Cong. Bean and her 8th CD prior and would be Opponents
Tonight’s City of Chicago edition of “Public Affairs,” (8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21, CANTV) features Kirk Morris (R-Gurnee), a candidate in the 8th Cong. Dist. Republican Primary. The 8th CD is located, in large part, due west of the 10th Cong. District. The 10th CD, in turn, is made up of the North Shore (i.e., Winnetka, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Glencoe, Highland Park, Northfield and Deerfield) and areas north and west of those affluent suburbs. The 8th CD is split among three counties: portions of northwest Cook, West Lake and McHenry.
Bean, a Democrat/Republican fence sitter in the Land of Republicans?
The 8th Cong. Dist. Democrat incumbent, Melissa Bean (Barrington), has become a bit of a political powerhouse, not unlike what her 10th CD Republican fence sitter counterpart to the east, Mark Kirk, once was. Although the 8th CD is a fairly Republican district, Bean took advantage of the fact that Cong. Phil Crane had outstayed his welcome, abused his power and had grown neglectful of his constituents. After losing to Crane 57 % to 43 % in 2002, Bean never stopped running and came back to beat the then 35 year, Republican incumbent 52% to 48% in 2004.
Cong. Bean has, from a political science perspective, done a nice job of straddling the center, and voting as if her focus was on winning reelection in a Republican district, while still being enough of a Democrat to run with the support of that Party’s base. For example, she won’t quite say she favors all of the Bush tax cuts, but she might say she favors some of them, i.e., those that benefit the middle class, with that term being undefined by Bean. For another example, Cong. Bean was one of the CAFTA 15, a group of fifteen Democrats who supported the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Bean argued that the trade agreement was good for business (and employee) interests in her district—and coincidentally, perhaps, that vote and a few others, almost assured her of the endorsement and financial support from the U. S. Chamber of Commerce, and perhaps support from some other business groups.
Why Bean beat McSweeney
That kind of financial support and voting straddles made Bean a formidable opponent for the Republicans in 2006. Additionally, some of his critics argue that although David McSweeney was a smart, aggressive, hardworking Republican nominee in 2006, he simply was not enough of a “natural campaigner,” to win. Others will argue his team didn’t focus sufficiently on winning over the Chicago and suburban media. And, still others will argue that the national Democratic Tsunami was simply too much for a Republican to topple a skilled incumbent, such as Bean.
The impact of the anti-war, anti-free trade vote
Of course, Bean’s generally supportive voting for the War and her occasional business oriented votes such as CAFTA resulted in the far left, third party [but, so called Moderate Party] candidacy of Bill Scheurer, and Scheurer pulled Democratic votes from Bean in the 2006 general election, resulting in a three way split of 50% for Bean, 6% for Scheurer and 44% for McSweeney.
Because Scheurer got at least 5% of the vote, the Moderate Party automatically gets a slot on the 2008 fall ballot, and Lain Abernathy mysteriously replaces Bill Scheurer as the Moderate Party candidate. We say "mysteriously," because in terms of debating skills, Scheurer may have been the best candidate on the Fall, 2006 8th CD ballot. Scheurer's wife, Randi, is opposing Cong. Bean in the 8th CD 2008 Democratic Primary.
See here for more about the dissatisfaction on the labor side of the world with Cong. Bean. Go here to watch Cong. Bean discuss (in January, 2006) what the Teamsters thought of Bean and watch Kirk Morris tonight for a further discussion of that topic.
The 2008 Republican Primary
Morris faces Ken Arnold and Steve Greenberg in the Republican Primary. Arnold ran in the six candidate 2006 Republican Primary, receiving maybe 2% of the vote-- and he seems to be running again mostly to have an opportunity to send out press releases and participate in forums. Arnold didn’t make much of an effort to run a real campaign in 2006 and that has not changed this time around. It doesn’t take much (about 800 good signatures) to get on a congressional primary ballot. It takes quite a bit more to put forth a serious, well financed, well organized, credible campaign effort.
Greenberg, 36, has received, in one form or another over the years, some money from his father and other relatives and seems to have enough money to hire a media guy like Dan Curry (Curry Public Strategies), a young campaign manager (Brad Goodman, who has some field experience from the failed and wacky 2006 8th CD primary campaign of Teresa Bartels and the losing 2006 primary campaign of Kathy Salvi), and a few other general consultants. The Republican establishment in Illinois seems to think that that much financing and that much organization should be enough for Greenberg to win in the Primary. And, they may be right. Of course, the Republican establishment might be in for a surprise when it comes to the General Election, but the State GOP generally doesn't think that far ahead.
Greenberg is running a gladhanding, semi-stealth campaign (something Curry has some experience with, See Jim Ryan’s failed 2002 gubernatorial campaign) with Greenberg avoiding TV shows like Public Affairs, or any other forums where he might face tough questioning on the issues. Curry’s apparent betting is that paid media, along with some of the Curry magic with the Chicago and suburban media, can do it for his client, Greenberg, in the primary, and Curry may be right.
Greenberg says he has declined to do “Public Affairs,” because he is not smart enough to handle the likes of Jeff Berkowitz, and come time of the general election, Greenberg had best hope he was wrong (or perhaps the former minor league hockey player was just being a little cute, or diplomatic).
Into the fray steps Kirk Morris, who is making his second appearance tonight on Public Affairs (Watch the first appearance or on our YouTube page (Morris is top, left most picture) ).[Morris' second appearance will soon be placed on our You Tube page]. Go here for more about Kirk Morris and tonight's topics.
Morris is a smart, aggressive candidate who is not afraid to discuss the issues. On the other hand, he will probably be happy if he can raise 100K. Is that enough to provide him with the necessary mailers and cable TV to get out his message, relative to that of the better self-funded Greenberg? That could be tough. As they say, money is the mother’s milk of politics.
On the other hand, Morris can at least face his constituents and say he is not afraid to answer tough, aggressive questioning. And, he can say, indeed, this is at a minimum what a congressperson owes his constituents. After campaigning for four years and after three years in congress, Bean can’t say that. And, after campaigning for six months, Greenberg can’t say that. Will that mean something on February 5, 2008? We discuss, you decide.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com. You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Richardson, Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at http://www.publicaffairstv.com/PublicAffairs/Podcasts/Podcasts.html