SSP Daily Digest: 4/21


IN-Sen: Chris “Count” Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.

MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn’t even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown’s campaign last quarter.

In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn’t run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It’s an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven’t been well-received, and that he’s had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn’t have the power to do on his own. It’s ugly, and what’s more, I don’t even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.

MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he’ll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.

MO-Sen: It’s getting’ mighty crowded in here… well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.

TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was “encouraging” to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It’s strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.

VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I’m betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it’s going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.

VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.


NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie’s starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn’t doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? “Bully,” with 140 mentions.


AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in… Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.

IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I’ll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.

IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn’t formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski’s vote against healthcare reform.

NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he’s leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon’s ruminations on why he lost last year, but I’m not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says “[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters.” On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama “switchers” and “dropouts.” The memo claims that “[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn’t come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats.”

What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon’s vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used “harsher language,” so since this is Brooklyn we’re talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I’m not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn’t sound like he’s ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he’d be wise to do so.

RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he’s considering a rematch, but first he’s serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline’s self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future… or in a primary.

Other Races:

WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.

WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I’m pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.

Grab Bag:

Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans’ feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.

Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.

House Majority PAC: The new Dem “super PAC” is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is “substantial”-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan’s budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.

DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media “blitz” by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be “quite small,” but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I’m not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we’ll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement… or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.

Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania’s state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.

Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/19

HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she’s meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS “has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate” (Roll Call’s phrasing).

IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he “exceeded analysts’ estimates,” as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to “raise money from a national donor base starting next year.” Does this mean he’s going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.

MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that “uncertainty about redistricting” is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I’m not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he’s doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there’s almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.

Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman’s crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there’s a non-zero chance that she’d drop out.

MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.

NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning’s 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).

OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we’d mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.

TN-Sen: I feel like there’s an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he’s also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank – and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.


MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually – Kinder’s had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K… but two weeks later, he still hasn’t. That nimbus definitely isn’t moving anywhere just yet, and it’s his own damn fault. Let’s hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.

NC-Gov: This just doesn’t seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn’t make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I’m not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can’t be helpful.

WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant’s first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money… and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don’t know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I’m from the city – sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she’s clearly trying to play against type here.


AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.

CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it – I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is “idiot.” He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 – which means he netted exactly $650. That’s quite the feat. It’s even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: “If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59.”

CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)

Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn’s unfavorability rating is “double that of Bowen,” but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn’t include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we’re talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, “COME ON!”

FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he’ll make a comeback bid.

FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he’s a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high… but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.

IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.

IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.

MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 – so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?

MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter… and yes, I’m being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain’t bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I’ll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that’s still quite the burn rate.

NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone’s favorite nutter (okay, it’s a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.

NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.

Other Races:

Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor’s race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper’s ascension to the governor’s mansion. I won’t try to summarize it – you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy’s summary if you want to know more about these people.

Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who’ve had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state’s Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.

Grab Bag:

DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn’t meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said “she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection.” Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.

Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.

LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here’s a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.

Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri’s 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate – and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday’s digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.

However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge… in other words, not the kind of seat you’d drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he’s just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We’ve seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it’s not mutually exclusive of door number 1).

Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.

Virginia: Hah – so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell’s veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership’s entreaties to show up.

SSP Daily Digest: 12/9

AK-Sen: Tomorrow is now the expected date for the ruling from a state superior court judge on Joe Miller’s suit contesting 8,000 ballots (over spelling) and also alleging various instances of voter fraud. There’s an injunction in place that keeps the race from being certified until this case (which started in federal court and got moved) has been decided, although the judge is conceding that whatever he decides, it’s likely to get immediately appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.

News also comes today that Joe Miller wound up finishing the Alaska Senate race with over $900K still in hand, an outrageous sum given how cheap the Alaska media market is. Much of that was intended to go toward post-game legal expenses, and some of that may have been the same problem that plagued other teabagger fundraising dynamos (like Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle), of not being able to find any ad slots to spend the money. Also worth a read: a wrapup over at Daily Kos from the Scott McAdams campaign’s media guy, especially his recounting of the adventure he went through to find the Incredible Hulk tie that appeared in McAdams’ TV spot. Finally, we’ll let Kagro X get the last word in on the state of the Alaska race:

Joe Miller keeps fighting on, like a 90 year old Japanese commando on a forgotten island…

FL-Sen: The Florida GOP primary is looking like it’s going to be a very crowded affair after all: Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader, has suddenly bubbled up over the last few days as a possible if not likely candidate. If the name sounds familiar, he considered and decided against a run in FL-22 this year; he’s one of the few Republicans from the Gold Coast and, in addition to being a key Marco Rubio ally, could tap quickly into Jewish Republican fundraising circles.

PA-Sen: It’s looking more and more like Bob Casey Jr.’s challenger is going to come not from the U.S. House but the ranks of the state Senate; the question, though, is which one? The newest name to surface is Kim Ward, who says she’s starting to test the waters. She’s from Westmoreland County, maybe the most conservative of the once-blue, now-swingy collar counties around Pittsburgh, giving the GOP hopes they might eat into Casey’s strong backing in SW PA.

RI-Sen: Don’t rule out soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Don Carcieri (who’d probably be the only Republican who could make this an interesting race here) from Senate race consideration. The 68-year-old two-termer says he isn’t ruling it out, but wants to take some time off before thinking about it.

VA-Sen: George Allen is definitely acting candidate-ish now; having laid down markers against possible primary challenger Corey Stewart, now he’s moving on to direct attacks on Jim Webb (who, of course, may or may not be running for re-election), over voting against the earmark ban and the horrible sin of supporting collective bargaining rights for public safety officers.

LA-Gov: Still no word on whether a strong Dem will get into the Louisiana governor’s race, but The Daily Kingfish takes a very interesting look at the field of possible challengers to Bobby Jindal, whose numbers indicate he’s popular but not bulletproof. They handicap the odds on a collection of possible challengers; interestingly, the guy they give the greatest odds to is ex-Dem John Kennedy (who presumably would take on Jindal while still wearing the “R” badge, although I guess anything’s possible in Louisiana, where party labels seem to get taken on and off like so much laundry). They also float the possibility of a Mary Landrieu run, in that she may be eager to bail out of Washington before her next re-election in 2014.

WV-Gov: With a pileup of half a dozen Dems interested in the 2012 (or 2011?) gubernatorial race, who’s running for the GOP? The Beltway rumor mill seems, this week, to have Shelly Moore Capito more interested in going for the Gov race than the Senate or staying in the House. While she’d be the undisputed heavyweight, a few other second-tier GOPers are making their interest known (although it’s unclear whether they’d bother if Capito got in). Most prominent is ex-SoS Betty Ireland, one of the few GOPers around who’s held statewide office, and who had briefly considered running for Senate this year. State Sen. Clark Barnes is the only Republican who has committed to the race so far.

CO-03, VA-11: Republican Keith Fimian, who came within a thousand votes of Gerry Connolly, is publicly saying he’s interested in another run. He wants to wait and see what the district looks like after redistricting before committing one way or the other, though. One other rematch that may or may not be on the table is Dem John Salazar in Colorado’s 3rd, who narrowly lost the reddish district to Scott Tipton and “is open” to a rematch.

House: Politico takes a quick look at the Republicans that Democrats in the House are most likely to target in 2012. I don’t think any of the names (mostly surprise victors in Dem-leaning swing districts) will surprise any devoted SSP readers: in order, they discuss Chip Cravaack, Ann Marie Buerkle, the Illinois Five (especially Bobby Schilling), Blake Farenthold, Renee Ellmers, and Allen West.

Votes: The DREAM Act passed the House today (although it looks like, so many other pieces of legislation, its next stop is a slow Senate death by neglect). It’s an interesting vote breakdown, with 38 Dems voting no (mostly Blue Dogs, and mostly ones on their way out the door) and 8 Republicans voting yes (almost all the non-white GOPers, along with the newly-liberated Bob Inglis). Most puzzling “no” vote may be Dan Lipinski, whose safe blue IL-03 is significantly Latino, and getting more so every day.

Census: This is a strange video to go viral, but I’ve been seeing lots of links to this new video from the Census Bureau today, a catchy little explanation of what reapportionment is and how it works. Also a helpful Census Bureau release today: a release schedule of all the various parts and pieces that will be necessary for the redistricting process. The big enchilada, of course, is the reapportionment breakdown, which will be released at some point before the end of the year, although they’re still not specifying which date. According to today’s release, state numbers on race (down to the block level) will be out in February, so I’m sure there’ll be flurry of activity with Dave’s Redistricting App at that point.

SSP Daily Digest: 11/2

CO-Sen: Former state Sen. Tom Wiens made it official; he’s entering the Republican field in the Senate race. With former Lt. Governor Jane Norton wearing the mantle of establishment anointment in this race, Wien’s entry may actually help Norton, by taking non-Norton votes away from conservative Weld County DA Ken Buck. Wiens is a wealthy rancher prepared to put up to half a million of his own dollars into the race.

