Former Macon GOP head: Harold should quit race

URBANA — A former Macon County Republican Party chairman and one-time supporter of GOP congressional candidate Erika Harold said Monday that the Urbana attorney should give up her campaign against freshman U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville.

But a spokesman for Harold said she had no intention of quitting her 5-month-old quest to defeat Davis in the Republican primary next March.

John Davis, a former Decatur judge and former head of the Macon County GOP, first urged Harold to drop out of the race Monday morning in a call to Decatur radio station WZUS-FM.

Calling himself "a former supporter," Davis expanded on his remarks in an interview with The News-Gazette.

"I sure expected more from her than what we've gotten. I think the best thing she can do — she doesn't have to listen to me — but the best thing she can do is now gracefully go to each county chairman and say, 'I'm behind in the polls, I made a good effort and I'm dropping out of this race for the sake of myself and this party," said Davis.

He criticized her campaign, saying it has done a poor job of keeping in touch with supporters and volunteers.

"They're not making any kind of followup with contacts whatsoever. They've done a lot of parades and public appearances, but they have not worked with their grass-roots people," he said. "I've been involved in enough campaigns to know that once you've made a contact, you've got to maintain that contact, and you've got to keep those people informed. If nothing else, it's just a common courtesy.

"She doesn't owe me a thing. Initially I supported here because I agreed that the people deserved a choice that they didn't get with the way the process worked with the nomination of Rodney (in 2012). But I want to emphasize that I have nothing against Rodney Davis. I think he's a good congressman and he's done a good job and will continue to do a good job. I just felt that the voters needed to make the choice."

Harold spokesman Phil Bloomer said that John Davis (no relation to Rodney Davis) may have been displeased with his role in the Harold campaign.

"John Davis was a volunteer, and he helped out with a couple of parades and that was the extent of it. I think he wanted to be more involved in a more central part of the campaign and was not asked to and I think that's why he's upset with Erika," said Bloomer.

He said the candidate, a former Miss America and Harvard Law School graduate, would not give up.

"She's very committed and very resolute, and people who make that kind of speculation have no idea what's going on inside this campaign," he said.

Bloomer said that "no one else" has urged Harold to quit the campaign. He added that she had spent part of her Monday doing an interview for a national publication.

"She's still attracting a lot of national attention that her opponents are not," he said.

But Champaign County Republican Party Chairman Habeeb Habeeb, who had supported Harold last year in the process where Davis was appointed the Republican candidate to replace U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, admitted Monday that he had tried in August to talk Harold into running for state treasurer instead of Congress.

"I wrote a full page with reasons why she'd make a great treasurer candidate. One of them was that she could use the money she raised for the congressional race. She would get a head start. The treasurer's office could lead to something bigger, usually it's a stepping stone. She'd be able to travel the whole state and serve. She would become very well known. She could run for the Senate seat when (Democrat Dick) Durbin resigns. She said no.

"I said something like I know I'm taking a bold step with you, but as a friend I want to give you the options about state treasurer. I know we can get a lot of support if you choose to run in that race. I wasn't telling her to get out and do that. I was trying to help her win. I think it would be a good win. I think it would be good with her and (Democrat Mike) Frerichs both being from Champaign. They're both good candidates, I think. But she said no and I never urged her again."

John Davis, meanwhile, called Harold's campaign staff "inexperienced" and said "a lot of her problems are just political naivete."

"She's a good campaigner. She's got a great personality. People like her. She's intelligent. But the followup is bad," he said. "I had some really strong people lined up here in Macon County who have not been involved in campaigns before and (the Harold campaign) never followed up."

Habeeb said Monday that he's trying to stay neutral in the Davis-Harold race this time.

"I honestly want to be neutral and allow two races if need be. But I don't end up talking to both camps. They're both guarded with me," he said. "I'm not working against anybody. I wasn't steering Erika away from running. I was trying to help her win. To me it's like being a coach. The goal is not to scrimmage. The goal is to win the game against the real opponent. How do you win the real race? Sometimes you don't go for something, you go for something else. I would love to see Erika as an officeholder, somehow, somewhere."

Monday's remarks by John Davis aren't the first time that a local Republican official has urged her not to challenge Rodney Davis. But they took on more urgency after third-quarter fundraising totals were revealed last week and they showed that Harold had $99,209 on hand to Rodney Davis' $882,146. And an Oct. 10 poll of 13th District Republican voters by Springfield-based We Ask America showed that Davis had a 4-to-1 lead over Harold.

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EdRyan wrote on October 22, 2013 at 7:10 am

Pretty early in the game to talk about throwing in the towel.  Only one poll matters and it is quite a bit in the future. 

johnny wrote on October 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Not as far as fundraising is concerned.

Local Yocal wrote on October 22, 2013 at 8:10 am
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"The treasurer's office could lead to something bigger, usually it's a stepping stone. She'd be able to travel the whole state and serve. She would become very well known. She could run for the Senate seat when (Democrat Dick) Durbin resigns."

Could someone remind people like Habeeb Habeeb that political offices are not "stepping stones" to satisfy personal career ambitions and pad resumes. Voters would like candidates for treasurer who seek such an office to be people who want to do the job of managing the State's finances, not get their name in the paper, garnering more popularity until something better comes along. Habeeb's career advice is better suited for college basketball coaches like Bill Self. These elections aren't feathers in caps, they are serious jobs with serious consequences.

