009, but we're still gonna have two or three years. Same with changing the tax code. So we're looking at two or three years away, and frankly we're going to have to figure out where the economy is at because the next president is going to inherit a mess. The president has put us in a deficit. We've got four trillion dollars of debt more than we have when he took office. All those veterans who are coming home are going to have to be cared for."

He added, "My goal is in my first term is to get us on the right track."

Yes, that's what he said, but few were listening, or wanted to listen. We did, though, and looking back, it seems clear that he was indeed laying the groundwork for exactly this situation. I first looked in this back in May 2008, and then later as the election grew nearer, as I set forth in a post on Halloween in 2008 (how apropos). Here are those two posts repeated below. [note that several of the original internal hyperlinks no longer work because of the age of the links]

Um, I hate to be an I-told-ya-so, but....

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Never Promised You A Rose Garden: Obama Already Working to Lower His Own Bar for Effecting "Change," Should He Be Elected

No one ever said Barack Obama wasn't smart, or that he didn't plan far down the political road. From what I've read and heard recently, he's already figured out that his grandiose promises of "change" pose a problem for him: no one, no matter how skilled, how 'messianic', can change something like the way Washington, or indeed the country, works overnight. Even more simply, many people massively overestimate the effect a single individual, even the president, or his or her administration, can have on the course of the country (little things like the global economy, rogue nations, acts of God, etc., can throw a little wrench into even the best-laid plans of a president).

So, what's the problem that Obama faces? Well, when you campaign on a promise of "change," and you don't deliver, people will lose faith and you will come under massive criticism for failing to meet your own goal. So, Obama, ever the clever politician, is already seeking to diminish expectations for the effectiveness of his presidency, should he win. He has already realized that he cannot meet the promises he has made, even as vague and empty as they are, given that he has positioned himself as the guy who will turn Washington around on a dime the first week he's in office.

This attempt to manage expectations has not happened overnight. Only a few weeks ago, Obama promised grand change to an enthusiastic crowd, but then admitted it'll be a long slog:

"I'll be honest with you," he said. "We've dug ourselves into a hole, and it's going to take some time to get out." He also said that change for some issues could be "two or three years away."

Now, we're hearing it may even take him two terms.

Wow, ya gotta hand it to this guy. He hasn't even gotten the Dem nomination, but he's already campaigning for his second presidential term.Clearly, he's buying some insurance. Don't blame me, he says, if my first term is a failure by the very standards I've set--the problem in Washington is simply too big for anyone to handle in only four years, and the GOP has made such a mess of things, what could anyone have done?

The message is subtle, but it's clear. Obama doesn't believe the package he's trying to sell to the masses, because it's unrealistic. Obama is sowing the seeds now to be able to say in the future, I never promised you a rose garden.

Oh, but you did. And now, you're already backing away.

Friday October 31, 2008

Obama Promises Everything; Already Preparing to Deliver Nothing

Folks, I called this months ago (back in May, actually), even before the current economic crisis was so apparent. Now that Obama's folks seem comfortable in the prospects of winning the White House, they are already laying the groundwork to admit to the American people that they can't deliver on all the crap that Obama promised. BIG. SHOCK. PEOPLE.

What will the excuses be?

Will he be like Rod Blagojevich, who is still trying to blame some problems on former Governor Ryan, though Blago's been in office six years now? Or will Obama blame the Congress, again kind of like Blago, whose party has a virtual lock on the state legislature--considering that Obama, if elected, will likely have significant Dem majorities in both the House and Senate?

Or will he simply say that not even Superman could have fixed the mess he inherited?

Oh, wait, you told us you WERE Superman.

If you vote for Obama, DO NOT COME CRYING LATER.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Don't Let Top Dems Brush Aside Their Affiliation with Blago

Now that disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison, as Darth Vader might say, 'the circle is complete.' All of the Dems who cozied up to Blago, kissed his ring and eagerly posed for pictures with him (as well as curried favor and looked for political support), are now, of course, coming forward, as they did after he was indicted, and denouncing him as the lying, thieving manipulator that, gosh, had they just KNOWN, they never would have even breathed the same air as him.


This is Illinois. The politicos cozy up to those politicians whose star appears to be on the rise, and they will dump anyone in a millisecond whose career and fortunes turn toxic.

Governor Quinn, who ran twice with Blago, said yesterday that both he (Quinn) and the People of Illinois, were 'let down'. Uh, yeah.

Senator Dick Durbin issued the same statement he did when Blago was convicted: "I hope today’s sentencing finally draws this sad chapter in Illinois history to a close."

I don't know if State Senator and Lake County Dem Party Chairman Terry Link said anything publicly yesterday, but I do remember what he said a while back in defense of his close association with the Governor: 'We were duped.' Yeah, sure. Let's not forget that Link was so completely duped that he was one of the "Blagojevich 26," as the Chicago Tribune coined them, who stood in the way of removing Blago from office years earlier when they had a chance by opposing a recall amendment to the state constitution.

I also don't know if 10th Dems Chairman Lauren Beth Gash said anything yesterday, but she was probably just hoping I wouldn't run the above picture again.

