Like other political junkies across the blogosphere I have been following the primary contest in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District. That seat is one which Democrats have a pretty fair shot at winning so it’s been the focus of a good deal of attention.
It’s an open seat and the primary contest has been the mirror of a contest that’s been boiling along inside the Democratic Party: Democrats who identify as progressive, ‘net-roots,’ activists versus Democrats who represent the established Democratic (read ‘inside the beltway’) Party.
In her last run for Congress Cegelis ran against the Republican incumbent, Henry Hyde, and although she lost (receiving 44 per cent of the vote) her performance in a traditionally Republican district turned winning the seat from a forlorn hope to a real possibility. Cegelis immediately started her 2006 campaign and won union support and an endorsement from the Democracy for America organization.
Cegelis’s performance coupled with the retirement, after 35 years, of Hyde attracted the attention of the DCCC’s Leader Emanuel Rahm, who came down on the contest like a duck on a June bug. Rahm introduced and supported Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee combat helicopter pilot, from Iraq. Duckworth is, by all accounts, a very imprssive campaigner and candidate.
Now how are we to read this primary? Is it a loss for the ‘net roots’ faction and the DFA and a win for the DCCC and the beltway? Are there national implications or is the contest simply indicative of the mood inside Illinois CD 6?