FL-Sen: If anyone has to sweating the movement conservatives’ takedown of the pre-selected moderate establishment candidate in NY-23, it’s gotta be Charlie Crist. Here’s one more thing for him to worry about: his job approval according to a new St. Petersburg Times poll is only 42/55. They don’t have him in as dire straits against Marco Rubio in the GOP primary as a number of other pollsters, though — Crist leads Rubio 50-28 — but the ultimate indignity is on the question of whether respondents would choose Crist or Jeb Bush to lead Florida right now, 47% opt for Bush (with 41 for Crist). On the Dem side, Rep. Kendrick Meek leads newly-announced former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre 26-6.

IL-Sen, IL-07: There a lots of interesting plot lines forming as today is the filing deadline in Illinois. But the big one is: what the hell is up with Patrick Hughes? The real estate developer was considered to be the right-wingers’ go-to guy to against alleged moderate Rep. Mark Kirk in the GOP primary, but now rumors are swirling that he doesn’t have the signatures to qualify. There also seem to be some major ball-droppings for progressives: there’s nobody challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the primary in IL-03, and there’s nobody, period, to go up against GOP Rep. Peter Roskam in the R+0 IL-06. In the 7th, where it’s unclear whether Rep. Danny Davis will be coming back or not (he’s filed for his seat, but also for Cook County Board President), he’s facing primary competition from only one elected official: state Sen. Rickey Hendon (Cook Co. Deputy Recorder of Deeds Darlena Williams-Burnett is also a big name, but I don’t think deputy recorder is an elected position). Hendon says he’ll bail out and run for Lt. Governor if Davis sticks around.

Meanwhile, on the Senate front, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is touting his own internal poll from GQR giving him a 3-point edge on Rep. Mark Kirk in a general election, 46-43. The same poll finds less-known Democrat former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman trailing Kirk 48-39.

IN-Sen: Research 2000 (on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, rather than Kos) found last week that Blanche Lincoln was in serious trouble electorally and that her troubles would mount if she opposed health care reform. They also looked at Evan Bayh, and they found that, a) he’s not in trouble (62/30 approvals, although no head-to-head test against his erstwhile opponent, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman), and b) a majority wouldn’t be moved one way or the other by his health care actions.

MA-Sen: The start of debates haven’t done much to reshape things in the Democratic primary in the special election in the Bay State. AG Martha Coakley holds a 25-point lead over Rep. Michael Capuano, according to an R2K poll commissioned by local blog Blue Mass Group. Coakley is at 42 and Capuano at 16, with Stephen Pagliuca at 15 and Alan Khazei at 5. Only 52% of Coakley’s voters are firm about it, though, but that’s not much different from any of the other candidates.

FL-Gov: That aforementioned St. Petersburg Times poll also looked at the governor’s race, and they gave Democratic CFO Alex Sink her first lead in a while; she’s up a single point on GOP AG Bill McCollum, 38-37. More trouble for McCollum: state Senator Paula Dockery, as threatened, now appears to be jumping into the Republican primary, which had been painstakingly cleared for him.

MN-Gov: If a candidate falls in the Minnesota gubernatorial Republican field, does it make a sound? State Rep. Paul Kohls dropped out, having not gotten much traction according to recent straw polls. That leaves approximately eleventy-seven zillion Republicans left in the hunt.

VA-Gov: He’s dead, Jim. Four more polls on VA-Gov are out:

YouGov (pdf): McDonnell 53, Deeds 40

Mason-Dixon: McDonnell 53, Deeds 41

PPP (pdf): McDonnell 56, Deeds 42

SurveyUSA: McDonnell 58, Deeds 40

MI-07: Unseated wingnut Tim Walberg — who’d like to get his job back from freshman Dem Mark Schauer — has some company in the GOP primary next year: attorney and Iraq vet Brian Rooney (the brother of Florida Rep. Tom Rooney) is getting in the race. It’s not clear whether Rooney is any more moderate than Walberg, though; he’s an attorney for the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, the theocons’ answer to the ACLU.

NY-23: A few more odds and ends in the 23rd. One more key Republican endorser working for Doug Hoffman now is Rudy Giuliani (like George Pataki, not the likeliest fellow you’d expect to see make common cause with the Conservative Party — with neither of them having ruled out 2010 runs, they seem to want to be in good graces with the national GOP, who are all-in for Hoffman now). Rudy’s crack team of robots is making calls on his behalf. Another possible useful endorsement: Watertown’s mayor Jeff Graham is now backing Hoffman. Former candidate Dede Scozzafava, on the other hand, is now cutting robocalls on Democrat Bill Owens’ behalf. Finally, here’s an ill omen on the motivation front: sparse turnout was reported for Joe Biden‘s appearance on behalf of Owens.

PA-06: One more Republican is getting in the field in the open seat race in the 6th: Howard Cohen, a consultant who is the former Revenue Secretary from the Dick Thornburgh administration decades ago. He’ll face a financial gap against pharma exec Steven Welch, and a name rec gap against state Rep. Curt Schroder, though.

AL-AG: One incumbent who looks badly endangered going into 2010 is Alabama’s Republican Attorney General, Troy King. Having buddied up with the state’s trial lawyers (thus angering the local business establishment) and also pissed off many local DAs by interfering in their cases, King has lost most establishment support in the upcoming GOP primary against Luther Strange. Two of Strange’s biggest backers are both of the state’s Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby.

ME-Init: Two more polls on Maine’s Question 1 (where “yes” is a vote to overturn the state’s gay marriage law), both pointing to an excruciatingly close vote. PPP (taken over the weekend) sees it passing 51-47, while Research 2000 (taken last week) gives a tiny edge to “no,” 47-48. (R2K also confirms that Olympia Snowe’s numbers are way off; the once bulletproof Snowe now has approvals of 50/44.)

NYC: Three more polls all show Michael Bloomberg with an easy path to a third term, beating Democratic comptroller William Thompson. Bloomberg leads 50-38 according to Quinnipiac, 53-42 according to SurveyUSA, and 53-38 according to Marist (pdf).

Mayors: There are fresh polls in a few other mayoral races. In St. Petersburg, Florida, one of the most hotly contended races around, Bill Foster leads Kathleen Ford 48-44 according to SurveyUSA. (Foster leads among both blacks and conservatives.) The racially polarized race in Charlotte gives a small edge to the conservative white candidate, Andy Lassiter, who leads 50-46 over Anthony Foxx. And in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, all we know is that someone with a difficult-to-spell last name will be mayor. Matt Czajkowski leads Mark Kleinschmidt 45-44. (Czajkowski seems to be the conservative and Kleinschmidt the liberal.)

State legislatures: In case there wasn’t enough to focus on tomorrow, Josh Goodman points to five legislative special elections tomorrow. The big one is Michigan‘s 19th Senate district, which was vacated by Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer. Republican former state Rep. Mike Nofs may have an edge for the pickup against Democratic state Rep. Martin Griffin, at least based on fundraising. There are also Dem-held seats up in Alabama’s 65th House district, Missouri’s 73rd House district, and Washington’s 16th House district (the reddest Dem-held seat in Washington), and a GOP-held seat in South Carolina’s 48th House district. (UPDATE: TheUnknown285 points us to a whopping seven legislative seats up from grabs in Georgia, too, in his diary.)

NRCC: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 1? This seems odd, given that he’s had some pretty good success on the recruiting front, but apparently the behind-closed-doors potshots are hitting NRCC head Sessions just as heavily as they did Tom Cole last cycle. The complaints aren’t about recruiting, though, but rather about fundraising, where the NRCC is still lagging the DCCC despite the superficial conventional wisdom that Republicans come into 2010 with momentum, and about not keeping enough of a lid on all those nagging intraparty skirmishes that somehow only the blogosphere ever seems to notice.

Polling: Mark Blumenthal has a thought-provoking piece on polling the cap-and-trade issue. The key problem: no one knows exactly what it is (reminiscent of polling the public option question, too).

Voting: States are still trying to figure out what to do about the new federal law intended to make sure that military ballots from overseas get counted. At least a dozen states are now actively considering moving their September primaries up in the calendar to comply (including Minnesota, Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin).

