Turnout is key to victory in targeted House races


CHICAGO-For Republicans to win a majority in the House of Representatives, they need to sweep hotly contested swing district races in several states including Illinois. There are four such races here and according to polls, all are in flux and turnout will be key to victory.

Three of the districts have incumbent Democrats running. The 11th and 14th CDs have been traditionally Republican, but with changing demographics elected Democrats in 2008. A third, the 17th CD which includes the Quad Cities area has elected Democrats for several election cycles. Democrat Rep. Phil Hare running there is strongly backed by the labor movement.

A fourth, the 10th CD covering the suburbs north of Chicago, has been represented by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) who has vacated the seat to run for US Senate. Democrat Dan Seals is currently leading against Tea Party endorsed Republican Bob Dold.

The GOP and reactionary groups are targeting Illinois swing districts and flooding it with cash. The 10th, 11th and 14th CDs are top priorities of Americans for Prosperity (AFP); the extremist group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. Illinois ranks number four in total outside money coming in.

The 11th CD is a far flung district that stretches from the exurbs of Chicago west to Joliet and south to Bloomington. It has one of the highest densities of union households, but is also characterized by high unemployment and deep anxiety among voters.

Incumbent Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-IL) is a being ganged up on by the right wing nationally. She is a top target of the Republicans, AFP, Karl Rove's sleazy American Crossroads and the anti-choice group Susan B. Anthony List. This kind of opposition means she has a tough challenge in her race against ex-McLean County Commissioner and Tea Party and Sarah Palin endorsed candidate Adam Kinzinger.

Among other things, Kinzinger supports extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, calls for capping Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age and ending cost-of -iving adjustments. He's also against a woman's right to choose.

"I talk to seniors every day who are struggling to make ends meet, and cutting their benefits or raising the retirement age would simply be devastating," Halvorson said. "The petition we launched today gives those seniors a voice and lets them tell their story of why these important benefits can't be taken away."

Kinzinger has attacked Halvorson for her support of the stimulus bill, the health care reform and cap and trade legislation. She has called for eliminating tax breaks that encourage corporations to move facilities overseas, citing local manufacturer Caterpillar as a case in point.

"They're getting a tax break," she said. "They'll be able to write off all those expenses. This is taxpayer giveaways for moving jobs off shore."

Kinzinger claims corporate taxes are already too high and calls for cutting them further to keep jobs here.

Observers note a definite shift in momentum in the target races. The Illinois AFL-CIO has been cranking up phone banks and canvassing across the state. Communications Director Beth Spencer says the federation has operations in 10 zones statewide including in the battleground races.

Similarly, pro-choice, environmental and consumer groups are hitting the streets.

"We have a bunch of races that if won can go a long way in determining the national outcome," says John Gaudette, Organizing Director for Citizen Action Illinois. "People are making decisions. They are saying - here's what I expect, here's what I got, now how do I get more? The ideas of the extremist (Republican) candidates are pushing them away."

Photo: John Bachtell

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  • Voter turnout is desperately needed in NJ's 3rd Congressional District! Former pro-football player Jon Runyan is running for the GOP. Democrats need to turn out and vote for John Adler, who is the lesser of two evils in this race!

    Posted by Vinnie A, 10/15/2010 3:56pm (5 years ago)

  • "Among other things, Kinzinger supports extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, calls for capping Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age and ending cost-of -iving adjustments. He's also against a woman's right to choose."

    That is almost a complete lie. Adam opposes all tax increases (even for those evil, wealthy business owners who want to expand their businesses). These are not tax cuts, just maintaining the current tax levels.

    Adam has also been very clear that promises made should be promises kept as far as social security, retirement age, and benefits. Debbie Halvorson voted to cut $529 BILLION from Medicare, on the other hand.

    Adam is prolife except in cases of rape and incest, but you are fear mongering. A freshman congressman has no opportunity or ability to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    The people of the 11th district are awake. They understand that Halvorson represents the people of San Francisco much more than the people of IL-11 (because she has voted with Nancy Pelosi nearly 100% of the time). 18% is an awful lot to be down by this late in the game, so hopefully Debbie Halvorson cuts her loses and concedes before Nov. 2nd.

    Posted by John Mailbox, 10/08/2010 3:01pm (5 years ago)

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