US Senate Race for Illinois - 2004

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Republican Candidates
Alan Keyes
Jack Ryan
John Borling
Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria
Andy McKenna
Jim Oberweis
Steven Rauschenberger
Jonathan Wright
Antonio Davis-Fairman
John Cox
Patrick O'Malley
Jim Durkin

Democratic Candidates
Barack Obama
Gery Chico
Blair Hull
Estella Johnson-Hunt
Dan Hynes
Maria Pappas
Nancy Skinner
Joyce Washington
Frank Avila
Matt O'Shea
John Simmons

Color Codes:
Black - Potential Candidate
Green - Active Candidate
Red - Lost
Orange - Candidate has dropped out or is not running


2003 Archives

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30

More stories on Ryan implications:
St. Lous Post Dispatch

Norm Hill and Andy Martin both Republicans had objections filed against them.  John Ryan of Oak Lawn objected Andy Martin, and Jack Robles of Chicago objected Norm Hill.  They were the only Senate candidates who were objected to.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19

After Jonathan Wright filed on Monday it was assumed that Republicans were done filing for the day, but then came Andy Martin. Although we reported on October 14th, that Andy Martin was considering entering the Senate race in Illinois as of today his FEC filings still reflect that he is running for Senate in Florida.  However, his website says that he is running for Senate in Illinois and he filed his signature petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections this Monday.

Martin has a storied history including multiple Senate and Presidential runs. He drew national attention during the 2000 Presidential Race when he ran an ad accusing Bush of taking cocaine:

ANDY MARTIN, REPUBLICAN FOR PRESIDENT: George Bush had a cocaine problem. His brain suffered from alcohol abuse. Don't trust Bush with your vote until he trusts you with the truth about his past. Bush wants to regulate the Internet because he is angry at the Web site gwbush.com. He wants to bomb Iraq. Bush is dangerous, and he wants to be president.

He has also made comments about Ariel Sharon including the following:

Ariel Sharon is becoming the Adolph Hitler of the 21st century. He slaughters human beings for sport, while his demented mind slips slowly into societal madness.

To read more about Martin click here.

After the Whitehouse released Barney Cam II: Barney Reloaded the Senate campaigns decided to get in on the Christmas spirit.  Blair Hull gave seniors a present by bringing them to Canada to buy drugs (prescription).  John Borling released a poem he composed as a POW in a communist prison camp:

T'was the night before Christmas, and then, Christmas Day,
And just maybe you'll think of those troops far away,,
And just maybe, take out a moment or two,
Say a short prayer for them, the family and you.
A small price indeed for your bright, tinseled tree,
It's Christmas again, in the land of the free.
(read full poem)

Andy McKenna is asking supporters to help him in a donation drive for the Forever Free Program which helps mothers recover from alcohol and drug addictions.  And in the strangest move of the season Dan Hynes released a rewrite of the 12 Days of Christmas which included the following:

On the first day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, a strong and vibrant economy
On the second day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, health care for my family
On the third day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, earned income tax credit
On the fourth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, education dollars
On the fifth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, 3 million jobs
On the sixth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, fair trade agreements
On the seventh day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, safety in the workplace
On the eighth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, unemployment benefits
On the ninth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, ergonomic standards
On the tenth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, prescription drugs for every senior
On the eleventh day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, pension protection
On the twelfth day of Christmas, George W. Bush took from me, overtime for workers

It remains to be seen whether this strategy works well.  Maureen Ryan reports in, "Don't expect `Grandma' to be run over and over" that people don't appreciate parody songs:

Tony Florentino of New Orlean's WCKW-FM says his research on holiday music has found that "parody songs are always at the bottom of the list. People just don't want to hear them."

"My guess is that people find them distasteful because of the nature of the holiday -- it's not in keeping with the spirit of Christmas," he notes..

State Sen. Barack Obama was given a major boost when U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky endorsed him this Tuesday. (press release)  Eric Zorn summed up the importance on his blog:

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky's (D.-Evanston) formal endorsement Tuesday of Ill. Sen. Barack Obama (D.-Chicago) for U.S. Senate was big.

Schakowsky is well respected among the progressive Democrats and her support, along with the previously acquired support of U.S. Reps Lane Evans, Danny Davis and Jesse Jackson Jr. will further expand Obama's base of support.

The "conservative, anti-tax group" Club for Growth endorsed Jack Ryan..

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18

In what may be a deciding moment in this Senate race, former Governor George Ryan was indicted on racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud, false Statements, and false tax reports.  On November 6, 2002 columnist Steve Neal wrote:

It was too much to overcome. As the Republican nominee for governor to succeed the most unpopular governor in the history of this state, Jim Ryan knew that he was the underdog in Tuesday's election. What made it even more difficult for the attorney general was that he shared the same last name and party affiliation as the scandal-plagued George H. Ryan.

In the aftermath of George’s indictment the question intensifies, can the Republican party rebuild and deliver a Republican Senator in 2004? Particularly, important is whether Jack Ryan will suffer from the same name confusion that plagued Jim Ryan. Fellow Republican candidate Jim Oberweis said, “Through no fault of his own, he (Jack Ryan) has the wrong name to run in Illinois in 2004." However, Oberweis himself most likely has the most ties to Ryan as reported by Pearson in October:

The Oberweis campaign acknowledged the candidate sought out a meeting with Ryan, terming it a 'courtesy call.' A campaign spokesman said he was unaware of the former governor making calls on Oberweis' behalf but said such efforts would be appreciated since Ryan is 'still part of the Republican Party.' The efforts by the controversial one-term governor could have an effect on the campaign of Oberweis, who finished second in a losing bid for the Republican Senate nomination a year ago.

Jack!'s campaign released a statement praising the work of Patrick Fitzgerald and saying they did not feel it would adversely affect the campaign:

We do not feel that any criminal charges brought against George Ryan will affect our campaign.  Our latest poll numbers show that we are leading in the Republican primary by almost 25 percentage points, which shows that Illinois voters do not connect George Ryan with Jack Ryan in any way. Illinois voters are smart and are looking for a new Republican to lead the party in the Senate race, and I intend to be that candidate.

State Sen. Steve Rauschenberger may benefit most from the move since he has fought Ryan for years. WBBM and Columnist John Kass have both given the Senator credit:

WBBM: Illinois State Senator Steven Rauschenberger chaired the Senate appropriations committee during the Ryan administration and fought routinely with George Ryan, rejecting projects like Illinois First and for nearly three years was banned from the Governor's mansion.

Kass: Rauschenberger did not curry favor with the Ryan-Daley combine while in the state legislature. For his legislative stands, he was barred from the Ryan governor's mansion.
 

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16

Nancy Skinner and Jonathan Wright both filed on Monday.  View complete results here.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 15

"We Got Him."  Time will tell whether the capture of Saddam Hussein will reshape the political landscape.  Current Illinois Senator Dick Durbin had the worst timing, when on Friday, Dec 12th the Daily Herald published a story headlined, "Durbin doubts Saddam capture near."

Today Durbin stated, "We're hoping the capture will break the back of the resistance (in Iraq), but only time will tell."  Sen. Peter Fitzgerald released a statement:

The capture of Saddam Hussein is a victory of coalition troops, for the people of Iraq, and for supporters of democracy worldwide.

Though the violence has clearly not ended, this victory is a major advance towards reassuring the Iraqi people that Saddam can never again return to terrorize them. The capture will facilitate the establishment of a new, peaceful government that is based on the principles of liberty and democracy rather than fear and retribution.

