Illinois 18th Congressional District: A Safe GOP Seat: Don’t Expect a True New Face

By: Andrew J. Englund

As a member of the 18th Congressional District in Illinois, I felt the need to write about the resignation of Congressman Aaron Schock, effective March 31, 2015. Don’t expect a strong conservative to take the seat in the special election. I do not want to see a carpet bagger run for the 18th district seat. There are qualified conservatives in the district, however an Illinois and national establishment Republican will likely win the seat and will hold it until he chooses to retire or is forced to resign.

I voted for Aaron Schock in 2012 and 2014. I was a part of the 17th Congressional District before the 2011 redistricting and I happily voted for Bobby Schilling in 2010. I was not yet 18 for the 2008 election. I voted for Schock because I believed that his youth would be a welcoming change in Washington D.C. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. As with so many others, he went to D.C. with the intention of changing D.C. and D.C. changed him. The corruption, money, and power in D.C. was far too appealing for Schock. Schock never faced a strong primary challenge, in the 2008 primary he received 72% of the vote and did not have a challenger in 2010, 2012, or 2014. He handily and easily won his general election campaigns: 59% in 2008, 69% in 2010, 74% in 2012, and 74% in 2014.

Illinois 18 is a safe GOP seat, according to the Cook PVI it is R+11. It has been in Republican hands since 1939. Jessie Sumner held the seat from 1939-1947. Edward Jenison held the seat from 1947-1949. Harold Velde held the sea from 1949-1957. Robert Michel held the seat from 1957-1995, serving as House Minority Leader for 14 of those years. Ray LaHood held the seat from 1995-2009 and served as Obama’s Secretary of Transportation from 2009 to 2013. For Ray LaHood’s elections he won 60% in 1994, 59% in 1996, 100% in 1998, 67% in 2000, 100% in 2002, 70% in 2004, and 67% in 2006.

The seat is safe, now is the chance for the constituents of Illinois 18 to choose a conservative. Illinois 18 has not had a consistent conservative in the seat. Aaron Schock has a 75% American Conservative Union (ACU) lifetime rating, with a 52% rating in 2013. In his freshman year (2009) he had an ACU rating of 92%, he had a promising start. Ray LaHood has a 70% ACU lifetime rating, with a 36% rating in his final year (2008).

Schock’s frivolous spending end extravagant lifestyle is common knowledge. He ignored his constituency and focused on self-promotion. He had potential, however he fell into the swamp that is Washington D.C. and was unable to rise above that swamp. I still like Schock as an individual, but I am glad that he will no longer be my congressman. In his resignation statement, he said that he had become a distraction for the district. A truer statement has never been spoken. Thank You Congressman Schock for recognizing that you were a distraction, you had to leave.

Now onto his replacement. According to the Chicago Tribune, State Senator Darin LaHood has stated that he will run for Schock’s seat. Darin LaHood is the son of Former Congressman Ray LaHood. LaHood would not be a new face for the district. Illinois 18 deserves better than to replace Schock with his predecessor’s son. Darin LaHood does have a 100% rating in the 2013 ACU State Legislative Ratings. Former state Representative and former Lt. Governor Nominee Jil Tracy is also considering a run for the seat. Tracy has a 90% ACU rating in the 2013 ratings. Tracy would be a far better choice for the district than LaHood. She remembers her constituents and works hard for them. Tracy will have to overcome the name-recognition and political machinery advantage that LaHood will have. If Tracy runs and if she wins she would be a strong conservative voice for the 18th district.

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The Most Important Issue of the 2016 Presidential Election: The Supremes.

By: Andrew J. Englund

"Supreme Court US 2010" by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States - Roberts Court (2010-) - The Oyez Project. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Supreme Court US 2010” by Steve Petteway, Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States – Roberts Court (2010-) – The Oyez Project. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Barack Obama has about 680 days left of his term.  And there are about 600 days left until Election Day 2016.  I believe that the most important issue for this election cycle will not be ISIS, various social issues, or even the Federal Debt which now tops $18 Trillion.  I believe that the most important issue will be what type of justices the candidate will appoint to the Supreme Court.  The president controls policy for four to eight years; however his Supreme Court appointments can sit on the court for twenty to thirty years, if not longer, leaving a far greater impact than any policy proposal.  Which is why John Adams appointed John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the Court in 1801.  John Marshall served as Chief Justice until 1835, his appointment was an obvious attempt by John Adams to disrupt the policies of Thomas Jefferson.  Even though John Adams was only President for four years (1797-1801), his Chief Justice controlled the court for thirty-four years.  This is why the Supreme Court is such an important presidential campaign issue.

The current Supreme Court has four loose constructionists, four strict constructionists, and one textualist (Scalia).  Here is the current make-up of the court: Chief Justice John Roberts, 60, appointed by George W. Bush in 2005; Justice Antonin Scalia, 78, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986; Justice Anthony Kennedy, 78, appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1988; Justice Clarence Thomas, 66, appointed by George H.W. Bush in 1991; Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, 81, appointed by Bill Clinton in 1993; Justice Stephen Breyer, 76, appointed by Bill Clinton in 1994; Justice Sam Alito, 64, appointed by George W. Bush in 2006; Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 60, appointed by Barack Obama in 2009; and Justice Elena Kagan, 54, appointed by Barack Obama in 2010.

It is unlikely that Obama will have another Supreme Court nominee before his term concludes.  Justice Ginsberg has far too much respect for the Court to resign before Obama’s term concludes just so that her seat can be filled by a younger liberal justice, as has been suggested by a few blogs.  It is very likely that the next president will be able to appoint two or three justices.  If the swap is a liberal for a liberal, then the dynamic of the court will remain unchanged as is evident with the two most recent nominees.  However, if the swap is a conservative for a liberal or vice-versa then the dynamic of the court can change for the next twenty years.

Not only do we need to ensure that a conservative is elected President, but the GOP must remain in control of the Senate so that the nominees have a greater chance of being confirmed.  We do not want any of the textualist or strict constructionist nominees to be “Borked” by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

I do not know who will be the Republican nominee for president, nor do I have a horse in the race.  I am suggesting that in order to really have an impact on the culture in Washington DC that we need to ask our candidates what types of justices they will nominate.  We need to pressure them to pick textualists or strict constitutionalists.

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By: The Illinois Review staff,
As the Illinois Senate finishes its organization for the 97th General Assembly, State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) announced his committee assignments and a new leadership role for the current legislative cycle.

Senator Murphy will serve as the Republican spokesman for the Senate’s Appropriations I Committee. The spokesman duties will focus on the state’s budget.

The Senator was also appointed Republican Caucus Chair by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. As Caucus Chair, Sen. Murphy will be responsible for convening and facilitating meetings of the Republican membership, and will play a key leadership role in strategy and policy decisions.

Senator Murphy resumed his role as Republican spokesman this week, when the General Assembly reconvened for the 2011 Spring Session. He also serves on the Senate’s Appropriations II; Executive; Judiciary and Redistricting committees.

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