Jeff Berkowitz writes Public Affairs: LaHood and Oberweis on Top- Topinka almost Rock Bottom.
This is the first time I had ever attended a Republican event. Probably only the third or fourth time I had attended any political event in 20 years. So I'm a a novice and keep everything below in perspective.
Seemed Oberweis turned out a big group just for the straw vote. He had Ed Derwinski there as his campaign chair and seemed to have more supporters. Keep in mind this was small event. I was just struck when he opened with the statement he was the only declared candidate and there was silence in the room. He clearly was expecting applause and didn't get it. Even his supporters seemed to have missed the cue.
Berkowitz right on TOTAL absence of social issues in questions or in milling around chatting with folks. The questions all involved malpractice reform, transportation and third airport, economic development, and school funding.
Birkett noted he volunteered to coach boxing at his high school but will have to stop next year because the school has to have a teacher on the payroll coaching. No more community volunteers. This even though a teacher has never helped coach all the years Birkett has been volunteering.
LaHood said he wins 70% margins in a district only 52% republican. He has big UAW presence in Peoria and public employees in Springfield. He can reach out beyond the base and that seemed a big theme yesterday.
I was impressed with the folks I talked with before and afterwards who had been turned off by Oberweis's anti immigrant TV ads. Folks said they were offensive and destructive to the party.
O'Malley (I think) recognized retired State Sen Walter Dudycz and made a point of saying Dudycz's mom still lives in the old neighborhood around Chicago and Western. Told Dudycz afterwards I used to drink at the Ukrainian bar when my buddy's brother tended bar there. Wish I had bought a two flat with the Ukrainians then.
A preceint captain told me she couldn't figure out why these guys were all there this morning. She said the job was Judy Baar-Topinka's for the asking.
Another question a member of the audience told me he would submit was why so many of you running.
Here's Russ Stewart's analysis of JBT. He agrees with the precinct captain.