A year out from the 2018 Midterms and the Republicans and Democrats are gearing up to win back the House and Senate. But one house seat in the Midwest is starting to turn out to be a much bigger race then the DNC would have expected, the Illinois 17th District.
Now if this looks like an extremely gerrymandered district, you would be correct because after the 2010 census the Illinois congress gerrymandered it specifically to be a district that democrats would be ensured to win. It is such a bad gerrymandering that the New York Times even included it in this article on how states tilt elections for certain party’s during the last iteration of the district.
The Illinois congress has been successful for the most part keeping the district for Democrats, from the last 18 elections for that seat sense 1982 only one Republican has one the district. The seat is currently being held by Cheri Bustos who has held the seat for the last six years. The district has also voted for the Democratic presidential candidate overwhelmingly for the last five presidential races.
These are according to Daily Kos and the Almanac of American Politics
So you may be asking yourself why in the world is this article even being written. Why would the Democrats be scared about losing this seat? Why are Democrats nervous about a seat that is so in the blue for the last 20 years? One word, TRUMP.
Last year for the first time District 17 voted for the Republican candidate for President Donald Trump.
This is the district that the News Media couldn’t comprehend, how come a district that Obama won by over 15 points switch to vote for Donald Trump? A crazy man to the media. Well it did, and its embarrassing for the DNC. The republicans didn’t even think that they had a shot here. They didn’t even bother putting in any resource’s in to the district. The challenger to Cheri Bustos during the 2016 election, Patrick Harlan, was a Casey’s Truck Driver with no political experience, no connections and no money. Didn’t have a shot to win. Now if the Republicans put some Money, a quality candidate, and some time here, they could win what was once considered one of the biggest Democratic districts in the country. Here is where Mark Kleine come’s in.
Mark Kleine is a local business man who spent 20 years building a small John Deere dealership in to a huge business all in Northwestern Illinois. He also has spent a lot of time working to better his community by being on the board of local hospitals and being a donor and member of the Galesburg Community foundation. He successfully has helped start the resurrection of Northwest Illinois economy after years of struggling from Big Businesses leaving the area for cheaper workers in other countries. Mark Kleine wants to bring small Businesses to Illinois. He wants to create an economy that can help everyone. To create an environment that your kids want to grow up in. Mark Kleine is going to win the 17th district of Illinois and defy the Democrats.
He is a legitimate candidate for the republicans, he has experience, he is an active member of the community, and he has a history of trying to build up the community, he has the business success, he is someone who truly wants the best for Illinois.
On the money side of things, he has raised around 500,000 dollars so far for his campaign with over 100,000 being his own money because he puts his money where his mouth is. While Cheri Bustos has about 2.4 million on hand with about 2 million being left over from previous elections. One thing that really needs to be highlighted here is that for as much as Democrats want to be the party of the people, that is not true in this election. Just looking at the 3rd quarter fundraising numbers (only available at this time) Kleine has raised 90 percent of his money from individuals in the community amounting to around 366,00 dollars. While Bustos has only raised about 184,000 dollars from individual donors. She did raise 195,00 thousand dollars from special interest groups and PAC’s to try to keep up with Kleine. Kleine only accepted 4,950 dollars from groups like this.
All of this combined has the Democrats scared to death. They are so scared that they showed their hand before he even announced his candidacy by posting a hit piece on their website.
Let me tell you, this is a hit piece if I have ever seen one. First of all Cheri Bustos blew this way out of proportion and everyone in Galesburg knows it, and I mean everyone. It was the talk of Galesburg when it happened because it was such a joke. This blogger heard from 6 different people I know in Galesburg about it. Here is a quote from the Galesburg register mail reporter talking about how bad and disgusting the DCCC trying to attack their town in such a fake way.
“The DCCC could have researched the real issues of lead contamination in our city and county. It could even point out the things Bustos has done to aid in the effort to remove lead service lines from our neighborhoods. But it didn’t have to smear Mark Kleine with a discredited AP story and out-of-context quotes.” -Tom Loewy Register Mail
Obviously the DNC is scared and going to try everything they possibly can to stop a republican winning this gerrymandered democratic district. I can only assume that as this election becomes closer the Democrats are going to be blowing a lot of money at this election and directing their pacs to try to overpower what the people want.
I am not going to sit here and say that this is meant to happen there is still a republican challenger to Mr. Kleine but it seems pretty much wrapped up. Mr. Kleine needs to keep his fundraising pace going and continue to show us some more policy points. But needless to say he is on the right track to win and change the landscape of Illinois politics for the future.