No chance of that; commentor FOKLAES has been waiting for it, I'm sure.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

29th Senate District Race May Take Turn to the Left With Late Entry of Gambling Investment Banker Milton J. Sumption

Dr. Arie Friedman, a pediatrician and veteran, positioned himself well in the months heading up to the filing period for the 2012 primary and so impressed the local GOP that, as far as I know, no serious potential primary competition ever surfaced, and now that the filing period is over, Friedman has a clear path to the GOP nomination with no primary opponent. That's important, since in the race to succeed retiring State Senator Susan Garrett, every dollar will count, and Friedman will have the luxury of hoarding his cash for the time being, as well as avoid having to beat up (or being beaten up by) any fellow Republicans.

They are not so lucky on the Dem side, though -- even with the early endorsement of Garrett, West Deerfield Township Supervisor and presumed front-runner on the Dem side, Julie Morrison, pulled a primary opponent in none other than Milton J. Sumption, an investment banker from Lake Bluff.

Sumption had an ill-fated brief run for Congress in the 2010 cycle, when he bowed out of the Dem competition once he realized he'd get his clock cleaned by Julie Hamos and Dan Deals. That apparently didn't stop Sumption from pursuing public office, however, and now he's back to try for State Senate.

While his resume describes himself as a 'business consultant,' he made his money as part of the 1%, interestingly focusing at least in part on the gambling industry.

In the prior campaign, Sumption took a lot of heat for parachuting in and thinking he could buy the election (as many on both sides of the political spectrum have done over the years, to be sure), as we see that much of his campaign fund came from himself.

Here's one blogger's perspective on Sumption back in 2009:

Milton J. Sumption announced this past week that he was withdrawing his candidacy for Congress in the North Suburban Illinois 10th Congressional district.

If you are scratching your head and saying, "Who?," you are not alone.

Milt Sumption is a 40-something resident of Lake Bluff, who briefly had a low level job in Senator Tom Daschle's office in the 90's, then made a small fortune as an investment banker on Wall Street, got out just before the crash and decided to buy a pricey home on the North Shore and run for public office.

As often the case with overacheiving business types, he declined to start with something modest like school board or even the county Board, but reckoned that only his rapier intellect could save the rubes of Mark Kirk's district from themselves. So he jumped right in to run for the U.S. Congress. A fellow has to start somewhere, why not the top?

But after spending a few grand to get on the ballot and accosting voters door-to-door in his posh neighborhood, Milt came to the sad realization that he had no name recognition, no base and not a snowball's chance in hell against the relatively veteran Dems, State Rep. Julie Hamos and perennial candidate, Dan Seals.

At least Milty had the good sense to pull the plug on his 3 month campaign whimsy before a bevy of political consultants could milk his hubris for all it was worth.

Ha ha. That blogger sounds a lot like us. Frankly, if we'd cared at the time, we might have posted something very similar, but looking back, this guy didn't cause much of a blip on our radar. I guess we were right.

In any case, Sumption's entrance into the race now means that Morrison has to spend money and likely tack to the left, as well as defend her record on public spending and job creation as a Township trustee in the face of Sumption's likely angle that he, as a private sector guy, is just what is needed to clean up Springfield.

It's looking better and better for a likely State Senator Arie Friedman all the time.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Senator Mark Kirk Marks the Anniversary of His First Year In the U.S. Senate

Senator Mark Kirk marked the anniversary of his first year in the U.S. Senate with a floor speech reflecting on the challenges and successes of the past year.

h/t Lynn Sweet.

We'd like to reflect as well on the tough battle we fought to put Kirk in the Senate, from the testy primary all the way through the general election fight against our old friend and B-Ball player Alexi Giannoulias. Thanks to all the Team America supporters who helped out.

Five more years like this, please.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks to Illinois Gun Control Laws, You May Have to Be A Mixed-Martial Arts Expert to Avoid Being Beaten and Robbed

Score a rare win for the good guys -- a Tribune story today tells us how a gun-wielding punk, who was out on parole for burglary already, tried to rob a mixed-martial arts expert and wound up with a bullet wound in his own foot, and being soundly thrashed:

The victim was sitting in his car near Kenneth Avenue and 55th Street about 11:30 p.m. Friday when a man came up to the car and asked him for a light, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

The man in the car replied that he didn't have a light, and the other man pulled out a handgun and demanded the driver's valuables, Mirabelli said. The driver handed over his cash, wallet and valuables, and the gunman then ordered him out of the car.

At some point, the older man was able to grab hold of the handgun, and during a struggle, the robber discharged a round, striking himself in the ankle, Mirabelli said.

The victim was able to hold the robber until police arrived. When he turned the robber over to police, the victim told them that he participates in Ultimate Fighting Championships, a mixed-martial arts competition, Mirabelli said.

Nice. The sad part is, here is a convicted felon who obviously was able to obtain a gun, no problem. Mr. Would-Be-Victim would have indeed been a victim, had not the man been able to physically overcome the robber with his own muscle and skill. Sadly, not everyone is able to do that, which is why carrying a gun is the great equalizer.

