UIUC College Dems

This blog is published by the UIUC College Democrats. We focus on state and local politics, but are willing to discuss pretty much anything.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Black Passes on Race With Frerichs

I thought I had the scoop on this, but Illini Pundit beat me to it this morning. State Rep. Bill Black (R-Danville) will announce on Monday that he won't run for the 52nd District State Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Rick Winkel. Illinois Senate Republicans as well as local Republicans had hoped that Black would run against Democratic Champaign County Auditor Mike Frerichs of rural Gifford, who is now clearly the front runner to replace Winkel. Black, a popular, ten term member of the Illinois House, was the only strong potential Republican candidate, although he isn't the juggernaut that many local Republicans made him out to be (Illini Pundit). Black, at age 64, appears to be reluctant to give up a safe seat and a position in the House Republican leadership for a year and a half long nasty battle with Frerichs, who is a tenacious campaigner. Who will now run for the Republican nomination? Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden, a long time nemesis of the UIUC College Democrats, has stated publicly that he is interested in running if Black doesn't. Will Shelden give up his secure job as County Clerk (he is up for reelection next year) to run against Frerichs? We'll see..........

Thursday, September 22, 2005

More Edgar Speculation

Archpundit has a good entry on why he thinks Jim Edgar will not run for Governor in 2006. Check it out.

Thoughts on Hurricane Katrina

I know that every blogger known to man has already commented on Hurricane Katrina, but I have a few observations that I'd like to get off my chest. Clearly, FEMA botched the federal government's response to the hurricane. By now that has been well established. Criticism of this response is warranted as long as it is substantive and constructive. Democrats must be very careful in dealing with this issue. Nancy Pelosi was right when she called for FEMA Director Brown's resignation, as was Senator Clinton when she called for an independent investigation. There is, however, a very thin line between legitimate political discourse and exploitation of a national tragedy. The Republicans are the party that exploits national tragedies for political gain (see September 11, 2001). We must prove that we are above such despicable tactics.

Petitions Season Begins

September 20th was the first day for candidates to circulate petitions to get on the ballot for the March Primary Election. The College Dems will go door to door for local candidates (Gill, Frerichs, Jakobsson) every weekend until December 12th. This weekend we'll meet at 1:00pm on Sunday in the circle drive of the Illini Union and go out for a few hours. For more info e-mail Justin, democrat@uiuc.edu

Roberts Approved by Committee

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13 to 5 today to send the nomination of John Roberts for Chief Justice to the full Senate. All 10 Republicans and 3 Democrats voted yes on Roberts. The three Democrats: Pat Leahy of Vermont, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, and Russ Feingold also of Wisconsin. Leahy had announced his suport a day earlier. The yes vote by Feingold was somewhat of a surprise because he is a rumored presidential candidate in 2008, although he has cast moderate votes on nominations in the past (yes on John Ashcroft). What will be the final vote total next week? Will Roberts get more than 75 votes?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

College Dems Tailgate

The 5th Annual College Democrats Tailgate Fundraiser will be this Saturday, September 24th from 10:00am to 3:00pm in conjunction with the Illinois vs. Michigan State football game. Come out for great food, drinks, games, and to meet local Democratic candidates (Naomi Jakobsson, David Gill, and Mike Frerichs). We will be located on Flordia Ave. near the Illini baseball field (just east of 4th and Florida).

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thoughts on John Roberts

I have to admit that I was impressed by John Roberts' testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Were his answers too vague? Of course; the modern confirmation process discourages strong opinions on divisive issues. Do I have concerns about his views on voting rights, abortion, gay rights, affirmative action, and federalism? Certainly. I was, however, impressed by Roberts' personal qualities: he was patient, eloquent, and displayed an encylopedic knowledge of the law. While I likely disagree with Roberts on 9 out of 10 major public policy issues, I found him to be sincere. Thus I'm a little conflicted in my opinion of how Democrats should vote on his nomination. With 55 hard Republican yes votes, Roberts' confirmation is wrapped up. The only question is how many Dems will vote no and how our homestate senators will vote. Senator Durbin, a reliable Democratic partisan warrior, will vote no. Senator Obama, however, has said publicly that he is conflicted about how he will vote.

Is a conservative president entitled to pick a conservative Supreme Court justice? A strong case could be made for such a point. I believe that less than 5 Republicans voted no on Ruth Bader Ginsburg in 1993. Repubicans voting yes justified their vote by saying that a liberal president (Clinton) was entitled to pick a liberal Supreme Court Justice. I predict that Roberts will get at least 20 Democratic yes votes. Most of these will come from the usual suspects (Both Nelsons, Conrad, Lieberman, Salazar, Landrieu, etc.) The no votes will be from the liberal wing (Kennedy, Durbin, Boxer, Schumer) plus the presidential wannabees (Clinton, Bayh, Kerry, Biden). I'm not sure how Obama will vote. He has enough political capital to deflect the wrath of the Democratic base voters if he votes yes because he has sided with them on all of their litmus test votes this year (bankrupty reform, Gonzales confirmation, CAFTA). What do you guys think about all this?

