Remember Michael Patrick Flanagan? That triple Irish-named Republican candidate beat Chicago heavyweight and Democratic Congress-leader Dan Rostenkowski in November 1994 in a stunning upset. And in 1996, our governor Rod "The Bod" Blagojevich beat him to win back the seat for the Dems.
Now, the seat was a Democratic-majority seat. No question about it. But lots of Democratic voters switched over to the GOP to known about Rostenkowski.
Could Melissa Bean be the beneficiary of a similar anti-Phil Crane vote?
If she wins (and wouldn't it be crazy if one of the bluest of blue states retains a 10-9 Republican congressional delegation, like we have right now?), it would be really damn hard to retain the seat in 2006 against a younger, less out-of-touch GOP challenger. (And if Bean wins, that GOP challenger will almost certainly have to be a woman.)
I've been sticking to my mantra that the map matters most, but maybe Melissa Bean can ride the wave of anti-Crane sentiment all the way to D.C. Just like Michael Patrick Flanagan ten years ago.