IL-14: Capitulation, "With Biometrics if Necessary"

So, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a public place, right here in St. Charles, Illinois, when I overheard a conversation that alarmed, but failed to surprise, me.  The person doing most of the talking was -talking- complaining bitterly about her new job in an area public elementary school.  Not a St. Charles school and not an educator.  She's a peripheral professional who has frequent contact with children however, and that's bad enough.

Her major complaint?  "All these Hispanic children."

According to her, not only are "all these Hispanic children" unable to communicate, they are "aggressive and obnoxiously rude - especially the girls." I was supposed to be paying attention to what the person in front of me was saying and lost some of the conversation I was overhearing, but suspect her companion must have voiced some objections, because she started trying to -explain herself- dig herself in deeper.

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Bill Foster files for the special in IL-14

Bill Foster will file 1,832 signatures this morning for the special election in IL-14. They like to point out that's after a week with two ice storms and 8 inches of snow. I like to point out that it's a perfectly sufficient number to avoid a challenge.

I think they needed 870 or so, so 1,832 pads their total nicely and they were still able to do other stuff the past week.

I was out helping the Foster campaign in IL-14 yesterday. I was struck by a few things.

Something I had wondered about with the Foster campaign early on was whether or not they would be able to expand their base and their volunteer pool sufficiently. As I read through their volunteer board on the wall of the office yesterday, I really got it that they are doing the right things to diversify their support. I suspected they were doing all the right things before and I had no reason to think otherwise, but yesterday seriously cemented it in my brain.

More after the jump...

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IL-14 Roundup

each race has a lens through which a political campaign can be viewed.  in the il-03 race, the lens is the emergent scandal surrounding dan lipinski and whether any challenger can coalesce their social and political networks before the bombardment of advertising begins.  in the il-14 race, that lens is the concurrent special election.

denny hastert's resignation announcement last night sets up a special election, who's primary most likely will be conducted concurrently with the primary for the november 2008 general election.  in several ways, this sets back campaigns, because they basically have to start all over again.  illinois' election laws are (from my perspective) quite arcane.  by law, there was no vacancy until hastert's resignation takes effect.  "Dan White, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said he had yet to receive notice of Hastert's resignation." one assumes that this will come today.  this begins the countdown.  the governor has to call an election within 120 days of the vacancy for both the primary and the "general" (it's easier to call it a special election, and i will) elections.  the governor has five days to set a date for these two elections; the primary is expected to coincide with the february 5 primary in illiois.  apparently, as bill pascoe writes, "NO election (including a primary election) can take place fewer than 50 days after the creation of the vacancy."

But Illinois law also sets periods for collecting signatures, for filing candidacies, and for challenging candidacies. It's my understanding that when you add up these discrete periods, you end up with a time frame of 50-57 days as a minimum requirement before ANY election -- including a primary election -- could be held.

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IL-14: Hastert Finally Set To Resign...Effective Tonight

After a few false starts, looks like Dennis Hastert's going to make his resignation official tonight, at 11:59pm CST to be exact. His resignation letter to Governor Blagojevich explains why now.

I have chosen this date because I have been advised that it allows you sufficient time to call a special primary to select candidates to run to fill my unexpired term on Feb. 5, 2008, an already established primary day. This will minimize inconvenience to the voters and expense to the counties of the 14th Congressional District.

Aww, ain't he considerate. Of course, he couldn't let the opportunity go without getting a pot calling the kettle black dig in at those darn partisans across the aisle.

"I wanted to get some energy policy done, but everything is being done behind closed doors on a partisan basis," Hastert told the Tribune. "You know, it seems to get tougher as we move into a presidential election year, and so I figured it was time for me to go out and live the rest of my life."

Since this will be a special primary election and I'm unsure as to whether the top two vote getters or the top vote getter from each party will go on to the general (I suspect the latter,) it's not clear exactly what Barack Obama's presence on the same ballot will have on the election (for example, will he endorse?) but certainly the excitement Barack has inspired among Illinois Democrats in general should translate to a very engaged electorate come November, which will make it all the more difficult for the Republicans to hold onto this PVI R+4 seat. (Charlie Cook currently lists the open seat as "Likely Republican" retention -- I wouldn't be surprised if he upgrades it to "Leans Republican" after today.)

As for who will be competing in the primary, Howie Klein at Down With Tyranny breaks down the field of contenders.

There are 4 Republicans-- Chris Lauzen, Jim Oberweis, Kevin Burns and Michael Dilger-- and 4 Democrats-- John Laesch, Jotham Stein, Blue Dog Bill Foster, and Joe Serra-- are vying to take his place.

As for who Howie is supporting, he pulls no punches.

John Laesch is the progressive, grassroots candidate in this race and he is poised to turn another red district bright blue. Rahm Emanuel and the forces of reaction within the Democratic Insider Establishment are pushing for NAFTA-supporter xenophobe Blue Dog Bill Foster, who promises to embody everything that has been wrong with the Democratically controlled Congress this year. John, on the other hand, is a candidate who will effectively revamp the progressive movement in Congress.

John Laesch received 40% of the vote against Hastert, the sitting House speaker, last year. Hopefully he can parlay his organization and name recognition into a primary win in February but the fact that the field didn't clear for him makes clear just what a fight he's in for.

In the meantime, good riddance, Denny. Don't let the door hit ya...

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IL-14: Hastert's Puppet Previewed Bush Speech

More than two weeks ago, on August 26 the Chicago Suburban Daily Herald reported this about Jim Oberweis, Hastert's rumored hand-picked successor, in the IL-14 Republican primary:

With the Iraq war a dominant issue in next year's election, Oberweis takes the view that the U.S. will start bringing troops home within six months because that's what military leaders will recommend. At least some troops will need to remain for 10 years or more as Iraqis start taking over responsibility for their country, said Oberweis, arguing "that's the right approach."

Ring a bell?  Sound like anything you might have heard tonight?

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