Full-Court Press in Illinois in 2008
by RT, Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 04:29:44 PM EST
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.