Today's victory vindicates the President's strategy of patience and of resolve. Our gratitude and prayers are with our brave men and women fighting for the future of the Iraqi people.

Retired Maj. General John Borling, one of only two candidates who have served in the military said:

We got the rat out of a hole, and hopefully, the remaining insurgents will lose spirit and will be driven into their own holes, anyway you cut it, not like the cut and run crowd, this is a big event for coalition and US forces and the governing Iraqi council. . . We’ve got a determined and effective Commander-in-Chief in our President. We need to support him and the troops as we continue to create conditions for a better Iraq, region and world. It’s never easy for a leadership nation.

Blair Hull the only other candidate to have served in the armed forces released a statement:

I salute and applaud the work of U.S. forces in Iraq for their dramatic capture of Saddam Hussein. Thanks to the determination, persistence and bravery of our soldiers, the world is a safer place now that Hussein is in custody.

I hope President Bush uses Hussein’s capture to reach out to the United Nations and our allies to help us in the long-term reconstruction of Iraq. I also hope the President will use this significant development to spell out for the American people an exit strategy for U.S. forces from Iraq. It’s time for this Administration to accelerate the process of giving back Iraq to the Iraqi people.

I opposed the President’s decision to preemptively strike at Iraq. I felt at the time, and still believe, that the Administration should have waited for international cooperation before resorting to the use of military force. The President’s go-it-alone policy weakened us within the international community. Hussein’s capture provides us an opportunity to begin repairing relations with our allies.

Jack Ryan used the news to criticize some of the most vocal opponents to the war in a press release entitled, "REPUBLICAN FRONT-RUNNER CALLS ON DEMOCRAT OPPONENTS TO TONE DOWN RHETORIC."

Republican U.S. Senate front-runner Jack Ryan this afternoon called on his Democrat opponents to tone down their rhetorical attacks on President Bush and the Coalition Forces fighting to bring democracy to Iraq.

Recent statements include State Senator Barack Obama’s referring to the Bush Administration’s foreign policy as one of “arrogance” (Rockford Register-Star, 12/2/03) and “deception” (www.obamaforillinois.com), while fellow Democrat candidate Blair Hull refers to President Bush as the “cowboy president” (Chicago Tribune, 7/14/03).

“Saddam Hussein is a brutal dictator who ordered the mass executions of hundreds of thousands of his own citizens and praised the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Saddam was a threat not only to his own people, but to the peace and stability of every freedom-loving American, home and abroad.” Ryan said.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10

Complete list of petition gathering efforts:

Name Signatures Filed Signatures Raised*
Borling 10,000 15,000
Kathuria 10,000 over 10,000
McKenna 10,000 ?
Oberweis Filed - Number Unknown ?
Rauschenberger 10,000 21,000
Ryan 10,000 over 20,000
Wright 7,300 7,300
Chico 10,000 over 20,000
Hull 10,000 45,507
Johnson-Hunt None - Plans for Write In thousands
Hynes 10,000 125,000
Obama 10,000 50,000
Pappas 10,000 over 10,000
Skinner 9,900 9,900
Washington Filed - Number Unknown  

* Signatures raised figures have been supplied by the campaigns themselves and are not independently verified.

Candidates have till the 15th to file.  5,000 signatures is the minimum to obtain ballot placement.

Maria Pappas received the endorsement of the influential Women's Campaign Fund.    The fund was founded in 1974 after Roe v Wade and is "dedicated to electing pro-choice women running for office at all levels."  The PAC has raised over $250,000 this election cycle and will certainly be looking for places to spend it.  Thus far their largest payouts have been $3,000 to Patty Murray and $2,000 for Barbara Boxer.  Susan Medalie, Executive Director of the fund said of Pappas, "You have been supportive of women’s issues for many years, and we know that the people of your state will be well served by your competent and caring work. . . Just as a woman’s right to choice is critical, so is the election of Maria Pappas to the Senate. We understand this, and strongly endorse you for your election."

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9

Illinois lost one of its most respected Senators today with the death of Paul Simon.  Following are statements released by several campaigns:

Maria Pappas - "Sen. Paul Simon was a visionary, both as a Senator and a presidential candidate. He had a refreshing dignity and was a gentleman's gentleman. He was the most beloved senator in the history of our state."

Dan Hynes - “Today we mourn the loss of one of our state’s great leaders, U.S. Senator Paul Simon. Senator Simon dedicated his life to achieving the highest level of decency, honesty, integrity and civility not only in politics but in society. My sympathy goes out to his family and the many Illinoisans who knew and worked with him. Today is a sad day for Illinois and our country.”

Gery Chico - "For more than forty years Senator Paul Simon served Illinois with the utmost integrity and distinction. His long career was dedicated to ensuring that government served people, and his personal commitment to serving Illinois was unmatched. He will be sorely missed . . .  His contribution to Southern Illinois University stands as testimony to his dedication to his community. I wish to express my condolences to his family and friends."

Blair Hull - “Illinois has lost a great leader and a role model for public service. In an age of political cynicism and corruption, Paul Simon set the standards for honesty, integrity, independence and wisdom. His voice of reason and compassion will be sorely missed. I have been a strong supporter of the outstanding work Paul was engaged in during recent years at the Public Policy Institute that he founded at Southern Illinois University. I’m certain the Institute’s staff will continue his legacy of promoting ethical conduct in government, opportunity and fair treatment for all citizens and responsible citizenship, particularly among young Americans. I extend my heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Paul Simon’s friends and family."
 

MONDAY, DECEMBER 8

Maria Pappas filed the maximum of 10,000 signatures.  Dan Hynes announced that he collected 125,000 signatures.  Dr. Kathuria collected over 10,000, Borling filed 10,000.  Jonathan Wright will file later this week.  Rauschenberger collected 21,000 signatures, filed 10,000, and announced "We won't challenge the petitions of any other Republican seeking the US Senate . . . If someone wants to run for US Senate-let them run. I welcome them to the race . . ."  McKenna filed 10,000 signatures.  He also used the occasion to blast state Democrats:

With some Democrats spewing self-congratulatory rhetoric over the passage of a new state ethics law, it's certainly ironic that they would hold President Bush's ballot line hostage to a shameless scheme to excuse candidates who violated existing election law and owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.  It's the height of hypocrisy.

Complete results coming soon on petition filing coming soon.

Barack Obama launched a redesigned website today. http://www.obamaforillinois.com

Joyce Washington is having some difficulty keeping her website up to date, her latest press release is from May 28th, and her latest news story is from May 14th.  However, her fundraising has not gone too bad.  Joyce hired Jane Asselta, a national Democratic fundraiser who has worked for Bobby Rush, Carol Moseley-Braun, and five Senate races.  She has raised $230,000, much of the money from the health care industry.  Top contributors include employees at Sacred Heart Hospital, Hoffman Estates Medical Center, Healthcare Dynamics, and Cavero Medical Group.

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4

The Illinois Senate race is truly becoming one of the most competitive and interesting races of the cycle.  More money has gone into this race than any other Senate race in the country.  In fact, the numbers are staggering, IL Senate Candidates as of the third quarter FEC Filings have raised over $19 million dollars, more than double the $8 million of the next highest state, Pennsylvania, and four times more than that of Florida.  The political handicappers at Congressional Quarterly place Illinois and Alaska as the only states in the "No Clear Favorite" category.  Although they acknowledge, "If you had to push this one, it would lean slightly Democratic, simply because of Illinois' recent Democratic trend and the lack of star quality in the crowded GOP primary field."  The Cook Political Report calls it this way, "It isn't even possible to assess the general election until we know who the nominees are. For now this race sits in the Toss Up column, but it remains Democrats' best chance to pick up a Republican seat."

