« Firefighters and rental inspections | Main | Wonder what Andrea's up to? »

March 30, 2006

On replacing Evans...

The fact that Lane Evans' replacement on the ballot will be chosen by up to 721 Democratic functionaries, each with a differing number of votes, provides an opportunity for at least a mini-campaign for the congressional nomination.

The guidelines provided Democratics by law are broad and somewhat vague. Apparently, 17th District committeeman Don Johnston and committeewoman Mary Boland will have considerable discretion in deciding details of the process.

I hope they use it to give Democrats at least a glimpse of the campaign Rep. Evans deprived them of with his timing.

The 17th is a large and diverse district, taking in all or parts of 23 counties, extending from the Quad-Cities on the west to Decatur on the east, and from the Quad-Cities south into a corner of Madison County, just upriver from St. Louis.

A series of organized candidate forums at selected spots would be a service. So would a round of speeches from the candidates at the nominating convention, whenever it is held.

These and other campaign elements would give those 721 committeepeople -- and the friends and neighbors they talk with -- some greater knowledge of the people who want their support.

That can only be a good thing.

In the end, of course, the party heavyweights, the county chairmen, will greatly influence the results. The fact that Rock Island County chairman John Gianulis will have only a handful of votes from his home precinct, rather than the 16,000 he wielded in the Mike Jacobs selection, does not make him any less the 1,000-pound gorilla in the room.

He's also president of the Illinois Democratic County Chair Association, a mark of the respect in which he's held all around the state. In his 30-plus year tenure as chairman, his home county has delivered consistent and substantial Democratic majorities on general election day. His advice and opinions will be taken seriously.

Rep. Evans also looms large. His endorsement of long-time aide Phil Hare as his successor carries weight, though Evans won't have an actual vote when the nominee is chosen.

Incidentally, I'm not among those who see some conspiracy among party leaders in the fact that Evans announced his retirement less than a week after he was nominated in the primary.

I saw no deception in the pictures of Phil Hare crying as he talked about how he flew to Washingon on Monday expecting to participate in a campaign conference, only to discover his boss was stepping down. Neither did I detect any falsity in the statements of surprise from other staffers and party people.

Mr. Evans has fought Parkinson's tooth and nail, and I believe he thought he was still on top when he filed for re-election. I think he believed that he would recover from the bout that confined him to home in the run-up to the primary. I think that it was only as the confinement lingered that he finally accepted that it was time.

Whatever the case, the timing destroyed the opportunity for all Democrats to have a hand in replacing him. The widest possible look at the large field of prospective replacements will undo at least some of the damage.

Posted by jcb at March 30, 2006 03:35 PM


This was the most telling quote from you jcb:"...the timing destroyed the opportunity for all Democrats to have a hand in replacing him." Do you really think Evans hadn't consulted with his lawyers, local politicians and advisors in this? Lane Evans holds himself out to be a "man of the people", but what do his actions tell us? Lane Evans is a Democrat, not a democrat.

Posted by: paladin at March 30, 2006 04:53 PM

Damn me for being naive, and maybe you're right, but I think there are times and issues that are so intensely personal that politics takes a back seat, even to politicians.

Posted by: jcb at March 30, 2006 05:38 PM

Ok,jcb, I know you are a Lane Evans admirer. That's nice. But we know that Lane was MIA at least a month before the primary. People who have Parkinsons know they won't get better, they'll get worse. Lane Evans doesn't just represent his admirers and Democrats, he represents all of us, regardless of political affiliation. How does his resignation AFTER the primary signal anything but Politics As Usual? What does the chaos that will follow his badly timed resignation tell Democrats? Or the rest of us?

Posted by: paladin at March 30, 2006 05:57 PM

jcb you are so right that "times and issues...are so intensely personal..." that Lane Evans has chosen Hare to be his successor. You can't get more "intensely personal" than that unless you are Denny Jabobs and you want your "intensely personal" boy to succeed you.

Why do we even bother? I hope all you Democrats are happy now.

Posted by: paladin at March 30, 2006 06:41 PM

The D/A story on Evans endorsing Phil Hare is up.

Whatever the impact of the endorsement, it ought not short-circuit a campaign season, limited though it will be.

Posted by: jcb at March 30, 2006 08:43 PM

For what it's worth, I think you're spot on in your assessment of the situation John.

