IL-06 Questions

I changed the post and corrected grammar and spelling mistakes.

Kos posted about the IL-06 primary fight, and Rahm Emanuel's involvement in it.  I've been meaning to circle back to this issue, and I will in a bit with some firmer information.  From my initial phone calls, here's what the situation on the ground seems to look like.  Christine Cegelis, a Mom and a political amateur, decided out of pure civic anger to take on a 30 year incumbent in 2004, Henry Hyde.  Il-06 is in the Chicago suburbs; it's a Republican district turning bluer by the day.  

Cegelis was a netroots candidate.  While she was not expected to do particularly well in 2004, she exceeded expecations and got 44% of the vote, though she exhibited a lot of the pitfalls a new candidate does.  In particular she low fundraising numbers, though she had lots of small donors she was light on the big ones.  She is progressive and grassroots oriented, and has built a substantial volunteer presence in a moderately Republican district that is turning bluer. The seat is now open since Hyde is retiring, and IL-06 is seen as a prime pickup opportunity.  Prior to Cegelis, the district had almost no organization, and she seems to have had a big hand in building what exists there now.  Her fundraising has been low, but not excessively so.  Rahm's district is right next door at IL-5, and he has consistently tried to recruit someone else to run.  Duckworth is his third choice to run in the primary, since the other two dropped out.  Additionally, even though the DCCC isn't raising that much money, falling behind the RNCC, the DCCC is dropping $1 million on Duckworth to help her against Cegalis.  Rahm also engineered her appearance on This Week to announce her candidacy, and he has been discouraging donors from giving to Cegalis.

What isn't clear to me is why Rahm is backing Duckworth so strongly in a primary.  Is it that Rahm is pro-war, and Cegelis is not?  Is it because Il-06 is right next to his district, and he wants to be a kingmaker?  Is it because both Mayor Daley and Governor Rod Blagojevich are in a weakened state and there's a political opportunity to assert control over Illinois politics?  Has he seen poll numbers that suggest Duckworth is a sure shot and Cegelis will lose?  Or is it that Rahm made promises to other recruits around the country, and he wants to show them and other potential recruits that the DCCC will stand by them?  

Is it some combination?  One of the biggest challenges right now is recruiting enough candidates to run against Republicans who don't look vulnerable.  It's a real challenge.  On the one hand, if there's tidal wave in 2006, we need to have those candidates in races so that more Democrats will come into office as we win races we're not expecting.  On the other hand, these races are clear longshots, and recruiting people on the premise that there may be a tidal wave is tough.  The psychological hurdle to running for office is high; should you run you're in for 11 months of begging for money, votes, and TV time.  You don't see your family.  Your personal life is combed over by cynical reporters.  It's tough to convince people to do it.  If you sit down and say 'the numbers aren't there for you in a normal election, but if there's a tidal wave you just might be swept in and then face a horrible reelection campaign in 2008', that's not a compelling pitch.  Rahm could be sweetening the pot by showing that even if you don't win, you'll still be in a position where a powerful person like Rahm Emanuel owes you a big favor, and might run you in an open seat in 2008 should you help him in 2006.  

Again, I have no idea what the calculations are here.  But what is pretty clear is that there are two machine models facing against each other.  One of them uses local progressive money to fight a local progressive race using the internet, and the other uses national money to build a machine centered in DC.  The lack of transparency in the DCCC's decision-making is also an evident characteristic of what's going on.  Perhaps you believe in the '5 smart guys around the table playing with a map' model of politics; I don't know enough to suggest otherwise right now, and I'm sure as heck not on the ground.  

So please, if you are from Chicago and have thoughts or experiences in local politics and in this district, please chime in below.  Help me figure this one out.  What's going on here?

UPDATE: I got part of this wrong. The DCCC is not directly contributing more than $5000 to Duckworth's campaign.

Tags: House 2006 (all tags)

Comments

50 Comments

Fundraising
It's worth checking out the 6th CD archives from the Archpundit, who covers Illinois politics.

His take is that it's a Bad Thing that Cegelis has been unable to raise money in pure fundraising quarters. Also, she spent an awful lot of money, despite the fact she really didn't have much in the way of operations. Regardless of how progressive she is, she stands no chance of winning if she can afford to send out direct mail, run some radio ads, and respond to the GOP candidate's ability to set the agenda.

I also think Rahm wants as many Democratic Veterans as he can get his hands on. Duckworth, Hackett (if he can be convinced to run for the House), Murphy ... each of these guys will help build the story that the troops are Democrats, which is going to be important for party ID in lots of districts. Duckworth is an awesome story and if she can be convinced to run as a Democrat I would see a hard time passing her up.

by niq 2005-12-15 03:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Fundraising
What if she had the one million dollars that Rahm is dumping on Duckworth?

