Tom Kacich: Goal's the same but times are different for Gill

Tom Kacich: Goal's the same but times are different for Gill

Six years ago at this time, when David Gill was headed toward winning the Democratic primary in the 13th Congressional District, he had collected almost $100,000 in campaign contributions and had more than $28,000 on hand.

So far in this campaign cycle, however, Gill has received $68,266 and had but $3,403 on hand on Dec. 31.

It's a different time and a much different election.

In 2012, the physician from Bloomington had only one opponent in the Democratic primary in the then-new 13th District, Matt Goetten, whom he beat by about 160 votes out of nearly 31,000 cast.

A few weeks later, the expected race between Gill and Congressman Tim Johnson blew up when Johnson announced he would not run for re-election. Republican leaders later chose Rodney Davis to replace Johnson on the ballot, resulting in another razor-thin election in November when Davis won by 1,002 votes out of almost 295,000 cast.

This time, though, Gill has four other Democratic opponents, three of whom had received more money through September than Gill had received through December. One of them, Erik Jones, had three times as much money as Gill does today.

And many of the Democrats in Champaign-Urbana who backed him in 2012 and contributed to his campaign aren't there this time. Several well-known local Democrats donated to Gill's campaign six years ago: Scott Bennett, Helen Satterthwaite, Astrid Berkson, Brandon Bowersox, Jennifer Putman, Anthony Leggett, Eric Freyfogle, Eva Jehle, Jeanette McCollum, Richard Noel, Charlie Smyth and more.

Only Berkson gave to Gill's campaign in the last quarter.

Davis rhetoric

Congressman Davis has to decide if he is against the "political rhetoric" he so often scorns or is for it.

"The rhetoric coming from leaders in both parties today about immigration reform does nothing to advance the kind of reforms that are best for America," he tweeted Jan. 11.

But after the Senate voted to end the government showdown Monday — leaving the immigration debate for another time — Davis issued a statement attacking the upper chamber and Illinois' two U.S. senators.

"Time and time again, I am amazed by the level of dysfunction within the U.S. Senate, and I am incredibly disappointed that Senators (Dick) Durbin and (Tammy) Duckworth continue to be part of the problem," he said. "Senators Durbin and Duckworth voted against a government funding bill on Friday, forced a government shutdown on Saturday and then voted for a nearly identical bill on Monday. This is why people are frustrated with Washington."

What Davis didn't mention, though, is that Senate Democrats wrung a commitment from Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, to permit debate on a wide-ranging immigration bill.

In contrast to Davis' rhetoric, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville, had this to say: "No one wins in a shutdown. Thankfully, this one is over. The bill I voted for today was exactly the same as the one I voted for last week with a change in the date. Now the government is open, our military is being paid and children's health care is paid for and extended for six years. Let's get to work on a final spending bill and immigration reform. Our constituents expect nothing less."

Democratic luncheon

Champaign County Democrats will hold their annual spring luncheon at 1 p.m. Feb. 11, at the I Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets are $37.50, or $50 after Monday. Candidates on the March 20 primary ballot are expected to attend. Call Marcey at 714-3796 for ticket information.

Republican Lincoln Day Dinner

Iroquois County Republicans will hold their annual Lincoln Day Dinner at 6 p.m. Feb. 22, at the St. Paul's Lutheran School gym in Woodworth. Tickets are $25, or $40 for a couple. Tickets are available from any Republican committeeman or at the door.

Among the speakers scheduled are Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jeanne Ives of Wheaton, who is challenging Gov. Bruce Rauner. Also scheduled are attorney general candidate Erika Harold, secretary of state candidate Jason Helland, and U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger and his challenger, James Marter.

Democratic forum

The five candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 13th Congressional District will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 6, at the Normal Theater. Admission is free to the forum that is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of McLean County, the Illinois State University College Democrats, Normal Theater, the School of Communication at ISU and the McLean County Democratic Party.

The candidates are Gill, Jones, Jon Ebel, Betsy Londrigan and Angel Sides.

Endorsements

The Citizen Action/Illinois has endorsed Carl Spoerer of rural Mahomet for the Democratic nomination in the 15th Congressional District. Kevin Gaither of Charleston is the other Democratic candidate in the district now represented by U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville.

Citizen Action made no endorsement in the 13th District race.

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette reporter and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or at kacich@news-gazette.com.