Tom Kacich: Williamson focusing on voters, not Dem primary race
Kristin Williamson, who has no opposition for the Republican nomination in the 103rd House District that includes virtually all of Champaign-Urbana, ought to be enjoying the two-way Democratic primary race between Carol Ammons and Sam Rosenberg.
Not only are the two Democrats dividing party loyalists, burning up campaign contributions and exhausting themselves, but they're forcing each other farther left than they'd go if they were unopposed.
Primary questions? Ask Tom here
With the primary you get things like Rosenberg's statement last Friday night that, "Not only am I in favor of a progressive income tax, but I'm also in favor of making the temporary income tax hike that has stabilized the state's deficit at about $8 billion to $9 billion a year permanent."
That's fine for the Democratic electorate in this public employee-centric town, but it might be too much for Republicans and independents who are continually told how heavy Illinois' tax burden is. If Rosenberg wins the primary, that statement is bound to appear on a mail piece or a television commercial next fall. Cue announcer with deep, macabre voice: "One tax increase isn't enough for Sam Rosenberg."
Williamson, who appeared Tuesday on WILL's "Focus" talk show, insisted she's not paying a lot of attention to the Democratic race.
"My focus is completely on our outreach efforts to voters," she said. "I'm certainly paying attention. I'm following their issues and their positions and what their plans and focus is going to be in the fall."
But she declined to say that she's taking any joy in watching the Democratic feud.
On "Focus," Williamson said she opposes an increase in Illinois' minimum wage ("I couldn't vote for a measure that would take that many jobs away from people"), opposes the progressive income tax ("The progressive tax is always kind of sold as we're going to tax the rich guy on the hill, but the reality is there's not enough of those people to make up the difference, so what happens is that we have to start raising the scale on lower-income earners"), and said the state budget could be balanced by putting "more people into the workforce," and "measuring the efficiency and effectiveness" of state programs.
Ammons and Rosenberg will be on "Focus" at 10 a.m. next Tuesday, March 4.
Davis not so far right?
The conservative Club for Growth apparently wouldn't categorize U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, as a tea party Republican.
That's the criticism sometimes lobbed at the freshman Republican whose 13th Congressional District includes Champaign-Urbana.
But Club for Growth, in its 2013 congressional scorecard released Monday, said Davis tied for No. 210 among 234 House Republicans for votes on "pro-growth policies."
While four House Republicans had perfect 100 percent scores from the Club for Growth, Davis got a 48 percent score. He was tied with Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, among all House Republicans. They had the lowest scores among the six House Republicans from Illinois.
Rep. Randy Hultgren had the highest Club for Growth score among Illinois Republicans, 80 percent.
Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, whose district includes Danville, ranked No. 202 among Republicans with a score of 51 percent.
It's tough to measure a congressman's conservatism based on one year's vote, but Davis' first-year score was not unlike that of the man who preceded him in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana. Johnson's Club for Growth yearly scores ranged from 34 percent in 2005 to 79 percent in 2009. He had a lifetime score of 57 percent.
Shimkus, by way of comparison, has a lifetime score of 69 percent.
Congressman were ranked based on 31 House votes, not all of which were disclosed by the group. Up to six points was based on a series of votes relating to the Hurricane Sandy disaster relief bill. Full credit was given for supporting $17 billion in offset emergency spending.
The lowest-ranked Illinois Democrat, by Club for Growth computations, was U.S. Rep. Wiliam Enyart of Belleville, with a 5 percent score.
A brunch fundraiser for District 6 county board Democrat Pattsi Petrie will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the home of Bernadine & Bob Stake, 304 W. Iowa St., U. The suggested donation is $35.
A coffee fundraiser for 15th Congressional District Democrat Eric Thorsland will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the home of Valerie Woodruff 426 County Road 2500 North, Mahomet. The suggested donation is $25.
A reception for Sam Rosenberg will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the home of Jill & James Quisenberry, 209 Pell Circle, U.
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 email@example.com.