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An argument for seriously contesting the IL-02 special election.

by: AJNolte

Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 14:27:07 PM EST

I've heard a lot of discussion here--and taken part of much of it--about the need to do minority outreach, and the competing strategies people have for achieving this goal. Broadly speaking, there are two camps on this issue. The first is that Republicans need to recruit quality minority candidates to run in either safe Republican seats, or swing seats, thereby diversifying the face of the Republican Party. The other argument is that promoting such minority candidates smacks of "identity politics", and that the right answer is to create a tailored, urban-oriented policy agenda. I guess my response to this either or is an emphatic "yes, both and". To win a traditionally hostile constituency, you need both a stronger message and credible messengers. Rather than endlessly rehashing the arguments about a certain congressional candidate from Utah, however, I would like to suggest here that there's an even more basic element to minority outreach than either changing policy or candidate recruitment: showing up. I think Governor Susana Martinez summed this up rather well a few weeks ago when she pointed out that Republicans have a tendency to show up in heavily Hispanic areas every four years, just in time for the presidential election, and then remain completely absent until the next presidential elections. As Republicans, before we can even think about message or messenger, we've got to actually start trying to build stronger party organization in heavily minority areas. And bluntly put, this means contesting every single election, no matter how Democratic the area.

In some ways, the upcoming IL-02 special election is a pretty good test-bed for this strategy. True, our chances of winning here are very small. True, our chances of holding the seat even if we did win it are even smaller. But if we want to start cracking into highly urbanized minority populations, we've got to start by running serious campaigns even in uphill races. Democrats are headed for what looks like a possible clown-car primary in IL-02, and there's a legitimate possibility it will turn out to be a nasty one. If this happens, Republicans need to stand ready with a viable campaign and plausible nominee who can at least give us a fighting chance in this heavily Democratic seat. And even if Democrats nominate their strongest potential candidate, running a decent campaign in this special election could serve as a potential model for future urban-based campaigns. I'll rely on those familiar with Illinois politics to suggest the type of Republican candidate we should be looking for here, as I don't know the district as well as others on RRH (and please do make such suggestions in the comments thread). However, I think it's a seat worth fighting for, because even if we don't win, a good campaign in a VRA district could, if replicated, do more good for minority outreach than all the minority recruits in safe R seats and urban-oriented policy tweaks we could possibly come up with. When asked why he was a Republican, former representative Joseph Cao replied: "because someone asked me to be". So let's go out and start asking people to vote for us, and possibly join our party, in IL-02.  

AJNolte :: An argument for seriously contesting the IL-02 special election.
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I tend to agree with this strategy.  Even if we run and get 30%, that is a significant improvement and gives us lessons for other races in far less hostile districts.

28, Republican, PA-6

It would be a good opportunity
for someone looking at the LG race to boost name rec. Erika Harold maybe?

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Isn't she from down-state?
I don't know how well having a down-state candidate run for the seat would play. If we can't find a credible local, that may be the best option though.  

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]
but she lives in downtown Chicago now IIRC.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
And it isn't as though the NRCC, RNC and ILGOP will have a lot else going on in April 2013.
Although if we can get them to avoid the air war and focus on ground game it'd be an improvement. I'm certainly not arguing for the traditional strategy of carpet-bombing the district with ads. More like what was done in the Turner win, if possible, from outside groups.  

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]
One suggestion
I think this has to be a multiple-step process.  We're not going to convince South Chicago to vote for our guy in a few months, so I suggest we start with a more realistic goal.

In other words, hit the Black Southern Chicago suburbs.  It's demographics are way better for potential Republican votes than the urban wastelands of the Northern parts of the district, though it votes the same way.

In fact I think this is the best national strategy we can pursue right now.  An impoverished Single Black mother in Central Brooklyn has plenty of reasons to vote Democrat beyond her race.  A white-collar and religious black family from Jamaica on the other hand, has a lot of potential openings a Republican can exploit.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-14

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"

Interesting suggestion.
What does this say about the type of candidate we need to recruit here?

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]
What about
that alderman from Harvey that ran an asterisk-level primary challenge to Kirk in 2010?

