I ran to win the first time but I was honest with myself that this could be the first year of a three year campaign cycle. I always kept in mind that I would be building for the future. In the end I received more than 44% of the vote, the most a challenger has received against Hyde since he first ran for Congress. Out of the 18 challenger races, on both sides of the aisle in Illinois, I received the second highest percentage of votes only behind Melissa Bean–I also raised the third highest amount of money. Most importantly, I became the adopted race of many grassroots organizations like the Democracy for America (DFA), and of course I was named to the Dean Dozen. In Illinois, this is an honor I shared with only one other candidate: Barack Obama.
I think there were some mistakes in the first run, but I think she can fix those this time. I’ll go into those at another time, but she ran a hell of a campaign and the groundwork was top notch. Jeff Smith, who ran in MO-3, was also a first cycle Dean Dozen and Jeff had a lot more experience running campaigns. That was an unbelievably hard undertaking and for someone like Christine to pull in 44% of the vote on a relatively low budget is amazing. She underpeformed Kerry by 2 % so a smart campaign should only require picking up 3 % from his total in the 6th. If Hyde retires a lot will depend upon who runs.
If Capitol Fax is correct and it’s Roskam who emerges on the GOP side, all the better. Cegelis will have a very conservative opponent with whom she can run a non-ideological campaign as Bean did.
The key–getting Rahm on board. With his blessing and DFA’s troops and the gift that keeps on giving–Social Security, this race will be decided unless a more moderate Republican wins the primary.
Christine needs to develop a clear position on social security refom and a specific proposal that will extend the actuarial predictions. After that, she is free to beat on any diversion of social security funds to private accounts.
Oh, and fiscal responsibility is a great card to play in this race–Roskam wants to expand the education tax credit while the state budget is tight. Good food for the base, bad fiscal policy. He’d fit in with spendathon going on in DC right now.
Christine is having a fundraiser tonight as well (via Austin Mayor):
“Going for the Green” Fundraiser for Cegelis for Congress
Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Location: Cactus Bar and Grill, 404 S. Wells, Chicago
Time: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Includes: two hours open bar plus nacho/taco buffet
Special Guest: Candidate Christine Cegelis
Suggested Donation: $50