The reason I beleive so is exactly as you laid out. I simply have no problem believing that Evans was committed to continue as long as he felt his body was able, and to the point where his disease made serving too difficult to perform to his best abilities. I believe it was only his recent hospitalization that caused him to come to the difficult acceptance of the fact that perhaps he couldn't give the job all the energy and fulfill all the enormous demands of the job.

Faced with that reality, he made the right, though very tough choice.

While he might not exactly feel great remorse that it happened to come after the primary, I certainly don't feel it was deliberately postponed to deprive voters of a primary race.

I too, feel that if Evans had thought for a moment that he couldn't both run for, win, and serve another term, that he would have bowed out long before the primary.

Posted by: TID at March 31, 2006 12:14 AM


Where is your rightous indignation?

Posted by: cracker at March 31, 2006 07:54 AM


Are you kidding me?

For you to swallow the notion Lane and Phil didn't conspire together cook-up this appointment in order to avoid a Democrat primary battle is unbelievable! I can't believe how niave you are?

The only question that remain is how the appointment plays in the Souther half of the 17th Congressional District?

Posted by: cracker at March 31, 2006 10:18 AM

Election Law -
If by 1/19/06 Evans had withdrawn as nominee, his name would not have appeared on the March 21 ballot. Any write-in candidates would have had until March 14, 2006 to become candidates.
If Evans resigns his current office before May 7, 2006,the Governor has 5 day to call a special election which must be held within 115 days. The election would be held before the deadline for the committeemen to fill the vacancy for the November ballot which is September 1, 2006.
Seems that Evans tried to pull a fast one except that he didn't read the fine print in the law which said that instead of at most 4 county chairmen, 700 plus committeemen get to decide.
He could have withdrawn from the primary ballot and given everyone a chance. He didn't think his person had a chance in a write-in with 1 month notice to everyone.
He doesn't think his person has a chance in a special election, otherwise he would resign today.It's not like he's despartely needed since he was bedridden for over a month. If he resigned, his office would still continue to function like it is doing now.

Posted by: True Observer at March 31, 2006 11:03 AM

I understand why jcb and TID are defending Evans' decision----the man is hurting and the normal human reaction would be to give him a break.

On the other hand, when people like Don Johnston feel confident enough to say in public: "This just goes to show this is skewed for a backroom nominee, ...This should have gone to primary",what are the rest of us to think? Coming on the heels of the Denny/Mike debacle, people are bound to be skeptical.

Posted by: paladin at March 31, 2006 12:01 PM

The primary process was designed specifically to enfranchise voters - giving party voters an opportunity to elect a candidate to represent them. The current situation is far from democratic - and the eventual nominee will have a real problem with legitimacy, especially if it is Hare or Bolden. The lack of legitimacy that could cost the Democratic Party the 17th District. I have placed my name into the process to become the next Congressman from the 17th to offer those who are not happy with current situation a voice throughout the process. Some party "heavyweight" may be annointed for this election - but I can promise that next election the voters will actually have a choice - having the voters choose what a concept.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at March 31, 2006 01:33 PM

Paladin, the circumstances and Democratic history justify skepticism, and you skeptics may be right. On the other hand, maybe you're wrong this one time.

Posted by: jcb at March 31, 2006 01:38 PM

Many feel that even if the Democrat wins, there will be a primary contest in 2008.
Look at 2006. Even Boland chickened out against Jacobs.
No, if somebody does run, it'll be an unknown.
But, if the Democrat loses, there'll be many candidates.
The question is, what incentive do the disappointed and their supporters have in seeing the Democratic nomineee win since they get a real and honest chance in 2008 if he loses?

Posted by: True Observer at March 31, 2006 02:28 PM

Denny Jacobs for Congress!

Posted by: Anonymous at March 31, 2006 04:43 PM

Mark Sweibert is beating Porter McNeil by a slight margin in the poll on QCOnline. These polls are a joke. The Dope ran several polls and they were all of the mark.

Posted by: Anonymous at March 31, 2006 09:05 PM

No matter what happens I plan on running for Congress in 2008 - at some point the Democratic party needs to be revitalized and energized that can not happen with the current group of candidates - affluent and influenced politicians. Democrats are losing ground in the Midwest due to unpopular views on some social issues - the current slate of candidates are to married to the party to excite the voters. New, fresh, and innovative ideas are needed - 20 year politicians do not have these to offer. They have a lot of experience raising money - but their political experience does not translate into progressive policies.

