Thursday, March 02, 2006


Stonewall Dems heart Christine

So I went to my first Illinois Stonewall Democrats meeting last night. Seems like a good group of committed folks. Could have used some cookies at the three-hour affair, but hey! Nobody's perfect.

Last night was the candidate's forum at which a number of Democrats running for a number of positions stopped by to give five-minute speeches about who they were and why they sought Stonewall's endorsements. Among the attendees were the two candidates for State Treasurer, a couple of Water Reclamation people, a Cook County Sheriff candidate, and Forrest Claypool and Ruben Zamora. Christine Cegelis was scheduled to appear but a last-minute in-district obligation required her to make a tough choice.

After the forum was the endorsement section. Claypool and Debra Shore got ringing endorsements (Shore, by the way, is out (a Stonewall member), endorsed by the Sierra Club, and has a great grasp of the issues. Very, very impressive!). More stuff happened. Then came time to discuss IL-06.

Christine's positives were universally recognized -- her integrity, her passion, her articulateness, and the grassroots nature of her campaign. The most Duckworth got in her favor was "very impressive person" and "has lots of people willing to raise a lot of money" but she got hammered on the negatives of not knowing the district, being a "manufactured candidate," and her lack of clarity on a number of issues.

In the end, the attendees overwhelmingly voted to rate Christine Cegelis "highly qualified." They decided not rate the other candidates.

Most importantly, the tenor of the room was strongly pro-Cegelis. It was gratifying to see how many people were paying attention to this race ... and that this group of Democrats, at least, know a good candidate -- a real Democrat -- when they see one.

Less than three weeks to go, folks! Phone-banking, canvassing, donating, and a rally on Saturday ... do what you can!

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