Almost everyone agrees it will be close, but two factors, funding and party support, show that the Democrats may have more of an edge.  Democratic candidates have raised an estimated $6.6 million in individual contributions so far, while their Republican counter parts have raised an estimated $2.1 million. When you add in the amount that PACs have given and the amount that candidates have given to their own campaigns to get total receipts the numbers jump to $5 million for Republicans and $15 million for the Democrats.

While Democrats have out raised Republican 3 to 1, they have out spent them nearly 5 to 1. The total disbursements for the Democratic candidates total an estimated $9.3 million while Republicans have only spent about $2.3 million.  The biggest spenders thus far have been Blair Hull, spending a whopping $5.6 million, Gery Chico with $1.4 million, and Jack Ryan who has spent about $800,000.

Also the National Republican Senatorial Committee seems to be giving more lackluster support that the DSCC.  While the DSCC sees this as one of their best chances for a pickup, the Republicans are understandably concentrating efforts in capturing the open seats of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.  The DSCC has opened a campaign office in Illinois and has launched a website specifically for this race at http://www.illinoisdemocraticvictory.org.

December 8th is the first day that campaigns can turn in the petitions to get onto the March 16th primary ballot.  All signatures must be finalized by the 15th.  While 5,000 signatures is the minimum number to get on the ballot, most campaigns are attempting to raise at least 10,000 in order to ensure that challenged signatures will not push them below the 5,000 signature requirement. The requirements for petition circulators and signers are fairly rigid and occupy almost three pages (9 through 11) of the 2004 Illinois Candidate Guide (PDF format).

This may very well separate the contenders from the pretenders and narrow the field. Obama's campaign reports having gathered 25,000 signatures, five times the required amount. Jack Ryan's campaign e-mail seemed confidant, although it did not mention any numbers. Gery Chico has been campaigning for over a year and Dan Hynes who has won state wide election before are not expected to have any problems.   Blair Hull has spent millions on his campaign and has traveled extensively through the state and should have plenty. Jim Oberweis, has got on the ballot in the past and is reporting over 10,000 signatures to date, Steve Rauschenburger, and Andy McKenna are also expected to meet the requirements.

The wild cards, include Maria Papas, Jeff Durbin, Joyce Washington, Nancy Skinner, John Borling, Jonathan Wright, and Dr. Kathuria. Papas joined the race in late October, and hasn't had the time that other candidates have had, although she has widespread name recognition and an existing political structure. Jeff Durbin, no relation to  IL Senator Richard Durbin, was also a late comer to the race and has been collecting many of the signatures himself.

The first victim of the signature requirement may be Republican Mayor turned Democratic Senatorial Candidate Matt O'Shea.  O'Shea, has officially dropped out of the race for Senate in Illinois. As he waved good bye, O'Shea gave Gery Chico the nod.  O'Shea's endorsement of Chico came on the morning that Chico announced his “Rebuilding Illinois” economic plan. O'Shea commented:

Illinois needs a U.S. Senator who not only has practical solutions for Illinois, but has a track record of producing results.  Gery gets things done. His economic plan will provide much needed infrastructure construction funds for Illinois and help attract and keep manufacturers in towns like Metamora.

While O'Shea had not raised even $5,000 or the necessary signatures, and was not considered to have significant support, he was the only downstate Democratic candidate.  This may make things just a little more interesting, and the tight race even tighter. With the Chicago vote being split between five “home town” Democratic candidates, Southern and Central Illinois count more than ever.

Lynn Sweet reamed Jack Ryan last week in a story titled, "Jack Ryan holds back in biography."  The most interesting accusation was that Jack! had hid his financial interest in home schooling from the voters (emphasis added):

In January 2001, Ryan joined the board of a company called K-12 Inc., based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington. The company is a privately held for-profit educational firm providing supplies to people who home-school their children. K-12 markets materials for a home "virtual academy.''

Ryan's disclosures show he has a stake in K-12 that is worth between $500,001 and $1 million. Ryan also holds 50,000 options for K-12 stock, at a strike price of $1.34. Ryan also reports getting interest income of between $5,000 and $15,000 from K-12 for a bridge loan he made to the company.

A cornerstone of Ryan's campaign is education. Ryan's financial interest in home schooling -- which takes a child out of a private or public school -- is absent from his direct-mail literature and on his Web site.

It should not be, because someone running on an education platform, as Ryan is, should be clear when they have a financial stake in one of their most important issues. Home schooling, and federal policies regarding school choice, is a subject worthy of debate in a U.S. Senate race.

Another interesting note on third quarter campaign contributions, other than Illinois, New York donated more money to IL Senate candidates than any other state.  Chico, Obama, and Ryan have all received significant sums from the Big Apple.  Obama received the most money from NY with $82,650, and while Ryan raised slightly less, $78,750, it is actually accounts for a much higher percentage of his total receipts.  Nancy Skinner wins the out-of-state contributions race with a whopping 93% of her money coming from out of state.  Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, and Maine all donated more than Illinois.  Dan Hynes, seems to be quite popular with the Hispanic vote, in Puerto Rico.  Hynes raised more money out of state from the American territory than from any other outside state, including California and New York.  Many of the large contributions seem to come from people related to the Fernandez family.

Name City State Company Amount
FERNANDEZ, MIGUEL J SAN JUAN PR ORIENTAL BANK AND TRUST $6,000.00
DELGADO-CADILLA, JOSE L SAN JUAN PR DELGADO & FERNANDEZ $2,500.00
FERNANDEZ, JOSE E SR SAN JUAN PR ORIENTAL BANK AND TRUST $6,000.00
FERNANDEZ, JOSE E JR SAN JUAN PR ORIENTAL BANK AND TRUST $6,000.00
FERNANDEZ, JUAN C SAN JUAN PR MCCARTHY CRISANTI & MAFFAL $6,000.00
FERNANDEZ, MARY JANE SAN JUAN PR HOMEMAKER $6,000.00
MENDEZ-CARRERO, JOSE A SAN JUAN PR B FERNANDEZ & HROS INC $500.00
MARTINEZ, ALFREDO FERNANDEZ GUAYNABO PR DELGADO & FERNANDEZ $5,000.00
MARTINEZ-FERNANDEZ, ALFREDO GUAYNABO PR DELGADO & FERNANDEZ $2,500.00

More news on Andy McKenna, Jim Oberweis, Joyce Washington, and the latest poll numbers coming tomorrow.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17

Thanks for making us so popular!  In the month of October, ILSenate.com served over 230,000 hits and last week alone we received over 55,000 hits.

State Sen. Barack Obama continues to attract attention to his campaign.  He picked up the support of two unions, the Service Employees International Union (photos of rally), and the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  The Tribune wrote a fairly upbeat article on the subject.  Columnist Bernard Schoenburg wrote a piece in the State Journal-Register detailing Obama's drug usage, which was no big surprise since it all came from Obama's book "Dreams from my Father." One quote:

"I had learned not to care," he wrote. "I blew a few smoke rings, remembering those years. Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though. ..."

Obama also launched two one minute radio spots including one entitled "Join" (listen mp3):

Announcer: State Senator Barack Obama candidate for U.S. Senate talks about his family, his faith, and his mission.