I don't see any advantage to Duckworth being the candidate if she is pro-war. Being a vet in and of itself means nothing. What kind of campaigner is she? What are her positions on issues besides Iraq?

Duckworth is an untested cipher. There is something besides raw political calculation behind Rahm's decision to buck the grass/netroots. That's what Matt is trying to get at.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 04:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Fundraising
Cegelis has raised more than Bean had by this point. The DCCC got behind her campaign and she raised over $1M.

Roskam, the Republican running for Hyde's seat, doesn't have a primary opponent, isn't campaigning, and yet spent more than Cegelis has. Cegelis is building up her infrastructure, has full time staff, and consultants on retainer. You don't just pick this stuff up at the last minute, unless you are Rahm's anointed candidate like Duckworth is.

People will pass her up if they find she's not part of the community, hasn't been involved politically in the community, and is being backed by Chicago Democrats. This will be true in the primary, but REALLY true in the General, where no moderate independent or Republican is going to vote for a Chicago Democrat backed Democrat, especially if Duckworth turns out to be a centrist middle of the road candidate.

by michael in chicago 2005-12-15 06:27PM | 0 recs
and by "guys" I mean ...
"people", since obviously, Tammy isn't a man.
by niq 2005-12-15 03:02PM | 0 recs
There's certainly a "5 guys" element...
But one of the guys is from the next district over.

Now, I made this suggestion in the Daily Kos thread, and was promptly provided with five different ways of saying that locals (and near-locals) disagreed with Emanuel's decision. And several commenters insisted that the 5th and 6th CDs are so different as to admit of no possibility that Emanuel's proximity might give him some insight. But I still think the truth lies closer to my side of the line than theirs. Rahm Emanuel was elected to Congress from the neighboring district, and Duckworth was originally approached about running by Dick Durbin. So though neither Durbin nor Emanuel are from the 6th District, I find it hard to believe they they're entirely clueless about what might work.

Cegelis supporters certainly won't hesitate to claim that they are. Or at least that Emanuel is. But the only true way of determining who knows what will and will not fly in that district is the results of the primary. All else, ultimately, is spin.

by Kagro X 2005-12-15 03:19PM | 0 recs
Question
But the only true way of determining who knows what will and will not fly in that district is the results of the primary. All else, ultimately, is spin.

Is that assuming a level playing field in the primary?

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-12-15 04:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Not at all.

It's given any variables you'd care to name. Playing this game means knowing what variables you can introduce and how they'll affect the outcome. If you guess right, you get to say you knew what you were doing. Guess wrong, and you didn't.

If Rahm Emanuel manages to amass eleventy bazillion dollars and give it all to Duckworth and she wins, the people who said she couldn't win because she's a "carpetbagger" will be wrong.

They will doubtless think it unfair, and blame it all on the money. But they'll have been wrong.

Now, you could certainly argue that all things being equal, and assuming a level playing field in the primary that Cegelis would beat Duckworth every time. But of what use is that? If Cegelis were able to level the playing field, we wouldn't be having this conversation in the first place.

by Kagro X 2005-12-15 05:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
I suppose I should be careful about what I am saying about this stuff now-a-days, but why start now?

You're right, there's no reason to think about the primary as being on a level playing fiend--cause it's not going to be.  There's also no reason to deny it either.  The only real question that remains is about any officially stated or unstated rules about getting involved in contested/seriously contested primaries & motivations for involvement.  I remember a lot of official-type discussion last year surrounding Jeff Smith v. Russ Carnahan in a Missouri primary.  But I'll leave that for others to figure out.  And while both might be important discussions, its obvious that any light shed on the subjects will have little impact on this race.

I will also say that it doesn't do anyone any good to immediately tag Tammy Duckworth with a "DLC label," or claim that she is a milquetoast Dem when we don't know the first thing about her.  I also don't think that the "she lives out of district" or "Chicago v. Suburbs" line is going to get anyone very far.  I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and my mother lives 5 minutes outside the IL-5.  Even still, I am sure Chairman Emmanuel knows more about the district than myself and 99% of the people commenting on this race.
So... we have what we have in this race, that's not going to change.  

Now I'll take my shot at the Cegelis v. Duckworth Kagro X - Bank 1 - Tostitos - Chick Filet - Prognostication Challenge:

Playing this game means knowing what variables you can introduce and how they'll affect the outcome. If you guess right, you get to say you knew what you were doing. Guess wrong, and you didn't.

