Thursday, August 25, 2005

Senator Winkel is out for '06 -- Frerichs for Senate looking better

Senator Rick Winkel, a Republican from Champaign County, announced today that he is not running for re-election. This article in the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette spells it out.

This is a shocker.

Senator Winkel is one of the best GOP legislators, pushing for an end to locally-funded schools where wealthy areas get good teachers and low tax rates while poor areas get bad teachers and high tax rates. He also pushed for good process reforms and was one of the more accessible legislators. He'll be missed.

His race for re-election was shaping up to be the most hotly-contested battle in the state. Champaign County Auditor Mike Frerichs is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Now that the race is an open seat, things are looking much better for Frerichs.

The two state reps from the district are Naomi Jakobbson (a D) and Bill Black (an R). It's unlikely that Bill Black will run for the Senate as he is the unofficial floor leader of the House Republicans and seems to enjoy the House more than the average legislator.

Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden (also a blogger -- check it out here) might run for the race as a thoughtful guy and a fierce Republican partisan.

This is going to be a huge race and it makes a veto-proof Senate majority in 2006 more likely.

24 comments:

dazednamused said...

I see your point, DJW, but if you're Bill Black, isn't there a lot more of chance to end up in the majority in the Senate than if you stay in the House? (I know this is a little close to home for you, so maybe you can't really comment on that), But, say if Edgar were to run and be at the top of the ticket? Still unlikely, but more of a probability than staying in the House.

Anonymous said...

Are you the mastermind behind the veto-proof majority?

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Well, I don't see a GOP majority in either house in 06. Is a Senate GOP majority more likely than a House GOP majority? Well, a Senate veto-proof majority seems more likely today than a House veto-proof majority, and if I were Bill Black, I'd rather be in the House where I get a voice in any bonding issues (and Speaker Madigan has been bending over backwards to give Republicans a chance to participate in legislating) than serve in the Senate where I might not get any voice in bonding and President Jones has not been known for including Republicans in the legislative process. And to anon, I'm not the mastermind behind anything. . . .but thanks for asking.

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IlliniPundit said...

I think this is bad news for Frerichs. If Rep. Black runs, he'll destroy Frerichs. If Rep. Black doesn't run, there will probably be a significant Democratic candidate to emerge from Vermilion County who will beat Frerichs in a Primary.

I understand that, at the state level, Frerichs is highly regarded because of his associations with Obama. But around here, you might be surprised by the lack of enthusiasm for him. He hasn't raised any money, he barely won his countywide race despite outspending a lackluster opponent four-to-one. As a Republican, I hope Frerichs is your candidate, but I don't see any way he can win the race.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I don't know about the strength of Bill Black. He's got a mean streak and his antics on the House floor grow rather stale. You can only yell and scream for so many years before people grow tired of it. Do you really think the University types are going to back Black over Yale-educated Frerichs? I know the western part of the district much more than the eastern part, but since the district leans D, I don't see how Black 'destroys' Frerichs. Plus, that opens up Black's house seat to a Democratic campaign, and I can't imagine Tom Cross and the other House GOPers would be very happy about that.

IlliniPundit said...

I don't know about the strength of Bill Black. He's got a mean streak and his antics on the House floor grow rather stale. You can only yell and scream for so many years before people grow tired of it.

Black cannot be beaten by a Champaign County candidate because he will win insurmountable margins in Vermilion County. Champaign County isn't as geographically sensitive, so Frerichs won't dominate here as Black would in Vermilion.

Do you really think the University types are going to back Black over Yale-educated Frerichs?

Yes. The "university-types" aren't going to vote for a Republican anyway. Plus, Black is a UI grad and a huge booster of the athletic programs.

I know the western part of the district much more than the eastern part, but since the district leans D, I don't see how Black 'destroys' Frerichs.

Vermilion County will vote for a Vermilion County candiate over a Champaign County candidate overwhelmingly. Frerichs cannot beat Black.

Plus, that opens up Black's house seat to a Democratic campaign, and I can't imagine Tom Cross and the other House GOPers would be very happy about that.

It's about a 55 percent Republican District. Remember, it's the counter-balance to Rep. Jakobsson's very safe Democratic House seat. There are a number of strong Vermilion County-wide office holders who could hold the House seat.

Douglas said...

IP has a most bizarre view of Mike Frerichs! I couldn't disagree more strongly with his claim that there's "little enthusiasm" for Frerichs locally. That's just a loyal Republican trying to keep a stiff upper lip.

Frerichs will do better in the 104th than Black will do in the 103rd. The district is Dem-leaning -- it went for both Kerry and Obama in '04. If Black runs, he'll face the toughest campaign of his career, which he'll likely lose in the end.

And let's not forget about Black's House district. It leans Republican, but there are Vermilion County Dems who have won in Republican districts and have been waiting for Black to retire. Democrats certainly could pick up the 104th with the right candidate.

If Black does jump to the senate, it will be a blow to Tom Cross, that's for sure. Did Black and Cross ever really make up after the leadership fight?

IlliniPundit said...

Frerichs will do better in the 104th than Black will do in the 103rd.

This is absurd. There is no way that Frerichs gets even 30 percent of the vote against Bill Black in Vermilion County. Vermilion County votes for Vermilion County, across party lines, repeatedly. Bill Black, Judy Myers, Rita Garman, etc.

BuckTurgidson said...

Black is a GOP leadership guy. He's a senior member of the House. And Madigan does indeed play ball with GOPers more than does Jones, who is still paying back the Republican Caucus for years of heavy-handed rule under Pate.

