Chris Essig

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On Friday, our Statehouse bureau unleashed seven (!) election stories for the weekend. I had my hand in two of them, both related to Congressional elections. And both feature long-shots, either in the general or primary election. Let’s take a quick look:

1. In the 19th Congressional District, incumbent John Shimkus faces his first primary opponent in 14 years. That is quite an impressive run. Veterinarian Mike Firsching of Moro is hoping to do the unpredictable and unseat Shimkus for the first time since he was elected. However, Shimkus is severely out-fundraising him. According to federal records released last week, Shimkus has raised $211,000 between October and mid-January. Firsching hasn’t raised close to that, only saying he’s pitched in $3,000 of his own money.

Here is a quick look at the story:

Firsching said he ran, in part, because he believes the federal government has too much power. He pointed to the Department of Education as an example and said Washington shouldn’t be control of local school districts. As a student of the Constitution for the past four years, he said he would vote against proposals that expand the government’s powers beyond those laid out in the Constitution.

He also cited dysfunction in Congress and a lack of personal freedoms as reasons for running against Shimkus in the southern Illinois district.

And here is the link.

2. In the 18th Congressional District, incumbent Aaron Schock does not face a primary candidate. So instead, I covered the Democratic race, which features Deirdre “DK” Hirner of Springfield and Carl Ray of Washington. While the election could be interesting, the winner will likely have an uphill battle because the central Illinois district hasn’t elected a Democrat for more than 90 years. Think about that for a second: 90 years! Wow. Now that is a strongly GOP district.

But getting back to the Democratic candidates, here is a look at the story I put together for the weekend:

Hirner was critical of Schock for voting against the stimulus package, health care legislation and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, which gives workers more time to take cases concerning pay discrimination to court.

“The 18th district deserves someone who will work for them in Washington,” she said.

Ray was upset Schock voted against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as SCHIP, which provides federal matching funds to states for health care coverage of children. The measure was vetoed by President George W. Bush twice, although it eventually passed and later was expanded by President Obama.

In fact, Schock’s “no” vote was the tipping point for Ray to enter the race. He said the vote hit home because he has an autistic son. He was born around the same time his wife became very sick, which raised the cost of health care for the family.

And the link.

And that is it for this election update. Expect coverage from these races and more as the election nears.

And remember, get out the vote (in just a week)!

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Written by csessig

January 26, 2010 at 9:14 pm

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