Friday, July 08, 2005

Kathy Salvi, the Feminine Mystique and the 8th CD

After being a State Rep. for four years, Al Salvi [R- Mundelein] took on the establishment and Lt. Gov. Bob Kustra and won the Republican U. S. Senate Primary in ’96 and then lost by a good margin to the current Senior Senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin. Two years later, Al won a tough SOS primary in ’98 against then [and now] State Rep. Bob Churchill [R-Grayslake], but lost soundly to now Secretary of State Jesse White, who will be running [or tumbling] for his third term next year, notwithstanding surgery last year on both knees.

Talking about Jesse White, Al Salvi had a bit of a unpleasantness with the Family Taxpayers Network's Jack Roeser, but that is now patched up and everyone has kissed and made up, or shaken hands and made up, as the case may be.

Six weeks ago, it was reported that it was “probable,” that Al Salvi would take on Incumbent Democrat Congresswoman Melissa Bean in the 8th Congressional District, a district which Al said is a good fit for his conservative views. Al commissioned a poll for the 8th CD, which he told me [about ten days ago] put him on top, with his wife and Churchill a distant second and third and Dave McSweeney [and Ken Arnold, see below] trailing badly.

Notwithstanding his self described “good results,” in the poll he commissioned, Al Salvi told me earlier this week that he has no intention to run in the 8th Cong. Dist., perhaps because he doesn’t seem to have the “fire in the belly.”

However, the fire and torch may have been passed, and it sounds like his wife, Kathy, is almost ready to say yes—that she will join Dave McSweeney, Teresa Bartels and perhaps Bob Churchill and Mark Beaubien [the latter two have not yet announced whether they are running] in the 8th CD Republican primary. Indeed, others, e.g., Warren Township precinct Committeeman Ken Arnold, Barrington furniture magnate Walter Smithe III and Palatine Mayor Rita Mullins may also jump in the pool.

If the only candidates in the field, come March 21, 2006 are McSweeney, Bartels, Churchill, Kathy Salvi and Beaubien, Republican Primary voters would be able to choose from four self-described social conservatives and one social moderate—Rep. Beaubien [R-Wauconda], who coincidentally enough won Al Salvi’s statehouse seat, after Salvi left it to run in the U. S. Senate Republican Primary in 1996. Does the social moderate Beaubien run and win because the social conservatives split the vote? Or, does Rep. Beaubien run and win because of other factors?

Perhaps of interest practically and academically—if those two inquiries can differ, how does the gender dynamic play out with two females in the Primary, and, of course, the winner in the primary would face a female—incumbent 8th CD Congresswoman Melissa Bean [D- Barrington]?

Is the fact that not only might the 8th CD Republican Primary have as many women as men vying for the right to take on an incumbent woman-- but that for one of those female candidates, her husband is apparently, gladly stepping aside and encouraging her to run-- a sure sign that we can now say to women, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” If not, could Betty Friedan be relevant to these gender issues, or maybe Nobel Prize winning economist Gary Becker, Becker's critics or the Independent Women’s Forum. More on all of that to follow.

For now, let’s listen to Kathy Salvi:

Kathy Salvi: I know my husband’s [Al Salvi] thoughts. I know his desires and he is unqualifiedly behind my candidacy, should I make the decision to run [in 8th Cong. Dist. Republican Primary] and that’s important because …for a race such as this, for any race, unless you have your family completely committed and you have their unqualified support, you know, why bother? But, I am fortunate to have his full and complete support and the support of my family in this decision, so, that’s No. 1. Step No. 2 is looking at it and deciding whether or not this is the race for me and the indicators right now suggest that it is.

Jeff Berkowitz: That it is?

Kathy Salvi: Yes.

Jeff Berkowitz: …What kinds of things are you thinking about as you make this decision?

Kathy Salvi: Things have been coming together. The calls that I’ve received, the people that I’ve hoped to win over their support in my personal conversations are enthusiastic. I’ve received a lot of green lights. It’s important for me to continue to go through this process and it will help me determine my decision.

Berkowitz: Would you say this is kind of like you have an informal exploratory committee—[you have] people to advise you?

Kathy Salvi: That’s pretty much the way it is. There have been a number of people that I’ve spoken to privately and personally, and I’ve enlisted their suggestions and advice and counsel and, you know, in making my decision—so I will continue in that process.
Jeff Berkowitz: Do you think [former Congressman] Phil Crane will make an endorsement in this primary [8th Cong. Dist., March, 2006]?

Kathy Salvi: I think so. I think it’s likely.

Berkowitz: And, you would want that endorsement, right?

Kathy Salvi: I absolutely would…
my husband and I have been faithful and loyal supporters [of former Cong. Crane], but then again, he [Crane] might want to stay out of it, I don’t know. I can’t speak for him, but I do know that I have the utmost respect for him and his work and his representation as our congressman for as long as he held that position [35 years] and we were disappointed to have seen him go. But, that’s the fact that we all wrestle with right now.

Berkowitz: And, you think that you would have a good shot at getting the endorsement [from Crane] if you do run?

Kathy Salvi: I couldn’t say- I haven’t spoken to him about it but…we [have] enjoyed his friendship and respect for many, many years and I would hope that he would honor this campaign with his endorsement but then again I don’t know that, I, uh, like I said, that’s several steps ahead of us.
Kathy Salvi, interviewed by Jeff Berkowitz, on July 8, 2005
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at