Thursday, August 20, 2009

Berkowitz Eye on Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson and State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias: Either ready for a prime time U. S. Senate bid?

Is Cheryl Jackson Leapfrogging over other African-American, would be Senate Candidates?

Laura Washington took a sharp swipe in her column this week at Cheryle Jackson. As Washington put it, “political rookie,” Jackson is trying to “leapfrog,” over generations of African-American political leadership in her bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination to the U. S. Senate.

This, of course, is the seat that Barack Obama won, essentially, in a sharply contested 2004 Democratic primary, among a field of seven candidates. It is the same seat that the now impeached, arrested, indicted Governor Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell to the highest bidder. And, those bidders allegedly included, in one form or another, the current incumbent, Senator Burris and Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Chicago, 2nd CD)

The Blagojevich-Burris senate seat?

So, putting it mildly, the seat Cheryl Jackson seeks is a storied seat- and it is the only senate seat currently held by an African-American, who is only the fourth African-American to serve in the Senate since Reconstruction. One would think there might be quite a few Democrats, including African-Americans, who would be stepping up to run for the Obama seat [or as Republican Primary candidate for the senate seat Cong. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park, 10th CD) likes to call it, the Blagojevich-Burris seat].

The taint of being appointed by Rod Blagojevich, what Burris did to obtain that Senate appointment, what he said he did —and the press, legislative and State’s Attorney’s investigations of same-- took Senator Roland Burris out of contention in 2010. However, we would expect at least a few formidable African-Americans to join Jackson in her game of leapfrog.

Surprisingly, no other African-American candidates have shown up on the Democratic side of the ledger. Laura Washington asserts that the “roster of those [African-Americans] who would covet an open Senate is endless: congressmen, aldermen, commissioners, state legislators…” Perhaps. But, even if there are a lot of such folks who “covet the seat,” nobody else, at least so far, seems to think he or she can win it. At least not so much that such a person is willing to step up and become a candidate.

African-American Congressional Candidates for the Senate Seat?

A senior Jackson campaign adviser argued to this reporter yesterday, “Nobody else has a financial network that can raise six to ten million dollars in the primary and twenty-five million dollars in the general election.” That’s a pretty good point. We don’t know that Cheryle Jackson has such a financial network, but she at least can credibly make that claim.

Cong. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who at one point in his career was wheeling and dealing, in a political sense, with 2002 gubernatorial candidate Blagojevich for his support for the 2004 Senate nomination, might have wanted to take a shot at a 2010 bid and he might have had the financial network to do it. But, Cong. Jackson’s activities and those allegedly undertaken on his behalf regarding his interest in the Senate appointment from Blago are requiring Jesse Jr. to keep a low profile at this moment.

African-American Cong. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago, 1st CD) may have “spanked,” Obama (as Obama himself describes it) in Obama’s 2000 unsuccessful primary effort to oust Rush from his 1st Cong. District seat, but Rush isn’t going to spank anybody statewide. Nor does Cong. Danny Davis (D-Chicago, 7th CD) apparently think he can win statewide, as he is focusing now on a bid for Cook County Board President in the Democratic Primary, while covering all bases by circulating nominating petitions for his 7th CD seat, as well.

So, just which African-American congressman does Washington think Jackson is leapfrogging over? Somebody who is invisible to the rest of us.

African-American Aldermanic Candidates for the Senate Seat?

Aldermen being leapfrogged by Jackson? Just whom does Washington have in mind? Ald. Freddrenna Lyle? Ald. Sandi Jackson? Anybody else? I don’t think so.

Chicago Ald. Lyle (6th Ward) is well spoken and bright. She might already know or be able to master national issues. But, raise six to ten million dollars for a statewide run in the primary? Give me a break. Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th Ward)? Cong. Jackson’s spouse is quite charismatic, telegenic, smart and quick. But, the cloud over her husband may extend to her, unfair as that may be for both. And two years of experience as an elected Alderman does not give her an edge over Cheryle Jackson. Most importantly, does Sandi Jackson have a national network from which she could raise six million dollars for her primary? I don’t think so.

And, on it goes, as Laura Washington might say. In short, there is nobody for Cheryle Jackson to leapfrog. We all know you can’t beat a somebody with a nobody. As Cheryl Jackson’s senior adviser said to this journalist yesterday, just whom does Laura think Cheryle is leapfrogging? Whom indeed.

Cheryle Jackson’s Economic Development Mantra DOA?

[Please go here to read Part two of the Berkowitz Eye on the Jackson-Giannoulias Democratic U. S. Senate Primary
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
A sampling of shows and clips from those posted during the last nine months on the Public Affairs YouTube page include a show with State Rep. and 7th CD Dem Primary Candidate La Shawn K. Ford...a show with economist Art Laffer [inventor of the Laffer Curve] and FNC's Steve Moore about their book, "The end of Prosperity," and the Obama Administration's economic policies... , the fastest five minutes on the web-a segment of Bill O'Reilly with Berkowitz discussing a clip of Obama from 2002 on Blagojevich and many more shows.