Obama: My father was from Kenya and he was part of that first generation that came to the United States right after independence. I teach constitutional law at the University of Chicago, I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ for 15 years. My faith as a Christian is deeply important to me, it provides me with the values that inform my politics.

Announcer: In Springfield Barack Obama won battles to extend healthcare coverage to tens of thousands of uninsured children, tax relief for the working poor, a ban on racial profiling, and historic death penalty reforms.

Obama: Every person in this country should have basic health care coverage, every child should have a chance to have a decent education, every able bodied person who wants to work should be able to get a job.

Announcer: Join the movement, Barack Obama Democrat for US Senate

Obama currently has the largest online following through meetup.com with 460 members, compared to Hynes with 51, and Hull with 106.

Hull has been bombarding everything with ads.  Steve Neal recently wrote a piece in the Sun-Times and the online version at press time was surrounded by Blair Hull banner ads.  Hull has also advertised on CNN's political web page.  Neal's piece highlighted the following:

He's the $40 million man. That's how much Democrat Blair Hull intends to spend in his bid for the U.S. Senate seat that is being vacated by one-term Republican Peter G. Fitzergald.

Even though his candidacy has yet to break out of single digits, there is a growing perception among Democratic officeholders that Hull has a good chance to win their party's nomination.

A former Army lieutenant, Hull was an early and outspoken critic of President Bush's war against Iraq. Among the Democratic senatorial contenders, only state Sen. Barack Obama has been as forceful as Hull in opposing Bush's decision to intervene.

At least three of Hull's fliers already have been mailed to Democratic households, and his television commercials began airing last summer.

Hynes issued a press release stating he has now raised over $3 million.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. John Borling was written up in the Daily Herald which included these excruciating details about being a POW:"

They'd tie you up. Put your arms behind you, almost dislocating them. And tie you up with very tight and burning ropes and put knees and feet in your back. String you up and bend you backwards with your feet tied up and then often they'd hang you up on a hook and play pinata with you," Borling recently recalled.

"Or put you down on your knees on a concrete floor with your hands on your head. If you let your arms down or moved to one side, they'd beat you," he said.

If the race was not confusing enough, Durbin has decided to run!  Jeff Durbin (http://www.durbinforsenate.us) has thrown his hat into the race (view FEC filing) While he has not gained much media attention as of yet, he has been on WGN's Spike O'Dell Morning Show, and is confident that he will get on the ballet.  He has a number of events coming up including a Dec 6th fundraiser in his hometown of Streator. Durbin received five college degrees from SIU, including a B.A., three Masters degrees, and a Ph.D. in Sociology. He also received a fourth Masters degree in Gifted Education from Northeastern Illinois University and is working on a second doctorate in Educational Leadership at Roosevelt University.  Durbin was awarded the prestigious LAUNCH fellowship for leadership in education from Chicago Public Schools and Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School and School of Education and Social Policy and currently serves as an Instructional Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools.

And has anyone noticed the difference between the national senate campaign committees?  The Republicans only have four candidates posted on their site, and excerpts from the George Will piece on Jack Ryan.  While the Democrats have a much better site with more information, for some reason they seem to focus all of their attacks on Oberweis, including their latest sensational piece "HE’S BAAAACCKK!" tying Oberweis to George Ryan.  Does the DSCC know something?

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10

Pappas officially released her website this weekend, http://www.mariapappas.com. She also got a write up by Scott Fornek:

She still does a mean baton-twirling act, prides herself on her piano and clarinet skills and once regularly carted her toy poodle around in her purse.

But make no mistake. Democrat Maria Pappas warns all she is deadly serious about her bid for the U.S. Senate.

Most public opinion polls on the crowded Democratic side of the race show Pappas in second place behind state Comptroller Dan Hynes, although anywhere from a third to half of voters are generally undecided.

A Greek American, Pappas could pull white ethnic voters from Hynes, lakefront liberals from state Sen. Barack Obama and women from all the candidates. The diverse crowd of about 250 supporters who cheered her announcement Sunday looked and sounded like members of a mini-United Nations, with snippets of Greek heard here and there.

An article regarding her announcement was also in the Daily Herald.

Windy City Media Group posted an article entitled, "GLBT Group Forms for Candidate Obama."

While Maria Pappas threw her baton into the U.S. Senate race this past weekend, the Democratic field is already full with GLBT-friendly candidates running for the post.

State Sen. Barak Obama last week announced the LGBT Committee in Support of Obama for Illinois.

About a dozen Obama backers turned out for a GLBT press conference, with dozens more lending their names in support of his race.

As a backer of gay-rights laws in the state, Obama said his support of GLBT rights and AIDS funding will translate to the U.S. Senate. He does back civil unions and domestic-partnership benefits for same-sex couples, and told those gathered that the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down of sodomy laws was “An important victory for justice.”  

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4

Maria, why did you have to complicate things? Yes, Maria Pappas made the very expected move of joining the race, making the list of Democrats seeking the open seat nine. It is interesting to note the difference between the candidates in each party. On the Republican side you have only one candidate who currently holds office, however the Democrats now have Dan Hynes who holds state wide office as Comptroller, Barack Obama who is a State Senator, Maria Pappas as Cook County Treasurer, Gery Chico as former President of the Chicago Public Schools and Chief of Staff to Daley, and Matt O'Shea a mayor, albeit a Republican one. Obviously, the Democrats looking at Illinois voting tendencies in the past are hoping for an easy win in the general.

Read about Pappas' announcement here, interesting bit of information, www.mariapappas.com is registered to Maria Pappas for US Senate and the domain record was altered on Oct 17th. However, the technical contact is set to a company called DesignTek One a Chicago based company, which surprisingly enough is the same company that was hired to do the website for the Cook County treasurer. They even have a case study here.

We were not the only ones surprised by Chico's strong fundraising numbers. Trib columnist Eric Zorn put Chico and State Sen. Rauschenberger in his winner column last week:

Sen. Steve Rauschenberger (R. Elgin), whose U.S. Senate primary campaign was boosted by the endorsement of hard-shell conservative candidate John Cox when Cox withdrew, and by growing organizational support within the GOP. Democratic Senate hopeful Gery Chico, who has shown surprising fund-raising strength.


If you have not heard, George Will ran a piece pumping up Republican candidate Jack Ryan. It should help Jack from a fundraising perspective by giving him a 400 paper national audience, choice excerpts:  

Amid the cold world's uncertainties, there is the comfort of having one incontrovertible axiom: If something seems too good to be true, it isn't true. Something, or someone.

Then along comes Jack Ryan.

Ryan has a 3-1 lead over his nearest rival in polling of Republicans likely to vote in the March 16 primary. But in the general election he probably will learn the futility -- with few exceptions -- of asking African Americans to vote for any Republican, regardless of his views or record, and he probably will lose in this increasingly Democratic state.

And recently on WLS radio Don Wade and Roma raved over the Oberweis eggnog, its seems Oberweis Dairy is organizing a fundraiser in conjunction with Children's Memorial Hospital.  While I am sure that has nothing to do with the Senate campaign, it has got to be great for PR and name recognition.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27

Jack Ryan released his internal polling numbers which showed he had double digit leads over his opponents. The results were Jack with 35%, Jim Oberweis received 11%, Steve Rauschenberger received 3%, John Borling received 2%, Andrew McKenna received 2%, followed by Jonathan Wright at 1%, and then Chirinjeev Kathuria, who came in at less than one percent.