The Illinois Primary is in March, only three months away.  Frankly, I don't think the Duckworth consultants will spend enough of the money raised in a primary--they will hold back for the general--and it will come up short when face to face with Christine's ground game.  I have seen Christine's organization first hand, and it really is impressive.

I also don't think a Democratic Primary in the Chicago suburbs is important enough for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times to cover to the extent they would have to if earned media was really going make that much of a difference--regardless of the story. The same can be said for the television and radio market, both Chicago-based.  The Daily Herald will cover it more often, but not enough people read it--especially in comparison to the big 2.

I also think Tammy Duckworth is going to face substantial roadblocks when it comes to getting any type of organizational traction inside the district.  Most of the county/township chairs have either sided with, will side with, or literally taken a stand for Christine, and in some cases overtly against Duckworth.

At the end of the day, it will be paid media vs. ground game, and I just don't think they will commit the money necessary in a Chicago media market to win a primary alone.  And Christine will move on.

And then she will hopefully get the help they can obviously use to defeat Roskam, because its obvious many people think the district is winnable.

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-12-15 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
And when Cegelis moves on, Roskam will jump all over the "even her own party wouldn't support her" meme. He will try to paint Cegelis as a radical within her own party, something Rahm's actions will augment.
by michael in chicago 2005-12-15 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Well, putting a happy face on it, then Christine will be able to run as a real political outsider against an ex-DeLay staffer -- and have all the insider money she needs to do it. =)

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-12-15 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Never thought of it that way. You cheer me up Tim!
by michael in chicago 2005-12-15 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Well, I can't make any guess as to who'll actually win the primary. I only know that the odds are very, very, very long against the bet that Rahm is wasting money simply for the sake of wasting money. He must think his candidate has a shot at taking the primary. I can't evaluate his odds, only that he thinks he they're either good or that he can overcome them if bad.

But frankly, three months makes for a pretty bad bet if you ask me. So I'll just say he might know something I don't.

As for whether the same paper-thin excuses that applied in the Smith/Carnahan race apply here, I think we'd need more information. What I mean by paper-thin, of course, is that while it's typically the policy of the DCCC not to actually select a candidate to back in the primary, it's still supposed to be fair game to recruit candidates they think can win, and still fair game for the person who happens to chair the committee to use his or her personal juice to steer resources to a personal favorite.

I will say this: A big (and growing) part of me would like to see Cegelis win, just so that people in the blogosphere feel like they can speak up and prevail once in a while. Not that I believe it'll sink in and change any minds, of course. DC Dem-baiting will always be a favorite sport. But at least we'd be able to use the example to goad people into taking some kind of personal responsibility for the process every so often.

by Kagro X 2005-12-15 06:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Kagro X:

You got it right buddy.  These guys talk like Rahm just rode in on a load of pumpkins. Rahm wants to win period. Forget all the powerbroking BS, this guys wants to build an organization, one race at a time. I think he senses weakness in Cegalis from fundraising to personality.

I think the residency thing is overblown.  Redistricting happens every ten years and the lines move.  The US Constitution states you need to be a resident of the state you want to represent. Thats it.  Ten bucks says Henry Hyde very seldom lived in the district over the last 20 years even though he had a residence somewhere in WoodDale.  I bet he knows DC better than his own district.

by riverred 2005-12-16 05:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Finally!!!  An analysis based on common sense.

Run for Congress.  The Hill hasn't seen common sense in -- forever.

by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-15 11:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Question
2010.

Get on the bus.

Tim

by Tim Tagaris 2005-12-16 05:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Question
So does this constitute your formal announcement...
by michael in chicago 2005-12-16 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Question
Sounded like one to me.  I can't wait to see his platform.
by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-16 04:39PM | 0 recs
How good is Duckworth at campaigning?
Cegalis is a proven campaigner. Is it possible to predict how someone will do on the campaign trail until they have been tested?

I don't have the same faith in either Durbin or Emmanuel you do Kagro X. There is an unspoken agenda behind the decision to go to the mat with the grass/netroots.

What would Duckworth's "home" district be? Is there some reason she is not being put forward there?

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 04:49PM | 0 recs
Re: How good is Duckworth at campaigning?
Proven? Proven what? To be perfectly blunt, garnering 44% proves nothing but that you can lose.

That's the bottom line. It was an L, not a W. Heartbreaker? Sure. Closer than anyone else? Sure. But no cigar.

Now, as I said, that's putting it in the starkest (and probably most unfair) terms possible. But my suspicion is that the people behind the Duckworth candidacy don't think Cegelis proved anything to them. I think they've been thinking it's a miracle more people can't garner 40%+ against the half-dead Henry Hyde. A couple years ago someone managed something like 42% -- but apparently nobody thinks that guy's a miracle man anymore.

