Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Illinois is one of the bluest states in the country, and the bluest state between the coasts.  GOP Presidential candidates barely bother to show up in Illinois anymore.

Yet its Congressional delegation is only 10-9 in favor of the Dems.   That's just plain awful.  We need to do something about that.  And it's ripe for it.

Last month, the 10 Dems won by 100-0 (unopposed), 87-13, 86-14, 85-12, 84-16, 78-22, 77-23, 75-25, 57-43, and 51-44 (Melissa Bean).  The 9 R's won by 67-33, 67-33, 61-39 (Shimkus), 60-40 (Hastert), 58-42 (Biggert), 58-42 (Johnston), 55-45 (Weller), 53-47 (Kirk, who beat Seals), and 51-49 (Roskam, who beat Duckworth).

Obviously, we could benefit from better Congressional districts.  We've got eight House seats that we're winning by 75% or more, and they have seven that they're holding with 61% or less.  Fortunately, we control both houses of the Illinois legislature by healthy margins, so after 2010, decent redistricting should move some of those excess Dem votes to some of those GOP-held districts, to make them more competitive.

But why wait?  These House seats are a target-rich environment already.  In four of the seven House seats the GOP won with 61% or less, neither the DCCC nor the netroots really got into the game.  That suggests that if those seats were targeted early, and strong candidates recruited, they might tip our way in 2008, rather than 2012.  (Maybe the Dem candidates were already pretty good, but just didn't get much help.  If so, run 'em again, and give them real money this time.)  

And in the other three races, only Tammy Duckworth got much DCCC help.  In 2008, Hastert won't be Speaker anymore, and may throw in the towel, deciding it's not nearly as much fun being an ordinary Congressman in the minority than being Speaker.  If Seals is up for another run, maybe the DCCC will help him out this time.  And maybe we can see if Christine Cegelis can do better against Roskam than the DCCC-supported Tammy Duckworth did.

So the Illinois Congressional delegation is a Democratic opportunity in the making.  The DCCC and the netroots should be thinking about Illinois in 2008 the way they were thinking about CT, IN, upstate NY, and the Philly suburbs this time.  It's a state where we ought to be able to swing a pile of seats our way over the next few cycles, and there's no reason not to get a bunch of them in 2008.

Tags: 2008, Congress, House, Illinois (all tags)

Comments

30 Comments

Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

The six states bordering the Great Lakes have a slight Republican majority (39-38) despite being either neutral or Democratic states.  Michigan and Ohio are also promising spots to pick up seats in 2008.  The best spots in the Northeast are New York, even with a delegation consisting of 23 Democrats and 6 Republicans, and New Jersey (7-6 in favor of the Democrats).

Three NJ seats were won by Republicans with 58% of the vote or less; all 7 Democratic seats were won with at least 66%.

Eight OH seats were won by Republicans with 59% or less.  OH-1 (53%), OH-2 (51%), OH-3 (58%), OH-5 (57%), , OH-12 (58%), OH-14 (58%), OH-15 (51%), OH-16 (59%).

by David Kowalski 2006-12-15 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Good post, RT.  Why we can't beat Weller is beyond me.  Clem Balanoff came the closest, IIRC, in '96.  Weller is a walking PAC ATM and now the son-in-law of a former Central American dictator.  Why can't we get rid of him?

Plus, in IL-10, Kirk may vacate the seat to take on Durbin for Senate.  Kirk will probably do a little better than Alan Keyes, but not much.  With that seat vacant, and the experience that Seals got this time, we should really be organizing to take this one, finally.

And someone please tell the DCCC to stay out of IL-6 and let Christine Cegelis have another shot.  While it will be tougher to win with Roskam as an incumbent, suppose the Rs are as unpopular in '08 as they are now?  He won't be able to run away from his likely-to-be hideous record.

by rayspace 2006-12-15 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

I hope that you mean for the DCCC to stay during the primary only.  

That media market requires some major cash to be competitve so DCCC needs to help out for the general election.

by Sam I Am 2006-12-16 07:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

I think it should be noted that the DCCC will need to spend more on incumbent protection this year so I am not sure they will aggressively go after more seats especially against incumbents in non-swing states.  Many of the newly elected majority will have tough fights next time and money will be needed to protect them.  Also just like in 2004, the national money will probably be focused on the states needed for Presidential pick-ups. In other words I would not expect the same kind of investment in IL next time around except maybe protection of Melissa Bean's seat.

by Licorice 2006-12-16 07:57AM | 0 recs
The DCCC does not replace a good campaign

Cegelis only deserves help if she can raise good money on her own, before they step in. She didn't raise nearly enough in 2004. If she can step it up in 2008, and the DCCC polls show the race as competitive, then they'll step in.

What most people here stubbornly refuse to realize is that DCCC money and organizing does not REPLACE campaign fundraising and organizing, it supplements it.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-12-16 06:52PM | 0 recs
I call bushshit

This has been covered time and time again how the DCCC kept raising the bar for Cegelis during the primary.  All the while Cegelis was meeting their artificial goals, the DCCC was actively searching for a less progressive, alternative candidate who would get their unconditional backing.

