New Print Edition: Illinois 6 & Pennsylvania 4
December 15, 2006 · 12:19 PM EST
The December 15, 2006 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. This is our final edition of the year. Our first issue in January will be our 2008 Senate overview. To read the complete analysis of what happened in these two races, you must subscribe.
Illinois 6: Money Pit
By Nathan L. Gonzales
Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth received more attention and media coverage than any House candidate in the country. She spent more money than any Democratic challenger in the country and was running in an open seat in suburban Chicago that was supposedly trending Democratic. And there was that national Democratic wave. Yet on Election Night, she lost.
For virtually the entire year, Illinois’s 6th District was locked firmly in the sights of both parties. The seat abuts the 5th District represented by Democratic Congressional Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel and lies in Speaker Dennis Hastert’s backyard.
The race evolved into a symbolic fight, with both parties adopting a “whatever it takes” strategy. While it was costly for both parties, Republicans bucked the national trend and state Sen. Peter Roskam (R) was elected to Congress.
Now, strategists can reflect on whether the money spent in this race could have been used to pull candidates in closer races elsewhere to victory.
Pennsylvania 4: To the Beat of Her Own Drum
With the political environment crumbling around her, Republican Cong. Melissa Hart remained steadfast to the end in her belief that she would survive and that her campaign strategy would prevail. The problem is that Hart had never faced a reelection race quite like this one and never experienced an election cycle like the one Republicans encountered in 2006.
She didn’t comprehend the seriousness of her situation until very late in the race and ignored the advice of campaign team when they proposed a survival strategy. The congresswoman refused to go negative against her opponent, Jason Altmire, allowing the Democrat to stay in the contention until late in the race, when he could deliver the only knockout blows he could afford.
Now, Pennsylvania’s 4th District lies in the Democratic column and other incumbents should take note of what happens when you start late and fail to run a good race.
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