When is this state going to get the fact that gun control laws largely operate only to keep guns out of the hands of lawful citizens and empower criminals to go after anyone they please? The only thing they have to worry about is whether their victim just happens to be a mixed-martial arts champion.... and what are the odds of that?

No worries, though, the robber will no doubt someday be out on the street again, and next time will no doubt target some little old lady who may or may not be a martial arts champion.... but he can be fairly sure that he is the only one in the matchup who will have a gun.

"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one."

What Will Be the Impact of the Top of the GOP Ticket for IL-10 and Local Races? (UPDATED x2)

Over the past week or so, I attended a few campaign meetings for some of the folks I am helping out this cycle, and the question of the impact of the eventual GOP Presidential Nominee will have on local races is really starting to be asked, now that we have basically winnowed down a wide field to two front-runners, Gingrich and Romney (although did I see a poll somewhere that, egads, Ron Paul is still in the running?). Up to now, the large number of candidates made it a bit of a silly exercise to try to predict the impact our eventual nominee would have on local races, but we're getting to the point where that question is no longer quite so academic.

A few people I talked to over the weekend noted that the local Dems (a/k/a Terry Link) have packed every race they could with a candidate, any candidate. Some of these candidates reportedly don't have a lot of interest in the office; rather, they are doing it because they were asked (begged), and don't plan on spending a lot of time, energy or (especially, their own) money. They figure, quite literally, that 'if it's a great Obama year and he sweeps me into office, great. Otherwise, no big whoop.'

Given the lack of motivation on the part of such candidates, the respective top of the ticket becomes even more important. Columnists like Charles Krauthammer seems to be increasingly concerned that the two main candidates on the GOP side are so flawed, that Obama, despite his best efforts not to be re-elected, will nevertheless squeak by.

So, what does everyone think about the GOP ticket, who the eventual nominee will be, and how that will affect our local races?

UPDATED: From The Hill, here's kind of a frightening assessment of where things might head if Newt Gingrich continues to gather momentum.

UPDATED x2: Here is Gingrich's response (to Nancy Pelosi, from the above link). This could be getting quite interesting....

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Congressional Candidate John Tree Is A Hero, And He Wants You to Know About It

On a lark, tonight I checked in with Google to see how John Tree, the newest Dem candidate hopeful for Illinois' Tenth Congressional District was doing. To my amazement, I caught a bizarre developing story being discussed by several news outlets: apparently John Tree found himself being asked by a United Airlines flight attendant to 'step in between' her and an unruly passenger in first class. You can read more details here and here, as well as an account by self-appointed Tree-hugger Lynn Sweet. From the details we can piece together, it doesn't seem like Tree was the only passenger involved in subduing the unruly passenger, however.

While a somewhat differing account is being offered by an Illinois GOP staffer who was also on the plane, the interesting thing to me is that, the Tree campaign team wasted no time in issuing a press release detailing their version of the events.

So - Tree's on his way to DC to do his reserve military service: military creds, check.

He's called upon to help subdue an unruly passenger and pitches in: kudos.

Did he do it for political gain? Even we would not suggest such a thing.

But, after the escapade, Tree campaign manager Pete Giangreco wants to make absolutely sure everyone knows about it: you better believe it.

Team America rating of the Tree campaign's self promotion: Shameless.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Congressman Joe Walsh May Run in 8th District After All (UPDATED)

The Daily Herald is reporting that Congressman Joe Walsh may stick with running in the redesigned 8th District (assuming the new map survives its court challenge), with the intent to face off against the winner of the fierce battle on the Dem side between Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi. This would allow the GOP to avoid a costly primary in the 14th District between Walsh and incumbent Randy Hultgren.

Cal Skinner over at the McHenry County Blog (most of which is in the new 14th District) provides this analysis:

A Walsh candidacy....would make the Beltway Republicans, who are pleased with Hultgren’s performance, happy two times over:

Hultgren would be assured of re-election and

Walsh might just be able to get re-elected as well, thereby thwarting the goals of the state and national Democratic Party to eliminate one of the suburban Chicago 2010 GOP freshmen.

And, might I add, should Walsh dispatch another Democratic Party favorite, say, Tammy Duckworth, he would be poised to run for the U.S. Senate against Democrat incumbent Dick Durbin in 2014.

I think Walsh might have a chance in the 8th, but at the very least, it will cause the Dems to turn somersaults and spend money there to gain a victory for their nominee, whereas they probably figured their eventual nominee would have been a shoo-in against a no-name Republican.

UPDATED 9;40 pm: Here's an updated article from the DH. It seems that Walsh is still officially mum, but an announcement could come very soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Court-Ordered Extension of Congressional Filing Deadline Means More Time for Dems to Find Their Man (Or Woman) in IL-10

As regular Team America readers know, we like to focus on politics in Illinois' Tenth Congressional District, and that means that, of course, there is no more important race this cycle (at least to this 10th District Blog) than getting Congressman Bob Dold re-elected. Appropriately, we have been following the movements behind enemy lines on the Democratic side of no-man's land with great interest, as the Dems offer up one candidate after another, and as each hopeful casts out their name with varying degrees of fanfare, claimed masses of support, and commitments for the Big Buck$ necessary to win against Dold's impressive >$1 million war chest.

