Saturday, December 24, 2005

Wurf's Analysis of Cegelis for Congress '04

In his latest exegesis of DuPage demographics And politics, Hiram Wurf looks back at the 2004 version of Christine Cegelis for Congress:
Christine Cegelis' 2004 campaign against Congressman Henry Hyde in the 6th Congressional District (encompassing DuPage and parts of Cook County) showed that demographic change combined with an unpopular president (and a disastrous U.S. Senate candidate) had worked wonders.

While some Democratic nay-sayers have pointed to Christine receiving fewer votes than John Kerry in the district (a 3% gap) - that misses the point (see below). DuPage voters have been increasingly willing to vote for Democrats at the top of the ticket, but votes trail off for those lower down, where funding for Democrats (and name recognition) has been virtually non-existent. There was no reason that Christine Cegelis should have name recognition with her limited campaign dollars. There was every reason that Henry Hyde, the congressman since 1974, should win based on name alone.

Christine coming up with over 44% of the vote was earth shattering for DuPage.

It proved votes were there for a Democrat at the congressional level with adequate funding - something voters in Hyde's district hadn't seen since before he was elected. After his first election, Congressman Hyde had always won by over 60% and as much as 75%, with the exception of the challenge he faced in 2000 against Brent Christensen, a lawyer with labor union and airline ties, who had lived in the district 33 years and spent $250,000. The 2000 election also was a referendum on Hyde's leading role in the unpopular Clinton Impeachment proceedings - something that was history in the minds of most voters by 2004, if it was remembered at all. ***

While it took Brent Christensen $250,000 to get 41% of the vote in 2000 (3% less than Al Gore in the district, and 6% less than Gore and Ralph Nader combined), Christine spent only $197,000 and got 44% of the vote in 2004 (3% less than John Kerry). Less money yielded a better percentage of the vote with less of a spread between the congressional candidate and the presidential candidate (most of the 3% Nader vote was likely Democratic).

Christine Cegelis' campaign sent a message: Democratic positions and values can win in the 6th Congressional District.
You really oughtta read the whole thing.

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