Friday, July 15, 2005

Pankau drops out of 6th CD Primary—Roskam the R nominee

I thought State Sen. Carole Pankau [R-Itasca] was a tough, personable candidate who would give it a go, at least until close to the filing date. However, looks like State Senator Peter Roskam[R- Wheaton] had too much money, too many endorsements from key pols, too much organization and too much of the base in his short-lived Republican primary contest in the 6th CD.

Laura Nelson, State Senator Carole [as in Lombard] Pankau’s campaign manager, indicated to me this afternoon that the well known Republican pollster, Linda DiVall, President of American Viewpoint in D.C., gave Team Pankau some polling results that in Nelson’s words showed Roskam and Pankau “neck and neck,” with Rick Carney, former DuPage recorder of Deeds, showing up with name recognition at 10%, and getting a few points in a three way race. So, according to Nelson, Rick Carney’s withdrawal and endorsement in the last few days of Roskam was a factor in Pankau’s decision, but I doubt that it was the deal breaker.

Maybe Speaker Hastert let it be known that he would come out for Roskam as Cong. Hyde was likely to do, perhaps as early as this afternoon's Hastert presser in Sandwich, IL. Nelson said there was no indication of that, but one never knows. Does one? Maybe the poll results didn't have Pankau and Roskam quite neck and neck?

According to Laura Nelson [who had only recently left State Senator Dave Sullivan’s office to join Team Pankau], the closeness of the poll and Carney’s withdrawal and endorsement of Sen. Roskam meant that Sen. Pankau would have to go negative and Sen. Pankau didn’t want to “put the Party through that.”

Well, perhaps, but everybody knew, at the time Sen. Pankau got into the race last month, that the best Pankau could ever hope for was a close race, meaning she would have to go negative, with or without Rick Carney in the race. She knew that. Peter knew that. We all knew that.

In short, State Senator Peter Roskam had too much and State Senator Carole Pankau had too little. Peter had been knocking on doors, including those in DC, since the beginning of this year, if not before. Carol, I am sure, found many of those doors long, since closed to her in June. The Haves and the Have-nots. A tale oft told in politics. Chalk up another one for the ole Boy’s network. Old habits die hard.

Me? At least I got one show out of this primary race, such as it was, and I got to know Senator Carole Pankau. She is a good, personable guest and we look forward to having her back on the show.

The 6th CD, although an open seat, is looking like a tougher and tougher race for the Democrats, which as of now has novice candidate Peter O’Malley taking on Christine Cegelis in their March primary. Cegelis surprised many by losing to Cong. Hyde in 2004 by a margin of only 56-44, and like Cong. Melissa Bean in the 8th CD in 2002, Cegelis never stopped running. However, still looks like a tough race for Christine, assuming she wins the primary. Roskam, the favorite to start with, can now marshall his resources and focus his message for the general, as opposed to skirmishing with Pankau about whether he is too conservative for the district [See Larry Handlin here]. Somebody, quick-- bring something to DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel to help with his migraine.

The below is an excerpt from a State Senator Carole Pankau Press Release of today, 1:00 pm [CST]:

Pankau Decides Not to Pursue Republican Nomination in 6th CD: Hastert, Hyde and Watson laud her public service.

ITASCA, IL—State Senator Carole Pankau announced today that after exploring a run for the seat of retiring Congressman Henry Hyde, she will not pursue the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District in Illinois.

“I have spent the last month traveling across the district, meeting with old and new friends to discuss my interest in the congressional seat. It has been an invigorating and rewarding…"

Yesterday, Pankau contacted many of the individuals who have been supportive to her with their time and counsel. She spoke with Congressman Hyde, Senate Republican Leader Frank Watson, and State GOP Chairman Andy McKenna, and also informed Speaker Hastert…

Henry Hyde added, “I have known Carole Pankau throughout her political career, and …I know from my conversations with her that she did not come to this decision lightly"…
Beginning her political career as a member of the local school board, she served on the DuPage County Board until her election in 1992 to the Illinois House. After a hard fought primary in 2004, she was elected in November to the State Senate (D-23), where she serves…
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