IL-07: Davis Leaving Congress For Local Politics

Time to add another district to the Open Seat Watch. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

“I’m in,” declared West Side Congressman Danny Davis by phone from Washington on Friday morning.

Davis had worked late the night before on President Obama’s health-care bill, which passed out of the House Ways and Means Committee just before midnight. But as much as Davis loves policy work, as important as his seat on the Ways and Means committee is to Illinois, after six terms he’s coming home.

“I’m in” means he’s leaving Congress to run for president of the Cook County Board in 2010, a position now occupied by the embattled Todd Stroger, who says he’s running too.

There’s no danger of Davis’ heavily African-American, D+35 district of ever flipping to the GOP, so the action here will be in the Democratic primary. Davis’s former Chief of Staff Richard Boykin has already expressed his interest, but CQ recently identified state Reps. LaShawn Ford and Karen Yarbrough, state Sen. Rickey Hendon, and Aldermen Dorothy Tillman and Ed Smith as possibilities.

RaceTracker wiki: IL-07

19 thoughts on “IL-07: Davis Leaving Congress For Local Politics”

  1. Let’s just hope we get a strong progressive to win this seat. Any ideas of the people listed above?  

  2. As someone who has been a constituent and watched Davis’ career, I think there’s a 10-50% chance he reneges and runs for re-election.

    Unless Michael Madigan is helping Davis behind the scenes, Preckwinkle will beat Davis. And losing to a Black woman is not the way Davis wants to end his career.

  3. Here’s what might be the strategic advantage La Shawn Ford has.

    He’s Black and lives in Chicago and represents a big chunk of Oak Park.

    He also has few enemies and some personal wealth.

    And people like La Shawn Ford. The list of people who like Richard Boykin is short. That’s not to say people hate him, but he doesn’t have that likability factor that successful politicians often have.

    People to watch:

    County Commissioner Earlean Collins

    State Senator Kimberly Lightford

    I like Ford, but I also like Thomas Gary, a trustee for District 504 (Triton Community College). Gary is an Iraq War vet. He’s a lobbyist for local gov’t, so he knows how the pieces fit together. He was also the youngest person ever elected to the DeKalb County board, pretty impressive for a 19-year old Black kid.

    Prior to Davis’ announcement, Gary was testing the water to run for Cook County Board.

  4. Numerous sources said Davis was considering running for the senate, so this clears the primary field even more for Alexi Giannoulias.

  5. I’ll gladly trade those three for Bright, Minnick, and Marshall (or another combination of rural, worthless (to varying degress) Blue Dogs in blood red seats).

  6. I’ll take the others. Still, the vast majority of current opens are insanely safe seats.

  7. engaged in a speculative circle jerk without knowing the players on the ground.

    Davis was only considering the Senate when he could get appointed to the seat. He never was a viable candidate statewide and has explicitly stated to the whole Cook County Dem Party (in 2006) that he wanted to get the Dem nomination for Prez of Cook County Board b/c he doesn’t like traveling back-and-forth to DC.

    How do you tell all the players in Cook County you hate traveling to DC and then ask for their support for the Dem nomination for U.S. Senate?

  8. More progressive representatives in easier-to-hold seats. Saves the party machinery a whole lot of effort and money. There will be a whole new round of swing seats to fight over after redistricting, in addition to GOP districts that will become swing districts as we approach 2020.

    Spending millions every cycle to drag the most fiercely conservative Blue Dogs across the finish line is awful strategy, and I hope the future party leadership will wise up on that front.  

  9. A whole lot of culturally conservative red and awing (swing in congressional races, anyway) seats will be much more red in 2020, as well. Particularly in the south. But it does definitely seem like the Dems have the edge in winning over more seats by that year.

  10. Thats pretty freakin impressive. Talk about a political wunderkind at that time. How old is Gary now?  

  11. An effective (by our standards) Obama presidency in addition to a more progressive Democratic caucus than seen in decades could be expected to push Appalachia and the South further right, purging a decent number of Blue Dogs for rock-solid Republicans, again, after the 2006-2008 Dem wave.

    I’m curious as to what percentage of the electorate blacks will make up in several of the deep South states by 2020, though. Georgia especially is looking pretty good for us by then, statewide and on a district level as blacks migrate.

    The Midwest could be worrisome as well, since young people seem to be abandoning it in droves to make blue coastal states bluer.  

  12. The corollary to people moving out of the midwest and to the coastal blue states is that it will make the coastal blue states even stronger, with more Congressional seats and EVs. OTOH, the last census estimates I saw had at least the biggest coastal states (CA, NY) losing seats…

    Either way, I think Dems have figured out how to win midwest states, even ones suffering “brain drain” like WI and MI. Basically, keep a stranglehold on the cities and barnstorm the country, all the time acting like Paul Wellstone or Paul Simon. Figuring that out- along with cracking the mountain west- is probably the best thing the Democratic Party has going for it.

  13. Getting a lock on the Hispanic vote, and the four states it brings (CO, NM, AZ, NV) is the real deal electorally.  That makes up for any further erosion in the midwest.  The Hispanic vote eventually has the power to tip FL and TX our way as well, at which point Democrats become impossible to defeat, and the parties have to reconfigure a bit to reach a new competitive equilibrium.  56/44 is not a good number in a two party system; if that goes on long enough, somebody in the 56 finds they can get a better deal by threatening to join the 44 and tip the entire balance of power.  

    I don’t know who will wind up leaving the Democrats — hopefully, the “business-friendly” assholes who make it impossible to legislate well, but I’m never that lucky.  I’d guess that either the GOP gives up racism, keeps the cultural conservatism, and picks up more of the religious black and hispanic vote, or it gives up cultural conservatism, keeps up the class war, and picks up more of the white professional and LGBT vote.  I’d guess the second is more likely, but it’s hard to evaluate the staying power of the SoCons.  If they refuse to go away, then I guess giving up the racism becomes more likely.  After all, racism will probably disappear with generational turnover a lot more thoroughly than conservative Christianity will.  

  14. It’s more the southwest and it’s Latino population that I’m thinking. “Mountain west” seems to imply Utah and Wyoming and such, and we haven’t really figured out how to win there.

  15. You can be conservative on things like illegal immigration and affirmative action but not in any way be racist. I hope you werent insinuating that. But I dont think you were. Im sure you were just referring to the rhetoric many in the GOP use as well as far right policies on things like illegal immigration. And if the GOP keeps up with its Islamophobia then that, too, wil drive away many young professionals. Young professionals in the cities and suburbs know alot of Muslims (Pakistanis, Arabs, etc) and so they know from personal experience they are not ‘bad’ or ‘inferior’ people. I myself grew up with many Muslims, here in the Houston suburbs, and so I say to the Virgil Goode’s of the world…they are just like everyone else. And unlike what Virgil Goode may think I would venture to guess that most young Muslims are actually more culturally liberal than he is! They are secular and moderate.

    So point being…their non-Muslim friends dont appreciate the Islamophobia.  

  16. I realize that debating issues isn’t really the purview of this site, so I’ll just say that I hope you’re right about that.

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