The end result of the primary machinations by the DCCC is that Duckworth, the DCCC anointed candidate, loses the general election to wingnut Roskam, and Republicans remain in control of the district.

by pascal1947 2006-12-17 01:22AM | 0 recs
Re: I call bushshit

Kept raising the bar? Cegelis raised what, about 300k? That's peanuts in Chicago. Peanuts.

As for the general, Duckworth's 49% was fantastic for a Democrat in a gerrymandered GOP district. That district is a bunch of rich white people. They're not going to vote for a liberal candidate. They love their tax cuts.

If you want Cegelis in there so badly, get the Illinois legislature to redistrict and make IL-06 a Dem-leaning district.

by OfficeOfLife 2006-12-17 12:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Boy I hope Kirk is stupidest enough to take on Durbin... At this point there are probably two or three GOPers that would have a shot at Durbin, but the chances Edgar, Thompson or Ditka would run are slim and none.  

by yitbos96bb 2006-12-16 01:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

I hope I'm wrong, but the Illinois Democratic party does not fill me with much optimism when it comes to redistricting in 2011. They sold out David Phelps in 2001 so the Chicago Democrats could keep their little super-safe fiefdoms. So instead of making Shimkus and Phelps go at it in a 50/50 district, they made it 55/45 GOP, gave the Democratic parts of Phelps's old district to Tim Johnson (but took out the even more Democratic parts of Johnson district, making it really hard for Dems to win there, Dr. Gill did really well for having poor fundraising and a stacked deck against him), and basically forced him out of office.

So I don't know if they have the will to make those Dem victory margins in Chi-land 25% instead of 60% or 100%. If they did, Roskam would be gone, Hastert's seat might be gone, Kirk's seat would be gone, Weller's seat would be gone and Biggert's seat would be gone.

That's a possible switch from 10-9 D to 15 - 4 D.
Actually if some of the Chicago Dems wanted to keep their super-safe districts, they could focus on downstate IL and make the republicans sweat down here.
For example, they could take out some of the super-republican areas in IL-15 and make the district based the central Illinois university towns. So that'd be Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal (not just republican bloomington like it is now), and Mattoon-Charleston. The district will still have slight republican lean, but it would be very close. Then take away some republican areas from the 11th (since you're taking out Democratic Normal) and replace them with Democrats in the Joliet area and make the district a Democratic exurban district based around Joliet and Kankakee.

Or even better, is make the 11th a super-safe republican district by shifting it northward to incorporate much of the 14th and then make the 14th centered around Joilet, Kankakee, Dekalb, and some of the south-side so Hastert is forced to retire (if he's still in there).

Whatever we do, we should be able to get at least 3 more Dems in the delegation. Anything short of that and there needs to be a revolt in the party.

I can't do that anymore since I've moved. So all my fellow Illinoisans need to keep working at taking the party back.

 

by adamterando 2006-12-16 04:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Let me shed some life on how Illinois got redistricted back in 2002.

I have lived and been involved in IL politics much of my life, so I pretty much know the ins and outs of what is happening here.It has nothing to do with Chicago Dems making their "fiefdoms." That is cynical BS, but that's another topic for later.

Hastert told the IL Cong.delegation that even if the Dems were to take over the house during the 2002 election, none of the Il Dems would be speaker or have any other leadership position either.

So Hastert made a deal because the delegation in IL was 10D-10R at the time. In IL, the entire cong. delegation determines the make-up of the districts.

Hastert drew up the current map. He offered a deal to Costello in southern Il and Lipinski in SW Chi-town that they would not have any serious GOP opposition if they go along with his map. Both of these Dems voted for Hastert's map and that is how it stands today.

by dantch 2006-12-16 08:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

That's still BS.

The entire cong. delegation determines the make-up of the districts? Well, no cronyism there!

The map that Hastert drew was obviously an advantage of for the Republicans because it was specifically meant to get rid of David Phelps.

If Madigan and other Dems really cared about the national party or about a progressive vision in general, they could have fought for a better map that would have created a competitive, 50/50 district in Southern Illinois. But they chose not too. They sure as hell fought for a better map for the state districts. Remember the day Jessee White pulled the Dems name out of a hat?

So I don't buy the argument that our hands were tied and there was nothing we could do because the Il cong. delegation "decides" on the map.

Besides, if what you say is true about Lipinski and Costello, then I should modify my statement to read "Chicago Dems and Metro East Democrat Dan Costello".

by adamterando 2006-12-16 01:32PM | 0 recs
Madigan

Mike Madigan doesn't care about the national party or about a progressive vision in general.  That's correct.  It would be nice if there were a real progressive as Speaker, but good luck getting that to happen.

by lorax 2006-12-16 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

And for God's sake stop with the gerrymandering! IL-18 (Lane Evans' District) is an embarrasing disgrace! Let's have some uniformity.

by dabuddy 2006-12-16 04:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

And for God's sake stop with the gerrymandering! IL-18 (Lane Evans' District) is an embarrasing disgrace! Let's have some uniformity.

by dabuddy 2006-12-16 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

I just have no faith that Mike Madigan will undo all the deals he's made over the years to keep the distribution of power status quo . . . and I think the corruption issues that pervades both parties in IL are so overwhelming that nothing will actually be done to further political goals.

