Wednesday, March 22, 2006

So much for taking back the House, eh?

First, a little background. Two years ago, an unknown named Christine Cegelis ran a terrific campaign against Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL6) and pulled a stunning 44%, a factor which may have led to his retirement this year.

She had done this by building a solid grassroots organization in what was thought to be an unwinnable GOP district, and her supporters eagerly looked forward to 2006, as they felt she had a real shot to win.

However, the Chair of the DCCC, Rahm Emanuel (D-IL5), was not impressed that she had built this infrastructure in a GOP stronghold; he was upset because she hadn't raised enough money. He tried to get her to drop out, said she wasn't hitting her fundraising targets (even though she met every one, say her supporters).

He went out AND BROUGHT INTO THE DISTRICT an Iraq War vet named Tammy Duckworth, raised money for her (I thought that Democratic national organizations were NOT to take sides in a primary) and got the local downtown machine and Senator Durbin behind her.

With all that going for her (plus the endorsements of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, she should have blown out poor Christine Cegelis, right? Right?

Wrong. Duckworth did win the race, but WITH ONLY 44% OF THE VOTE. Despite having all that money and all those connections, she barely beat Cegelis, pissing off Cegelis' supporters in the interim and virtually assuring that, while they may vote for Duckworth, none of them will lift a finger for her in November, probably costing us the seat.

If Emanuel hadn't been such a dick about this and supported Cegelis, we wouldn't be in this shape today.

Which is the reason that Chris Bowers of MyDD is now deeply concerned about our prospects for taking the House back this year:

Nearly the full-force of the Democratic and progressive electoral apparatus "succeeded" in only helping Duckworth win 44% of the vote in the Democratic primary. This wasn't the blow out I was told it was going to be. This wasn't the blowout I imagined it would be considering the establishment support Duckworth had. It wasn't even close to a blowout. It looks like the final margin will be somewhere around 1,000-1,100 votes. IT was very close, and it was a real nailbiter.

This makes me very worried about 2006. The same people and the same organizations who supported Duckworth remain in charge of winning elections of nearly every Democrat nationwide in 2006. If they produce anemic results like this in IL-06, what results can we expect across the country in November? Believe me, whatever group of rag-tag GOTV activists Cegalis had in this election, using their theocon grassroots, the Republican machine will more than match that nationwide in 2006.

Go read the rest of this.....


Wintermute said...

Thanks for the perspective. There may be another Father Knows Best situation in TN-08 Republican primary. Interesting to watch.

What was the total primary vote, R v. D, in that race; and is that district Dem. winnable?

LeftWingCracker said...

State Senator Peter Roskam was unopposed in the GOP Primary, so we don't know.

This has been a GOP seat since the 60s; however, there has been an influx of latinos and left-leaning whites into that district to the point where it is almost 50-50.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

LWC, this isn't the first time Rahm Emmanuel has done this. While Chuck Schumer slung Paul Hackett under a bus regarding the Senate seat in Ohio (after Schumer recruited him to run, then changed his mind in favor of Sherrod Brown)along comes good ol' Rahm, trying to offer the Congressional campaign against Mean Jean Schmidt as a consolation prize.

Hackett told them to blow it out of their you-know-whats, because he gave his word to the other candidates in that race that he wouldn't enter if the Senate campaign didn't work out.

Hackett honored his promise. Emmanuel doesn't. And they wonder why they continue to friggin' lose elections that are winnable out the gate.