Thursday, February 04, 2010

Seals Over Hamos in IL-10th - but Why?

The real election night shocker in Illinois' north suburban Tenth Congressional District—which stretches from Wilmette to the state line of Wisconsin-- was the choice of Dan Seals over Julie Hamos as the Democrat candidate. The victory for Seals—a two time loser who managed to lose his most recent 2008 bid in a race historically favorable for Democrats--smelled more of crossover mischief than sound party sentiment. But it wasn't.

When Hamos, wildly popular in her native Evanston and a resident of the 9th Congressional District, rented a house just North of where she lived in the nearby 10th District and filed her candidacy, her sheer presence alone began giving fits to local GOP operatives. As an experienced politician, Hamos understands election basics: that it is best to have a residence actually located in the district you seek to represent, and it doesn't hurt to have some voters in your new district who have already voted for you.

It's hard to think that the choice of Seals over Hamos isn't motivated by some sort of death wish for November by the Democrats. You expect to see this type of odd result when legions of one party—faced with a boring primary with few actual choices—attempt to win one for the Home Team months before the actual election takes place by entering the primary of the opposite party and voting for the weaker candidate to oppose their candidate at the ballot box. But this wasn't an election where people had much if any interest in crossing-over. Both parties offered their voters real choices in important races.

Hamos' loss cannot be easily understood. Perhaps Hamos underestimated the vast amount of time opponent Seals had available to spend on his campaign. Possibly North Suburban Dems feared a Martha Cokely effect. It could be that Democrats wrongly calculated that Beth Coulsen would be the Republicans' choice for Congress, thus making Seals an easier-to-distinguish opponent.

With Dan Seals as the Democrat candidate for Congress, Republicans breathed a real sigh of relief. Republicans feared Hamos. Experienced at the State level, battle-hardened, and effective Hamos had local GOPer's on edge and ready to empty their wallets.

There may be many cracks in Hamos' veneer which would have appeared when opposition research began. But from the outside looking in, the choice of Seals, a hale-fellow-well-met kind of guy without community ties and partial to frat-boy political pranks and resume padding, over Hamos, a serious, principled and experienced government official is an odd one. From a cursory glance, Hamos' only weakness was her far left-wing politics. This year that alone may have been enough. Perhaps there really is something after all to those jokes that after a year of Barack Obama, George Bush is starting to look pretty darn good.

Pictured above is a campaign piece on health care from Seals most recent losing Congressional run in November, 2008, when he positioned himself as a Barack Obama clone, featuring Progressive folk wisdom coupled with the change necessarily borne of inexperience, along with Kennedy-style good teeth. You can click on the picture to see it larger.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your snarky comments aside--here is what the voter said on Tuesday:Dan won because the majority of people who voted in the election know that he better represented their values and views. Dan knows the entire district having traveled the width and breadth of it for years talking the its citizens and understanding what is important to them. He won the votes despite being outspent with heavy TV dollars in the last weeks of the campaign.Julie's politics play better in Evanston but the 10th is more conservative fiscally where Julie's voting record in Springfield hurt her and Dan's economic positions are more in line with district views.

Feb 5, 2010, 9:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! The Hamos camp has become the sore loser camp. Shame on you.

Feb 5, 2010, 9:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your analysis of the race couldn't be more off. Dan Seals won because he represents our best chance of winning this seat in November. His name ID was insurmountable and half the district had never heard of Julie Hamos. Her greatest campaign pitch was that she was the daughter of holocaust survivors--which is political pandering at its best. There is no doubt in my mind that Julie is too liberal for the 10th district and would have definitely lost in a general against Dold or even Coulson--this isn't Evanston. If Jan Schakowsky had run against Kirk in the 10th in 2000 she would have lost. Just because they are neighboring districts doesn't mean the politics are the same. With Coulson out of the way, Dan Seals is the only moderate in this race and that will carry him to victory in November. I guess your just bitter because your State Rep couldn't beat someone who has never held political office before.

Feb 5, 2010, 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger Publia said...

Bitter, sore loser? Not me. I am just surprised to see Seals win. The analysis from the Anonymous commenters is interesting.In the final analysis area Democrat voters apparently decided that Julie Hamos was just too left wing. One year after the big Obama victory, that surprises me.

Feb 6, 2010, 4:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great resource!

Feb 13, 2010, 9:04:00 AM  

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