Some of the Dems have clearly had the knives out, ready to slash away at their fellow liberals to earn the nomination, regardless of the damage to each other, or their party. So far, though, none of the announced Dem candidates: Ilya Sheyman, Brad Schneider, Vivek Bavda, and John Tree, have seemed to light the North Shore set on fire, just yet.

Sheyman is slightly left of Attila the Hun, Schneider's network peetered out after the first quarter of his fundraising efforts, and Bavda, even the Dems don't take seriously. Tree looked good on paper, but once you start to look more closely, he has as much baggage as anyone.

So, the 10th District Dems may be relieved to hear that due to the GOP lawsuit over the unconstitutionality of the Dems' redistricting plan, the appellate panel hearing the case has kicked the filing period back from beginning next Monday, all the way to Friday, December 23rd, through Tuesday Dec. 27th (anyone besides me notice that this period includes Christmas?). That gives the Dems plenty of time to try to find yet another winning candidate to finally give them a chance to wrest away the 10th from Republican rule.

Given that four men are in the race, I would think that a female candidate would have a great chance to stand out in the Dem primary. Maybe our friend Lauren Beth Gash hasn't quite given up her dreams of finally socking it to Mark Kirk (in a manner of speaking, of course, since he's now in the U.S. Senate). Time will tell.

Lake County's Newest Congressman Peter Roskam Starts Making the Rounds

No, there hasn't been some new election that took place while you were out shopping for turkey; it's just with the new congressional remap (assuming that holds up), part of the new District 6, currently represented by Peter Roskam, will encompass a portion of the southwest part of Lake County, including some of Long Grove, parts of the Barrington area and Lake Zurich.

Steve Sadin of The Patch reports on an event in Buffalo Grove yesterday that Roskam attended in support of Lake County Board Chairman David Stolman, at which Roskam dished on the Supercommittee and the upcoming 2012 presidential election. Your own Team America even got a question in, as noted at the end of the article. Check out the whole thing here. Also, there are some pictures on David's Facebook page.

Yes, we know that calling Roskam a Lake County Congressman right now is a bit premature, but work with us. Roskam is certainly acting like the new map is already a done deal, and we expect to see a lot more of him over the next year.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Lake County GOP Readies for Battle at Committeeman Breakfast

This morning, the Lake County Republicans gathered at Austin's Fuel Room for a unity breakfast and rally to kick off the 2012 election cycle. The breakfast was sponsored by the Lake County Republican Central Committee, the Lake County Republican Federation, and the Republican Assembly of Lake County. County Chairman Bob Cook preached unanimity among the Lake County GOP, and when all the major Republican groups can get together like this, the Democrats better watch out. The breakfast was well attended and was standing room only by the time the program began with a prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing of the National Anthem by Emily Bednar, who has been singing at GOP events since she was eleven years old (she's now in college!)

Many, many elected officials, including three Congressmen (Dold, Walsh and Hultgren) attended, and plenty of great candidates getting a few final signatures on their petitions. So, without further ado, here's my pix.

The packed room

Congressman Bob Dold and 29th Dist. Senate Candidate Dr. Arie Friedman

Candidates for 31st Dist. State Senate: Michael White, Lenny Jarrett, Larry Leafblad, and Joe Neal.

Emily and Bob Bednar. Bob is running for Recorder of Deeds.

Rich, a committeeman, and County Board Members Bonnie Thompson Carter and Linda Pedersen.

Circuit Court Clerk Candidate Keith Brin, County Board candidate Rick Lesser, and Moraine Township GOP Chairman Lou Atsaves

30th Dist. State Senate Candidate and Vernon Township GOP Chairman Don Castella, and Green Oaks Trustee Dan Sugrue

Congressman Bob Dold and Team America Superfan Bob Goodman

Keith Gray, Ed Kelly (representing Senator Mark Kirk), and Judge Lou Berrones

State's Attorney Candidate Louis Hayes, and State Rep. Candidate Lauren Turelli

Congressman Randy Hultgren

Libertyville Township GOP Chairman Ed Kelly, and former chairman John Emerson

State Senate Candidate Joe Neal and Coroner Candidate Steve Newton

Lake County State's Attorney Candidates Mike Nerheim and Bryan Winter

County Board Candidate Nick Sauer

Bob Powers, Susan Gravenhorst and Steve Carlson

Dan Sugrue and Bob Cook

State Representatives Ed Sullivan, Jr., Kent Gaffney, and JoAnn Osmond

Congressman Joe Walsh did his usual great job of firing up the crowd.

County Board Candiate Jeff Werfel, 30th Dist. State Senate Candidate Greg Jacobs, and State's Attorney Candidate Mike Nerheim

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Some of the Shine Coming Off Democrat John Tree's "Central Casting" Resume

Crain's blogger/columnist Greg Hinz was quite impressed with the resume of political newcomer, businessman and veteran John Tree, who has thrown his hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District here in northern Illinois; indeed, Hinz gushed that Tree's resume was "right out of Central Casting in the politically moderate, heavily Jewish 10th District."

