MONDAY, AUGUST 1
IL Senate team launches
ILGovernor.com to cover the Illinois Governor's Race.
Barack Obama is the next
Senator from Illinois and the only African American currently in the Senate.
SUNDAY, AUGUST 8
ALAN KEYES ACCEPTS REPUBLICAN APPOINTMENT TO FACE OBAMA
Former Ambassador, Presidential Candidate, and Maryland Senatorial
Candidate Alan Keys is packing his bags and moving to the "Land of
FRIDAY, JUNE 25
RYAN DROPS OUT OF RACE
Thirteen months ago, I announced my determination to
seek the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. I entered this race
because I love my country and my home state of Illinois - and because I believe
that one man, living for purposes larger than himself, can make a difference.
The media has gotten out of control. The fact that
the Chicago Tribune sues for access to sealed custody documents and then takes
unto itself the right to publish details of a custody dispute - over the
objections of two parents who agree that the re-airing of their arguments will
hurt their ability to co-parent their child and will hurt their child - is truly
The debate between competing visions and philosophies is a vital one - one the
voters of Illinois absolutely deserve. Elections, after all, are about choices.
But it's clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not
take place if I remain in the race.
What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign - the kind
of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to
Accordingly, I am today withdrawing from the race.
234,000 Republican voters who cast a ballot for me in March, to the
thousands of supporters and volunteers who have invested in our campaign the
two most precious resources they have - their time and their money - I say
thank you. I will never be able to properly express the depth of my
gratitude for the trust you placed in me.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert Statement:
Jack Ryan made the right decision. I know it must
have been a difficult one.
The Illinois Republican Party is fortunate to have a number of talented and
qualified candidates who would represent our state well in Washington, D.C.
I am confident the party will select a candidate who will unite Republicans
throughout this state and quickly launch a winning campaign based on
substantive issues that are of importance to Illinois voters.
quits Senate bid over sex club allegations
SunTimes: Ryan drops
out of Senate race
says he's out
Hypocrite of the Week: Jack Ryan
on conservative call: "Ryan: Some ears didn't want to hear"
THURSDAY, JUNE 24
Jack Ryan had dug a deep hole that may be impossible
to climb out of.
Sources: Ryan campaign explores exit strategy
CNN: Frist demurs
on support for candidate
County Leader: GOP courting Edgar to replace Ryan?
Polls have shown Ryan running behind Obama somewhere in the range of 11-22
points. A difficult obstacle to overcome for any candidate.
Then the bombshell hit, but it was not really
unexpected. On March 11th, a campaign staffer for candidate John Borling,
released on his own, a statement that made three allegations, the third
allegation in the list was:
He (Jack Ryan) took her (Jeri Lynn) to various
clubs, specifically in New York, New Orleans, and Paris and coerced her to
have sex in front of other people.
When this came out there was no way to verify the
truth of the claims, because Ryan's custody papers were sealed. They were sealed
initially because Ryan's celebrity wife had a stalker.
However, as soon as this happened a media firestorm
erupted, hundreds of stories ran urging Jack to release the papers, and
questioning the contents. Tribune columnist John Kass, wrote two days before the
Republican front-runner Jack Ryan is trying to
keep his divorce files sealed. Rumors of what's in the files hound him.
I don't care about his divorce. I do care if he
can be pressured with what's in the files. And if Ryan thinks the
information in those files won't get out during the general election
campaign, he's delusional.
In the five days between the allegations being made
and the election, Ryan's poll numbers dropped 8-10 points.
On the day before the election the AP ran a story
with the following quotes:
Several downstate Republican officials, while
stopping short of calling for Ryan to release the information, said they
fear details of Ryan's divorce will come out eventually.
"If he's the nomination of our party, there's no doubt that it's going to be
disclosed. That's just the way things happen in politics," said U.S. Rep.
Ray LaHood of Peoria, who backs Andy McKenna in the Senate race.
"I've been specifically saying to everybody, whether it's the press or
members of the Republican Party, that the stuff that surrounds the documents
of my son, those are private," Ryan said.
Release of Documents
On Monday, Judge
Robert Schnider of Superior Court in Los Angeles released a number of the
documents that had been requested by the media, in a heavily redacted form.
Smoking Gun posted
copies on their site.
The pertinent excerpts are as follows:
Jeri Lynn Ryan:
"I made clear to Respondent that our marriage was over for me in the spring
of 1998. On three trips, one to New Orleans, one to New York, and one to
Paris, Respondent insisted that I go to sex clubs with him. They were long
weekends, supposed 'romantic' getaways. ...
"The clubs in New York and Paris were explicit sex clubs. Respondent had
done research. Respondent took me to two clubs in New York during the day.
One club I refused to go in. It had mattresses in cubicles. The other club
he insisted I go to. ... It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other
apparatus hanging from the ceiling. Respondent wanted me to have sex with
him there, with another couple watching. I refused. Respondent asked me to
perform a sexual activity upon him, and he specifically asked other people
to watch. I was very upset. We left the club, and Respondent apologized,
said that I was right and that he would never insist I go to a club again.
He promised it was out of his system.
"Then during a trip to Paris, he took me to a sex club in Paris, without
telling me where we were going. I told him I thought it was out of his
system. I told him he had promised me would never go. People were having sex
everywhere. I cried, I was physically ill. Respondent became very upset with
me, and said it was not a 'turn on' for me to cry."
"I should not have to respond to the ridiculous allegations Jeri Lynn makes
in these two paragraphs. I was faithful and loyal to my wife throughout our
marriage. I did arrange romantic getaways for us, but that did not include
the type of activities she describes. We did go to one avant garde nightclub
in Paris which was more than either one of us felt comfortable with. We left
and vowed never to return.
"I feel very badly for Alex that his mother would mischaracterize our
activities and try to libel me and our relationship in this manner. Jeri
Lynn knows I have political aspirations, because I had them throughout our
marriage. She attended many political functions with me and testified about
them at her deposition.
"In addition, Jeri Lynn is a celebrity and it is extremely likely that the
press will go to our public divorce file. Apparently, Jeri Lynn did not
consider how Alex will feel about his parents or himself when he learns of
this type of smut."
Reaction at first was mixed, Rep. Ray LaHood almost
immediately called for Ryan to drop out. LaHood had
endorsed Andy McKenna, and some said this was opportunistic. The Hill
reported the following:
Congressman LaHood is out of line,” said Sen.
Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, adding
that “this is an allegation in a messy custody case.” He called the media
“outrageous” for making more out of the case than, he said, it warrants.
Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.), who is retiring after one term and holds the
seat Ryan is seeking, accused LaHood of attacking members of his own party
to gain publicity.
Fitzgerald said the fifth-term congressman is little known outside his
Peoria-based 18th District. “I always say, ‘Ray who?’” Fitzgerald said.
But at the same time other pols were working up a
sweat. Bernard Schoenburg reported:
Eric Robinson, a spokesman for Edgar, also did
not comment on the idea of Edgar becoming a candidate, but Robinson
indicated that Edgar feels Ryan misled him about the contents of the
The two had a brief conversation over the weekend, before the release of the
"Mr. Ryan told the governor that he took his wife to a nightclub in Paris,
and when they got there, it turned out to be what Mr. Ryan called
avant-garde," Robinson said. "He said his wife felt uncomfortable. She
cried. He felt uncomfortable, and they left."
When Edgar later heard a news story about what was in the documents,
Robinson said, "He said, 'That's a different situation than what was
described to me.'"
A GOP source also said party chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka was "most unhappy
with the fact that he (Ryan) was not forthright about what was in those
Ryan told her before the March primary that there would be nothing
embarrassing in them.
"She took him at his word," the source said.
The Trib later reported on Topinka:
"It was a two-part question and very clear cut--I
don't believe it would be subject to mischaracterization or
misunderstanding," Topinka said. "I said, very specifically, twice, so that
I would hear it twice, `Is there anything in your divorce document that
would be personally embarrassing to you or to the Republican Party?' He said
`no' both times."
