A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

I too have meditated a lot on the results and the various events coloring the race in Illinois 06.  

Perhaps I should post a diary, as I have been involved in Chicago politics for an extended amount of time.  But allow me to first say that I find it interesting that someone decided to volunteer for a campaign based on television commercials and not based on rigorous research.  Allow me to also say that it was patently clear to me that Duckworth's entrance into the race reeked of machine politics at its worse.  One could say it was a farcical repetition of the actions of the machine that crumbled a few years ago in the city of Chicago.

What struck me about Duckworth's entrance was the vehement protest of Cegelis supporters.  This prompted me to research Cegelis, to contact friends in Illinois 06, and to take a train to the district and speak with random commuters and idlers in downtown Elmhurst.  But what signaled that there existed a grand misperception of the Cegelis campaign were Lynn Sweet's articles in the Chicago Sun-Times.  Why is Lynn Sweet writing subtle diatribes against the Duckworth campaign?  And why is Cegelis refusing to yield?  And why is Emanuel refusing to acknowledge the existence of Cegelis's campaign?  I then conducted some research, viewed a few demographic charts, read reports from 2004 that mentioned Cegelis, and I decided that the DCCCs intervention in the race was profoundly wrong.  

I then wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Sun-Times, which they published in late December.  A few people I have not spoken to in years contacted me and told me they agreed with my assessment.  This impelled me to contact Sen. Dick Durbin's Washington, DC, office, and I had the pleasure of speaking with his Chief of Staff.  He rehearsed all the worn and vapid talking points about Duckworth and her service, and I contested each and every single one of them.  Although we clearly disagreed, he basically acknowledged that there was no empirical evidence that Cegelis would lose and that this was a decision made by Durbin and Emanuel.  The conversation was amicable, and the Chief of Staff gave me his direct number, as he desires to meet me during my next museum trip to DC.  

The exchange I had with Durbin's Chief of Staff revealed to me that Duckworth was not imported to guarantee victory; she was imported for reasons on which many of us have been speculating.  The media onslaught with which everyone was bombarded suddenly made sense, as did Obama's endorsement and Clinton's involvement.  Marcy Captur's (D-OH09) visit was somewhat anomalous, but this confirmed my initial feelings: not everyone in DC or in the Democratic Party views Cegelis and her campaign negatively.

And then the mysterious poll with a massive margin of error appears, and then Markos Moulitsas Zuniga equivocates on the race.  Lynn Sweet continues to report on the race to no avail, and then John Kerry sends an email in which he erroneously states that Duckworth is facing a Republican opponent.  That is an egregious and flagrant error, especially when multiple staff members vet anything disseminated by his office.  Barack Obama's office refuses to answer any questions about his involvement in the race, forwarding me to his PAC, which is staffed with some of the most uncooperative people I have ever encountered, and I receive a telephone threat that mentioned the Letter to the Editor I submitted to the Sun-Times.  This call was placed from a pay telephone in Washington, DC.

I must say I was shocked.  But I was also motivated to send Cegelis more and more money.  I only met Cegelis once at a fundraiser last week in the Loop, and I was impressed with her as a candidate and as a human being.  Believe it or not, she actually spoke with me for five minutes, and she thanked me for my Letter to the Editor.  I could not believe she remembered my name.

Then the primary arrives, and I hear that Duckworth will "have the resources" to match Cegelis's ground game.  The money flows, but Cegelis and her supporters are campaigning with more and more alacrity.  Duckworth exploits a not-for-profit Catholic charity, transforming a visit to that institution into a political event, and she refuses to attend any local events.  Durbin's Chief of Staff, when asked about these absences, asked me, "Why do you think that is the case?" I found the question impertinent, especially as Duckworth was headed to NYC to raise funds with Hillary.  