At first glance, it seems like Hinz was spot-on; Tree is a fairly young, successful businessman (not unlike Congressman Bob Dold, in fact) and veteran, who also seems to be a good fit for the demographics of the newly-revamped 10th District. About the only downside is that he doesn't live there, but heck, that sure never discouraged Dan Seals.

Peel back the onion layers on Tree's resume, though, and some interesting things start to surface.

I found my first hint of tarnish on the shine while looking into Tree was when I was researching the value of his lovely home in Long Grove for the post I put up earlier this morning on whether his wealth was going to be a problem for him among progressive Democratic voters more inclined to vote with the so-called "99%", not the "1%", like Tree. I saw that Tree's home on the property tax bill is in the name of him and his (current) wife; Michelle, but that Michelle had a different last name (Healy).

More looking revealed that Michelle Tree is not John Tree's first wife, and that Tree was divorced sometime around or after August 2006 from his first wife, Lisa N. Tree. The court file in DuPage County is 2006 MR 001089, if anyone cares to look it up.

Also of potential interest is that Michelle Healy was John Tree's business partner before she became his wife, with whom Tree made his fortune in resurrecting an old health-drink brand, Metrecal, which they were promoting as far back as late 2004 and early 2005, according to the Crain's archives.

So what, you say? Plenty of people have unhappy marriages and get divorced, and some get remarried as a result (or because) of an office romance. Could be just what happened here.

But, the interesting thing is that on Tree's campaign website, poor Lisa Tree is nowhere to be mentioned. Rather, the website seems to strongly imply that all of his children are the result of his marriage with Michelle Healy:

John is married to Michelle Tree and they have had five children. Their oldest daughter Stephanie died tragically from an accidental drug overdose in 2011.

At the least, the oldest daughter certainly could not have been the product of the relatively fresh Tree-Healy marriage, contrary to the implication of the website. Why the misdirection?

One other thing of note is that the home John Tree apparently shared with his former wife Lisa in Elmhurst was the subject of a foreclosure sometime in 2006 or 2007 (you can also see that in the DuPage County court records, Case No. 2006 CH 001846). One might wonder why a rich guy like Tree had to lose a home to foreclosure (if that's in fact, what happened) only to wind up in a mansion later in Long Grove.

Curiouser and curiouser, to say the least.

You tell me if for some reason Mr. Tree wants to wash away his prior marital history to Lisa Tree. But as Dem operative David Axelrod knows well, a number of Chicago politicians have seen their political careers implode over what was revealed in their divorce files. It's too early to tell if this could be another one of those cases, but I guess we'll wait and see...

Democrat John Tree Definitely Not Part of the 99%; Let's See How that Plays in IL-10

It's very popular for Dems right now to ally themselves with the so-called "99%" of 'regular folks' out there who are just plain mad at the Wall Street bankers, special interests, heck, just about anyone who they can blame for the poor economy and job prospects, not to mention the ever-growing "wealth gap."

Well, the latest 10th District Democratic candidate to hit the campaign trail, John Tree, is going to have some explaining to do to the 99% of folks who want to know why the heck they should vote for someone in the 1% (after all, isn't that how they plan to run against Congressman Bob Dold?)

Take Mr. Tree's house, for example. He's a successful businessman, who has done quite well for himself. So well, in fact, he bought a house in Long Grove not too long ago for around $1.8 million. Not too shabby -- and certainly not just your average "Tree House" (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Now, the last thing your Team America would do is to suggest that Mr. Tree doesn't deserve to enjoy the fruits of his labors and ingenuity. After all, the government didn't hand Mr. Tree that nice house; he had to go out and earn it. Heck, Team America aspires to someday be as successful as Mr. Tree, so I'm certainly not going to begrudge him his wealth.

But, try explaining to the 99% up in Waukegan and other areas of the 10th District (which doesn't include Mr. Tree's house, by the way) that Mr. Tree pays more in real estate taxes on his Long Grove mansion (more than $43,000 a year) than many of them even take home for their annual salary, assuming they are fortunate enough to have work.

Do the Dem primary voters really want to hear a 'pick yourself up by your bootstraps and go out and be a success like me' message coming from someone like Mr. Tree? (heck, starts to sound even a little like Herman Cain, for cat's sake) Or will they find Mr. Ilya Sheyman's 'free stuff from the government is your entitlement' progressive message more appealing?

Better get that high-paid campaign team working on crafting that message, stat, Mr. Tree.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why is Anti-Tea Party Democrat John Tree Running Against Bob Dold and Not Joe Walsh?

The Tribune's Patch has a nice article on the various Democratic candidates for their party's nomination for the 10th Congressional District, and it's clear they all have their knives out, trying to elbow each other to claim "front runner" status among the Dem contenders.

Of greater interest in the article, though, is the discussion of Tree's motivation to run for Congress, primarily his disgust with the 'tea party' crowd in Congress, but which does not explain why Tree would pick Dold's district to run in instead of tea party darling Joe Walsh:

Tree’s motivation to become a member of Congress sprang from his anger when he said he felt members of the Tea Party were threatening the country’s economic stability.