I heard Cegelis speak recently, and she was asked if she were thinking of running again: she didn't give an answer one way or another, but she did talk about the damage done in the district by the last election, and how difficult that would be to overcome.  Duckworth bussed in paid "volunteers" to do the grassroots -- and the college kids weren't particularly committed to the cause, and did nothing to develop the base for future campaigns.  Roskam who was a state senator from the area does have a whole network of personal connections in the District, and does have a very good ground game.  I think he will keep his head fairly low in Congress, and given that the Dems will be controlling what gets to the floor, his record probably won't be that bad.  He'll be hard to beat. Did any Democrats win in DuPage in the last cycle?  I don't think so, though several came very close.  So there are NO elected officials who are Democrats in DuPage Co.  That makes it very difficult to have a credible brand.  

by Maven 2006-12-16 05:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

It is a problem particular to Illinois. You have one-party rule in Chicago, so the Democratic Party isn't really an ideological party. It's a vehicle for power (for a lot of people obviously there are good Chicago Dems).

Thus you have Daley, who's basically a republican. And Madigan, who oft-times could care less about furthering Democratic gains because he's not that worried about furthering a progressive vision for the state.

I do like his daughter though. She or Pat Quinn would make a great governor and I think would have the opportunity to ignite the party.

by adamterando 2006-12-16 05:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

God forbid a political campaign should pay people for their labor, rather than demand they give it away for free.

by Adam B 2006-12-16 06:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Shouldn't call them volunteers then (if that's what they did call them). Call them canvassers or workers. Why the obfuscation?

by adamterando 2006-12-16 06:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

If they were still called "volunteers", that would be wrong.

by Adam B 2006-12-16 07:44AM | 0 recs
DuPage Democrat

There is one race that is in recount right now.  Joe Vosicky, state rep candidate in the Elmhurst area, is within 300 votes and there were some irregularities in the vote counting process.  Joe's team decided to go forward with the recount to verify the results and also to let the DuPage Election Commission know that they need to have better procedures in place because elections in DuPage will be closer from now on.   To my knowledge Joe and his team are doing this all on their own without any help from the state party.  In fact when I last spoke with someone from the team they told me Madigan has not returned any of his calls.

by Licorice 2006-12-16 06:55AM | 0 recs
Roskam will be an incumbent in 2008

Much harder to take down. Christine Cegelis spent 2006 helping other Democratic candidates get elected like Kagan in WI-8 by working with an organization that stressed economic issues in rural districts where people are getting clobbered. Changing the debate in those districts from abortion and gay marriage to kitchen table economic issues (minimum wage, "free" trade deals, etc.) made a huge difference.

Think Duckworth will ever spend her time getting other Democrats elected? One of the main arguments for Christine in the primary was, win or lose, she would build progressive infrastructure we could count on in future elections in DuPage County. Now, instead, we're back to square one. This is the exact OPPOSITE of Howard Dean's 50 state strategy.

by Jim in Chicago 2006-12-16 08:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Why wait to redistrict  until 2012?  Why not do it now?  If DeLay can do it....

by feynman 2006-12-16 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Madigan, ("that great principled Chicago Democrat") has already ruled it out.

by adamterando 2006-12-16 01:34PM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

Do you really want us to stoop to Delay's level?

by yitbos96bb 2006-12-16 04:57PM | 0 recs
mid-census redistricting

Hey, if it's okay with the Supreme Court it's okay with me. Unless and until we get an agreement from Repugs that they won't do this in other states why should we lay down our weapons?!

by Jim in Chicago 2006-12-17 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008

You're wrong about the DCCC only spending money on Duckworth.  They dropped about $150k on direct mail for Dan Seals during the end stretch.

Ultimately, it wasn't enough, but that would have been an expensive intervention if they decided to go up on the air.

by HellofaSandwich 2006-12-16 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC

So $3 million for Duckworth and $150K for Seals. Seems fair... NOT!

by Jim in Chicago 2006-12-17 07:00AM | 0 recs
Re: DCCC

Fairness has nothing to do with winning elections.

I'm not saying I agree with the strategy, but $150k is more than the DCCC put up for 80%+ of House challengers this cycle.

by HellofaSandwich 2006-12-17 11:32AM | 0 recs
IL Redistricting?

GOOD LUCK!

Unless and until you find enough dynamite to blast Michael Madigan out of Springfield, you'll never get "responsible" redistricting in IL. He's far more worried about protecting incumbents (on both sides of the aisle) than he is growing the Party. Especially in DuPage County, where is WAY too cozy with incumbent Republicans, to even consider rocking the boat.

by dabuddy 2006-12-16 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: IL Redistricting?

To be fair, it isn't the incumbents he cares about protecting, but instead his own power base.  

But he righteous trash and needs to be removed form politics alltogether.

by yitbos96bb 2006-12-16 04:59PM | 0 recs

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