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April 29, 2006

The Carlinville forum, and what comes next

Rainy day Saturday. Carlinville, 50 miles south of Springfield. Blackburn College, the DeMuzio Campus Center. The current Sen. MeMuzio, widow of the former Sen. DeMuzio, for whom the center is named, is among the nearly 100 people present for the third and last of the candidate forums through which 17th District Democrats are meeting the would-be's who want to replace Lane Evans as their congressional nominee.

Forty-plus among the crowd raised their hands when District Committeeman Don Johnston asked how many were precinct committeepeople. That brings to approximately 160 the number of committeepeople present at one or another of the forums. (First was in Moline, the second in Canton.) Format was the same. Each of the six candidates present (Hal Bayne is still in Romania) got 10 minutes. Nobody went over. Didn't happen at any of the three forums, which is pretty remarkable given that its politicians talking about reasons to elect them.

All or most of the candidates will get at least one more chance to pitch their case to the committeepeople, the group that actually gets to vote on Evans' replacement.
Johnston said that as soon as possible, he and committeewoman May Boland will call a nominating convention. "As soon as possible" means as soon as Evans formally notifies the state Board of Elections that he is declining the nomination he won March 21.

Johnston said the 396 committeepeople who were elected March 21 will be invited to participate in the nominating convention, which will probably be held in Galesburg. People appointed to one of the 325 seats left vacant after the March 21 primary are welcome to attend, he said, but will not be participants.

As Johnston outlined the process, nominations will be requested at the convention. Those whose nominations are seconded and who accept will form the final field. Each will get a chance to speak. The vote will be taken later, by mail. Notarized ballots will be mailed to a post office, probably in the Q-C, where they'll be held pending counting. A plurality will be sufficient to win.

In the meantime, Johnston said, he hopes that by the middle of next week to have determined how many Democratic votes were cast in each precinct; it's a key number since each committeeperson has a weighted vote, reflecting the vote in his or her precinct.

The total Democratic vote is probably somewhere close to the number Evans got: 38,780. (Board of Elections report) The total votes represented in the contest to replace Evans will be reduced, though, by whatever number are from precincts that did not elect committeepeople.

In Carlinville today, the candidates generally shifted away from bios and "electibility" to issues. Rob Mellon, the Quincy school teacher, largely dropped his emphasis on being the outsider in favor of detail on where we should go on energy policy. He wants a "Manhatten Project"-style effort to develop hydrogen as a fuel; he estimated 15 years would be necessary and said that in the meantime we should greatly speed development of bio-fuels. The 2005 Energy BIll set a goal of increasing ethonol production from 4 billiion to 7.5 billiion gallons by 2012; too small, he said. Fifteen billion should be the goal.

Phil Hare, the Evans aide who wants the boss' job, was explicit. "Forget the nonsense about who got what when (in elections). We have to talk about the issues. That's what people care about." On health care, he wants a single-payer system; on veterans' affairs, he wants to provide the $1.2 billion shortfall in benefit costs in the current budget; on prescription drugs, tear up last year's bill and rewrite it in clear language; he's for the prevailing wage; he's against NAFTA, GATT and CAFTA and other trade agreements that drain jobs from the U.S.. He's pro-stem-cell research.

Macon County auditor Amy Stockwell said that "People understand in massive numbers that we're not moving in the right direction." To her, the national debt is the first and foremost problem; followed closely by the executive branch grab for power. "We need to go back to the Constition and restore Congress' proper role," she said. She urged Democrats to meet the need to "talk is short, declarative sentences about our problems."

State Rep. Mike Boland of East Moline and Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert spent the most time talking about electibility, but both moved on. Boland talked about expanding state initiatives he's sponsored to use soy ink for printing and E85 for fuel to a national level; Schwiebert emphasized the cooperative effort that's allowed Rock Island and the greater Q-C to recover from the wreckage of the farm-equipment manufacturing industry.

State Sen. John Sullivan emphasized Democrat credentials. He listed raising the minimum wage, passing an equal pay act and sponsoring a bill providing unemployment benefits for locked-out workers.

