Big Shakeup In An Illinois House Race-- Durbin Endorses Nancy Rotering, Not The DCCC Hack Candidate
When it comes to recruiting, the DCCC is always attracted to conservative ex-colleagues who have already lost to Republicans. We've talked about how Steve Israel and his crew of incompetents managed to lose the D+5 district centered around Syracuse, New York last cycle by running Republican-lite New Dem Dan Maffei after he had already been beaten in 2010. He road back into office on Obama's strong 2012 coattails, only to be thoroughly thrashed by the voters again in 2014 after 2 years of proving, again, he's not in the least bit progressive. Obama won NY-24 171,502 (57%) to 123,534 (41%) in 2014 while Maffei took 130,969 (48%) to beat Tea Party incumbent Ann Marie Buerkle's 118,578 (44%). Two years later, predictably, Democrats stayed away from the polls in droves and Maffei only managed to get 80,304 votes (40%) and lost to John Katko's 118,474 (60%). This is a blue district and its only the DCCC's ideological, anti-progressive interference that has saddled it with a Republican congressman again.
The story in IL-10 is similar-- except this is a D+8 district, the bluest district in the country with a Republican congressman. In 2012 Republican incumbent Mark Kirk gave up the seat to run for the Senate. The Democrats ran a conservative Democrat, Brad Schneider and, like Maffei in NY, he got into office on Obama's coattails. Obama beat Romney there 157,400 (58%) to 112,552 (41%) and Schneider-- after the DCCC helped him defeat progressive champion Ilya Sheyman in a close primary-- beat Bob Dold much more narrowly-- 130,941 (50%) to 128,423 (50%). And of course, again, quite predictably, Democratic voters saw Schneider in action and just didn't show up at the polls in 2014. Dold beat him 95,992 (51%) to 91,136 (49%).
So now Schneider wants back in again-- and, of course, the DCCC is trying to help him win, which is very possible since either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders could be expected to do very well in the north Chicagoland district. And, then it would be time for a Republican to beat Schneider again in 2016. Seems silly, huh? In NY-24 the likely nominee is a progressive Eric Kingson, who will break that cycle.
I've been worried about IL-10, where the DCCC is making every effort to disadvantage the more progressive primary challenger Nancy Rotering in order to bolster their New Dem loser, Brad Schneider, who used to throw fundraising events at his hold for Mark Kirk. High profile Democrats have been pealing away from Schneider in recent weeks. Jan Schakowsky had endorsed him and withdrew her endorsement after he backed the Republican move to undermine President Obama's deal with Iran. Adlai Stevenson III and Abner Mikva also withdrew their endorsements and then each endorsed Nancy. But yesterday there was an even bigger break in the DCCC pattern of inevitable failure. Illinois' senior senator, Dick Durbin, very publicly announced that he was on team Rotering. "Nancy, a working mom and skilled attorney, has the courage, leadership and determination to return the 10th Congressional District to the Democratic fold," he said.
Nancy brings to this race an extraordinary record for a first-time Congressional candidate. As Mayor of Highland Park she successfully confronted ComEd when local families were suffering from unreliable service, balanced the City budget five consecutive years and enacted real reforms. Her most noteworthy achievement gained national attention when she passed one of the nation's first local assault weapons ban and successfully defended the ordinance against an onslaught of gun lobby attacks all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. While the Republican-led Congress refused to respond to the nation's gun violence, Nancy Rotering and her City of Highland Park showed real leadership. Nancy combines fiscal responsibility with true progressive values.The primary is March 15 and Durbin's endorsement must have shocked the DCCC hacks, not enough to make them up from their incompetence or corruption. But enough to discomfort them. This is a race Nancy can win-- both against Schneider and against Dold, two conservatives who shouldn't be presenting an area like IL10.