Rob Mellon for Congress!

Posted by: Rob Mellon at March 31, 2006 10:54 PM

So give us a clue, Rob. Where you from? What do you do?

Posted by: Anonymous at March 31, 2006 11:32 PM

My name is Rob Mellon and I live in Quincy Illinois - I work at a local high school where I teach History and Spanish. I also teach American Government for John Wood Community College. I spent most of my adult life in the US Army - first as a Spanish linguist and later as a Field Artillery Officer. I ran a small business in Quincy, but now I am a teacher. I have a BA in History from Quincy University and a MSE from QU as well. I attended the Defense Language Institute and I am 1/2 done with an MBA program which I started in the Army. I do not have political experience, but I do not think that is a bad thing - I come from a blue collar family and want to work to protect the rights of people like my Dad - the hardest working man I have ever known. I am close from perfect, but all I want to do is serve - that is all I have ever wanted to do. This process will give me an opportunity to express my ideas that is all anyone in our democracy can ask for. My chances for success in this process is slight, but my ambition and motivation are not. I feel the modern politicians are too processed and distant - they do not have a lot in common with the average working man or woman they represent. This is why I want to run - and the reason I will serve the public in some capacity as a teacher or principal. My website will be operational soon for others to find out more about me and to share their concerns, I will talk to anyone about any issue at anytime anywhere in the 17th District. My site: www.robmellon.com. Thank you for giving me a chance to tell a little about myself.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 1, 2006 01:20 AM

Interestingly, the "new ideas and fresh faces" that Rob is promoting is mirrored in the comments to Tuesday's post by John Marx in Beyond Print. Marx touted Mark Schweibert as Lane's replacement, then commenters jumped in to debate the various merits (or demerits!) of the A list (Jacobs, Boland,etc.) then the B list (Hare, Terronez), until finally yesterday, an Anonymouse suggested finding someone young and new with military experience as a replacement. So far Tyler Carroll (SNEM's nephew) and Herb Carmen have been mentioned.

I think Mellon may be right---the time could be ripe for a shakeup in the Democrat Party... if not now, soon. Send the dinosaurs to the tar pits and bring on the new talent!

The tough part will be wresting the power away from the few and getting it back into the hands of the voters. Thanks to all these backroom deals, voter apathy may have reached a point where no one even gives a damn anymore. I hope this isn't true.

To jcb---if only it was true that I was "wrong this one time"...and I mean that both ways!

Posted by: paladin at April 1, 2006 08:35 AM

Why not throw your hat in the ring this time Rob. I noticed you didn't mention your age. Are you waiting for a state pension first before trying to help the people.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 1, 2006 08:42 AM

You won't like it jcb, but a poll shows Sen. Mike Jacobs leading among voters (real live ones) in the 17th District. Jacobs ran up big margines in the rural portions of the 17th District. As DOPE and you learned in the recently passed Demoicrat primary electionn, Mike Jacobs can take a licking from the press and keeps on ticking. If voters had their say, Mike Jacobs would be congressman!

Posted by: cracker at April 1, 2006 12:02 PM

Zinga 55 Any Opponent 45.
1. The voters and the media know that she was right about Evan's health effecting his ability to serve, as events have proven out, and will regret having given her grief over it.
2. She is probably the best known and most recognized person in the 17th District. No Democratic candidate can get as well known even if they started travelling the district full-time starting today.Also, Zinga will raise more money than her opponent.
3. The Democratic Candidate will be tarred as being part of Evans' stunt.
4. Because this has now become a competitive race, the Nominating Convention will be covered by the national media and will probably be live on C-SPAN. The nomination procedure is so unwieldly that no matter what happens it'll leave resentments,question marks and a bad taste. For example, will there be runoffs or will a plurality on the first vote decide. This will be worse than a national convention because there at least its easy to count the votes from the 50 states. Here you have votes from 700 plus individuals with different numbers of votes.There is also the question of the unfilled committeemen positions. The new county chairmen selected this month will fill the openings but is it fair for them to so and thereby affect the selection of the candidate?
Unintended consequences and possible fallout-
1. Republican sheriff in Rock Island County.This may have happened anyway.
2. Jacobs goes down. People may put up with one undemocratic move but not two at the same time. (When voter anger is unleashed, it wont matter who his opponent is. Remember, that's why Evans won his seat in 1982.)