IL-03 Roundup #5

early voting ends tomorrow, january 31st.  if you intended to vote early, time is quickly running out.

the financial disclosure reports are out.  here’s a summary of how much the four democrats in this race raised and spent:

Candidate Name Net Receipts Net Distributed Cash on Hand Debt
Mark Pera $612,932 $538,918 $74,014 $261,404
Dan Lipinski $464,812 $191,014 $377,675 $0
Jerry Bennett $183,737 $153,389 $30,343 $49,523
Jim Capparelli $12,865 $8,467 $4,397 $0

the last of the newspaper endorsements are out.  jerry bennett won the biggest remaining prize, that of the sun-times, who it calls:

a broad-thinking, action-oriented mayor who knows the district well. He has been mayor since 1981 and also has taken on several regional leadership roles.

lipinski received the endorsement of the southwest news-herald.

in other news, cbs2 and wbbm-am have put together a voter’s guide.  chicago public radio has put up an interactive map on competitive races in northeast illinois, including the 3rd.  the npr station also covered the race in this story.

the ap has a story on the race, which can be found here:

A Capitol Hill newspaper last year listed Lipinski as the most endangered House Democrat because of a possible defeat in the primary. Although the congressman says he takes the challenge seriously, he brushes aside opponents’ criticism of such things as his opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights and their claims that he hasn’t done enough to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

He acknowledges that he’s more conservative than some Democrats, but says his views reflect his district, which covers Chicago’s southwest side and nearby suburbs.


Despite Lipinski’s support from party bosses and an easy re-election in 2006, some Democrats still are upset about the initial help he received from his father, a 22-year House veteran, which allowed little room for anyone else to compete.

The younger Lipinski makes no apologies for his unusual leap to Capitol Hill.

“I don’t think this is really an issue for people back home in the district … It’s very clear the voters have had an opportunity to choose me and they have done that,” he said.

Lipinski, a former professor at the University of Tennessee and former aide to five congressmen, landed a seat on the House Transportation Committee, and has sought the same role his father had as the point man for funding Chicago projects.

But Lipinski’s opponents scoff when he brags about bringing tens of millions of dollars to the district for rail, road and bridge work, and say it’s no more than any House member could do in his place.

congressional quarterly continues it’s coverage:

The multi-candidate primary challenge faced by two-term Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the more moderate House Democrats, will provide an early test of the organizing strength of the Web-based network of liberal activists known as the “netroots.”

It is, in fact, a very early test. Illinois’ Feb. 5 primaries, timed to coincide with the state’s presidential contests on this campaign year’s “Super Tuesday,” are the earliest congressional nominating elections ever held in any state.

Lipinski – who gained his seat in 2004 after the retirement of his father, 11-term Democratic Rep. William O. Lipinski – has three opponents for the primary in the Chicago-based 3rd District. The candidate drawing “netroots” support is Mark Pera, an assistant state’s attorney for Cook County. Also in the running are Jerry Bennett, the mayor of suburban Palos Hills, and local attorney Jim Capparelli.

Although the incumbent retains the edge over his rivals in funding and endorsements, Pera’s candidacy has benefited from the attention and support of liberal Democrats frustrated with the performance of the 110th Congress and the unwillingness they see among moderate Democrats to strongly confront President Bush on the war in Iraq, energy policy and social issues.

While Lipinski sided with most House Democrats on 93 percent of House votes that broke mainly along party lines in 2007, that score in Congressional Quarterly’s “party unity” study was the second-lowest among the 10 Democrats in Illinois’ U.S. House delegation.

Pera argues that Lipinski’s record puts him out of step with the district. He said the long-stated stereotype of the 3rd – located in and near Chicago’s Southwest Side and heavily populated by ethnic Eastern and Southern Europeans – as a stronghold of social conservatives is a myth.

“The ‘Reagan Democrat’ image of the district is just folklore at this point,” says Pera. He claims that the district, which supported Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry over Bush in 2004 by 59 percent to 41 percent, is a “mainstream Democratic” district.

the hill writes about the netroots targeting lipinski:

“We’re not arguing over nuance,” said Pera, a former assistant county attorney. “We’re arguing over core issues that are important to Democrats.”

sun-times coverage returns to the ethical problems that lipinski faces

“A congressional seat is a matter of trust, not a family heirloom to be passed down,” Pera said. “The only job my dad ever got me was a job at the steel mills that I used to help pay my way through college and law school.”

Dan Lipinski has also caught heat for paying his father, now a registered lobbyist, to work as a consultant on his re-election campaign.

the riverside/brookfield landmark wrote about lipinski’s absence:

The three challengers appeared together Monday night on WTTW Channel 11 “Chicago Tonight” program for a debate that lasted approximately 10 minutes. Lipinski did not participate, flying back to Washington on Monday afternoon to attend the State of the Union address by President George Bush.

Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce said on the air that the show had offered to tape the program on Friday when informed that Lipinski would not be available Monday, but was told that Lipinski was not available then either.

On Sunday about 40 or so members of Democracy for America (DFA), a grass roots left of center group headquartered in Burlington, Vt. that grew out of the unsuccessful 2004 presidential campaign of former Vermont governor Howard Dean, gathered to canvass for Pera in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood.

Jim Dean, Howard Dean’s brother and the head of DFA, flew in to knock on doors with Pera, who was also accompanied by his wife Leslie and two of their four children.

“I’ll vote for you because you came to my door,” Jim McArdle of south Union Avenue told Pera on Sunday after the candidate knocked on his door and spoke with him briefly. McArdle said that he had never before had a candidate knock on his door.

Dean characterized Pera’s race with Lipinski as a battle between citizen activists and the status quo.

“The politics in this country is about a culture of activism versus a culture of incumbency,” said Dean.

Members from DFA chapters in Chicago and Oak Park have been helping Pera in the campaign.

Sandra Verthein, the chair of the North Side DFA chapter said her group had knocked on 4,609 doors for Pera.

it also gave more coverage to the mostly invisible campaign of jim capparelli.

A self-described “neighborhood guy” from Chicago’s Southwest Side, Capparelli said he ran for Congress because folks in the neighborhood asked him to.

“I value their values,” he said. “I’m for things that are best for working class men and women.”

the chicagoist has an interesting discussion with mark pera.  this follows a short item last week.  the windy city times also talked to pera in this piece.  gaper’s block questions why the chicago tribune endorsed lipinski.

the progressive democrat newsletter endorsed pera.  the pera campaign launched their third television ad, special interests.

archpundit has been touting pera in the run-up to february 5th, saying there’s Nothing More Important this week, attacking lipinski for defending a french immigrant, but not his hispanic constituents, and posting the “great mailers” from naral on behalf of pera.

markos is doing his part.  he pleads for one more to make it an even 4000 online contributors and the pitch post to make that happen.  miss laura touts pera’s new ad and the dfa rally last sunday.

howie klein talks about an alliance between icirr and progressives in the 3rd.

the bennett campaign said that their “last mailer just went out as well, a contrast piece between Jerry and Lipinski.”  the pera campaign just sent out a mailer that coincides with their tv ad.  pera’s mailers can be found here.

the last scheduled joint candidate appearance is tonight at Moraine Valley Community College at 5:30PM.  

the bennett campaign told us about the last week:

Jerry received the endorsement of the Chicago Sun Times, which called him an “action oriented” candidate with a vision for the district.  There’s also a political cartoon for the race; it’s ripe for parody.

The candidates — minus Lipinski — appeared on Chicago Tonight on Monday.  Lipinski was a no-show, claiming that he had to be in Washington both on Friday and Monday.  Curiously enough, we know that he was in Chicago on Monday morning.  Jerry distinguished himself from the other candidates by talking about his experience and belief that the federal government should invest in metro areas to achieve long term economic growth.

Chicago Tonight also interviewed the Republican candidates, I presume for comic relief.  One of the best moments was when Phil Ponce asked Art Jones if we supported keeping neighborhoods white and segregation; after a quick pause, Jones said, “Sure, why not?”  Then he went into full crazy mode.

the pera campaign emphasized their grassroots efforts:

Our volunteer efforts continue to snowball. We had over 100 people canvassing on our behalf throughout the district over the weekend. We expect to have more volunteers canvassing on the final weekend before the Feb. 5 election. We’re very, very optimistic about Tuesday.

they also noted with pride their fund-raising advantage:

Our campaign out-raised Dan Lipinski once again in 4Q, according to the FEC. To out-raise a sitting member of Congress during a three month stretch is a rare feat, to out-raise a sitting member of Congress six months running is an astounding feat, especially when you consider that our average contribution is $70. For comparison, Dan Lipinski’s average contribution is $1,033. We have received hundreds and hundreds of contributions from inside the district. Dan Lipinski has received just nine. As of Wednesday, we have received over 4,000 individual contributions via ActBlue. That goes to show how much support their is out there for our truly people-powered campaign.

they add:

The voters who haven’t already made up their minds are focused squarely on Feb. 5 and the issue that they are talking about most is the economy. We have received an amazing response from our last two mail pieces, both of which deal with the current state of the economy. Voters here in the district are coping with the healthcare crisis and a mortgage crisis and sky-high gas prices. They know that these issues and the ones that matter most to them are not even on the agenda in Congress. They know that Congress is broken and they want someone like Mark Pera in Washington D.C. who will stand up for their interests, not special interests.

It’s remarkable how many voters we have contacted during our canvassing efforts who have said, “We already voted for Mark.”

