Criticism of IL-6

I know this has become conventional wisdom in some parts to claim too much money was wasted in IL-6, but the reality is all that money was a two way street. Republicans and their allies probably got close to $7 million spent on that race—all money that couldn’t be switched to races where their incumbents were running. By strongly contesting a long time seat, the attention paid to it pulled resources from other seats. Sure some of that money could have gone elsewhere for Democrats, but putting Republicans on defense is the whole point of the 50 State Strategy.

And no, I’m not having the Cegelis debate again. If anything, the time to win that District is in a Presidential year–same with 10 and 11. Part of the problem is that since there is little Democratic infrastructure in the area for 6, many of the Democratic votes for Kerry were Presidential election voters who called themselves independents and are more marginal voters. Trying to get them out there during a non-Presdintial year is like difficult when facing a fading, but still relatively strong Republican apparatus in the area.

11 thoughts on “Criticism of IL-6

  1. DuPage is so ripe for the taking. It’s frustrating that the state party won’t put more resources into building the party there. Vosicky would have won had they done so (and still might — recount’s not over).

    Frankly, I’m amazed you’re unwilling to have the Cegelis conversation now. You were super-ready to have it after the primary, where you said a “pox on both their houses” in effect. It’s not a bad idea to speculate about how a decently supported, anti-war, in-district, second-time-around candidate might have fared in a year in which there was something of a blue wave. Perhaps you’re afraid it will devolve into hysterics but given how much praise Rahm is getting in some media quarters, I think it’s actually inappropriate for you, in particular, NOT to have the discussion.

  2. Let me add that the time to take a Congressional seat is not “in a presidential year” but rather, when the seat is ready to be took. Either because of an open seat, or scandal, or a national wave, or (especially) frustration with the president, or you’re running against Phil Crane. The time to take IL-06 was 2006, because of the open seat, the frustration with Iraq, and the current demographics of the district. The time to take IL-08 was 2004, because of Phil Crane.

    The time for the GOP to take IL-08 was 2006, but they couldn’t do it, thanks to many factors. They’ll have a much tougher time of it in 2008 (when a good Dem will presumably be running at the top of the presidential ticket and all the GOPers are tarred by the war, still, and Bean will be a two-termer).

    The time to take IL-10 was this year but frankly, it will also be 2008. Hopefully Seals runs again.

  3. Had Cegelis won I am not convinced the center forces comprising the Democratic establishment would have supported her in the general. They might just have written off the 6th. I don’t think it is possible to beat the right without an alliance of the center and left.

    I think two factors sunk Duckworth: the strength of the Republican machine and conversely the weakness of the Democratic apparatus and the use of anti-immigrant racism. I must admit, I was surprised at how good a candidate Duckworth turned out to be. It’s remarkable she did so well considering everything.

    We left a lot of votes out there on election day only because we don’t yet have an effective enough means to identify all our voters and get them to the polls. That will come with better organization and building up the movements in the 6th over the next two years.

  4. I strongly criticize the DCCC money — just not for the amounts. I thought the closer ad was weak and ineffective. Spending $3 million on better ads would have been fine. IL-06 was definitely considered a must-hold for the GOP and they spent accordingly.

    I agree that we’ll have a better shot in 2008. This will be especially true if Obama is on the ticket.

  5. Oh, come on Larry. Why not the Cegelis debate again! 😉

    And shouldn’t it be called the 49 state strategy given Illinois’ lack of buy in. I’d like to see that change for ’08.

    And I agree with you on the money spent in this race. If it wasn’t spent here, the GOP could have spent it in other races. On that level the IL-06 was a success.

  6. The Cegelis debate is irrelevant. Big donors were willing to plunk down money on Duckworth due to her story, and having talked to many they would not have done this for Cegelis.

    1) Tammy could have done better without DCCC’s media buys. Their commericals were terrible. Contrast this with her great internal commercials.

    2) The 11th, 9th and 10th were enormously helped by the Republican firewall in DuPage. Seemed every Republican in Illinois was sitting in the 6th on election night. Due to their belief they were safe, Kirk and Weller didn’t even have real GOTV operations on the ground. Due to energized Democratic volunteers and the preoccupation in the 6th, we almost stole one in the 10th.

    4) The GOTV operation in the 6th was a well oiled machine. In Elmhurst, Democratic voters were touched once on Saturday with knock and literature drop, twice on either Sunday or Monday with a phonecall and knock & drop, and on Tuesday… On election day, voters got one phonecall, two knocks at the door, and two hangers with precinct voting information.

    I totally disagree with John’s comment, “We don’t yet have an effective enough means to identify all our voters and get them to the polls.” I have never seen better targetting. By the end of the campaign, Duckworth’s folks had moved through likely voters and had the bandwidth to try to identify in fall off populations. In just Elmhurst, the campaign had identified 7k Tammy voters, and we got a huge amount to the polls. Identification and turn-out were executed well by the campaign. We were hurt badly in Cook by Stroger (& Blogo) bringing Republicans out and energizing them. And we lost the media campaign, but that is another book.

    I agree with jakester that 06 was the year to take the seat. But it was a gamble well worth taking. Roskam as an incumbent will be hard to beat. But LPMandrake makes a good point if Obama is on the Presidential ticket it might be a winnable seat again in 08.

  7. Evanston: “Big Donors” are only one part of the equation. What about issues (taking a stronger stance against the war), party unity (which Rahm helped destroy), and not having the “doesn’t live in the district” tag? I don’t understand why the 6th district is so much different from the rest of the country, where many anti-war dems were able to make surprise gains, even if they were underfunded or in primarily GOP areas (which, I will remind you, the 6th no longer is)?

  8. Maybe Elmhurst was better organized. I worked in Glendale Heights and we probably were able to reach 1 in 15 voters door to door with our people power. I still think we left a lot of votes out there. The campaign admitted that there were other communities that were just “touched”.

    Getting more people registered, a higher rate of response, and more education and getting them to the polls takes developed precinct organization including block captains. At least in Glendale Heights, that organization doesn’t yet exist. That takes some time to develop. This was a great advance but we have along way to go.

  9. Evantson Dem, I’m venturing to guess you don’t live in the 10th.

    Kirk had plenty of GOTV. They were out all along beginning in August from what I could see, and definitely out in full force starting the Saturday before the Election.

    Heck, there were two very young women (either high school seniors or college age) running to every door in my purple neighborhood with no yard sign putting post-it notes on doors. The post-its said “I’m Mark Kirk, sorry I missed you. Remember to vote for me on Tuesday yada, yada….” (Unless Kirk had a sex change, grew 20 years younger, and cloned himself — it wasn’t Kirk running door to door. No wonder they were knocking on doors.)

    Seals scared Kirk into actually working for re-election. I don’t think the 6th race had much of an effect at all on the 10th (other than maybe Dems on the Dennis Byrne Bus Lines went to the 6th instead of the 10th, etc. which I don’t think is true either given how much grassroots support Seals had just to get where he did).

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