As a lead up to the poll, Jack had released a massive barrage of TV and Radio ads, combined with mailers. While some campaigns wrote off the numbers completely others took a different approach, Rauschenberger released a statement:

We are the non-millionaire underdogs in this race--we can't purchase this Senate seat, we will have to earn it. With Mr. Ryan' s millions, he can purchase name identification early in the race, but he can never purchase legislative experience or the priceless network of locally elected, locally respected Republican legislators who have endorsed us. It's early--the only poll that matters is on March 16, 2004.

While Borling's Manager Rod McCulloch was somewhat more skeptical:

Where did they make the calls, New Trier Township? These numbers are as meaningless as they are illusory . . . It should come as no surprise that Mr. Ryan would have the most name recognition at this point. Even without the slick television ads and empty mailers, the name 'Ryan' is the most famous last name in Illinois politics.

On the endorsement front, Hynes picked up the endorsement of the state's "leading openly gay, progressive, elected officials - State Representative Larry McKeon and Alderman Tom Tunney." Rauschenberger picked up the endorsement of former contender and RTA Board chairman Tom McCracken. And Nancy Skinner got the endorsement of Derrick Mosley and his Chicago based organization, "Bringing About Reform." The press release included this statement from Mosley:

Most people assume that Barrack Obama would be the natural choice among African American voters for the U.S. Senate seat merely because of his skin color. And, some might suggest that Blair Hull would be the odds on favorite considering that he has blatantly exploited African Americans by literally trying to buy their votes. As an African American, I find such exploits to be quite offensive. If you’ve heard Hull speak on issues, you don’t have to be a Rocket Scientist to know that he doesn’t have a clue . . . As an observer of the Forum [NAACP Senate Forum], I was simply blown away by Nancy Skinner. I was immediately drawn to her ability to handle the questions and offer responses that showed her wide range of knowledge. It was also clear to me that Nancy possessed a deep conviction for what she believed. Out of all of the candidates; Nancy was clearly the shining star. In fact, as far as I am concerned, they paled by comparison.

Nancy also reported $50,004 in contributions, coming nowhere near the major hitters, but close to rivaling Oberweis receipts of $68,034. Oberweis got a slow start, but has recently hired additional people to help with the fundraising. Blair Hull loaned himself another $2 million in the third quarter, and I am sure we were all dying to know, rental costs for the "Hull on Wheels" were $37,715 for the quarter. Hull on the Democratic side and Ryan with the Republican have triggered the Millionaires amendment for both parties, allowing donors to give up to $12,000 for the primary.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18

IL Senate has released the Republican Candidate Issue Questionnaire.  The 22 page document poses a list of questions to each candidate on issues including NAFTA, abortion, the environment, and affirmative action.  To access this and other downloads on the site, click here to signup for free membership.

"My Account" is no longer under construction!  Check in regularly for even more content on the Senate race.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17

In what may be the most bizarre story of the race thus far, we found out that Ryan's actor ex-wife was in a movie!  The Daily Herald reported that the movie "featured", "rape, nudity, implied three-way sex and a woman killing a pet pig with an ax . . . it also features the character of an adult man toting a baby bottle, dressed in nothing but a diaper."  The story contained this quote:

The leader of one of the state's largest conservative groups, the Family Taxpayers Network, said the movie "gives him pause" as his group tries to figure out which candidate to endorse next March.

"This is a reprehensible thing if he had any knowledge or participation in this thing," said Jack Roeser, the Carpentersville businessman who founded the group. "There may be a perfectly valid excuse, but he's got some explaining to do, and it's got to be strong."

Conservative news outlet Illinois Leader headline blared "Daily Herald lifts curtain on Ryan's Hollywood ex-wife" which included this quote:

Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Glen Ellyn-based Illinois Family Institute, told the Daily Herald, "This is a spousal nightmare . . . He had a Hollywood wife. And we all know where Hollywood is today."

So its looking bad for Jack! ?  Well, Jack releases a press release with the following:

Everyone knows that my ex-wife is an actress and has been involved in the movie industry.

RAJ Productions was a self-incorporation tool created by Jeri Lynn for tax purposes and was not a movie production company, and to my knowledge has never produced a movie. It was hers during the marriage and remains hers to this day.

Let me be clear in saying that I had nothing to do with the movie's script or my ex-wife's role, and I do not condone the content of this movie.

This is a weak attempt to drag our campaign through the mud, and we will remain focused on our themes of improving education, cutting taxes, and continuing the war on terrorism.

Later in the day the Illinois Leader puts out a follow-up story with the following quotes:

After receiving the widely disseminated notice to conservative leaders from Jack Ryan, Roeser said, "I am completely satisfied with the Ryan camp's explanation about the charges."

When asked if he had decided who he was going to support in the U.S. Senate race, Roeser said, "We haven't made a decision here at FTN yet, we're keeping our powder dry, but I can tell you that Jack Ryan is in the running for our endorsement."

Kathy Valente, state director of Concerned Women for America, was one of the attendees at the meeting.

"CWA doesn't endorse, but we met with Ryan to hear his views on issues of importance to us," Valente, who is a national leader in fighting pornography, said today. "Do these accusations make me think less of him? I think Jack is responsible for his own actions, and his ex-wife is responsible for hers."

"The ones who suffer most when things like this become headline news are the innocent children. This is very unfortunate for their son," Valente said.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16

Gery Chico has responded to criticisms made in the Sun-Times that his management led to the downfall of Altheimer & Gray.  It includes numerous reports from papers on Chico's responsibility:

“At City Hall, Chico is still regarded as the most effective and productive chief of staff of Daley’s 14-year administration. Chico was responsive in his dealings with elected officials, knew how to cut through the bureaucracy, and wasn’t timid about disagreeing with the mayor.” Chicago Sun-Times, 5/21/03

While Chico has been struggling in the polls he still managed to raise a respectable $576,000 in the third quarter bringing their total fundraising number to $2.8 milion.  Dan Hynes led the pack in fundraising this quarter raising $921,000 in the third quarter with $2.77 million total.

Dr. Kathuria also responded in a press conference to the harsh accusations made by the Tribune recently.  This was in conjunction with the $100 million dollar defamation lawsuit filed against the Trib.

While some candidates have been doing damage control others have been releasing "plans."  Dan Hynes released a ten page jobs plan (download in Word format), and Blair Hull released his health care plan.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14

The Republican field seemed to shrink to seven over the past couple of days.  However, three other candidates have or are trying to join the Republican primary.  Ezra Neal Finkleman who says he was the Lieutenant Governor from June 30th, 1998 to January 11th 1999 is seeking the nomination.  His credentials include being a contender for Vice President in 2000, and being appointed Warren Township Committeeman for the Lakehurst Precinct.  He dismissed the current batch of candidates by saying the Republicans were, "renegades or mavericks" and the Democrats he characterized by saying, "the best of them, are a degenerate brand of Communists."

R.J. Reynolds graduated from Loyola as a theater major, where he played the role of Curly in Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"  He states that his philosophy is encapsulated in Charleston Heston's book, "To be a Man: Letter to my Grandson."  His filing can be viewed on the FEC website.

Last, but not least Andy Martin released a press release today, saying, "Martin is studying whether to announce for the Republican Party nomination for the U.S. Senate from Illinois."  It went on to quote him on the issue of the Middle East, "If anyone doubts the damage Sharon has done to Israel, I can only paraphrase President John F. Kennedy: Let them come to Jerusalem. They can see the disaster Sharon has created for Israelis. . .I continue to support much of the good work of the Christian Coalition. I have given them money. But on the issue of Middle East peace, Jesus would shudder at their blasphemy."