All were well-received, and were surrounded by clusters of questioners in the scocial hour that followed the speeches.

I decided not to run the interstates home. I headed west on the two-lanes from Carlinville, after resisting the temptation to stop at the Macoupin County History Museum for a while. The trip through farm country and small towns served as a reminder of the differences to be found through the sprawling, oddly drawn, 17th District, its farm country book-ended by the Quad-Cities and Decatur. . I may have been unknowingly in and out of it a half-dozen times along the way, though I knew I was out of it when I passed through Rushville, the home of Sen. Sullivan, and that I was back in it eight miles later. He's mentioned that several times..

There's been some little attempt to paint the senator as a carpetbagger because his home isn't in the 17th. Seems far-fetched to me. The country between the Q-C and Carlinville is part and parcel, regardless of the meandering district lines imposed on it by politicians seeking advantage. I don't imagine the people in that stretch see the senator as anything other than a home-town guy.

Posted by jcb at April 29, 2006 06:08 PM


Johnston and Mary Boland are co-chairmen of the 17th District Congressional Committee. The Committee is composed of the 17th District Precint Committeemen. The question still in the air is whether appointed Committeemen are included.
When the Committee meets, its first act will be to organize. Organization includes deciding on the rules of the proceedings. Only the Committee, NOT THE CO-CHAIRMEN, can decide on the organization. Organization includes setting the Rules. In other words, the Committeemen will set the rules for how the nominee will be selected. Johnston will have some Committeeman propose his method of selection. At that point another Committeeman can propose a different method. The Committeemen will have to vote on the method of selection. It is possible that the Committee may adopt a method to select the nominee at the Convention. They might decide to treat it just like a national convention and continue voting until a candidate receives a majority vote.
Itís interesting that under the law, even though Johnston is a Committeeman, he canít vote unless there is a tie.

Posted by: True Observer at April 29, 2006 07:02 PM

True Observer -- Back on April 3, you predicted that the convention would end up nominating Johnston. That still your prediction?

Posted by: jcb at April 29, 2006 10:07 PM

True Observer repeats a previous post from 4/6/2006..

In a previous post this Observer said that anyone who demonstrated competence and leadership at the Convention would be selected by the committeemen. Because Johnston would be the Co-Chairman, he had a golden opportunity to display those traits and take the nomination.
Even before the Convention, he has flunked both those tests.
As a precint committeeman himself, Johnston knows that the rights, duties and privileges of an appointed committeeman are no different than those of an elected one. No event, such as the 100 year need to pick a congressional candidate, can interfere with the business of being a committeeman. Also, the privilege of appointment of vacancies by the County Chairman, as and when he has a right to fill them, cannot be interfered with.
Johston and Mary Boland are Co-Chairmen of the Congressional Committee, which is composed of all precint committeemen in the 17th district, and as such exercise the powers usually exerecised by officers of committees. No officers of committees have powers to determine membership. It is true that they can and will have to determine a cut-off date for those who will vote. But since the vacancy for the nomination will not even exist until after the new county chairmen start filling the vacancies, there is no way for him and Mary Boland to go back to a date before the vacancy even exists.
A person who engages in an open public fight with a family member is not a leader. It is O.K. for leaders to reproach family members in public but not O.K. to engage in a brawl which can only bring dishonor to the family.

Posted by True Observer on 4/6/2006, at 10:00 am

Posted by: True Observer at April 29, 2006 11:13 PM

Missed that one. Where was it posted?

Posted by: jcb at April 29, 2006 11:33 PM

Hare is still winning...

...the real odds.

(oh and BTW, he will beat Zinga 55-45 minimum

Posted by: dumb at April 30, 2006 08:56 PM

I think that after the last forum the cream has risen to the top. Phil Hare pushed all the right buttons. He was for bringing the heads of oil companies and swearing them in. Give them 24hrs. to roll back prices or face a stiff tax. He is the only one that is for this kind of courageous leadership. He also will stand up top the big Pharmaceutical company lobbiests. Not allowing them to do buisness in Washington. He is fighting for the average man. No one cares if you graduate high school or not as long as you stand up to the oil and pharmaceutical companies. Phil Hare is almost Lane Evans brother and for anyone that is against Phil Hare is against Lane Evans. These great leaders deserve a great victory from the committeemen. Vote Phil Hare for Evans sakes!

