Many Dems rally behind Callis in congressional primary, but papers endorsing Gollin

Many Dems rally behind Callis in congressional primary, but papers endorsing Gollin

George Gollin and David Green would like to see a repeat of the 2012 Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District, in which the candidate backed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and most of the top downstate Democratic officials, Greene County State's Attorney Matt Goetten, lost to Bloomington emergency room physician David Gill by 163 votes.

Gill, who went on to lose the general election to Republican Rodney Davis by 1,002 votes, opted not to run again this year.

In this year's Democratic primary, the big money and support has lined up behind former Madison County Judge Ann Callis. She not only has Durbin, the DCCC, labor unions and other interest groups behind her, but also former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several other Democratic House members in Washington. She also has raised about $830,000 — not as much as Davis, the incumbent Republican — but greater than Gollin's $477,562 ($165,000 of which was loaned by Gollin himself) or Green's unknown amount (he once said he had a fundraising goal of $10,000 but never filed a disclosure report with the Federal Election Commission, which requires reporting once contributions reach a $5,000 threshold).

Callis is outspending Gollin on local television stations as well, according to reports reviewed last week. Callis has spent $34,925 on Fox and ABC stations in the Champaign-Urbana-Springfield-Decatur market and about $30,000 at WCIA in Champaign. Gollin has spent $28,500 at the Fox and ABC stations and $28,8710 at WCIA.

The only public poll of the race, taken about 10 days ago, gave Callis a 41 percent to 25 percent lead.

Still, Gollin received the backing of all three newspapers making endorsements in the race — The News-Gazette, Chicago Tribune and State Journal-Register in Springfield — all of which were critical of Callis' torpid campaign.

"Callis sticks to safe talking points, occasionally name-checking Durbin. Her answers to our survey are carefully scripted, heavy on promises to protect seniors and middle-class families without explaining what she'd actually do," said the Tribune, which added that she declined to do an interview with the Tribune.

None of the Democratic candidates support repealing the Affordable Care Act, although all voiced concerns about it.

Callis: "I want to find reforms that fix and improve the Affordable Care Act. The roll-out was abysmal, but I think it's wrong to hurt the middle-class by going backward. I oppose spending more time and money to push a political agenda. We can't just shut down our government and cost our economy billions of dollars because we disagree with a law."

Gollin: "The roll-out was entirely unacceptable in execution. But we are Americans, and we fix problems rather than throwing up our hands and walking away. The enrollment software is now working nearly as well as intended, and the rate at which people are signing up for health insurance isn't appreciably lower than the targeted rate."

Green: "I do not support repeal of the ACA, which, however, was a betrayal of the base of the Democratic Party by President Obama. I support moving to Medicare for All as quickly as possible."

Each said their top priority was increasing employment in the 13th District.

Green: "There are 20 million Americans who want a full-time job and do not have one. The federal government should provide employment at a living wage for each of them. Meanwhile, the minimum wage for all jobs should be raised to $15 per hour at a national level."

Callis: "The most important issue to our community is how we can grow our economy and create jobs. That will be my focus from day one if I am honored to be elected. I truly believe we can grow jobs here in our district. That means we stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas."

Gollin: "Returning the district, and the country, to full employment."

All three said they'd oppose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman; each has expressed support for abortion rights; and they've all said they support an immigration reform bill passed by the Democrat-dominated Senate.

But there are differences among the candidates.

Regarding the federal death penalty, Green and Gollin say they want it repealed, but Callis said, "I believe states should continue to set their own guidelines in this area and do not believe we should change federal law."

Of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Gollin and Green say they oppose its construction, while Callis said, "Since recent news has come out on the pipeline, I think we need to wait and see what will happen in courts. Then we should be bringing all people together to make responsible and informed decisions that will foster job growth and at the same time protect our environment."

And while Green and Gollin proposed specific changes in federal campaign finance laws — they want public financing of all political campaigns and limits on campaign contributions — Callis gave a more vague answer.

"I will work in Congress on legislation that ensures our elections stay fair, that secret money does not have such a large influence, and that individuals are given the power to have a say in our political process," she said.

Gollin said he'd support an increase in the federal gasoline tax to help finance infrastructure improvements; Green said his "dramatically revised overall federal tax system" with higher taxes on the wealthy would make a higher gas tax unnecessary; and Callis said she'd oppose a higher gas tax.

"I do not support an increase in the federal gasoline tax, and instead would work to cut subsidies for big oil companies or companies that ship jobs overseas and put that toward needed infrastructure projects in our communities," she said.


Ann Callis

Home: Edwardsville.
Date of birth: Aug. 28, 1964.
Occupation: Former chief judge, now a full-time candidate.
Political experience: Associate judge, 1995-1999; circuit judge, 1999-2006; chief judge, 2006-2013.
Education: Bachelor's degree, St. Louis University, 1987; law degree, St. Louis University, 1990.

Campaign finances (as of Feb. 26):

Raised since Jan. 1, 2013: $827,579
Spent since Jan. 1, 2013: $378,083
Cash on hand: $449,495

George Gollin

Home: Champaign.
Date of birth: May 6, 1953.
Occupation: Physics professor, University of Illinois, since 1989.
Political experience: First run for public office.
Education: Bachelor's degree in physics, Harvard University, 1975; Ph.D, Princeton University, 1981.

Campaign finances (as of Feb. 26):

Raised since Jan. 1, 2013: $477,562
Spent since Jan. 1, 2013: $250,450
Cash on hand: $227,112

David Green

Home: Champaign.
Date of birth: May 21, 1950.
Occupation: Social-policy analyst, Center for Prevention Research and Development, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, 2006-present.
Political experience: First run for public office.
Education: Bachelor's in  history, UCLA, 1973; Ph.D, social foundations of education, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1987.

Campaign finances (as of Feb. 26):

Raised since Jan. 1, 2013: none reported
Spent since Jan. 1, 2013: none reported
Cash on hand: none reported

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