Rick has an interesting post on the democrats looking to replace Henry Hyde. Specifically about the hostility that Tammy Duckworth seems to be facing from DuPage County Democrats who appear to favor Christine Cegelis (who ran last time at got 44% of the vote).
It appears that at least one township organization in DuPage has said that Tammy Duckworth and her supporters are welcome to attend but are not welcome to speak. Rick's post covers why he isn't comfortable with that.
The very idea of not letting someone representing someone running for office in a party primary speak at a party meeting blows my mind. I the am vice-chair of a neighboring Republican Township Organization (but I am not blogging in my 'official' role). We have had situations in the past where a popular incumbent has faced a primary challenge (more than once) and we always let any Republican primary candidate or their representative speak at any meeting they attend or even make announcements for them if they were unable to attend. Our members can and do endorse during the primary and work for the candidate(s) they want to. But as an organization we stay neutral.
Seriously the whole 'We will not let you speak' thing is just nuts, self destructive and bad for the process (as Republican a small part of me says 'You go gang') but as someone who loves the process it really bothers me. I consider Rick a personal friend regardless of how our politics differ, if he told me that the Naperville Democrats were going to do the same thing I would get in my car, drive to his house, say hi to Robin and the ask Rick if he had lost his freakin mind.
I couldn't imagine us telling someone they couldn't speak and if we even tried our members would toss the leadership team out and rightfully so. We have an organizational policy to not endorse in any way shape or form in the primary. It is a policy that has served us very well in the past and I look forward to it being our policy going forward. A leadership role in party should not and can not be to serve as a gatekeeper preventing people from sharing information with the party faithful.
In politics memories are very, very long and the candidate you jerk around today is the elected official you are trying to headline your fundraiser tomorrow. Regardless of even that it isn't how you treat your candidates and as a party unless there is some really compelling reason to refute someone within a primary all of the primary candidates are 'your' candidates. Picking sides as a party organization in the primary just sets you up for problems.
I think Rick is right on here. There is a reason you have primaries and it is to let the voters who chose to vote in that primary decide who the candidate will be.
I think part of this is coming from how Tammy Duckworth is getting DCCC support and the local DuPage Democrats who have been taking it on the chin for the last billion years or so are rightfully bent out of joint a bit that the DCCC is now stepping in and trying to push their candidate. The DuPage Democrats who have seen Christine Cegelis around at their events for some time now feel comfortable with her, know where she stands and likely know her personally. They likely feel a bit put off with the fact that she ran last time and may have helped lead to Hyde not seeking a second term and the thanks she (and they) get for this is a new candidate who they really don't know pushed by an entity that likely didn't give a crud about DuPage county for the last 20 years. Heck that would tick me off.
However the Duckworth vs. Cegelis race in some ways may end up being a big test of the whole 'Dean' grassroots thing, if Christine Cegelis stays in the race and wins it over the candidate being pushed by the DCCC it will show that the grassroots can trump outside money and organization. You now have the perfect chance to prove the 'Dean Model' (my term) of grass roots politics can work.
Also Rick you should feel good now that there is infighting it shows that the DuPage Democratic party is becoming more legitimate... I also have to give you credit for blogging about this. I am sure you are going to hear about it from within the party. It sound like to me some DuPage Democrats need to figure out if elections are about getting your candidates elected or about using your power.