Topinka said there was "nothing" in her conversation with Ryan about
information that would preclude him from running for the U.S. Senate. "The
words `U.S. Senate' never came up," she said.
So at this point his reputation was in question.
Not only were questions being raised about his moral character, but people
started getting more upset, accusing Ryan of lying to them.
On the Illinois Leader, a conservative webmag, an
open letter was posted by a young supporter named Jacob Swain. Swain
was a volunteer coordinater for Ryan and has been a staunch defender through the
entire race. Excerpts from the letter:
Since August of last year I have been an adamant
supporter of yours. I believed that you were our best chance of keeping
Conservative Republican representation in the U.S. Senate from Illinois.
When you visited Southern Illinois in March of this year and were asked
pointedly whether or not the allegations of sexual impropriety were in the
recently released divorce documents you stated, “No. Nothing like that.”
Time and time again you denied that these papers
had anything to do with sexual impropriety, but instead said that you did
not want the papers opened to protect your son. We, as your surrogates,
spent the last two weeks of the campaign calming fearful Republicans with
promises that it was nothing more than last minute witch-hunting and that it
would all be resolved soon.
Weeks turned into months and the situation was not resolved, as we had been
promised. After the poorly chosen Justin Warfel tactics were brought to
light, and after originally defending those tactics, I decided my time was
better spent elsewhere.
I couldn’t help but be ashamed last night as I fielded calls from rattled
Republicans whom I expended my limited political capital to bring on board
during the primary campaign. What do I say? The promises that these papers
were closed due to their content surrounding your son proved to be false,
and I’m left with egg on my face, looking like the naïve idealist I have so
often been accused of being.
Eric Zorn published a scathing article entitled, "Ryan's
effort to `protect' son was self-serving":
Does all this material in the files have to do
with the health situation that we spoke about?
He remembered our conversation clearly and said, very directly, man to man,
dad to dad, that yes, it did. He was doing what any father would do.
Now it turns out that he was lying, not just to me, but to all the reporters
and Republican honchos whom he had assured that there were no personally
embarrassing allegations in those divorce records.
In fact, as we learned Monday, Ryan's ex-wife alleged in divorce filings
that in 1998 he took her to sex clubs in New Orleans, Paris and New York,
the last featuring "cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the
ceiling," she said.
He gambled his son's innocence on the notion that
he could have it both ways--as Jack Ryan private citizen whose alleged kinks
nobody cares about, and as Jack Ryan candidate for high public office whose
life automatically becomes an open book--and he lost. The safe bet, of
course, would have been to remain an investment-banker-turned-schoolteacher
and not run for Senate.
Numerous similar articles abound including one just
published by Human Events called "Lyin'
Jay Leno cracked on his show:
In the senate race in Illinois, the Republican
candidate Jack Ryan just went through an ugly divorce and in court papers,
his wife accused him of taking her to sex clubs where he tried to make her
have sex with him in front of strangers. Aren't Republicans the family
values people? That's the difference between Republicans and Democrats on
family values. Democrat politicians cheat on their wives. Republicans cheat
too -- but they bring the wife along. Make it a family event! They include
the whole family!
Speaker Hastert had a fundraiser today with Jack, but
canceled last night, which caused the lobbyists who organized the Ryan event to
Sun Times is reporting
that Ryan's other DC fundraiser has been canceled as well:
Ryan canceled a trip to Washington today where he
had planned to appear with Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.) and attend a fund
raiser headlined by Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), the chairman of the
Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Lynn Sweet quotes an inside source as say that
"Everything is on hold" and "He’s reassessing." Columnist Rick Pearson on
WNTA said he thinks Ryan will pull out in a matter of hours, and Eric Zorn said
he would not be surprised if it happened in the next 24 hours.
If history repeats itself, unless Ryan does back out
of this race, the story will not go away quickly. When Blair Hull ran into
a similar scandal, it took a little over two weeks to fully develop.
Slate has in interesting piece:
The Republican Sex Club and
Why Unseal the Ryan Divorce Papers?
Saint Louis Today on the State Central Committees
Illinois GOP committee is divided on Ryan's future
Illinois GOP Website:
List of Illinois
Republican State Central Committee Party Officers
Zorn is doing a fantastic job keeping track of all
is posting play by play as the action unfolds.
also has a good wrap-up.
showing early effects of divorce documents.
Send comments and news to
MONDAY, JUNE 7
Jack Ryan - Today America has lost one of its finest sons. Ronald Wilson
Reagan, 40th President of the United States, the proud son of Tampico
and Dixon, Illinois, passed away after a long struggle with Alzheimer's
disease - and with him goes the undying gratitude of literally hundreds
of millions of people, both here and abroad, whose lives are freer,
fuller, and richer because of him and his determination to commit
America to victory in the Cold War against Soviet communism.
Ronald Reagan's life is itself a testament to the notion that one man
can make a difference. "There's no limit to what a man achieve if he
doesn't mind who gets the credit," he famously said - and then he went
out and proved that a life given to service, given to things larger than
oneself, earns rewards both temporal and eternal.
Whether it was his fierce determination to see liberty secured and
spread across the globe, his personal courage in triumphing over an
assassin's bullet, or his unfailing grace in both victory and defeat,
President Reagan lived his life the way we would all want our children
to live - with humor, honor, and humility, with courage, character, and
"The American dream," said Ronald Reagan, "is not that every man must be
level with every other man. The American dream is that every man must be
free to become whatever God intends he should become." As long as we
remember that simple eternal truth, Ronald Reagan's spirit will live
within us - and while there may be mourning in America today, it will
always be morning in America.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mrs. Reagan and the rest of their
Barack Obama - Ronald Reagan left Illinois as a young man, but
maintained his Midwestern sensibilities throughout his long and storied
While I disagreed with many of his policies, I, like most Americans,
admired President Reagan's eloquence, optimism and unshakable faith in
the ideal of America as a beacon of hope and freedom.
Tonight, our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy and his family.
All of America remembers the grace and courage with which President
Reagan told the nation of his diagnosis of the dreaded affliction of
Alzheimer’s disease 10 years ago.
Let us hope one of the lasting parts of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a
renewed commitment to finding a cure for this horrible disease so that
no family must endure the pain the Reagan family has known.
FRIDAY, JUNE 4
Jack Ryan holds fundraiser with VP Dick Cheney
Vice President Dick Cheney will be the guest of Jack Ryan for a
fundraising reception on Friday, June 4, 2004 in the Grand Ballroom of
the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The Vice President is expected to speak
at approximately 6:30 p.m. Democrats are organizing a protest
against, "Cheney's role in Halliburton's no-bid contracts in Iraq."
Democrats are encouraged to, "Bring a sign and show Dick Cheney that
he's in John Kerry --and Barack Obama -- territory!"
Obama gets complimentary write-up by NY Times
NY Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert gave Obama a nice write-up in
He's got a million-dollar smile and he's
charismatic. At the moment he has a substantial lead in the polls. If that
lead holds and he wins in November, he'll be only the third African-American
to take a seat in the Senate since Reconstruction.
Mr. Obama has not ducked the issues. He has
opposed the war in Iraq from the beginning, and he delivered a stirring
antiwar speech at a rally in October 2002. He supports the war in
Afghanistan. He believes the Bush tax cuts went too far, and he makes that
clear even in appearances before wealthy audiences. He said: "I tell them,
`Look, I think we need to roll back those tax cuts that benefited you. You
don't need them. Let's talk about what we could do with that money.' "
However this election goes, Mr. Obama's effort to
connect in a more than superficial way with people across ethnic, economic
and geographic lines should serve as a template for future campaigns in both
parties. Politics that are increasingly ruthless in a country that is
increasingly diverse is a recipe for disaster.
