Politics for me in 2014 (the races I am most interested in)

At the national level, I am most interested in the US Senate race. We’ll be extremely fortunate to hold to a 50-50 tie. I honestly think that the Republicans will end up with a slight majority.

The House: forget it: Republicans pick up seats.

BUT, the above is really based on guessing; I haven’t studied the polls and betting lines all that much. I’ll know more this summer.

But as far as Illinois:

1. Senate: Senator Dick Durbin should be able to beat dairy owner Jim Oberweis. I’ll send him some monetary love, but in all honesty this will be because I want to be on the side of a winner.

2. Governor: Gov. Pat Quinn faces “businessman” (think: Donald Trump with a better educational pedigree) Bruce Rauner. Here is a REPUBLICAN attack ad against Rauner (primary race)

The only polls I’ve seen were very old (one favored Quinn, the other favored Rauner); there hasn’t been much polling lately. And in 2010, Quinn was way behind and ended up winning a close race though he was 7 points down. I predict a repeat performance; he is a very good politician.

If I were making a line, I’d call this one a toss-up. Why it is close: Rauner IS a smart man but I wonder if he will listen to reason from his campaign staff. He is also a political neophyte who openly says that his models of success is Wisconsin and Indiana. Hence in the Republican primary, he lost a 10 point lead in the polls and barely held off a dull challenger.

I’ll send Gov. Quinn some love.

3. IL-17. Cheri Bustos is in a rematch with Bobby Schilling. In 2012, she won by 6 points though President Obama carried her district by 17. This should NOT be a close race BUT it will be…if we are lucky. I’ve said this before and will say it again:

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

Her margin was about 18,000 votes.

She won the 3 urban areas by 23,700 votes and her winning margin was 18,000 votes. But evidently this means nothing to her; she has actively moved toward the Blue Dogs (conservative Democrats). Yes, I know, President Obama is only a 43 percent nationally, but he remains popular in the urban areas that she absolutely has to win and get a big turn out.

I’d have to make Schilling a favorite in this race. The only reason that she has a chance (IMHO) is that Gov. Quinn is good at getting good turn-outs and she might, again, might, be able to ride his coattails in these areas.

I sent her campaign a bit of love but I am debating…is this a waste of money?

My summary:

Least likely: getting shut out (all of my candidates losing)
Not likely but possible: a sweep. (if this happens, the bottled water is on me!)
Possible (what I predict): going 2-1.
Probable (not a huge surprise) : going 1-2

March 20, 2014 Posted by | 2014 midterm, Cheri Bustos, Dick Durbin, IL-17, politics, politics/social | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bustos joins the Blue Dogs: bad move

Let me get this straight from the start: I am supporting Cheri Bustos in her election against tea party extremist Bobby Schilling. I’ve even given her campaign a small amount of money. But I am bothered by her joining the “Blue Dog” democrats (a group for moderate to conservative democrats)

But: if she really is conservative, then I suggest we look for someone else; remember that in the 2012 election, Barack Obama won her district by 17 points. She won that district by 6.

So this isn’t a case of, say, having a Democrat in a red region; I can completely understand accommodating conservative Democrats in Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Montana, etc. That is NOT the situation here.

Unfortunately, on appearances, her embrace of this group appears to be a reaction to being in what might be a tight race.

That might be a misreading of what a tight race means.

Many think that a close race means that there are a sizable number of “unpersuaded” voters who will decide the election. In such a case, appearing to “move to the center” might work. But there are also races that are tight because the region is genuinely split between people who are highly unlikely to change their mind (think: North Carolina). In the latter case, one wins by getting people to the polls and they need a reason to show up.

President’s Truman’s words were very wise:

I’ve seen it happen time after time. When the Democratic candidate allows himself to be put on the defensive and starts apologizing for the New Deal and the fair Deal, and says he really doesn’t believe in them, he is sure to lose. The people don’t want a phony Democrat. If it’s a choice between a genuine Republican, and a Republican in Democratic clothing, the people will choose the genuine article, every time; that is, they will take a Republican before they will a phony Democrat, and I don’t want any phony Democratic candidates in this campaign.