And then John Lapp at the DCCC has his rehearsed online discussion with those who care to hear his opinion.  There he is gratuitously touting Duckworth, failing to mention she is in a primary race and gushing over her credentials and experience.  In fact, he mentioned her name twice in the short and screened discussion he held online.  And all the reporting from major news organizations fails to mention Cegelis after their long, sycophantic discussions of Duckworth.  

Everyone is duped; bloggers defend Duckworth; Cegelis supporters are told they are hysterical; and John Sabato claims Cegelis has "lingering" support on his University of Virginia, Center for Politics report.  "Lingering" is in my opinion an inapt adjective.

The mailers arrive, the television commercials, which I thankfully avoided, hit everyone's screens, and Lynn Sweet reports on the dearth of supporters at Duckworth's "Family Fun" event.  And then election day arrives.  Cook County is sluggishly reporting the returns, and 65 precincts from Illinois 06 are not counted until 3am.  David Axelrod, who was working for both Duckworth and Claypool, jumps in front of the cameras and calls Chicago corrupt, as votes are missing and Claypool and Stroger are in a dead heat.  The posturing was unbelievable, and 65 precincts from Cook County are yet to be counted in the Illinois 06 race.  Then Duckworth grabs a microphone and calls for party unity.  The votes trickle in at 3am, Cegelis loses by 1,000 votes, and the complaints about Cook County's votes suddenly end.  65 out of 127 Cook County precincts were not counted in the Illinois 06 race, and the man who represented Duckworth and was tied through Emanuel to the Daleys, who financially supported Duckworth, complains about Cook County's tabulation procedures on behalf of Claypool.  What a great way to distract everyone from the nailbiter in Illinois 06 and from your complicity with the campaign that will benefit from the votes that are missing in Cook County.  And is it not coincidental that Duckworth did so well in Cook County, even though that is Cegelis's base and the base of the Machinists Union that endorsed Cegelis?

These are my thoughts, and I honestly believe this election was stolen.  No, I am not involved with the Cegelis campaign.  No, I am not from the district, and no, I did not circulate this before releasing it on MyDD.  This is why I raise the specter of fraud, and this is why I am so jaded.

Allow me to thank Chris Bowers for his post.  That too confirmed my initial response to Duckworth's entry.

And I apologize to all those I may have offended.  I just cannot believe so much work was undertaken in order to undermine a woman of integrity, strength and conviction.  

I wish Duckworth the best of luck in the general.

Tags: Axelrod, Barack Obama, Chicago, Christine Cegelis, Daley, dccc, Dick Durbin, Fraud, Hillary Clinton, IL-06, John Kerry, Machine, Tammy Duckworth (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

thank you for your detailed and insightful observations. especially as they are first hand experiences. as someone who's lived in chicago all my life, hearing precincts were extraordinarily late in reporting results comes as no suprise to me. especially with the close stroger/claypool race and stroger's recent stroke. the machine wanted that one badly.

i didn't know until reading your piece that IL-6 precincts were so late. and with the winning duckworth margin being somewhere around 770 votes, it's particularly convenient. i immediately wondered if IL-6 was a stolen election but thought i was being paranoid. maybe not.

thanks again for your great diary. it's been frustrating and demoralizing to read so many 'quit whining' posts whenever cegelis and the IL-6 race was being discussed. my disillusionment with durbin and obama is very deep. rahm is no surprise at all.

by irene adler 2006-03-23 03:40PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Thank you.  I had to engage in this endless process of falsification until I decided I had a right to my opinion.  I wish I had the time to walk precincts with Cegelis supporters.  But I am somewhat useless: I do not know how to drive a car; I reside on Chicago's south side; I decided to move the weekend before the primary; and I had to grade papers and final examinations.  And most of my friends are not politically engaged, requiring me to arrive alone without a partner with whom I could canvass.  Although I submitted many donations, I wonder if I could have done more.  

by illinois062006 2006-03-23 04:02PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Thank you for writing this -- it is the best and most informative piece I've read on this subject so far.  You've summed up extremely well the level of frustration that the Cagiles supporters have been expressing since the establishment anointed their candidate.  