Jack Ryan is dealt a mixed bag in divorce record case
Retired Superior Court Judge Isabel Cohen, who
had been appointed a referee, recommended some of the documents in the
proceedings remain under seal, others be made public and still others be
released in a redacted form, said media attorney Susan Seager.
Trib reports, in "Keep
Ryan records closed, judge says":
A California court referee Thursday recommended
keeping sealed documents in U.S. Senate candidate Jack Ryan's divorce file,
saying the interests of Ryan's son trump constitutional rights and the right
to public access to court records.
The report by Isabel R. Cohen, a retired family law judge, also sided with a
judge's earlier proposal to unseal a number of documents in Ryan's 1999
divorce from actress Jeri Ryan but recommended fully unsealing only 10 of at
least 43 documents sealed in the file.
Dan Hynes heavily in debt
Hynes recently sent a letter to his supporters
It has been two months since my campaign for the U.S. Senate concluded.
Despite the tireless efforts of thousands of friends and supporters like
you, we fell short of our goal on Election Day. Nevertheless, I am proud of
what we achieved in terms of voicing critical issues and shaping the debate
about the future of our country. As much as you have already done, I find it
difficult to ask you for help once again. However, the massive expenses of
the campaign have left us with a substantial debt that we are attempting to
retire. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Christina
and I will never forget your support and your friendship.
TUESDAY, MARCH 16
Obama wins by a wide margin, Ryan wins with tough competition
||11504 of 11745 Precincts (98%)
||11504 of 11745 Precincts (98%)
The turnout illustrates the tough time that Jack Ryan
has ahead of him. Democratic ballots outnumbered Republican ballots 2-1.
MONDAY, MARCH 15
Obama up, Jack up in the air
Barack Obama has continued to cement his lead. In the latest poll
Obama holds an incredible 30 point lead over his second place rival, Dan
Hynes. The Survey USA poll while not always the most accurate poll
shows Obama's numbers close to doubling since he received the
endorsement of both the Trib and Sun-Times (among many others).
Hynes numbers have held completely steady. A Copley Poll released
over the weekend shows Obama with double the votes as Hynes, with Obama
at 37 and Hynes at 18. Also not boding well for Hynes is the fact
that snow showers downstate could create lower voter turnout in the
region he is the strongest.
Jack Ryan has had an interesting two weeks to say the least. A
quick search on Google news pulls up 180 stories on Ryan's divorce
issues, Headlines include:
GOP candidate faces divorce questions
Ryan fends off fresh questions as Senate race winds down
pressed to divulge custody papers
Illinois GOP Senate Candidate Conceals Divorce Records
Perhaps most damaging was the
Kass column on Sunday:
Republican front-runner Jack Ryan is trying to
keep his divorce files sealed. Rumors of what's in the files hound him.
I don't care about his divorce. I do care if he can be pressured with what's
in the files. And if Ryan thinks the information in those files won't get
out during the general election campaign, he's delusional.
One candidate, though, with vast experience with government budgets, has
stood up to the bosses of his own party, including the slick Kjellander.
This conservative is trying to purge the state GOP of the Kjellander types.
Most papers in the state have endorsed him, including the Chicago Tribune.
But he's a decided underdog.
He's not rich or handsome like Ryan. He's somewhat nerdy. But he publicly
stood up against the combine to reform the GOP. That's good enough for me.
He is state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger (R-Elgin).
While Jack Ryan has been feeling the heat he still has a solid lead at
this point. The Copley poll showed Ryan with 45% and
Rauschenburger at 7%. The latest Survey USA poll released today is
While Ryan maintains a good lead the momentum seems
to be shifting in Rauschenburgers favor. Unfortunately, for Rauschenburger
it may not be soon enough, with the election less than 20 hours from being over,
Steve does not have much more time to get his message out. Also, while
Ryan is losing some support, the field is so split that anything he loses will
be split between three or four other candidates, leaving no single candidate
with a significant gain. Rauschenburger also polls highest downstate where
turnout could be lower due to the weather.
Ryan has never trailed in a poll since August and we
believe there is little chance that another candidate can win at this point.
While Rauschenburger has a number of surrogates out stumping for him, and the
latest poll numbers will certainly help, Ryan has set up a dozen call centers
and has a mass of volunteers and staffers that will be working to get out the
vote as well. With Oberweis in second place, Jack Ryan launched, as far as
we know, his first attack piece. The mailer was a damaging story written by
Steve Neal which indites Oberweis as flipping on important issues like abortion,
bringing up the now infamous comparison of pro-lifers to the Taliban.
If the divorce story had broken a week or two earlier
it could be a different ball game. Ryan has a little time to respond to
the allegations one way or another, and voters don't seem ready to condemn him
in mass at this point in time.
Late Breaking News from elsewhere down the ballot
. . .
The Kathuria campaign has released a video stating,
"We are rapidly advancing and making the mainstream candidates very nervous."
The Skinner campaign is quite punctual, by 12:05
Tuesday morning I received a message alerting me "the Democratic primary is
I received the first message of the season from
Jonathan Wright on Sunday. Interestingly enough, a short time later I
received a message from Doug Ibendahl, co-founder of the Republican Young
Professionals. In the letter he endorsed Wright and said his gut feeling
was that Ryan would not be able to make it through November.
For those of you looking to write in a candidate,
Estella Johnson-Hunt has a
nice tutorial on her website.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10
United Power for Action and Justice released over 20,000 copies of
candidate guide in their churches, mosques, and other organizations.
Every candidate except Oberweis met with the organization.
Collective Interest, a left leaning organization has put together a
radio station with issue statements from some of the candidates.
The only Democrats involved were Nancy Skinner and Joyce Washington.
Republicans Ryan, Kathuria, Borling and former candidate Andy Martin
participated. Visit their site at
SATURDAY, MARCH 6
This race is certainly picking up steam and gaining attention across
Illinois and the country. The race was mentioned twice in the "The
Note" one of the most read political roundups in the nation.
LINK Their lead paragraph:
As we head into what will most probably be a
relatively quiet, mad-less March political weekend, chew on this: which
leading U.S. Senate candidate was once married to Seven of Nine from Star
Later they followed with this:
We lament together with Chuck Todd … why, oh,
why, does no one pay attention to Senate races?
From today's Chicago Tribune: "The Republican and Democratic races for the
U.S. Senate are rapidly devolving in the closing days from a debate on the
economy, security and other vital national issues into a detailed
examination of alleged character flaws arising from failed domestic
relationships of the frontrunners."
"With less than two weeks left in a primary campaign in which all candidates
have had trouble captivating voters, Democrat Blair Hull and Republican Jack
Ryan now find themselves concentrating on overcoming mounting questions
about their behavior resulting from their divorces."
The story also made the front page of FoxNews.com, "Divorce
Front and Center in Illinois Senate Race" They have a nice picture of
Jack Ryan hugging a supporter.
This site has seen a huge spike in traffic. Over the
month of February traffic more than doubled to 450,000 hits, and this Wednesday
alone we received over 35,000 hits, a single day record.
Momentum and Movement
Jack Ryan continues to solidify his front runner status. The latest
poll released yesterday showed shows Ryan had 44 percent, followed by Oberweis at 18 percent, Andy McKenna at 10 percent, and Rauschenberger at 4.
We suspect Rauschenberger's numbers to end up slightly higher since he is likely
to get a higher turnout, but the field is so splintered that it would take a
miracle or major scandal to rock this boat.
Barack Obama seems to be benefiting from three
1. The endorsements of both the Tribune and the
2. The release of a major ad campaign.
3. The Hull divorce
However, one alert reader noted Barack's momentum may
be because of his superb musical team. Readers may remember the hit
classic, "Do the Rauschenburger." Obama
has countered with the stunning, "Obama for
Senate Theme" with stellar lyrics such as:
Barack Obama, oh yeah, say it again
He's solid as a rock, Barack Obama
If you believe like I believe that children are our future
You're ready to move forward
Instead of things being like they use to be . . .
