Thursday, December 22, 2011

Walsh opponent drops out to avert the hostility of Illinois Republican Party

A part of me feels like I administered the “kiss of death” to the Republican official whose dreams of running for a seat in Congress were quashed by the fact that the GOP wants to avoid primary political fights whenever possible.
RUSCITTI: Got her  reward now

I tossed out the line on Wednesday about wishing for a Darlene J. Ruscitti victory in the March 20 Republican primary, and still wish it was possible so that we could avoid the nonsense we’re going to get from the Joe Walsh for Congress campaign in 2012.

BUT IT WON’T be. For Ruscitti on Wednesday decided to drop out of the campaign for the Republican nomination for the Illinois Eighth congressional district.

That is a district that doesn’t have an incumbent member, but was drawn to focus on the inner ring of suburbs to the northwest of Chicago. It is a Democratic-leaning congressional district.

The conventional wisdom says that the winner of the Democratic primary will eventually go on to win the seat in Congress. Either Tammy Duckworth or Raja Krishnamoorthi.

It means that Ruscitti, at best, was running a token campaign for Congress.

HER BIG HOPE, it would seem, was to conduct herself in as professional a manner as possible so that Republican Party officials in Illinois would take her seriously in the future.

Being the GOP token in 2012 could mean a serious campaign run for electoral office in 2014 or 2016. It means she has a chance to be something other than her current post – the regional superintendent of schools for DuPage County.
WALSH: Finally unopposed?

But Walsh, an ideologue of the Tea Party persuasion, decided that his chances of getting re-elected to Congress next year were better by considering a move to the Illinois Eighth district, rather than the district in which his McHenry home is located – the Illinois Fourteenth.

Running in the district in which he actually lives would make him have to run against Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., in a primary election.

EVEN FOR THOSE Republican Party officials who privately think Walsh is an embarrassment to the GOP, they would just as soon not have to see Republicans fighting against Republicans for votes.

Having Walsh shift districts opens him up to charges from Democrats of being a “political carpetbagger,” but it also makes it likely that the two incumbents will have only token challenges in the primary election season and can focus all of their fundraising efforts and energies toward the general election cycle.

Which will boost Walsh somewhat – although he still likely has the drawbacks of running in inner-ring suburbs where the Democratic Party does not get demonized.

But what about Ruscitti?

SHE’S BEING A “good girl,” so to speak, by not creating a primary fight with Walsh – which could have become credible because of the segment of the GOP who think Walsh embarrasses them by association.

At least a few of them likely would have cast a ballot for Ruscitti as an “Anybody But Walsh” vote. Which means the party establishment had come to view her as someone who could only stir up embarrassment for the party.

So perhaps it shouldn’t be a shock that she dropped out; and that the party gave her a reward. She now has a title of “co-chair” of the Illinois Victory Program – an initiative that is meant to drum up support for Republican candidates in general.
HULTGREN: Avoids a challenge

Considering that the whole point of a Ruscitti campaign in the first place was to build up support for some future reward, it would seem she has already achieved that goal.

SHE GETS A position that could let her make the same contacts that could result someday in her having a serious chance to win election to a higher government post than being a top educator in DuPage County.

She was never going to be Rep. Darlene J. Ruscitti, R-Ill., as a result of this election cycle. Perhaps she’ll get that chance sometime in the upcoming decade.


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