Former judge Ann Callis is launching her latest TV ad on Wednesday, less than two weeks out from the Democratic primary in Illinois’ 13th District.
Callis is the national party’s pick to oust freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill, in this highly competitive downstate district. But she must first take care of business against physics professor George Gollin in the March 18 primary.
“As parents, we teach our children to do what’s right,” Callis says in the 30-second bio spot. “As a judge, I held people accountable when they did wrong. That’s why I cracked down on violent criminals, and stopped the big banks when they tried to kick families out of their homes.”
Callis’ ad is backed by a $27,000 buy on broadcast and cable throughout the district, according to a source tracking media buys in the district. It brings her total ad spending in the primary to $47,000.
Gollin is slightly outspending Callis on the airwaves so far, putting $58,000 behind two ads, according to the same source.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently named Callis a top recruit and the party’s best shot to flip the seat into the Democrats’ column in November. But with no available polling on the Democratic race and or how familiar voters are with Callis or Gollin, it’s unclear where the candidates stand just before the primary.
Democrats have faced recent issues in this district getting their preferred candidate through the primary. Just last cycle, David Gill, an emergency room physician, defeated Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten, the party’s pick.
Gill, who had run three unsuccessful congressional bids before 2012, eked through the primary by less than 1 point, and went on to lose to Davis in the general by 1,000 votes. As Democrats closed in on their recruitment of Callis last year, Gill was appointed to a state government post, taking him out of the running as a potential spoiler again.
Democrats in the state say they are unconcerned about Callis’ odds in the upcoming primary, given her backing by the DCCC and $517,000 in the bank as of Dec. 31.
“He’s got a constituency, but I think Ann’s is by far the largest one,” said Josh Hartke, a Champaign County Board member and the 2002 Democratic nominee in what was then Illinois’ 15th District. “She’s doing well in Champaign County, George’s hometown, and she’s from the southwest corner of the district, and has huge support from Madison County.”
The general election is rated a Tilt Republican contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney each received 49 percent in the district in 2012.