December 28, 2005

A matter of insignificance

From the Bernie Schoenburg column in the State Journal-Register: (emphasis mine)
Meanwhile, in the 17th Congressional District, incumbent DON JOHNSTON of Moline, who defeated Rock Island County Democratic Chairman JOHN GIANULIS for the seat back in 1998, said he thinks his opponent, TOM BENSON, was "put up to it."

"I’m sure John's still bitter about losing back in '98," Johnston said.

Benson, who lives in Rock Island and works for the state in Springfield, said he's been a friend of Gianulis since childhood, but the decision to run was his own. He also said that most of the money raised by Johnston's 17th District organization is spent on JV Consulting, Johnston’s own direct-mail and advertising business.

"I wouldn’t vote for Don Johnston," said Gianulis, who is director of personnel for the governor’s office. He said he didn’t put up Benson to run, but he will vote for him, and expects he will provide the party "much better than what we've been getting from Don Johnston."

"Who cares who is state central committeeman?" added Gianulis. "The race itself is very insignificant."

He said his main concern is to re-elect Blagojevich.

Johnston said he was a friend of Benson's parents and is disappointed by the challenge. JV gets some of the money his political fund spends, but not most of it, and he said he charges smaller Democratic organizations only postage.

He also said his company has made more than 500,000 automated phone calls for county organizations, most at no charge.

"In my view, John Gianulis is insignificant," Johnston said.


At 12/28/2005 6:16 AM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

I know for a fact that Don Johnston's company, JV Consulting, does a lot of mailings and phone calling for Democratic candidates at little or no cost. He has been working for Democratic candidates for a long time. He learned the direct mail business working as a volunteer with the Lane Evans campaign. (I am familiar with this because my wife worked for a time many years ago as the volunteer coordinator for the "Friends of Lane Evans".) It has always appeared to me that he started JV Consulting so that he could work for Democratic candidates full time.
I would have a hard time believing that anyone else could work harder or put in longer hours working for the Democratic Party in northwestern Illinois than Don Johnston.

At 12/28/2005 2:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the Dem Party Chairman Gianulas would support the incumbant elected officeholder as a standard rule?

What am I missing here? For gosh sakes, John G supports the men he appoints to office treating them exactly as incumbants before they have even been really elected on any ballot and makes the party faithful step in line on his word for them ---so this seems like a bad move for a "leader" to make if Don Johnston's opponent gets the nod of John G the chairman....

Does this mean if someone runs against Dick Liebovitz who is also an incumbant officeholder who beat John Gianulas in the 80s for that office that Gianluas will help the challenger and not the incumbant??

The Dems must be unsure where to turn on this one.

At 12/29/2005 7:20 PM, Blogger Tom Benson said...

I am disappointed that Don Johnston has chosen to further widen the gulf that exists in the local party by making personal attacks against members of our own party.

I will challenge Don's performance and his methods, but I pledge that I will not make this personal. Ending this conflict and bringing Democrats together is one of my biggest motivating factors for seeking this position.

The primary reason I am running for 17th District State Central Committeeman is because I can bring proven, effective leadership to organize, coordinate and communicate a unified Democratic message to Get Out The Democratic Vote (GOTDV)in every corner of the 17th District. From Carter to Kerry and Verschoore I have done the work in the field, door to door, on the phone and in the trenches that gets Democrats elected. I can bring that energy and committment to a new generation of Democratic volunteers and voters.

We need to take advantage of the new early voting law and that will require a whole new way of thinking about elections and it will be necessary to recruit many more volunteers and provide greater coordination than we have ever seen before.

We need to get into the red counties and work hard at every level of government to recruit and elect qualified, hard working democrats and turn those counties dark blue like John Gianulis did for Rock Island County. I admire John for his success and aspire to grow the Democratic Party in all of Western Illinois as he has done in Rock Island County. I also want to acknowledge the fine work and legacy of Stewart Winstein who served honorably as the State Central Committeman and grew our party.

I am sure that JV Consulting will continue to thrive and help Democrats even if Don is no longer the Committeeman. I told Bernie Schoenberg that I intend to work with Don and JV Consulting if I am elected, but he did not put that in his column. I just want Don to be honest about who is doing the work, JV Consulting or Don Johnston as State Central Committeeman. You can read his campaign disclosures and judge for yourself.

The 2004 Presidential election, in which I had the great honor of working as the Downstate Illinois Field Coordinator (96 counties) for John Kerry, saw the highest turnout of young voters in the history of our nation. We need to consolidate those gains in 2006 and elect Democrats. We need to show them that their vote can make the difference and elect Democrats. We need to keep Lane Evans in Congress and help gain more Democratic seats in Illinois. less than 40,000 votes in Nevada, New Mexico and Iowa would have sent the 2004 Presidential Election to the House of Representatives. It is imperative that we take back the House before 2008.

Please join me in talking about what is needed to increase the participation of Deocratic voters in the 17th and let's take the personalities out of this race.

It is not John Gianulis vs. Don Johnston, it is Tom Benson For 17th District State Central Committeeman.

At 12/29/2005 8:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...


Thanks very much for your comment.

The fact that you realize that this blog is a great communication tool already shows you're a step ahead of the game and aimed in the right direction for the future of the local organization.

Stagnation is never a good strategy, and the failure to embrace and adopt modern tools and forums by the local party organization does not bode well for it's future.

Best of luck.

At 12/30/2005 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comon Tom - you are John G's puppet and everyone knows it....


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