You’ve heard our campaign’s message loud and clear via mail, TV and the Internet. Our campaign offers the promise of not just reform, but also better representation on your behalf on the issues that you care about most. We hope we have your vote. If you have any questions, please call (708) 579-2834. Mark has been talking to voters for months at train stations, CTA stops and over the phone and he would be happy to talk with you before Election Day.

We need your help on Election Day. We are going to be running phonebanks at several locations across the district. If you can work for two, four, six, eight hours or more, we have important tasks that you can do. Please call our field director, Jacob Dusseau, at (708) 579-2834 for more information.

jerry bennett’s campaign tells us:

Jerry’s scheduled to do events all over the district in the last few days.  We’re going back to our core supporters to make final plans for election day activities.  A week to go, and Jerry’s campaign is picking up steam!


dan lipinski seems pretty confident, spending monday night in washington at the state of the union speech.  somehow, this seems appropriate.  lipinski’s closer to president bush than he is to people in his district.  much of lipinski’s confidence undoubtedly grows out of the fact that the 3rd is the heart of the machine.  here you have the doms of chicago politics, each of which are tasked to turn out their voters.  john daley runs the 11th ward, which has traditionally accounted for about 9% of the primary vote in the district.  michael madigan runs the 13th ward, which has traditionally accounted for about 14% of the primary vote.  add to that the 19th ward, traditionally the home of the hynes family, which has traditionally accounted for about 17% of the primary vote.  and finally, you have the 23rd, which has been the lipinski homefront, traditionally accounting for about 14% of the primary vote.  that’s 54% of the democratic vote in a traditional primary.

the big question is turnout.  with obama at the top of the ticket, we can expect an increase in turnout.  in 2006, more than 80,000 democrats voted in the contested 3rd congressional race.  two years before, more than 74,000 democrats voted in the uncontested race (for bill lipinski).  yet, in 2002, when there was an open gubernatorial seat and a contested democratic race, more than 90,000 democrats voted in the uncontested 3rd.  i expect 2008 to exceed that, adding at least another couple of thousand voters because it is more highly contested.  lipinski will be happy to repeat his 44,401 votes from 2006, as that total, more than likely, will return him to washington.

more importantly will be whether the increase in turnout comes in the city (iow, in these traditional machine wards) or whether it comes from the suburban parts of the district.  in 2002, 62.5% of the vote came from chicago precincts.  in 2004, only 55% of votes in this race came from chicago precincts.  there has been growth in the suburban part of the district, but this is not an area that has seen a big decrease in population in the city, like some part of chicago.

both bennett and pera have been campaigning in the city as well as their own bases in the suburbs.  lipinski won 55% of the vote in chicago precincts in 2006, but resentment about the passing of the seat from father to son exists here, as well.  this is probably more true, given how much attention came to a similar passing of the cook county presidency from john stroger to todd stroger that year.  there’s one other intangible out there that will effect this race: madigan is involved in some very competitive races among his illinois house democrats, where the governor is trying to make gains at the speaker’s expense.  madigan’s troops have been seen in other places, far outside the 3rd congressional district.  and the shakman decree has taken the umph out of patronage workers as campaign help.

what i will be watching for on tuesday is how the 19th ward returns come in.  there has been steady erosion in the machine vote in the 19th in the past couple of election years.  in 2006, lipinski came in second with  36.58% to his plant candidate (john kelly).  it was the only machine ward he lost.  in fact, lipinski won all of the suburban townships, but lost four wards total in 2006 (15, 16 and 20).  and there’s the secret: beating lipinski in the suburbs — something that’s completely doable — and winning at least 5 wards (including the 19th) should suffice.  who wins?  there’s a week to go.  we’ll know then…

IL-03 Roundup #4

the most important news at this point is that early voting has begun.  for those who live in illinois’ 3rd congressional district, the ballot positions are:

Mark N. Pera   #9

Jim Capparelli #10

Daniel William Lipinski #11

Jerry Bennett #12

all the democrats in this race have filed their voter guide questions.  lipinski’s response states “I have also been a leader in the battle to responsibly bring our troops home from Iraq.”  pera’s response argues that “More than anything else, voters are tired of politicians in Washington D.C. who are beholden to special interests and they are fed up with the nepotism and corruption that we see from the Lipinskis and the Strogers of Cook County.”  bennett’s response observes:

During those 27 years [as mayor], I’ve worked with my fellow mayors and other public officials to transform the town and our region. We’ve come up with innovative solutions for building infrastructure, improving law enforcement and securing a safer environment.

capparelli says: “I’m determined to reignite the patriotism we all felt in the months following the attacks of 2001.”

it’s also endorsement season for the local newspapers.  the chicago tribune endorsed lipinski.  given that he didn’t even show up for the trib’s endorsement session, it’s hard to see why.  one might assume it has something to do with it’s closeness to the chicago machine.  the suntimes has yet to endorse in this race, even though early voting has begun.  the local pioneer paper endorsed mark pera as “the best choice to unseat incumbent Daniel Lipinski.”

lipinski got raves for one of his earmarks.  otoh, carol marin returns to lipinski’s ethics issues:

It was 3½ years ago that Bill ran and won in the spring primary, and only that summer when he felt the sudden urge to retire. Ward committeemen friends, familiar dynastic names like Daley, Hynes and Madigan, quickly marshaled the best man for the job.

Boom, there came Dan Lipinski, a college political science professor who had been working out of state for years, anointed to replace his dad on the November Democratic ballot. The opponent on the Republican side, a 25-year-old bar owner from Cicero, posed no threat. He was a plant previously recruited by the Lipinski forces to guarantee the general election was a gentle ride for Dan. And indeed it was.

the western springs doings talks about the race here.  the southwest news herald covered a recent debate where lipinski showed up late.  and the nearwest gazette had a story on several blogs’ support for mark pera.

lipinski has two new union endorsements: the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters and Sprinkler Fitters Local 281.  pera has been racking up other endorsements: Blue America, Blue Majority, Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, Illinois Planned Parenthood Council, Oak Park DFA, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and United Citizens for a Better America.

carl nyberg wrote a great writeup of the league of women voters debate, including a summary of the positions taken at the debate.  yoda noted that rahm emanual’s leadership pac contributed $2,500 to lipinski’s re-election.

vasyl markus, the communications director from the bennett campaign, observes:

The biggest news is that Dan Lipinski is finally emerging from his bunker.  There have been joint appearances with all four candidates at the Sun Times editorial board, the League of Women Voters debate, and at an event in Berwyn.

Jerry emphasized his experience and leadership at these events.  He is the only candidate in the race with a track record of balancing budgets, keeping property taxes low, doubling the size of the police force, and working with the region’s local officials to build infrastructure and plan for the future.  At both the League of Women Voters and the Berwyn event, audience members came up to Jerry to let him know that they support him.

Lipinski got grilled about his connections with his father by Carol Marin at the ed board meeting.  Marin wrote a column criticizing Lipinski’s responses.  Lipinski also tried to claim credit for funding certain transportation projects in the districts, but Jerry pointed out that each of those projects had been initiated by Bill Lipinski, and that Dan Lipinski has not initiated any new infrastructure capital projects for the region.

miss laura, wegerje and rob nesvacil covered the trib’s endorsement of lipinski while markos and michael in chicago covered the doings’ endorsement of pera.  lots of blogs picked up the carol marin editorial.  illinois informant has a post, as does reading on walden.  miss laura at dailykos got in on the act.  charlotte lynn continues the long line of questions about lipinski’s ethical problems; which was picked up by others.

aaron krager continues to cover this race.  ray hanania interviewed pera on his radio show.  yoda and frank swap canvassing tales.  the pera campaign has put up a new video on health care, which also got covered by miss laura.

the biggest thing in the blogs from pera’s perspective is the blog-raisers going on.  kos started it by challenging the blogs to raise money for him.  miss laura picks up the banner and runs with it.  kbal11 writes about his thank you phone call from mark pera while mark pera thanks the blogs.  others got involved, locally as well as not-so-local, including leftword, mydd (direct democracy) america blog and wurfwhile.  there are probably others i missed (though not intentionally).

the pera campaign notes:

We are in the midst of a fundraising effort sponsored by a number of national Netroots and progressive Democratic leaders. The goal of this fundraising drive – which is called “5,000 for Pera” – is to boost our total number of online contributors on ActBlue to 5,000. Since it began on Jan. 14, we have raised more than $40,000.

second life is also holding an online fundraiser for pera.

the bennett mailer i mentioned last roundup is up on their site (downloaded as a pdf).  they have a second mailer is filling mail boxes this week.  lipinski has sent out “just three mail pieces.”  the pera campaign has their “Tired of being squeezed?” mailer up as well as their current walk piece (which is also available in spanish).  you can expect everyone’s mail to start hitting now.

the pera campaign announced:

