Monday, May 16, 2005

Roskam Roller Coaster Ride

Apparently, there has been some slippage in at least the public support for State Senator Peter Roskam’s [R- Wheaton] campaign for the 6th Cong. District Republican Primary nomination. Reliable sources reported to me that Cong. Biggert is not currently endorsing any candidate in the 6th Cong. District race, a race which State Senator Carol Pankau [R- Roselle] is giving serious thought to entering, as has been reported [See here].

The Roskam slippage and the Pankau explorations are of course not coincidental. Further, did Tom Roeser’s Sun Times column of last week awaken some old tensions and passions [See here], when he took some tough shots at Cong. Biggert, referring to her, for example, as “A poster child for bland country club Republicanism.” Although the column was quite complimentary to Roskam, it was not particularly helpful to him, as it did not exactly advance the good relationship that Roskam has cultivated with Cong. Biggert, notwithstanding their "long ago" differences.

As to Roeser's column on Cong. Biggert and the potential impact on his 6th CD race, Roskam has to be thinking at least a little bit of that old saying, “I can handle my enemies, but God help me with my friends.” Or maybe Roskam wishes that Roeser had remembered the line, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Is the erosion of Roskam’s support, for now, broader than Cong. Biggert?

I caught up with Roskam’s campaign manager, Ryan McLaughlin, and others, and it is hard to say how much further the erosion of support for Roskam goes. However, I can tell you my sources indicate that Roskam’s official announcement this morning at 10:00 am in Glen Ellyn that he will seek the 6th Cong. Dist. seat will be a major pep rally, with a good sized crowd, and a good chunk of press. Further, and it certainly may leak by the time you read this, there will be an announcement at this morning’s rally of a big time endorsement of Peter Roskam for the 6th CD. And not a contingent or uncertain one.

The Biggert endorsement snafu is not a plus for Peter, but Sen. Roskam’s 6th Cong. Dist. embryonic campaign is alive and well, and should be even more muscular by late this morning.

On the other hand, State Senator Pankau may not go quietly into the night and some think she could be a formidable foe, especially if at least one credible conservative “gentleman” opponent enters and stays in the 6th CD primary race—Sexual politics [as we used to say] and the Feminine Mystique, even for Senator Pankau who is a grandmother [before and to be]. Further, there is always the possibly of a spoiler or two who could drain support from Senator Roskam, similar to entrants who may have cost him the primary contest with Cong. Biggert in the 13th CD in 1998. Stay tuned.
Jeff Berkowitz: My question is, as of March 17, 2005, I did a blog [entry, see here] right around that time—he [Sen. Roskam] gave me a list of eight people, including Cong. Biggert, Sen. Dillard and others [who gave him a contingent endorsement]—I can run through it, if you need that

Ryan McLaughlin [Campaign Manager for Sen. Roskam]: No, I’m familiar with that.

Berkowitz: So, he [Sen. Roskam] said those eight people were endorsing him contingent on his running [for the 6th Cong. Dist. seat] and on Cong. Hyde deciding not to run. And, then-- you know what I asked him at the press conference three weeks ago and you know what his answer was [See here].

Now, I am hearing on May 15 that Cong. Biggert is not endorsing him, and so I asked you—was she [Biggert] ever endorsing him? Did he get it wrong when he said she was endorsing him contingent on his running and Cong. Hyde not running-- when he said that to me in March [2005]?

Ryan McLaughlin: Let me give you an answer on this: Our campaign is going to be releasing the names of individuals who are endorsing our campaign at the right time and at this time we are not releasing any names of members of the Illinois congressional delegation or anyone else that may or may not be endorsing us.
Berkowitz: Let me be blunt. I am asking if he [Sen. Roskam] was telling the truth about what he said about those eight people who were endorsing him, as of March [17], was that a truthful statement? As of March-- I am not asking about May 15—I am asking as of March, when he made that statement to me.

Ryan McLaughlin: At those times, those individuals pledged their support if Cong. Hyde chose to retire. Since Cong. Hyde chose to retire [effective at the end of his term in January, 2007], he [Sen. Roskam] is doubling back with folks he spoke to concerning their formal endorsement.
Telephone Conversation with Ryan McLaughlin, Campaign Manager to 6th Cong. Dist. Candidate Peter Roskam, Sunday evening, May 15, 2005. Roskam, of course, is also a state senator [R-Wheaton, 48th Dist.]
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