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
I don't remember much from that primary,
but wasn't he that crazy dude who alleged on radio talk shows Kirk was gay? I mean, aside from the veracity of that statement, that's probably not the kind of candidate you want to run here.  

[ Parent ]
No, I tink that was Andy Martin
That primary had like 10 candidates and I think this guy came in 6th or 7th. I think he's named John Arrington?

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
I agree
I think AJNolte makes a lot of great points, but you can't go into the race with the "our chances of winning are very smal" mindset. You need to understand that we are going to lose and lose big here, and the goal has to be testing strategies to reach out to voters in hostile areas. If our candidate is trying to win or keep it close, they'll spend too much time in Kankakee and Will, which are irrelevant. But if someone wants to take the GOP message to southern Cook, that's worth investing in.

[ Parent ]
which is why someone like Harold, or anyone else who might be interested in the LG's race, would be a great candidate. They have to realize that what they get out of this is name recognition and goodwill.

One of the problems with Southern Cook though is that there are pockets of it that are in worse shape than much of the South Side. Google Ford Heights or Dixie Square and you'll realize. But places like Olympia Fields are worth the message-testing.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Yeah, this makes sense...
And it dovetails with something I've seen some of the parliamentary parties do (running promissing candidates in uphill races to get them experience).

If Harold does in fact live in Cook County, then running her for the special might not be a bad idea, particularly if she's willing to take a hit to get our message out there.  

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]
All of the comments and replies so far make sense to me.  I will be paying attention to this special election.

35, conservative R, lives in PA-14, grew up in TX

Watching for what?
A bunch of 560-0 precincts?

[ Parent ]
Special Election
If everyone that voted for Mitt Romney in this district turned out to vote for the Republican in the special election, then we would probably win the seat. As great of an opportunity this election could be for outreach to minorities, the GOP in Illinois also needs to work on it's GOTV operation. We can use this race to identify our potential voters in Kankakee and Will County. Getting them out to vote may or may not win us IL-2, but improved margins in those counties could help make the difference in state-wide races.

This district also includes Chicago's 10th Ward, which is Hispanic majority, but includes a very large Polish population. These voters are mostly Catholic, socially conservative, city and union workers. Reaching out to them may prove easier than black voters.

Agreed on everything
It would border on stupdity not to contest the district. You don't expand a majority by just going where you're dead set to win: Pick a good candidate (minority, female, yes, it's pondering but at this state I think pondering is good) who knows her stuff and won't do an Akin/Murdoch on us and try to set up the best GOTV effort EVER! Identify the people, knock on doors, engage neighbors, whatever ...

German citizen - Conservative by heart, non native english speaker

In other news
Ds should contest TX-13 because it will help them win other rural districts or something.

25, Male, R, NY-10

Um, ever heard of MS-01?
A heavily Republican district Democrats won in a special election in 2007, and held for a cycle and a half? Or how about the presumably unwinnable-for-Democrats NY-23? If you write off a huge and growing segment of the population permanently, don't be surprised when they vote in lock-step for the other side.  

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]
IL-2 = TX-13, not MS-1

25, Male, R, NY-10

[ Parent ]
Good comparison
and I think a valid one. If TX-13 came up in a special election, it would be worth Democrats trying to find somebody to contest it. The only way TX Dems will ever be relevant is to find someone who can understand rural folks. If they had a Tommy Sowers type ready, said person could use that to get his name rec off the ground as a viable candidate even while losing 70-30 or something. It would be a good stepping stone to a race like Ag or Lands Commissioner.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
that would actually be a good strategy for that race.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Good lord
This is a bunch of !1!1!1!1! if I've ever seen any.

Look, if you want to see the results of a real campaign run in IL-02, look no further than Rev Isaac Hayes in 2010. He actually campaigned and did the black church circuit, too.

He got 13%.

We're wasting our time even just thinking about such a cockamamie idea.

Put yourself in the shoes of someone running for LG
You can either do the Plummer route and carpet-bomb the state with ads, try the Murphy route of teaming up with a gubernatorial candidate and hoping he takes off in a crowded field, or you can try to make your own name. This is a perfect way to do that; best case scenario you both get your name known with the base and could score an extra tenth of a percent or so for the ticket in 2014.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
we're going to run a "some dude" from IL-02 for Lt. Gov?  To say the least, that's an awful idea.