But when a Democratic candidate goes out and explains what the New Deal and fair Deal really are–when he stands up like a man and puts the issues before the people–then Democrats can win, even in places where they have never won before. It has been proven time and again.

I hope that Bustos doesn’t continue down this path.

February 4, 2014 Posted by | Democrats, IL-17, Illinois, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Politics: Toward the 2014 mid term elections

It is no secret that Republicans do a better job of getting out the vote than the Democrats, at least in the mid term elections.

Many liberals cheered when Michele Bachmann announced that she wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2014, but I wasn’t one of them. Reason: with Ms. Bachmann in the race, we had a chance to pick up a red district. Now, that chance has been greatly diminished, possibly to the point of hopelessness.

Yes, it is easy to pick up on her crazy comments and her general lunacy. What we sometimes miss is that she had enough influence with the Tea Party crowd to get enough people to take crazy conspiracy theories “seriously” and to give cover to like minded Republicans who share the same policy goals but are more restrained in their public statements. Other GOP candidates can benefit by looking “sane by comparison”.

Rachel Maddow sums it up very well here.

IL-17 There is some talk that Bobby Schilling might run again. As far as IL-17, remember that President Obama won this district 57.6-40.6 but Bustos only won 53-47. One might infer that 4-5 percent of the voters in this district voted for both Obama and for Schilling (?); I also noted that Schilling was careful to keep some distance between his campaign and Mitt Romney’s, even though Mr. Schilling is a dyed in the wool tea party Republican.

So, this race is far from certain; GOTV operations will be essential.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Cheri Bustos, IL-17, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , | 1 Comment

2012 Elections by Congressional District

The data is here

For example, you can see that President Obama won 11 Texas Congressional Districts in 2012. I haven’t ground through the numbers to see how a CD decided election would have gone (Romney, but I don’t know the final score). One note: there were fewer “voted for a Congressional D but voted for President Obama” districts. However my district went for a Democrat (Bustos) by 6-7 points but went for President O by 17.

Note: if you are wondering how Democrats keep getting more votes but Republicans keep getting more House seats: part of that is gerrymandering and part of it is that Democrats tend to run up huge margins in their districts (mostly urban) whereas the Republicans win more districts but by somewhat closer margins. So the Democrats have more people behind them, but we tend to live clumped together.

April 10, 2013 Posted by | 2012 election, IL-17, Illinois, politics, politics/social | , | Leave a comment

Election Recap: Part I: my experience, Koehler and Bustos (IL-17 US House, IL-46, State Senate)

Workout notes Easy 4 mile walk over lunch.

Election Recap, Part I
I’ll probably keep a stream of these coming.

Personal Experiences

This election, I broke down my activities as follows:
National: mostly money to the Obama campaign.
Local: I attended fund raisers for the Koehler and Bustos campaign (several) and attended the Bustos-Schilling debate, and I spent money on each. I wrote a letter to the editor for Mr. Koehler. On election day, I did an “almost complete” walk route (had to double back to get rain gear) and part of another route. The idea: make sure our people got to the polls. Basically, I knocked on doors (about 80 total) and hung “please vote” door hangers on the door knobs.

Here is one of my routes (the morning one, with the “double back” to get rain gear:

Note: I did NOT count this as “training mileage” :-), though I get in a 5 mile run prior to starting this.

I probably put in another mile in the late afternoon, quitting when it got too dark to read the house numbers easily.

In between routes, I hung out at the Peoria Democrats headquarters and got to say “hi” to Ms. Bustos and Ms. Gordon (uncontested race) and the other volunteers. I spent part of the evening at the Democratic victory party for Senator Koehler.

