Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 2, 2014

Posts in "Illinois"

August 20, 2014

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

Schock, left, and Davis, watch Rauner fire up the crowd. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The national political tide isn’t looking good for Democrats, but in Illinois this November, down-ballot candidates have an even bigger problem: the drag of Gov. Pat Quinn.

Pat Quinn Could be Drag on Illinois Democrats

The Land of Lincoln is a hotbed of political activity this cycle, with Democrats defending three freshmen House incumbents and looking to pick-off one more — Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the ultra-competitive 13th District.

All but one of those races take place outside of Chicago’s Cook County — the last bastion of support for Quinn and one of just three counties he carried in the state when he narrowly won the role in 2010. That geography is bad news for Democrats looking to tamp down losses in the midterms.

There was no clearer example of Quinn’s problems than last week’s Illinois State Fair, where elected officials, political operatives and party insiders from both sides of the aisle descended upon the Springfield fairgrounds for each party’s respective day of rallies.

On Aug. 14, Republicans flocked to the fairgrounds to support Bruce Rauner, the party’s wealthy gubernatorial nominee who rolled up to the rally on his Harley Davidson and then delivered a red-meat speech going after Quinn in front of a fired up crowd of supporters.

It was a stark contrast from Democrats’ gathering the day before, where instead of riling up his base at the fair, Quinn instead hosted a low-key picnic to pose for photos with a more mellow group of supporters, many of whom were bussed in from the Chicago area.

Full story

May 6, 2014

Daring Young Congressman Hosts Trapeze School Fundraiser

There are plenty of inspired fundraisers out there, but Illinois Rep. Bill Foster may have the most unique event of the cycle.

The Democrat now in his second stint on Capitol Hill is scheduled to host a trapeze school fundraiser in June, according to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call.

 

Daring Young Congressman Hosts Trapeze School Fundraiser

 

Full story

November 5, 2013

Illinois Democrat Estimates $2.5 Million Race for Top Competitive Seat (Video)

The candidate: Former chief judge Ann Callis, a Democrat
The member: Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican
The district: Mitt Romney narrowly won this district with 49 percent of the vote.
The candidate’s team: Marshall Cohen (manager), Travis Lowe and Clare Gannon of Three Point Media (media), Jason McGrath and Mike Bocian of GBA Strategies (polling), Emily Parcell and Beth Hernandez of The Pivot Group (mail)

Former chief judge Ann Callis said she will need to raise $2 million to $2.5 million to wage a competitive campaign in the 13th District next year, according to an Oct. 10 interview she gave CQ Roll Call.

Callis is seeking to oust freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in the competitive district that split nearly evenly between the two presidential candidates. Davis first faces a primary against former Miss America Erika Harold. Full story

June 26, 2013

Iowa, Illinois GOP Chairmen Form New Firm | Shop Talk

Two former state GOP chairmen announced on Tuesday they formed a new Chicago-based venture, New Generation Public Affairs Inc.

Former Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn and former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady joined with Chicago-area businessman Bob Fitzsimmons to create the new firm that will, according to a release, “have a distinctive upper Midwest focus and initial offices in Chicago and Des Moines.”

Their announcement comes about a month after Brady resigned from his post following his declaration of support for same-sex marriage — an announcement that angered some local party members. After three productive years at the state party, Strawn left his role earlier this year in the midst of continued fallout from the GOP’s handling of the Iowa caucuses.

The three principals’ portfolios will include: Full story

June 21, 2013

GOP Chairman Resigns After Comparing Candidate to a ‘Street Walker’ #IL13

The Illinois GOP county chairman who compared a female House candidate to a “street walker” resigned Thursday from his position, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Jim Allen, the Montgomery County Republican chairman, wrote in an email that former Miss America and Republican Erika Harold “is being used like a street walker” and compared her aides to “pimps.” That email was subsequently published on a conservative blog.

Harold is challenging Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., in the 13th District primary. Davis called on Allen to resign in a phone news conference on Thursday. Full story

June 20, 2013

Calling Miss America a ‘Street Walker’ May Get GOP Honcho the Boot #IL13

Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., called on a local GOP official to resign after calling the congressman’s primary opponent a “street walker” in an email.

Montgomery County GOP Chairman Joe Allen made several disparaging comments about former Miss America Erika Harold, who recently announced a primary challenge to Davis, in an email. Allen used explicit and racially charged language to describe Harold in an email published by a conservative blog in its entirety. Full story

April 9, 2013

Illinois: Democrat Kelly Wins Special Election to Replace Jackson

Illinois: Democrat Kelly Wins Special Election to Replace Jackson

Kelly won a first term on Tuesday in the special election to replace Jackson. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly won the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Tuesday.

Kelly, a Democrat, defeated Republican Paul McKinley, 89 percent to 6.6 percent, with 19.8 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Her victory came as no surprise. The 2nd District is heavily Democratic and Kelly had minimal opposition in the general election. McKinley is a convicted felon, according to numerous news outlets.

(See also in Roll Call: Obama Endorses Robin Kelly in Special Election (Finally))

Full story

March 8, 2013

Illinois: Durbin Will Run for Re-Election

Illinois: Durbin Will Run for Re Election

Durbin is running for re-election in 2014. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin will seek a fourth term, a source close to the Illinois Democrat confirmed.

The Chicago Tribune reported the news Friday afternoon.

