Thorsland acknowledges challenges in bid for Congress

Thorsland acknowledges challenges in bid for Congress

CHAMPAIGN — Eric Thorsland, a rural Mahomet Democrat, said Thursday that he hopes to take on U.S. Rep. John Shimkus and his $860,000 campaign fund in next year's general election.

Thorsland said he would run in the heavily Republican 15th Congressional District, which covers 33 of Illinois' 102 counties and runs from Hoopeston on the northeast south to the Ohio River and west to Shimkus' hometown of Collinsville.

In East Central Illinois, the 15th District includes much of Champaign County outside of Champaign-Urbana, a portion of Ford County including Paxton, and all of Vermilion, Douglas, Coles, Edgar, Shelby and Moultrie counties.

"He is certainly welcoming as much money as possible," Thorsland said of Shimkus, who has been in Congress since 1997. "I understand completely that I'll be going up against a huge war chest with my teeny little squirt gun of funds, but we will do our best to make sure that everyone in Illinois 15 knows who I am, what I'm about and we'll see what we get from there."

While Shimkus had $860,000 on hand on June 30, he raised more than $2.1 million in the last two-year election cycle and spent more than $2.3 million, almost a million dollars of which went to other Republican candidates.

Before Thorsland takes on Shimkus, though, he'll have to get through the Democratic Party primary in which Angela Michael, an anti-abortion activist from Highland, already has said she intends to run.

"I think that she has very strong beliefs and she is interested in this race because of those beliefs. I think she wants to push that particular issue and that is agreeable to me. I understand her passion," Thorsland said.

He said he disagreed with Michael on the issue of abortion.

"I find it interesting that very conservative people are very pro-personal freedom until it comes to certain issues. I believe in personal freedom as well, and I think that at some point that is between a woman and her family, a woman and herself, and a woman and her doctor," Thorsland said. "Now there are qualifiers to all of that, but Miss Michael has a one-step approach and that is none."

Thorsland, meanwhile, hit Shimkus for abandoning his pledge to limit himself to six terms in the House, and for rigidly following the House Republican agenda.

"He made a promise when he started, to limit himself to six terms. And despite his repeated trips and his endless experience, he has a reputation as no more than a mediocre politician," Thorsland said. "He seems very comfortable to wade in the shallow end of the pool, not making waves, not rocking the boat. And more than 90 percent of the time he votes with his caucus."

Thorsland called for "tweaking" of two-year House terms — something that would require a Constitutional amendment — and "some limiting of terms after that."

"I think the two-year cycle itself is too short. You begin to fundraise for the next campaign the day after your party, and it goes on from there," Thorsland said.

The 52-year-old married father of three has run unsuccessfully three times as a Democrat for the Champaign County Board in a heavily Republican district. He said planned to win the congressional seat by meeting as many voters as possible. Shimkus won last year with 68.6 percent of the vote.

"You go and meet the people. I will make the time to do that," said Thorsland, who said he travels exclusively by motorcycle. "I've already met a lot of people in the district. I've been to seven of the 33 counties and will touch all of them long before (the election filing period ends on Dec. 2)."

He said he favors President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, opposes food stamp cuts approved by the Republican House and approves of the way the Obama administration has handled the situation in Syria.

"Obamacare was passed in the democratic process. There were almost 200 amendments made by Republicans. The democratic process has continued. They had an opportunity to come to the table and work on it.

"Instead they decide to just protest it," he said. "It needs, perhaps, some work and that can be done. But it's the law of the land now."

He called the proposed $40 billion in food stamps cuts over the next 10 years "a poor decision" that is "led more by politics than by the reality of the situation."

And he said the U.S. did "exactly what we should have done there" in Syria, that he "would prefer not to" use force to rid the country of chemical weapons, "but it is good to have that in the back pocket."

And as a motorcycle rider, he said he would support federal legislation to ban texting while driving.

"We have the equivalent of half our population drunk on the roads right now," he said of motorists who text. "I think it is technologically feasible to make the phone not text, receive or send, when it's in motion."

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ROB McCOLLEY wrote on September 27, 2013 at 11:09 am
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Would this texting technology prevent tain & bus passengers too? What about teenagers in the minivan's rear?


How long would it take to download an app that bypasses the anti-motion function?


Or is it just a really stupid idea?


I agree with the texting ban, but it's not that hard to enforce. You just need cameras & cops, same as always. The problem is the public. They don't want to out their phones down.