“Last summer I was working at the Pentagon when the debt ceiling debate was going on,” Tree said. “The Tea Party was holding their own party (the Republicans) hostage and threatening to shut the country down.”

Okay, so why run against Dold rather than Walsh, if the 'tea party' is what must be stopped? Besides Lauren Beth Gash, I don't know if anyone could possibly consider Dold a tea party candidate.

Our own Lou Atsaves comes to the rescue to point out this discrepancy, though:

That experience motivated Tree to serve the country as a representative in Congress as well as a colonel in the Air Force reserve. Though he admits to living a block outside the 10th District, he chose to challenge Dold rather than admitted Tea Party member Rep. Joe Walsh (R-McHenry).

“Dold had a chance to stand up and show leadership,” Tree said of the Kenilworth congressman’s stance during the debt ceiling debate. “He could have broken with his party and supported a bipartisan deal. He did not show the courage.”

Tree’s comments surprised Moraine Township Republican Chairman Lou Atsaves of Lake Forest.

Atsaves explained Dold was one of 40 Republicans and 100 members of Congress to recently sign a letter asking the Congressional Super Committee, charged with reducing the federal deficit an additional $1.3 trillion, to consider all methods possible including increased revenue.

“I deal with a lot of Tea Party people both as Moraine Township chair and with the Lake County Republicans. The Tea Party is not comfortable with Dold,” Atsaves said. “They were upset when he signed it (the bipartisan letter)."

Connecting the dots to figure out Tree's motivation to run against Dold rather than Walsh is not too hard: Tree obviously thinks the 10th District is much more favorable to a Democratic challenge. Clearly, though, if Tree was really interested in cutting the legs out from under the tea party, it would be more effective to go after their poster-child, Walsh, than a moderate like Dold.

So much for Tree's ideals. Looks like he fails the very first test of honesty and character, and won't even admit his real reason for seeking to challenge Bob Dold.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Honoring Our Nation's Vets

Let's take a political time-out with a simple message today to remember all of our brave men and women who wear (and have worn) the uniform of our nation, in whatever branch, to serve and protect our great country from those who would seek to harm us.

Especially for those of us who have never served our country in the armed services, let's make sure we don't forget to honor those who have, and that in large part, the freedom we enjoy has been bought dearly by the sacrifices (too often with lives) and dedication of such brave men and women.

Make sure you thank a vet today.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rummel Poll Shows Strength for Lauren Turelli

Someone sent me the results for a poll commissioned by former Lake Forest Mayor Mike Rummel that I think has a lot to say about the strength of his former opponent, Lauren Turelli, in her race to succeed outgoing State Representative Karen May in the 58th Legislative District.

Team America readers will recall that Turelli originally began this cycle as a candidate for Lake County Board, District 12, with former Lake Forest Mayor Mike Rummel and attorney Scott Helton also vying for the GOP nomination. After Karen May announced her retirement, however, Turelli switched over to the 58th District race, in which she had faced May one cycle before, and lost a tough race.

With May out of the picture, Turelli no doubt sensed the opportunity, and Keith Gray of Mettawa (himself a former candidate for State Senate against Terry Link in 2008) dropped out of the race and endorsed Turelli, leaving Dr. Mark Neerhof as the only other announced Republican candidate to challenge Turelli.

Got all that?

So, on to the poll I mentioned. Mike Rummel, a former mayor of Lake Forest (by the way, due to term limits, it seems you can't swing a cat in Lake Forest without running into a former mayor) commissioned a poll while Turelli was still a candidate for county board. Given that the new District 12 has a substantial overlap with the 58th District, the matchup of Turelli, Rummel and Helton ought to give primary opponent Mark Neerhof (as well as the Dems) quite a bit of concern.

A few excerpts from the poll of 141 likely voters: Turelli handily beat both Rummel and Helton if the vote were held that day, 34-22-4, with 28 undecided and 17 no opinion. Turelli also compared well with both Rummel and Helton with fav/un fav perception, running about even with long-time county board member Susan Gravenhorst, who is not running. Looking at the specific Lake Forest numbers from the poll, Turelli is also strong, which bodes unfavorably for Neerhof in the 58th District race.

The other bad news is for Helton, who has a lot of ground to catch up on with Rummel, who now, according to this poll at least, would be running away with the primary election with Turelli out of the county board race. In addition, Rummel has posted some very impressive fundraising numbers for a county board race, in excess of $35K.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Desperate Democrats Still Fishing for a Hero in IL-10; "John Tree" Latest Contenter for Dem Nomination (UPDATED)

UPDATE 11/10/11 3:40 pm: Lynn Sweet once again brings us the latest; this time, candidate Ilya Sheyman's reaction to John Tree's candidacy, wherein Sheyman blames "Chicago political bosses" for sticking their noses into the 10th District Dem primary. Read it here.

Original post:

In a clear showing of how desperate and unhappy the Dem powers-that-be are with their field on candidates to take on freshman Congressman Bob Dold in Illinois' Tenth Congressional District, the Dems have fielded yet another candidate, businessman John Tree.

Lynn Sweet has a detailed post here.

