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.