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Kirk Exit Sets New Lineup for the Illinois 10th

Jeff Berkowitz 31 July 2009 8 Comments

State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston, 18th Dist) officially announced her 10th Congressional District Democratic Primary candidacy yesterday afternoon at the Heller Nature Center, located on the North Shore, on the border between Highland Park and Lake Forest. It was an enthusiastic crowd of about eighty supporters there to cheer the 11th year State Rep’s entry into the race.

Stand by me

A number of elected officials whose constituents include at least some in the 10th CD were there to stand by Julie’s side, including State Senator Jeff Schoenberg (D-Evanston), State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Des Plaines) (who lamented the State House’s loss of Julie), State Rep. Karen May (D-Highwood), Buffalo Grove Mayor Hartstein and Lake County Commissioners Bassi and Feldman and Cook County Commissioner Suffredin.

Hamos, over the years, has built up strong relationships and followings with politicians from the suburbs and Chicago and those friendships were exemplified by those at her side. She has a reputation as an effective legislator who takes governing and her constituent work very seriously.

The RTA reform and tax increases

As Chairman of the House Mass Transit Committee, Hamos shepherded through a bill, last year, to reform the RTA and provide for governance changes and additional funding, and it was several years in the making. The bill is a plus with many voters because of the improvements and reforms it accomplished but a minus with others because it involved an increase in the sales tax. As discussed here, Hamos supported, two months ago, Gov. Quinn’s proposal for a 50% increase in the income tax, which may help the 10th CD candidate in the Democratic Primary, but could hurt her in the general election.

The 10th CD, a winnable district for the Dems

The 10th CD [covering a mostly affluent area that begins in Wilmette about 20 miles north of the Chicago Loop and continues north almost to the Wisconsin border, and spreads to the west, as well] is a very winnable district for the Democrats, having gone for Presidential Candidate John Kerry with 53% of the vote in 2004 and for President Obama with 61 % of the vote in 2008. Yet, “social liberal, fiscal conservative,” Republican Cong. Mark Steven Kirk, got 52.6 % of the vote in 2008, with his victory margin declining only slightly from his 53.4% to 46.6% winning margin over Dan Seals in 2006. Cong. Kirk’s decision to seek the Republican Primary nomination for the open Illinois U. S. Senate Seat currently held by Roland Burris is creating the 10th CD opportunity for Hamos and others.

The Mark Kirk victories

Kirk won the open seat in 2000 after twenty-one year Republican incumbent Cong. John Porter gave up the seat. Mark Kirk won that race by less than 5700 votes over eight year State Rep. Lauren Beth Gash(D-Highland Park), with more than 3300 votes of Kirk’s victory margin coming from the New Trier Township Republican Organization’s handiwork. Kirk then coasted to victory in 2002 and 2004 with 69% and 64% vote totals, respectively.

Hamos, the Dem Primary frontrunner

As this journalist has written recently, State Rep. Hamos is a frontrunner in a field of at least four Democratic Primary candidates. [See here]. One reason is her experience as a state legislator. As Rep. Nekritz said in her warm introduction today of her good friend, Julie, “In a legislature, you have to be strategic to get things done. You have to build coalitions. You have to bring people together, create common interests and find a way to ‘get to Yes,’ which is something Julie always talks about.” “Getting to Yes,” is something Ms. Hamos really has a reputation for doing. You will be hearing more about that during the 10th CD Democratic Primary campaign. You can make book on it.

The 10th CD Republican Primary

So far, it is thought that the Republican Primary candidates in the 10th CD will include Bill Cadigan, a Winnetka attorney who grew up in Arlington Heights and who worked for Cong. Porter; Bill Strong, a Lake Forest investment banker who appears to have deep pockets; and Dick Green, a Winnetka entrepreneur. Surely, there will be others who will join the fun. Thirteen year State Rep. Beth Coulson (R-Glenview) is also said to be considering a run in the 10th CD primary.
Hamos on some key public policy and cultural issues

State Rep. Julie Hamos (D-Evanston, 18th CD) characteristically and graciously agreed to answer a broad range of public policy questions from this journalist in a video interview during her first official hour of the campaign.


