Time for Emanuel to support Cegelis in 6th
Chicago Sun-Times, November 29, 2005
BY DICK SIMPSON
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) should quit playing games and support Christine Cegelis for Congress. Cegelis is running for the second time for Henry Hyde's seat in the suburban 6th District that includes northeast DuPage County and northwest Cook County.
As Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet reported, Emanuel courted Army Major "Tammy" Duckworth to run as the Democratic candidate. He cynically believes that people will vote for her just because she is a wounded veteran of the Iraq War. She has no political platform and no indigenous campaign organization. She is still undergoing physical therapy for her war injuries and she had to get permission from the military to run. She will leave active duty on Dec. 1 to do so.
Apparently the campaign staff and cash would be helicoptered in from Washington because there has been no base built in the district even though nominating petitions are to be filed beginning Dec. 12. David Alexrod has been picked by Emanuel to run her public relations campaign locally.
As a candidate produced a couple of weeks before petitions are to be filed in an election for which she has yet to campaign, running is neither in Duckworth's best interest nor the party's. Emanuel just wants her to run because he can control her and use her in photo opportunities for the party.
Professor Lindy Scott of Wheaton College, who is also running, has a grassroots base in the district and a political platform. He has taught Spanish and Latin American Studies at Wheaton for 10 years. His platform includes: "We should inform the Iraqi government that we will withdraw our troops over the next two years and we will submit to their precise timetable within those parameters." He has raised only $21,000 but is serious about running.
In comparison to Duckworth and Scott, who have never run for office before, Cegelis received 44.2 percent of the vote in 2004 against long-term Republican incumbent Hyde. Her election would revolutionize suburban politics by making elections between Democrats and Republicans competitive.
In talks before audiences in the 6th District over the last couple of weeks, Cegelis asserts that she is fighting to reclaim the American Dream and better opportunities for Americans. She believes the country is going in the wrong direction. Because she is a mother, she is concerned about the next generation and the country we are leaving to our grandchildren. She argues the cost of a college education is too high. She points out the No Child Left Behind federal legislation is causing primary and secondary education costs in her district to soar at the same time some suburban schools are losing funding by being placed on the state's failing school lists.
She believes we have to be smarter in fighting terrorism by better gathering and using intelligence and data which the Bush administration is failing to do. On Iraq she has consistently said: "We need to develop a timeline and an exit strategy to get out of Iraq." She is pro-choice on the issue of abortion.
This is a tough but winnable district for the Democrats. In 2004, Cegelis carried 44.2 percent of the vote; John Kerry, 47 percent, and Barack Obama, 60.
Cegelis' sin in the eyes of Emanuel is that she has raised only $160,000 this year and has only $50,000 in the bank. Washington insiders believe that only campaigns that raise $1 million win. Emanuel previously tried and failed to get some personally wealthy Democrat to jump in the race. Failing that, he is putting up a war veteran in the hope of winning the sympathy and patriotic vote despite the fact that the majority of Americans now want to get out of Iraq.
The national Democratic Party would do better to send money and support to Cegelis. She, her more than 100 campaign volunteers, and the Democrats and Republicans in the 6th District who voted for her last time, have earned the right to run this race.
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