Posted by: True Observer at April 1, 2006 12:11 PM

Rob -- Thanks for the info and welcome to the discussion. As anon 8:42 demonstrates, you'll encounter twits who are quick to ascribe ill motives to everyone and everything, but they're just part of the background noise.

True Observer -- Fascinating predictions and reasoning, though I'm skeptical that Jacobs will lose the Senate election this fall.

Posted by: jcb at April 1, 2006 12:59 PM

I am sorry that I did not mention my age - 35. The article that is in the paper today highlights extremely clearly what is wrong with the system - find a person that can raise the most money. If the candidate spends all of his/her time raising money where is the time to discuss the issues or get the pulse of the district. I am not naive - I teach American Government - I know that it costs a bank load of money to run a Congressional campaign; but is that really the game the Democrats should be getting into - they are most likely not going to raise as much as the Republicans, but we trot out every year and spend all of our time asking people for money. My campaign will not be about asking people for money - I want to know what their concerns are not how much they can give me. I will make a pledge today - I will not ask for a single contribution - no fund raisers - no antiquated system for building a "war chest". That is the exact thing I am talking about when I talk about "fresh ideas". I am a poor guy from Quincy - I will never raise as much as Boland or Zinga - why waste my time. It is about service right - not asking for money. I am not playing a game that I can not win. Sounds crazy right - well, that is all I have - some innovative ideas. Democrats complain about the campaign finace system then when the election comes around they are fully engulfed in the finance system. Words don't mean anything if they are not backed up with actions - if I am for spending limits then I will set a personal spending limit on my campaign. Does that put me at a disadvantage yes, but the voters are cynical about the system and I don't blame them. Sorry for the length of my post.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 1, 2006 01:57 PM

Rob you seem like a dream candidate. Why not throw your hat in the ring this time.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 2, 2006 10:26 AM

The Republican newspapers prefered candidate for congress is Mark Schweibert. First John Marx and now Don Wooten have written gushing editorials about the Rock Island Mayor. But before we turn over our party to a Republican, please tell me what Schweibert accomlished for the city of Rock Island?

The simple fact is "Eddy Haskel" isn't even a Democrat. Schwiebert has never given a dime to the Democratic Party or it's candidates. Why in God' green earth would Democrats turn over their most important office to him? At least Hare, Boland and Jacobs have paid their dues to the Democratic Party.

Posted by: holdum at April 2, 2006 01:03 PM

Today on Meet the Press, Russ Feingold said it was unhealthy to have "one party rule". Can anyone in Rock Island County dispute this? I wonder what Russ would say about the Denny/Mike and Lane/Phil business. Unhealthy, or Okey Dokey?

Posted by: paladin at April 2, 2006 02:35 PM

I agree with anon@10:26 am, that Rob is a dream candidate. But now is not the time. Evans has bollixed this election up with his unfortunate timing, so 2006 will be an aberration, with the dinosaurs fighting it out for primacy. My guess is that whoever wins in '06 will be challenged in '08, and power to 'em.

Posted by: paladin at April 2, 2006 02:43 PM

This is a release that I sent to the districts media outlets last week. I do not have a great deal of faith that my candidacy will be taken seriously. All I can do is keep talking and hope that others will agree with some of the things that I say.



Former Army Officer and current high school teacher today announced his interest in
replacing Congressman Lane Evans for the 17th Congressional District of Illinois.

Mr. Mellon declared, “Congressman Evans served our district admirably and with great courage, but the time has come to re-energize the Democratic Party and the 17th District. Unfortunately, the support for Democratic candidates has declined during the last decade. Fresh ideas from a candidate untainted by the traditional political system are needed.”
“The problem is that too many politicians care more about the concerns of professional lobbyists and special interests than about the needs of their constituents. Congress needs to work better for average working men and women, who are the backbone of our community.” Mr. Mellon promised, “I will not be another political pawn. The system was designed to work for the people not against them. I am not afraid to make tough decisions and work tirelessly to make the lives of the people of the 17th District better.”

Rob Mellon served in the United States Army from 1994 to 2001. He enlisted as a Military Intelligence soldier and was later commissioned an Artillery Officer. After his active military service, Mr. Mellon continued his military service with the Illinois National Guard in Quincy. He earned his teaching certificate and currently teaches History and Spanish at West Pike High School in Kinderhook, Illinois. In addition, Mr. Mellon teaches American Government for John Wood Community College in Quincy. Rob is married to Patti Mellon, an employee at Knapheide Manufacturing. The couple has three children.