We have opened a third campaign office – which we’re calling our suburban office – at 9734 S. Roberts Road in Palos Hills. It is staffed by deputy field director Ahlam Jbaba, an Arabic speaker. Ahlam is responsible for coordinating our Muslim and Arab American outreach. Our other offices are located at 7061 Willow Springs Road, Countryside (Pera for Congress Headquarters), and 6158 S. Pulaski, Chicago (Chicago office).

the bennett campaign reports that they have initiated a series of robocalls in the district.  it observes:

The Bennett campaign’s message from now until election day is twofold: First, Dan Lipinski has consistently supported George W Bush and conservative Republicans on issues such as abortion rights, stem cell research, the war in Iraq, and health care reform.  Second, of all the candidates in the race, Jerry has the most experience dealing with the bread and butter issues that the next Congressman from the 3rd District will face.

the pera campaign’s message is:

Dan Lipinski has voted consistently with President Bush and the Republicans on the issues that matter most to Democrats. He has yet to acknowledge, much less remedy, the ethical challenges plaguing his re-election bid. People in the 3rd District are tired of politics as usual, nepotism and cronyism. If you want real change in Chicago, Cook County and Washington D.C., you should vote for Mark Pera, a real mainstream Democratic reformer.

they feel like this message is resonating with voters:

Mark, our campaign staff and scores of volunteers have called through literally hundreds of precincts throughout the the 3rd District and Democrats are telling us that they want change and that they are going to vote for Mark Pera when they go to the polls on Feb. 5.

Since Jan. 14, the start of early voting in Chicago and Cook County, voters on the phones and in person have said that they already have voted for Mark.

they still are looking for volunteer help:

We want you to be part of our campaign.

Your choice is simple: Mark is a principled Democrat and he feels strongly about the issues that voters care about most – the Iraq war, energy and the environment, health care, embryonic stem cell research, choice and privacy. Dan Lipinski votes with President Bush and the Republicans on each and every one of these issues.

As of Monday, we are just 15 days out from Feb. 5. We are continuing to gain momentum and we need you to help put us over the top by walking precincts, making phone calls, putting up yard signs and spreading the word about our campaign.

To get involved, call our field director, Jacob Dusseau, at (708) 579-2834.

the bennett campaign has two fundraisers in the next two days, including one with democratic pollster, celinda lake.

financial disclosure reports are still not available, but since the last roundup, the pera campaign has raised another $41,623 across actblue, the bennett campaign has raised another $2,175 (and doubled their number of online contributors) and the capparelli campaign has raised an additional $100 across actblue.

finally, it’s been frigid in the chicagoland area — something that has traditionally been called precinct captain’s weather.  the idea behind that phrase was to suggest that only those who benefited from patronage jobs from the machine would be so bold as to go out and campaign when it was in the single digits.  only now — after early voting has begun — are traditional precinct captains getting out and telling “their” voters who to vote for (ie, lipinski).  the hold of the chicago democratic machine has been fading of late, but this congressional seat is at the heart of the machine.  if they can’t win it for lipinski, they can’t win it for anyone.  for the next two weeks, we’re going to find out how powerful the chicago machine is now.  this is clearly the most viable threat that has been posed to the machine on the southwest side of chicagoland…

IL-03 Roundup #3

it’s a brand new year.  the primaries are less than a month away and the campaigns in illinois’ 3rd congressional district are in full gear.  at least they should be.  the biggest piece of news in this race is that the endorsement session for the chicago tribune is available:

the surprising thing is that dan lipinski wasn’t there.  perhaps one cannot be too surprised, given the ongoing scandal that surrounds the incumbent congressman.  the introductory segment of the session gives a great summary of what the different campaigns think are driving this campaign.  the video starts jim capparelli, then goes to jerry bennett while mark pera is the last to give his introduction.

lipinski may have missed the chicago tribune endorsement session (wouldn’t want to answer any pesky questions, would we?), but his office did put out this important press release:

Lipinski Denounces Illegal Japanese Whaling

Calls on President to Condemn Japan’s Actions and Seek End to All Future Hunts

[Washington, D.C.] Today, Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3) sent a letter to President Bush requesting his public condemnation of Japan for disregarding an international ban and allowing the killing of over 1,000 whales, many of them endangered. The letter, signed by 76 Members of the House of Representatives, also calls for an end to all future hunts and expresses support for trade restrictions on Japan that would help conserve whales.

“I am deeply troubled by Japan’s complete disregard of an international ban on whale hunts that has protected whales since the 1940’s,” stated Lipinski. “The Bush Administration should take a firm stance against Japan’s actions by pursuing appropriate diplomatic, economic, and trade measures to ensure that international protections for whales are not undermined, but strengthened. We must continue to protect these fragile creatures that are being threatened by human activity.”


In addition to this effort, Rep. Lipinski has been committed to animal welfare issues in the 110th Congress, including efforts to strengthen prohibitions against animal fighting and the use of dog and cat fur products. As a member of the Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus, he is a cosponsor of legislation to protect rare cats and dogs, to prohibit aerial hunting of wildlife, to restore healthy populations of salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, and to permanently protect the Arctic coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while also supporting efforts to prevent the importation of polar bear trophies.

i know that there are some people worried about the congressman’s position on animal welfare, but to hole up and hide from the rest of the issues???  

mark pera, on the other hand, had this article on the race:

December 28, 2007   Southwest News-Herald – Ray Hanania

Pera Spills Oily Issues In Fight with Lipinski

One of my cousins called to say he received a direct mail piece from Mark Pera blasting Cong. Dan Lipinski.

“They said Lipinski is like Santa Claus,” my cousin said. “Santa Claus is good. Right?”

My cousin apparently missed the point of Pera’s expensive, full color brochure which alleges Lipinski has been “like Santa Claus” in doling out benefits to “big oil companies” in exchange for campaign donations.

Pera asserts Lipinski received $26,000 from “big oil.”

Lipinski’s campaign said it was exaggerated. Pera’s campaign identified the sources of the big oil donations as $15,000 from Exelon and oil interests, $2,000 from Nicor, and $9,000 from electrical lobbyists. You decide.

When I explained that to my cousin, he replied, “Well, at least they’re not blaming the Arabs for oil prices. That’s good. Right?”

Direct mail in a congressional race is expensive. Is the issue of “big oil” really that significant in the district?

Last week, I received dozens of e-mails from readers expressing concern over the fate of Midway Airport. They disagree with Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett, also a candidate against Lipinski, who insists Peotone Regional Airport “will not” harm Midway Airport.

Midway is a bigger issue for people in the district than “big oil” contributions. Which leads me to think that voters are focused on Bennett rather than Pera.

the mailer that this article refers to can be found here.

jerry bennett had this article:

December 21, 2007   Southwest News-Herald – Ray Hanania

3rd District Race And Midway Airport’s Future

Midway Airport is the engine driving the economic viability of the Southwest Side and Suburbs of Chicago, and many believe the proposed Peotone Regional Airport plan would undermine that role.

But Gerald Bennett, who spent much of his past 27 years as mayor of Palos Hills fighting to revive Midway, says Peotone is not a threat.

A candidate in the hotly contested 3rd Congressional District Democratic race to unseat incumbent Cong. Dan Lipinski, Bennett insists Peotone will not undermine Midway.

“Years ago when Midway was a ghost town, we got together with the father of the congressman and other elected officials in the area to bring Midway to where it is today,” Bennett told Radio Chicagoland last week. “As a Southwest Side mayor and president of our organization, Midway Airport is an economic engine for us and we will fight to the death to maintain that level.”

while capparelli seems intent on repeating the same message:

January 4, 2008   Southwest News-Herald – City

Capparelli Is Serious About Winning Race


Garfield Ridge resident Jim Capparelli is among three challengers Cong. Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) will face on the Feb. 5 primary ballot, and he  contends that just because his campaign is not as well-funded as the others, it should not be disregarded.

“I have a lot of grassroots support. I’ve lived in the neighborhood my entire life, and we’re people who are active here too,” said Capparelli, who grew up in Clearing and lives with his wife and children in Garfield Ridge.

“It’s not always about the best-funded candidate,” said Capparelli, who contends that his credentials are superior to those of Lipinski, seeking his third term,  and the other challengers, Mark Pera, an assistant Cook County state’s attorney from Western Springs, and Jerry Bennett, a West Lawn native who since 1980 has been been mayor of Palos Hills, where he owns a dental lab.


