Saturday, October 08, 2005

   Many southern Illinois legislative districts are "divided"-in that not all of the three members-two representatives and one senator-are of the same party. In the coming days, we will look at a few of them.
   54th-Centralia, Mt. Vernon, Olney
   Senator: John O. Jones
   Provenance: Mt. Vernon
   Previous occupation: Air Force officer
   Claim to fame: Won both Senate seat and prior House(1994-2002) seat by defeating Democratic incumbents
   Representative(107th):Kurt M. Granberg
   Previous occupation: Practicing att'y
   Claim to fame: Ass't maj. leader; rumors that he would run for Treasurer have abated
   Representative(108th): David Reis
   Provenance: Olney
   Previous occupation: Farmer, executive recruiter
   Claim to fame: Representing a district as albino as the squirrels who live there. Just kidding. Reis defeated appointed rep. Bill Grunloh in one of the hottest races of 2004.
   In the last cycle, Reis enjoyed a commanding victory-over 62%-carrying all nine counties entirely or partially in the 108th. Grunloh's political ambiguity as a very conservative Democrat, however, are an important caveat. In 2002, Reis lost to then rep. Chuck Hartke 55-45. (In the intervening time, Harke was appointed Director of the state Dep't of Agriculture, and Grunloh, a political neophyte was appointed to his seat). Turnout was nearly 25% higher in the 2004 race. Heavy involvement by Leader Tom Cross's House Republican Organization and the media attention given a "tier one" race probably deserve credit for that. In both races, more Republicans than Democrats took primary ballots.
   Jones defeated then sen. William O'Daniel(D-Mt. Vernon) 54-46 in 2002. Jones carried 10 of the 13 counties in the district. Jones's victory was the one Republican bright spot in an otherwise dismal year: the Democrats took back the Senate that had been in GOP hands for the past decade.
   Granberg won with slightly over 54% in 2002 against Republican John Cavaletto, who plans to reprise his run in the next cycle. Cavaletto carried only one county: the populous Jefferson, his home base. Granberg had just over 68% in 2004, a far more decisive victory against a far less capable opponent. Republican primary turnout in the 107th is serious stunted: over two and half times as many Democratic than Republican ballots were taken in the primary In 2004, Republican primary turnout was similarly lacking. Cavaletto must have commanded a considerable amount of crossover vote. Whatever the case, it's something he'll want to reprise in 06.


Post a Comment

<< Home