Posted by: Rob Mellon at April 2, 2006 06:38 PM

Great news Rob. This is the best news I have ever heard.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 3, 2006 08:29 AM

I hear that Boland will run for both Congress and Representative (if he gets the nod for the ballot). Can he do this? Is it legal? Can you run on federal and state ballot both? I heard that if he wins as Congressman he will appoint someone to his seat, probably his wife. This also insures him to keep his seat at a rep if Zinga were to beat him. I heard this from pretty good source and it seems like a can of worms to me.

I can't get an answer to this anywhere!

Posted by: Ronnie B. at April 4, 2006 09:42 AM

Jeez, Ronnie B, Oliver Stone has taken over your brain even more than he has overtaken mine! Just call Boland or Gianulius, or Johnston or the Election Commission and ask.

Posted by: paladin at April 4, 2006 03:10 PM

Paladin, I saw Herb Carmen mentioned above. Herb is probably staying on active duty for awhile. He has been picked to command a squadron and was a general's aide in Europe last time we heard from him.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 4, 2006 04:15 PM

I think you're getting way ahead of yourself because there's no way Boland will win. He hasn't won over Democratic precinct types ever.
Secondly, the big news is that Sen. Mike Jacobs contacted all the potential candidates yesterday to tell them he's not running for Congress. The press hasn't picked up on it yet, but he's out of the race for sure.

Posted by: anonymous at April 4, 2006 06:09 PM

Good idea Paladin. I never thought of that. I just thougth somebody here might know. Sorry to offend you with my ignorance. I thought this blog was someplace to discuss stuff and just thought somebody might know.

Posted by: Ronnie B. at April 5, 2006 09:00 AM

Ronnie B. -- I haven't had time to do any digging, and also was hoping someone knew. I've been told -- haven't checked -- that Durbin ran for both Congress and the Senate in the same election. But that's a different set of offices and same rules might not apply in Boland's situation.

Posted by: jcb at April 5, 2006 09:21 AM

Why is this paladin so angry all the time for. Very touchy about Boland and Jacobs. He needs to lighten up a bit.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 5, 2006 11:07 AM

My apologies to Ronnie B. I'd noticed that you had posted this question on several local blogs and weren't getting an answer. Frankly, it seems to be a pretty esoteric question, that only someone with the Election Commission could answer.

I share your concern (and paranoia) that more Democrats may be doing some dirty dealing, but frankly I think if there is one more deal that smacks of backroom dirty politics, the locals will pay a price, and I think they know it. Which doesn't mean someone isn't likely to try, just to see if they can get away with it.

Posted by: paladin at April 5, 2006 12:13 PM

If you believe that Hare will get the position because Lane says so you are greatly mistaken. He will have to fight for it just as Jacobs had to fight for the senate seat. Jacobs was elected in a primary also. I for one do not believe that Hare will get the job based on his lack of education. If he loses paladin at April 2, 2006 02:35 PM will you agree that you were wrong and the process does work. Or will you have another crazy mean spirited attack.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 5, 2006 03:12 PM

I hear they are working really hard for Mr. Boland up in Fulton too. He is there all the time working. He has a lot of counties to cover now and should start because he probably has Fulton locked up by now.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 6, 2006 08:39 AM

I know why he's in Fulton all the time - read today's editorial.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 6, 2006 10:00 AM

I think it's in the other paper.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 6, 2006 10:38 AM

Isn't that Boland's long time aid that wrote that editorial in the times today.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 6, 2006 05:42 PM

It was a letter to the editor, not an "editorial."
Quite a difference. I don't know if the writer is a long-time Boland aide or not.

Posted by: jcb at April 6, 2006 07:08 PM

Sorry for the mis word.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 6, 2006 10:29 PM

Please educate me, I missed the QC TIMES. What was the content of the letter to the editor?

Posted by: anonymous at April 6, 2006 10:38 PM

Posted by: jcb at April 6, 2006 11:07 PM

the skeleton will come out of the closet...

Posted by: Anonymous at April 7, 2006 08:08 AM

Pardon my ignorance anon@8:08AM, but what "skeletons" are you talking about and from whose closet will they be emerging?

Posted by: paladin at April 7, 2006 12:19 PM

No one can replace Lane Evans.

Posted by: Anonymous at April 10, 2006 12:37 PM