About the canvass What was very different this time is that I canvassed in a neighborhood that I was familiar with; I actually knew many of the people whose houses I visited. Also, many recognized me because several of my regular running or walking training routes goes through that neighborhood. They “know” me as the old man who is always running or walking in the neighborhood.

I got encouragement and in one of the other neighborhoods, I got the “way to go” fist pump.

How the Dave Koeher race went
Many were worried as Pat Sullivan was well known and, up to the start of the race, reasonably well liked. He had success in small business and he resurrected some properties along the riverfront. Those accomplishments are genuine. He also had a lot of money backing him: the Republican party establishment, Aaron Schock (US House, IL-18) and my City Council Person Barbara Van Auken (who I worked for when she first ran).

He then ran some very negative ads; Koehler responded and then the Sullivan campaign screamed bloody murder. There were Sullivan signs all over the place, but ultimately, not enough votes. Note: Sullivan’s debate performances were very poor.

It ended 54-46 Koehler.

The Bustos race Bustos took on Tea Party Incumbent Bobby Schilling. Given that the IL-17 district was gerrymandered to make it more Democratic friendly, this was a tough sell for Mr. Schilling. He couldn’t be too antagonistic toward President Obama (who lead by 15 points in this district) but he could ill afford to lose what conservative support that he had.

Tactics: the NRCC ran some deceptive ads for him and he came out with a flier called The Illinois Democrat which featured him.

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, dave koehler, Democrats, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment

Thursday Night Koehler “GOTV” rally

Thursday Night Barbara and I went to the Dave Koehler “Get out the Vote” rally.

Dave Koehler at the podium (incumbent IL-46 State Senator)

Cheri Bustos: D challenger for the US House IL-17

I am in this shot; I am talking to Lynn. I am wearing a blue and gold Navy jacket and a red Bradley sweatshirt. Yes, I have a very gray beard.

Another crowd shot; I am in it.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Friends, IL-17, IL-18, Peoria, Peoria/local, photos, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment

More Election Stuff: the state at 2 November (Friday Prior)

No workout this morning though I might stretch this afternoon.

Some people are making the case for Romney because if Obama wins, the Republicans in the House will do nothing but obstruct. Don’t give into political blackmail!

Jobs numbers are due out later this morning. My prediction: if they are good, the Republicans will cry “foul, the books are cooked”. If they are bad, they’ll go after Obama.

The race: First the Presidential Race, Next: IL-17
Prediction Maps
Electoral Vote

Election Projection


Nate Silver

Nate Silver: 80 percent.

Intrade Odds (these change by the hour!)

Iowa Electronic

The bookies

(note: Romney “3″ means you risk one dollar to win 3, or he has a 1/(3+1) = 1/4 chance; Obama 1/4 means you risk 4 dollars to win 1; this means Obama has a 4/(4+1) = 4/5 chance. The chances add to more than 1 since the house is supposed to always win)

IL-17 Race
The polls don’t look so good for Bustos:
(election projection)

But the Election Projection model gives Bustos a tiny edge due to Obama doing so well in the district (about a 15 point lead)

It is going to come down to turn out. I’ll work some on Saturday so I can work on election day.

November 2, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, economy, IL-17, politics, politics/social, poll, republicans | 2 Comments

Changing Neighborhoods, Static Presidential Race

Workout notes Part II 1800 yard swim; 600 free, 5 x (free/back/free/side/free/side/free/fly), 100 of free/fly, 100 of front/free.

Changing neighborhoods: no trick-or-treaters today. We used to have a lot of them but we have no families with small kids anymore. We have empty-nesters and college students.

Local Politics The Peoria Journal Star ran my letter today:

I am writing this letter in support of state Sen. Dave Koehler, who is running for reelection.

Sen. Koehler has built a well-deserved reputation for high integrity and for boldly tackling the tough issues. He has consistently fought for the long-term interests of his constituents.

Pat Sullivan is running against him with little more than a “trust me, I was successful in business” message. Nothing in his ads or in the debates indicates that he either understands or is interested in understanding the complexity of the challenges facing our state. Instead he offers simplistic slogans and vague promises to “fix it.”