Hull is not taking the allegations/rumors sitting down, as I read
the Sun-Times story which shows Obama leading in the polls, the story is once again framed by Hull
ads announcing there are two sides to every story. Hull has put together
an entire mini-site devoted to rebutting the abuse claims against him at
It gives a decent explanation of the facts along with statements from his first
wife, fellow candidate Nancy Skinner, his children (who have taken out full page
ads defending him), and others. They all seem to say that Hull is not a
violent man, this was simply an issue of money, etc . .
Hull's adult children have really taken up the cause,
at the WTTW debate Maria Pappas said the she had been stopped in the bathroom
before the forum by one of Hull’s adult daughters, “Ms. Pappas, I’m Courtney
Hull,’ please don’t beat up on my father tonight,” Pappas said Hull’s daughter
said. “I listened to her tell me her thoughts on what went on in their house,"
Pappas said, "and I really don’t think anyone should demand that he get out of
While there is absolutely no evidence at this point to suggest that Hull had a
pattern of abusing
his wife, in many people's eyes it makes him look silly and immature. One
female reader of this column remarked:
I was reading this again today [Hull's Divorce
Records] and it is just too funny.. Maybe I just grew up in small town
America and never heard about this kind of stuff happening, but come on,
this is so immature, good grief.
Bottom line, this race is completely up for grabs.
Most polls are basically showing a statistical dead heat between Obama, Hynes,
and Hull. The factors that will play into this race:
Obama - Endorsements will help, however Pappas
ad run could dig into
his Chicago and progressive support. MJ just donated 10k to the Obama
campaign and as of Feb 26th Obama had close to $1.3 million on hand, twice that
of rival Hynes. If the Chicago vote is split between Hynes, Pappas, Chico,
and some Skinner and Washington, he will have a tough time overcoming Hulls lead
in the southern part of the state.
Hynes - Have to agree with the Trib that the fact
there won't be a contested presidential primary in Illinois bodes well for
Hynes. As the son of Tom Hynes, he has massive on the ground presence.
Low turnout will boost his chances. Also, significant labor support and
Hull's declining political fortunes should help.
Hull - $5 Million dollars won't hurt. Hull will
be able to outspend in the last week of the campaign any of his opponents 5-1.
Turnout will be crucial. Also, the divorce issue seems to be abating, in a
race that may hang on a 1 or 2 percent margin, the amount of media play he gets will
certainly play a huge role.
Oberweis and Immigration
Oberweis is being taken to task for his immigration stance from both
Republicans and Democrats. The Times has a story, "Rivals hit Oberweis on
Retired Gen. John Borling accused rival
Republican Senate candidate Jim Oberweis of "carnival barkering" and
"demagoguery" Thursday for his "strident" criticism of illegal immigrants.
State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger said, "I can't
vote for people that demagogue issues. I can't vote for people that divide
us to try to make progress on politics."
The liberal blog
Polis commented on the
Those Oberweis copter commercials may be the
funniest thing on tv these days (save Arrested Development). Forget the fact
that his numbers are said to be way off, just having him spout off that
anti-immigrant rhetoric over the noise of copter blades is high comedy. The
only thing that would improve on this would be if he was flying over the
Mexican border with a rifle picking off crossing illegals. "Even if I stay
up here and shoot all day, I can't make a dent out of the thousands who are
stealing YOUR jobs!"
Last, what would our politicians do without the ever so helpful suggestions
of people like
Constable in the Daily Herald:
The casual voter hears the name Barack Obama, and
decides it sounds a bit like Iraq Osama. If I were his campaign manager, I
would add an R to his first name to make it "Barrack," as in the lodging for
soldiers, such as those brave, patriotic Americans who won World War II.
Then I would add a simple apostrophe to his last name. By going with "O'Bama,"
the Harvard-educated, Christian husband and father could garner the Irish
vote, and appeal to transplanted southerners.
Barack Obama had a big weekend. First the
Sun-Times released their endorsement of Barack:
Obama is a rising star with impressive political
skills and a keen intellect. A constitutional law professor and civil rights
attorney who has served seven years in the state Senate, Obama has the
hands-on experience that, were he elected, would shorten the time it would
take for him to become a major player on the national stage.
Obama has demonstrated an ability to forge
partnerships across party lines by enacting key legislation, such as
bringing together the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Teacher's
Union and school choice advocates to expand charter schools and increase
accountability for all school districts. This ability to work across the
aisle is a critical need for Illinois because Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin,
able in many respects, is a fiery partisan. That limits his effectiveness.
Our endorsement goes to Obama, who seems best
poised to overtake Hull. Obama's background and experience can trump Hull's
money. Obama has a compelling personal story. He is a man who has struggled
to understand the landscape in two worlds -- one white, one black. Born to a
white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, reared in Hawaii and
Indonesia, Obama could be the man for this time and for this place.
Obama (it will be in the Sunday paper):
Obama rises above this field as one of the
strongest Democratic candidates Illinois has seen in some time.
Barack Obama has a proven record of spirited,
principled and effective leadership in the legislature, and he is the only
Democrat in this race who can make that claim
Interestingly, both editorial boards took the
opportunity not only to applaud Obama but rebuke/caution against current
frontrunner and millionaire, Blair Hull. The Tribune, "[Hull] has inserted
himself in the Democratic Party largely by showering money on political
candidates. Is this the resume Democrats want to offer to the state in
November?" The Sun-Times followed up:
Blair Hull, a multimillionaire businessmen who
has vowed to spend up to $20 million of his own fortune to win this primary
race, lacks the political experience needed to ensure that Illinois gets its
fair share of federal funding. He often neglected to even vote in elections.
And with virtually no volunteers, Hull's campaign is out of step with the
ideals at the center of election campaigns. Hull surged in the polls thanks
to a TV ad blitz funded by his wealth.
While we are on the subject of Hull . . .
While Hull seems to be holding thus far in the polls
(see below) he may be taking on some water. Eric Zorn started the drumbeat
and has been pounding away on the story of Hull's divorce, order of protection,
subsequent cover up, and the final release of records. Here is the timeline:
Feb 15 - Trib does
bio piece on Hull notes order of protection Brenda Sexton his former wife
took out on him during their second divorce.
Feb 19 - Zorn:
Public entitled to know about Hull's History
Feb 20 - Hull releases statement, "We
had an argument and Brenda called the police . . .The
police report from that night says that I hit her shin. I would never
intentionally harm Brenda, and I regret the incident."
Feb 22 - Bernard Schoenburg:
Special-interest foe Hull helps ex-wife land state job details the Illinois
Film Office job Blair got his ex-wife, also details some of the order of
Feb 26 - Zorn:
The real Hull slips out from behind the ads
Feb 27 - Hull and Sexton agree to release previously
sealed divorce records:
I am in great fear if this court does not enter a
protective order in my favor and against Blair, as well as exclude him from
my residence in which I am residing with my child, (name withheld) age 11,
Blair will continue to inflict, mental emotional and physical abuse upon me
as he has done in the past.
Blair is a violent man with an ungovernable temper, and the violence
recently been escalating.
At this point, I fear for my emotional and physical well being, as well as
that of my daughter.
Feb 28 - Zorn:
Hull's biggest mistake isn't in divorce file Trib:
Hull's ex-wife called him violent man in divorce file and the Times puts
their crime reporter Frank Main on the story:
divorce records unsealed:
Blair Hull in Brenda Sexton's words:
*Sept. 25, 1997: "Blair threw a remote control across the room and called me
a 'f------ c---.' "
*Dec. 2, 1997: "Blair and I were calmly talking about trust issues, and I
remarked everyone has a trust issue with him. Blair suddenly responded by
saying, 'You evil bitch. You are a f------ c---,' repeatedly. He then hung
on the canopy bar of my bed, leered at me and stated, 'Do you want to die? I
am going to kill you, you f------ bitch.' "
*Jan. 12, 1998: "He went ballistic on me, started cursing, told me I was a
'f------ c---' and 'shark' and kept threatening that he would punch me in
*Feb. 9, 1998: "He then held one of my legs and punched me extremely hard in
the left shin. After that, he swung at my face with his fists a couple of
times in a menacing manner just missing me."
