Tom Kacich: Poll shows 103rd Dems statistically even
The race in the 103rd House District is a statistical dead heat, according to a poll of likely Democratic primary voters.
The poll, taken Thursday, gives Champaign attorney Sam Rosenberg a 28 percent to 25 percent lead over Urbana City Council member Carol Ammons. But the lead is within the poll's 4.45 percent margin of error.
The poll of 484 likely Democratic primary election voters was taken by Springfield-based We Ask America polling for the Capitolfax.com Illinois politics web site.
Nearly half of those polled last week — 46 percent — are undecided.
Pollster Gregg Durham said that is not an unusually high number.
"We're seeing a large number of undecided voters in House races throughout the state," said Durham. "Some are as high as 80 percent. I believe the reason is that the gubernatorial race is taking so much attention, with all the money spent and all the mud-slinging back and forth. That's sort of drawn all the air out of the room.
"This not at all unusual when there is no incumbent involved."
Durham said he would poll the Champaign-Urbana House district again before the March 18 primary,
Ammons and Rosenberg are vying to replace retiring state Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, as the representative in the district that includes almost all of Champaign-Urbana. The winner of the Democratic primary will oppose Kristin Williamson, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.
"When you see this many undecideds this late (early voting starts in eight days) it usually means that neither candidate has overwhelmed the electorate with acceptability," Durham said. "This is not unusual at all."
The two debated Friday night at the Champaign City Building and also are scheduled for a joint appearance on WILL-AM's "Focus" program on March 4.
Williamson will be on "Focus" this Tuesday.
None of the demographic crosstabs for the Capitolfax.com poll were particularly overwhelming or telling except that voters aged 55 to 64 were the least undecided. They favored Rosenberg 37 percent to 27 percent with 36 percent undecided. The youngest voters (18 to 24) were the most undecided (55 percent). In that category Rosenberg led 27 percent to 18 percent.
Ammons' strongest categories were African-Americans (38 percent to Rosenberg's 10 percent) and those 65 and older (35 percent to 22 percent).
Young Democrats salute Jakobsson
The Champaign County Young Democrats will honor Jakobsson as their first "Democrat of the Year" award winner.
She will be recognized, the Young Democrats said, for her service to the Champaign-Urbana area as a state representative for 12 years, and as a leading advocate for a progressive income tax and marriage equality in Illinois.
They'll have a fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, March 3 at Big Grove Tavern, 1 East Main St., Champaign. Donation levels are $10 for College Democrats, $25 for individuals and $100 for sponsors. Funds raised will benefit the Young Democrats' outreach efforts.
"There was little doubt who would be the recipient of the Young Dems' first Democrat of the Year award," said Scott Redenbaugh, the group's president.
Hays backs Dillard
State Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin, said last week that he is supporting Sen. Kirk Dillard in the Republican gubernatorial primary.
"Kirk Dillard has a proven track record for job creation and economic development in Illinois." said Hays "As Jim Edgar's chief of staff, Kirk was a driving force in balancing the state's finances and bolstering job creation."
State Sen. Mike Frerichs of Champaign, the Democratic candidate for state treasurer, has two big fundraisers scheduled for this week in central Illinois. The first will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Floyd's, 212 S. Fifth St., Springfield. Ticket levels are $25 for young professionals, $200 for guests, $500 for hosts, $1,000 for sponsors and $2,500 for co-chairs. On Tuesday another Frerichs fundraiser will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the IBEW Local 146 hall in Decatur, 3390 N. Woodford St. Ticket levels are $25 for guests, $500 for silver sponsors and $1,000 for gold sponsors.
Finally, thanks to all the people who made last week's local candidate forums a possibility.
That includes the 13 candidates who participated, plus all the fine volunteers from the League of Women Voters of Champaign County, the NAACP Champaign County, the city of Champaign and The News-Gazette.
And it was terrific to see so many interested voters in person at each of the sessions, some whom were there each night.
All three nights of candidate forums are available for viewing on the city of Champaign website at http://ci.champaign.il.us/departments/information/cgtv/city-produced-videos/
They'll also be replayed on the city's cable channel 5 several times between now and Election Day on March 18.
The county Board candidate forum will next be shown at 8 a.m. Wednesday. The 13th Congressional District forum will be shown at 1 a.m. and 11 p.m. on the 26th. The 103rd House District forum will be shown at 11 p.m. today, 4 p.m. Monday and 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Sundays and Wednesdays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.