Posted by: Anonymous at April 30, 2006 09:42 PM

I am a Democrat who is increasingly impressed by what Macon County Auditor Amy Stockwell is saying about fiscal responsibility. There is no great moral issue than whether we're going to allow the Bush-Cheney team to dump billions of dollars of debt onto the laps of our children and grandchildren. I deeply appreciate her willingness to bring that issue to the forefront, much the same way the late and great Paul Tsongas did in 1992. I am a Rock Island County Democrat giving her serious consideration.

Posted by: anonymous at May 1, 2006 12:03 AM

((He was for bringing the heads of oil companies and swearing them in. Give them 24hrs. to roll back prices or face a stiff tax. He is the only one that is for this kind of courageous leadership..... Phil Hare is almost Lane Evans brother and for anyone that is against Phil Hare is against Lane Evans. These great leaders deserve a great victory from the committeemen. Vote Phil Hare for Evans sakes!}}

Politics as usual spiel! It would be funny if the eventual outcome wasn't a nightmare in waiting! Those solutions offer no hope; they are useless political rhetoric of someone desperately seeking a political office. He can call all the Big Oil officials he wants to the table and the only answers he will get will be identical to past failed crusades. He can create a windfall profits tax, it has been done before, and it failed to help. The only real answers are to do an end around Big Oil with "NEW" politicians putting forth strong efforts to replace Big Oil Fat Cats as the primary energy source we depend on. They must seek out methods, laws and regulations to replace the current non-renewable resources with renewable resources like Ethanol, Hydrogen and Methane. They must also seek to create laws that allow the common man to have access to those resources. The path chosen by Hare that you posted only points out that he is part of the problem and not the solution! He is evidently a part of the thirty years of politics as usual clique. Thank you for pointing that out to the rest of the populace!

Posted by: NoMorePinocchios at May 1, 2006 02:03 AM

It sounds to me like Phil Evans will be doing all the right things. He has Machine behind him and with the kind of populist message he cannot be beaten.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 1, 2006 07:57 AM

Please...can we stop refering to the RICO Democrats as a 'machine.' If they had their act together in any manner, would they not be able to control the process in even the slightest manner?

Let's face it, with three specific RICO Democrats in the process, the 'machine' is allowing the RICO vote to be split.

I thought that the Republicans were inept by not getting Gilligan out of the race and allowing him to syphon Mowen votes - allowing Zinga to back in. The Democrat 'machine' seem every bit as inept and Sullivan appears to have a clean shot in the back door.

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 08:36 AM

Lane's "brother" in politics are going to win this race. The "Machine" is a lot bigger than Rock Island County. John G. himself controls half the State of Illinois. Add Lane Evans and the Jacobs and you cut a very large swath.

Don't be so sure that the Machine isn't working for Sullivan! Make Sullivan the front runner and then push the populist Hare over at the end when other Rock Island candidates realize it is over for them (Baland, Schwibert).

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at May 1, 2006 09:06 AM

JUDGESTAR, just so that I have this straight...the MACHINE is behind 'Hare.' Should Hare win, I will admit that the machine is what you THINK it is. If Sullivan wins, I expect that you will admit that the MACHINE is as inept as the Republican machine?

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 09:28 AM

Sure, the "Machine" has secured the votes for Congressman Hare. So let's vote 'um!

Posted by: JUDGESTAR at May 1, 2006 01:16 PM

It is going to take a lot for the 'Machine' to overcome the numbers...
Looking at the list of elected precinctpeople, it is easy to understand why John G is trying to work the system...