Capparelli has decided not to post his upcoming activities on his Web site, but said he does intend to  continue actively campaigning through the election season.

i hadn’t realized before that dan lipinski had two websites, the one we’ve always acknowledged and this one, electlipinski.  they are actually one and the same, just different urls.  well, they got a facelift in the past month.  it’s just the index page, but it’s spiffy, with a new picture of the congressman outside the district (at the harbor).  maybe the picture is a homage to mayor daley, who’s support lipinski desperately needs in order to stay in office.  the rest of the site is the same old, same old, and it hasn’t been updated, near as i can tell, since november.  but at least it has a pretty front page that shows the new endorsements of the fraternal order of police and ibew 134.  prairie state blue highlighted the war funding switchers.

mark pera isn’t hiding.  voters have already received half a dozen mailers, including the two previously mentioned.  they have already sent out two mailers on the war, end this war and numbers keep rising and two mailers attacking lipinski’s connection to big oil: the santa mailer discussed above and an arm and a leg.  pera’s big oil campaign was paired with his second television ad and generated this dailykos post by miss laura and this one by archpundit.  while kos ended the year with this appeal, archpundit started the new year off by announcing new endorsements for pera.  mark pera himself has written two blog posts since the last roundup: one of lipinski’s flip-flops and another on stem cells.

the pera campaign reports that they had more than 80 volunteers “out the door and into the district’s precincts on Saturday, Jan. 5 and Sunday, Jan. 6.”  they added:

On Dec. 18, we set a goal: To raise $26,000 from our supporters by Dec. 31. We picked that dollar figure because that is the same amount Lipinski took from big oil between 2005 and 2007. By Dec. 28, we had hit our goal. By Dec. 31, we had exceeded it by more than $10,000. I think this is indicative of the kind of support we’ve earned. There’s not another candidate in this campaign that could have raised that money in that amount of time via contributions from ordinary Democratic voters. People are desperate for change in Washington D.C. They are tired of business as usual, they want to reform the “old-school Chicago” political system and Mark will help this district realize change.

jerry bennett has a new quotes and headlines piece, including this observations from capitol fax:

By the way, some of the Daley people are much more worried about Jerry Bennett’s Democratic candidacy in this district than Pera’s. Bennett has lined up a ton of suburban mayors and that’s grabbing plenty of attention.

the bennett campaign has sent out their first (iirc) mailer.  i’ll update this diary to include that when they have hit the boxes.

jim capparelli has two new items he’s touting: operating engineers local 143 endorsed him (rollover the link to see the letter) and the italian american political coalition endorsed capparelli (same thing).  capparelli’s calender is empty for the month of january — that can’t be right.

there are three upcoming debates in the next ten days.  all candidates, including dan lipinski, have been invited:

* Archer Heights Civic Association Candidates’ Forum, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 8 p.m., Pfc. Ted Stampien VFW Post 8821, 4235 W. 47th St. (47th & Tripp), Chicago, IL

* League of Women’s Voters Forum for the 3rd Congressional District at 2p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13 at Lyons Township High School, 100 W. Cossitt Ave., Rm. 140, La Grange, IL (sponsored by the La Grange Area, Palos/Orland and Chicago League of Women Voters).

* The All Berwyn Committee Candidates’ Forum, Thursday, Jan. 17, 8:30 p.m., Berwyn City Council Chambers, 6700 W. 26th St., Berwyn, IL

jerry bennett has a fundraiser tomorrow night (january 8) in the 19th ward as well as other events planned (link goes to upcoming events).  mark pera has a fundraiser on wednesday: Mark Pera at the Mix (fund-raiser), Wednesday, Jan. 9, 5:30 p.m. The Mix, 2843 N. Halsted, Chicago, IL

and the all-important early voting period (where people can still register and vote at the cook county building) next monday, january 14.

in the rest of the country, the 4th quarter ended december 31st.  but the fundraising deadline in illinois, because of the election on february 5th, was extended through january 16.  no campaign is willing to release their fundraising numbers before then.  the old numbers are here, while the actblue numbers are here.  since the last roundup, pera has raised another $25,677 across actblue, bennett has raised another $1,775 across actblue, and capparelli has raised an additional $500 across actblue.

there’s considerable disagreement out there about how vulnerable dan lipinski is — even with his bunker strategy towards this election — and who represents the greatest threat to lipinski, if he can be beat.  the bennett campaign notes that:

We are peaking at the right time in this race … and our message of “proven leadership and proven record to bring change to Washington” is resonating well with South Side and suburban voters.

they still have plenty of opportunities for volunteers, they reply:

To participate in our nightly phone banks and weekend precinct walks, people can either sign-up online at or call our HQ at 708-907-5063.

the pera campaign also replies:

Mark Pera for Congress continues to attract the support of the top mainstream progressive Democrats in the Greater Chicago Area. Illinois Sen. Carol Ronen, Illinois Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and Chicago Alderman Joe Moore are among the hosts of our upcoming Jan. 9 fund-raiser (more details below) and we’re very proud to have the support.

it’s getting exciting!

IL-03 Roundup #2

there’s been a slew of news in this race, for everybody running.  rep. lipinski got the afl-cio endorsement [PDF] and the afscme endorsement.  this isn’t a surprise given the association of speaker madigan with lipinski, and madigan’s closeness with the unions.  lipinski also got the endorsement of pipefitters local 597.  

mark pera got the endorsement of NARAL/Pro-Choice America as well as the endorsement of forrest claypool, who won almost 70 percent of the vote in four il-03 townships during the 2006 primary.  pera was also endorsed by reformers ald. manny flores, ald. brendan reilly, ald. scott waguespack, st. sen. dan kotowski, st. rep. john fritchey, and mwrd commissioner debra shore.

jerry bennett has announced the endorsements of 66 local mayors; the southwest sider blogger lists them all.  the one that is missing is the one undoubtedly supporting lipinski.

jim capparelli has no new endorsements since the last post.  capparelli’s website has an audio component to it’s front page, which may have been there before (i often mute sound on my computer).

the politico called lipinski one of the five most vulnerable in 2008 primary challenges:

Lipinski has never been able to win over a large majority of Democrats in his Chicago-based district since he was appointed as the nominee after his father’s abrupt resignation in 2004. His relatively conservative voting record within the Democratic caucus has prompted attorney Mark Pera to mount a well-funded and well-organized challenge.

meanwhile, the national journal has taken notice of kos’ efforts to lick lil lip.

the local newspapers are giving the race attention.  clout street, the chicago tribune blog covered the endorsements that pera and bennett picked up.  archpundit also covered pera’s endorsement by local reformers.  ray hanania, of the southwest news-herald wrote this column on the race:

In the end, the Democratic Primary election comes down to an organization effort. And there, Lipinski has the edge.

In the primary battle two years ago against John Kelly and John Sullivan, Lipinski won by a landslide, with 56 percent of the city’s 46,000 votes and 53 percent of the suburb’s 36,000 votes.

Work the numbers. Lipinski was solid in several heavy voting wards in Chicago, trailing Kelly by 400 votes in the 19th Ward, where Irish voters vote for the Irish above all else.

Lipinski’s vote margin in the suburbs were strong across the suburban areas of the district. He did better, though, in the city, mainly because he won huge voter support in the district’s other key wards, the 23rd, 13th and 11th.

Can Lipinski lose? Maybe, if the powers that be who represent voters in the 3rd District turn their backs on him and on his father, who spent years helping all those communities and leaders.

read the whole thing, which reflects the current conventional wisdom about the race.

jerry bennett has been getting increasing coverage.  the daily southtown covered bennett’s presentation before a gage park high school class:

While not a household name, Bennett is the best-known of Lipinski’s opponents. More than 20 area mayors recently endorsed his candidacy. As Palos Hills’ part-time, $28,000-a-year mayor – a post he has held for 27 years – and as a regional leader on several planning boards, Bennett touts his governmental experience as the characteristic that sets him apart from his opponents.

ray hanania (as well as archpundit) covered bennett’s s-chip announcement.  the reporter online covered a rally, where bennett says lipinski “has not done the job” and is a “Republican in Democratic cloth.”  a radio interview with bennett can he heard here.

mark pera probably scores the best in the last couple of weeks, since his netroots following has been active in keeping his story alive.  one of them posted this story from chicago’s fox news on youtube.  local tribune papers covered pera’s endorsements by citizen action/illinois, claypool and naral.  the blogosphere has been on fire for pera this month, starting with an in these times article, to archpundit’s coverage of pera youtube offerings, openleft’s coverage of candidate statements to dailykos writeups here and here. pera is also getting coverage in the capitol hill outlets, the hill and roll call.  it’s no surprise, then, that aaron krager argues that pera is winning the media war.

the capitol fax blog had a lively discussion about the turmoil of the lipinski campaign, with rich miller, as usual, providing some common sense.

not so new, but at least new to his website, dan lipinski offers up an old brochure [PDF].  interestingly, i think lipinski’s new slogan (“representation you have come to expect!”) is probably more accurate than his old one (“leadership.  commitment.  experience.”).

capparelli has a new, printable issues page.  he has a welcome video up, as well.  

