Posts Tagged Congressman

USA Today tells the story of our Congressman, Rahm Emanuel, sending Eli’s Cheesecake as a thank you to Congressional Candidates recruited by him

 

Washington/Politics

Inside News

 

Party recruiters lead charge for ’06 vote

Posted 5/24/2006

By Bradley C. Bower, AP

 

 

 

 

Democratic candidate Lois Murphy, left, speaks with Mary Hediger during Murphy’s campaign rally at Bryn Mawr College, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., on February 19. Murphy is running for Pennsylvania’s 6th District congressional seat in a re-match with Rep. Jim Gerlach.

By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Just two months after she lost a 2004 House race near Philadelphia by 2 percentage points, Lois Murphy got a call from the Democratic congressman in charge of 2006 races: Would she like to try again?

The second time, knowing what was in store, Murphy says, “the decision was a little harder.” Did she think she could win? And were her husband and young daughters up for another grueling campaign? By spring she had her answers: yes and yes.Her decision was a small early victory in the Democrats’ drive to break the GOP’s 12-year hold on the House of Representatives: She already had shown she could raise money and draw votes.

Long before anyone casts a vote, recruiting can determine the fate of a party. The goal is a strong candidate in every winnable race, but recruiters often fall short.For example, Republicans dominate Florida government but were unable to find a strong challenger for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson. And Democrats have House candidates that analyst Amy Walter of the non-partisan Cook Political Report calls “not top tier” in some districts where close splits in the 2004 presidential vote suggest GOP incumbents might be vulnerable.

The competition is intense. Recruiters often target the same people — Republicans and Democrats tried at various points for ex-Redskins quarterback Heath Shuler, now running as a Democrat for a House seat in North Carolina. And there’s no single formula for persuading someone to run.”It’s an individual decision,” says Rep. Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., chairman of the GOP House campaign committee. “The big mistake is if you act as if there’s only one tool in the toolbox,” adds Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., Reynolds’ Democratic counterpart.

Potential Democratic candidates have heard from former president Bill Clinton, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and other VIPs. They’ve talked to moms and dads in Congress about how they balance family and public life. Their husbands and wives have received calls from spouses in the Democrats’ “spouse program.” People who decide to run sometimes get a thank-you cheesecake from Eli’s, in Emanuel’s Chicago district.Reynolds scorns Emanuel’s open approach. The public record, he says, shows Emanuel failed to land 35 people in 22 districts. “I don’t tell the world what I’m trying to do,” Reynolds says. “I go do it.”

Emanuel readily concedes “more failures than that. You don’t bat 100% in this business. But we’ve put more people on the field than ever before.”While polls suggest 2006 will be a bad year for Republicans, Reynolds says that’s had “absolutely zero” impact on recruiting. Like the Democrats, he has congressional moms, dads and grandparents to discuss family matters. Unlike the Democrats, he has the firepower that comes from controlling the House, Senate and White House. Hot prospects meet the House speaker and majority leader, the national party chairman, maybe the White House political director. “We certainly want to do a red-carpet treatment,” Reynolds says.

Persistence pays off for both sides. Republican House recruiters approached Ralph Norman, 52, a real estate developer from Rock Hill, S.C., for a 2004 race against Democrat John Spratt. But he ran for state House instead, and won. When they approached him again for 2006, he said yes. He now had legislative experience and his youngest child had left for college. ‘It was a good time for me,” he says.Among the qualities prized by recruiters in both parties:

•Name recognition. People such as Shuler and Minnesota House candidate Coleen Rowley, the ex-FBI 9/11 whistle-blower and Time magazine person of the year, are well known even before they run ads.

•Military experience. Iraq war veterans in House races this year include Democrat Tammy Duckworth in Illinois and Republican Van Taylor in Texas. There’s also a former National Guard adjutant general, Republican Martha Rainville in Vermont.

•Proven cross-party appeal. Craig Foltin, 38, mayor of Lorain, Ohio, was heavily recruited for a House bid because he is the only Republican in more than 10 years to win an election in his city. The national mood did not bother him. “In Lorain,” he says, “it’s always a sour climate for being a Republican.”

•Political commitment. Betty Sutton, 42, Democrat, a labor lawyer and former state House member, worried about giving up her income and health benefits in order to campaign. But she had been railing about national problems daily at the breakfast table — so when unions, feminists and party bigwigs came courting, “it was a put up or shut up moment.”

•Prior experience. The GOP scored with two former House members running for seats in Georgia. Democrat Lois Murphy, 43, a lawyer near Philadelphia, opted for a rematch after drawing 49% of the vote against GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach in 2004. She says she realized her daughters, aged 13 and 9, “got just as much positive out of the campaign as negative” in 2004: They learned “very basic human values” about working for what you believe in.

A major concern in both parties is “will I ever see my kids?” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who has a toddler and 7-year-old twins, often advises Democratic prospects about how she balances her life. “I don’t sweet-talk them,” she says.She relies on friends and family and organizes her own time to the minute. She even leads her daughter’s Brownie troop. “I started the troop and I scheduled the meetings on Monday, the day I’m most likely to be home,” she said by phone as she watched her kids eat ice cream in the Weston, Fla., town square.

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Eli’s Cheesecake Used a Congressional Recruiting Tool by our Congressman, Rahm Emanuel

At Eli’s Cheesecake, we take pride in being the gift of choice for a very special group of customers. It may be a “wager” on a big game involving a Chicago team or a special party anywhere that must have Eli’s for dessert.