Black may well be able to win (though anyone who suggests it would be a cakewalk is fooling themselves). But why?

He's in his mid-60s, so it's doubtful he's got higher office in mind. He'd become, at best, a back-bencher in a career-long minority.

What would be the point?

BuckTurgidson said...

Incidentally, though Vermillion did hand Rick Winkel his victory over Dan McCollum - it did so by about 600 votes.

IlliniPundit said...

Black may well be able to win (though anyone who suggests it would be a cakewalk is fooling themselves). But why?

To prevent Emil Jones from having free reign to gut the University of Illinois, while another lapdog legislator like Naomi Jakobsson or Mike Frerichs looks on helplessly.

BuckTurgidson said...

"To prevent Emil Jones from having free reign to gut the University of Illinois..."

You mean to protect Chief Illiniwek.

Personally, I couldn't care less about the Chief -one way or another. But I am quite certain Jones is not intent on "gutting" the university.

Nor do I believe replacing one GOP state senator with another would make the difference if he were.

IlliniPundit said...

But I am quite certain Jones is not intent on "gutting" the university.

His policies and statements indicate that his feeling is that UIC deserves much more of the funding that has traditionally gone to UIUC, and his budgets have implemented that. This has nothing to do with the Chief (unless the Chief is the reason Jones dislikes the UI). But he has stated that UIC is a much higher priority for him than UIUC.

Since Jones and Blago took over, UIUC has eliminated over 300 permanent faculty positions, for example.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Let's assume you're correct about President Jones -- which I disagree with, for the record. Every university, as I understand it, has had significant cutbacks in tenured positions, not just UIUC. But for the sake of argument, let's say you're correct. Wouldn't UIUC be better off with a Democratic Senator than a Republican Senator, given that the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats?

IlliniPundit said...

Wouldn't UIUC be better off with a Democratic Senator than a Republican Senator, given that the Senate will be controlled by the Democrats?

You might be forgiven for thinking so, until you consider the example of Democratic State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, who also represents the UI has has had her seat bought and paid for by Speaker Madigan. She's a complete lapdog who voted to steal money from UI employees pensions. We cannot afford to take the risk of another Democrat who simply does the bidding of their legislative leader. One Jakobsson is enough, thank you very much.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

That makes the very large assumption that Michael Frerichs would be the same type of legislator as Naomi Jakkobson. Why do you just assume that the two would legislate similarly? I noticed that Representative Black who prides himself as an education advocate, decided not to join HB 750 as a co-sponsor. Any explanation for why a representative of a below-average-income district who is a former teacher and complains about how broke the schools are didn't support the tax swap?

IlliniPundit said...

That makes the very large assumption that Michael Frerichs would be the same type of legislator as Naomi Jakkobson. Why do you just assume that the two would legislate similarly?

Given that Jakobsson is our only experience with a Democrat who is almost-entirely funded by a Chicago legislative leader, and the discipline that Democrats showed this session, and President Jones' public statements about the UI, I think it's a pretty safe assumption that Frerichs could not be as effective an advocate for UI as Bill Black.

I noticed that Representative Black who prides himself as an education advocate, decided not to join HB 750 as a co-sponsor. Any explanation for why a representative of a below-average-income district who is a former teacher and complains about how broke the schools are didn't support the tax swap?

Because it wasn't revenue-neutral. I doubt Frerichs would support it either.

IlliniPundit said...

Besides, is Frerichs' entire campaign message going to be:
"I disagree with the Governor about everything and with my overwhelmingly largest campaign contributor about funding for UI. Oh, yeah, and I won't legislate anything like that other Democrat, Naomi Jakobsson. Oh, yeah, plus I'll be more effective for Vermilion County than Bill Black."

Heh. I'd like to see that.

Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

Lots of questions, IP. First, how do you think the GOP Senate campaign is going to be funded? My guess: the Senate GOP committee. Second, one of the best things about Senator Winkel was that he was willing to confront the need for more revenue if we want education to get more money. Revenue-neutral solutions just won't fund our schools enough -- especially our poor schools. If Bill Black won't support raising revenues for schools, why would he be a good advocate for UIUC? Of course Frerichs won't disagree with the Governor or Emil Jones about everything -- he'll agree with both of them on most things, because the Democratic agenda is better for more people than the alternative.

Anonymous said...

I know very little about this.

Maybe Frerichs would be a good person. We need an alternative to Gov. B. within the Democrat ranks. And Yale is a great school.

Funding for public universities is a lot more than UIUC. It is Northern, Southern, Eastern and Western. It is IL St. It is other stuff. This is important to IL future. It needs people who genuinely care.

IlliniPundit said...

Of course Frerichs won't disagree with the Governor or Emil Jones about everything -- he'll agree with both of them on most things, because the Democratic agenda is better for more people than the alternative.

I'm looking forward to Frerichs' attempting to make the case that the Blago/Jones agenda is better for more people in our part of the state. Unfortunately, he won't even attempt that - he can't run on the record of Blagojevich and Jones, or he'll be defeated easily. He'll pretend to be a Republican and pretend to support the UI, all without mentioning the dismal record of his party on UI and higher-ed related issues.

Anonymous said...

it would be nice to shift the future of IL govt revenue from casinos & gambling to something else.

i have to think that consumer education should explain the dangers of gambling - addiction, expense, opportunity cost, etc. Gambling may be the "loser's game".