We will have to wait and see how this turns out.
For her part, Brenda Sexton says she now supports Hull's candidacy and that
the two are friends. In fact, the Sun-Times reported on the 17th:
Dem senatorial candidate Blair Hull, who has been
married and divorced three times -- twice to the same woman -- showed up
with that woman, Illinois Film Office honcho Brenda Sexton, at a fund-raiser
for John Kerry this weekend at Lou and Susan Manilow's house.
It caused tongues to wag, although the two are now just good friends.
Hull for his part, is busy touting the endorsement he
received from former Congresswoman Cardiss Collins of Illinois' 7th District and
his "Title IX Dad of the Year" award.
Jack Ryan continues to pull ahead in every poll released. WBBM released a
poll the 24th showing Jack! with 46%:
poll yet is
one done by the Metro Chicago Information Center, conducted from
Feb 20th through the 22nd. It shows Hull with a 7 point lead
at 27% and Ryan with a 22 point lead over Oberweis. Further
dissection of this poll coming soon. However, two things I will
point out now to illustrate the work Barack has ahead of him.
First, when asked what their impression
(favorable/unfavorable/neutral) of Obama, 62% said they did not
know, second only to Nancy Skinner. Secondly, Obama picked up
36% in Chicago, an easy first place, but downstate registered a
measly 8% compared to Hull's 44%. His endorsements should
start to ease this problem and he has also just started a major
TV and radio push.
Democrat Senate Debate Monday February 23, 7:30 p.m. One-hour
LIVE debate - WBBM 780AM.
Blair Hull continues to receive good news, with the latest poll showing
him with a 10% lead over his nearest competitors. Jack Ryan broke
out with an even larger lead, 41% over Oberweis with 17%. This
from the a Rasmussen Reports poll of 1,500 voters conducted the 19th.
The Sun-Times ran it frontpage, "Wealthy
hopefuls lead Senate race":
Hull -- a trader who has pumped $24
million of his own money into his Democratic race -- leads with 27
percent, ahead of state Sen. Barack Obama and state Comptroller Dan
Hynes, who each had 17 percent.
On the Republican side, Ryan -- a former investment banker who has
dipped into his wallet for nearly $2.6 million -- leads dairy and
investment magnate Jim Oberweis, 41 percent to 17 percent.
Democrat Gery Chico calls Hull's spending "obscene'' and likens his
Senate bid to an advertising campaign for "soap, butter and cars.''
"Basically what we're seeing is a marketing campaign. There's a very
eerie correlation between that campaign and the sale of products,''
Obama said he wasn't too concerned about Hull's wealth.
"I don't begrudge extraordinarily wealthy people spending their
money. But what I do know is that although you can buy television
time, you can't buy a track record and you can't buy the experience
that's necessary to hit the ground running when you get to the
United States Senate,'' Obama said.
Hull has released some information regarding the order of protection
filed in his divorce from Brenda Sexton:
Facing increasing questions from the
media, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Blair Hull acknowledged
Friday that ex-wife Brenda Sexton obtained two orders of protection
against him in 1998, both stemming from a single domestic dispute in
which he was accused of striking her in the shin.
"I would never intentionally harm Brenda, and I regret the
incident," Hull said in a statement.
"These events were all part of a tough period for Brenda and me,"
Hull wrote. "We both said painful things to each other that I am
sure we both wish we could take back. I regret those months, and
that night in particular, as well as the legal posturing that
resulted. Most importantly, Brenda and I are now friends."
Pentagraph has a story on Hull's gold mine, according to the paper
Blair Hull is the only candidate known to have a stake in a gold mine:
Hull, who has a personal net worth
exceeding $300 million, appears to be the only one with a gold mine.
Located in Sierra County, Cal., the Original Sixteen to One Mine is
a historically significant, but financially struggling venture.
Michael Miller, who is president of the business, said Friday that
Hull's involvement is "totally passive." Miller and Hull were
roommates in the 1960s when the two attended University of
California-Santa Barbara. Miller said Hull invested in the company
in the early 1970s.
Blair Hull held the frontrunner status for less than a week before the
allegations started to fly. On the 15th, the Tribune published a
bio piece on Hull that read more like a soap opera than a political
As his financial success magnified, his private
life grew more complicated. His 29-year marriage ended in 1994, and the
publicity-averse Hull nevertheless became involved in a series of
He married well-known real estate broker Brenda Sexton, divorced and then
remarried her. Their relationship even made news broadcasts when Hull
proposed the second time by way of a Gold Coast billboard. Hull said
Sexton's publicist oversold the story to the media.
As his second marriage to Sexton collapsed in 1998, Sexton filed an order of
protection against him, public records show. Hull won't talk about the
divorce in detail, saying only that it was "contentious" and that he and
Sexton are friends.
In the late 1990s, Hull made
local gossip columns again when he dated auctioneer and socialite Leslie
Hindman. And in 2003, he became engaged to another woman, Jennifer Goodlove,
but that relationship quickly ended. After the breakup, Hull allowed
Goodlove to remain in his $2.7 million Old Town home and he moved to a house
a few blocks away.
Tragically, Goodlove's roommate died in December in that house's garage
after being overcome with carbon monoxide. Authorities found that the carbon
monoxide originated from a leak in a pool heater and ruled the death
Eric Zorn published a story entitled
entitled to know about Hull's history" that delves more into the issue of
the order of protection filed against him by his former wife:
As [Democratic U.S. Senate candidate
Blair Hull's] second marriage to [Brenda] Sexton collapsed in 1998, Sexton filed
an order of protection against him, public records show. Hull won't talk about
the divorce in detail, saying only that it was `contentious' and that he and
Sexton are friends
In asking for an order of protection,
"you have to be specific with the judge about the date and the
nature of the abuse," said Megan Rosado, a training coordinator at
the Chicago Abused Women Coalition. "You can't simply say, `I'm
afraid of him' or `he threatened me.'"
That Hull's ex-wife filed for an order of
protection "doesn't necessarily mean he abused her," he said.
Let's hope he didn't. Domestic violence is a terrible scourge, and
its perpetrators are of low character by definition.
It's not a "personal matter" when questions about the circumstances
behind a request for an order of protection hang over the head of a
man who is at or near the top of the polls in the race for his
party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.
CBS 2 ran the story on the evening news, and
published it on their site (Hull
Faces Questions of Domestic Abuse):
Were there grounds for her to seek the order of
“This really doesn't play a role in the Senate race,” Hull said. “This has to do
with between Brenda Sexton and me. I think the real issue is that she supports
my candidacy. We remain friends.”
When CBS 2 asked Sexton if
Hull had ever threatened violence against her, she replied, "I've said all I'm
going to say."
When we asked Hull if he had ever threatened to harm his ex-wife or ever
threatened violence against her, Hull replied: “I think this is an issue, it's a
private matter. And it doesn't belong in a Senate race,” Hull said.
Oberweis recently put out a mailing encouraging
Republican voters to support his immigration views:
I’m the only candidate who’s taken a strong
stance against illegal immigration and I’m leading the charge to find ways to
fight violations of our immigration laws. As a result of illegal immigration we
live in a society of increasingly threatened national security, higher crime,
loss of jobs, competition for basic social services, divisive cultural and
linguistic problems and longer waits and higher rates for healthcare.
Read the full letter (Oberweis
Immigration Letter). Included in the packet was a Times story
by Roeser entitled, "Oberweis milks immigration issue."
