Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Local Look at the 6th District Democratic Primary

From the Pioneer Press' Schaumburg Review:
With only a few more days to file petitions for the March primaries, some who promised to shake up the mid-term elections have yet to turn in their paperwork.

Notable by their absence are two Hoffman Estates residents -- Army Maj. Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth, an Iraqi war veteran, and village Trustee Fred Crespo.

Duckworth, who lost both her legs when the Blackhawk helicopter she piloted in Iraq was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, Rolling Meadows computer consultant Christine Cegelis and Wheaton College professor Lindy Scott are the three Democrats expected to seek the 6th District U.S. House seat being vacated by longtime U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-6th.

At least for the time being, it appears that one of Duckworth's assets -- her military experience -- is a liability. Before she can run in the primary, or even talk about her candidacy, Duckworth must be released from active duty. While she has filed documents to do so, she has not yet been released, according to Lori Goldberg, of Jasculca/Terman & Associates, a Chicago-based public relations firm that is helping Duckworth.

Friends of Duckworth say her active-duty status will change later this week and that a formal announcement of her candidacy is expected this weekend from the combat veteran.

As of Tuesday, Goldberg said Duckworth had no comments to make.

"She is not at all allowed to talk about politics until she is released from active duty, which is something that may happen soon," she said.

Goldberg indicated that Duckworth's friends have collected enough signatures for her to file next week, if the opportunity presents itself. Both Cegelis and Scott submitted their petitions Monday.

But even if Duckworth gets on the primary ticket, she will have to defeat Cegelis before she can get to the November election. Cegelis ran unsuccessfully against Hyde in 2004, but garnered 44 percent of the vote to Hyde's 56 percent, forcing the tightest race in decades in the highly Republican district. And she has another advantage -- taking a page out of the U.S. Rep. Melissa Bean, D-8th, playbook, she hasn't stopped campaigning for two years.
A story about the 6th Dist. Primary that focuses on voter support in the district rather than about money from D.C.?

Brother, you ain't ever gonna work in big-league journalism writin' stories like that.

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