Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Towards Tuesday: Tonight, 6th CD Scott, Duckworth, Cegelis on WTTW. 3rd CD Lipinski ``rose garden'' strategy results in no tv joint interviews. More open comments on other races


UPDATE 1. Democratic candidates in the 6th congressional district will make a joint appearance with the Chicago Sun-Times' Carol Marin on WTTW's Chicago Tonight this evening at 7pm. Scheduled to appear are rivals Christine Cegelis, Tammy Duckworth and Lindy Scott.

UPDATE 2. Read in posts comment by 3rd CD candidate John Kelly spokesman about Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.) refusing to appear on joint tv interviews has shut down some coverage of three-way race with John Sullivan.

In the meantime:
If anyone spots Lindy Scott, Tammy Duckworth or Christine Cegelis.... on the campaign trail and wants to send in a report...or receives new direct mail from any of the candidates...please post....
That goes for the 3rd CD, the 8th with a big GOP primary....and any other contests.


Cegelis has shown such an amazing fighting spirit this primary season, I can't wait to see what she does in the General!

Lynn… I work for John T. Kelly for Congress, and I’m shocked that some local media outlets are allowing themselves to be manipulated by the incumbent, Representative Dan Lipinski. The first time around, Lipinski was put on the ballot after the primary election, by his father and his city ward boss cronies. This time – he is running a “rose garden��? campaign – preferring to duck and hide and stay out of the limelight as much as possible in hopes that his famous last name will carry him – and the media is pretty much letting him get away with it! WTTW planned to put all of the 3rd district candidates on last night but didn’t because they Lipinski campaign wouldn’t commit! A producer at WGN says Kelly has been shut out of their “meet the candidates��? segments for the same reason – although she admitted time constraints were also an issue. Jeff Berkowitz, who runs a cable show which actually attracts some big name pols – he also canceled a show covering our race because Lipinski wouldn’t show. I ask you, whatever happened to the EMPTY CHAIR?????? This election is going to be decided in the primary and this guy is trying to slide right back into office without ever being called upon to defend his record! I cry foul!!!

I'd like to share my response to the Sun-Times's endorsement of Duckworth last week, which was based largely on two false premises: that Duckworth was a candidate like Iraq war veteran Marine Major Paul Hackett, who ran in a special election last August, and that Duckworth brings more "energy" to the race than Cegelis. Here is my Letter to the Editor (which the paper has so far not printed):

Duckworth is no Hackett

As someone who drove to Cincinnati to help get out the vote for Paul Hackett in the Ohio 2nd Congressional District special election last August, I was incensed by your comparison of Tammy Duckworth to Major Hackett in your misguided endorsement. While it is true that Hackett’s status as a Marine returned from Iraq helped garner some attention, what really drew people to his campaign was his outspokenness on the issues and his visceral dislike of President Bush and all he stands for. Hackett didn’t rely on established politicians from outside his district to get his message out for him. And he certainly did not rely on precinct workers for other politicians to get him on the ballot at the last possible moment.

This is in sharp contrast to Tammy Duckworth, who is ultra careful not to say anything “controversial��? and who has relied entirely on the efforts of Rahm Emanuel and other Washington politicians to raise money for her and organize her campaign. You cite Duckworth’s “opposition��? to the war on Iraq, but she in fact rejects the idea of recalling our troops until they have, in her words, “finished their mission��? (whatever that might be at this point). It is Christine Cegelis who opposed the war from the start and who proudly stands with ex-Marine Congressman John Murtha in calling for the speedy withdrawal of our troops who are increasingly becoming sitting ducks in the middle of a civil war.

Your endorsement also claims that Duckworth brings more “energy��? to the race than Cegelis. If Duckworth has so much energy, then why is she so often a no-show at local forums such as the Elk Grove Village Democratic Club Forum (Jan. 19), IVI-IPO special endorsement session in Des Plaines (Jan. 24), DuPage United Forum (Jan. 26), League of Women Voters Forum (Feb. 7), Indo-American Democratic Organization (Feb. 12), Cable Access Candidates Forum (Feb. 16), Glenbard West Young Democrats Club (Feb. 22), and Winfield Democrats forum (Feb. 27)? In fact, a look at her schedule suggests that Duckworth is unwilling or (more likely) unable to handle more than one event per day.