I have no idea who this guy is, but if you look at the press release quoted in the Sweet post, he has a professional campaign hit squad all ready to go. That tells me he's probably pouring (or is expected to pour) a ton of his own dough into the campaign, as he looks to be a successful businessman (and lives in Long Grove, which probably says something). I could not find any FEC reports that are available yet to prove or disprove my theory as to his finances and assets.

Given that Tree basically needs to buy name recognition in the short months left before the primary, pouring the money into the hired hit squad is really his only option.

But, Tree ought to ask Dick Green how that strategy worked out for another rich businessman with no grass roots support or political experience.

ADDING - Tree's press release states that:

John was motivated to run for Congress when it became clear that extremists in Congress put their narrow partisan interests ahead of our shared national interests.

However, if we look at the Tree campaign team, we don't see any partisan "extremists" (all Dems, of course) that his campaign staff has worked for in the past, do we??? Jan Schakowsky, anyone???

More later.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Today's Edition of 'Calling in Favors' (or, if you like, 'Launching a Missile to Kill a Mouse')

I saw with some amazement today that the Daily Herald blog has noted that U.S. Senator John McCain is coming in to headline a fundraiser for investment banker David McSweeney, who is running for the GOP nomination for former State Rep. Mark Beaubien's seat in the 52nd legislative district. Sweeney is running against former house GOP staffer Kent Gaffney, who was appointed to fill the Beaubien vacancy when Beaubien passed away suddenly this summer.

Interestingly, I did not find what I expected when I reviewed the website, which was that I expected to see a lot of McCain contributions from McSweeney during McCain's presidential run. But, either I'm not looking in the right place, or McSweeney hasn't contributed to McCain in the past. McSweeney definitely throws a lot of money around to various Republicans, though, so it's safe to assume, I think, that Senator McCain is more than simply interested in finding a good Republican nominee to take over the legislative duties in the Barrington area.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Breaking... State Senator Suzi Schmidt to Not Run Again (UPDATED)

T.A. got word late last night from a reliable source that State Senator Suzi Schmidt will not run for her job again. As most people are aware, her domestic difficulties with her husband, Bob Schmidt, boiled over into the public eye as the result of calls to 9-1-1 that Senator Schmidt made, in which her statements could be taken to be an abuse of her position with respect to her conversation with the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

Former Lake County Board member Larry Leafblad, quick to try to take advantage of Schmidt's weakened political position, announced that he would run against her a few weeks ago, but he lost his re-election bid for county board to the Democratic challenger, Lake County Board Member Melinda Bush of Grayslake. Not a lot of ethusiasm among the GOP ranks for Leafblad's candidacy, from what I have heard.

The word is that Joe Neal (who happens to be the son of Bob Neal, a long-time Lake County GOP Chairman) will run, and he may have the backing of some prominent Lake County GOP-ers. Joe Neal is currently Newport Township GOP chairman.

Much more as this story develops.

UPDATED 10:00 am: Illinois Review is reporting that Lake County Tea Party founder Lennie Jarratt is throwing his hat in to the ring to replace Suzi Schmidt.

So, so far it's three guys, Leafblad, Neal and Jarratt. Can we expect a female to break up this meatball party and walk away with the nomination based on gender voting? We shall see.

We have early word that State Rep. Sandy Cole will NOT be running; however, time can always change someone's mind, I guess.

ALSO - Vernon Township GOP Chairman Don Castella announced over the weekend that he will seek the GOP nomination for State Senate in the 30th District against Terry Link. Greg Jacobs has flip-flopped a few times on which race he was running in, but last word was that he was running in 30, so this may set up a conservative primary battle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Fed Up" Scott Drury Better Look Around to See Which Side He's On

As regular Team America readers know, we've been following with interest the flips and flops of Democrat Scott Drury, who was running gung-ho for Lake County State's Attorney, until just this past weekend. Drury was very concerned that the retiring Lake County State's Attorney, Michael Waller, had "abused" the principles of justice while in office (although he gave no examples on his website) and pledged to "restore justice" to Lake County. Again, no examples, just soaring rhetoric.

As we reported yesterday, Drury has now dropped out of the Lake County State's Attorney's race, in favor of jumping into the 58th Legislative District race, to try to replace retiring State Representative Karen May.

Of course, Drury is no doubt still very concerned about the lack of justice in Lake County, but apparently that did not stop him from jumping over to a different race when the opportunity presented itself.

Of course, "justice" isn't really a theme that resonates in a race for the General Assembly, given the legislative branch is concerned with matters of state budget, pensions, governance, etc. So, Drury needed a new theme.

One theme Drury may be trying out is that he is "fed up," with the condition of the State.

“A major reason I am running for this office is because I am fed up with the condition of our state,” stated Drury.

Actually, I think that's a great theme. I'm certainly fed up with the condition of the state, too. Every day, the news seems to get worse and worse, as more corruption, pension scandals, sweetheart deals and general malfeasance is uncovered with respect to how this state has been run.

But, there's one problem: the Democrats, and specifically speaker Mike Madigan, have had a stranglehold on state government for what seems like, oh, almost forever. Drury's running as a Democrat. He can't win the May seat without the help of the very establishment that's been busy running this state into the ground for years now. Yet, Drury claims to be "fed up."