Even worse, one of his later ads complains of Sen. Koehler attacking him, even after running very negative ads of his own from the very start! Sullivan’s ads are straight from the Karl Rove playbook.

I also notice that one of Sullivan’s ads has Aaron Schock supporting him. Schock has consistently fought for the interests of the wealthiest among us and has been taken to task for boasting of delivering money projects that he voted against!

Some tea party types didn’t like my letter too much; you can see the comments at the link.

IL-17 Aaron Schock (the incumbent who is in total command of the IL-18 race) is hosting a rally for Bobby Schilling. Note: the south side of Peoria (where I live) is in IL-17; Schock represents IL-18. I am currently in IL_18 but will be in IL-18 in the next Congress.

This is interesting, since Schilling appears to be trying to sell himself as a “moderate” and even a “Democrat” (by his mailings); now he is campaigning with a well know right-wing House member.

Note: Obama has a 15 point lead in IL-17; though the race is close in the polls (they go both ways) and the race is a toss up at this point, I am not sure that getting close to this right winger will help him. Evidently his campaign thinks that it will.

Presidential Race

I’ve learned some things from following this race:

1. Not all “close” states are created equal. You have some close states (e. g., North Carolina) where the race is close, but there are almost no persuadable voters. You have mostly white evangelicals (pro-Republican) and a mixture of research triangle types and blacks (pro-Democrat) and little else. In these states, it is almost all about turn-out; the candidates play to their respective bases here in order to get them excited. In the North Carolina example, though the polls are close, Mitt Romney will probably carry it.

On the other hand, there are some close states where there is some hope of peeling off “soft support” or persuading an undecided voter.

2. Not all “close” states are “tipping point states”. Example: North Carolina or Florida. If Obama wins either of these, it probably reflects the fact that he is in command elsewhere by larger margins. Hence these will probably NOT be the states to “put him over the top” should he win them (unlikely in both cases).

3. National versus state polling: sometimes state polling can give a clearer picture than national polling, even in terms of the final popular vote margin. If that sounds counter intuitive, read Nate Silver’s article.

Now about the race:

Electoral Vote

The Bookies

How to read this: Obama 1/4 means that one must bet 4 dollars to win 1 dollar (e. g., if Obama wins you get your 4 back plus one extra); this is roughly equivalent to Obama having a 4 in 5 chance (5 = 4+1) of winning (80 percent). Romney: 9/4 means you bet 4 to win 9 (you get 4 back plus an extra 9); this means that Romney has a 4 in 13 chance (4 + 9 = 13) of winning (30.8 percent). Note: the odds add up to more than 1 because the house always makes money; the bookies set the odds to get the same amount of money on each candidate.

Nate Silver


There are others that give Obama more favorable odds; I’d rather not look at those right now.

Here is Election Projection (Electoral Vote is from a Democrat; Election Projection is from a Republican)

Note: Election Projection has a LOT of good data on House races.

All signs point to a narrow but static Obama lead. In football terms, Romeny is going to have to force a fumble, block a punt or run back a kick for a score, etc. I’d call Romney’s situation “tough” but NOT “desperate”.

November 1, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, IL-17, IL-18, Peoria/local, political/social, politics, swimming | 1 Comment

Republican Dirty Tricks in IL-17, with video (and yes, I voted today!)

Workout notes Weights plus an untimed 5 mile walk. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, 3 super sets of (rows: 10 x 200 Hammer machine, 10 x 160 pull downs, 10 x 52.5 curls (pulley)), bench press: 10 x 135, 8 x 165, 6 x 165, 5 x 165, incline: 2 sets of 7 x 135, 2 sets of 15 x 45 (dumbbell) military press (seated). I did vertical ab crunches as rest between sets.

IL-17 is a redistricted Congressional District in Illinois; it was redrawn after Illinois went from having 19 Congressional Districts to 18.