One of our best customers, who has had a great record using Eli’s Cheescake, as a recruiting tool, is our local Congressman, Rahm Emanuel of the 5th District of Illinois, who has been sending our cheesecake to congressional candidates that he has been soliciting nationally. The photo and article from the Sunday Chicago Tribune highlight Emanuel’s recruiting Mary Jo Kilroy in Ohio and the disclosure report filed by Emanuel shows that Eli’s is an effective part of his recruiting strategy.

For a change, incumbents feel the heat

Political scandals appear to weaken the GOP in Ohio. The road back to Capitol Hill could be hard.

By Jeff Zeleny
Tribune national correspondent

February 5, 2006

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — The congressional corruption scandal has stirred waves of anxiety across the country for politicians whose names appear on the November ballot, but perhaps no place in America is the power of incumbency as wobbly as in Ohio.

Republicans are rattled by ethical lapses and criminal charges throughout the ranks of state government here, topped by Gov. Bob Taft’s pleading no contest last summer to four counts of state ethics violations. Now they find themselves facing credible congressional opponents for the first time in years as Democrats eye a handful of seats they believe could be among the ripest targets in the battle for control of Congress.

In electing Rep. John Boehner of Ohio as the House majority leader, Republicans demonstrated a desire to distance themselves from the bribery and corruption scandal that toppled former Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas and left Rep. Bob Ney, the Republican who represents Chillicothe and a swath of central and eastern Ohio, under criminal investigation.

But the rise of Boehner and the prospect of political reform may not resolve a larger question: Could this be the year of the challenger in Ohio and beyond?

Ohio was pivotal in the 2004 presidential election, tipping the election to President Bush. It could be decisive again in 2006 congressional races.

“Obviously, Democrats believe there are opportunities here because of what’s going on in the state,” said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio), who says she believes she wears a bull’s-eye because of the wrongdoing of Republicans surrounding her. “I hope that I am looked at individually. I will run on my record.”

Devalued golden ticket

While incumbency often provides a golden ticket to re-election, the rules may be different this year in Ohio, where Pryce faces her first serious challenge since being elected in 1992.

When asked last week to assess the political mood of her central Ohio district, she replied: “The more important question is what the mood will be like in November.

“There is a lot that could happen between now and then, and I’m certain the mood will improve.”

Pryce conceded she has a “hotly contested race. I truly don’t believe they think they can win it, but they are trying to keep me busy and preoccupied.”

As he scoured electoral statistics across the country, Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, liked what he saw in Pryce’s 15th Congressional District.

It was evenly divided between Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004, he said, and he believed Pryce could be vulnerable because she was part of DeLay’s leadership team.

After considerable courtship–including the promise of sending Eli’s Cheesecake from Chicago–Mary Jo Kilroy answered Emanuel’s call.

“When the record of the majority is as bad as this one, it’s not a good time to be an incumbent,” said Kilroy, president of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. “We need to send a message that we don’t like how things are going in this country, and it’s time for a change.”

Fallout has far reach

The fallout from the ethics scandal has even dogged some incumbent members of Congress who are seeking other offices. Corruption has emerged as an issue in at least three gubernatorial races–in Wisconsin, Iowa and Nevada–where GOP members of Congress are on the ticket.

But here in Chillicothe, where seven churches sit along a five-block stretch of Main Street, corruption has become a local issue.

Ney, who was elected in 1994 to represent Ohio’s 18th Congressional District, has been implicated in the federal fraud investigation of Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has agreed to testify against members of Congress as part of a plea bargain. Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert Bennett has said if Ney is indicted, he should not run for re-election.

Ney, however, maintains his innocence and retorted that he would not allow some “party boss” to make a decision that belongs to Ney’s constituents. So he came to a restaurant here last month and announced his drive for re-election.

“I don’t know all the details, but he’s in some hot water, and the truth will come out,” said Randy Rinehart, 52, a local minister who is trying to keep an open mind. “A lot of people have a price on their souls–especially in politics.”

Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-N.Y.), the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, dismissed the suggestion that all GOP candidates could suffer from the lobbying scandal. But he conceded that whoever is swept up in the investigation faces a challenge.

“I think Bob Ney has a tough race,” Reynolds said. “It may get to a point where all the skies are clear . . . but I don’t know what the future might hold.”

Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer, recruited by Emanuel to run against Ney, said ethics would play “a huge role” in the race.

“The very reason why both political parties are sponsoring ethical reforms in the United States Congress is because of Bob Ney,” Sulzer said. “The average voter here is already weary of the political scandals because of what they have seen in Columbus and now they are seeing it from their own congressman.”

John Wright, a professor of political science at Ohio State University, said Democrats appeared to have recruited more candidates than in most years.

“The problem Republicans are experiencing right now is a perception of arrogance and corruption, which was the undoing of the Democrats in 1994,” Wright said. “Whether or not this has reached the same proportions I don’t know, but I would be worried if I were a Republican.”

 

RAHM EMANUEL (D-IL)
Expenditures

2005-2006 Cycle

Sort by Name Sort by Amount Sort by Date Sort by Description Top Overall Expenditures

Recipient Amount Date Description
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$52 5/23/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 6/6/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 6/6/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 6/8/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 6/8/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 8/17/2005 Fundraising
Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 9/23/2005 Fundraising
Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 9/23/2005 Fundraising
Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$48 9/23/2005 Fundraising
Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 4/15/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 4/15/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 5/12/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 5/12/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 6/8/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 6/9/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 6/9/2005 Fundraise Expense
Eli’s Cheesecake Company,
Chicago, IL
$40 9/23/2005 Fundraising
Expense

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