Friday, March 31, 2006

Christine Cegelis Sat on a Wall...

Much like Humpty Dumpty, the Democratic party in Illinois's 6th district needs to be put together again. The primary left a lot of hard feelings, namely between supporters of Cegelis and Duckworth. According to the Hill, Cegelis is not likely to endorse the winner.

The source [from the Cegelis campaign] asserted that Cegelis believes Duckworth has backed away from her opposition to the Central America Free Trade Agreement that the House and Senate passed last year. Despite that perception, Duckworth won the Illinois AFL-CIO endorsement.

Endorsements are powerful things, and Cegelis may be right. She has never wavered on CAFTA, which she thought was a "bad idea for American workers." (See here.) In one of the debates, Duckworth said she did not know enough about CAFTA to offer an opinion, after having said before that she would have voted against it. (Melissa Bean's vote for CAFTA cost her the AFL-CIO endorsement, and Duckworth may have gotten it only because of Emanuel influence. ) Maybe Cegelis's reluctance to endorse her will make Duckworth change her mind yet again.

In her concession statement, Cegelis didn't mention any of this. Instead, she chose to attack Duckworth. She said that the "real future of this party is not going to be determined in...Washington," a subtle dig at Rahm Emanuel's support, financial and otherwise, for her opponent. But, despite her late start, Major Duckworth raised more from individuals, three hundred seventy thousand, to Cegelis's three hundred thousand. (See here for Duckworth's reports, and here for Cegelis's.)

The Hill goes on to note:
Cegelis'’s refusal has irritated national Democrats who said she had promised local officials that she would endorse Duckworth. The national party officials worry that her unwillingness to support Duckworth'’s bid could dampen enthusiasm among some Democratic activists in November.

So, regardless of the influence of "outsiders" in the 6th district race, what's done is done. The ball is in Cegelis's court. It'll take more than "good luck" to bring the Democratic party back together in the 6th district.

Hat tip: Yellow Dog Democrat, who makes good points in his post today at Illinoize.

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