The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

I’m Not Saying Running Against Phil Hare Is Like Playing the Rams at Home


In yesterday’s rankings, the one that has generated the most skepticism is putting Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois in the “Blue/As Difficult as Beating the St. Louis Rams” category. As one media guy who watches Congress closely put it:

You have Phil Hare in the easiest to beat bunch. He seems more like Leans Democrat to me — equivalent to your Orange/Eagles group. This is a district that was carried not just by Obama, but by Kerry and Gore. In 2008, Republicans couldn’t even be bothered to contest Hare, and he got 57 percent the last time they did. He’s done a couple stupid things lately — ‘I don’t care about the constitution’ and not releasing an internal poll — but this one seems to be a much harder take-away than some others.

All true, but I figure the “I don’t care about the Constitution” makes for one wicked attack ad, and that internal poll must have shown something pretty ominous, or else he would have released it. (Think about it, even a 55-45 split in his favor would be acceptable to release.)

Here’s Hare to the Wall Street Journal at the end of last month, right before President Obama visited the district:

In Illinois, Rep. Phil Hare, the Democrat who represents Quincy, said he needed the president to make the case that the economy was improving, and that his programs, especially the economic stimulus, have worked. “I’ve had a death threat. I had a rock thrown through the window of a leased vehicle. It’s tough out there,” Mr. Hare said.

I’m also wondering about coattails in Illinois; it looks like the Democrats have two awful top-of-the-ticket names in Illinois. Neither Alexi Giannoulias nor Pat Quinn are leading the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, and neither Democrat has led a poll since March. The last five percentage totals for Quinn, the incumbent: 36, 38, 38, 33, 37. Those are Corzine-esque numbers.

Tags: Alexi Giannoulis , Bill Brady , Bobby Schilling , Illinois , Mark Kirk , Pat Quinn , Phil Hare


Subscribe to National Review