Monday, May 16, 2005

Dillard backs Roskam for Hyde’s seat- Again

This afternoon, Senator and DuPage County Republican Chairman, Kirk Dillard, made it absolutely clear that he is with State Senator Peter Roskam, “when it comes to replacing the legend Henry Hyde.” In light of Senator Roskam’s report in March that he had received an endorsement from Sen. Dillard contingent on Cong. Hyde not seeking re-election and the report by the Chicago Sun Times ace political correspondent Scott Fornek of Dillard’s praise of Roskam in April [See, here], today’s endorsement [see, below] by Dillard of Roskam should come as no shock.

Nevertheless, with rumors that Cong. Biggert [R- Hinsdale, 13th CD] and Sen. Sullivan have wandered off Roskam’s reservation [See here], today’s comments by Dillard must have come as welcome relief to Senator Roskam and perhaps as a disappointment to Senator Pankau [R- Roselle] , who is stepping up her aggressiveness as the lone potential female candidate in the 6th CD Republican Primary.

The Democrats, BTW, have at least one female candidate in the 6th CD: Christine Cegelis [Rolling Meadows], who pulled more than 44% of the 6th CD vote against Cong. Hyde in 2004. Cegelis is running again in the 6th CD Democratic Primary and, so far, has opposition only from Peter O'Malley, but it is expected that additional candidates will pop up fairly soon. We had anticipated taping O'Malley this Sunday for our show, but he has decided to postpone his television debut at least for several months.

Christine Cegelis, on the other hand, appeared on our show during the last campaign, as well as in March of this year [See here], and we look forward to having her back.

When Senator Pankau was in Washington, DC, last week for a round of meetings set up by Republican political consultant Chris Dudley, she met with the usual suspects for a prospective Illinois Congressional candidate, including Speaker Hastert and she told me she was encouraged by their responses. Pankau also spoke with Sen. Dave Sullivan [R- Mount Prospect] and she reported to me that Sullivan indicated “he would do what he could” to help her in the Cook County portion of the 6th Cong. District. Is that statement inconsistent with Roskam’s report in March of an endorsement of Senator Roskam for the 6th CD, contingent on Cong. Hyde not seeking re-election? I’ll have to ask Senator Sullivan.

As to Biggert and Sullivan, stay tuned. I have been unable to reach Cong. Biggert for comment today- with Biggert flying out to DC and neither she nor her office responded to my request for comments on my questions about whether she has endorsed or is endorsing Roskam. Senator Sullivan did not return my call.
Jeff Berkowitz: …I was speaking with [Senator] Carol Pankau just before [this conversation with Senator Dillard at around 3:00 pm today] and she said she had spoken with you just before and you hadn’t issued a statement of endorsement [of Senator Peter Roskam for the 6th CD seat].

Sen. Dillard: Well, Senator Roskam, in his materials, paraphrases my comments as an endorsement and that’s fine. I am clearly with Peter Roskam when it comes to replacing the legend Henry Hyde…Senator Roskam is a veteran legislator. He is an excellent person to follow the legend Henry Hyde. He is well ahead in fund raising and has a volunteer base second to none of anyone that would run in that race. So, Senator Roskam is clearly the frontrunner, with the caveat that if there are multiple male candidates, Senator Pankau could easily become a frontrunner.

Jeff Berkowitz: Are you going to clear out the other male candidates?

Sen. Dillard: I would discourage, if I can, the two other males that I have read might be interested in the race because I believe Senator Roskam is a stronger candidate.

Jeff Berkowitz: Who are the other two males who are in the race?

Sen. Dillard: Former Recorder of Deeds Rick Carney, who is a moderate Republican—the downside to him is that he doesn’t have the legislative experience of Senator Roskam and then former state representative Tom Johnson who was just an outstanding legislator and he is just a great person, but Senator Roskam comes from Wheaton which is a stronger base to come from than West Chicago and Peter has a volunteer base and a tremendous fundraising headstart over Tom.

Jeff Berkowitz: What about Tom Marcucci?

Sen. Dillard: I have not heard that [Elmhurst] Mayor Marcucci is at all interested and I don’t believe he is interested [in the 6th CD race].

Jeff Berkowitz: And, what about Peter relative to Senator Pankau?

Sen. Dillard: In a head on head race between Senator Pankau and Senator Roskam, all by themselves, Senator Roskam would most likely win.

Jeff Berkowitz: Do you feel that Senator Roskam-- putting aside who would win-- is the better candidate between the two?

Sen. Dillard: Senator Roskam has a record of accomplishment as a legislator and he would be my personal favorite because he very much is like Henry Hyde [R- 6th Cong. Dist., Addison] and that district was drawn for Cong. Hyde’s profile in the year 2001.
State Senator and DuPage County Republican Chairman Kirk Dillard, interviewed on the telephone by Public Affairs host Jeff Berkowitz, May 16, 2005
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at