Historically: Lane Evans won it in 1982 and represented it until Phil Hare won it in 2006. But in 2010, Phil Hare was upset by a Tea Party Republican named Bobby Schilling.

However the district has been redrawn to be even more Democratic; currently Barack Obama leads by 15 points.

The Bustos-Schilling race has been close; by Election Projection:

10/25/12 Stuart Rothenberg Pundit Change: Tilt DEM to Toss-up
10/15/12 Public Opinion (R) Schilling 51% – Bustos 44%
10/18/12 GBA Strategies (D) Bustos 49% – Schilling 45%
10/13/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Schilling to Weak Bustos
10/09/12 WeAskAmerica Bustos 46% – Schilling 46%
10/10/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Bustos to Weak Schilling
10/04/12 Anzalone Liszt Research (D) Bustos 45% – Schilling 44%

So, the Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to hold this seat. So watch out for the dirty tricks!

We have this ad from the NRCC:

Wow! There are some problems here though. For one, Ms. Bustos isn’t a member of that country club and never was. Also, this improvement was for water main repair, and had started BEFORE she took her seat.

More here.

Now there is this:

What you are seeing is a newspaper tabloid style mailer called “The Illinois Democrat” which is an extended ad for Bobby Schilling. You have to dig deep into the ad to find a mention that Mr. Schilling is the Republican candidate.

That isn’t a surprise; at the last Schilling-Bustos debate, Mr. Schilling failed to mention Mitt Romney once, but did have a few good words to say about President Obama.

Here is my (7 minute) video commentary.

October 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking, weight training | 3 Comments

Strong Performance by Cheri Bustos in the Peoria Debate (IL-17)

I just got back from a debate between candidates for the US House (IL-17): Cheri Bustos is the Democratic challenger whereas Bobby Schilling is the Tea Party Republican incumbent.

Note: the race is close: over the past few weeks there have been polls that showed (in chronological order) : Schilling by 2, Bustos by 1, Bustos by 4. Note: in this district, President Obama leads by 15 points.

So, it was clear: neither side could antagonize Obama supporters; in fact neither candidate mentioned Mitt Romney ONCE whereas both praised President Obama to at least a degree.

Of course, Mr. Schilling did so deceptively: he mentioned that President Obama didn’t want to “raise taxes on the job creators”. But when Mr. Schilling said that, he was responding to Ms. Bustos talking about the plan to let the upper income Bush tax cuts expire and President Obama was talking about the middle class. Mr. Obama did agree to some compromises in order to get some indirect stimulus passed (payroll tax holidays, extension of unemployment benefits, etc.)

Mr. Schilling also talked about President Obama signing some free trade agreements and tried to conflate these with earlier trade agreements (e. g. NAFTA), and he attempted to defend Mr. Ryan’s Medicare “Voucher” plan (which it indeed is), though he didn’t mention Mr. Ryan either.

Ms. Bustos kept pounding away at Mr. Schilling’s party line adherence to the Republican “trickle down economics” policies.

Note: Mr. Schilling fired at attack (on something that Ms. Bustos 401K plan invested in and has since divested in) and Ms. Bustos pointed out that a Republican ad, which Mr. Schilling “mostly” stood by, was fiction. Mr. Schilling did say that he “didn’t agree with all” of those Republican PAC attack ads though he didn’t mention what he didn’t agree with and he did call them “factual”

(they were “factual” in dollar amounts and in that they involved a road that ran by Ms. Bustos’ house and goes to a country club…which Ms. Bustos does NOT belong to…and the 625K project was approved BEFORE Ms. Bustos took office)

I think that Ms. Bustos better connected with her potential constituencies as, well, she genuinely holds their values.

Personal note: after the debate, Ms. Bustos told me that she could see me shaking my head when Mr. Schilling was repeating his RNC talking points.

My wife said that Ms. Bustos came off as more authentic.

But ultimately the voters will have to decide.

October 26, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, Illinois, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 645 other followers