Something here doesn't click. Mr. Drury, if you truly want to be an "independent" voice, why not run as an independent, and swear off support from the Democratic Party and Mike Madigan? Without such a commitment, your claims to be "fed up" with state government and your pledge to be an 'independent voice' simply ring hollow.

A true independent voice, or simply another Democratic opportunist hack?

Your move, Mr. Drury.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Latest Whispers: Scott Drury to Run in 58th District for Karen May's Seat (UPDATED)

As we noted earlier, we have now had several reports that former Democratic Lake County State's Attorney Candidate Scott Drury is dropping out of the State's Attorney Race and will enter the 58th Legislative District to try to succeed retiring State Rep. Karen May. I also heard today that House Speaker Mike Madigan himself was recently involved in trying to recruit a candidate to carry the torch for the Dems against presumptive front running GOP candidate Lauren Turelli. It looks like Drury may be it.

Drury began his campaign committed to the notion that the State's Attorney's office was soft on prosecuting 'political insiders' (although no examples are given on his website, and no names are named), and his experience and leadership was needed to promote 'justice.'

Well, if it turns out that Drury will bail on the State's Attorney race to run in 58, I can think of a number of questions that ought to be asked of him, beginning with, if he was so committed to bringing justice to Lake County through his legal experience, why the sudden change of heart and what makes you so qualified to serve in the General Assembly -- a very different job than the Lake County State's Attorney.

UPDATE: 4:45 pm: Apparently Drury has released a statement confirming his flip over to the 58th legislative race. See Patch for more details.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing? Yet Another Candidate Enters Race for Lake County State's Attorney (UPDATE: DRURY TO SWITCH RACES?)

We knew that the announced retirement of long-time Lake County State's Attorney Michael Waller would encourage a plethora of candidates among both Republicans and Democrats, but this is really getting interesting. Only a day or so ago, yet another candidate (this time, one the Dem side), announced her intention to join the race.

That makes 4 Democrats, 3 Republicans, for everyone keeping score at home.

The new candidate is Karen Boyd Williams, a Mundelein lawyer. According to the Tribune's article, Williams is a human resources professional-turned attorney.

Williams' Linked-In page tells us that she is a DePaul Law School Graduate (can't be all bad!), but she has only been licensed to practice law since 2007 (according to the ARDC website). She appears to have gone out on her own to practice immediately after graduating law school, but has done a lot of volunteer legal work for Prairie State Legal Services and other organizations.

Williams seems light on experience to be state's attorney, but does seem to be committed to the community, unlike some of the other Dem candidates.

UPDATED 10/24/11: Someone sent me a tip yesterday that Democratic candidate for SA Scott Drury might be planning to pull out of the SA race and jump in the 58th District Race. More on this as it develops, if it does.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The New York Times Takes a Swing at Joe Walsh (UPDATED)

I guess when The Grey Lady, that bastion of liberal ideology thinly disguised as journalism, takes a swing at you, you ought to regard that as a badge of honor. Especially if you are just a freshman Congressman from Illinois. Whatever you're doing must be really worrying the liberal elite.

Hopefully that's the way Congressman Joe Walsh is taking it, since the New York Times published a nice hit piece on Walsh yesterday.

The NYT goes through Walsh's various troubles with his divorce and other tidbits (have you heard his driver's license was suspended? Twice? Horrors!) to set up the real question so that us parochial voters here in Illinois can hopefully understand it -- don't you people see what kind of a hypocritical, loose-cannon you losers out in the cornfields have elected?

The thing about Joe, though, is that he cares little for what anyone thinks about him, especially an outfit like the NYT, except that he does care for the people who elected him. A lot. And Joe doesn't back down from such criticism, either:

Mr. Walsh, a self-employed consultant whose income fluctuated in the years leading up to his election, shrugs off his financial history, calling it part of why voters related to him during last year’s campaign. “I talked openly about every aspect of my life,” he said. “The fact that I lost a home a few years ago, the fact that I struggled financially. I told people, ‘If you want a building full of millionaires who all have perfect credit scores, then Joe Walsh is not your guy.’ ”

Nor, he contends, do his financial troubles matter much to the job he was sent to do. “I didn’t go to Washington to manage anybody’s money,” he said. “What I want to do is limit what they take from you, so you can manage your money.”

As one of the most visible members of the Tea Party on the national scene, one can understand why the NYT would want to paint Joe in the most unflattering light possible -- take a look at the snapshot they ran on their Internet version of the story -- and implies that, don't worry, his election must have been some kind of fluke, and we're in little danger of being saddled with this bozo a second time around.

What the story doesn't mention, though, is that Walsh had almost a half-million dollars in cash-on-hand in his campaign account, no credible Dem opponent as of yet (yes, we know he has a primary to get past first), and a core group of solid (dare I say rabid) supporters. NYT notwithstanding, anyone who sneers and writes off Joe Walsh at this point would be making a big mistake.

UPDATED: The Daily Herald Blog noted the NYT article too, but they were more interested in what insight could be gleaned into the presumed matchup between Walsh and Randy Hultgren.