2008 Congressional Elections–Open Thread

Okay, I want some feedback on what people think of the three candidates from this cycle:

Duckworth, Pavich and Seals.

The aim is to get a variety of opinions about the three candidates and their campaigns. From there, there will more open threads about whether to encourage the above candidates, discourage them, and lay out potential candidates for each race if discouraging the last candidate is a good idea.

My point is to evaluate the three of them as candidates in their own right and from that discuss whether they should run again.

I don’t have strong opinions on Duckworth and Pavich at this point, but I’ve already said, I want Seals to run again. In fact, I hope he is already running again. If Kirk loses his mind and shoots for Senate against Durbin in a Blue State in a Presidential year with the next two years looking rocky for Republicans, Seals should win that race. If not, Kirk has a great shot at it anyway. In fact, that might push Kirk up since he might as well shoot big if he’s a top tier target. I’m not discouraging a primary–I generally think they are good things, but it would take an awful lot for me to not back Seals. He’s that good.

People read so take this seriously.

19 thoughts on “2008 Congressional Elections–Open Thread

  1. Well I don’t like Duckworth after what she did to Cegelis but if she wants to run again she should move into the district and start running now. Her main failing is she had to rely mostly on people from out of district. If she wants to go at it again she needs to start building a Democratic party in the district, since she largely destroyed the Cegelis network, and build her bonafides in the district. Due to her military service she was not really a resident in the area for long. She needs to build a reputation as a member of the community. Living outside the district will not help her in that. ( If you have to give an excuse for why she doesn’t you have already lost the point)

  2. Duckworth was an outstanding candidate. She has a future in government, whether that is in Illinois or working in D.C. She did a great job and out-campaigned a seasoned politician.

    Let’s not forget: We are talking about Du Page County here. Other than Orange County it might be the most Republican county in the country. And she almost won.

    Seals had a great operation and deserves another shot.

    We thank Pavich for his service and hope he is part of the team to support the 2008 Democratic nominee for that seat. He personally has not earned another run.

  3. Seals ran a solid campaign for a first-timer with next to no support from Rahm and the DCCC. He raised, what, like $2 million? That’s an incredible amount of money and shows not only that he worked his ass off, but that he has solid support in the district. He is charismatic and articulate.

    He needs to move into the district if he is going to try again. I know it sounds like a silly thing, but Kirk hammered him on it and I think people do wonder about your commitment if you can’t be bothered to move in. Seals also suffered from lack of name recognition and so he might do better a second time around.

    Bush will not be on the ballot and some of the sense of urgency that was the `06 election is now gone with the Dems assuming control. In that sense, it could be a more difficult climate for him. If Kirk runs for Senate (please, oh please, oh please), then Seals has a great shot. The district hasn’t voted for the GOP in a Prediential election since 1988, we should be able to take it. Kirk won because he managed to portray himself as some kind of independent (despite his record of voting with his party 90+% of the time), because he was able to deliver on things like commuter rail services and because he is a strong backer of Israel which matters in the 10th. He is also not a jerk like a Jim Sensenbrenner, Henry Hyde, Curt Weldon or some of the other gems in the GOP fold, so he comes across well notwithstanding his voting record.

    Durbin is pushing Dan to make another run. If he does, we will have to improve the ground game in North Chicago and Waukegan–turnout there was a problem.

  4. Any comment on Chris Bowers’ assertation at MyDD.com that Seals was “too milquetoast”. I hadn’t heard any substantial criticism of him during either the primary or the general so I was surprised by this. For better or worse, I understand where the criticism of Duckworth and Laesch is coming from, but I don’t have a sense for Seals.

  5. Who knows. I specifically tried to rebut that on other blogs when brought up in context of criticism of Rahm.

    It seems most local bloggers criticize DCCC for not supporting Seals enough. I don’t know of any Dems who had anything against him locally and I was really, really impressed.

    I thought Seals was, strike that, is a great fit for that District and is a bright guy.

  6. It’s hard for me to be neutral on any of our candidates. I was happy to help them any way I could. We really had a great slate.

    The “milquetoast” comment on Seals is totally off-base. Shows how close Bowers was to the 10th CD.

    I guess what’s left is to look forward to ’08. I’d love to see any of the candidates on our side run again — though that’s asking a lot from them in a family or professional way.

  7. I volunteered for John Pavich from the summer of 2005 until now. I am not related to him and did not know him until I heard he was running. I now consider him a loyal friend. I grew up in the district, but live in Chicago. I felt this district was the Dems greatest opportunity in IL to pick up a seat so I offered him my help. I still believe this seat is our best pick up opportunity.

    John grew into a great candidate. He started out as a 28 year old CIA Officer wanting to make a difference after seeing how Bush had made a mess of the Agency. He raised almost $600K without any support from the DCCC. Instead, they chose to dump too much money into IL-6, create a campaign, and plop in a war candidate (btw I love Tammy Duckworth) that was going to have to vote as a Republican like Melissa Bean to hold the seat. A Dem Congressman in IL-11 will be able to vote as a Democrat. Rahm and friends logic never made any sense to me.

    John received several newspaper endorsements from around the district. He showed a very good understanding of the issues important to his district.

    After observing John with constituents time and time again during the campaign…I noticed something about John. People gravitated to John. They thought he was honest and sincere. They thought he was smart. Women at parades smiled and called him the young CIA guy or the cute CIA guy. What I realized was that John had an X factor…something that cannot be explained, but something that everyone gravitated to. It is something that wins elections.