That's like saying "gee, let's test someone for running for MD Lt. Gov by running them against Donna Edwards in PG County!"

No. We're best off running a popular State Rep or State Senator from a tough district.

I highly, highly doubt that some Lt. Gov selection who ran a special electio campaign with no media attentin in IL-02 is going to help pick up any votes for our gubernatorial nominee in 2014. It's also absolutely absurd to assume that such a person could win a Lt. Gov primary statewide.

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's all that useful for a statewide officeholder either
See my comment below; the candidate himself or herself is less important.

[ Parent ]
Charles Lollar
If he had not gone off the deep end he would've been a strong LG prospect.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Charles Lollar
How did he go off the deep end? I haven't heard anything about him since 2010.

Also, note that he'd potentially have been a strong LG prospect because so much of MD-05 (like Southern Maryland and southern Anne Arundel County) is fertile GOP territory...

[ Parent ]
Doing well in Kankakee
is essential for a statewide GOP win too.

Look, for IL-LG you can either team up with a governor candidate, which worked in 2002 and 2006 because there was a strong front-runner, or you can spend a lot of money as we saw in 2010. If you don't have the resources for either, this would be a good opportunity to get your name out there and potentially vault to the front of a crowded field at low cost.

As for Lollar:

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
I get it
But the point isn't to break 13%. You have a very limited number of elections before the 2014 midterms on which to test messaging and GOTV. It's worth at least getting on the ground and engaging with people in the middle-class areas of the district which aren't entirely under the control of the Cook Democratic machine.

[ Parent ]
Inaccurate quote
which aren't entirely under the control of the Cook Democratic

Actually, they are. Even the white portions of the Chicago Southland are stuffed full of labor Dems (think the type of people who live in McKeesport/Swissvale, Pennsylvania rather than swingier labor Dems like those in Quincy, Massachusetts who swung for Scott Brown in 2012) who are completley loyal to the union, and those unions are completely loyal to the C(r)ook County Democratic Machine Party.

[ Parent ]
Think Olympia Fields and South Holland
more than Cal City or Chicago Heights.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
I don't know those areas
But I'll come back with this because I think I see the comparison.

Southfield, MI - 2002:
Paul Condino (D) - 22,093
Sylvia Jordan (R) - 5,497

Granholm (D) - 23,382
Posthumus (R) - 4,493

Two Southfield current/former City Council members running for that district. Southfield is and has been black majority mixed area with a black middle class population. Sylvia Jordan (a black Republican) was a sacrificial lamb, but someone who has held office there on a non partisan level. She wasn't some dudeette. She only did 1000 votes better than Posthumus against a white democrat (who replaced a black dem and was replaced by a black dem).

Southfield's even more dem since 2002.  

MI-08 - Chairman - Livingston County Republican Party Since 2013 - Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP.  

[ Parent ]
Was that a special?

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
State Rep
State Rep HD-35 (old district). Covers Southfield, part of Oak Park, Lathrup Village, and Royal Oak Township (not to be confused with Royal Oak - it's like Detroit).

MI-08 - Chairman - Livingston County Republican Party Since 2013 - Opinions are my own and not that of LCRP.  

[ Parent ]
Because we've got so much else to spend time and money on in Illinois in 2013, right?
Look, it might not be a winnable race, but the only way of actually winning urban areas is to run serious campaigns there, consistently. It isn't going to be cheap and it isn't going to be easy, but we need to start somewhere. Maybe it only gets us to 30% this time, but if it helps us build some sort of organization in the precincts in the area it's still worth doing.

Your argument for minority outreach seems to be kicking social issues to the curb and talking a lot about school vouchers. Yeah, that's great, but if you don't actually put in some time and effort to, you know, ask people for their votes, how do you expect all your policy tweaks to actually have an impact? And that means running a credible campaign in every VRA seat we can, let alone an open seat scenario.  

male, social, fiscal and foreign policy center-right Republican, in but not of academia, VA-08.

[ Parent ]

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