North Counties (Henry, Mercer, RICO, Warren and Whiteside) combine for a total of -132-

The (balance) South Counties (which include all counties that would love to wrestle representation away from RICO) total -264 -

The 'Machine' has a lot of work ahead of it to make these numbers work when the 78 RICO (and the 132 North) votes get split 3-ways.

Sullivan has this in the bag just by securing Adams, Fulton, Hancock, Henderson, McDonough - and a portion of the balance of the south.

Posted by: havinfun at May 1, 2006 02:09 PM

Simple statistics says that with this number of people involved, you can forget about the individual votes each precint committeeman has. They will all average out.
Just count the bodies to see who wins.

Posted by: Anon at May 1, 2006 04:36 PM

Don't count Mike Boland out of the equation.
He was been visiting these counties for the past ten years, often getting good headlines. He is also State Rep. Mike Smith of Fulton County's seatmate on the House floor. Smith could become Boland's secret weapon in this campaign.

Posted by: anonymous at May 1, 2006 05:29 PM

Did "Phil Evans" ever send a letter to Johnston stating he was declining the nomination?

Does anyone have any information as to why this has not been done yet, since the election results were certified over a week ago?

I assume the "Phil Evans" bit is probably true, since it doesn't appear Lane is able to take care of his business. I wonder if additional proof will be needed to make the letter valid and to prove it authentic?

Posted by: paladin at May 1, 2006 07:41 PM

The letter, which must go to the state board of elections rather than to Johnston, was going to be sent sometime day, according to several people who may or may not really know.

Posted by: jcb at May 1, 2006 07:59 PM

The truth of the matter is that RI county Machine will agree to give unanamous backing to the winner of the prevoting that will take place. They will get this taken care of before the election. They will get it done for Evans sake!

Posted by: Anonymous at May 1, 2006 08:55 PM

Amen, NoMorePinochios... the oil price problem is but a symptom of a much larger problem which will not be affected one iota by largely meaningless measures calling oil execs on the carpet. It will no doubt make people feel good to think that these guys are sweating, (myself included) but it doesn't show an understanding of the intricate nature of the oil market, the things looming on the horizon when China and India cause demand to skyrocket, and the fact that this administration is of big oil, by big oil, and for big oil.

Browbeating executives is simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Real leaders are needed to steer the country onto a new energy path, and it won't be easy or painless. Thus, we'll likly get more empty measures like Hare's proposal and the larger problem will continue to fester.

Posted by: TID at May 1, 2006 09:04 PM

Sorry to suggest the competition, but has anyone read the QC Times this morning (Tuesday). Evans Political Director from 2001 - 2004 (Jeremiah Posedel) is endorsing Sullivan (by-passing his former colleague, Phil Hare...ouch, that hurts!).

'RICO Machine' or not, Sullivan appears headed for a romp (in the Democrat nomination process) and will easily win in November. I will go so far as saying that he may win every single county in November (as the only counties Zinga did welll in in 2004 are presently represented by Sullivan (Adams and Hancock)).

Posted by: havinfun at May 2, 2006 06:54 AM

Oh how I love these principled Democrats.

Congressman Durbin - Pro Life
U.S. Senator Durbin - Pro Choice

State Senator Sullivan - Pro Life (exceptions: rape, incest, LIFE of mother)

House Candidate Sullivan - Pro Life (exceptions: rape, incest, HEALTH of mother)

Posted by: Anon at May 2, 2006 10:10 AM

Let's see:

The new Sen. DeMuzio was there in place of the old Sen. DeMuzio.

Hare was there in place of Brother Evans.

Mr. Boland was there hoping for an assist from Mrs. Boland.

The only one missing was the new Sen. Jacobs in place of the old Sen Jacobs.

Posted by: Anon at May 2, 2006 01:42 PM

Why would the Machine worry about such things as a disgruntled ex-employee such as Jeremiah Posedel. Now if someone such as Jerry Lack wasn't supporting Hare and the machine then it could be a different story. Jeremiah Posedel doesn't even live in the district and isn't from here. What a joke. The machine will just have to steamroll him also.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 2, 2006 01:53 PM

As an anti-partisan, anon4/30@9:42PM reinforces my view that our two party system is corrupt and broken.

anon says that "Phil Evans" does not want to allow pharma lobbyists to do business in DC. I'm sure there are some Republicans who don't want trial lawyer and union lobbyists to do business in DC, either. Hey, let's ban 'em all, except....