Cegelis, on the other hand, is running everywhere, meeting with voters at forums large and small at every opportunity, and has an army of motivated volunteers (speaking of campaign “energy��?) knocking on doors for her throughout the district. Duckworth, by contrast, is relying almost exclusively on glossy mailings and TV ads starring other politicians to get out her “message.��? As one resident of the district blogged recently: “Cegelis shows up everywhere; Duckworth shows up in my mailbox.��?

Christine Cegelis is a longtime resident of the district who started her campaign in 2003 against Henry Hyde. She knows the district, its concerns, and its needs from talking to voters for the past three years. Duckworth is not from the district and is not going to learn about it by talking to Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, and other Washington Democrats raising gobs of cash for her from people on the East Coast. On March 21, Democrats in IL-6 get to decide whether to run one of their own in November or go with Washington’s choice.


[Jim in Chicago]

Senator Obama an explanation please. Since Alexi Giannoulias his candidate for State Treasurer won't fully answer why his bank has made millions of dollars of loans to a "Chicago crime figure who has been convicted twice of federal bookmaking charges" and who has also been convicted of "promoting a nationwide prostitution ring" maybe Senator Obama can explain why he endorsed this person and whether he still endorses him in light of these revelations. And for Mr. Giannoulias to question whether this 3 time convicted felon is really a crime figure is frightening. Senator Obama should state whether he believes the man in question is or is not a crime figure, leadership is not saying I haven't had the time to look into this.

I was at a Cegelis campaign event last night, and as usual, the crowd was exuberant and Christine was amazing. I recognized many of the faces as people who have not only put their small-dollar donations into this campaign (it was a $35-a-head fundraiser), but many, many hours of volunteer time as well.

There was a great post recently on the blog "My DD" ( about what it really means to be a "Fighting Dem." The author asserted that a "Fighting Dem" was someone who was willing to get out there and fight for the principals we believe in, and not just "phone in" their campaign, or if their duties as an elected official. Last night I saw a roomful of "Fighting Dems," none of them "phoning it in," all of them working their hearts out because at last they found someone who could make them believe that maybe, just maybe, it is possible to beat the establishment and elect a smart, decent, honest person to Congress. For so many of us it has been so long since we have even been able to hope for that. I don't know what will happen next Tuesday, but I have been proud to be involved in a campaign that has brought meaning to the phrase "participatory democracy."

Here's a link to the excellent MyDD diary referenced above:

I agree with what's been said above about Cegelis and her race. Lynn, maybe you could report on the real reasons behind your paper's endorsement choice in that race, because as Jim has shown, the ones they gave don't really make much sense.

I'd also like to see more coverage (by which I really mean any coverage to speak of) of the District Five race. Johnny Hap may not have the million dollars that the incumbent has, but his positions and ideas are far more in tune with the people of that district.

Interestingly enough, I just got a call from a volunteer who stopped by the Chinese restaurant that is situated next to Tammy Duckworth's office. He relayed to me that of the 5 vehicles present directly in front of the Duckworth office, all of them had Chicago city stickers and several had "Fighting Illini" stickers. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

Since you ask for stories from the campaign trail, I can't resist sharing one of my own from last weekend's canvassing in Elk Grove Township. An elderly lady came to the door. I guess she couldn't read my Cegelis T-shirt because she squinted and said "You're not with that Duckless woman who keeps calling me, are you?"

I assured her I was not!

Re: IL-6, this just in from the Huffington Post:

"Stand Up to the Beltway Democrats"

Did you see the Channel 11 show Chicago Tonight? I agree with Scott. Only he can beat Roskam. Tammy is really a puppet of the Democratic machine and Christine is too extreme for the district. How can they both be against parental notification and hope to win over the parents in the district? Scott favors parental notification with judiciary bypass for the tough cases. That is just common sense.

