Monday, January 25, 2010

The 10th CD race: Could Coulson's Sep. 14, 2000 failure to endorse Bush and Kirk on TV be the deciding factor? Watch and you decide. Cable/Streaming

I know that Coulson's non-endorsement of Kirk was way before his moderation was demonstrated, but still, Republican Primary voters might ask, Mark Kirk, that's the guy Republican Coulson thought was "too conservative," for her to risk endorsing him over Democrat Gash in Coulson's liberal state house district, and Coulson wants us to support her as the Republican nominee for Congresswoman from this District?
September 14, 2000 and Republican Beth Coulson hadn't picked between Bush and Gore?

Jeff Berkowitz: I assume you are supporting George W. Bush as the Presidential Candidate

State Rep. Beth Coulson [R-Glenview, IL., 57th Dist.]: I am not supporting any particular Presidential candidate. Watch the Coulson-Berkowitz clip here

Berkowitz: You are not? You are not supporting the Republican candidate in the presidential election?

Coulson: I didn’t say that.

Berkowitz: All right, what did you say?

Coulson: I haven’t picked. It is my private vote; just like it is your private vote. I have to wait and see where they are on some of the issues that are important to me, and, that is my personal opinion, but I also need to wait and see, and my attitude is my voters have the decision to make, so I don’t think I should endorse any particular candidate.

Berkowitz: And you don’t think you will prior to Nov. 7.

Coulson: No, I don’t.

Sep. 14, 2000 and Republican State Rep. Coulson hadn't picked yet between Lauren Beth Gash (D) and Mark Kirk(R)? She didn't know where they stood?

Jeff Berkowitz: And, in the 10th Cong. District race, where Mark Kirk is the Republican candidate and Lauren Beth Gash is the Democratic candidate, are you making an endorsement or your preference known publicly there?

Coulson: Once again, I don’t know exactly where they stand on some very important issues that are important to me and important to my constituents. So, I can’t say that I won’t, but I have not yet [as of Sep. 14, 2000].

Berkowitz: But you might, before Nov. 7 [2000]?

Coulson: I suppose I might, if it would really make a difference. I am not sure that it would.

Berkowitz: Well, Beth, you carry a lot of clout in this area. I think you are underestimating what you could do. I am serious.

Coulson: I feel we have very sophisticated, educated voters and they usually want to make decisions for themselves.
September 14, 2000 and Beth Coulson (R) couldn't decide between Bush and Gore because she was "not privy to the Federal Budget."

Jeff Berkowitz: I think George W. Bush—here is a little secret—I have heard him speak, I know you have and it sounds to me, if you have to pick between George W. Bush and Al Gore, and one of your criteria is whether the candidates believe in limited government, then, you know, it is somewhat of a joke, but it is somewhat true, people are saying-- Al Gore wants a trillion dollar spending program and George W. Bush wants a trillion dollar tax decrease. Pretty stark choice there, so if you believe in limited government, as you said, less government, I assume less spending, less taxes, everything else equal, then I would think you would favor George W. Bush.

Coulson: I think that may be true, but I don’t know what he [George Bush] wants to spend it on and what they want to cut and I am not privy to the Budget in the federal government...again, to me, it is a private vote that I am going to be making. I don’t think I need to endorse a particular candidate.

From "Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz." The interview with State Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview), transcribed, in part, above, was recorded, live to tape, on September 14, 2000.Watch the Coulson-Berkowitz clip here
Beth Coulson: Shockingly neutral on party identification or loyalty?

Well, you have to admit, no matter who you support in the 10th CD or even if you are indifferent to who wins in the 10th CD, the above exchange is quite shocking. Most, if not all, officeholders or people seeking office in the general election support or endorse members of their own party, and most of them support their party's Presidential or Congressional candidates for the district in which they reside. At least, this journalist thinks they do.

Of course, the context here is that Coulson got elected and re-elected six times in an increasingly, liberal Democratic District. First, it was the 57th State House District and then it was re-districted in 2001-02 as the 17th State House district by long time Speaker Mike Madigan, and his worker bees, to be even more Democratic.

Coulson kept getting re-elected. One thing she did, which many Republican candidates do in Democratic districts, was to send out, often, campaign literature without a party identification. Another thing Coulson did, at least while on our "Public Affarrs," show, was to decline to endorse Bush for President in the general election, and much more shockingly, she declined to endorse Mark Steven Kirk, a slightly right of center but clearly socially liberal, even in September, 2000, 10th CD nominee of the Republican Party. Further, Coulson(R) declined to endorse in the general election, on August 22, 2002, on "Public Affairs," Republican Jim Ryan for Governor and Joe Birkett for Attorney General.

