Quick Hits – Election 2020 Part 2!

Quick Hits – Election 2020 Part 2!

Alright! Now that we’ve covered the Kane County only races, let’s move on to their higher compatriots:

Election 2020 2

14th Congressional

You’d a thunk Republicans would’ve learned something from the utterly overcrowded Democratic presidential field where you have to be particularly nutty just to get noticed. C’mon! Corey Booker thinks Barack Obama wasn’t liberal enough?

But no, because they didn’t learn a damn thing, it would be far more expedient to list the Republicans who aren’t running for this seat than to cover those who are. But let me give it a shot in alphabetical order:

  • Anthony Catella
  • Jerry Evans
  • Ted Gradel
  • Catalina Lauf
  • James Marter
  • Jim Oberweis
  • Sue Rezin

Reader John Lopez encouraged me to determine the merit, or lack thereof, of each of those candidates, but who has that kind of time and why bother when the outcome is inevitable.

Whenever you have a field that large, either the craziest candidate or the candidate with the most name recognition always wins. And in this case, Jim Oberweis is both. His only real challenger is Mr. Marter who clearly couldn’t win an election if he ran unopposed.

So, Jim will trounce that field only to be trounced by incumbent Lauren Underwood who will have that job as long as Donald Trump is President. Word is that Mr. Oberweis thinks this one is in the bag, which has even his closest friends scratching their heads.

But what bothers me is about this race is, I consider Jim to be a friend, and watching him suddenly toeing the Trump line, something he’d never do privately, is more than discouraging. I certainly won’t be voting for him.


6th Congressional

Fresh off her GOP gubernatorial primary loss, a race that was hers to lose, now Jeanne Ives is running for Congress. As Chief O’Hara used to say on the 60s Batman TV show, “Saints preserve us!”

Ives is just another garden variety right-wing loon that already over-permeate that nation’s capital and we certainly don’t need one more.

Though she’s a terrible candidate – she sent a small book as a campaign mailer last time – Ives will beat Gordon Kinzler who has a rather nasty habit of losing elections. But then Ives will be handily dispatched by incumbent Sean Casten.


8th Congressional

Just when I thought it was those 14th District Republicans who were a banana short of a bunch, the Democrats managed to top them! Please tell me why Raja Krishnamoorthi is being primaried, not by one, not by two, but by three separate candidates?

No one’s ever come to me with a negative story about the Congressman, so I can’t imagine why these numbskulls are running. Raj will defeat them without breaking a sweat and he currently has no Republican opponent.


11th Congressional

Bill Foster, a man who makes Sheldon Cooper look normal, will beat primary challenger Rachel Ventura. Foster has too much money and he understands ground game math better than most candidates.


17th Congressional

Again! Why does Cheri Bustos, a politician with an exceptionally bright future, have a Democratic primary opponent? That said, it would be far more expedient for him to throw all that campaign cash directly into the Mississippi River, because there’s no way Spanky Edwards – his real name – is gonna win.

And Bustos will easily dispense with any of her three Republican Challengers.


U.S. Senate

Dick Durbin, my least favorite Illinois politician – and that’s really sayin’ something coming from me – has five Republican and one Independent challengers. Though he’s served for far too long (since 1996), he will be reelected.


Since I gotta get other stuff done, it looks like we’ll move on to the State Rep and Senate races in part three on Monday! Until then…

8 thoughts on “Quick Hits – Election 2020 Part 2!

  1. Jeff,

    The most important part of your assessment of the 14th district I agree with 100% is if it’s an Oberweis-Underwood general, Oberweis will be trounced. Placing a 74 year old man next to a 34 year old woman, voters are going to go with youth, especially when the young woman can articulate issues (doesn’t matter none of her successes have become law at this point).

    Some of Oberweis’ former supporters refer to Jim as the “old white guy”, particularly former maxed-out donors now supporting one of the other candidates, and they say this to the press.