Jack Ryan released a new ad today, which is probably
the best ad yet ((Watch
"Money for Nothing"):
Doctor: hi, I am Dr. Jasper, I'm collecting to build a telescope on
a volcanic peak in Mexico
Young Female: The endangered aqua-culture off the coast of West
Man with foreign accent: We can count on you to subsidize foreign
governments who want to move American jobs overseas, yes?
Jack Ryan: Every home in America pays 21,000 in taxes to fund
ridiculous programs like these, if you are tired of the government
wasting your money, vote for me, Jack Ryan
Jack Ryan: That better be the pizza guy
The Trib ran a blip on the ad (Ryan
uses humor to distinguish ads).
CBS2/WBBM released another poll showing Jack
Ryan and Blair Hull leading in their respective primaries. While
this poll was again taken by SurveyUSA through an automated system and
is not regarded as highly reliable, its interesting to compare this
months numbers against last months numbers:
As you will see, while Ryan and Hull percentages
jumped, Hynes, Obama, McKenna, and Rauschenberger have remained constant. (Download
Poll Results in PDF)
Hull has been continually gaining momentum, showing
that his record breaking $18 million spending spree has not been wasted.
Since August he has raised his poll numbers from 3%, to 10% in October, to 19%
in January and now 29%. This movement (along with a large bank account)
makes Blair Hull a real player for this seat and turns this race into a true
four way race between Hull, Hynes, Obama, and Pappas with Chico still hanging in
with a respectable chunk of the vote. This makes the possibility of
winning this race with less than 30% of the vote a real possibility. This
raises the question of whether there will be any consolidation in the ranks.
If any of the top five candidates dropped out of the race it would have the
potential to dramatically alter the landscape.
Trib has a lengthy piece on the extent of Hull's spending:
Over the last three months of 2003, Hull employed
nearly 150 people, campaign records show. Operating without the volunteers
of some other candidates, Hull has been forced to pay not only his regular
staff, but also the people who do work that in many campaigns is performed
by an army of passionate volunteers. People who plant Hull yard signs, for
example, are paid $75 per day.
For every public event, Hull totes along an army
of choreographed supporters who dress in T-shirts and baseball-style hats
emblazoned with such catchy slogans as "Give `em Hull." When asked why they
support him, one supporter echoes another with a variation of the same
answer: Hull's ambitious government-run health care plan is the answer to
the country's health care crisis.
As for Hull himself, when he's not in his chartered jet, the candidate criss-crosses
the state in a $40,000 recreational vehicle nicknamed "Hull on Wheels."
Hull has been turning up the level of mailings and
advertisements recently. Doug Goodman, a sports writer for the Rockford
recently detailed a letter he received from Hull:
I wanted to note I received a letter at home this
week from the "Blair Hull for U.S. Senate" campaign. I'm sure all hunters in
the state received one.
Printed on the envelope were the slogans "Hunters for Hull" and "Join a
Great Friend of Our Sport." Inside was a "Hunters for Hull" bumper sticker
and a letter pointing out Hull's support on hunting-related issues.
The letter said Hull recently went turkey hunting in Lawrence County and
deer hunting in Hamilton County, and he owns two guns.
Sounds like a candidate hunters can get behind.
Probability = 1/(1 + exp (-1 x (-3.9659056 + (General
Election Weight x 1.92380219) +
(Re-Expressed Population Density x .00007547) + (Re-Expressed Age x .01947370) +
(Total Primaries Voted x -.60288595) + (% Neighborhood Ethnicity x
Thought your years of algebra were over? Think again,
the formula above was given to
Atlantic Monthly writer Joshua Green by Blair as an algorithm to help win
elections. It was also detailed in the
It remains to be seen if the American Mathematical
Society will endorse Hull.
On the topic of endorsements. The IVI-IPO, a
liberal voter organization, endorsed
and Dr. Kathuria. The group said they chose the candidates because
they were both strong opponents to the
The Jewish Political Alliance of Illinois recently
endorsed Barack Obama in the Dem primary and Jack Ryan in the GOP primary.
Obama received endorsements from the Democratic Party
of Evanston and the
New Trier Democrats.
Chico held a press conference this week with over 60
supporting Latino leaders. Visit Chico's site for an extensive list of
A new blog on the race has been started, it focuses
mainly on the Democratic side of things and makes for an interesting read.
The Daily Herald has a nice article integrating the
fashion beat and the Senate race with these fascinating bits of info (Beauty
is more than ballot deep):
Schubert (an NIU professor) then took his
Romanian photos around the world. From NIU students in DeKalb to Indonesian
adults and teens in Papa New Guinea, the top six finishers in the poll
received 91 percent of the actual popular vote.
Regardless of country or culture, Schubert says respondents warmed to
candidates with prominent brows, strong jaws and high cheek bones.s.
They embraced candidates, it seems, with features similar to Jack Ryan's.
And from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, some of the other Senate hopefuls
can't blame them.
"The guy looks like a movie star with that million-dollar smile," Democratic
candidate Nancy Skinner said. "I think it's going to be a factor in the
While Skinner - the only blonde in the Democratic primary - believes Ryan
will benefit from his good looks, she contends her appearance has been a
detriment to her campaign.
State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger, another GOP
candidate for U.S. Senate, shaved his beard to look more attractive to
voters. It may be a smart move given no one with facial hair has won the
White House since newspapers began publishing pictures in 1903.
While Skinner think her looks are hurting her
election chances the candidate recently issued the following wanted ad for a
Valentine's Day dinner to her mailing list:
SSC (Single Senatorial Candidate) seeking
DWM (Democrat with Money) who cares about the direction of this
country and wants to see a courageous Democrat in the US Senate who will
stand up to the Republicans, for a lovely evening of political discourse and
dinner. Minimum bid $1,000 Maximum Bid $12,000 (FEC Max)!
Chuck Sweeney quotes Blair Hullll as promising to bring Metra to Rockford,
during a recent debate sponsored by the Winnebago County Democratic Central
Maria Pappas got into a flap over her late filing of
financial disclosure papers required by the Ethics in Government Act. The
Trib headlined on the 9th, "Pappas'
finances remain mystery." She filed the papers later in the week which
revealed that she was one of the wealthiest candidates in the race. When
combined with her husband their combined net worth is between $6 million and $15
Pappas also held a press conference critizing Hooters
and Hummer spending,
posted the following report:
Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas was lashing
out against federal funds for Hooters and Hummers as she tried to gain
momentum in her bid for the U.S. Senate.
Standing next to a Hummer SUV, across from a Hooters restaurant, Democratic
Hopeful Maria Pappas railed against what she called pork projects hidden in
the federal energy bill: tax credits for businesses that buy big sport
utility vehicles, and funding for a mall in Louisiana that includes
you-know-what restaurant chain.
But, isn't that mall needed economic development for Shereveport, the kind
of project Illinois might want?
It's a matter of priorities, Pappas said. Funding for children should come
first, and money for a mall which includes a Hooters restaurant doesn't
qualify. But she says she wouldn't turn down economic development money, as
long as schools were funded first.
Who would have guessed?
GOP hopefuls support tax cut
Barack Obama, Gery Chico and Dan Hynes appeared at celebration
of Eid ul-Adha at the Rosemont Convention Center:
Thousands of Muslims dressed in colorful formal
garb prayed together in mosques, convention centers and other meeting places
Sunday to mark Eid ul-Adha, a holiday celebrating sacrifice and thankfulness
to God. During this election year, politics played a role in the
festivities, too, with voter registration booths set up at most sites and
political candidates speaking at larger forums, such as at the Rosemont
Convention Center, where up to 15,000 Muslims were expected for three prayer
Before the prayers began, Democratic U.S. Senate
candidates Barack Obama, Gery Chico and Dan Hynes addressed the crowd. They
paid their respects and criticized some federal policies, such as the
Patriot Act, instituted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
John Borling received the endorsement of Senator and
former Presidential candidate John McCain. The men were cellmates briefly
and were in the same North Vietnamese prison camp around 1969 or 1970. (read
TUESDAY, JANUARY 27
Candidates are jostling for position as the
race draws closer and many voters don't even know who is running.