Yesterday, I saw a girl  texting-while-biking on the sidewalk, Green Street between 5th and 4th, around lunchtime. Two hands and both eyes on the phone. She had short, pink hair. I suppose that implies that she's a rebel. Perhaps she rejects our laws & conventions.


No one exited any of the businesses, or came around the corner. Thus, no consequences.




Political Observer wrote on September 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

This may be a Teachable Moment!  We pause for a brief message.


Teacher:  "A word to the wise: Suppose one were interested in the question of 'blocking texting.'  Suppose further that one simply started typing those two words into the search query box of their favorite search engine! What do you think might happen, boys and girls, if you did this?  Yes, Jane?"

Jane:  "I just typed those two words into the search query box here on my laptop, and a whole lot of options came up, before I even pressed 'Enter!' "

Teacher:  "That's right, Jane!  And do any of those options look like they might be relevant for us, given our current interests?  Yes, Sally?"

Sally:  "I just did the same thing and when I looked down the list of options that I got, I noticed that one of the options was 'blocking texting while driving!'  Isn't that just the kind of issue that we've been talking about here?

Teacher:  "RIght you are, Sally!  Now, if you click on that option, the search engine will provide lots and lots of search results on the topic of 'blocking texting while driving!' 

The point here, boys and girls, is that if we take just a little bit of time to read up on the technology involved in the issue in which we're interested, we may be able to:

(1)  Ask more informed questions in public forums,

(2)  Avoid some of the personal embarrasment associated with asking silly questions, and, at the same time,

(3)  Help to raise the level of public discourse in the body politic!

This has been a Public Service Message provided at no cost and presented in the public interest.  We will now return to our regularly-scheduled programming.

wayward wrote on September 27, 2013 at 12:09 pm

If Mr. Thorsland can keep Angela Michael off the ticket, that in itself would be a huge public service.  I don't agree with a number of Mr. Shimkus's positions, but at least he doesn't use his status as a federal candidate to force TV stations to air graphic anti-abortion ads that they'd otherwise decline.

Political Observer wrote on September 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Let's let  Angela Michael, a life-long Republican who's running once again as a Fake Democrat, explain her one-issue, anti-abortion platform, in her own words. 

Here's a report from the Belleville News-Democrat of her recent announcement of her 2014 campaign for US Congress:

"Highland woman will use congressional run to spread anti-abortion message"

[Excerpt]  “Through my campaign for the U.S. House, millions of voters in our area will finally see what really happens inside an abortion mill: murder,” Michael said in a statement announcing her campaign. “This is what we have allowed to destroy babies. This is what we have allowed to destroy our youth. This is what we have allowed to destroy our families. Bottom line: we are fighting what is evil.”  

[Much more at the link above.]

Political Observer wrote on September 27, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Unfortunately, I don't think the poor-quality photo of her that accompanies the above article really does her much justice.  Fortunately, though,  the Belleville News-Democrat shot some video last January which shows her in her best light and also allows her to outline her complete campaign platform in this, her second run for the US Congress:

Political Observer wrote on September 27, 2013 at 8:09 pm

What this video doesn't show, however, is that sometimes Angela Michael and her husband have photographed women entering Planned Parenthood clinics and then posted the photos online, as reported in November of 2011:


Along with Lewis, [ Randall] Terry has recruited at least two more activists to run for House seats. Angela Michael announced in July that she was running for Congress in Illinois as a Democrat. According to KMOX St. Louis, after retiring as a nurse Michael has spent her free time driving around Granite City, Illinois, in a van, offering free ultrasounds. She and her husband have also made a habit of photographing women who enter Planned Parenthood clinics and then posting the photos online (an act her husband defended thusly: "It's public record. It's like if somebody's going into a grocery store. If they don't want to get their picture taken, then they shouldn't get an abortion.").

Political Observer wrote on September 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I WILL give her credit, though, for coming up with a rather unusual "victory speech" when, after losing to John Shimkus by a margin of 68.6 percent to 31.4 percent last November, she nevertheless still claimed that she'd actually WON!...By golly, that was one of the strangest concession statements I can ever remember reading:

Political Observer wrote on September 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm

If you'd like to see more of the Belleville News-Democrat's coverage of Angela Michael's numerous zany antics, there are quite a few additional items you can find by copying and pasting this line into the search query box of your favorite search engine:
"Angela Michael"

wayward wrote on September 27, 2013 at 10:09 pm

Mr. Thorsland probably considered it more proper to refer to her as "my opponent" rather than "Psycho."