    John will need additional professional staff if he chooses to run again. He can no longer rely solely on his family and friends to run his campaign (he did this so he would have enough money to get him through the campaign).

    If John gets support from the DCCC and is able to raise more money, there is no doubt in my mind that he will win this seat.

    If he decides to run again…and I hope he does…I’ll be first in line to volunteer and donate again!

  8. I saw Seals speak at a Dem event on the Northside. He and I were speakers on the same program.

    I thought he was very effective at speaking to the partisan audience. He seemed passionate and he talked like he intended to fight the Bush administration.

    I’ve met a decent number of House candidates. I staffed a PAC in DC. Seals compares favorably to other candidates. (David Fink is a guy who I thought was particularly good and lost. Maybe he’ll run again against Knollenberg in 2008.)

    I volunteered in IL-06. A friend of mine who supported Cegelis was helping Rob Beceglie.

    I saw Duckworth on stage a couple times.

    Duckworth is pretty good. She’s got charisma and obviously has a compelling story.

    I’d coach he to use less Army anecdotes and metaphors. I was in the Navy and will use Navy analogies or sea stories to make a point, but not in every conversation. We saw the commercials. The Titanium legs are enough of a reminder.

    My advice to the next IL-06 candidate–and I’m fine with it being Duckworth–is to make the case that the small reductions in federal income tax championed by the GOP are directly connected to the large increases in property taxes paid by residents of IL-06.

    Pavich seemed too much the centrist for my taste. He’s got all that foreign policy experience, but then advocates a view on foreign policy that’s very Beltway CW.

    Pavich is an adequate candidate for an open seat if you couldn’t get somebody better. But he didn’t excite me enough to cause me to talk him up. Although, I met him very early in the cycle, so he may have gotten better.

    Seals is a keeper. I’d be happy to run Duckworth again, but I’d recommend she make some slight changes.

    Pavich should probably season himself by running for a lower office first.

  9. Lauren Beth Gash deserves a bunch of credit for getting the Tenth CD organized so that Seals could hit the ground running when he won the primary.

    LBG is a great asset for the Dems. People should know about the organizational stuff she’s done quietly.

  10. “Well I don’t like Duckworth after what she did to Cegelis but if she wants to run again she should move into the district and start running now… ( If you have to give an excuse for why she doesn’t you have already lost the point)”

    An excuse? How about a legitimate reason? She does not live in the district is that her friends raised a lot of money to specially outfit a home for her after her helicopter was shot down.

    That being said, I don’t think this hurt her at all. From what I can tell — and I paid very close attention to this race — this “issue” never hurt her at all.

  11. Carl…IL-11 is mostly far flung suburbs, farming communities, and central Illinois. John is a centrist because that is what wins in this district. It is split quite evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

  12. David, you felt the spark. I didn’t.

    That’s why I think with some seasoning in a lower level office Pavich could develop into a more complete candidate.

  13. I won’t speak re Pavich and Duckworth since I didn’t volunteer for them. I knew enough of Duckworth’s positions and experiences to be able to defend her against the partisan conservatives and their lame talking points, but I’ll leave it to others who were closer to her campaign to discuss their opinions.

    As for Seals, he’s a great candidate — articulate, smart, personable, hard working… If he does want to run again I would recommend moving into the district, but I don’t think that’s ever really an issue with anyone ‘cept hardcore partisans anyway. (Has Bean moved into the 8th yet?)

    But, he needs to develop a better staffing strategy from the get-go. I heard from numerous would-be volunteers that offers to help went unanswered (or took weeks to get a reply). This was across the board during the summer, around Labor Day and even into the home stretch. Those calls need to be returned ASAP so people can be put to good work, especially considering how close it ended up.

    Perhaps the current staff is now experienced enough and able to honestly discuss and fix mistakes they made. They seemed to be in a bit over their heads.

    In a race like that, you can’t leave anything on the table and this year a good many would-be volunteers were left with a bit of a sour taste at not being able to effectively help (or getting a call back weeks after the fact, time that could’ve been put to good use).

    And I’ll reiterate what Carl said about Lauren Beth Gash’s work in organizing the Tenth Dems. Huge props to her and her efforts! The group needs to be a bit smarter about their communications but overall they’re doing yeoman’s work (the whole “Let’s run Susan Garrett. …Even though Susan Garrett says she won’t run against Kirk” thing gave Kirk an extra patina of invincibility that the Dems didn’t need to give him).

    And let’s not forget Ellen Beth Gill either!

  14. Seals would be awesome if Kirk decided to run for Senate. I don’t think he’d do well in a rematch. If Kirk does run against D2, and Seal doesn’t, we need to look at LBG or Garrett.

  15. I just hope John Sullivan runs another primary campaign against Lipinski in the 3rd.

  16. To be honest I felt better about Pavich than John “Running Against Lipinski” Sullivan.

    And Sully got shellacked in the primary. If you want to beat Lipinski I’d look for a different candidate.

  17. I think that Dan Seals is serious about running again and I’m not sure that Kirk *hammered* him about not living in the district. The Seals response seems to be weak. Rather than discussing the number of blocks that separate his home from the district, he should emphatically state that the Constitution does not require residency.

    Seals is a great candidate and has learned a lot in this election. Messaging, messaging, messaging, field work, and overall campaign management were issues that need to be addressed and he is absorbing all of the data from the campaign.

    Take note of this post and comments from
    . The Seals race is noted in the Comments. The diary deals with the party structures in the country and the 10th District has some strutures that need great improvement. Certainly, 10th Dems have enhanced the grassroots involvement in campaigns.

    Let’s look to more improvements in the District from the grassroots.

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