Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Un-Making of Candidate Garrett: It’s the money stupid.

State Sen. Susan Garrett: The negatives for me running [in the 10th CD] really came from …people who were moderate Democrats who supported Kirk- you know that’s to be expected….I think there was a concerted campaign to make sure that his core supporters, who also supported me, sent me a letter or a message saying that when it came down to it, if they had to choose, they’d stay with Kirk. There was a contingent of those kind of letters… that really didn’t have any influence or impact on my decision.
Jeff Berkowitz: Did you ever talk to [Cong.] Rahm Emanuel [D-Chicago] about this?

Sen. Garrett: I haven’t, No.

Berkowitz: Isn’t that odd? He [Cong. Emanuel] is trying to build a Majority [in the House of Representatives]. This is a seat which is not viewed as one of his top seats to win. But, with you in there, people were speaking as if it were more likely as a possible win than with anybody else. Isn’t it odd that Cong. Rahm Emanuel, Chairman of the DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee], wouldn’t even pick up the phone to call you.

Sen. Garrett: I’m sure he had his good reasons. I am just guessing that he is friends with Rep. Kirk and maybe--
Sen. Garrett: It would also be divisive…It would be, probably, one of the very high profile campaigns…

Berkowitz: Why would it be divisive?

Sen. Garrett: It would have to be. When you go after somebody who is popular, you can’t just say, “Gee, he is doing a great job.”

Berkowitz: But, if you talk about the issues, you don’t have to attack somebody personally.

Sen. Garrett: …There have already been, I heard—over the weekend, there was a concerted effort to get people to write negative letters about me and people called me up to let me know, so it was going in that direction.

Berkowitz: What would they say?

Sen. Garrett: They were revving up, they had already started their attack...

Berkowitz: But, is there anything personal in your past that would bother you to see come out in the press?

Sen. Garrett: No.

Berkowitz: So, why would it matter? Let them write negative letters.

Sen. Garrett: No, it’s not about that I couldn’t take the negativity or that I couldn’t dish it out because I have done both. But, it’s spending a lot of money to be combative. Sure we can talk about the issues, but at some point in time I have to draw the line and distinguish why I want to take on an incumbent Congressman. You have to say- “It’s this, this and this and by the way, did you know that? And, that turns into a divisive—and he is not going to sit back and say, “Oh—isn’t it great that Susan Garrett is blah, blah blah.” He is not going to do that.

Berkowitz: Yes, but you did not shy away from that before. You had a tough campaign, as you pointed out, with [State Senator] Kathy Parker in 2002.

Sen. Garrett: But that was a million dollars. This could be- we have gotten estimates of a minimum, a minimum-- of two and one-half [million dollars]. Maybe, more like from 4 to 5 million dollars—up to ten million dollars, depending on what different interest groups weigh in through the media markets.
Sen. Garrett: Here is the deal. On the other side of it, I have had a lot of people call me and email me, asking me to re-think it…there is a huge group of people who are just drinking champagne, right now, and probably very happy—especially in Mark Kirk’s office.

Berkowitz: I would think Cong. Kirk would have sent you some roses, did he?

Sen. Garrett: [LOL] Listen, I almost called him to let him know but I couldn’t pick up the phone to do that.

Berkowitz: It would be an early concession call.
Berkowitz: What is accurate is that people are calling you, asking you to reconsider, right?

Sen. Garrett: Yes, but I am not really—

Berkowitz: And you have said it is possible, anything is possible, and all that is accurate, right? I am not saying it is likely.

Sen. Garrett: Okay, but just put that in. Say that I said it is not likely [that I would reconsider].

Berkowitz: If you say that it is not likely, then we will put that in.
Sen. Garrett: It wasn’t an easy decision. If you want to know the truth, I still have second thoughts…
Senator Susan Garrett [D- Lake Forest] and former 10th Cong. Dist. Democratic Primary Exploratory Candidate, interviewed on June 21, 2005, one day after she announced that she would not be a candidate in the 10th Cong. District Primary.
Update to follow shortly.