Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pwned by Bond

Well it happened -- State Senator Michael Bond pulled the trigger. According to the Daily Herald's political blog, Animal Farm, Bond has announced that he is running for the 10th Congressional District.

Your LakeCountyEye only wishes Bond would have announced a day sooner. And spared your LakeCountyEye the time and embarrassment of having written our tightly reasoned disquisition on why it was doubtful Bond will run for the 10th CD. Oh well, as President Obama says: we need to look forward, not backward.

Bond's press release is the sort of standard boilerplate one expects. More noteworthy is it marks a techtonic shift in Lake County politics. Bond's Senate seat is now up for grabs. Which means there are now some A-list players jockeying for position. Expect a crowded primary, on both sides. There are plenty of State Reps, County Board Members, Township Bosses with Senate-31 addresses who are unconcerned about re-election in 2010.

As to Congressional District 10, Bond's sudden & unexpected announcement is designed to scare off the competition. And he may scare away some Democrats. Your LakeCountyEye doesn't think he scares away Dan Seals. Seals has the name recognition & at-the-ready political infrastructure to take the primary.

Bond may also be hoping to scare Mark Kirk into running for US Senate or Governor. Your LakeCountyEye doesn't see that happening either. Kirk's state-wide polling & down-state support is tepid at best -- he is all but certain to run for re-election in the 10th CD.

Which is actually good news for Bond. Because with Kirk in, Seals is almost assuredly out. Which all but guarantees we will see Bond's name printed on the November, 2010 election ballot.

Your LakeCountyEye's crystal ball may have been the LakeCountyEye eightball as of late. But regarding Kirk v Bond in 2010, you can take that to the -- um -- bank.

Monday, April 27, 2009

To Believe Or Not To Believe?

On Wall Street the rule of thumb is Buy on Rumor, Sell on News. OK this is the blogosphere, not Wall Street, so your LakeCountyEye is prepared to pass along a rumor burning up the 10th Congressional District. In what is looking to be the hot Lake County election contest in 2010, RollCall reported last week that Michael Bond, State Senate District 31, will seek the Democratic nomination to the 10th Congressional District.

As of this posting, we've heard nothing official from Bond's organization. Now, RollCall is a venerable outfit, and a rumor they choose to report is not to be taken lightly. But your LakeCountyEye has to regard it with, at minimum, a grain of salt -- frankly, nothing about the story quite makes it past the LakeCountyEye salt detector.

For example, how does Bond expect to score any better than Jay Footlik did against the de-facto incumbent on the Democratic side, Dan Seals? And if Seals decides to take a bye, what is Bond's reasonable expectation against a formidable Mark Kirk? Kirk has never lost an election and presumably is not planning to lose any future match-up.

Also, Bond is up for re-election in 2010. Would he abandon a safe Senate seat for a risky chance at representing the 10th Congressional District? Wouldn't Bond seem better advised to get himself re-elected to the IL Senate in 2010, and then take his shot at the 10th CD in 2012 -- when he would be risking, electorally, next to nothing?

Also noteworthy are the details of the RollCall rumor:
Bond has tapped John Lapp to do his media campaign, Bennett, Petts & Normington to his polling and Ed Peavy to do direct mail for the race, according to one source familiar with the arrangement. The source also said a former aide to Rep. Melissa Bean (D), Brian Herman, will manage his campaign.
If any of this holds then Bond is buying himself some big-league firepower. John Lapp is the hired gun Rahm Emanuel brought in to help flip Congress in 2006. Bennett, Petts & Normington is the DCCC's in-house pollster. Ed Peavy is Melissa Bean's direct mailer. Brian Herman (who we know to be a Lake County native) co-managed Bean's 2004 upset.
Your LakeCountyEye doesn't know the circumstances behind who leaked what to RollCall. Someone may be peeing down someone's back and calling it rain. Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

10th Congressional District News Flash


While your LakeCountyEye has been all about predicting that Mark Kirk will run for re-election in the 10th Congressional District, it appears the big 10th CD news was breaking on the Democratic side of the equation. It's not a total surprise but a Democrat has thrown his hat in the ring for the 10th Congresional District.

That Democrat would be Elliot Richardson. Your LakeCountyEye confesses we don't know too much about Mr Richardson outside of what we found on his website. We can say this is not the same Elliot Richardson who defied Richard Nixon during Watergate. In fact we can state this without hesitation and categorically, since this Elliot Richardson died in 1999. We don't know if the two Richardsons are related.

Richardson's entry into the 10th CD contest certainly shakes things up. Were Democrat Dan Seals to take another shot at capturing the 10th, Richardson, by any estimation, would be facing an all but insurmountable Primary opponent. However if your LakeCountyEye's crystal ball is correct, then Kirk is likely to run for re-election in the 10th and Seals is likely a no-show. Which means Richardson has adroitly positioned himself as the Democratic front-runner for the 10th Congressional District.