It is quite interesting how, from my distant vantage, it appears that the most visible Democratic blogs fell largely inline behind the hand picked establishment candidate in this race; rather than supporting the candidate with a track record of grassroots support.

At any rate, we all want to be players and be part of the team, I guess that actively coming out in support of the grassroots candidate in this race was just to risky for those seeking to play a larger role in Dem politics.

All this is disheartening -- hopefully come Nov. we'll all have forgotten it, and fixed our sights on the pachyderms.

by bedobe 2006-03-23 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Define for me what "being involved in Chicago politics" means.

The postings I have read from you under at least two different names pretty much tells me you don't have a clue about politics. And the ciphers who responded to this inane post about a stolen election fit right in with you (excluding Michael of course).

I've been involved "stolen" elections as the opponents later claimed.  You had better put up something better than some rant about late precints. If you thought this election was stolen, you should have gotten off your sorry ass and gone downtown to the Board of Elections and starting asking questions. I am sure you will find the answers there, just not through the internet which seems to be a convenient way of doing business and research for some people.

by riverred 2006-03-24 06:00PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Volunteered for multiple precinct elections when in high school.

Participated in the rise of Luis Gutierrez, as my teenage home was in his district.

Related to someone once in Daley's cabinet and now in a prominent position in Illinois's transportation industry.

Member of two radical gay groups in the city.

Volutneered for Carol Molesely-Braun's relection bid in 1998.

And I have volunteered for three out of state campaigns.

Although I do not feel obliged to justify myself to you or, for that matter, anyone else, I believe this is sufficient.

by illinois062006 2006-03-25 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Yes, you could have.  Next time call the campaign and they will hook you up with people who share your desire to help progressive candidates.

by Billb08 2006-03-27 03:59PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Cook Co. should be re-counting EVERYTHING.

Where are all the attorneys when you need them the most??

by Philosophe Forum 2006-03-23 05:19PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Same thought I had when we starting hear how "late" the results were going to be. There was NO WAY the Rahmbo was going to LOSE this race. I was sure if they couldn't do it legally, they'd get it done the good old fashioned Chicago way: illegally.

by Kankakee Voice 2006-03-23 06:05PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Thanks for the diary.

I was amazed at how naive some people here were with the TX 28 congressional race.  You have an area of the country with a long and well documented history of electoral fraud, and the most corrupt county in the district, which happens to be the base for the establishment candidate, holds back on reporting its results (even the early voting results which they had before election day!) until all the other results were in, then reports exactly what was needed to get their candidate a "decisive" victory.  Its pretty obvious what happened.

You have pretty much the same thing here.  Again, Cook County has a long history of ballot fraud, again the same holding back until all the other returns are in, again the establishment candidate wins by just enough to make calling for a recount seem like sour grapes.

Pretty much when you see some precints held back, then tip heavily for the machine backed candidate, always be very suspicious.  This is American politics 101, folks.   Also keep in mind that machine politicians will sometimes deliberately dump general election contests, if that helps them keep control of the local party organization.

I'm curious about the 65 precincts that weren't counted.  Were they never counted at all?  Or did they just report late.

by Michels 2006-03-23 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

They were reported at 3:30am.

by illinois062006 2006-03-23 08:11PM | 0 recs
At some point you need some proof

This is becoming a common refrain in every election we lose. Please. TX-28? Ciro was a no-show in this election until a month before the vote. Cuellar was the incumbent, meaning he got free press and advertising (franking) for 2 years since the last primary, while Ciro was a non-entity. Cuellar's win is easily explained. In 2004 you had a case, as Ciro was an incumbent and Cuellar was the new kid on the block.

Bush also won Cuellar's district. It is a not a liberal district. Not at all.