What makes you think most of the voters have teenage kids or this as there number one issue? The real question is who has a ground game? Christine said in the Sunday Daily Herald interview that the Republicans most certainly do. Isolated issues, slogans and tossing mailers around aren't going to cut it. Neither Scott nor Duckworth has run a campaign in the 6th. Cegelis has garnering 44.5% against a popular incumbent and that experience is proving invaluable. Her grassroots support will have well over 250 people doing GOTV on election day. They are learning the essentials of precinct based voter contact from her talented campaign and field staff. If Cegelis wins and the Cegelis people go slack and forget door-to-door canvassing, a very easy and comfortable thing to do, their chances will be greatly set back.


John Kelly's campaign has directed its message to the neighbors -the voters of the 3rd District. Sullivan's Campaign is touting the recent votes for Kerry and Lisa Madigan ( We're Democrats of CRISSAKES!) as testimony that now Coatian grandmothers will wear hot pink 'I Had An Aborton!' T-shirts or that any one in the 3rd District cares about the plight of Goose Liver. And, while WTTW coverage would be nice,John unlike either Sullivan or Lipinski, is pounding the pavement. The guy took in a good 2,000 votes last night at the Leo Boxing Night. The other two were probably issuing position papers on thedangers of Mongolian Yak Polo.

We can't trust Tammy to vote against the next ill-conceived war! She was begging to get into combat and even after she was shot down, she wanted to go back and fight. I don't believe her campaign line about being against the war - it sounds exactly like what Bush says.

Check out the following quotes to understand why I don't believe her. She was eager to see combat and she wanted to go back and fight even after she was shot down.

I want a congress woman, like Cegelis who figures out BEFORE we go to another stupid war that it is a huge mistake.

“When she joined the Illinois National Guard, she signed up to be a pilot because, she says, that's where a woman had the best chance to go into combat.��?

“She decided to become a helicopter pilot because it was one of the only combat jobs available to women.��?§ionid=3&id=23&Itemid=37

“Despite having both legs amputated, Tammy Duckworth wants to remain a Blackhawk pilot in the Illinois National Guard.��?

Dr. Lindy Scott, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress, is participating today in the peace vigil in Batavia from 3-7pm. The vigil is taking place outside the office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

In Abdon Pallasch's Article, "Lipinski foes may split Irish vote" why was there time enough to mention Kelly's boxing days but not the fact that he signed up to run as a Republican in 2004?

Wouldn't that be pertinent in deciding whether he's at all appropriate as the Democratic Candidate this time round?

Also, the poster obsessed with "Coatian grandmothers ... wear[ing] hot pink 'I Had An Aborton!' T-shirts", claims that the Kelly campaign "has directed its message to the neighbors".

Is there any evidence that Kelly actually has volunteers? We know from the Trib, that he needed people "with longstanding ties to the 19th Ward Democratic establishment -- which is backing Lipinski" to pass out his petitions. Not a good sign if you ask me.

Lastly, could someone point me to the Kelly Website? I'm sure I'd be able to find evidence there not only of a properly functioning campaign but also tons of support from people living in the district.

Up to now, the only sign of life in this race has been the campaign conducted by John Sullivan. Here's some pictures from last week's activities. John Sullivan has got honest-to-goodness volunteers walking the District this whole weekend. That's not 'spin', it's real people! And no doubt, there'll be pictures of that as well.

I was present at the worker stuffing and canvassing day on March 11 in Rolling Meadows at a Holliday Inn. I was most impressed by the number of troups working at stuffing literature, making phone calls, getting teams to go canvass, drinking coffee for a break and the competent instructions given for newcomers to canvass. I certainly hope that Cegellis wins in the primary as she has worked tirelesly for the constituents in District 6 in DuPage County. It was heartwarming to see 60+ people around the tables. go Cristine!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 15, 2006 8:55 AM.

Commerce Sec. Carlos Gutierrez hits suburban Rosemont next week was the previous entry in this blog.

Should Stroger Quit? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.