Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alderman ahead in campaign for cash

You know in Chicago congressional campaigns are generally not very exciting. Generally the incumbents aren't going anywhere. Upstarts who want to go to the US Congress generally lose.

Yeah there might be a campaign that results in the loss of an incumbent especially if said incumbent has corruption charges against them or it's determined that it's time for a change. Yes I'm talking about Rep. Dan Rostenkowski back in the 1990s. He was a northwest side powerhouse who was indicted for mail fraud and lost his seat to a Republican of all people.

Around that time Rep. Mel Reynolds went down in flames when it was discovered that he was in an affair with an underaged volunteer. The result of that campaign gave the second congressional district Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. He still has his congressional seat today.

And then while the seat didn't change hands, this was certainly a bit more competitive than any congressional seat I've seen on the south side in years. In 2000, Rep. Bobby Rush had two other challengers. Two state senators were running against Rep. Rush, Barack Obama and Donne Trotter. Obama came in third and four years later was elected US Senator and Rep. Rush remains in his seat today. Also Donne Trotter is still in the state Senate and is a point man in the budget negotiations in Springfield.

Right now there is some excitment in the congressional races of the Chicago area with speculation over the future of Rep. Luis Guitierrez. He at first wanted to run against Daley this year for Mayor only to drop out when Congress fell back into the control of the Democratic Party. When he was considering a run against Daley, he said that he was going to not seek re-election to his seat next year.

So what's the speculation?

The speculation is that he may in fact seek re-election to his congressional seat next year. Interesting huh? I guess those who announce early to retire after the next election doesn't always follow thru do they. So while the political class in Chicago figure out what Rep. Guitierrez is going to do, we've got some aspiring congressman raising money for a possible race.

From today's Tribune...
Ald. Manuel Flores (1st), one of the City Council's youngest members, has raised far more campaign cash than two more seasoned rivals who also hope to replace U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) in Congress next year.

Gutierrez announced in 2005 that he would not seek re-election in 2008, prompting interest from many veteran politicians looking to represent the state's only predominantly Hispanic congressional district.

Flores, 35, a former aide to the congressman and second-term council member, has jumped to an early lead in fundraising with almost $478,000 in campaign contributions over the last three months.

Next among the potential replacements for Gutierrez was Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago), who raised almost $183,000.

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22th), a 14-year council veteran, reported receiving about $112,000. Munoz also lent $148,000 to his campaign and got a $49,000 loan from his mother, according to documents filed with federal election authorities last weekend.

The winner of the Democratic primary in February 2008 is almost guaranteed election in the district that spans from Chicago's Near Northwest Side to western suburbs such as Cicero.

Flores said Monday that his fundraising advantage shows that he is "putting forth the type of campaign necessary to win this open seat."

But a source close to Gutierrez said it is not yet certain that the congressman would stick with his decision to retire. Gutierrez had flirted with the idea of challenging Mayor Richard Daley in the February election, before changing tack and giving the mayor his warm endorsement.

Now the source said Gutierrez is "giving some serious thought to running again" for his seat in the U.S. House. The recent failure of an immigration-reform plan in Washington is among the factors that could prompt a change of heart for Gutierrez, the source said.
Well we'll see what's going to happen there, won't we?


Rob said...

I know there are other contenders, but Flores always felt to me like the heir apparent to Gutierrez's seat. My guess is he will be pissed if Gutierrez runs in '08! But then again what could he do?

Anonymous said...


How is someone seen as an heir apparent? Do you walk behind the person carrying their coat? I am not sure HOW this perception was made by Flores? I think you need to look at the race in this manner:

Flores has friends who he knew in Georgetown who have went on to good jobs, and this has given him a fundraising advantage. No one is an heir apparent. If there would be one, it would probably be Maldonado because he was in Gutierrez' organization and they are probably good friends.

If Gutierrez decides to run again, he may do it as a favor to Danny Solis who barely won re-election and may need another year to put together what it may take to win.

Flores seems to have the upper hand in that he portrays himself as Mr. Clean, though he is a relative novice at politics.

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