IL House primaries

The IL House primaries were held in conjunction with the state’s Presidential primary.  It was a very busy night with 15 contests in the regular phase plus two more to find candidates to fill the balance of Denny Hastert’s term in 2008.  Overall, it was a great night for the favorites.

Hastert’s IL-14 open seat saw the closest contest of the night.  Millionaire scientist Bill Foster scraped by winning by 323 votes in the election for the nomination for the full-term over carpenter (and 2006 candidate) John Laesch.  The final tally was Foster 31,910; Laesch 31,587; Joe Serra 5,947; and Jotham Stein 5,757.  In the “special” election Foster had more breathing room prevailing by 3,000 votes with 31,792 to Laesch’s 28,053 and 4,949 for Jotham Stein.  The hard fought Republican contest saw millionaire dairy owner Jim Oberweis finally win after losing three shots at statewide office.  Oberweis took 56% in the special to Chris Lauzen’s 44% (overall about 8,000 more votes were cast in the Republican primary for the special).  The general was not quite as close with Oberweis pulling in 56% (again), Lauzen at 41%, and Michael Dilger getting the balance.  

The battle between Bush Dog Dan Lipinski and Mark Pera in IL-3 was not as close as predicted.  Lipinski got a clear majority with 53% while beating his main opponent Pera by 2-1 (Pera had 26%).  Jim Capparelli (12%) and Jerry Bennett (9%) rounded out the field.  Even the Chicago Tribune called Lipinski a Democrat in name only in its coverage.  Grr.

Elsewhere in the state, Bobby Rush wallopped William Walls in IL-1 taking 88% of the vote.  Michael Hawkins won the Republican nod to face Lipinski in IL-3 with 67% of the vote.  Democrats in the district cast 105,000 votes to 18,000 on the Republican side.  “GI Jill” Morgenthaler won with an impressive 79% in IL-6 for the right to take on Peter Roskam in the fall.  This has been regarded as a throw away unlike the race last cycle when its an empty seat.  We’ll find out.  Incumbents Danny Davis (91% in IL-70), Melissa Bean (83% in IL-8) and Jan Schakowsky (88% in IL-9) sailed to easy renomination on the Democratic side.  Bean will face Steve Greenberg (57% in the GOP primary) in the fall.

Further results give easy renomination to Judy Biggert in IL-13 (77%).  Timothy Balderman took the Republican nomination in the 11th CD with 67% in a three way race.  In IL-18, 26 year old state senator and gaffe machine Aaron Schock cruised to an easy win with 71% of the Republican vote.  Democrats will name his opponent as Dick Versace withdrew after qualifying.  Daniel Davis won the Democratic nod in IL-19 with a solid 60-40 victory over Joe McMenamin.  He’ll take on Shimkus in the fall.

Schock is an immatre 26.  Maybe we have a chance there.  If not he could become a perennial target or the next incarnation of Patrick McHenry.

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.

IL-03: Mark Pera Added to Blue Majority List

DailyKos, MyDD, Open Left and the Swing State Project are pleased to announce that today, we are adding Mark Pera to the Blue Majority ActBlue page. If you haven’t already read Markos’s hearty endorsement of Pera – and thorough smack-down of Bush Dog Dan Lipinski – go do so now. But let me give you the highlights. Lipinski has:

  • voted against stem cell research;
  • voted against reproductive healthcare rights (0% rating from NARAL in 2006);
  • voted against gay rights;
  • supported the positions of the right-wing Family Research Council 62% of the time (by contrast, Lipinski’s buddy, IL Republican Mark Kirk, only voted with the FRC 31% of the time);
  • voted to expand Dick Cheney’s warantless wiretapping regime; and
  • partnered with Republicans to support a troop “withdrawal” plan from Iraq which would “reduce” our presence to 130,000 servicemembers – exactly where we were before the surge, and exactly where we knew we’d wind up after (because the military itself acknowledged from the start that the surge was un-sustainable)
  • And let’s not even mention his ultra-shady installation in office at the hands of his father, after not having lived in the state for years.

    But of greatest interest to SSP readers, I believe, is this fact: IL-03 has a PVI of D+10. That’s right, D. While you’d expect a Democrat with a record like this to sit in a pretty red district, IL’s third CD has actually voted for Democratic presidential candidates at a rate 10 points above the national average for the last two elections (59% for Kerry, 58 for Gore). That makes it the 106th bluest district in the nation – in other words, absolutely, totally safe territory for a solid progressive.

    And of course, Lipinski is anything but that, which is why Blue Majority has chosen to support Mark Pera. If you can toss in a donation of any size, now’s the time. Not only is end of the fundraising quarter coming up, but Illinois (along with Maryland) also holds the earliest Congressional primary in the nation, on Feb. 5th. We’re hoping to get 500 new donors across the entire Blue Majority page by the end of the week. You can start by booting a Bush Dog and backing a clear progressive.

    As always, please let us know in comments if you’ve made any donations to the Blue Majority candidates, or to any other good Dems around the country.

    On the web:
    Mark Pera for Congress
    Blue Majority ActBlue Page
    Race Tracker Wiki: IL-03