the bennett campaign got back to me shortly after posting the first post, and i gave them the opportunity to answer those questions.  their campaign headquarters is located at 7229 W. 103rd St, Palos Hills, IL, 60465. (Phone: 708-907-5063), which is open everyday.  they feel like their grassroots support is strong:

we have more than 70 Mayors from all over the region backing Jerry’s campaign. Mayors are at the absolute grassroots level, ensuring the quality of life in their towns and communities is addressed and providing those essential services from water to libraries to parks and rec. Mayor Bennett is also a life-long South Sider and his extensive network of family (he’s one of 13 brothers and sisters), relatives, friends, colleagues and civic contacts are doing everything from making phone calls to hosting coffees to telling their own friends and neighbors to collecting small-dollar donations for the campaign. Our Southside Swarm is also gearing up for a strong field effort in these weeks leading up to the Feb 5th Election Day.

they report they have “lots of “at home” projects – calling, netroots networking, etc – for at web-savvy folks!”  email alex [] or call 708-907-5063, if you are interested.  

pera put up a new cable ad, the youtube version is here.  the campaign also sent out two direct mail pieces, available on the website.  the “end this war” mailer is justified by a “fact sheet for this mailing.” [PDF].  the campaign also released a third video message from the campaign to voters.  that’s using your web.

since the last post, the pera campaign has been joined by two new employees, deputy fund-raiser trevor montgomery, who is an iraq war veteran, and community outreach and field organizer, maura kelly.  a video of montgomery is up on youtube here.

if the first posts in this series was designed to lay a foundation, this next group will be focused on looking at the fundamentals in this race.  like blocking and tackling decide football games, the fundamentals decide elections.  there are five fundamentals that are thought to be decisive in the outcome of elections:

1. the candidates

2. money

3. the environment (deciding factors that campaigns can’t change)

4. the climate (deciding factors that campaigns can influence)

5. their organizations

probably the biggest deciding factor right now in this race is the political environment.  while the incumbent has about a third of those polled who support his re-election, this is still a machine district.  and it’s not just any machine district, but the core of the chicago political machine.  it will take more than half a million dollars to be competitive with the machine candidate in this district.  there is such a strong undercurrent in the last two weeks that any campaign that hopes to be competitive will need to buttress itself and its voter base from the effect.

add to this the fact that the primary is february 5th.  the machine is hoping that the weather is nasty — typically, this is called precinct captain’s weather, because some believe that only those who benefit directly from the chicago system will come out in such weather.

the bennett campaign seems to expect to import some of their own lil machines into the district for his benefit.  many of the towns and villages who’s mayors have endorsed bennett have non-partisan elections.  that doesn’t mean they don’t have parties — or machines — just that they are not known by the democratic or republican label.  we cannot know how committed these mayors are to bennett’s election, but if they are, then machine or precinct captain’s weather may not tilt the campaign one particular way.  however, bennett can only benefit from importing lil machines if he’s got his support id’ed by the time they come in (for the most part).

the final environmental factor that will strongly influence this race is the obama effect.  barack obama drives turnout in illinois.  his presence on the ballot in the primary of 2008 will have the same effect as his presence on the ballot in the primary of 2004 — it will boost turnout significantly.  and it will boost turnout beyond the normal surge turnout expected in a presidential year.  turnout will be super-surged, and all those extra voters are not likely to go to the machine.  of course, the good precinct captains know this, and they may have a plan to respond.

in many ways, as candidates the jury is still out for the non-incumbents.  lipinski is, at best, a D candidate.  that’s a D for below average, not democrat.  mark pera has shown promise, but i don’t think he’s shined (yet) like dan kotowski or deb shore did in 2006.  his campaign says:

By any objective measure, Mark Pera is the viable challenger to Congressman Dan Lipinski. With less than 50 days to the election, Mark, myself and our campaign staff have been up and running full-time and over-time for nearly five months out of our offices here in Countryside. We have been up on cable TV since the end of October with two TV ads (“It’s Time” and “Pain at the Pump”). We have four top-notch direct mail pieces out the door and in the hands of Democratic voters. The video messages that we have posted online at our Web site and on YouTube are watched by thousands of viewers. We’ve set the framework for this campaign and, perhaps most importantly, we are directing the new people and resources that have joined us to increase the pace of the campaign. For example, we recently opened a second field office in the city.

Mark has the talent and vision to provide real leadership for residents of the 3rd district. Since 2001, he has served as President of the Lyons Township High School Board of Education, which has an attendance area of 80,000 residents. The district is one of the top school districts in the state. As director of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office’s Environment and Energy Division, he and his team was responsible for prosecuting major industrial polluters and well-known utility companies that were working against the public interest. It’s these civic and law and order credentials that have helped him earn the trust and support of some of the leading reformers in Cook County and the state.

jerry bennett is still too new to the race.  he’s played an insider’s game, to the extent he can, and hasn’t really had the level of public appearances one expects from an a-level candidate.  the bennett campaign tells us that the local mayoral network is significant in the southside and southwest side.  they will leverage that as much as they can.  bennett has been, by all accounts, an effective mayor who has organized his fellow mayors to gain influence in the state.  but bennett’s late entry is problematic.  bennett’s name recognition outside his town is limited.  in pera’s poll, capparelli had better name recognition than bennett.  pera’s name recognition was higher than either of them — due to his earlier start.

jim capparelli has been almost invisible outside his base.  so who knows?

the political climate favors the reformers.  that’s why there’s so many looking to claim that label in the race.  lil lip is vulnerable, and pera’s campaign has specifically been designed to take advantage of that:

We’re hearing from voters that they have decided to vote for Mark Pera on Feb. 5. The reason they most often cite is that our campaign is on the right side of the issues that the voters care about deeply, whether it’s the Iraq war, energy and the environment, choice, personal privacy, stem cell research or health care. They think our current Congressman’s leadership on these issues is inadequate, the don’t like how Lipinski was put in office and voters want change. They know Mark can bring about that change.

the campaign that can seize the reformer label in this race seizes the advantage.  that’s why the pera campaign (and its allies) have worked so hard to grab the reformer label and present this race as one between pera and lipinski.  this rankles the campaigns of the other two candidates, each of which brings their own advantages to the race.

actblue offers one way to tract money.  at this date, actblue shows:

Jerry Bennett

Contributors: 22

Amount: $8,140

Jim Capparelli

Contributors: 5

Amount: $300

Daniel Lipinski

Mark Pera

Contributors: 1,859

Amount: $118,066

the bennett campaign tells me that they have raised $100,000 in the first 30 days of his campaign.  yet even if they continue this pace, they still don’t get to $500,000 (which rich miller reminds us is the “price” of competitive state legislator races in illinois — there are three state senate districts in il-03).  there’s a reason why we advise campaigns to start early.  pera may have outraised lipinski in the last quarter, but lipinski ended it with more cash on hand.  i’d call that a tie.

it’s a little harder to compare organizations.  the word seems to be that lipinski’s organization is crumbling.  demoralized, even.  there are rumblings that lipinski senior has seized control of his son’s “organization” in order to right the ship.  i wonder if it matters.  the lipinski name isn’t what it used to be.  madigan will be the machinehead who decides where the resources go.  if the speaker wants to keep this seat, and he’s willing to sacrifice some other races he’s interested in, he will.  but we won’t know until the last two weeks.  the afl-cio and afscme endorsements could be vital to mobilizing behind lipinski — if they get into the middle of it.

there’s very little question that the pera campaign has the best organization at this moment.  they’ve been aggressive about raising money, and this has allowed them to go on the air and in the mail.  they’ve been outrageously successful at gaining earned media.  they have opened a second field office, and plan “an amazing Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategy and we’re fortunate to have the support of the volunteers and constituent groups we need to move from planning to action in the upcoming weeks.”

i wouldn’t underestimate the bennett organization.  they have put together a “kick-ass chicago team to run bennett’s campaign.”  he needs it.  palos hills is a small town in the district, and the 3,000 votes he’s gotten there in the past isn’t close to what is needed to be competitive.  in 2006, there were more than 81,000 votes cast in this primary.  no one would be surprised if it went over a hundred thousand in february.  the real question is, where will the extra votes come from?  if they come out of the city, and the 19th ward holds its voters for lipinski, the incumbent wins.  

numerous calls and emails to the capparelli campaign were not returned for this report…

IL-03: Make Me Open My Wallet for Mark Pera

If you – or your friends or family – give to Mark Pera on my Mark Pera fundraiser page by next Saturday, I’ll kick in a matching donation of my own.  Check it out.  

(I’ve done this kind of matching pledge before (including earlier this month for Mark Pera) so take that as assurance that my pledge is for real).

The details:

Mark Pera is a great candidate, he’s got endorsements from Chicago’s reformers, and he’s trying to throw out a Chicago-machine, Bush Dog Democrat named Dan Lipinski.  

I’ve supported Mark Pera with contributions in the past, but won’t any more…..  unless you (or your friends and family) do.  

I’m through with donating money to candidates without leveraging it against other folks donations.  So, I simply won’t be donating another dime to Mark if I can’t get you and others to join with me.  

