Saturday, January 29, 2005

LaHood won't be luring lakefront liberals

Tom Roeser's column here explains how Ray LaHood's gubernatorial campaign won't be a repeat of George Ryan's 1998 run, when he wooed lakefront liberals into the Republican camp, with an attitude of openness to civil rights for homosexuals, gun control and increased public investment.

Ray LaHood said that he would have vetoed the historic civil rights for homosexuals bill (what was SB 101) that Governor Blagojevich signed on Friday.

That puts him on the wrong side of history, and probably on the wrong side of ever-more of the suburbs.

And it means the lakefront will not be at all tempted to join up with LaHood. Tom Roeser might like that, but he's living in the capitol of Blue America now, and his opinion is a minority one.


IlliniPundit said...

Well, you know the lakefront better than I do, but I find it hard to believe that most lakefront voters are single-issue voters, and that their issue is gay rights.

More likely than not, lakefront voters might have to choose between a posturing, bothered-by-now-persistant-scandals Blagojevich and a right-of-center, "new Republican" LaHood. Frame the debate that way, and who knows what might happen in the suburbs and lakefront. I think anti-corruption beats gay rights in those areas almost every time (especially if the reform movement gains steam in Chicago and Cook County), but we'll see.

FightforJustice said...

Is G-Rod the Liberal hero just because he signed a symbolic bill? His staunch opposition to new taxes (fees don't count) frustrates some progressives.

Anonymous said...

Even if gay rights does not personally affect most lakefront and suburban voters, it's a huge political issue because of the issue is shorthand for liberal social stances. Since the 1996 Durbin vs Salvi race, the standard Democratic playbook for the lakefront calls for attacking the more conservative candidate on gay rights, abortion,and guns. (That's why GRyan made inroads on the lakefront.) LaHood is on the wrong side of these three issues that are surrogates for a whole range of concerns for lakefront liberals and soccer moms.

In my opinion, Illinipundit oversestimates the power of an anti-corruption crusade. First, a whole bunch of conservatives will be attacking LaHood for being a tool of the corrupt GOP establishment during the primary; so, I'm not sure LaHood gets to run as a reformer. Second, folks who vote on progressive social issues have readily voted for guys who aren't goo-goos (good government types, for those from out-of-state) as long as they're good on the social issues. Remember that Sarah Feigenholtz brokered the whole deal to trade votes for a Rosemont casino in exchange for support of the gay rights bill.

I'd say Fightforjustice is correct that G-Rod is not redeemed just because he signed one bill (that, quite frankly, should have become law in his first year as Governor). But without a viable alternative -- and for progressives, LaHood is not a viable alternative -- G-Rod benefits from the hold-your-nose vote.

Vasyl (blogger-shmogger -- not registered yet, and proud of it!)

FightforJustice said...

Where do you liberals go if Vallas is G-Rod's primary competition?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I saw in the Cap Fax blog that there's a 3-year residency requirement for gubernatorial candidates, so that leaves Vallas out. I maintain my prediction: Rod will ride alone in the primary. BO-RING! But true. A status quo primary.

Anonymous said...

You practice election law, so you know that "residency" is a term of art. It goes to intent to establish a permanent domicile, not where you happen to be hanging your hat.

All that being said, is it likely that Vallas will attempt to run? Sadly, the answer is "no." And if Lisa Madigan doesn't take on the challenge, Rod will walk in to being the Dem nominee. Should Draft Vallas hang up the blog - or just change the name?

Anonymous said...

Fight for Justice,

I would say the odds are about 20 to 1 that LaHood would not call for a tax increase, so the lakefronters and soccer moms will look for something to distinguish the two candidates and most will ultimately vote for Blago.

Anonymous said...


There's a whole bunch of reasons that Vallas won't run for Governor in 2008, including his public statements that he won't. But it would have been a hell of a primary if he did run. I think Vallas would have retained 80%+ of his support, and picked up well over 20% of Blagojevich voters, leaving the Burris voters to decide the outcome.

Btw, I don't understand why you think liberals would stay away from Vallas. Vallas sweeped the lakefront and North Shore, leaving downstate to provide Blagojevich his margin of victory. The liberals who supported Blagojevich did so more on a matter of style than on any substantial policy differences. After two years of seeing G-Rod fail to deliver on a lot of promises to progressives, Vallas would have had little problem picking up the liberal vote.