As for Duckworth-Cegelis, the late results are pretty consistent with all the other results. Duckworth won by a small margin. She outspent Cegelis by 7-1 and basically bought herself high name recognition and popularity. "Fraud" is at the bottom of the list of reasonable explanations, at least until some comprehensive analysis is offered to support the claim.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-03-23 09:42PM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

my experience is comprehensive.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 10:04AM | 0 recs
Heh

I'm convinced! The election was clearly stolen!

Thank you for showing me the light, omnipotent being of knowledge.  

by OfficeOfLife 2006-03-24 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

I feel the same way. Whenever a "favored" candidate loses people scream "BBV" and "Diebold". It gets kind of old and cumbersome. It also hurts the cause of election reform.

by jiacinto 2006-03-24 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

you obviously did not understand the diary.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 10:15AM | 0 recs
We understand it perfectly

You have no inside knowledge, no facts and figures, and no solid analysis to offer. You are crying foul simply because your candidate lost. That much is obvious.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-03-24 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: We understand it perfectly

I believe an extended conversation with a Senator's Chief of Staff about the race is insider knowledge.  

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 05:34PM | 0 recs
Re: We understand it perfectly

In fact, that conversation lasted 90 minutes.  What is inside knowledge?  Do I need to receive an email from you or some other blogger?

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 05:38PM | 0 recs
Re: We understand it perfectly

Another fact: 62 out of 127 Cook County precincts were not reported until 3:30am.  62: a figure, a fact; 62 at 3:30am.

Another fact: Axelrod complains about the votes at 11pm, 4 hours before these votes are calculated.  Although he complained on behalf of Claypool, he worked for the Duckworth campaign.

Facts and figures.  Thank you.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 05:42PM | 0 recs
Re: You understand nothing perfectly

I saw Mr. Axelrod on TV that night. He was complaining about ballot integrity because the Board of Elections was going to close up shop for the night.  His concerns were tied to how the ballots were going to be secured overnight.

I happened to be a pollwatcher that evening and it was pretty chaotic. Lots of Republican election officials running the polling place looking like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off. Machines not working, people reading election manuals, envelopes missing.  It all works out in the end. Put up $75,000 and get yourself a recount.

by riverred 2006-03-24 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: You understand nothing perfectly

Interestingly, the ballots about which he was complaining were counted that evening and into the morning and the following day.  You clearly do not know how those ballots were handled.  Perhaps you need to trot downtown and ask questions.

by illinois062006 2006-03-25 06:34AM | 0 recs
Regurgitating poll reporting times

Is not a comprehensive analysis proving election fraud.

What were the results from these precincts? And how were they so vastly different from the expected, especially considering the information provided above about Duckworth's ads airing in Cook county but not nearly as much in DuPage? After the election in 2004, very comprehensive statistical analysis was offered to suggest vote fraud in Ohio. All you provide is anecdotes, all from yourself or other Cegelis supporters.

You'd be laughed out of a court of law with "evidence" like this.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-03-24 09:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Regurgitating poll reporting times

But I am not in a court of law; I am trying to generate debate.  If you disagree with the evidence, try to formulate an argument I find compelling.  Until then, I prefer my interpretation.  

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 10:35PM | 0 recs
Your interpretation

is sour grapes, period. You haven't even posted the results from these 62 precincts proving that they were manipulated.

Duckworth was ahead all night by about the same margin that she wound up winning by. There was no magical "swing" that put her ahead of Cegelis at the end. With 80% reporting she was ahead by over 500 votes. Cegelis would have had to won those 62 precincts by a massive margin to overcome the deficit, and there is no evidence suggesting she did so. Duckworth was BETTER well-known in Cook than in DuPage.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-03-25 03:27PM | 0 recs
Yes, You Do Need Some Proof

There's no way Duckworth outspent Cegelis by 6:1, 7:1 or whatever.  As of March 1, according to FEC filings, Duckworth had raised $517,747 to Cegelis's $318,418.  