It's very possible to predict how someone will do on the campaign trail, though. And it may very well be plausible to say that Duckworth will be terrible. I don't know.

Now, as it happens, a quick proxy for how someone will do on the campaign trail is their fundraising ability. Of course, we all know that Cegelis has not been given free rein to do all the fundraising she wants to -- she's been headed off by Emanuel, who's apparently warning off would-be contributors. But who has the juice in the 6th district and surrounding area? Is it Cegelis, whose supporters say she's got a network of support already in place, or is it Rahm Emanuel, who everyone claims has no real connections to Illinois anymore, and whom himself might as well be a carpetbagger?

For whatever reason, it seems that the carpetbaggers with no connections are able to sway more people with more money and more influence in Illinois than Cegelis. Sad and wrong, but apparently true nonetheless. But the agenda isn't unspoken by any means. The agenda is to win the maximum number of seats, and the guys who pull the strings think Cegelis has hit a wall, and that Duckworth can clear it. Matt is probably right that there's also an element of kingmaking going on. But the one requirement to be a kingmaker is... convincing people you can make kings. Emanuel has that skill, and Cegelis doesn't. (For Christine and the people who know her, that may well be considered a blessing.)

Duckworth lives in Hoffman Estates, according to what I read. And by my reckoning, that puts her in the 8th District. Melissa Bean's. And you know what that means.

by Kagro X 2005-12-15 05:40PM | 0 recs
Re: How good is Duckworth at campaigning?
Who has the juice in the IL-06 is the Republicans. They have a 30 year head start, have the organization in place, and donor infrastructure Democrats won't have for at least a decade.

The large Dem donors are in Chicago. Rahm's district. He controls the Democratic purse. You can't fault Cegelis for not being able to out manuver the head of the DCCC with strong ties to the Clintons and the Daily administration. That's just not a fair statement.

The only reason Duckworth has a campaign at all, and fundraising at all, is because Emanuel set it up for her. Comparing her fundraising to Cegelis' fundraising is highly misleading and deeply flawed.

The bottom line here is that Emanuel is going to have to spend $1M or more to oust a DEMOCRAT. What does that say about what they really think about Cegelis? If she's such a terrible candidate and Duckworth is so great, why spend so much defeating Cegelis? She should be a push over from what Emanuel and his spokesman are saying.

Why the need then to blow $1M on taking out a DEMOCRAT?

WTF?

by michael in chicago 2005-12-15 06:21PM | 0 recs
Re: How good is Duckworth at campaigning?
It's not faulting Cegelis, it's just recognizing a reality. It's "unfair" that Duckworth gets to take advantage of Rahm's connections, but there it is. It's politics. If you have the connections, you get to use them. If you don't, you have to create them for yourself. If you can't, you don't get to play.

And they're not taking her out of anything. She hasn't won anything yet. There are no squatter's rights on the ballot line.

Is there $1 million earmarked for a primary? I keep seeing this and other big nubmers, but rarely an authoritative statement on who's spending it and how.

by Kagro X 2005-12-15 06:45PM | 0 recs
Re: How good is Duckworth at campaigning?
Proven? Proven what? To be perfectly blunt, garnering 44% proves nothing but that you can lose.
That's the bottom line. It was an L, not a W. Heartbreaker? Sure. Closer than anyone else? Sure. But no cigar.

Now, as I said, that's putting it in the starkest (and probably most unfair) terms possible.

To say the least. How many political neophytes win their first time out? How many win first timers who run without a lick of support from their party win against a muti-decade incumbant? It would have been the upset of the ages if Cegelis had won. Getting 44% under the circumstances is very respectable.

How on earth can either your or Rahm pretend that Cegelis could not pick up the extra 7% vote necessary to win with even minimal support from the DCCC and running for an open seat?

I don't see any rational way to consider Christine Cegelis anything except a lock to win this election if the DCCC wasn't opposed to her.

But the one requirement to be a kingmaker is... convincing people you can make kings. Emanuel has that skill

OK. Rahm Emanuel is on an ego trip. I can buy that. He want to prove he is more powerful than Cegalis and the grass/netroots. That's as good a reason to back Duckworth as anything else I've seen.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 07:11PM | 0 recs
Get An Editor
     This is very poorly written.
by Ron Thompson 2005-12-15 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Get An Editor
And get a damn haircut, hippie.  You owe us.  After all, you write a bunch of stuff, every day, for public consumption.  Isn't it about time you did something for US?