As to whether she would have supported the Bush-Bernanke-Paulson 700 billion dollar bailout of U. S. financial institutions last fall, Rep. Hamos said “America was experiencing a very tough period when nobody had exactly the solution,” and that “was the only one before Congress,” and “I bet I probably would have- could have- gone along with the leadership at that point because we wanted to test out some new ideas and hoped that they would work.”


Discussing what the government is doing now in Washington, DC on healthcare legislation, Rep. Hamos said, “ Generally, I very much support universal healthcare, an opportunity for people who do not have health insurance to be able to purchase it at affordable rates, and I think they are going in the right direction and I am hoping that they get there—in a way that is also affordable for our nation.” As to a single payer healthcare system, she said, “I think this country is not ready for a single payer system…we have a system, we’re not going to blow up that system, we’re trying to improve it.”

Cap and Trade

When asked if her concerns for the environment, e.g., clean air and clean water, extended to being a supporter of “Cap and Trade,” Rep. Hamos said that “[Plan] is an attempt to use the market forces to get us to a good result. Generally speaking, I think that is very promising and something we ought to be doing as a nation, as a world…to make sure that we are all protecting the future.” Ms. Hamos said she is “generally supportive,” of Cap and Trade and that she is “generally supportive,” of the President’s Agenda. However, Rep. Hamos said she is “also going to be a fiscal watchdog,” emphasizing that once we pass laws in Congress, same as in the state legislatures, “we need to make sure dollars are wisely spent—and we need to make sure that laws are being implemented effectively.”

Abortions and The Hyde Amendment

Many suggest that the healthcare reform legislation currently being considered in Congress implicitly contemplates taxpayers at large paying for abortions for low-income women. When asked by this journalist if she would support taxpayer financed abortions for women who want an abortion but have insufficient wealth to pay for it, 10th CD Dem primary candidate Hamos said, “I think we have had the Hyde Amendment [No government financed abortions] on our books for a very long time…and we’re probably not going to be able to eliminate that…I think probably we’re not going to be able to get there and we’re going to have to find other ways to help low income women, who do need abortions and who can’t afford to pay for them, to be able to get them.

The Federal Assault Weapon Ban

The federal assault weapon ban was repealed in 1994 and Rep. Hamos was asked if she would like to see it renewed and brought back as a federal assault weapon ban. She said she would like to see a federal assault weapon ban. Rep. Hamos said we need to “look again comprehensively at providing more safety in our streets and in our homes and one way certainly is to ban certain kinds of weapons that have no other purpose except to hurt people.”

The 10th CD Democratic Primary competitors

State Rep. Hamos is one of at least four Democratic Primary candidates in the 10th CD race. Her competitors include Wilmette, thirty-nine year old business consultant Dan Seals (who lost to Cong. Mark Kirk in the last two election cycles, earning 46.6%and 47.4 % of the vote, respectively), State Senator Mike Bond (Grayslake) and Eliot Richardson, a Highland Park attorney.

The Hamos-Seals match up

When asked by this journalist if the difference between Seals and herself would be one of issue contrasts or experience, the 57 year old Hamos, who fled Budapest, Hungary with her parents a half century ago just ahead of the Russian tanks, said, “If these is anything I believe in, it’s democracy. It comes out of my background, coming to this country escaping from Communist Hungary, I believe in democracy, I believe in having robust debate during elections and I think we’re going to be able to do that during this primary.”
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of “Public Affairs,” and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at JBCG@aol.com. *************************************************************
“Public Affairs,” shows from the last two years are posted on the Public Affairs YouTube page

Image Hotel Moraine, Highland Park, Illinois, 10th Congressional District


  • Dan Kelley said:

    Does Hamos actually live in the 10th Congressional District? If not, is she planning to move from Evanston to another address?

    Although the US Constitution does not required Members of Congress to actually reside in their districts so long as they are residents of the state which includes their electoral district, many voters are not pleased to see politicians from outside of their district holding office.

