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Primary Day OPEN THREAD: Does Obama have coattails? RNC chief Ken Mehlman heads to Chicago to push 6th, 8th CD's GOPers. Sweet on NBC5 election special.

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MIDMORNING UPDATE: SEN. DICK DURBIN STUMPS WITH DUCKWORTH IN ELMHURST



Winners and Losers scorecard

*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will have his coattails tested today.

He cut ads for Duckworth and Dem treasurer hopeful Alexi Giannoulias. One of the most popular figures in U.S. politics did not stump for Duckworth or Giannoulias over the weekend. Instead, Obama went on a swing for his HOPEFUND political action committee and Democratic Senate candidates that took him to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.

*The treasurer rivalry pits Obama against state House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), the state Democratic party chairman. Score one for Madigan if the party's endorsed candidate, Paul Mangieri, beats Giannoulias. Madigan looks lame if he can't carry his slated candidate over the finish line.

*If Duckworth does not prevail over rivals Christine Cegelis and Lindy Scott, Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and to a lesser degree Obama -- the trio who engineered her bid -- face an embarrassing loss.

House races targeted by GOP chief

March 21, 2006

BY LYNN SWEET SUN-TIMES COLUMNIST


In the first national post-primary play in Illinois, Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman hits the Chicago area on Friday to whip up the troops for the November contests, with an eye on two big House races.

Mehlman will launch a drive for GOP victories this fall in the suburban 6th and 8th Congressional Districts. He'll also preside over an outreach session as part of the RNC's continuing bid -- made more difficult by Hurricane Katrina -- for African American and Hispanic voters.

Today's GOP primary balloting in the 8th will determine who will face off against Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) in a House race with national implications. The race is ending on negative slams, and Mehlman will have some peacekeeping duties to perform to unify the supporters of the frontrunners, David McSweeney and Kathy Salvi, no matter who is the winner. Over in the 6th, state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton) has no competition.

Mehlman is the headliner Friday night at a Lincoln Day reception in Bolingbrook for the Will County Republican Central Committee.

Some stories to watch for

It's possible that today's primaries will yield three Democratic House nominees from adjacent suburban Illinois districts -- who don't live in their districts. It's perfectly legal. All that's required is to live in the state. But three in a row may be a tempting target for national Republicans to bundle together if, for no other reason, than to irritate Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chief of the House Democratic political operation.

Frontrunner Tammy Duckworth, running in the 6th C.D. lives in the 8th C.D.

Dan Seals, the favorite in the 10th C.D. race, lives in the 9th.

And Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.), who represents the 8th, lives in the 10th, just about 1,000 feet over the border. Bean's situation is different from Duckworth's and Seals'. For some 17 years she lived in the district, until the 2000 remap put her residence on the wrong side of the line. Bean's people hate that I bring this up, contending that she already beat the rap with her 2004 upset victory.

Democrats are playing "musical chairs," said National Republican Congressional Committee press secretary Jonathan Collegio.

When I ran this by Emanuel recently, he pointed out a few Republicans are in the same boat, including Rep. Chris Chocola (R-Ind.), who does not live in his district.

And this

Dems consider the ironies if Salvi wins her primary. Then there will be two Republican trial lawyers -- pretty rare, since most personal injury lawyers are Democrats -- running in side-by-side districts. Salvi and Roskam also come out of the same personal injury law firm, Salvi, Roskam & Maher.

Winners and Losers scorecard

*Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) will have his coattails tested today.

He cut ads for Duckworth and Dem treasurer hopeful Alexi Giannoulias. One of the most popular figures in U.S. politics did not stump for Duckworth or Giannoulias over the weekend. Instead, Obama went on a swing for his HOPEFUND political action committee and Democratic Senate candidates that took him to Portland, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego.

*The treasurer rivalry pits Obama against state House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago), the state Democratic party chairman. Score one for Madigan if the party's endorsed candidate, Paul Mangieri, beats Giannoulias. Madigan looks lame if he can't carry his slated candidate over the finish line.

*If Duckworth does not prevail over rivals Christine Cegelis and Lindy Scott, Emanuel, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and to a lesser degree Obama -- the trio who engineered her bid -- face an embarrassing loss.

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3 Comments

if I recall, you note seals as living out of the district and say that bean is different because she was recently redistricted after being IN the district for years. the same thing happened to seals.


the republicans should have an interesting time making this an issue given that mark kirk ran living in DC. these days he rarely even shows up in the district.
nancy pred

Per a query from my sister Lynn: Voting in my Highland Park (Lake County) precinct is light so far. At 10 AM I was number 37 with 19 absentees already in. This out of a total of 800 registered voters.

Why do you refer to Duckworth as the front-runner in the Sixth? Have any polls shown her to be leading over Cegelis and Scott?

I've talked to a fair number of voters in the district myself and haven't seen a lot of support for Duckworth.

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Lynn Sweet

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

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