Actually I found this very well written.  Thanks for everything you do.

by terry312 2005-12-15 04:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Get An Editor
     Well, first, it's Cegelis, not "Cegalis", as Matt wrote seven different times.
     Secondly, the district in the suburbs of Chicago. It is not, as Matt wrote twice, "a suburb of Chicago."
     Third, Rahm Emanuel's surname contains only one "m", not the two which appeared the two times Matt used his surname.
     There's more, if you need it.

rjt

by Ron Thompson 2005-12-15 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Get An Editor
We are more concerned about substance rather than anal retentive and inconsequential details here at MyDD.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 06:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Get An Editor
     You got a mouse in your pocket, Boatwright? Who's the "we" here?
     I'm glad that Matt at least realizes that numerous obvious errors of spelling distract the reader and undermine the substance of the article, and therefore took the time and trouble to correct them. Nice job, Matt.
by Ron Thompson 2005-12-16 07:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Get An Editor
Who's the "we" here?

"We" are more concerned about the story than nitpicking. But that's just "us".

I worry that OH-12 may see some of the same shenanigans, as well OH-Sen. "We" (that's my Mouse & I) have two terrific candidates, Sherrod Brown and Paul Hackett, running for US Senate against incumbent Mike DeWine. This leaves OH-12 open, and while the race has yet to truly develop, I grow concerned about the influences of DC money and expertise on a true-blue district and constituency. I could imagine the chaos if Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (OH-11) arranged for cool mil' to get dropped in just one candidates coffers.

It pains me to think about the time, effort and personal energy Cegelis and her volunteers have put forth, only to have the pennies from heaven fall onto someone else's campaign. This is the kind of chicanery I expect from Republican agents, not from Dems.

And now my Mouse is tsk-tsking me for "our" naivete.

- GFO

PS MyDD rocks, editor or not.

by GuyFromOhio 2005-12-16 08:40AM | 0 recs
Cegelis wouldn't have a money problem
If Rahm gave HER, $1,000,000.  How about leveling the playing field and giving both candidates half a million and see what results?

As for me, if in the general election I have a choice between a Republican and a DCCC DINO, I will vote Republican. I'm sick of corrupt Party bosses.

If the Greens weren't a one issue Party, I'd join them.

by antiHyde 2005-12-15 04:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Cegelis wouldn't have a money problem
She'll never see a dime from the DCCC until next Fall -- maybe -- & that's just to save face before the Nov. election.  She has a lot of support from the higher income levels, but they don't want Emanuel to know about it.  Any donation over $2K requires FEC paperwork.  

Christine has a lot of donors throughout the country (the fundraising almost resembles a presidential campaign) providing small donation amounts because they can be anonymous or they're all people can afford.  If she wins the March Primary, it'll send a message reminding the people that they have the power to decide who represents them & Emanuel doesn't.  It'll also be a catalyst for the primaries that follow throughout the year.  Every CD is winnable.  Voters just need to show up to their polling places.

Any amount donated to Christine is valuable.  We need her on The Hill.

by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-15 11:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Cegelis wouldn't have a money problem
"If in the general election I have a choice between a Republican and a DCCC DINO, I will vote Republican. I'm sick of corrupt Party bosses."

WTF?  Not sick of corrupt party bosses like DeLay, Blunt, and the rest of the Rove/Norquist/Abramoff "culture of corruption" machine?  

The term for this is "cutting off your nose to spite your face."  Eyes on the prize, please.

by Mimikatz 2005-12-16 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Cegelis wouldn't have a money problem
I thought about this for awhile.  

I also live in DuPage County, and something that pisses off the people out here is the 'Democratic machine' over in Chicago.  Having Rahm Immanuel throw his weight around here is waving the red flag in front of the bull.  Nothing will unite Republicans like a perceived encroachment by 'Chicago Dems'.  Rahm epitomizes the problem.  That scum Roskam will use that all over his campaign, and the IL 6th will have the Hobson's choice of Mr. Wingnut republic. or Rahm's bitch, whatshername.  Thanks Rahm, you dickweed.

by weinerdog43 2005-12-16 03:31PM | 0 recs
Cegalis is up against the machine
I got to meet Dick Durbin (someone I really admire) a few weeks ago. He mentioned that someone who he thought would become a national star would run in IL-06 and that it wasn't Cegalis. It was pretty clear that he was behind this other person who is now revealed to be Duckworth. Emmanuel isn't the only person involved here.
by who threw da cat 2005-12-15 05:36PM | 0 recs
The machine is down against Cegelis
My guess is that Durbin is following Rahm's lead here. If Rahm were to turn around tomorrow and fund Cegelis, then Durbin would be singing Cegelis' praises instead. IMHO.

