Daily dose: Local history, Tribune endorses Rodney Davis, John Shimkus disses Tim Johnson, John Hartman gets little respect

Daily dose: Local history, Tribune endorses Rodney Davis, John Shimkus disses Tim Johnson, John Hartman gets little respect

Local history

In 1912, that Neil Street is popular with the politicians may be judged by the fact that the three political parties have opened headquarters on that thoroughfare, all within close range of each other. The Republicans are above the Star Restaurant at Neil and Taylor streets. The banners of the Progressive Club are flying across the street in the Price Building. The Wilson campaign has quarters in the same building and has a sign in the window but has not unfurled a banner.

In 1962, the enactment of recommendations by former acting University of Illinois President Lloyd Morey would mean expanded functions for the county treasurer and county auditor. In a report to the county board, Morey suggested the treasure become the custodian of all funds received by the county and that the auditor should be the general accountant of the county and internal auditor for all of its financial operations.

Tribune endorses Rodney Davis

The Chicago Tribune today became the first newspaper to make an endorsement in the 13th Congressional District race between Republican Rodney Davis, Democrat David Gill and independent John Hartman ...

"As we discussed yesterday, Rep. Jerry Costello's decision to retire has produced a highly competitive race in southern Illinois. The same is true in central Illinois, where the decision by veteran Republican Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana to quit has created a barn-burner in the 13th Congressional District.

"David Gill, an emergency room doctor from Bloomington who lost to Johnson in 2004, 2006 and 2010, won the Democratic primary over a candidate who had more support from party leaders. "I am an independent Democrat who beat the Democratic establishment's candidate in the primary, and if elected to Congress I will answer to my constituents, not my party," he wrote on our survey. Good for him. But we can't get behind his embrace of a single-payer health care system.

"The Republicans drafted Rodney Davis of Taylorville, an aide to U.S. Rep. John Shimkus for 16 years, to replace Johnson on the ballot. Davis says Washington is "spending itself into the ground." His priorities are balancing the budget and getting a handle on debt so businesses will have the confidence to hire. But unlike a lot of Republicans, he won't sign a pledge to reject any and all tax increases. He disagrees with Gill's embrace of tax increases on higher incomes. It was refreshing to learn that Davis is a big advocate of trade with Cuba, an issue on which he said he differed with his old boss, Shimkus. A 2005 trip to the island nation convinced him that the U.S. embargo only empowers the Castro regime, he said. We think he has the experience and outlook to be effective in Congress, and the relationships he built while working for Shimkus give him a strong head start. Davis is endorsed.

"Independent John Hartman of Edwardsville is quite a smart and thoughtful alternative, but he's outgunned by the major party spending in the race."


Shimkus blames Tim Johnson for negative tone in 13th District race

From the State Journal-Register ...

U.S. Rep. John Shimkus said Wednesday that the intensely negative campaign for the 13th Congressional District seat might have been avoided if incumbent Tim Johnson had run for re-election.

The Collinsville Republican made the comments in response to recent statements by Johnson that the Republican and Democratic candidates to replace him should stop the negative television ads each is running.

Johnson, a six-term Republican from Urbana, decided not to run for re-election after winning the March primary. He was replaced on the ballot by Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville. Davis is squaring off against Democrat David Gill of Bloomington.

“We appreciate Congressman Johnson’s concerns,” Shimkus said. “Obviously, we would not be in this position had (Johnson) decided to fill out his obligation and run for the office. He chose not to do that.”

Instead, Shimkus said, a combination of a new political map drawn to favor Democrats and a district with no incumbent meant the 13th District would become a battleground between Republicans and Democrats seeking control of Congress.

“All of these races are nationally important to both sides,” Shimkus said. “Had (Johnson) decided to stay in the race, this would not be a nationally targeted race.”

Shimkus said national party organizations and super PACS are to blame for the negativity, and that the candidates cannot control advertisements produced by those groups.

Johnson, who said he opted not to run again because of family circumstances, sent letters to Davis and Gill asking them to stop the negative campaign ads. He said the campaigns belong to the candidates and they should demand an end to the negativity.

Davis, who was with Shimkus at a Springfield appearance Wednesday, said the blame lies with a campaign financing system that is beyond the control of candidates.

“I think it’s the failure of the good-intentioned campaign finance reforms that were passed in Congress years ago,” Davis said. “It’s led to a system where campaigns have less control and there’s less transparency.”


Hartman gets little respect

Independent candidate John Hartman has had trouble getting traction in the congressional race, mostly because he has so little money compared to the millions spent on behalf of Davis and Gill. But the news media is making it tough too.

The sample ballot on the website of the (Bloomington) Daily Pantagraph doesn't acknowledge that he's a candidate in the race ...


And yesterday we noted that WMBD-TV in Peoria interviewed Davis and Gil but not him for a segment on the race ...


And now there's this from Illinois State University, which is spnsoring a 13th District candidates debate next week ...

"Democratic candidate David Gill and Republican candidate Rodney Davis, who are vying for Illinois’s 13th Congressional District seat, will take part in a debate at Illinois State University on October 17, 2012, leading up to the November 6 election."


A spokesman for the ISU political science department said last night that the debate sponsors are still considering whether to invite Hartman.

Hartman said he plans to attend anyway. He's already been invited to participate in the two other candidate meetings, both of which will be televised, in Springfield and Urbana.







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