Sunday, March 07, 2004

SJ-R.COM - Party defense

Once again, leave it to a Springfielder to be the best source of summarizing the Republican US Senate primary. Bernard Schoenburg has the goods on the Republican primary candidates and has distilled the campaign platforms into a quick-reference style story. What can we infer from this summary report?

Let's look at the candidates quickly.

Borling: Ex-military, which is usually a main criterion I use for determining who I vote for. However, he's also pro-choice, which means that he's not getting my vote.

Hill: Who?

Kathuria: I was considering his Sikh heritage to be a factor in helping get him elected, but his campaign seems half-hearted. He's very conservative, and that could help to garner votes in the primary. However, he's done very little to spread the word on his campaign. Is it possible to infer how he would serve in the Senate by how he campaigns? Wait and see.

McKenna: A pro-jobs candidate, though that's a pretty safe position to take. He's gotten the endorsement of Ray LaHood, the 18th District's US Congressman. I've met Ray a few times, and my mother works for him. If Ray's giving him an endorsement, then he thinks that McKenna is the right guy for the job. Ray doesn't hand out endorsements for no reason. This will allow him to try for first place. Another thing that helps him is the issue with Jim Oberweis' ads. He called Oberweis on the fact that his dairy ads were running alongside his political ads, something that can be construed as trying to circumvent campaign rules. His stance on the assault-weapons ban tells me he needs to find out just what that ban really does (prevents "military-looking" weapons from being bought, a purely cosmetic standpoint).

Oberweis: His stores make good ice cream. He's also the head of a multigenerational dairy farm. I can support a farmer. He's also said that he would keep abortions restricted to rare instances where the mother's life is in danger. I'd rather he try to avoid that position, but I see the need for compromise. His campaign from 2002 hasn't seemed to stop, though, and I think he's bringing the psychic baggage from that campaign along. The immigration restrictions that he favors strike a chord with locals who see their jobs as being replaced by illegal immigrants. This could be a year when a protectionist campaign could work for the Republicans.

Rauschenberger: He's the only one with any government experience, and seems to be quite the party insider. Could this be a reason why he seems to be running a stealth campaign in the Cook County panhandle? His insiderness may come back to bite him in the butt if he keeps chasing after Bob Kjellander and calling for his resignation as the Republican National Committeeman for Illinois, though.

Ryan: He's campaigning like he wants to be the 800-pound gorilla of the primary, and I've seen his signs all over the northwest suburbs. His success in business and his time spent teaching at Hales Franciscan are definite bonuses. His drawbacks? Well, let's see... the issue with NATO is one of them. I wouldn't want an isolationist candidate, and his issue with removing support from NATO sounds like it's in that category. He'll need to modify that stance before I could support him. I do like his stance about private health insurance. It is easy to find it, and having your own insurance keeps it portable from job to job. Will he suffer from the Ryan Curse, though?

Wright: Who?

So, it's a mixed bag for Republicans this year. Rauschenberger, Ryan, and McKenna all seem like they could have the top spot easily, Oberweis comes in looking like he'll get another loss in the primary, and Borling and Kathuria are pretty much longshots. Again Hill and Wright have done nothing to run for the office other than apply, and that makes them nonentities. As for who I'm endorsing, I'd have to go with McKenna. I'd thought that Ryan or Kathuria would be it, but McKenna is turning out more and more to be the candidate I can identify with. I can endorse him with minor reservations for the Republican primary.

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