Tom Kacich: Woman plans to challenge Shimkus for Congress
U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, whose 15th Congressional District includes Danville, Rantoul, Tuscola, Paxton and much of the rest of East Central Illinois, has an election opponent, but he probably isn't too worried.
Angela Michael, a retired obstetrics nurse and anti-abortion activist from Highland, says she intends to run for the Democratic nomination against Shimkus again next year. Michael got just 31.4 percent against the veteran Collinsville Republican last November. She was only able to raise $10,305 for the race, compared with the $2.1 million Shimkus brought in.
Further, records show the conservative Michael votes Republican far more often than Democrat. She has voted in two Democratic primary elections (1992 and 2012), but Republican in every other one.
Asked Tuesday if she's a Democrat, she said only, "Well, I'm running as a Democrat. But I would like to bring integrity and morality back to the Democratic Party because right now the Democratic Party looks like these wild-eyed liberals, frothing at the mouth, anything goes. I'd like to bring some integrity back to the party, if at all possible."
That's probably not going to help her win support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
She acknowledged that she disagrees with much of the party's platform, "but I'm willing to work. As I told the unions when they approached me in the last campaign, 'It's got to be about the babies.' I'm willing to work with them on other issues, but it's got to be about the babies. We have got to stop killing babies. Those are our future."
Michael said she won't change the focus of her campaign in 2014.
"My main platform, as in the last campaign, will be abortion, and fighting for the rights of those without a voice," she said. "We're seeing so much violence in our nation that I'm going to draw the parallels between the violence that's happening here and on the streets, and it all begins with the violence in the womb. When we accept killing a human being in the womb, we'll accept any kind of murder."
Asked about Shimkus she said, "I think he's a great man. I really like him, and the Democrats like him, which is a bad sign. When Democrats like you, it's a bad sign. When they did the redistricting, it was amazing how the Democrats just turned that over to him. That was my red flag. I thought, he has no problems, he has no qualms with the Democrats. He's not in Washington making any waves."
Michael said Shimkus needs to do more for the unborn.
"I have not heard anything coming from him and yet the Illinois Right to Life Federation will vote that man into office every year, just because there's an R behind his name," she said. "He says with his mouth that he is pro-life, but we have not seen any action from this man. We have not seen him take any type of legislation on. That's my problem with him."
Danville is the largest city in the 15th District, and Michael said she hopes to campaign there this time.
"I think on this campaign I'm going to make an effort to start traveling and doing some campaigning because the Democratic Party has told me to do more campaigning. We didn't have the funds in the last campaign. We didn't have one yard sign out, and I'm hoping that changes this campaign," she said.
Her job, she said, is to picket with her husband outside the Hope Clinic, an abortion provider in Granite City.
"We are out there helping women on the street, helping women going into the abortion mill," she said.
The 15th Congressional District includes all or parts of Champaign, Vermilion, Ford, Douglas, Coles, Edgar, Moultrie and 27 other east central and southern counties. It does not, however, include Champaign-Urbana.
League of Conservation Voters update. The League of Conservation Voters last week began running a new television spot attacking U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis for his position on climate change.
Rather than using a misleading audio clip of the Taylorville Republican talking about global warming, this one says — rightly — that Davis took more than $30,000 from the oil and gas industry. Indeed, he took $30,750 from the industry last year, including contributions from Exxon Mobil and Marathon.
With a bit more digging, the LCV could have reported that Davis' donors this year include the American Gas Association, Exxon Mobil, Philips 66 and Valero Energy.
The LCV also continues to ask voters to call Davis and urge him to "stop denying climate science."
That's a tougher call. Davis has not denied that there is climate change; he only says he doesn't know if its manmade or naturally occurring. But Davis has said that he opposes a cap-and-trade system and any other measure that would tax carbon emissions.
Davis is one of four congressmen targeted by the LCV for what the group says are their "extreme anti-science" beliefs.
The LCV is polling 13th District voters this week, asking their opinion of Davis. LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer said the polling is being done to measure the effectiveness of the ad campaign.
"These aren't electoral ads at all," he said. "It's just holding him accountable for his view on climate change, how out of step it is with his constituents and the overwhelming number of scientists."
Later Gohringer admitted the group had not polled 13th District voters on the issue of climate change.
"I think there's no doubt that most people, when they see the extreme weather outside their window, know that it's a problem. You can debate what you need to do to address it. But the base line is, do you agree that it's a problem?" Gohringer said. "But Davis doesn't even acknowledge man's role in contributing to climate change, that it's the biggest factor in climate change. You can't have a member of Congress fix a problem if they don't even admit it exists."
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.