It’s been a lot of fun blogging about the Democratic Primary for the 5th District Congressional seat. We’ve seen a lot in the 10 weeks or so that the campaign has been in full swing. I thought it would be nice to provide a rundown of the best and worst moments in the primary.
Image Credit: Progress Illinois
This one is tough. Capital Fax, Progress Illinois, David Ormsby and Gapers Block have all provided insightful content into this race. However, I think Progress Illinois did voters a tremendous service through publishing original and investigative content. I for one am a more informed voter (though not a 5th District resident) because of the folks at Progress.
Too Many Skeletons in the Closet
By far, John Fritchey was put on the defensive more often than any other candidate. This is a pol whose uncle-in-law and brother-in-law have been linked to some unsavory dealings, to say the least. Furthermore, given his connections to the ward bosses and seeking their endorsement did not do anything to alter the image that he’s the Machine candidate in this race…more so than even Patrick O’Connor. Given the Blagojevich scandal and the Burris embarrassment, Fritchey seemed all too vulnerable in this race. Rich Miller reports on just the last few days of Fritchey’s problems.
Where the Hell is this Guy?
Speaking of Patrick O’Connor, I’m confused as to why he even stayed in the race. He didn’t show up to the first and probably best attended and covered candidates’ forum at DePaul University, citing that he had better voter reach going to various Super Bowl parties. His website was not even up and running until about two-and-a-half weeks before the election and his biggest selling point is that he’s Richard Daley’s floor leader. Not exactly a compelling argument to put him in Congress.
Most Impressive Campaign Operation
Sara Feigenholtz started campaigning in mid-December, before anyone else and never looked back. She put together a top-notch group of staffers, whose outreach to the public was always respectful. She was the first to open a second campaign office. She received the biggest endorsement of the race – in terms of money and people to hit the streets – in the SEIU. And, she demonstrated message consistency in a race with a lot of mudslinging that kept voters knowing she is about health care reform above all else. Yes, that could mean she’s disciplined and a good campaigner. But I also give a lot of credit to her staff for keeping the ship on course.
What the F*%k was He Thinking?
Victor Forys comparing Mike Quigley to the Nazi “Big Lie” theory:
The Minister of Propaganda for Germany in World War II, said “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.”
“Commissioner Mike Quigley is telling a big lie, and he is repeating it over and over and over,” said Dr. Victor Forys, M.D. “That is what you can expect from a career, recycled, politician like Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley,” said Dr. Victor Forys.
Bad taste, and low, Victor. By the way, do you remember the Polish Chicago man who desecrated the Jewish cemetery on the Northwest Side? Hello?!
Best Ads Barely Anyone Saw
I was super-impressed with Charlie Wheelan’s three TV ads – Underwater, Upside Down and the Dark Knight. Those ads showed a level of creativity and uniqueness that I have never seen in a political advertisement.
The ironic thing is that few people saw them. The Wheelan campaign just didn’t have enough money to buy any kind of airtime to get traction and their online promotion fell somewhat flat. I think if this race was longer and they had a chance to raise more money, the viewership would have been a different story. Still, I think campaigns will be influenced in the future to create ads that don’t always follow a formulaic method. That’s a good thing.
Big Ideas and Netroots Champion
This goes to, of course, Tom Geoghegan. Disagree with him or not, I have never heard a better, clearer explanation of single payer health care before. Tom brought huge amounts of energy to really enhance the substantive debate about issues in this campaign. I don’t think he’ll win, but I would bet he’ll be the one person who gathers a nice following after the race that could put him in office one day. Thank you, Tom Geoghegan for challenging traditional thinking and making political leadership about improving lives and the health of our country.
Several weeks ago Mike Quigley’s campaign launched moretransit.com. I blogged about it, arguing that stunts can be good thing when they’re thought through. But this one was not, especially given that a day or so after it was launched the Senate voted on the bailout making the site irrelevant.
Biggest Need for a Twitter Lesson
This one also goes to Mike Quigley’s campaign. The campaign’s Twitter profile teetered the line between badgering and annoying, prompting many complaints. I had a conversation with Quigley’s campaign manager about this issue. In the end, there’s definitely a right way and a wrong way to use Twitter. At its best, Twitter is a conversational and community building tool that are a real asset to campaigns. At worst, it’s a tool to stalk, offend and turn people away.
Social Media Champ
If Geoghegan won over bloggers, Feigenholtz was the most popular at engaging people on Facebook and Twitter. She leads her opponents with the most supporters on Facebook, at nearly a thousand, and as the WindyCitizen’s Twitter Tracker shows, she also is the big leader in conversations about the IL-5 race.
Feel free to add to this list…and make sure to vote tomorrow!