IL-14 Special Election: Thanks, Denny

[Update 12/4: The special primary will be February 5 along with the regular primary, as we thought it would be; the special general is scheduled for March 8.]

It’s funny (albeit in that kind of lip-curling way) that Denny Hastert says he resigned the way he did so we could have the special primary on the same day as the regular primary to save us taxpayers money. That’s hogwash. If he really wanted to save us money he’d finish his term. We still need to have the special general election, one more than we bargained for this year, and as far as I can tell it will cost the county about $45,000 to put on that extra show. Denny does not appear to have resigned because of health issues, which in my book is one of few legitimate reasons for packing up early; indeed, he seems miffed that the nasty partisan Congress wouldn’t let him influence energy policy. Boo hoo hoo.

If one of our U.S. senators quit, the governor would be allowed to appoint someone in his place to finish out the term because we’d still have one elected person left to represent us in the Senate. A departing congressman, on the other hand, leaves a district unrepresented in the House so by law the governor must order a special election cycle of one special primary and one special general. What can be confusing is the overlap, but the timing cannot be helped. Governor Rod has five days to figure out when these special elections should be, and another 115 days to get them done.

The thing to remember is that the special primary and general are just about getting someone in there to finish up Denny’s term, while the regular primary and general are about filling a new two-year term beginning January 2009. Most likely we will be voting in the special primary and the regular primary on the same day in February but with two ballots, one with just the IL-14 (special/filling out the term) candidates and the other with everybody else including the IL-14 (regular/new term) candidates. Then, the victors of the special primary run in a special general in March or early April, and the victors of the regular primary go to it in the regular general in November.

This could actually become more confusing. It’s conceivable that we end up not having exactly the same field of candidates for the special primary as we do the regular primary. The reason for that is the ballot petition filing. The candidates in the regular primary filed their petitions earlier this month so that field is set (assuming Michael Dilger overcomes the challenge to his petitions from the Lauzen camp). But now the campaigns each have to file another 800 valid signatures (actually 793 for Repub candidates; 863 for Dems) within three weeks to get into the special primary. Most campaigns got way more signatures than required (e.g., Foster 1900; Laesch 2300) for the regular primary in order to “inoculate” themselves against petition challenges but some campaigns may not have that kind of a buffer for the special. Considering that the person who gets elected to finish Hastert’s term would undoubtedly enjoy an edge in the general, things could get zoo-y very fast.

If so, I’ll just add it to my list of things to thank Denny for.

8 thoughts on “IL-14 Special Election: Thanks, Denny”

  1. I believe Cele Meyer is correct and Rep. Hastert is retiring to beat the clock on the lobbying restriction set to take effect soon. I believe that is also Senator Trent Lott’s excuse as to why he is not finishing his term, so he can go work on K Street without having to wait the two years. (Nevermind the rumor that Larry Flynt might have some wild story about Senator Lott, almost always, everything comes down to money. Working on K Street pays far more than being a Senator.)

  2. On Tuesday, December 4, 2007 at 7:45 p.m. my telephone rang. The man on the other end mumbled something about a company he worked for doing a “survey” to gather “opinions” but stated “we are not selling anything” very clearly and distinctly. He asked, “If the election for the 14th District were held today, which candidate would you vote for, Oberweis, Burns, Lauzen” very clearly and distinctly. Of only those choices, I picked Burns. Immediately, the man on the phone started talking about how Lauzen serves in the state legislature and how he has ”ideas.” I then asked, “Do you work for Lauzen?” He answered, “I work for America.” I said nothing. Then he said, “Yes, I work for Lauzen.” He proceeded to talk about Lauzen, I said I was not interested in Lauzen, he started to argue, and I hung up. Obviously, that man did not call me to gather my opinion on candidates. I then tried to use the *69 feature on the telephone to get the number that just called me, but that was not possible. I think that means someone paid a lot of money to set up that calling system, and I guess that also means that the phone calls were not being made out of some volunteer’s house. The specifics on the phone transaction were that the recorded message from the phone company said that number could not be given out but if I wanted that number dialed, I could press “1” which I did. The message then repeated that the number could not be given out.

