The Political Action Up North
With Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama running unchallenged, and President George Bush essentially conceeding Illinois to Democratic challenger John Kerry, the top of the ballot this November isn't drawing a whole lot of attention. This has opened up a whole lot of possibility for races further down the ballot, like the 8th Congressional District race up in northwestern Cook, and Lake and McHenry Counties. The seat, held by Republican Rep. Phil Crane for thirty-three years -- he replaced Donald Rumsfeld -- is being hotly contested by second-time Democratic candidate, Melissa Bean.
Crane's ahead of Bean in the race to get more campaign cash -- but she's still in the running. As of the end of last month he had $514,000 and she had $287,000. They're both large sums, but mere drops in the bucket when you realize that each campaign is likely to spend more than $1 million by the time the whole thing is over.
If you're looking for a bellweather race for Democrats and Republicans in 2004 -- this is it.