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


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A blue sea of campaign signs in support of senatorial candidates Dan Hynes and Barack Obama were the first things to greet the visitors making their way to the director’s lawn at the State Fair. Standing right behind them was a regiment of Chico supporters, who upon hearing of their candidates approaching arrival pushed their way to the front and cheered enthusiastically. Soon the air was filled with cheers of “CHICO IS THE MAN!!” and “CHI-CO, CHI-CO” not wiling to be outdone the Obama supporters chanted back “O-BAM-A, O-BAM-A!” There were also cheers of “DAN HYNES!” and for all the enthusiasm, it looked more like a Cubs - Sox game then Governors Day at the state fair.

Support for the candidates was diverse but there were discernible lines. Obama’s support was mostly middle aged and white. Chico’s support continued to be primarily Hispanic and from the city. While having supporters that were older and primarily from middle and southern Illinois, was Dan Hynes. Blair hull’s delegation arrived late, but made-up for it with a dramatic entrance. Mostly African American they marched down the street chanting “BLAIR-HULL! BLAIR-HULL!”

Attitude in Springfield at pre-fair parties

It is still fairly early in the race and many people stand undecided. The major issues on the Democratic side of this race are: Education, jobs, health care, and for some, flat out electablitiy. Many expressed this last view at Obama’s pre Governors Day kick off party. The same sentiment was also expressed down the hall at Hulls party. But, while many at Obama’s party were non committal and described themselves as just learning what the candidates stood for, the majority of people attending the Hull party fully endorsed him. They cited his union membership, his rags to riches story, and his perceived electablity. No less then six Democratic county committee men pledged their support to Hull and half of these were African American. Hull made his way through the room shaking hands, posing for pictures, receiving praise and endorsements and even some contributions.

Democrat day speeches and platforms

The big four (Chico, Hull, Hynes, and Obama) have similar platforms.  Hynes, who is expected to officially declare his candidacy shortly after Labor Day, spoke first and touched briefly on education, then focused on jobs saying “we need to renegotiate NAFTA!... Jobs jobs jobs! We need some one who will undo the damage that has been done by the Republicans! We need some one who can bring jobs to back Illinois! Not just some one who will spend $40 million to get elected.” ending his statement with a swipe at millionaire Blair Hull and the amount of money Hull pledged to spend on the campaign.

In his speech Chico emphasized education and jobs and stated that he is preparing to unveil a new jobs creation program which would focus on revitalizing the manufacturing sector. This would be in addition to his plan to create jobs through infrastructure upgrades. As the other candidates he harped on making new trade agreements saying “we need to create an international minimum wage and international standards for working condition.” Chico also asked for full federal funding for special education and to fund the federal “No Child Left Behind Program.” “We can’t but any more burdens like this on the states without funding them!” Chico closed by saying “Illinois deserves a second Democratic senator! Someone with vision and ideals who cares about and will help the people! Not just one who lists the problems, but someone who will do something about it! ”

Hulls speech was short and in it he justified his self funding campaign by saying “We will not be bought!” he continued on saying, “We won the state house, we took back the senate, we won the governors mansion and now we will win this race!”

Obama, rounded out the big four, saying that we need to do something to balance out what has been done by the Republicans in Washington “We need a Senator who will not only vote the right way, but one who will fight the right way!...The only reason to be involved in politics is to help!! … The Republicans aren’t helping! … And we aren’t doing anything about it! We just sort of die when we face them. Every time they take a foot we only take back an inch! And we call that a victory! ...we don’t need a Senator who will just vote the right way. We need a senator who will FIGHT the right way!”

The crowd seemed agreed with the sentiments presented by the candidates. “This is an important time, a lot of us are out here to see just who these people are and what they stand for….I haven’t decided who I am going to vote for, but now I know who the people are,” said Steve, a state worker.

Aside from the big four, Nancy Skinner, Joyce Washington, and Vic Roberts spoke, but most of the crowed left after Obama’s speech. And what was left dispersed shortly after Ms. Skinner began her talk.

Governor Rod Blagojevich stated in an interview, that although he has not made an endorsement at this time, he would not rule out the possibility in the future. “I have a lot of good friends in this race; we will just have to see how it all shakes out.”
 

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Polling Overview
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Copyright © 2003 Jeremiah Calvino ALL RIGHTS RESERVED