Update: Senators Kennedy, Kerry, Reid, and Schumer have announced that they will vote no on Roberts. Senators Leahy, Baucus, and Nelson of Nebraska have announced that they will likely vote yes.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Potential Challenger Endorses Frerichs

Brendan McGinty, Chair of the Champaign County Board Finance Committee, announced yesterday that he will not challenge Mike Frerichs in the Democratic primary for State Senate, leaving Frerichs the only announced candidate. McGinty also endorsed Frerichs, making him the 14th out of 15 county board Democrats to back Frerichs. McGinty's support is yet another sign of the broad range of support for Frerichs among local Democrats. Tom Kacich has a piece about this development on his blog.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Edgar Watch Continues

Former Governor Jim Edgar held a press conference yesterday just to say that he still hasn't made up his mind about running. The presser came on the heels of a poll released by Judy Baar Topinka that showed Edgar beating Governor Blago 51% to 38%. I'm still not convinced that Edgar is likely to run. He has a history of health problems, a reluctant wife, and a cushy gig at U of I. The fact that Illinois Republicans are so desperate for Edgar to run is indicative of the sad state of the Illinois Republican Party and the lack of depth on the party's bench. Edgar hasn't run for office in 12 years. Edgar's flirtation with running will just make Jim Oberweis seem even more dissapointing when he wins the nomination (that's my prediction of the moment). Will Edgar run? If he does, who will drop out? Or drop down? Will Oberweis stay in and go nasty on Edgar?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Frerichs Endorsements Piss Off Illini Pundit

It appears that our publication of all the Democrats behind Mike Frerichs has sparked a nerve with Illini Pundit, crushing his dreams of disunity among local Democrats. Republicans, including Illini Pundit, refuse to concede the strength of Mike's candidacy, an obstinance seemingly motivated by purely partisan or even personal hatred.

First College Democrats Meeting

The UIUC College Democrats hosted our first meeting of the semester last night. Over 150 students attended. Guest speaker included State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, State Senate candidate Mike Frerichs, Congressional candidate Dr. David Gill, and special guest State Rep. John Fritchey.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Democrats Line Up Behind Frerichs

To disprove Illini Pundit's contention that local Democrats are not enthusiastic about Mike Frerichs, I've decided to post a list of Champaign and Vermillion elected officials that are supporting his candidacy:

Champaign County Board (14 out of 15 members)
Lloyd Carter
Catherine Hogue
Lorraine Cowart
Tony Fabri
Tricia Avery (Former Chair)
Claudia Gross
C. Pius Weibel
Janet Anderson
Ralph Langenheim
Jennifer Putman
Tom Betz
Steve Beckett (Vice-Chair)
Barbara Wysocki (Chair)
Brendan McGinty

Former County Board
Paul Faraci
Bob Kirchner

County Wide
State's Attorney Julia Rietz
Former Auditor Gerrie Parr

City of Urbana
Mayor Laurel Prussing
Former Mayor Tod Satterthwaite
Alderman Dennis Roberts
Alderman Charlie Smyth
Former Alderman John Taylor
Former Alderman Jim Hays

City of Champaign
City of Champaign Township Supervisor Linda Abernathy
Former Mayor Dan McCollum
City Council Member Giraldo Rosales
City Council Member Ken Pirok
City Council Member Mike LaDue
City Council Memebr Gina Jackson
City Council Member Marci Dodds

College Democrats
UIUC College Democrats President Justin Cajindos
Parkland College Democrats

Former State Representative
Former State Rep. Helen Satterthwaite

Vermillion County
Vermillion County Democratic Chair Don Dunavan
Vermillion County Board Chair Bil Boyer
Former Vermillion County Board Chair Todd Lee
Vermillion County Clerk Lynn Foster
Vermillion County Auditor Linda Lucas Antsey
Vermillion County Supervisor of Assesments Donald Crist
Vermillion County Circuit Clerk Sue Miller

Another One Bites the Dust

Yet another ranking Illinois Senate Republican has announced that he will be retiring next year. Deputy Senate Republican Leader Ed Petka of Plainfield announced yesterday that he won't run for another term next year. Petka is the seventh Senate Republican to call it quits. The others: Steve Rauschenberger of Elgin (running for governor), Peter Roskam of Wheaton (running for Congress), Kay Wojcik of Shaumburg, Dave Sullivan of Park Ridge, Wendell Jones of Palatine, and our very own Rick Winkel of Urbana. Also Senator Dan Rutherford of Chenoa is running for Secretary of State and Senator Bill Brady of Bloomington is running for Governor, but neither is up for reelection next year. The loss of so many Republicans could give the Democrats a shot at a veto proof majority next year, which would require a pickup of four seats.