Sen. Richard Durbin and Gov. Rod Blagojevich attended the JFK Dinner October 20, 2006, in Collinsville. They enthusiastically supported Councilman Danny Stover (D-Centralia) for the 19th Congressional District in Illinois.
Sen. Durbin also had something to say about the demand for an apology from Rep. John Shimkus (R-Collinsville). As everyone knows, his inappropriate decisions in the Capitol Hill pages' scandal involving former GOP Rep. Mark Foley proved he lacks the leadership skills necessary to represent the people. As a result, Sen. Durbin correctly pointed out that Mr. Shimkus does NOT deserve one. He reminded everyone that the Pages and their parents really deserve a most heart-felt apology from Congress.
One day after telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he probably would have done the same thing if given another chance . . . (St. Louis Post- Dispatch, 10/12/06)
According to a recent poll, 79 percent of Americans believe House Republican leaders were more concerned about their political standing than about the safety of teenage Congressional pages. (New York Times, 10/10/06)
Instead of explaining to voters why he failed to launch an investigation into whether Foley had inappropriate contact with other Congressional pages or alert criminal authorities to the possibility that a member of Congress was preying on minors, Shimkus has joined House Republican leaders in trying to deflect blame. Last week, in his desperation to avoid responsibility, Shimkus called the page scandal a political agenda by the Democrats and said the media had fallen hook, line and sinker for an October surprise orchestrated by his former friends who are Democrats and who are leading this charge. (Copley News Service, 10/4/06) If the U. S. Military Academy at West Point has added a leadership course entitled Deflecting Blame 101, then-Cadet Shimkus must have been a stellar student! His high academic score in the class would have been enough to keep him from from achieving Class Goat.
In addition to receiving support from a senior senator and the state's governor, Stover has a formal endorsement from the media:
In the Illinois 19th, which takes in a bright red swath of Illinois from Springfield southward, Rep. John Shimkus, 48, was cruising toward a sixth term until his name popped up in the investigation of the scandal surrounding former Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla. As head of the House Page Board, Mr. Shimkus confronted Mr. Foley in the fall of 2005 over one relatively innocuous e-mail to a former page. Mr. Shimkus says he had no inkling that Mr. Foley's problems went deeper. There is a lot of guilt, he said, adding I am pretty clueless on people's private lives.
We take him at his word. His consistent support for the White House's economic policies and incursions against civil liberties is harder to accept. Since 2004, when he broke his pledge not to seek more than four terms in Congress, Mr. Shimkus seems to have settled in as a member of the go along to get along crowd.
His Democratic challenger is Dan Stover, 55, the retired chairman of the political science department at Kaskaskia College in Centralia. He says Mr. Shimkus' shallow and incompetent investigation of the Foley affair brought a newfound attention to his race, but acknowledges he faces a dollars and lines problem. Mr. Shimkus has 10 times more dollars to spend on his campaign than Mr. Stover, and the 19th district's boundary lines heavily favor Republicans.
Still, Mr. Stover is a credible alternative for voters looking for an independent, progressive voice in Congress. He asks voters if they've had enough of Republican control, of a misguided war, of threats to abortion rights, of unfair trade policies, of big pay raises for Congress and tax cuts for the wealthy and no increase in the minimum wage. Regardless of what Mr. Shimkus told Mr. Foley, Dan Stover is the better choice." (St. Louis Post Dispatch, 10/23/2006)
It is about time. The Post-Dispatch is supposed to be a Democratic newspaper. In the past 10 years, the editors have chosen to consistently endorse John Shimkus -- for whatever reason.
Also, the Principia College Democrats in Elsah (Jersey County) are on the bandwagon:
Tuesday, October 24, the Campus Democrats at Principia College are hosting the Post-Dispatch endorsed (!) Danny Stover and State Sen. Deanna Demuzio for a meet-and-greet. A representative from Gov. Blagojevich' s campaign will also be on hand. We warmly invite you to join us in Holt Gallery at Principia College at 7:00 PM tomorrow night for a chance to converse with these candidates and let them know what is one your mind!
As usual, the Madison County Democrats remain silent and no where to be found. They can stay that way. They have little to offer this year -- if anything.
Update: The State Journal-Register in Springfield formally endorsed Dan Stover for IL-19:
Because Illinois' 19th Congressional District has been precisely carved to remove the Democratic base in its midsection, the national Democratic Party has all but ignored candidate Danny Stover in his effort to unseat five-term Republican incumbent John Shimkus. We think this is a shame, because Stover is a strong candidate who deserves both the voters' attention and their votes.
When Shimkus ran for Congress in 1996, he billed himself as an outsider who would bring fresh perspective to the U.S. House. He pledged he would support imposing term limits in Congress and signed a pledge vowing to serve no more than 12 years himself. Shimkus now has his own political action committee, the John S Fund, which until last March was headed by lobbyist Mark Valente. Those are pretty strong Washington insider credentials. That 12-year term-limit pledge? Well, Shimkus had a change of heart last year and decided he will not honor it.
Shimkus' loyalty to President Bush on Iraq war policy was symptomatic of a Congress that abrogated its role as a check on executive power, thus allowing the administration to pursue its terribly flawed war plan virtually unhindered. Stover has pledged to take Congress' oversight role seriously. He also favors an immigration policy that punishes employers of illegal immigrants, raising the minimum wage and drug courts as an alternative to prison for some drug offenders.
We wish Stover had more national party support so his message would reach more voters. (State Journal-Register, 10/24/2006)
How true -- every word. The Southern Illinoisan in Carbondale should be next. Regardless, Rep. John Shimkus is toast on a sinking ship.