    Definitely, Oberweis thinking he has the nomination in the bag is not only evidenced by his friends who scratch their heads, but by the media (POLITICO’s Shia Kapos) who had to remind him he has multiple candidates in the primary. That cockiness could be his undoing.

    You may not know this, but in October, Oberweis sent a 12-page mailer about himself (you may have received it). How many times did he mention President Trump in those 12 pages? Zero.

    It’s similar to when he goes around referring back to his 2014 U.S. Senate loss that he beat Dick Durbin in all 7 counties of the 14th, and “…if I can beat Durbin, I can beat Underwood.” while forgetting how everything changed in the intervening six years.

    James Marter “only real challenger”? I feel like paraphrasing a line from the Gordon Gekko character in Wall Street: “Oh come on, Jeff, his quarterlies are …” Marter, like Dr. Kinzler you mentioned in the 6th has a propensity to lose, and his fundraising shows it. Through 9/30, he only raised less than $35K, and nearly half of that is from himself.

    Here’s where I think you can be very wrong about Oberweis winning the primary: Oberweis has only been in a primary field like this twice (2004, 2006), and in both, he came in second. Currently, it’s a 7-person field, with 4 candidates “viable”.

    Ted Gradel, Catalina Lauf and Sue Rezin are like Oberweis, all named to the NRCC “On the Radar” candidates of the “Young Guns” program, which one qualifies for by raising at least $100K. Oberweis is not the runaway money leader as he has been in recent races since his last primary loss in 2006.

    Ted Gradel, who at 55 is at the age when Oberweis first started running for office in 2002, has raised the most money from donors (Oberweis has loaned himself $400K to make him the overall money leader).

    Sue Rezin, who’s being backed by Don DeWitte, Karen McConnaughay, Pam Althoff, Christine Radogno and last but not least, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, raised nearly a quarter million in 3rd quarter.

    The real wildcard is Catalina Lauf. Announcing in late August with only 38 days left in the reporting period, she raised just under $104K. Her earned media across the country has given her an image of the anti-AOC, a conservative Republican who worked in the Trump Administration who happens to be Latina.

    When she first announced, she literally sent panic throughout the progressive community, particularly up in McHenry County and Underwood’s NYC-based campaign manager kept close tabs on her. Unlike Oberweis, Gradel, Rezin and Marter, the Democrats see something in Lauf that makes her a threat to Underwood’s reelection next year if she’s the nominee.

    And if Lauf’s campaign meets or exceeds its $100K/month fundraising goal, watch out. Just today, the PAC co-founded by Ted Cruz endorsed Lauf’s candidacy including a $2,500 immediate donation to her campaign. She was among the first 10 to ever receive a contribution for a primary from the Maverick PAC.

    And thus far, she has locked-up two significant grassroots groups support: A.B.A.T.E. and 2nd amendment supporters (they haven’t forgotten both Oberweis and Rezin voted for Illinois’ Red Flag Law).

    It’ll be fun to watch, and if the primary was today, Oberweis would win. Att his point in early December, he is the frontrunner, and I refer to him as the “fragile frontrunner”.

    Come March 17, I really believe it could be someone other than Oberweis who will be the 14th district Republican nominee, and either Gradel, Rezin or Lauf can pull it off.

      1. Jeff, while I haven’t seen as many “too-crowded field phenomenon” as you have, the 2 times previous Oberweis was in one of those kinds of primaries, he lost them both.

        The race to look at was his 2004 U.S. Senate primary loss to Jack Ryan. Oberweis had the name ID then, along with 3rd place finisher Steve Rauschenberger, and you had the younger (and Oberweis was 57 in that primary) Jack Ryan who appeared to be a successful businessman who was younger and looked good in an 8-man field.

        And that was when Oberweis had his break-out moment on immigration, and the increased attention.

        He still lost to Ryan.

        Fast forward to 2020, and while most of the primary field resembles traditional candidates, Lauf is different. Start with her earned media, and a metric built from it that may not necessarily translate to votes but does indicate popularity is her social media followers.

