Monday, February 23, 2004

Monday, February 23, 2004
Posted, 4:21 pm
Political buzz:

Congressman Ray Lahood (R- 18th Dist., Peoria) announced today at a City Club of Chicago lunch that he will officially endorse, this Friday, Andy McKenna, Jr. in the United States Senate Republican primary race. Does this indicate that Speaker Hastert may be close behind? Officially, LaHood said he "he had no idea," if the Speaker would endorse Andy McKenna, Jr."

However, when Jeff Berkowitz asked Cong. LaHood at the City Club of Chicago program if he disagreed with Andy McKenna, Jr.'s proposal to require the U. S. Government to purchase from U. S. Companies 65% of the total goods and services that it purchases-- Cong. LaHood said he might want to talk to McKenna about that but said that he liked Andy because "Andy has agreed and committed to working with Speaker Hastert and our delegation when he gets elected to the Senate-- we can pick up the phone and call the other side of the Rotunda and he will answer the phone and be responsive-- that is why I am supporting him. You know, we may not agree on every issue, I guess I would probably talk to him more about this [the trade issue], but I give him credit for talking about it."

The Chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee that Cong. LaHood sits on will be opening up in 2005 and Cong. LaHood will be next in line, based on seriority, for that position. Of course, the person to hold that position will be decided, essentially, by Speaker Hastert, assuming that Republicans maintain control of the House. Is LaHood running a little interference and doing a little foundation work for the Speaker by trying to give the McKenna campaign a much needed boost (8% in today's Tribune poll to Jack Ryan's 30% and Oberweis' 12%). Will the Speaker follow suit and try to throw the full weight of the establishment behind McKenna? McKenna's dad, remember, was Chairman of the Cubs and Sox Boards, and was on the Tribune Board. Of course, if the Speaker jumbs into this on McKenna's behalf, might Senator Fitzgerald then endorse another candidate-- in his continuing efforts to oppose the Republican Establishment? We discuss, you decide.

Watch tonight's Public Affairs in the City of Chicago, (8:30 pm, Ch. 21) with guest Andy McKenna, Jr. Andy leaves no doubt that he is someone who will be very responsive to President Bush and Speaker Hastert, should he win. This would be in sharp contrast to the current Junior Senator from Illinois, whose legacy will be his independence from the Establishment.

Andy also explains, tonight, his decision not to join State Sen. and U. S. Senate Candidate Steve Rauschenberger, in asking Illinois RNC member Bob Kjellander to give up his RNC position, in response to what some characterize as a reform movement, spreading, slowly, through-out the Illinois Republican Party.