Jacobs escapes contest, claims "victory", Boland nixes run for Senate, Leaves door open for Treasurer, Ahern, Haring to challenge for 71st dist. seat
From the Kurt Allemeier piece on Q.C. Online:
Where state Rep. Mike Boland would land on the 2006 ballot has been a parlor game for local Democrats for several months.Do you believe the B.S. that Madigan was just here for a friendly chit-chat, "touching base" with local Dem figures, rather than "solving problems"? ha!
Mike Madigan, chairman of the state Democratic party and speaker of the State House of Representatives, paid a visit to Rock Island last week to straighten out the Democratic ticket. Mr. Madigan left town with the situation a little clearer.
Rep. Boland, of East Moline, has intimated he might challenge state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, for his seat, or perhaps run for statewide office. He discussed his future on at least one previous occasion with Speaker Madigan.
Rep. Boland has ruled out a run against Sen. Jacobs in the primary and is leaning toward running for re-election, though he hasn't completely ruled out a possible run for state treasurer. He concedes it is unlikely he'll run for treasurer unless Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka runs for governor.
"The Senate thing just isn't any benefit to me because I would have to start over with seniority," Rep. Boland said. "I am only one or two elections away from a leadership position and that is awful hard to give up."
The meeting included Rep. Boland; Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan; Sen. Jacobs; U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island; Rock Island County Democratic party chairman John Gianulis; former state senator Denny Jacobs; Rock Island County State's Attorney Jeff Terronez; and key labor leaders.
Rep. Boland has served the 71st District since 1994 and is chairman of the House financial institutions committee. He faces at least one challenger in the March primary. Dennis Ahern of Moline, who lost to Rep. Boland in the 2004 primary, has announced his plans to run again. Republican Steve Haring, of Savanna, who lost to Rep. Boland in the 2004 general election, is also in the race.
A spokesman for the state Democratic party described the meeting as Speaker Madigan touching base with party faithful, rather than solving any problems.
"The speaker regularly goes into communities and talks to incumbents and candidates," spokesman Steve Brown said. Rock Island County "is a good Democratic area and it is going to be a big year and we want to maximize the vote."
Democrats enjoy a majority in both houses of the General Assembly. The party's concern is the possibility of losing an incumbent in a district that doesn't favor Democrats. Recruiting and running a newcomer would be an iffy and costly proposition. The state party might have to chip in $500,000 to help a newcomer.
"When you lose an incumbent and start over with a new candidate it is hard to get them elected," Mr. Gianulis said. "Madigan encouraged and supported (Rep. Boland) to run again for re-election."
Sen. Jacobs admitted he was relieved by the outcome of the meeting, and pledged his support to Rep. Boland. He was appointed to the seat in February though Rep. Boland had expressed interest in it to Mr. Madigan and Mr. Gianulis.
"The last thing the speaker wanted to do was to have to find someone as qualified as Rep. Boland to run in that district," Sen. Jacobs said. "The strongest ticket we have is state Rep. Pat Verschoore, state Rep. Mike Boland, state Sen. Mike Jacobs, and Rep. Lane Evans.
"That gives us a pretty strong one-two-three-four punch."
Well, at least we'll have a choice for Rep. But Senator Mike dodged another bullet.
And as the piece states, we could have choice, but it's too expensive.
And it's interesting that former Senator Denny was in the meetings as well. Guess the training wheels aren't completely off just yet.
And I find Jacobs' comment, "The last thing the speaker wanted to do was to have to find someone as qualified as Rep. Boland to run in that district." to be interesting, especially since he or his shill have been putting the horns on Boland here with reckless abandon for months, attacking Boland as if he wasn't fit to be assistant vice-deputy dog catcher.
Granted, Boland is a strong candidate, and one could certainly say he's the strongest available, but if he were to run for another position, would finding a qualified candidate really be that difficult? What about McNeil or Ahern? Jacobs makes it sound like finding candidates to compete in Boland's district would be next to impossible.