Sunday, May 08, 2005

The 8th and 10th Cong. Dist. races: better than the Derby.

Fact: Dave McSweeney, 8th Cong. Dist., Republican Primary candidate [Barrington Hills], keeps marching along, with his campaign team taking shape. McSweeney has now left his investment banking position at BankAmerica Securities to campaign full time [the early bird gets the worm?]. This is the second primary in the 8th Cong. Dist. for McSweeney, as he took on Cong. Crane in ’98, losing by a 2 to 1 margin. Phil Crane, of course, was a stronger candidate in ’98 than when he lost to Democratic Congresswoman Melissa Bean [Barrington] in 2004 [52 % to 48 %], with Phil telling his constituents he was on his way to becoming Ways and Means Chairman—well, not quite Dr. Phil.

Fact: Jim Thacker has been McSweeney’s informal campaign manager for a while, but now that arrangement is formal. Thacker ran Shawn Donnelly’s Republican Primary effort in the 2000 Cong. Dist. race—with Donnelly placing 2nd in a 10 candidate primary to now Congressman Mark Steven Kirk [10th Cong. Dist., Highland Park]. Thus, perhaps somewhat significantly, here, Kirk is no stranger to Thacker [See, below]. Laura Andersen is now fund raising for McSweeney, who should be no slouch when it comes to wealthy business contacts. Neither is Cong. Kirk. How does that relate to this race? See, below.

Fact: Watch for McSweeney to announce, soon, if he hasn’t by the time you read this, his General Campaign Chairman and Finance Committee Chairman. McSweeney will formally announce his campaign launch this summer.

Rumor: Al Salvi, former State. Rep., 1996 R candidate for U. S. Senate, 1998 R candidate for SOS [having beat State Rep. Churchill in a tough primary, see below] and a current law firm partner of Sen. Peter Roskam [R- Wheaton], who is an exploratory 6th Cong. Dist. candidate] is likely to jump into the 8th Cong. Dist. Primary this summer. Some less reliable rumors have his wife, Kathy Salvi, also in contention.

Fact: State Rep. Mark Beaubien [Wauconda] has said he will decide what to do about the 8th CD race after the legislative session concludes. Although, a lengthy overtime could mean that he would decide before the end of session. It might be a tough decision, as he knows the state budget/spending/tax stuff quite well, is very involved in it, enjoys it and, of course, would have to give up his State Rep. seat to run.

Predictions: State Rep. Beaubien surprises many and jumps into the 8th CD, most likely with the implicit, if not explicit, support of Cong. Mark Kirk (R- 10th Cong. Dist., Highland Park). If it’s Beaubien [a moderate] and three or more credible conservative candidates [For example, McSweeney, Churchill and Salvi], it is thought Beaubien has a good chance to walk away with the gold in the primary and perhaps the gold in the general—especially if the grass roots conservatives don’t sulk and get behind moderate Beaubien. But, that could be a very big “if.”

Fact: State Rep. Bob Churchill [Grayslake, 62nd Dist.] is also going to announce his decision about the 8th CD race after the legislative session concludes and he mulls the decision over some, by July/August. Churchill was in the State House from 1983-99 and also from 2003 to the present, with several re-districtings during that period meaning that he has represented, at one time or another, about 40 % of the 8th Cong. Dist. Rep. Churchill emphasized the latter point to me when we taped him last Sunday for “Public Affairs,” which will air in the suburbs this week.

Prediction: Churchill will announce, mid summer, he is running in the 8th Cong. Dist.

Rumor: Also mentioned as 8th Cong. Dist possibilities, but relatively unlikely ones at this moment, are Ken Arnold [former Warren Township Republican Chairman], Lake County Board member Bonnie Thomson Carter and wealthy furniture business owner Walter E. Smithe.