Remember when Drubin stepped into the torture like NAZI shit a while back. He breifly tried to defend himself until Richie Daley chastised him for the remark and then he put his tail between his legs and apologised. That was a Chicago machine hit. Make no mistake about that. And it could well have Rahm's finger prints on it.

by Jeff Wegerson 2005-12-15 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: The machine is down against Cegelis
And don't forget that Durbin endorsed Cegelis in '04.
by kbonline 2005-12-15 10:21PM | 0 recs
Some thoughts
First, it's spelled "Cegelis" and being one for typos myself, this is a common one.

Second, I've lived in District 6 for 32 of my 41 years, only missing a 9 year stint in AZ to going to college and falling in love with the desert. I grew up in Henry Hyde's home town, and saw since I was a kid that Hyde was not viewed as a Republican, but as a fixture. There was no other candidate. Hyde was the district's representative, and was seen as a great man by many, especially when the district was solid Republican Red.

The district has changed greatly since I was a kid. The Italian and German immigrants kids who made up my classmates are not replace with eastern Europeans, Hispanics, and middle eastern immigrants. Mosques are now being built in several places, and the Muslim community is growing in placed like Lombard.

As a resut in the shifting demographics, Democrats are growing again the in district. Registration of Democrats has been gaining on Republicans, and if the trend continues could equal or surpass Republicans by as early as 2008. The Republicans control all seats in all county positions, but for the first time in my lifetime are being challenged rather than running unopposed as they have for decades.

Cegelis was a rallying point in 2004. DFA groups adopted her, and local party meeting began to spring up. Now for the first time I can remember in my life, there is a Democratic Township organization in all 9 of the county townships. While Cegelis is not responsible for this, she was in large part the poster child for the new Democratic awakening in my opinion.

People canvassed for her in droves, every weekend. They volunteered for her. They went to township meetings and DFA groups for her. And what made people want to help her is that she went everywhere they did. She went to bake sales, DFA meetings, county and township Democratic meetings. She went everywhere and met with anyone who would meet with her.

Sure she made mistakes. There was no infrastructure to help her, and the DCCC completely wrote her campaign off as futile. She was greatly outspent by Hyde, but was particularly inspiring on several occasions, particularly her debate with Hyde, in which he said something to the effect of "If I wasn't running I'd vote for her." Sure it was a joke, but Cegelis earned Hyde's respect.

So now Cegelis is running again, and all we've heard since June is that Cegelis is a poor fundraiser, so she should be replaced. Who's been saying this? Anonymous "Democrats" and DCCC spokesman. Rahm's district is adjacent to IL-06, and being in Chicago, also has all the high dollar donors. Rahm controls the purse in IL politics. So the argument that Cegelis is a poor fundraiser is circular and deeply flawed:

  • Rahm's people say they are looking to replace Cegelis with a "strong" candidate an that the district is open;
  • This kills Cegelis' ability to attract large donors who don't want to go againts a candidate Rahm might set up in business;
  • Cegelis' fundraising stalls attracting only small donors;
Rahm's people say Cegelis is a poor fundraiser and should be replaced.

It's a self fulfilling prophesy. Essentially, Rahm is trying to shut down Cegelis' campaign by cutting off her funding. Now he's wasting $1M on a primary trying to take out a DEMOCRAT.

All I can say is WTF?

Now Tammy Duckworth, Rahm's third choice, is being touted as the strong candidate and has been set up in business by Rahm and his connections. I've said this many times now: How is Duckworth, with no announcement, getting 50 volunteers circulating petitions, paying for a-list consultants working on her campaign, media outreach sufficient to get her on This Week, and a campaign spokesperson and publicist? All this costs dollars. Big dollars. So how is she paying for it?

Duckworth might be a fine person, and should be honored for her service and her sacrifice for this nation on account of Bush's war. But, not to be disrespectful, she's being used here. If I was in her position, I'd probably do the same thing. But it doesn't make it right.

This is a lose/lose situation:

If Duckworth runs and wins:
This will be a blow to Democrats in the district who have used the Cegelis campaign as a rallying point as they work to build the local Democratic party. Such a win will most likely be viewed as a hostile take over of the district by Chicago Democrats and have a lasting effect on those most active in the district, as a bitter primary will hurt a race in which every vote will be needed to win.

If Duckworth runs and loses:
Roskam will jump all over this and run with the "Cegelis' own party wouldn't support her" narrative. Just as was done to Dean in his primary, Roskam will use this to falsely paint Cegelis as radically on the fringe of her own party. The primary would be essentially a complete vote of no confidence by the Party for Cegelis, making what is already going to be a difficult race for any Democrat that much more difficult for her. How will Rahm and the DCCC support Cegelis then after working against her in the primary?