OK, will Richardson be able to beat Kirk in November 2010? Hard to say. Richardson no doubt has a steep, uphill climb ahead of him. Much will depend on whether or not Richardson raises the multi-millions of dollars necessary to run a credible Congressional election campaign. If not then Richardson would likely be front-man for a token vanity campaign in the style of Hank Perritt and Lee Goodman.

Monday, April 20, 2009

To Stump or Not to Stump?

The 10th Congressional District overlaps much of the lower right hand corner of Lake County, and is currently represented by Mark Kirk. Kirk has been agonizing lately -- and very publicly -- over whether to run in 2010 for the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama. Or to sit tight and hold on to what is by any estimation a safe congressional seat.

Your LakeCountyEye regards this open display of vacillation not so much as Mark Kirk being in touch with his inner Hamlet, but instead as Mark Kirk playing a game of political chicken with the Republican party state leadership.

To be the Republican Senate nominee, Kirk needs to first win the Republican primary. It's no secret that many Republican primary voters take their guns, gays and abortion with them into the voting booth. And Kirk knows they're not likely to vote for a socially-left-of-center and gun-hating, gay-loving, abortion-tolerating candidate like himself.

So he's been waiting for concessions and guarantees from party leaders including Andy McKenna. Essentially he's waiting for his get-out-of-the-primary-free card. The only response he's gotten from Springfield so far has been the sound of crickets. Kirk arguably would be the GOP's strongest Senate candidate. The fact that the Illinois Republican party is unwilling or unable to guarantee him a primary win points to their continuing state of disarray.

Your LakeCountyEye can now go out on a limb and predict that Mark Kirk intends to stand firm and run for re-election to the 10th Congressional District. Kirk is already preparing the field by vetting his forthcoming decision in his unofficial blog, TeamAmerica10th.

In a post called Join TA's Kirk Campaign Advisory Committee, you're invited to advise Kirk on what to do. There are already a half dozen similarly-worded anonymous comments that urge Kirk to forego the Senate and stay put.

This may all be a clever head-fake on Team-Kirk's part. But your LakeCountyEye thinks that not to be.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Believe it or Not: Standing Room Only at Township

I could hardly believe my eyes. People were lined up out the door at the Ela Township Annual Meeting on Tuesday. By the time the meeting got down to business, there were 75 people sitting and standing around the room, watching democracy in action.

Why the interest? A group of citizens, calling themselves the Ela Township Progressives, had managed to follow new, stricter state rules and get a citizens’ resolution on the meeting agenda. In addition, attendees had been made aware (through phone calls) that at township Annual Meetings, unlike every other meeting of the year, regular citizens can vote on the agenda and force officials to do things they may not want to do.

In this case, the citizens' group simply wanted to force the township board to be more transparent. Their resolution asked the township to do a few common sense things to make their workings more accessible to citizens: 1) televise meetings and stream them online 2) post approved budgets online and 3) post approved expenditures online, including amount and payee.

Supporters of the resolution and detractors turned out in almost even numbers. A vote to control the moderator position at the meeting, in fact, was a dead-even tie. It had to be decided by a coin toss.

As it turned out, before the resolution was considered, there was considerable discussion among the citizens about the township’s budget and expenditures. A 100% increase in the budget for the road commissioner, in particular, drew much criticism. So it was not very surprising that, in the end, the vote for the transparency resolution was supported by a unanimous voice vote, even among the board members in the audience. Even they couldn’t bring themselves to vote against good government, I guess.

It remains to be seen whether the Ela Township board will actually implement the resolution. The Ela Township Progressives tell me they will be watching.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

State Rep. Ed Sullivan Votes "Yes" to Require Kids to Wash Their Hands!

When we read about it in the Tribune, this sounded like the ultimate nanny state bill. A bill to force kids to wash their hands! But 4 Republicans -- including our own Ed Sullivan of Mundelein -- joined the Democrats in voting for it. Here's the sad story....

Reporter Eric Zorn wrote on April 2, 2009:

"It doesn't surprise me when a member of the General Assembly introduces a patently, aggressively stupid piece of legislation. And so I reacted with equanimity to
House Bill 19 from Chicago Democrat Mary Flowers. It amends the school code to require all Chicago Public Schools students -- and only Chicago Public Schools students -- to wash their hands before eating lunch. Sure, it's a fine idea to wash one's hands before eating. Every student in every school ought to have access to hot water and soap conveniently close to the cafeteria.

But not every good idea needs to be a law. Particularly this one, which unreasonably singles out Chicago kids, would be a time-consuming nightmare to enforce and would likely provide minimal health or education benefits."

Why in the world did Ed Sullivan vote for this bill? (I almost typed "bull"!) Last time I checked, Sullivan claimed to be a Republican. He always says he wants to cut wasteful government programs. But he never said he was against silly unfunded mandates for our already-strapped schools.

There have been whispers for years that Mr. Sullivan is a RINO (Republican in Name Only), who runs as a Republican just to get elected. This vote would seem to prove the whisperers right.