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13

The Tribune wrote an piece entitled, "Senate candidate too good to be true" in which they slam Republican candidate Dr. Kathuria.  The Kathuria campaign has in turned signaled their intent to file a $100 million dollar lawsuit against the Tribune.  Download press release.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9

Scott Fornek published a piece on the departure of John Cox from the Senate race:

"John is concerned that if you've got a bunch of conservatives fighting it out for one vote, the problem is that maybe a more moderate candidate who doesn't have the same views as Steve and John would emerge from the primary," said Nicholas Tyszka , Cox's campaign manager.

This quote brings up the inevitable question of which "moderate" candidate Cox saw as a threat.

Antonio Davis-Fairman stated the following in an announcement that he was dropping out of the race for US Senate:

After visiting D.C. a couple of weeks ago it became even more clear to me after counsel that it would be more effective for me at this moment in time to no longer seek the 2004 U.S. Senate Seat for the good of the Republican Party.

After the counsel I have received and congressional support, requesting me to run for Congress in District 7 against incumbent Danny Davis . I will strongly consider this and let you know within weeks. We can put a Republican in District 7. If we think different as Republicans we can capture the opportunity share of the next wave of voters. They are waiting on us.
 

Full comments can be read here also Illinois Leader published an article.

Although last nights straw poll at the 42nd Ward event showed Oberweis trouncing State Sen. Rauschenberger, WLS radio host Eileen Byrne, who moderated the event, said on her show this morning that she felt Rauschenberger had won the debate, and noted his vocal opposition to O'Hare expansion.  A number of the candidates attacked "King Richy" and Oberweis said a public stoning should have followed the mayors destruction of Meigs Field.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8

The Illinois Leader is reporting that John Cox will drop out of the race tomorrow and endorse State Sen. Rauschenberger.  This could dramatically change the race by consolidating support behind Rauschenberger.  In the latest Fox poll Cox was pulling 7% which in this fragmented race could easily tip the balance from one candidate to another.

The 42nd Ward Republican Organization hosted a Senate candidate forum at the Plaza Club tonight.  In a surprise move Jack Ryan did not show up, but instead went to the Milton Township Republican Central Committee meeting, which will be holding an important straw poll this Friday.  Ryan staff said they had only agreed to attend if the event was free, when they found there was a cover charge, they backed out of the event.  Antonio Davis-Fairman made an announcement that he will drop out of the Senate race, and has been asked by D.C. backers to challenge Danny Davis in the 7th District.  Straw poll results announced at the end of the meeting showed the following:

Oberweis 24%
Borling 23%
McKenna 22%
Rauschenberger 14%
Kathuria 12%

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 7

Jim Oberweis has launched a redesign of his website.  The content does not seem dramatically different, and the "latest" news is still over three weeks old.  John Cox also has difficulty keeping his website updated, he still lists Bill Hogan on the site.  Hogan has recently joined the Rauschenberger campaign.

Jack Ryan's new ad caught the attention of the newly launched Wall Street Journal Political Diary, a paid subscription service:

The Wall Street Journal has become a prop in a new political ad for an Illinois U.S. Senate candidate. Jack Ryan, a former investment banker, is touting his financial expertise in the crowded GOP primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Peter Fitzgerald.

The ad shows Mr. Ryan stepping out of his car in a suit, clutching a briefcase and a copy of The Wall Street Journal. As he walks into an office building, an announcer mentions his Harvard business and law degrees and then concludes: "Ryan quit to go back to high school and teach in Chicago's inner city." The ad closes with him inside the office building talking with a group of students in a classroom.

The ad is a bit of a departure for its creator, Bill Hillman, who is best known for his "action hero" commercials that helped propel independent Jesse Ventura to victory in the 1998 Minnesota governor's race.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 6

A report on the NAACP Senate debate has been filed.  More information and pictures to come.

Ouch! Gery Chico was slammed by a hard hitting Sun-Times article entitled, "A former high ranking partner."  It was done by their legal affairs reporter, and included quotes like this:

"The firm ended up where it was because of a combination of mismanagement and malfeasance, a lack of character and team effort," one former partner said. "There was a self-serving club of leadership at the top."

"Chico pretty much abandoned his post," said another. "He was supposed to be chairman of the firm. He stopped. His department fell apart. His business went way down."

We are waiting to hear if Chico's campaign will issue any response.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5

Despite some controversy, the NAACP Senate forum went on as scheduled, all of the invited candidates appeared other than Steven Rauschenberger.  The Sun-Times published a brief overview of the event.  A full report will be available tomorrow.

Davis-Fairman announced he was invited to the State Arrival Ceremony of Mwai Kibaki, President of the Republic of Kenya and Mrs. Lucy Kibaki.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2

Jack Ryan started a new ad campaign today, which will include two big buys during Friday and Saturday's Cubs games.  It is available on his website, http://www.jackryan2004.com. Gery Chico also released three new ads, including ones targeting healthcare and jobs.  They will be running in Chicago and downstate, the ads were created by Adelstein & Associates and are available to view at http://www.gerychicoforsenate.com.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1

A number of candidates are not happy that the NAACP has changed the standard for being accepted into the debate this Saturday.  African-American Democratic candidate Estella Johnson Hunt said:

Just as the presidential forums have invited all of the party candidates to participate, that's how the upcoming NAACP Senate forum should have been. It is unfortunate that those of us who polled in the lower rung weren't included. . . their participation formula used reminds me of auto businesses who offer 0% down and 1% interest to well-to-do buyers with perfect credit but charge the needy person who has experienced financial hardship a hefty down payment plus 30% interest.

The Rauschenberger campaign has threatened to boycott the event:

The NAACP is sponsoring a live television debate this Saturday, October 4th, for some of the candidates for United States Senate. State Senator Steve Rauschenberger was invited to attend; Republican Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria (www.kathuriaforsenate.com), an Indian-American, and Republican Antonio Davis-Fairman (www.antoniotd2004.com), an African-American, were excluded.

The NAACP excluded these candidates based upon an alleged “lack of voter interest” in their candidacies. The NAACP formulated this erroneous conclusion based upon a vague poll that showed all Republican candidates garnering between 1% and 10%. This poll also had a +-5% error rate and showed 50% of the voters were undecided. At the press conference, Steve Rauschenberger will ask the NAACP to include these candidates in the debate, or he will boycott the debate and call on other Republican Senate Candidates to do the same.

Rauschenberger is holding a joint press conference with Kathuria tomorrow (October 2nd) in Chicago.

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1

Polls, polls, and more polls.  The NAACP poll results are a little difficult to digest.  For example, six other polls taken in recent months show Dan Hynes polling between 19 - 26 percent.  The NAACP poll shows him at 10 percent.  Also, the NAACP poll had the smallest sample of any of the previous polls.  Click here for our full roundup of recent polls.

The NAACP Senate Forum this Saturday has now been expanded to twelve candidates.  According to the NAACP (emphasis added):

The selection criteria regarding the independent Fox News Chicago poll extended invitations to candidates based on those polling in the top five within their party.  However based on the actual poll results in relation to the poll's margin of error (+/- 4.8%), five Democrats and six Republicans "received statistically-significant trial heat support . . . or polled higher than the margin or error," according to the pollster.  Therefore, in order to preserve the goal of the forum, and to present the candidates and the public with a fair, balanced program, NAACP Illinois State Conference extended invitations to the sixth Republican candidate AND in order to provide both parties with equal time, extended an invitation to the sixth Democrat.