I'm sorry for such a long comment, but I'm really pissed about what is happening in my district, and my party. This race is about the soul of the Democratic party. Are we the party of the people, or are we the party of political machines and Democratic party bosses? Rahm, for whatever his reasons, is making a big mistake and power grab here, and residents who have supported Cegelis for two years are not going to sit quietly by.

I've written extensively about this on my blog and SoapBlox Chicago if anyone is interested in reading more.

by michael in chicago 2005-12-15 06:14PM | 0 recs
Rahm Emanuel is on an ego trip
We should all be pissed any time the Democratic leadership craps all over the grassroots. It would be different if this were a test of wills between the netroots and Rahm Emanuel. It's not. Emanuel is blatantly denying the wishes of the local Democrats who fought tooth and nail for Cegelis last year.

That's why I keep insisting that the Democratic Party is just as much our enemy as the Republican Party. We are probably a bigger threat to the DLC and DCCC and DSCC than we are to the Republican Party. The party apparatchiks view Howard Dean and the netroots as enemy invaders. The citadel is striking back.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 07:17PM | 0 recs
One point
If Duckworth runs and loses:
Roskam will jump all over this and run with the "Cegelis' own party wouldn't support her" narrative. Just as was done to Dean in his primary, Roskam will use this to falsely paint Cegelis as radically on the fringe of her own party.

That makes no sense at all.

1 - Claiming that somebody who just won a Democratic Party primary isn't supported by the Democratic Party is pretty much inaccurate.

2 - The work is going to be done by the GOP to paint the Democratic establishment as "too liberal".. so if a candidate wins without establishment support, the line will be "Well, we say the DNC is too liberal, but they're moderate here, really, we swear!"

3 - Your comparison to Dean makes no sense, because in this scenario, Cegelis would be in the general election.

Also, there's Parallel points are being made here..

Those points are:

A - Cegelis built up the grassroots and should be the candidate

B - Duckworth could beat her in the primary

You'd think that if A was true, then B would be unlikelier.

We're not dealing with a situation where Rahm is going to rig the primary election.

So apparently if Cegelis has resurrected the Democratic Party in IL06 and gotten the support of the local leaders, then she should be able to win this election.

Justsaying

by RBH 2005-12-15 07:57PM | 0 recs
Horrible logic
You'd think that if A was true, then B would be unlikelier.

Exept for the fact that Emanuel and the DCCC is dumping a cool million into helping Duckworth win the primary.

Why are you confused about Roksam claiming that Cegelis own party doesn't support her if Cegelis wins the primary? That is a perfectly logical and accurate claim for Roksam to make. Cegelis will win in spite of the DCCC, not because of it.

In essence, Roksam will be telling Illinois voters that Cegelis is even too liberal for the Democratic Party. Waaaaaaay out there like that evil foaming at the mouth socialist Howard Deaniac.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 08:21PM | 0 recs
The Primary is in March
So if Cegelis were to win, there'd be no excuse for the DCCC to not help her out more.

In the scheme of things, I wouldn't be stunned if Roskam went deep into projection on Cegelis.

I guess we'll see the effects of the supposed $1M on a campaign over the span of four months. The arguments from the Cegelis side are about her residence and on issues. You all have obvious openings there (even without directly mentioning Duckworth)

by RBH 2005-12-15 08:38PM | 0 recs
The issue is one million dollars
It would be just as bad if the DCCC wasn't experiencing difficulty raising money. Wasting a cool million on an untested first timer is foolish when you have an experienced and battle tested veteran who has already declared.

Rahm Emanuel looks like a fool no matter who wins. The Democratic Party loses no matter who wins. What is incredibly ironic is that conservatives are the ones complaining that the Democratic Party should be big enough of a tent to include Lieberman and the Nelson twins, but progressive Dems are the ones getting shut out by the DCCC and the DSCC.

The big tent doesn't seem to be big enough to allow any progressives in.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-12-15 08:56PM | 0 recs
Maybe Christine is just a lousy candidate?
A minimum qualification of a good candidate is the ability to connect with people. From what I hear, in spite of her success to-date building a grass roots organization, Christine just doesn't have it.
by Louie 2005-12-16 03:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe Christine is just a lousy candidate?
Hear from whom? Rahm Emanuel? Have you met her? Why don't you call her campaign office and find her next speaking engagement? It might even be on her website. Listen to her before you question her ability to connect.