I guess "Lane's brother" was sleeping in class the day the civics teacher covered the First Amendment. Yes, lobbyists are protected by the First Amendment the same as freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc. But Phil Hare is for taking away our First Amendment rights...as long as it benefits Democrats.

But as an anti-partisan, what pisses me off the most is that when Hare made all these lame statements about lobbyists and oil companies---- anon says he "pushed all the right buttons", no one present jeered Hare off the stage and demanded policies that would work in the real world, not just Democrat Fantasy Land. Until the parties hold officials to account to come up with policies that REALLY solve our problems, rather than "push all the right buttons", nothing will get fixed and the same do-nothings will get elected again and again.

I don't mean to rag on Democrats here, but in RICO, that's all there is. For Republican demagoguery, check out Frists' ridiculous $100 Rebate scheme---sheesh! I think I smell third party!

Posted by: paladin at May 2, 2006 02:06 PM

I've got to admit, the QC TIMES looks a little less than stellar today. Putting an endorsement from a 27-year-old former campaign worker in a stand-alone article is ... we'll, it's questionable political news judgment. At the very least, it's taking a college student's support of Sullivan and elevating it to a level of say, a countywide official or mayor or something. I don't get it.

Posted by: political wind at May 2, 2006 03:18 PM

I support Andrea Zinga.

I don't think it is fair that the media is giving so much attention to the Lane Evans replacement process. All they are doing is giving the nominee a lot free press which costs an enourmous amout of campaign money. The Dems sure know how to use and abuse the system.

Posted by: The Inside Source at May 2, 2006 03:48 PM

Posedel's "endorsement" will swing zero votes to Sullivan as he's simply a former campaign staffer/hacker. What's curious is his selling out of Lane, after Lane Evans basically bankrolled Jeremiah's college tuition in Champaign. Politics is an amazing business.

Posted by: The Inside Doorknob at May 2, 2006 06:27 PM

Could someone still run as an independent?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 2, 2006 10:48 PM

Jeremiah Posedel was the fair-haired boy a few years ago, but he's lost a lot of his luster. He approached a state representative (Boland) to get a tuition-free scholarship to law school while on Congressman Evans' payroll--questionable ethics at best. Evans was livid, Hare called him on it (as well as getting a full-time salary while going to law school full time), and THAT's why Jeremiah Posedel wrote that letter. It's sad to see a young man with such promise screw it up.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 3, 2006 11:13 AM

Anonymous 11:13 am - help me understand your explanation, as you say two different things.

1. He was seeking a scholarship while working for Evans, and/ or,
2. He was going to school full-time, while working full-time.

Unless there is more to it than this, what is the issue? Many people seek scholarships, regardless of who they are working for (some do it while they are not working as well). Many people go to school full-time and work full-time. I being one of these people. Did I do something wrong?

I am lost on the big issue here - can you explain further?

Posted by: havinfun at May 3, 2006 02:57 PM

There are no questionable ethics involved with applying for a scholarship from your state rep. Doesn't matter who you work for.

Of course you have to remember that Boland is anti-Evans. It's a known fact for many of us on the fringes of democrat politics. Not to the degree that Boland hates the Jacobs of course.

Posted by: Jojo at May 3, 2006 03:14 PM

Part of it involves Boland and Evans being in a long-standing feud. For me, though, the issue is seeking a favor from someone who may be beholden to your boss because of your ability to deliver resources. If you are still lost on the problem here, do a web search for "K Street Project." Not nearly on the same scale, granted, but the basic principle is the same.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 3, 2006 10:14 PM

Boland seems to be at odds with all other elected officials except Pat Quinn.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 4, 2006 10:10 AM