With exactly seven weeks to the election the number of undecided voters
seems to be hovering between 30%-50%. The Daily Herald highlighted
this problem in a front-page story (Do
you know these people?) :
A random survey last week by Daily Herald reporters and editors
last week found 87 percent of 162 suburban residents could not name
even one Senate candidate from either party.
Only 20 people, for example, could name at least one candidate.
This includes the five respondents who simply referred to GOP
hopeful Jim Oberweis of Aurora as "the ice cream guy" or "the dude
with the dairy."
Three people, for example, thought presidential candidate John
Kerry of Massachusetts was running for the Illinois seat. That's
three more than the number of participants who remembered radio
personality Nancy Skinner, a Chicago Democrat, actually wants the
State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger of Elgin was the most frequently
cited candidate among the respondents in the Northwest suburbs and
DuPage, Lake and Kane counties. The Republican hopeful earned the
distinction with 12 participants able to recall his name.
Millionaire businessman Blair Hull of Chicago netted 11 responses,
the most among any Democrat. Nine people answered state Sen. Barack
Obama of Chicago, with full credit given to two who could remember
only that his name rhymed with Osama.
Anyway, you get the idea. The candidates are desperately
seeking to distinguish themselves from the competition. On the
Republican side, Oberweis has taken the most dramatic step of faith,
continually pounding the pavement touting his opposition to President
Bush's new immigration plan. Following is a transcript of his
latest radio ad (download
Announcer: Jim Oberweis, conservative Republican for Senate and
successful business man.
Oberweis: I've been a supporter of President Bush on taxes, on
terrorism, and his opposition to gay marriage. But I must stand
opposed to the administrations plan to liberalize immigration laws.
Illegal immigration fosters disrespect for the rule of law, results
in lower wages for American families, and costs taxpayers millions
for government services. The President's plan is just plain wrong. I
want to be the voice for Illinois voters to tell the President we
think illegal immigration cannot be rewarded with amnesty. Call toll
free 877-603-2004. signup to oppose the President's initiative and
join my campaign for straight talk in the US Senate.
Announcer: Jim Oberweis straight talking conservative voice for
Illinois. Call toll free 877-603-2004 or log on to
Oberweis: I'm Jim Oberweis and I approved this message so I can
send the President a message from you.
This position has not curried him favor with Speaker of the House,
Denny Hastert. Hastert who endorsed Oberweis in 2002, told the
He's "disappointed" in Oberweis for taking such a strong stance
against President Bush's recent immigration-reform proposal.
Oberweis has called the plan "blanket amnesty in disguise," a
comment that doesn't seem to sit well with Hastert. "He's trying to
demagogue the immigration thing," Hastert said. "I wish he would
talk about other issues that are important in this race, but I guess
that's what he thinks will get more talk going.
According to the Daily Herald, "Among Republicans, only retired Air
Force Maj. Gen. John Borling of Rockford, businessman Andy McKenna of
Glenview and state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger of Elgin voiced support for
Bush's plan, calling it a good starting point for debate."
On a side note,
Sweet took Oberweis to task for the blatant entanglement between his
dairy and his Senate run. I do have to admit I was slightly
disconcerted when I saw his latest logo:
The other issue that the candidates are sparring over is the Iraq
war. While the Republicans are fairly unified over the issue,
Democratic opinion varies. State Sen. Barack Obama has been the
most vocal opponent of the war for the longest period of time. He
is also the only candidate who said he would have opposed the $87
billion reconstruction bill. The Trib details the differences
Dan Hynes got some bad PR over circular campaign contributions (STL
Post-Dispatch: In Illinois politics, campaign money goes round and
round, records show):
Under federal law, Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes cannot use
money from his state campaign fund for his U.S. Senate bid, and he
instead has donated thousands of dollars to Democratic politicians
and organizations in Chicago.
In turn, he has received donations in similar amounts from the same
sources for his U.S. Senate campaign, according to state and federal
campaign records analyzed by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Chris Mathers, a spokeswoman for Hynes, said the donations are a
routine part of politics, and weren't an attempt to slip restricted
state campaign money into Hynes' Senate campaign.
Gery Chico has released an internal poll that shows him tied for
first place! It was an "internet poll" administered by
21st Century Campaigns.
1,168 registered voters participated:
14% Dan Hynes
12% Gery Chico
12% Maria Pappas
12% Barack Obama
9% Blair Hull
4% Nancy Skinner
2% Joyce Washington
More details to follow.
One of the most unseen faces in this campaign has been Maria Pappas.
Eric Zorn criticized the candidate in his
On this Thursday night I have listened to her speak at the
Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce and Industry's annual banquet and
(in Greek) at a fundraiser for Cook County Circuit Court judicial
candidate Peggy Chiampas, and I am now tailing her around the Blue
Her political positions and legislative ideas have not come up. What
does she stand for? Why, aside from the fact that she's so darn
personable, should these people vote for her?
If Riyad goes to her Web site and clicks on "issues," he'll find
just 189 words, total, on three topics: Economy, health care and
Compare this to the "issues" area of the Web sites of the Democrats
with whom she is tied atop the recent Tribune poll: More than 9,000
words on 12 topics from Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, and close to
3,500 words on nine topics from state Comptroller Dan Hynes.
The issues part of the campaign "hasn't even started yet," she
says before we say goodbye and she heads off to another restaurant.
"Nobody's been paying attention."
Since the article was written Pappas has expanded her
And for the title of "Best utilization of
Microsoft Clipart in a Press Release" . . . (PDF
FRIDAY, JANUARY 16
Pundits and Pols alike have been waiting for
months to see new poll numbers, but the results of the two latest polls
are mixed and inconclusive. Two polls have been released in the past
three days, a WBBM poll conducted by Survey USA with a margin of 3.8%
for the Dems and 4.9% for the Reps, and the other a Tribune/WGN-TV
conducted by Market Shares Corp with a 4.5% margin of error.
*Percentages lower than the polls margin of error
The issue of the week seems to be immigration. Oberweis has
distinguished himself by coming out swinging against President
Bush's new immigration policy. In an article on his website
entitled, "Oberweis Opposes Bush Immigration Proposals 'Blanket
Amnesty in Disguise'" Oberweis says:
. . . regarding his (President Bush's) plans to deal with
illegal immigration I must respectfully, yet firmly disagree.
His proposals are just plain wrong.
I'm opposed to any amnesty program that rewards illegal
behavior. And no matter what kind of rhetoric the President
seeks to clothe his proposal in, it's simply a blanket amnesty
program in disguise. These proposals do more to worsen our
illegal immigration situation, not improve it.
Oberweis has taken some flack from fellow GOP members for running
ads in Southern Illinois criticizing Bush's immigration policy.
Jack Ryan released a interesting statement on the subject:
While I am a strong supporter of legal immigration, I have
always taught my high school students the value of respecting
the law. I could not in good conscience support a proposal that
rewards illegal behavior, and then have to go back and explain
to my students why it’s acceptable in this situation.