Duckworth ran a business roundtable, she's the DCCC pro-business candidate. Cegelis talks about losing high tech jobs in the district. Which one is more important to Rahm Emanuel and which is more important to the people in the district? I'll give you a clue about this district where I've lived for twenty six years. All the pro-business people are Republican. They're not going to vote for Duckworth. They're going to vote for Henry Hyde's hand-picked successor.

by antiHyde 2005-12-16 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe Christine is just a lousy candidate?
I don't care what she "talks about". Can she connect with voters? 44% is nice, but it's only a bit more than what the sacrificial lambs got in 02 and 00 in an increasingly D district. According to Cook Political Report, this is a Repub +3 district (which by the weird laws of Charlie Cook means that there is roughly a five point spread between the parties in terms of voting performance) meaning that she lost quite a few D leaning votes (about 7 points worth). That's not surprising given she was running against a long-term incumbent, but doesn't necessarily reassure she can beat what looks like a tough, well-funded R candidate in 06. I don't really know anything about this race, but I do know Rahm Emanuel and Dick Durbin, and I've known many candidate who superficially at least look like Cegelis. My gut tells me Rahm and Dick know something, and I bet I know what that something is. Christine just doesn't have the gas. She's got the netroots, but frankly, the netroots hasn't proven crap yet in terms of real election field campaigns. It's just reality folks. Until we win one of these, the smart money isn't with us.
by ColoDem 2005-12-16 06:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe Christine is just a lousy candidate?
What?  The previous guys did 35% at best -- which means she did nearly 9 points HIGHER in a "solidly Republican" district which she was given ZERO chances of winning.  Your analysis makes NO sense to me.  I've heard her speak, I've talked to her, and I'd love to vote for her -- except I'm in Rahm's district, so I'll be forced to vote for him.  Christine proved with her last race that the district wasn't solidly red, that it was purple, and up for grabs.  And that's why Rahm's muscling in.  Heaven forbid we should elect a real progressive from the Il-6th.  
by Maven 2005-12-16 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Maybe Christine is just a lousy candidate?
Instead of voting for Emanuel, remember that you don't have to.  Vote the way you want.  Your ballot can have as many selections as you like.  That includes ZERO selections.  

Can you imagine?  Thousands of Dem voters submitting their ballots & not one has their unchallenged incumbent selected.  Talk about a vote of "No Confidence"!

by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-16 04:54PM | 0 recs
$1,000,000
This figures seems a little Dr. Evilish -- what's the evidence?  How would the DCCC do this -- through IE focused on the PRIMARY?  

I have to say that this story does not seem accurate.

by Hauser 2005-12-16 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: $1,000,000
From the horse's mouth.  That's what it takes to run a "winnable" campaign according to Emanuel.  He can support anyone as much as he wants when he wants to.  That's also the number in the buzz around the CD.

The truly "Dr. Evilish" part is the timing.  Finance info really won't be available until after the IL March Primary.  I'm interested in seeing how they account for the money.  That'll be creative!

Once Duckworth loses & everyone sees that the DCCC does have enough funds to help out progressive Dem. challengers throughout the country, Emanuel's history as the DCCC chair.  He's digging his own grave.  His ego has him so blinded it's almost masochistic.

by Philosophe Forum 2005-12-16 04:48PM | 0 recs
IL 06 Questions
Colo Dem:

I suspect you may have actually worked on a campaign or two.  "I don't care what she "talks about". Can she connect with voters? 44% is nice, but it's only a bit more than what the sacrificial lambs got in 02 and 00 in an increasingly D district."  

These guys don't get it.  They extrapolate 44% into meaning that 44% of the IL 06 voters pulled the lever for Cegalis personally because "they like her message, she's progressive, she was one of the Dean Dozen".  Cegalis's 44% was the result of top of the ticket races like Kerry and Obama generating turnout, not people coming out to vote for Cegalis.  Her base of support is fiction just like Howard Deans netroots team that turned out to be a bunch of bloggers stroking each other into believing they had the whole world on their side because they told each other so.

These guys need to get in the field and actually do some heavy lifting and find out how difficult it is to run a succesful campaign.

I have heard from some 6th District voters that Cegalis is not a very inspiring candidate.   Rahm, Durbin and maybe Obama suspect that and want to win. Just like Obama, Duckworth has a great story.

This whole story about $1.0 Mio I suspect is fiction as well or a statement taken out of context.  Rahm can't contribute that much through his organizations.  It is what a candidate will probably need to raise for the primary and general.  Something that Cegalis will not accomplish regardless of the number of diaries that these armchair consultants publish.

Oh, and before any smart guy thinks this is Rahm or a DCCC or DNC staffer,  I haven't talked to Rahm in 18 years.  I am just a seasoned veteran of some of the most exhilirating and successful political campaigns over the last 30 years in the Midwest.

I want a winner in the 6th!!!!    

by riverred 2005-12-17 03:26AM | 0 recs
How does the 6th feel about war veterans?
How many troops in Iraq are from the 6th district?
by farblest 2005-12-17 05:00PM | 0 recs

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