Rumor and Innuendo: Cong. Kirk. has been out beating the path to find what he views as “a suitable candidate, i.e., a moderate or liberal Republican candidate for the 8th Cong. Dist. race. It is rumored Kirk first focused on moderate State Senator Pam Althoff [McHenry], who indicated she was a possibility several months ago on my show. With Althoff now less likely to jump into the fray, Kirk is said to be recruiting Teresa Bartels, former owner of Manpower, Inc. and also known for her charitable/community/civic activities. For a somewhat similar, but independently sourced discussion, see the Illinois

Rumor and Innuendo: Cong. Kirk has also been said to be encouraging moderate state Rep. Beaubien to run. Obviously, Cong. Kirk wants only one moderate in the 8th CD race, but he is covering his bases until he finds someone to say “Yes.” In short, rumor has it that Cong. Kirk has several possibilities out there, with the theme apparently being that “moderation in the 8th Cong. Dist. Republican candidate is the primary virtue,” which seems to fit nicely with Kirk’s vision of how to re-build the Republican Party in Illinois—“It’s suburban moderates, stupid,” to paraphrase James Carville.

Rumor and Innuendo: And, coincidentally enough, all of this focus on “moderation,” in the 8th Cong. Dist. seems to buttress Kirk’s strength in the 10th, something of which State Senator and potential 10th Cong. Dist. wannabe Congresswoman Susan Garrett [D- Lake Forest, 29th Dist.] should be well aware.

Fact: State Senator Garrett, now a veteran, seven-year state legislator, told me on Monday, “I have a lot of people who are encouraging me to run. I have also heard from those who have cautioned me to ‘look before I leap.’” Those in the latter segment of advisers emphasized how difficult it would be for her in the 10th Cong. Dist., telling Garrett that it would be an uphill battle and also very expensive. For more about those who are trying to coax the personable, articulate, hard working Garrett into taking on Cong. Kirk, see last week’s Pioneer Press article on select New Trier Democratic Organization members’ “My Sunday afternoon with Susan,” not to be confused with "My night at Maud's."

Fact: State Senator Garrett told me on Monday, “This would be a very difficult campaign, requiring a major commitment,” on her part and she would want to make sure that, “There are people behind me, so that when I get knocked down, they’d help me get back up, again.”

Fact: Former State Rep. and 10th Cong. District Democratic Nominee Lauren Beth Gash, who lost to Cong. Kirk in 2000 by about 5500 votes, or less than two points, is chairing a Search Committee for a 10th Cong. Dist. candidate. Gash, a Democratic State Central Party committeewoman, founded and heads Tenth Contressional District Democrats, which could provide the skeletal infrastructure for a 2006 campaign in the 10th Cong. District. Gash and Garrett are quite close and have been for quite some time. Gash was also very important in Congresswoman Melissa Bean's win in the 8th Cong. Dist. in 2004.

Rumor: Clint Krislov, a class action lawyer who is at ease in a courtroom and in public speaking--and who has substantial funds for self-financing—is giving the race in the 10th some thought, as he did in 2004.

Analysis and Innuendo: In short, what happens in the 8th Cong. Dist. affects what happens in the 10th Cong. Dist. and vice-versa. Of course, Cong. Kirk knows that, Senator Garrett knows that and so do most of the people reading this. Indeed, as we used to say in economics, you often need to do a general equilibrium analysis [Walras], not a partial equilibrium analysis. More to follow on this interesting topic. As I keep telling all of you kids, Poly Sci 101 and Econ 101 really can be fun.

One more thing: Cong. Rahm Emanuel, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Chairman, announced this week some proposed ethics legislation-- only to find himself in the eye of the storm of Mayor Daley’s ethical and legal challenges relating to the alleged political activities being performed on taxpayer time by top officials in the Daley Administration. Those political activities allegedly included discussions relating to sending City “Volunteers”, aka political foot soldiers, over to help U. S. Congressional Candidate Rahm Emanuel presumably in his closely contested 2002 Democratic primary campaign with Nancy Kaszak [as discussed generally in the plea agreement [See pp. 12-13] between Gerald Wesolowski and the U. S. Attorney's Office [N.D., IL]; Wesolowski was the Director of Finance and Administration in the City of Chicago Water Department- Watergate?--and performed functions and tasks related to the Hired Truck Program]

Fact:And, interestingly enough, with all of this attention being showered on Garrett [for more than just the last week or two] as a 10th CD Candidate, as someone who could possibly make a very credible challenge to Cong. Kirk, the one person who hasn’t called Senator Garrett? Why, none other than Cong. and DCCC Rahm Emanuel, as I learned a few weeks ago and again earlier this week and as reported by Rich Miller in Capitolfax on Friday. Interesting, you say? You betchem, Red Rider. And you won’t read about this in the Journal of Political Economy. Stay tuned, more to follow.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at