    I would totally testify under oath that all of that happened as the truth as I heard it. I typed all this up soon after it happened when I could remember it the best. My guess is that all of it (misrepresenting a survey company) is probably just right under what campaign practices consider legal, and there was nothing illegal about misrepresenting a survey company or attempting to mislead a voter about the alleged fake survey. The man admitted to working for Lauzen so I personally consider the alleged fake survey an unethical dirty trick and a LIE.

    Note: Of those only Republican choices, Mayor Burns would be an easy choice. Both Lauzen and Oberweis left off mentioning anything about Iraq on their campaign materials and their Web sites as of the last time I checked them. I looked at the campaign Web site of Mayor Burns; I saw nothing that made me angry. It is my opinion that both Lauzen and Oberweis disrespected our fine military by ignoring their sacrifices made in Afghanistan and Iraq by leaving off any reference to those wars on their Web sites or in their campaign literature. If the sacrifices our military are making are somehow unworthy of mention by candidates, then those candidates are completely unworthy of serving anywhere in the federal government. While anti-war protestors receive criticism for letting our troops down, that false logic pales in comparison to completely ignoring those troops altogether, something Lauzen and Oberweis both did in their literature and Web sites. It is my opinion that any candidate who has the audacity to ignore our military is unworthy of serving in any capacity at the federal level.

    My questions to Lauzen’s campaign are this:

    How is having a campaign worker argue with a voter a good plan?

    So is the Lauzen campaign aware of the tactics someone is using in his name? And, just what will you do about it?

    If Lauzen is such a fabulous candidate, why resort to dirty tricks so soon?

    How can voters trust Lauzen when at least one man working for him attempted to mislead a voter in a very deliberate way?

    It does not matter if Lauzen’s crew directly or indirectly hired that man; that man’s behavior becomes a reflection of Lauzen. Lauzen can publicly repudiate the misleading tactics for the alleged fake survey and the campaign worker who argued with a voter.

    My questions to those who endorsed Lauzen already are this:

    Do you approve of such tactics, too? Will you repudiate any attempts to mislead voters?

    My comments to other voters are these:

    Unless the voters stand up and say that misleading dirty tricks are unacceptable, then this kind of behavior will continue. I will stand up and say:


    The Constitution begins with “We, the People . . .” Unless We the People take back our government by just saying “no” to lies and dirty tricks, then business will continue as usual and we will continue to wallow in the mudslinging.

  3. Two of Chris Lauzen’s supporters are Jon Zahm and Joe Wiegand, who figured so shamefully into Victor Wogen’s campaign. Zahm actually works for Lauzen; I don’t know about Wiegand but would guess so.

    They apparently figure anything goes since they are on the “right” side of every issue, and don’t get that their mere presence on a campaign disqualifies Lauzen in the minds of many in this city. Meanwhile, we will never know whether Zahm’s petition challenge against Michael Dilger is legit or just standard operating procedure to drain the resources of the opposition.

    I’ve heard (but have not seen yet) that Lauzen’s campaign literature is nothing but a family photo album with every “values” cliche in the book. Meaning, he’s got nothing to work with even though he must have some sort of state senate record.

  4. In a recent survey of our young people, many of them mistakenly think that lying is OK to get ahead, plagiarism is OK if someone is short on time, violence is OK if it is to settle an argument or out of revenge. These same young people believe they are ready to make ethical decisions.

    No wonder so many people think they can lie . . . so many of the kids grow up thinking it is OK.

  5. Caught this comment at PSB from Frank Craig:

    Lauzen pulled the same stunt on me when I ran for state senate against him last year. He had a guy call my house saying he was conducting a “survey.” The questions were so outside the realm of ANY survey I had ever participated in and I was very quickly able to see Senator Do-Little’s hand in this. When I called the “survey taker” on his subterfuge, he started screaming and cursing me. Let me tell you, the Christian Right can cuss like sailors when they want to.

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