Yes, Kirk was less socially liberal then than he is now, but still, do you think any other Republican State Rep. candidates in or around Kirk's Cong. District at the time would have declined to endorse him for congress in a general election? As I wrote in 2002, "we discuss- you decide."
A close race between Dold and Coulson

Reliable sources in the 10th CD say next Tuesday's election is likely to be a close one between thirteen year State Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview) and Kenilworth small businessman Bob Dold. Dick Green has put almost a half million dollars of his own wealth into this race, but the other ingredients for a win don't seem to be there. Dr. Arie Friedman has an impressive style, personality and background but he probably started too late to be competitive on the fund raising and organization side of things. Paul Hamann doesn't have the required style, personality, resources and organization to be competitive.

Although Coulson said on "Public Affairs," in 2000 she doesn't get any support from the Republican Party, it looks like times have changed. Beth has much of the establishment wing of the Republican Party supporting her now. Lots of elected officials in the Illinois Legislature and Congress are stepping up for Beth, and some of those folks may have some resources to throw her way in the 10th CD primary.

Dold, on the other hand, has a lot of the rank and file giving him a hand, e.g., the powerful New Trier Township Republican Organization and the Vernon and Elk Grove Republican Township organizations, have lined up behind him. When Mark Kirk won a close general election in 2000 over State Rep. Lauren Beth Gash, it was by the razor thin margin of two points, and New Trier gave Kirk a good chunk of that margin, a 3300 vote spread, or about 60% of the 5500 vote margin.

Edgar and Porter

Coulson has the last former Illinois Governor not to be indicted, Jim Edgar, supporting her. And, more seriously, Edgar is a very popular guy across Illinois and no doubt in the 10th CD. Even more popular in the 10th CD, as of nine years ago, when he gave up the 10th CD seat, is former Congressman John Porter. Both have endorsed Beth Coulson and that helps. But, political assets, like all others, deteriorate with time. Neither Edgar nor Porter has spent much, if any, time in the 10th CD during the last nine years. Porter, intentionally so, as to not infringe on Cong. Kirk's "ownership" of that district. Indeed, both Edgar and Porter made essentially "in absentia," endorsements. So, how much do the Edgar and Porter endorsements help? They are positive, no doubt. But, clearly Porter's endorsement of Kirk in his 2000 Primary helped Kirk much more than this one helps Coulson.

Lugar, Quayle and the Tribune

Both Senator Lugar (R-IN) and former Senator Quayle (R-IN) and the Chicago Tribune have endorsed Dold. Those folks and that entity are quite influential in the 10th CD Republican Primary.

Rep. Beth Coulson has always been a personable, smart and tenacious campaigner. She has had at least two very tough general elections (2002 and 2008), and she won them both, the earlier one by less than 700 votes.

Bob Dold has demonstrated during this campaign he is no slouch on the campaign trail. He also is smart, articulate and polished. He knows how to take a mike and wade into the crowd. He has a law degree and an MBA.

Both Coulson and Dold can handle themselves in forums and walking precincts. It's a race.

Mark Kirk, the guy who, like Bush, was too conservative for Coulson to endorse?

It could come down to what do Republican Primary voters think about a Republican State Rep. who declined to endorse her Party's nominee for President and for Congress
. Even when the nominee was the quite moderate, if not liberal, Mark Steven Kirk. The guy who turned out to be so Pro-choice, pro gun control, pro environmental, pro Israel, pro gay rights, pro public school teacher that he kept the 10th CD seat, even though the 10CD had gone Democratic long ago and the Republicans had extremely tough years in 2006 and 2008. And, ultimately Kirk was so moderate that he opposed Bush's surge in Iraq and he was one of eight Republicans to vote for Speaker Pelosi's Cap and Trade, a bill that barely passed the House.

I know that Coulson's non-endorsement of Kirk was way before his moderation was demonstrated, but still, Republican Primary voters might ask, Mark Kirk, that's the guy Republican Coulson thought was "too conservative," for her to risk endorsing him over Democrat Gash in Coulson's liberal state house district, and Coulson wants us to support her as the Republican nominee for Congresswoman from this District?

That might just be a too tall drink, as Cong. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton, 6th CD) might say, for 10th CD Republican voters to swallow. But, as this journalist wrote in 2002, we discuss, you decide. But, first, before you decide Watch the Coulson-Berkowitz clip here