To bring that up to even a 6:1 ratio would mean that even if Cegelis hadn't raised a dime more in the last three weeks of her campaign, Duckworth still would have had to have raised an additional $1.4 million to get up to that kind of ratio.  

Even to get to a 3:1 ratio would have required Duckworth raising more in three weeks than Cegelis had in fifteen months.  (And frankly, if she could do that, she ought to be a favored candidate.)

by Adam B 2006-03-24 12:21PM | 0 recs
Duckworth's Blitz

The appropriate comparison would be how much each candidate spent after Duckworth entered the race.

Historical spending by Cegelis is not irrelevant but also doesn't really give a feel for how much money hit the district for Duckworth and how fast it hit. Duckworth had powerful help and a huge money edge in the decisive runup to the voting.

Didn't she?

by Curt Matlock 2006-03-24 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Duckworth's Blitz

I disagree, and that's because of something particular to this race: Cegelis' supporters argued that the "burn rate" issue wasn't an issue, b/c she was plowing the money into building a strong local organization to win the primary.  And surely, this was being done because they knew someone was going to enter the race as a serious foe.

Did Cegelis ever make it to tv ads?

by Adam B 2006-03-24 03:24PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, You Do Need Some Proof

Come on Adam. You know FEC filings don't tell the who tale, and bundled and funneled contributions don't always show up on FEC reports. Campaign finance laws are not as tight as they might appear and you know it.

by michael in chicago 2006-03-24 03:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, You Do Need Some Proof

If there were independent expenditures for communications by the DCCC or others, they'd carry disclaimers.  Everything eventually comes out in the wash.

by Adam B 2006-03-24 04:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, You Do Need Some Proof

Of topic, congrats on your front page at dKos. Are you going to be there regularily now?

by michael in chicago 2006-03-24 05:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, You Do Need Some Proof

Nope.  I've had temporary FP rights to discuss FEC/Internet related issues, but that's it.  

by Adam B 2006-03-24 05:51PM | 0 recs
BS!

The FINAL Fundraising Numbers:

Duckworth: $700K

Cegelis: $360K

Much of the DW money came right at the end...DO YOUR HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU SPOUT OFF!

by dabuddy 2006-03-24 04:13PM | 0 recs
Re: BS!

And the source for those numbers, BTW, is ArchPundit...Not exactly a Cegelis Supporter.

by dabuddy 2006-03-24 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: BS! - Lies, damned lies, and

then there are statistics. Duckworth's money total ($700K) was over 4 months. Cegelis's ($360K)was over two years. Her biggest mistake may have been that after putting 44% on the board against Hyde she f-ed up and actually listened to the "pros" who told her what to spend money on. She did, and then the "pros" and/or their other "pro" friends started the meme about her burn rate.

Christine is a courageous woman - she stood up to Hyde when no one else would and the tough-guy "Rahmbo" (HA!) not only wouldn't put up someone but also didn't give her jack until a token at the very end. Then once she showed that IL-06 really WAS a potential get, he and Dick Durbin swoop in with the Duckworth campaign-in-a-box. This after not one but two others (O'Malley and McPartland) took a serious look and then passed. And for good reason - they knew it was a mistake. Duckworth, nice person, was a mistake, too. There are now THREE IL Dem House candidates (including the DINO Melissa Bean) running for districts they don't live in. Sound like something the other folks are going to run in heavy rotation? And this map was drawn with a D legislature, btw.

So after burning through her funds she did the brave thing again (and yes it's more complicated and not nearly so black and white as this) - she cleaned house and shifted gears, getting back to her roots-based campaign and her most vigorous supporters. Who responded. Cegelis was dead in the water in January and what she and her roots supporters put on afterwards is what the DCCC really needs to pay attention to.