    The last person that I can recall doing so what a fellow by the name of Rod Blagojevich. He resided outside of the 5th Congressional District for much of time that he served in Congress. He had a home on Logan Boulevard (4th CD) at the time.

  • Jeff Berkowitz said:

    State Rep. Hamos currently lives in Evanston, outside the 10th CD. As the commenter notes, the U. S. Constitution does not require U. S. Representatives to live within their congressional district, only that they live, when elected, within the State that encompasses their District. As also noted by the commenter, it is often helpful politically to reside in the District which the candidate seeks to represent– so as to try to avoid or minimize such unpleasant epithets as “Carpetbagger.”

    On the other hand, there are those who have not found living outside their district a major problem. For example, Cong. Melissa Bean (D-Barrington, 8th CD), who is now serving her 5th year as a Congresswoman, lives a block or two outside of her district, and no credible challenger is currently in sight. I believe then Cong. Crane was able to have Bean redistricted, in 2001, slightly out of his district (as he did with various other actual and potential challengers, including Republicans).

    Further, although Cong. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park), who has held the 10th CD seat for the last nine years, spent much of his boyhood growing up in the 10th CD, he did not actually live in the 10th CD for most, if not all, of the two decades preceding the fall of 1999, when Kirk decided to run in the 10th CD Republican Primary.

    In any case, the Hamos 10th CD campaign has indicated that State Rep. Hamos intends to move into the 10th Cong. Dist. prior to the 2010 primary election. Since Julie Hamos intends to keep her 18th Dist. State Rep. seat through 2010, she must also reside within the 18th State House District. That means, Ms. Hamos and her husband [former Illinois Appellate Justice Alan Greiman (1st Dist.)] will be looking to move into East Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka or the small portion of Glencoe that is included in the 18th Dist, as those are all areas included in the 10th CD.

    Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of “Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz,” and publisher of the “Public Affairs,” blog.

  • Tom Aquinas said:

    How about Dan Seals? Does it count if you claim to be a “Professor” at Northwestern, while not actually hired to be a guest lecturer yet?


  • Joe said:

    Does Dan Seals live within the district or does he, after two cycles of wanting to represent the 10th, still not care to live there?

  • Jeff Berkowitz said:

    I believe Seals lives in Wilmette, but a few blocks outside of the District. He is not a wealthy guy and he has young kids, so he probably does not think the political advantage of living within the 10th CD outweighs the incremental moving costs. Most people probably don’t think he would gain a lot of insight into the 10th CD issues by moving a few blocks. However, he probably did lose some votes when Cong. Kirk pointed out, from time to time, to Joe and others, that his opponent reside outside the 10th CD.

  • Darryl said:

    I am always skeptical of politicians that either want a clear field or wait till a seat becomes open before following the courage of their convictions to run for a seat.

    Ms. Hamos sat on sidelines, in the cheap seats and now only comes out after it is safe (meaning not having to run against an incumbent). Unless of course she agreed with the policies of Congressman Kirk, to which I say she should then run in the republican primary.

    Whatever you may have to say about Mr. Seals, he DID at least take the bull by the horns, head on. Now that incumbent is gone, here come the denziens from the cheap seats.

    It is no profile in courage to only want to run for a seat once it is safely “available” – without an incumbent.

  • Team America said:

    Darryl- not so fast. While Seals did indeed take on Mark Kirk as an incumbent in 2006 and 2008, this time around, he waited to see if Kirk would go for re-election in the 10th District. Seals announced his third bid for the 10th only after Kirk declared for Senate.

    So, the third time around Seals was as cowardly as the rest of the Dem contenders, except for Michael Bond, who interestingly just dropped out of the race after it was clear the primary would be too tough for him. Yes, there’s courage all around on the Dem side of the race…

  • Darryl said:

    Thank you for proving my point regarding Seals – he did, at least make a go of it when it was not popular to do so.

    And your dig at the Dems can also apply to Kirk, who waited till the Dems had screwed up the Senate mess before deciding to run AND got into a huff when he thought he would have a real primary challenger.

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