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March 15, 2004

Barack Obama Poised to Win Illinois Dem. Senate Nomination

By Byron LaMasters

Kos posted some polls today. In three polls released today, Obama is leading by 30, 19 and 15 points. I posted on the race a few days ago, but I wanted to comment further. Poster Tim Z. compared Obama to the late Sen. Paul Simon. Others have compared him to a pragmatic version of Paul Wellstone. Sometimes I think that we focus too much on the magic number - 51 - to win a majority in the U.S. Senate and forget to elect true progressives and people that will make a difference for our party. Barack Obama is one of those people, and his nomination will be a huge step towards progressive leadership in the U.S. Senate.

I paid rather close attention to the 2002 primary for governor in Illinois. There was the candidate of the Black community (Burris), the candidate of the White liberals and suburbanites (Vallas) and there was the establishment / Chicago machine candidate who had the money to spend a lot of money introducing himself to downstate voters (Blagojevich). Blagojevich's coalition proved decisive. This time however, it looks as if the Black community and White liberals are united around one candidate (Obama), while the establishment is divided between two good candidates, multi-millionaire Blair Hull and State Comptroller Dan Hynes (for a normal year in a normal state), but in a highly polarized election year in a decidedly Democratic state, we have an opportunity to elect a true progressive leader.

Check out Obama's ad, here (video file). Obama has also won the endorsements of both Chicago papers:

Chicago Sun-Times:

Our endorsement goes to Obama, who seems best poised to overtake Hull. Obama's background and experience can trump Hull's money. Obama has a compelling personal story. He is a man who has struggled to understand the landscape in two worlds -- one white, one black. Born to a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya, reared in Hawaii and Indonesia, Obama could be the man for this time and for this place.

If nominated and elected, Obama would be the first African American male in the Senate since 1978, when Edward W. Brooke, a Republican from Massachusetts, left after two terms, and only the third African American ever elected to that office in modern times. The other being Illinois' Carol Moseley Braun, who served one term until defeated by the current incumbent, retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald.

We are endorsing Obama -- not as a gratuitous nod to his race -- but as a salute to his proven track record in the state Senate, where he is known as a hardworking and thoughtful legislator. We think his background can overcome Hull's wealth factor.

Chicago Tribune:

The Democrats have a few good people seeking the nomination for the U.S. Senate. They have one outstanding candidate: State Sen. Barack Obama, who is endorsed today by the Tribune.

Obama, 42, is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. He was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. He gained experience as a civil rights lawyer and community activist on housing and other matters before he was elected to the state Senate from a South Side district in 1996. He is now a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago Law School.

As pedigrees go, there is not a finer one among the Democratic candidates.

He quickly turned some heads when he joined the legislature and he is widely admired by Democrats and Republicans, including many who don't share his political views.


Obama, however, rises above this field as one of the strongest Democratic candidates Illinois has seen in some time. He richly deserves his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Exactly. Barack Obama richly deserves the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Illinois tomorrow. If you're a Democrat in Illinois, go out tomorrow (Tuesday) and cast your vote for John Kerry and Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at March 15, 2004 11:30 PM | TrackBack


I'm off to my duties as an election judge now
A reminder that polls in IL are open til 7 PM.


Posted by: Tim Z at March 16, 2004 04:37 AM
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