Durbin is the second-ranking Senate Democrat. He is actively involved in immigration reform negotiations and recently took the gavel of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

This essentially keeps the seat in the Safe Democratic column. Had he not run, it might have been competitive, although Republicans have a relatively weak bench in the state.

March 7, 2013

Illinois: State Representative Considers Foster Challenge in 11th District

Illinois: State Representative Considers Foster Challenge in 11th District

Foster could face a challenge in 2014 from a Republican state lawmaker. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National and local Republicans are recruiting state Rep. Darlene Senger to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster — and she has confirmed interest in taking him on in suburban Chicago’s 11th District.

“I’m considering it, but I haven’t announced anything yet,” Senger said in a Thursday phone interview with CQ Roll Call. She added that she is in the exploratory phase of a campaign and fundraising is a top consideration in her viability.

The 11th District won’t be easy for Republicans to pick up next year. In 2012, Foster defeated former GOP Rep. Judy Biggert, by 17 points. Still, Republicans hold out hope they can win the district in part because of the competitive nature of the Chicago suburbs and exurbs.

Full story

February 26, 2013

Illinois: Kelly Wins Democratic Primary to Succeed Jackson

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly won the Democratic nomination in the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. on Tuesday and is now poised to succeed him in Congress.

Kelly had 55 percent, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson had 21 percent and Alderman Anthony Beale had 11 percent, with 63 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press.

Kelly’s win also marks a victory for New York City Michael Bloomberg, whose super PAC spent more than $2 million in the race. Bloomberg supports gun control, which became a central issue in the race for the district on Chicago’s south side. The area has endured a spike in gun violence in the past few years.

This was Bloomberg’s first foray into congressional races since the elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn., last year. He spent millions of dollars knocking Halvorson, who received support from the National Rifle Association in her previous races, and boosting Kelly. Full story

February 17, 2013

Illinois: Hutchinson Drops Out of Special Election

Updated 10:09 a.m. | State Sen. Toi Hutchinson will drop out of the the 2nd District special election Sunday and back her fellow Democrat, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, according to local news reports.

Hutchinson’s departure comes less than 48 hours after New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC unleashed a television ad criticizing her position on gun control.

Bloomberg’s Independence USA PAC spot also endorsed Kelly — part of the $2 million his group plans to spend on this race. Local Democrats view Kelly as the front-runner in this race, and Hutchinson’s withdrawal only helps to cement her former foe’s top status.

In the first several weeks of the special election to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Hutchinson ran an able campaign. She had good fundraising and a noteworthy campaign team.

But Hutchinson faltered when gun control came to dominate this race. In previous runs, Hutchinson boasted support from Second Amendment rights groups like the National Rifle Association.

Full story

February 13, 2013

Illinois: Schakowsky to Endorse Robin Kelly in Special Election

Illinois: Schakowsky to Endorse Robin Kelly in Special Election

Schakowsky will endorse Kelly on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly has picked up another endorsement from the Illinois congressional delegation in her bid to replace former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., told CQ Roll Call late Tuesday night she will endorse Kelly in the upcoming special election.

“One of the reasons is the gun issue,” Schakowsky said. “She has the view that we need to do some sensible violence prevention legislation.”

“The other two have A ratings from the National Rifle Association,” added the congresswoman, referring to Kelly’s rivals,  former Rep. Debbie Halvorson and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson. “I think that’s an important issue.”

Full story

February 7, 2013

Illinois: Kelly Releases First TV Ad in Special Election

Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly will air her first television spot, marking the first Democratic candidate to hit the airwaves in the special election for former Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat.

Her ad buy is for “at least” five figures on cable television in the 2nd District, according to a Kelly spokesman. The spot highlights Kelly’s support for gun control, a pivotal issue on Chicago’s South Side.

“In the legislature, she worked with Barack Obama to crack down on illegal gun sales,” a male narrator says. “In Congress, Kelly will keep taking on the NRA, fighting to ban assault weapons and outlaw high-capacity ammunition clips.”

Full story

December 17, 2012

Illinois: Democrats Still Divided on 2nd District Candidate

Southside Chicago Democrats have failed to agree on a consensus candidate for the 2nd District special election.

This weekend, a panel of party leaders led by Thornton Township Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli met with the intention of slating a candidate for the Feb. 26 special primary. But they could not agree.

Democrat Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s resignation spurred a free-for-all Democratic primary for his seat. The winner will likely be the next member of Congress from this heavily Democratic district.

The burgeoning field of Democrats include Alderman Anthony Beale, former Rep. Debbie Halvorson, former NFL linebacker Napoleon Harris, state Sen. Toi Hutchinson, Cook County Chief Administrative Officer Robin Kelly, former Rep. Mel Reynolds and state Sen. Donne Trotter.

November 21, 2012

Jackson Resigns From Congress

Jackson Resigns From Congress

Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. tendered his resignation from Congress Wednesday afternoon. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 3:18 p.m. | Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. submitted his letter of resignation from the House on Wednesday, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, confirmed.

In the letter to Boehner, the Illinois Democrat said that his resignation would be effective as of Wednesday, citing ongoing health issues.

“The constituents of the Second District deserve a full-time legislator in Washington, something I cannot be for the foreseeable future. My health issues and treatment regimen have become incompatible with service in the House of Representatives,” Jackson wrote.

Jackson  also acknowledged the ongoing federal probe into his conduct, without getting into details of legal matters. Full story

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