So now twelve candidates have been accepted the invitations:

Democrats Republicans
Gery Chico John Borling
Blair Hull John Cox
Dan Hynes Andrew McKenna
Barack Obama James Oberweis
Nancy Skinner Steven Rauschenberger
Joyce Washington Jack Ryan

Originally the top five candidates were supposed to be invited.  However, because almost everyone was statistically tied, the standard has been changed to anyone who received, "statistically-significant trial heat support… or polled higher than the margin of error.”

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 27

The full results of the Fox News Poll:

2004 Democratic Senatorial Candidates

Dan Hynes 10%
Blair Hull 9%
Barack Obama 8%
Gery Chico 7%
Joyce Washington 5%
Nancy Skinner 3%
Matthew O'Shea 2%
Vic Roberts 2%
John Simmons 2%
Estella Johnson-Hunt 1%
Undecided/ Refused 51%

2004 Republican Senatorial Candidates

Jack Ryan 10%
James Oberweis 9%
John Borling 8%
John Cox 7%
Andrew McKenna 6%
Steven Rauschenberger 5%
Johnathan Wright 2%
Antonio Davis-Fairman 2%
C.S. Kathuria 1%
Undecided/ Refused 49%

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 26

The NAACP will be hosting a Senate forum on October 4th. (more details)  FOX News commissioned a poll to determine the top five candidates in each party who will then be invited to the forum.  The Sun-Times reported the results today.  The big news was that 45 percent of voters overall, and 50 percent of Democrats, are undecided.  The numbers themselves were fairly confusing.  For example on the Democratic side the vote totals were 50% undecided, 10% Hynes, 9% Hull, 8% Obama, 7% Chico, and 5% Washington.   The poll has an error margin of 4.8 percentage points.  This makes the poll fairly useless, considering every single candidate is in a statistical dead heat.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

Antonio Davis Fairman will be attending an event in Washington today honoring the African American officials in the Bush administration. (read more)

The campaigns continue to ring the bells trying to raise as much cash as possible before September 30th.  Obama in a recent fundraising appeal quotes a write-up in Crain's:

When state Sen. Barack Obama got into the U.S. Senate race, there was no doubt he had the makings of a formidable Democratic candidate -- intelligent, articulate, progressive -- with the potential for a strong base of support among African-American voters in the Chicago area. The biggest question was whether he could raise enough money to mount the kind of statewide organizing battle and Chicago-area advertising campaign he'll need to win against several well-funded, better-known candidates… But in terms of expectations, Sen. Obama's surprisingly strong showing in the second-quarter campaign finance reports has forced political observers to adjust their handicapping of the race, as long as he can keep it up." (Paul Merrion, Crain’s Chicago Business, September 15, 2003)

Then he makes this plea:

More than any other candidate, we are relying on grassroots support to raise the money necessary to compete. Your donation of $50, $125, $250 or whatever you can spare is the sure antidote to the millionaire politicians. Your donation will give me the chance to fight against a national Republican agenda that has driven us into an $87 billion quagmire abroad, record deficits at home, a loss of three million jobs, and a loss of faith in the future.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

All of the candidates are desperately trying to raise cash before the September 30th FEC filing deadline.  One astute observer spotted an interesting anomaly in the Nancy Skinner campaign.  On August 10, almost a month and a half ago, Nancy Skinner told radio host Mike Malloy:

Malloy: Fundraising, how's it going?
Skinner: Well, great we have only been at this for two weeks, so far we have after one week accomplished the goal of having contributions from all 50 states, some of them are $10, and that's ok, that is how Howard Dean is doing it . . .

However as of an email report today she says, "I especially want to send out my press release that we have raised money from all 50 states. Do you know anyone who lives in the following states? North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, West Virginia, South Carolina, Delaware, Washington DC, and Rhode Island"  

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

Jack Ryan's campaign is picking up.  Yesterday, the campaign started an ad campaign which will run for an indefinite period of time on both broadcast television stations and cable television channels in the Champaign-Springfield, Peoria, and Rockford markets (press release).  Ryan is also holding a fundraiser with  former Secretary of Education William Bennett, next Wednesday, September 24, 2003.  This morning he and John Cox stumped in Palatine with TOPPER (Township of Palatine Principled and Energized Republicans). (read more)

Andy McKenna sent out a fundraising letter this week, mentioning Hillary Clinton no less than three times, and closed with this P.S:

The liberal national Democrats have set their sights on Illinois as a top target for their campaign to regain control of the federal government.  They want to put our Senate seat in the Democrat column, give Senators Tom Daschle and Hillary Clinton control of the Senate, and deal a blow to President Bush by carrying Illinois.

The attached full-color brochure heralds McKenna as, "The Jobs Senator."  It also states that McKenna would push for a federal Education Tax Credit, "to help parents defray the costs of educating their children, whether in public schools, independent schools, or home schools."

Blair Hull has announced he is the only candidate to have a "Blog."  They even have a syndication feed so you can add it to your own site! http://www.blairblog.com/

Wow!  I am sure there were some smiles at Rauschenberger headquarters when Steve Neal wrote a piece entitled, "Rauschenberger has the experience, backing."  It rendered some pretty high acclaim:

He's a cut above the GOP pack. . .He's won tough elections, has a statewide political network, and is an original thinker. None of his intraparty rivals has held public office. Rauschenberger has been tested in two hard-fought primaries and three competitive general elections. He's undefeated at the polls . . . With solid backing from GOP conservative and moderate legislators, Rauschenberger has a very good chance to win his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14

Dan Hynes has formally announced, he launched a new site at http://www.danhynes.com.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 10

Dan Hynes has announced he will announce his candidacy this weekend.  The campaign kicks off Sunday, September 14th, at the IBEW Local 134 Hall, 600 W. Washington St. in Chicago at 1:00 p.m

Rauschenberger seems to be gaining momentum in his exploratory bid.  He recently picked up the endorsement of  fellow Sen. Brad Burzynski, and Rockford area State Sen. Dave Syverson, who is also Treasurer of the Illinois Republican Party.

Antonio Davis Fairman, has launched his website including a tribute to September 11th entitled "For God and Country."

Finally, posted the photo album from the Illinois State Fair.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Do the Rauschenberger?  Its the new chart topper.  I can't explain it, listen here.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

Plaza Club in Chicago will hold a "Meet the Candidates" event of September 11th.  It will be the inaugural meeting of the Annual Focus on America Symposium.  More details available on their website.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 1

John Borling will officially announce his candidacy for the US Senate seat in Illinois tomorrow bringing the number of declared GOP candidates to seven.  He will kick off a two-day, ten city tour at his home, 1979 Harlem Blvd in Rockford at 9:00 am Tuesday morning.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 26

Three new polls have been released lately.  The Republican side presents a very mixed message.  Illinois Leader reports on a straw poll from 58 county chairman who met together at the state fair to strategize the upcoming elections.  Jack Ryan pulled 22 votes (38%), twice as many as his closest competitor, James Oberweis who had 11.  John Cox and Steve Rauschenberger received 9 votes each (full article).

On the other hand, a WBBM/CBS-2 released results of an August 9 - 12 survey which has Oberweis leading the race with 22% and Jack Ryan in a statistical dead heat with 16%.  This was a telephone survey, which generally has higher margins of error.  However, the gap between voters and country chairman is still significant even when sampling errors are taken into account.  Many speculate that the name recognition from the dairy and his previous primary run will give Oberweis a head start.  It remains to be seen whether Oberweis can continue to stay in front.

