Well, Well, There’s an opening for the Job Description "Congressman, 17th District."
The nice folks up in Rock Island County are accustomed to having things their own way when it comes to selecting congresspersons. Election in and election out, they’re the 600 Pound Gorilla.
This time, there ‘s a little uncertainty in the process. First, the vote will be by committeemen. For a number of reasons, the peasant counties are considering an uprising. Adams and Knox Counties have some higher than usual primary totals. The math for Counties like Adams, Knox, Christian and even Macoupin could work out. The general concept is "If we don’t hang together, we’re certain to hang separately." They have plausible candidates, Sullivan, Scholz, Mangieri among them. Our friends in Rock Island County are, to say the least, not all reading off of the same page of the hymnal.
People will tell plausible candidates it’s an opportunity. It looks like an opportunity. It sounds like an opportunity For the peasant counties’ principle wish list candidates, Sullivan and Scholz, it is an opportunity all right, an opportunity to get their lives good and screwed up.
You say, "How?" I thought you’d never ask. If the "minor" counties hold together for one candidate, they could nominate their man. Either man would beat the famously tone deaf Zinga like a pawn shop drum. He would take office in December of ’06 as a freshman congressman, likely still a member of the minority party. Committee assignments would not look like Lane’s, probably agriculture and belly button lint research.
In the meantime, having their congressman shoplifted out of their county would comprehensively piss the nice folks in Rock Island off. They would unite behind a single primary candidate and in March ’08, a presidential primary year, probably turn out 30,000 primary voters, consigning the "out" county incumbent to about 9 months of lame duckness. At least it's a long time to pack his stuff.
What’s that you say? Our brothers and sisters in Rocky wouldn’t do that? Surely you jest! Not only would they, but they’d be stupid not to do it. They would once again assert control over "their" seat in Congress and turn the dissident Counties’ Chairs into the voice of sweet reason for all future party dealings. As I said, they’d be stupid not to do it. Revenge of the 600 pound Gorilla would not occur with surgical precision. There’d be collateral damage. There wouldn’t be enough lifeboats to hold all the friends of the "successful" nominee from ’06.
As a consequence of that, these "out" county candidates have to decide whether they would like a two year victory lap as a freshman congressman enough to face almost a certain career disruption. That’s the going price for being a game piece in this exciting, Real World, board game.
So the "out" county inmates really can run the asylum and nominate a congressman but there will be hell to pay for it and the price will be paid by the "out" county nominee.
Oh, and all that fun is before we even talk about redistricting in ’12. Does anybody really think this boomerang district remains after we lose another seat or two in the decennial census of ‘10?
So, to those guys who are being pumped up by other politicians to "run" for this seat, remember the question Inspector Harry Callahan asked the armed robber "Do you feel lucky…?" For this to be a good deal, you’d have to damned lucky.