Tuesday, March 28, 2006

They said it would never happen. But, after twenty four years, Congressman Lane Evans announced his retirement. Evans, only 54, has battled Parkinson's Disease for the past ten years and was recently hospitalized. He said that "window of opportunity" for him to make a difference in politics was closing. The former Marine had also served as the ranking Democrat on the House Veterans' affairs committee. Best of luck to him.

Evans denied that there were political reasons to wait until after the primary to step down for the ticket. "I fully expected that I would continue my work for the foreseeable future, he said. Nonetheless, he does have certain advantages. Because his replacement on the ticket will be chosen by the party, Evans will be able to hand pick his successor. Possible replacements include state Sen. Mike Jacobs, state Rep. Mike Boland, and Joel Brunsvold, former legislator and state agency head.(See here for a discussion of this at Cap Fax.)At this point, the Democratic candidate will face Andrea Zinga, who won 39% of the vote against Evans in 2004.

Rock Island GOP chairman Tom Getz said that she "touched the third rail" of politics by making Evans's health an issue in the 2004 race. The Republican party could convince Zinga to step aside and replace her with a more experienced candidate, like state Rep. Art Tenhouse of Liberty. Tenhouse has served in the Illinois House since 1989. In 2002, he lost to Tom Cross for Cross's current position as House Minority Leader. This means that his chances of getting a future leadership position are slim.


Blogger Cal Skinner said...

Do women have the same five percentage point advantage in Western Illniois that they do in the suburbs?

8:54 PM  
Blogger Amy Allen said...

I've never seen an analysis of how female candidates do downstate, but Zinga's gender doesn't seem to be helping her. In 2004, she got 39%, about one point better than the (male) challenger who lost to Evans in 2002.

9:10 PM  

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