Of course, I am doing this to get you to donate if you haven’t already.  But more importantly, I want you to approach your off-line friends and family who’ve never once been asked to donate to Mark Pera or Dan Lipinski, but who you know would want to donate to help a progressive, reform-minded, pro-choice Democrat replace a Bush Dog, “pro-life” Democrat in a super-safe Democratic district that will never elect a Republican.

We in the left blogosphere have seen a kazillion ‘asks’ for Mark Pera – we all have been pretty thoroughly canvassed.  More “roots-spreading” action on all of our parts can make $15 or $25 donations turn into a really impressive amount by widening the reach of the campaign.  All it takes to do that is a donation on your part (which you may have done) and a quick email of your own to select contacts asking them to do the same.

I will be kicking in a matching donation for ones received on my ActBlue page for Mark through next Saturday night (Dec 22) — and when I match them you’ll know it because you see my donation here.  This isn’t a match program like you see at the DCCC or other Democratic organizations — unlike those, you’ll literally be able to see when I’ve put down my money for Mark – and I’d love it if you help tap me out for Mark.  Check out the site for details.    

Chances are, you’ve donated to Mark if you’re reading this diary.  (If not, please do).  But I hope this diary will encourage you to approach a handful of contacts you know who believe in the importance of electing great progressives like Mark but who don’t know about him yet.   The case should be an easy sell all by itself (this recent post makes a damn good case that Pera’s got a campaign that can win), but just to give you another hook, I’m adding on the incentive that they can make their donation bigger because I will match it – as well as the sense of urgency for them to act now, since my offer expires on December 22.

Please give and ask others to give!  

IL-03 Roundup

if media was all that mattered, the race against rep. dan lipinski would be lopsided.  lipinski has generated a lot of negative publicity in his run-up to re-election, and you’d expect someone to take advantage of it.  the incumbent faces a mini-scandal, one that doesn’t particularly help his image as he tries to seperate himself from his father (who handed him the seat in 2004).  kristen mcqueary lays out the reasons for the lipinski scandal, and rich miller, of the capitol fax blog, summarizes:

Bill Lipinski games the system to get his kid elected to Congress. The son keeps his dad’s cronies on the payroll, and two of them (includng one who remains on the payroll) are getting payments from his father’s childrens’ charity fund, which doesn’t appear to be doing a lot of charitable work except for Dan Lipinski’s benefit. Dan shares an office with his daddy’s lobbying firm and even pays that firm for advice, but he insists he never talked with daddy about a project that the elder Lipinski is working on.

mark pera has emerged as the early netroots favorite.  he’s demonstrated that he’s serious about this race, lining up pat botterman as his campaign manager and julie sweet as his deputy.  pera has gotten the dfa endorsement and convinced the local dfa groups (all outside the 3rd) to send in the troops.  pera just announced the endorsement of citizen action, which has been a bellweather endorsement in the past.

pera has two videos up on his youtube page, “Mark Pera on the issues” and his first television ad, “It’s Time”.  it’s no surprise that pera is generating support from the netroots, given his efforts to appeal to them in the language we understand.

but pera is also following the traditional campaign plan, having commissioned a benchmark poll by penn, schoen and berland [PDF].  archpundit breaks it down:

401 Likely Democratic Primary voters +/- 5%

Lipinski Re-elect 35 percent

Wrong Track: 81 percent

Generic Congressional Approval: 37 percent

prairie state blue’s maven notes that mark pera won the ballot lottery.  

also jumping into the race has been former prosecutor and army reserves lt. colonel jim capparelli.  capparelli’s main justification for entering this race appears to be that pera and the baby lipinski both live in western springs (does lipinski really live in illinois???).  but unlike the pera campaign (to this point), the capparelli presence has just been catching up.  he talks on his website talks about campaigning at the metra stations, and there seems to be a sparse nature (so far) to the website.  as yet, no one seems to have seen him (although you’d expect that to change).  

capparelli also generated some publicity,  has a youtube page, where you can find this introductory video.  his website now hosts a blog, although it appears to be only for the purpose of answering questions (or taking testimonials) rather than actively engaging the netroots or incorporating them into his campaign.

one capparelli supporter says, in the capital fax blog, that “the unions are playing a huge role in city elections and Capparelli has been lining up their support.”  that certainly remains to be seen, although the citizen action endorsement for pera (who’s board and members who vote on endorsements is full of union representatives) may forebode otherwise.  it’s been reported that capparelli has the endorsements of local 399 of the operating engineers and teamsters local 786.  that comment may be indicative of the strategy and expectations around the capparelli campaign and it will be interesting to see whether union support favors one candidate or is dispersed across the field.  

one of the big disputes in this campaign is the presence of machine plants, or shills, expected to divide the anti-incumbent vote (for the incumbent’s benefit).  jim capparelli has taken great exception to being called a shill for the machine [PDF] even though it is said that “Many of his positions – on the war and abortion, for example – appear to mirror Lipinski’s.”  palos hills mayor jerry bennett also faces the accusation that he is the machine plant.  kos has examined bennett’s past and identified this continuing connection between bennett and lipinski:

Palos Hills mayor Jerry Bennet — a Lipinski ally — is supposedly running a legit race. Yet he endorsed Lipinski two years ago — an endorsement that has been reposted on Lipinski’s new and updated campaign site:

   Gerald Bennett, the Mayor of Palos Hills and a health care executive, said Congressman Lipinski’s proposals were an “excellent approach to helping American families become better health care consumers.”

   “The Congressman should be lauded for working with colleagues in both parties to craft initiatives that will not only improve health care availability and delivery, but also have a great chance of being enacted,” Mayor Bennett said.

and yet, appearances can be deceiving.  unlike john kelly, who was regarded as the shill in lipinski’s first democratic primary in 2006, bennett has come to play.  he’s put together a well-regarded campaign team, with alex behrend, mia phifer, vasyl markus and lake research partners (celinda lake’s polling firm).  bennett garnered the endorsement of the other challenger in 2006, john sullivan.

bennett’s reason for running can be found here:

A life-long Democrat and South Sider, Jerry Bennett is the only person running in Illinois 3rd Congressional District with the background and broad-based appeal in both the City of Chicago and the Cook County suburbs to win the February 5th Democratic Primary. Voters previously supportive of Dan Lipinski are fed up with the Congressman’s support of George W. Bush and Jerry Bennett offers both realistic Democratic change voters seek and experience required.

the real problem is that lipinski seems to have alienated every single democratic constituency there is.  given that democrats don’t always agree on their priorities, it should be no surprise that there are different people running against a vulnerable democrat for seemingly different reasons.  if only he wasn’t mired in scandal and the machine wasn’t under serious strain, he might have a better chance of weathering the storm.  the presence of three serious challengers (at this point, i’m taking their word for it) certainly increases lipinski’s chances at re-election.

what will be interesting to see is whether voters coalesce around one single candidate.  if this is going to happen, it will begin before the television commercials get aired or perhaps even the billboards and lawn signs go up.  voter contact is the only reliable means for generating such a consensus.  as such, it’s interesting to look at the ground activity of these campaigns.

the capparelli campaign reports that they’ve been making a big push going door-to-door for at least the last three weeks “with a big mailing.”  they’ve been hitting different wards in the city and get started at 8am every saturday morning.  while they have a campaign headquarters (5602 1/2 w 63rd st), they appear to meet at different locations each saturday (so call the office if you want to help out).  jim capparelli has also been making the veteran’s circuit, speaking at a veteran’s day rally as well as at local vfw halls in the district.  their campaign calendar shows a couple of fundraisers scheduled over the next few weeks.

the pera campaign has been out in the field a little while longer.  the campaign reports that mark pera has been going to train stations every (weekday) morning and walking with volunteers in the afternoons.  they have also been conducting weekend canvassing with both the northside and oak park dfa groups.  they report that they have a major outreach push on for december 1st and 2nd, as well as an id canvass on the 8th.  the campaign reports fund-raisers planned for the 10th and 13th.  most of their volunteer activities start out of their campaign office, at 7061 s. willow springs rd in countryside, although northside dfa car pools in from the city.  i can’t seem to find a calendar on the website, but i might have missed something.

the bennett campaign also has a campaign headquarters set up at 7229 w 103rd st in palos hills.  the volunteer who answered the phone (they were in the midst of “a big conference call”) didn’t feel capable of answering any other questions about the campaign.

the lipinski campaign clearly relies on the machine for his re-election.  the problem with this strategy this february is that the on-going battle between the governor and the speaker may divert forces from helping lipinski.  there isn’t a lot of crossover wards where the speaker will be defending incumbent state house members and il-03.  and one just doesn’t get the impression that lipinski’s seat is that important — at least, not more important than the speaker’s forces in the general assembly.  it matters how these four campaigns divide the map, where they concentrate on — and where they have pre-existing support.  

all four democrats can be contributed to online through actblue.