The backroom intrigue and various soap operas of inside party politics The News-Gazette has been obsessing over the last couple of years has been titillating tabloid journalism (lovely photo of Erika though), but does not inform voters what these candidates will do in office if elected. To constantly suggest that policy making is entirely determined by how much money a candidate has or who endorses which candidate is to perpetuate all that is wrong and corrupt with the current Amerikan Politburo.

If The News-Gazette seeks to inform voters about the candidates, how about The News-Gazette host, moderate, and promote a series of 10-15 debates across the 13th District between Davis and Harold BEFORE the primary with questions submitted by the public? Geez, in the digital age, you wouldn't even have to make it a road show/public speaking tour- we could have email exchanges every weekend.

No? Yeah, I guess that talking to voters about your actual policy positions relevant to the concerns of the populace wouldn't be strategic toward manipulating outcomes. Dumb, sleepy, celebrity-struck voters who just know a name or pledge allegiance to a party about issues somebody from on high decided were the issues, are voters that are much easier to manage.

Well, back to our regularly scheduled soap opera then,....As The Party Crumbles, Episode Ad Nauseum:.....in this episode, a long-time party insider leaks to a "news" reporter the exclusive fact that Erika's mascara doesn't stand for Good Republican Family Values, egad!

Joe American wrote on October 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

"Could someone remind people like Habeeb Habeeb that political offices are not 'stepping stones' to satisfy personal career ambitions and pad resumes."

Excellent. I'll watch for consistency in your posts when Lisa Madigan takes the next step off her stepping stone position.

Local Yocal wrote on October 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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With Her Majesty The-Eventual-Governor-To-Be Madigan, the time to step on the next stone is when Daddy Dynasty is no longer Speaker of the House. For now, she'll just have to content herself with taking on publicity-stunt law cases like the absurd opposition to conceal and carry. Maybe it will be Her Majesty who assumes Durbin's place in the Senate? Daddy will rot in office at 110 years of age if we let him. And in Illinois, we'll let him since..., Hey, wait a minute...why do House reps keep that gangster in control of the legislative bills? Naomi, can you explain your votes for Madigan? Frerichs, can you explain your vote for Madigan? And why does our state constitution allow for the Speaker of the House to control when legislative bills come to a vote?

Well, nobody stepping on stepping stones for unbridled career ambitions will ever question it, that's for sure....the more campaign cash to buy media, the more votes they win. Believe it voters. That's just the way it is, voters. Stop it already with your relevant questions about issues important to you. You will be told who is the likely winner in advance and you will comply with this manufactured popularity or be disuaded to go vote altogether, dig?

(Does Tom Kacich work for his advertising department, and that's why he counts the pennies in campaign coffers? 'Cause Kacich never tracks what legislative favors the campaign cash bought for the donors,....and might this explain the silence over what the candidates propose to do in office or what the office holders actually do while in office,....hmm....oh, we see it now: the favored politician in the media is the one who will likely buy the most ads in that media. Case solved. Folks, vote for Rodney Davis please, The News-Gazette needs as much of that $800,000 in Rodney's campaign donation chest as The N-G can get their hands on. That's the most relevant issue for voters to consider. Thanks.)

alabaster jones 71 wrote on October 24, 2013 at 7:10 pm
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Stop confusing poor Joe American.  You need to pick one party, blindly defend everything and everyone related to the party, and paint the opposing party as the devil incarnate.  It's the only line of thinking Joe knows.  You don't want to break his brain, do you?

johnny wrote on October 22, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Could someone remind people like Habeeb Habeeb that political offices are not "stepping stones" to satisfy personal career ambitions and pad resumes. Voters would like candidates for treasurer who seek such an office to be people who want to do the job of managing the State's finances, not get their name in the paper, garnering more popularity until something better comes along.

I'd like you to meet Mike Frerichs.

billbtri5 wrote on October 22, 2013 at 10:10 am

reason to run for any office...serve the People of Illinois and look out for their long term interests...

 

it's no wonder this State is in it's present condition...

Mr Dreamy wrote on October 22, 2013 at 11:10 am

"how about The News-Gazette host, moderate, and promote a series of 10-15 debates across the 13th District between Davis and Harold BEFORE the primary with questions submitted by the public?"

That's a laugher.

The News Gazette is a local, one county paper. Most people outside of Champaign County don't read it mainly because most people outside of Champaign County have never even heard of it. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on October 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm

If you run for office, and lose; do you have to give the "campaign donations" back?

A career in professional American Democracy politics pays pretty good.  No one leaves office with less money than they started with as a candidate.  Both parties do it.  All it takes is someone who can keep a straight face when saying: "I want to serve the citizens of this wonderful country."  Hopefully, the rest of the world will come to see the benefits of the American two party system........

 

Batman wrote on October 22, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I loved the post about not using political office as a stepping stone.  Very well thought out and written.  Just because Lisa Madigan may be doing it, it does not take away from the author's point of view and he / she is absolutely right.  Every candidate cannot be qualified to hold every office statewide or nationwide.  Get real!!!