Oberweis is also being criticized for integrating his ice cream
into his campaign. The Suntimes reports:
A new publicity campaign by U.S. Senate candidate Jim
Oberweis is again raising questions about whether the dairy
mogul is mixing family business interests with his own political
aspirations. The Naperville Sun reported that Oberweis, an
Aurora resident and one of nine Republican candidates on the
March 16 primary ballot, is planning a series of campaign
appearances at his namesake ice cream stores. He'll offer free
scoops of Oberweis ice cream and the chance to enter an "ice
cream for life" sweepstakes. The so-called dairy tour was set to
kick off Sunday at the Oswego Oberweis store, one of the chain's
27 Chicago area locations. Some of Oberweis' opponents,
including Republicans John Borling and Jack Ryan, are crying
Courier News reporter Ed Fanselow wrote a more in-depth article
on the subject. (Foes
cool to Oberweis ice cream give-away ploy)
While campaign officials defend the events as a fun and
family-friendly way to introduce voters to the candidate and his
stance on the issues, more than a few of Oberweis' opponents are
"It's unfortunate to say the least," a campaign spokesman for
Republican Senate candidate John Borling said. "Especially after
what we've gone through over the last few years, Republicans
need to follow the letter and the spirit of the law."
Similarly, a spokesman for Jack Ryan, another Republican Senate
hopeful, accused Oberweis of "playing fast and loose with
federal campaign-finance laws" that prohibit candidates from
accepting any kind of corporate contributions.
Still, the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonpartisan
watch-dog group, gave the "dairy tour" its stamp of approval,
noting that the ice cream, the sweepstakes and direct-mail
brochures promoting the events all are paid for by the Oberweis
for Senate campaign, not the stores themselves.
Another thing that both polls show on the Democratic side is that
3-4 candidates are in a dead heat. This most likely will make
the importance of GOTV efforts and last minute mass media
advertising all the more important. This situation probably
favors Dan Hynes and Blair Hull since they have the most
money to organize such efforts. However, Obama will be a
formidable candidate, his campaign announced fundraising of $3,001,144 in 2003, an impressive war chest that should give him a
chance. Ironically, Obama's candidacy was put down by conservative
news source National Review Political reporter John Miller:
ILLINOIS: This election remains the Democrats' best
chance to pickup a seat currently held by a Republican and state
comptroller Dan Hynes appears well on his way to winning his
party's nomination. The GOP's best hope would be for state Sen.
Barack Obama to upset him in the primary. LEANING DEMOCRATIC
While this analysis provides little in way of explanation a
recent Tribune poll showed George Bush beating Howard Dean with a
46% to 40% margin. Obama has been a much harsher critic of the
Iraq war than Hynes and Pappas, which may hurt him in the general.
Obama, Hull, and Skinner will have to look for a different
presidential candidate to endorse, all three were supporters of now
Howard Dean staffer Carol Moseley Braun.
And in the most colorful and ironic language this week, late entering
Republican candidate Andy Martin wrote in a letter to Carol Fowler,
Channel 2 VP:
The Chicago Tribune once called me "an absolutely brilliant
campaigner" whose "public relations skills are masterly." I have
improved since that was written. What would you rather cover: a
bunch of clowns, led by a milkman and a Wall Street swindler, or
someone who really knows what is happening around the world
because he has been there? I think I make my point.
Former Jack Ryan press secratary, Lissa Druss Christman was
replaced this week by Kelli E. Phiel.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 8
In what could turn out to be the deciding
factor in the Democratic primary, Dan Hynes warded off Barack Obama to
secure the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.
The Hill ran a story yesterday chronicling
the battle between Obama and Hynes (Ill.
labor leaders to decide on a Senate endorsement)
If Hynes secures the support of the
umbrella group, which has roughly 1,500 affiliates in the state, it
could lock up the race for him more than two months before the March
If his chief rival, state Sen. Barack Obama, musters enough votes to
thwart a Hynes endorsement, it would be a big blow to Hynes, who has
billed himself as the labor candidate.
Nate Tamarin, Obama’s deputy campaign
manager, said the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
and the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) — all of which have
endorsed Obama — give the campaign much-needed muscle.
One Illinois Republican portrayed all the
old-time union chiefs lining up behind Hynes as part of a grand
Chicago tradition of dynasties and Democratic machine politics.
“Everybody knows this is Papa Hynes’s boy and you better frickin’
give it to him, or we’re going to break your knees,” he said.
Hynes’s father, Tom Hynes, runs Chicago’s 19th Ward and sits on the
Democratic National Committee. His brother, Matt, ran Al Gore’s 2000
presidential campaign in Illinois and is now in charge of Hynes’s
wins Illinois AFL-CIO endorsement)
"This is by far the most
significant endorsement of this campaign,'' Hynes said at a news
conference where he was flanked by AFL-CIO president Margaret
Blackshere and other labor leaders.
Steve Neal ran a story predicting such
poised to snare key labor backing)
The Illinois AFL-CIO represents 1,066,000
union members in the state – the third largest state membership in the
country. Support from labor unions and the AFL-CIO is a key element to
winning Democratic primaries in Illinois - in 2002, the AFL-CIO was
instrumental in helping elect a Governor, state legislature and
statewide candidates who respect the rights of working men and women.
Rauschenburger got his campaign stunt in the
"If job experience doesn't matter, why can't I
coach the Chicago Bears?" Rauschenberger said. "I'm just following the lead
of my millionaire GOP Senate opponents --who have no legislative experience,
no background in public service --in applying for a job that I'm not
The article also included the responses from the
McKenna shrugs off Rauschenberger's argument,
pointing out that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was a physician with no
government experience when he was elected to the Senate in 1994, and George
W. Bush was a businessman when he was elected governor of Texas that same
Borling spokesman David Zapata was even more
cutting, arguing Rauschenberger is certainly not the Mike Ditka in the race.
"Steve Rauschenberger running for the U.S. Senate is like the Bears bringing
back Dave Wannstedt," Zapata said. "It's a step backwards. ... We need
tested, experienced leadership like John Borling -- someone who can help
rebuild the party, not someone who's picked up the uniforms for the last
McKenna has a strong point. Bush and Frist are
leading Republicans without long histories in politics, as well as Senators John
Corzine (Goldman Sachs), John Edwards (Trial Lawyer), Chuck Hagel (Nebraska -
Vanguard Cell) , Herb Kohl (Wisconsin - Milwaukee Bucks Owner), and scads of
The cover of the Sun-Times had a teaser headline on the
sexiest politicians in Illinois; in a bi-partisan move Democrat Maria Pappas and
Republican Jack Ryan both made the list, although Jack's picture was much
John Borling has announced he will term limit
himself to three terms (18 years).
Andy Martin has decided to defend Norm Hill
while he defends himself:
In the great Chicago tradition of
Clarence Darrow, of which I am a direct descendent through Senator
Paul Douglas, I have asked the State Board for permission to defend
I am not a member of the Illinois Bar, and I do not practice law.
But as a former law professor and public interest advocate I do take
on occasional special cases. Last year I won a landmark victory for
a U.S. Marine in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It was a major
decision supporting our troops in Iraq under the Soldiers and
Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 6
Dan Hynes picked up the Endorsement of
Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois. Press
SATURDAY, JANUARY 3
Andy Martin has filed a lawsuit and served a
subpoena on Andy McKenna.
Note: Andrew M. Raucci who is named in the
above lawsuit has stated that the "purported lawsuit" filed by Andy
Martin "contains false, malicious and scurrilous allegations."
Statements posted on this website from third party sources do not in any
way reflect the views of this website.
Joyce Washington launched a new
Borling got a fair
writeup by Roeser.
All the candidates have put out their
impassioned pleas for money during the final days of the year. On
January 31st, 4th Quarter FEC filings are due.
Steve Neal gave Obama a nice story.
Obama's endorsements stacking up
And I know its old news, but it is just too
funny. The Trib put out a story, "Hynes
staff jumps gun on popular carol" in which they expained:
The problem is that Christmas begins on
Christmas and ends Jan. 6, a day traditionally celebrated as the
Epiphany, the day the three wise men are said to have visited the
The Hynes campaign sent out news releases starting Dec. 14 for 12
days of Christmas blitz aimed at highlighting things President
George Bush has done wrong.
...it's expected Hynes
staffers won't forget the real start of Christmas again.
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