The diary is great and thanks for the analysis, but to try to say that Duckworth "only" had a 2:1 edge in money is to either misunderstand or misrepresent the situaion.

www.democracyforillinois.org

by ericd1112 2006-03-25 05:59AM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

I can't think of any reason for Duckworth to do significantly better in the Cook County portion of the district.

by Carl Nyberg 2006-03-24 01:31PM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

I do look forward to seeing a breakdown, precinct by precinct.  When's that coming out?

by jakester 2006-03-24 03:11PM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

It should have already been available.  But no, no data is available.  I guess they are still "calculating" the votes.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 05:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Final election results, IL -06?

Where can we find the final precinct results?

by Billb08 2006-03-27 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

Because her ads ran only on cable and that cable company is in Cook, not Dupage.  I live in Dupage, have cable, and did not see one ad until I was at my inlaws house in Cook County.

by Donna loves Dean 2006-03-24 03:33PM | 0 recs
I Can!

"I can't think of any reason for Duckworth to do significantly better in the Cook County portion of the district."

I CAN.....The Chicago/Cook County "Machine". As John Kass at the Tribune put it recently:

Which brings me to Rule No. 2:

No matter who wins Tuesday, Richard M. Daley will still be mayor of Cook County. (emphasis mine)

I couldn't have said it better myself.

by dabuddy 2006-03-24 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

Suburban Cook Republicans voted in Dem primary to try to oust Stroger. These voters may have broken for Duckworth at a high rate.

by Carl Nyberg 2006-03-30 10:15AM | 0 recs
Re: At some point you need some proof

Look at this from the opposite perspective.  Imagine that an election takes place somewhere that is stolen by ballot tampering.  How would we know?  Would the county board of elections put out a press release saying it?

In other countries, ballots are counted by hand, in public, with all candidates present.  That is really the only sure way to prevent electoral fraud.  There is a long and well documented history of electoral fraud in the US.  This is as much a part of the American political system as anything else covered on this site.  Its something that progressives have to be mindful of, since they have usually been at the short end of it.

How do you know that fraud takes place?  Look for patterns.  Places with histories of electoral fraud should get extra scrutiny.  Look for unexplained blips in election results, or discrepancies with exit polls.  Ballot tampering usually falls into certain patterns, so watch for a repeat.

If certain precincts can't report at the same time with the others due to "technical problems", then one candidate gets most of the votes from those precincts when they do report, enough to put them over the top, its pretty much 99% certain that fraud has taken place.  Not just in this race, in every race, except perhaps in Minnesota and Vermont.  Counting ballots is not rocket science, and there is no reason for urban precincts to experience much of a delay.

by Michels 2006-03-24 03:25PM | 0 recs
Another Different Int.

I was hit with my interpritation last night, and a response to Chris's very understandable pessimism.  Posted late and it got pushed down the ladder fast today via the new entries.

If you're interested check it out at:
http://www.mydd.com/story/2006/3/23/2116 48/857

by epv72 2006-03-24 11:47AM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Enough of the sour grapes. Time to move on.

by EvanstonDem 2006-03-24 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

No sour grapes.  I am just stating the facts.

by illinois062006 2006-03-24 06:34PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

Let's not move on yet, before we figure out the lessons from the IL-06 election.  Otherwise we'll make the same mistakes.  

by Billb08 2006-03-27 04:22PM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

When a person makes a thoughtful analysis, I am interested.

When 3/4 of the way through, the statement "I believe that the election was stolen" with no evidence, I then realize that thoughtful people, at their core, can be total idiots.

EVIDENCE FOR THE STOLEN ELECTION!!!! WHAT IS IT?????

by dataguy 2006-03-30 07:26AM | 0 recs
Re: A Different Interpretation of Illinois 06

You are clearly out of touch with the dynamics on the ground in Cook County and in particular in Illinois 06.  I recommend you reserve judgment until you are intimately involved with such dynamics.  

by illinois062006 2006-04-04 08:50PM | 0 recs

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