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Congressional A-Go-Go: A DuPage Turner

By vouchey in News on Jun 20, 2005 3:10PM

It's the June before an election year, and that means Congressional candidate wannabes are making some hard choices about whether or not they toss their hat into the ring. Why June 2005? Because June 30 is the first important Federal Election Commission's fundraising reporting deadline. The reports, filed in July, are carefully scrutinized by political donors and party bosses across the country. If you don't have enough cheddar in the bank, you're labeled "not viable" and a dead candidacy from the get-go.

congressional_seal.jpgWhile most of the races in Chicago-proper are mostly considered locked up, the suburbs are expected to have plenty of action in 2006. In Northern DuPage County long-time Congressman Henry Hyde (R-6) is retiring, leaving an open seat in a district that has been gradually trending Democrat. In the Northwest suburbs, freshman Congresswoman Melissa Bean (D-8) is expecting a grudgematch with Republicans who feel she stole their longtime seat. And in the North Lakeshore, centrist Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10) is getting some rumbles of a serious challenge.

This is the first of three posts detailing the three potential big suburban races in 2006. First up, the Sixth District in DuPage County.

cegelis.jpgThe 6th District seat, once a Republican stronghold, has seen an increasing Democratic presence as inner suburbs like Park Ridge, Elmhurst and Addison soccer moms vote pro-choice and anti-gun more often. Folks tended to shake their heads when Democratic congressional candidates were mentioned in DuPage, and then Christine Cegelis ran in 2004 and won 44%. Cegelis vowed to run again in 2006, kept on her campaign manager and hired Barack Obama's 2004 finance director, Claire Serdiuk, to run her finances. Two other Democratic candidates, Brian McPartlin and Peter O'Malley, are reportedly in the mix too, but neither of them have filed with the FEC.

roskam2.jpgOn the Republican side, Republican State Senator Peter Roskam has been telling everyone who will listen that he's got his party nomination all wrapped up (but his Congressional website is down, so check his state senate site). Meanwhile, another Republican State Senator, Carole Pankau keeps people guessing as to her candidacy, and one-time DuPage County Recorder of Deeds J.P. "Rick" Carney says he's running too.

The conventional wisdom says this race is the Republicans' to lose -- and as the crowning continues -- Peter Roskam's to lose. And then there's the question of what Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-5) wants to do. Emanuel, the current Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, got behind Melissa Bean's race in 2004 in a big way. Once Emanuel decided she was viable, not only did party money flow, so did campaign talent. For that reason this reporting period is important for Cegelis. If she can raise a good sum of money, the DCCC and Emanuel will notice, and she'll have a real race in 2006.