        When she declared her candidacy on August 22, she had about 1,000 followers on Twitter. Now, she has over 31K and growing. The next candidate in Twitter followers is Marter at just over 1,600, and he built most of his in the last week and a half.

        You know the message is where a successful campaign begins. Lauf’s message was constructed in a way that comes straight from the Simon Sinek “Start with Why” (I’m sure you’re familiar with that book, or similar) and explains why her following has grown in the 3 1/2 months of her campaign.

        And even if Lauf doesn’t win the nomination, the kind of disruption with 7 candidates competing for barely 60K primary votes, a Gradel or a Rezin could win with plurality of less than 40% of the vote over Oberweis.

        If you’re right, you’re right. But there is a fair chance what I described could play out, too.

  2. I cannot believe the Republicans cannot put up candidates strong enough to get back 6 and 14. Shows how low the collar county Republicans have sunk
    On the upside Oberweis will finally be gone
    My question Jeff is do we have to put a stake through his heart? Will he run again for anything in two years? If so can you manage his campaign and make sure it is a Florida office?

    1. Jim,

      I know his wife threatened to divorce him if he kept running, so I’m surprised he’s running this time.

      The irony is, he hates being a State Senator and the gridlock in Washington is even worse. I just don’t know what he’s thinking.

  3. Jeff, couple of notes concerning the 6th and 17th congressional district races:

    17th: The reason Cheri Bustos has a primary challenge is directly related to her other role in Washington, chair of the DCCC, and back in March, she imposed a rule that is known as the “Bustos doctrine”, that said the DCCC will not work with any vendor who supports a primary challenge against a Democratic elected incumbent.

    This honked off progressives, given 2 of the 4-member “Squad”, AOC and Ayanna Pressley, unseated longtime Democratic incumbents in primary challenges in 2018.

    In Illinois, the “Bustos doctrine” is being put to the test in the 3rd district, with Marie Newman trying again to successfully primary Congressman Dan Lipinski through progressive Marie Newman, who this time is not 1-on-1 against Lipinski, and AOC and Lauren Underwood both are backing Newman openly, along with many others.

    But it’s progressives who are primarying Bustos, while knowing Bustos will win, but wanting to send a “message” to Bustos.

    6th: Might have been worth a mention that Jeanne Ives chased out her most formidable, at least on paper, primary opponent in former Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti who declared her candidacy back in April, but after terrible fundraising in 2nd and 3rd quarters, was forced to shut down her campaign on October 11. Four days later, the truth was published in her FEC Form 3 filing.

    Sanguinetti raised barely $103K in 2nd quarter, with $5500 coming from herself. Her 3rd quarter fundraising was less than $40K, compared with Ives’ $340K in her first quarter of fundraising.

    Sanguinetti had the open support of many in the Kane County Republican hierarchy including Mike Kenyon and Ken Shepro and many others, but that did not translate to fundraising success, so Sanguinetti wisely pulled the plug on her campaign in October.

    Dr. Kinzler did not formally enter the 6th district primary race until October 2, though he announced his intention to run the week of September 9.

    1. John,

      I appreciate the commentary, and after you read today’s part 3, you’ll understand why I COMPLETELY agree with the “Bustos Doctrine.”

      The Democrats are their own worst enemies!

      And I’d be will to bet you four-figures that Oberweis will win the 14th GOP primary.

      1. Jeff,

        Sorry to disappoint, but I’m many years removed from my gambling days, and I do not gamble on anything and haven’t for years.

        But briefly revisiting those days in my head, I feel like the sheikh in the 1959 version of Ben-Hur at the Roman mens’ bath scene just after the entr’acte.

        We’d have to start with the odds, and given Oberweis has been in 7 primary elections, the odds would begin at 7-1 for any wager against Oberweis.

        He’s won 4 straight competitive primaries (2008 x 2, 2012, 2014) so that would be a minimum odds of 4-1.

        Tell you what, let me know the odds you’ll give in that wager, and I’ll be amenable to post it as a challenge on the blog?


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