Thursday, July 9, 2009

Julie Hamos is Lost and Confused

Julie Hamos (D-Evanston) has been the Illinois State Representative for the 18th District since 1998, but she has been signalling to her constituents that she no longer wants her current job. She did that by very publicly considering a run for the Illinois Attorney General's office, a position currently held by Lisa Madigan. It was assumed by many, including Hamos, that Madigan probably wouldn't run for re-election in favor of seeking an even higher office, most likely a U.S. Senate seat. They were all wrong. Yesterday (July 8), Madigan said that she intends to keep her job as the Illinois AG. This not only makes Hamos look foolish, it puts her in a tight spot. It's not certain what Hamos is running for now. Indeed, her own web site seems to avoid that issue. "Hamos for Illinois" has a tired ring to it, but "Illinois" is not an office, and I could not find anything that actually says she is running for re-election. "Hamos for Illinois" says nothing and commits her to nothing. So, what office is Julie Hamos running for? Her press release today, sent to us by email, was equally nonspecific. (See full text of the release further below.) The press release commends Lisa Madigan, the woman she hoped to replace, then goes on to say, "Over the past few months I have met with Democratic and community leaders and heard the concerns of voters across Illinois. In the coming days I plan to revisit those supporters and ask for their best ideas on how I can work for the people of Illinois. I look forward to hearing their ideas and input as I discuss my next steps with my family." In other words, Hamos is rudderless. She's shooting up flares in the middle of a dark sea, hoping for a passing ship to rescue her. The actions of Madigan and Hamos could actually cause ripples in Chicago's 49th Ward and, therefore, affect the outcome of the 2011 aldermanic campaign. On June 28, Evanston attorney Jeff Smith declared his candidacy for the 18th District seat. Smith, like most, was fairly confident that Hamos was about to bow out and seek the AG job. His battle, uphill from the start, might now steepen to a vertical climb. Smith is well known to the local Democrat power elite, but the average voter has never heard of him. He is best known in some parts of the 18th District as a former legal counsel to Chicago Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward). That ward lies adjacent to the southern border of the 18th District. If Smith can deftly play off of the unintentional admission by Hamos that she no longer wants the job of representing the 18th District, Smith could actually have a chance at winning. To make that play would not be difficult, but Smith faces a possible challenge from Joe Moore. As noted here on July 6, Alderman Moore has privately told a number of people that he is considering a run for the 18th Legislative District. Now that Hamos has all but bowed out of the AG race, however, Moore will likely lose interest. He would probably be held back by the local Democrat cabal and essentially ordered to not challenge their darling Julie. The local Democrats have lost a lot of faith in Moore since he barely won re-election in a tight 2007 runoff. He is alleged to have stolen the election, which he officially won by less than 300 votes after spending over a million dollars and viciously slandering Don Gordon, his runoff challenger. Moore pissed off the SEIU, a formerly staunch ally, over the Boys and Girls Club fiasco in Rogers Park in 2008. Last month, he lost still more respect by yelling "F--- You and your family!" to a high ranking IVI-IPO official in a roomful of high ranking Democrat leaders after being refused admission to a VIP reception for which he had not purchased a ticket. The local DFA has long been divided on its support for Moore. Like Hamos, Moore is now known as someone who doesn't want to remain in the office he currently holds. It doesn't help a candidate when voters know he or she really doesn't give a damn about the office they are running for anymore. It's like telling your boss that you'd rather be working for a different department or even another company. Even without the Madigan decision to run for re-election, Julie Hamos was not assured of her own re-election. That's probably why she was looking for another gig; she knows she's in trouble with her own constituents. One of those constituents is Anne Leary, who publishes Backyard Conservative and has been a harsh critic of Hamos for years. On June 26, Leary wrote the following: "So perennial tax-hiker heinous Hamos is posing as a reformer in a planned run for Illinois attorney general. But how can we forget how she and shifty Jeff Schoenberg, in cahoots with Tony Rezko and Gov. Blago, sneaked through legislation targeting her own district, holding hearings everywhere but here." Read the full post... Everywhere except her own 18th District, that is. That's the district she was so eager to get out of, and the one that she is still not sure she wants to represent. Here is the full text of the floundering, begging-for-help press release from Julie Hamos, June 8, 2009 (emphasis added): For Immediate Release Contact: Mike Fourcher, (847) 550-3777 Julie Hamos Commends Lisa Madigan's Decision Following the news of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's decision to run for reelection, State Representative Julie Hamos released this statement: "Lisa Madigan has been a strong Attorney General and an excellent leader for the state of Illinois. I was pleased to learn that she will continue to provide excellent leadership to our state in these difficult times. "Over the past few months I have met with Democratic and community leaders and heard the concerns of voters across Illinois. In the coming days I plan to revisit those supporters and ask for their best ideas on how I can work for the people of Illinois. I look forward to hearing their ideas and input as I discuss my next steps with my family." Since 1998, Julie has been the State Representative for the 18th District. As Chair of the House Mass Transit Committee, she led the 2008 rescue of the regional transit system with comprehensive funding and reform. Her legislative priorities reflect her commitment to all of Illinois, including new laws to make housing more affordable and available statewide; health care legislation to expand access to reproductive, mental health and long-term care services. In 1981 she joined the staff of then-State's Attorney Richard M. Daley, serving as legislative counsel and policy advisor where she authored Illinois' first legislation on domestic violence and sexual assault. Julie has received more than 20 "top legislator" awards from organizations and agencies and was named one of Crain's Chicago Business "25 Women to Watch" in 2007. She lives in Evanston with her husband, Alan Greiman. Additional information can be found at RELATED: Field lining up to succeed Hamos - Wilmette Life, July 8 Madigan fallout: Illinois pols survey new political landscape - The Civic Report, July 8 Julie Hamos for (watch this space) Change of Subject - Eric Zorn, July 3 Follow the Money - Backyard Conservative, May 2006 Leave a Comment... See Our Online Store Chicago News Bench RSS Feed We're on Twitter...