Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Heavyweights opt out of challenge to Lipinski; overview of other regional statewide races

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Two years ago, Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-3rd) faced serious challenges from two rivals. This year, most of the challengers have lesser known names and few if any have significant organizations.

In the Democratic race in this predominantly Democratic district, one challenger filed by Monday night's deadline, Jorge Mujicas of Berwyn who is a somewhat known activist on immigration and non-citizen rights. His web site is in both English and Spanish and he has frequently spoken out against mandating "English-only" laws denying immigrants, especially Hispanics, rights to use their languages in official circumstances.

One Republican filed, Michael Bendas of Chicago, and one candidate for the Green Party (which is filing a full slate of statewide and local candidates in Cook County) filed, Laurel Lambert Schmidt of Riverside, Illinois.

Two years ago, Lipinski overcame stiff challenges. Lipinski won with 54 percent of the vote against 26 percent for challenger and Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Mark Pera, 12 percent for Chicago attorney Jim Capparelli and 8 percent for Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett

Pera's campaign was being ballyhooed by many of the writers for the DailyKoz Web Blog, a very popular politically controlled blog that includes some racists who attack minorities and left-wing extremists, although the majority of the bloggers are mainstream and very pro-Democratic. But many of the bloggers who hammered Lipinski lived outside of the congressional district. Lipinski was first elected in 2004 after succeeding his father, Bill Lipinski.


Incumbent Congresswoman Judy Biggert (R-13th) takes a pass in the February 2, 2010 Republican primary and is being challenged by one Democrat in the November General election. That candidate is Democrat Scott Harper of Lockport. Harper challenged Biggert in 2008 and came closest to ousting Biggert who has been criticized for failing to be accessible to everyone in her district, especially from Orland Park.

It's a race worth watching as Biggert has been distributing government paid-for newsletter attacking the need for Health Care reform and rejecting proposals to create competition for the scumbag health Insurance Industry. Biggert has blasted reform measures introduced by President Barack Obama and has conveyed the lies that some far right-wing extremists have offered, including bigots like Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck claiming that the reforms proposed by Obama call for funding for abortion (they don't) and propose covering illegal aliens with health insurance (which is also a typical big lie in her literature).

Biggert has been one of the most inaccessible congress members and Harper has a shot at unseating her.

Not surprisingly, 13 candidates filed for governor including besieged and beleaguered incumbent Gov. Pat Quinn. The lead Democrat is Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes who has been pummeling Quinn and exposing Quinn's apparent hypocrisy. Quinn, a former reformer, has compromised his views to work with Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and to undermine and weaken campaign finance reform measures. 

The former running mate with disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Quinn has been as equally unaccessible to the public and especially to the community media as was Blagojevich, who faces a slew of federal corruption charges.

Also running on the Democratic side are: Ed Scanlan of Oak Park and William "Dock" Walls of Chicago, a former aide to the late Mayor Harold Washington.

On the Republican side, former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, who lost in a bid against Blagojevich in 2002, filed his petitions. But many believe Ryan's candidacy is tainted with the bad politics of the past. Ryan is not the only person running for statewide office who tried to unseat Blagojevich. Former Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, in a surprising move, turned her sights on the Illinois Comptroller's race.

Other Republican candidates include the high profile Dan Proft who started his campaign before most and has received widespread media attention and support.

Former Republican Party chief Andy McKenna also entered the race, broadcasting strong commercials harmed only by a cheap joke reference to Blagojevich's "hair." The TV Commercial comes across very strong until it makes the stupid "hair" reference and makes McKenna look like his strongest feature is his dislike for Blagojevich instead of focusing mainly on the campaign issues that confront taxpayers throughout Illinois. Get a new advertising agency Andy!

Also running on the Republican ticket: Robert Schillerstrom of Naperville; Sen. Kirk Dillard, a strong candidate who has the endorsement of former Governor turned political consultant Jim Edgar (Edgar's political public affairs firm represented convicted felon Antoin "Tony" Rezko); Illinois Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington; and Adam Andrzejewski of Hinsdale.

Topinka entered the race after METRA Board member Jim Dodge announced his own candidacy for the Comptroller's race. Also running as a Republican is William J. Kelly, a cable TV sports host.  Several Democrats have filed including Raja Krishnamoorthi, David Miller and Clint Krislov.  Erika Shafer filed on the Green Party slate.

In the "race" for attorney General, Incumbent Lisa Madigan, Mike Madigan's daughter, faces no Democratic challengers. She will face Republican Kim Steve of Northbrook and Green Party candidate David Black of Belvidere.

The race for lieutenant governor is packed and includes: (Republicans) Brad Cole, Jason Plummer, Don Tracy, Randy White Sr., Matt Murphy, and Dennis Cook; (Democrats) Rickey Hendon, the best known so far, Terry Link, Art Turner, Scott Lee Cohen, Thomas Michael Castillo and Mike Boland. (Green party) Don Crawford.

Secretary of State Jesse White is also getting a pass in the Democratic primary, facing Republican Robert Enriquez and Green Party candidate Adrian Frost in the November 2010 election.

And in the race for State Treasurer, three Democrats are battling it out including Justin Oberman, the son of former Ald. Martin Oberman, Robin Kelly and Mark Doyle. The winner will face Illinois Rep. Dan Rutherford, the only Republican, and Green Party candidate Scott Summers.

Here is a link to the State Election Board's very inefficient and not-user-friendly web site (they should take a lesson from the Cook County Clerk David Orr's web site which is one of the most user-friendly and citizen friendly web sites in government.) Click here to go to the state's difficult to use web site.

-- Ray Hanania

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