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Tom's Mailbag Sept. 12, 2014
People seem to be in a foul mood this week. I’ll blame the early onset of fall, the early onset of political ads on TV and all the debate about a single almost-University of Illinois faculty member in a tiny campus program. In 10 years will anyone remember the furor over Steven Salaita?
Ammons supporter responds to negative ads with "trash" talk.

Craig's obsession with Gordy always generates a good chuckle, but is he really threatening Mark Ballard?   I can appreciate people not agreeing with Kristin's position on a topic or not liking the IL GOP's negative advertisements, but calling the girl "trash"?  Man, that's low, even for Craig Walker.   I have a feeling we're just getting started...

Eric B: Welcome to the new and improved Halfway!
Enjoy the new and improved Halfway Interesting.  Halfway Interesting will be aggregating the most interesting political news content for state and local policy and elections.   Of course, I will be providing the occasional supplement from time and time when the situation requires.   Be sure to check out our BlogTalk page for in-depth interviews with C-U's political movers and shakers.  If you have any suggestions on news stories, please DM me on Twitter or FB.  Enjoy!
Stick a fork in Callis?

Plenty of chatter over the holiday weekend indicated the DCCC was pulling its support for Callis and planned to focus on closer house races.    Read the coverage at Capitol Fax HERE.   I'm especially reluctant to believe such rumors after Don Gerard's Campaign Manager went to Twitter claiming Rodney Davis fired his staff.   Rodney Davis' office quickly responded and confirmed it was simply shameless rumor mongering.   Instead of denying the current Callis claim, the only feedback I noticed was "Big Debbie" who claimed on CapFax, "Ummm…, the DCCC has field offices throughout the 13th, including here in Champaign. Might that not also be further evidence?".  Instead of saying it's not true, they point to the campaign offices that are open (possibly only for the moment)?    We're gong to have to wait to see if the DCCC pulls their political advertising in the district to be sure, but it's not looking good for Callis and the #guardiansofthe13th.   

Community Alert!  Embarrassing week for Team Walker
Illinois House Republicans aren't letting up on Carol Ammons. Voters from the district have shared two separate mailers with me that focus on her fake diploma and call her out for making false statements in the past. I've shared these ads on Halfway and will be happy to share others (and from other other races) if I get my hands on them. 

Tom's Mailbag discussed some political topics. I just had to shake my head after reading the nonsense about Craig Walker. He is a flamethrower activist and now people just laugh at his "community alerts". As much as the guy's tactics annoy me, I feel kind of bad for him. The Ammons campaign put out a statement, "The campaign is not responsible for, nor a party to, any inflammatory emails Craig Walker sends out. Mr. Walker is a supporter. He has no official role with the campaign, nor will he in the future." Ouch!! Then there is the stuff about him being a convicted felon. Double Ouch!! People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.  Unfortunately, he reached a new low when he called Kristin Williamson "trash" and threatened Mark Ballard, a highly respected member of the business community who is volunteering for Kristin's campaign.    It is just sad. 

Ann Callis was caught lying in ad about Rodney Davis. The dems are making a very big deal about this steak thing. I hear some the #guardiansofthe13th dropped off a steak Davis' Champaign office and took pictures. Really, kids? Then news dropped about Callis' residency over confusion about which one of her houses she is actually living in.  Nothing too exciting, but good for a few chuckles.

Not the most exciting week.   
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Political Roundup: Sept 7, 2014
Illinois House Republicans went on the attack against Ammons. They launched THIS ad and even launched a website. The website suggests there is more to come and that visitors should check back.  Tom Kacich wrote about the topic HERE.

After Don Gerard's now former Campaign Manager went on Twitter on August 15th and falsely claimed that Rodney Davis gave his entire field staff pink slips, reputable media outlets are now speculating the DCCC is dumping Callis.  We will know for sure if and when the DCCC pulls out on their TV advertising. This would be a huge dagger to the #guardiansofthe13th. Momentum is definitely shifting in Rodney Davis' favor.

Last Sunday, the Democrats beat the Republicans in a local charity softball game after the Republicans gave up a comfortable lead in the late innings.  Let's hope the same thing doesn't happen to Rauner, Cross, and Davis who are all leading the polls heading into the fall election.

Smile Politely introduced Don Gerard's Campaign Manager on August 22nd and then reported on Sept 2nd that he was stepping down. It was reported as an "interesting turn of events", but didn't explain why they felt this was interesting. As you would certainly expect, this announcement stirred up conversation around town. Seth Fein, an Editor at Smile Politely, added "Nothing really to see here. We reported it because it's news about the race". Okay, so it's not very interesting. To me, this is yet another public relations fumble, which have been numerous since Gerards former former campaign manager stepped down and ultimately became campaign manager for Joe Petry.

Looking at the big picture, it is interesting to watch someone like Rauner lead public opinion polling in a dark blue state like Illinois. The unions are even pouring money into Carol Ammon's campaign, something they shouldn't have to do in a district that is gerrymandered for Ammons to win in a landslide. You'd think people just don't like incumbents, but how would that explain Rodney Davis' positive momentum? Why is Ammons having to work so hard in a district where she shouldn't have to?
Ann Callis Staffer Grabs Student Protester (Raw video)

At a public appearance last week on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Ann Callis' campaign staff physically attempted to silence and remove students protesting Callis' appearance with Senator Dick Durbin. The event was open to the media and was on the campus quad, public space available to anyone.   We have the local Young Dems here in Champaign County flat-out making up stories about people violating their rights on public property while members of Team Callis elsewhere in the district are caught (on camera) physically confronting others.   Can you imagine how crazy the local kids would behave if Rodney Davis' crew did something this?!  

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