Democratic contender Barack Obama released a poll by the Boulder, Colo., firm of Harstad Strategic Research that shows him in a very favorable position.  The poll shows that among the voters having a preference, state Comptroller Dan Hynes led with 21 percent, Obama and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas (who has not yet announced) tied at 14 percent, Blair Hull carried 6 percent, and Gery Chico had 3 percent.  The most interesting point was made by Sun-Times columnist Steve Neal:

What gives Obama hope is that he is the clear favorite of informed voters.

Among Democrats familiar with the three leading contenders, Obama is favored by 39 percent, followed by Hynes with 21 percent, and 13 percent for Pappas.

Obama also has the most intense support of the Democratic contenders. Among voters familiar with him, Obama enjoys a favorable rating of 10-1. Hynes and Pappas scored favorable ratings of about 5-1.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 22

Interesting Tidbit from www.aljazeerah.info:

Arab American Mohammed "Mo" Elleithee has been appointed to the post of National Press Secretary for Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bob Graham of Florida. Elleithee, the son of native Egyptians, was, until being hired onto the Graham campaign, managing the campaign of Blair Hull, a Democrat who is running for the United States Senate in Illinois.

Hampton Roads Daily Press:

Graham is after those NASCAR dads as much as the soccer moms. The Florida senator has sponsored a NASCAR truck driven by Jon Wood, a member of Virginia's venerable Wood Brothers racing team. Graham also appeared at a bluegrass concert with legendary singer Ralph Stanley.

His new spokesman is not complaining. "It's good stuff," Elleithee said. "It's worked before."

Elleithee had been working for Blair Hull, a U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois. But he said he couldn't pass up the chance to work for Graham. He describes his new boss as an "incredibly nice guy."

TUESDAY, AUGUST 19

Web Site updates.  Steven Rauschenberger has a new website http://www.steve2004.com/ or http://www.thatguywithareallylongname.com.  Nancy Skinner also has a new site which actually works, http://www.skinnerforsenate.com, very pink.  Antonio Davis-Fairman has posted a site at http://www.antoniotd2004.com, albeit quite sparse at this point. 

Finally, when will the Oberweis website discover its candidate is running?  The latest news is an announcement over one month old stating, "Jim Oberweis will make an annoucement regarding the Republican U.S. Senate Campaign, Thursday July 17, 2004." Yes, annoucement is still spelled incorrectly.

Update! Rauschenberger has gotten into the internet advertising game.  Typing "illinois senate" into Google will return a paid listing that ranks above Blair Hull's!

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8

Two updates on Blair Hull.  Sun-Times reports that Hull has had trouble voting:

"Hull, a liberal Democrat, reportedly did not find the time to vote in the 2000 presidential election battle between George Bush and Al Gore, according to city election records . . . he had passed up seven opportunities to vote for Mayor Daley since 1989."

Hull has also started to advertise on Google and Yahoo.  Type in "illinois senate" or even the generic "senate candidate" and up comes a sponsored listing from Blair Hull.

MONDAY, AUGUST 4

Everyone is talking about Meetup.com, it's the place where people can gather together and discuss just about anything.  It has been popularized by presidential candidate Howard Dean, and seems to have gathered support especially among Democrats.  Almost all of the candidates in the US Senate race have set up portals for themselves on the site.  On the Democratic side, Barack Obama has used it the most, promoting it on his website.  His efforts show with 238 members, nothing groundbreaking, but significantly more than Dan Hynes with 10, or Blair Hull with 56.  The Republicans do not seem to be using it at all.  Each Republican had between 0 and 1 supporters, except for Andy McKenna who has 6.  All of these figures are as of today.  You can see the stats here.  Scott Fornek at the Sun-Times also wrote an article on the topic.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 1

Interesting news from the Trib today:

Blair Hull, the multi-millionaire investor seeking the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, gave Daley's campaign $28,250. A Republican candidate for the same Senate seat, businessman Andrew McKenna Jr., was reported as giving Daley a $1,000 donation in February.

The Hill gave Obama a nice writeup:

The growing consensus among many Democrats and Republicans in Illinois and Washington is that Obama will pick up as much as 80 to 90 percent of the black vote and stands to win large pockets of liberal support in the Chicago area, Champaign and the Quad Cities. . .Republicans seem to like the idea that Obama is a sleeper candidate who could emerge from the shadows early next year and beat Hull, who is expected to spend his fortune attacking Hynes, and Hynes, who will likely devote his resources to fending off Hull.

THURSDAY, JULY 31

Update! Antonio Davis-Fairman will enter the US Senate Race on the Republican side (news).  More information to follow. 

A partial transcript of the IVI-IPO Forum has been posted, and we have transcribed the CBS 2 Interview with Barack Obama (news).

MONDAY, JULY 28

Excerpts from the IVI-IPO forum have been posted on the WBEZ website (RealAudio).  CBS 2 has posted an interview with State Sen. Barack Obama (Windows Media).

THURSDAY, JULY 24

New article on Gery Chico posted, also check the All Links page.  This will list each news story along with a cached copy, including articles pertaining to the race in general, not just specific candidates.  Try the new Issues Matchup feature.

TUESDAY, JULY 15

First pictures of the Senate Forum have been posted.  We will be covering more candidate events in the near future.  If you are sponsoring an event, let us know.

MONDAY, JULY 14

Senate Forum went well.  The two perceived frontrunners, Dan Hynes and Jack Ryan where no-shows.  Six Democrats and three Republicans did come.  Full report with pictures, tomorrow.

FRIDAY, JULY 11

Important Event Notice! IVI-IPO is holding a U.S. Senate Candidates forum and awards program this Sunday in Chicago.  For more information click here, or call (312) 939-5105.  Chicago radio station WBEZ will tape the forum for later broadcast.

Jack Ryan finally has a website up, albeit with sparse information, and mostly "coming soon" notices.

THURSDAY, JULY 10

First dropout of the race.  John Simmons the millionaire downstater has dropped out of the race, throwing his support toward Dan Hynes. Read More...

MONDAY, JUNE 23

ILSenate.com goes live!  We have added a discussion forum, full site search, as well as more information and links.  Let us know how we are doing, and what we could do better through our feedback page.

FRIDAY, JUNE 20

With incumbent Peter Fitzgerald bowing out of the US Senate Race for Illinois both the Democratic and Republican primaries are wide open.  This will be an interesting race with massive amounts of money spent on each side.  At current count there are at least eight millionaire/billionaire contenders, as well as entrenched politicians with strong backing.  This race will be a determining factor in many issues:

  1. The strength of the Republican Party in Illinois
    The Illinois GOP was dealt a stifling blow in the last election when it lost the Governor's position and every statewide position but Treasurer, which is held by the embattled Judy Topinka.

  2. Control of the Senate
    Currently the Republicans hold a one seat majority in the Senate, losing this seat (assuming no other seats are picked up) will return the Senate to a 50-50 split.  From previous experience this will further slow down the legislative process and further impede the President Bush's agenda.

Illinois Senate Race News
Jack Ryan - Family
Polling Overview
Obama on Tap
State Fair - Democrat
State Fair - Republican
Gery Chico Fundraiser
Senate Forum 7/13
 

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Republican Roundup
Issues Matchup

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Leader Election Watch
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Eric Zorn
Politics 1
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-2877 Days to November 2nd Election


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