Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.   

NORTHEAST: Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07 , Political Note #394 Susan Wild PA 07, Political Note #397 Eugene DePasquale PA 10

SOUTHEAST: Political Note #385 Carolyn Bordeaux, Political Note #388 Elaine Luria VA 02

MIDWEST: Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #398 David Palmer, IL 13, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02, Political Note #393 Allison Russo OH 15

SOUTHWEST: Political Note #389 Tom O’Halleran AZ 01, Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonzalez TX 15

WEST: Political Note #383 Harley Rouda CA 48, Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04.

 SPECIAL ELECTIONS:  Political Note #364 Jana Lynne Sanchez TX 06, Political Note #382 Melanie Stansbury NM 01, Political Note #393 Allison Russo OH 15

July 16, 2021           Political Note #398 David Palmer IL 13

2022                          General Election

The Democrats high point in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District was 2018.  Betsy Dirksen Londrigan came within less than a point of the Republican incumbent Rodney Davis.  She didn’t do as well in 2020 and is not running again.

This is a tantalizing district for Democrats.  The district runs diagonally southwest from Bloomington, then juts sharply west.  The northeast corner is University of Illinois territory.  Just before the district juts west, it reaches to include Springfield, the state capital.  At its southernmost part, there is a little extension reaching toward St. Louis, MO.

If a Democrat who had Dirksens in the family (Everett Dirksen was a long-time Illinois Republican Senator and Minority Leader) could not bring it home for the Democrats, how about an African-American former basketball player?

Originally from Antioch, Tennessee, David Palmer played in high school then prepped at Oak Hill – a co-ed, private, Baptist-affiliated school that specializes in prepping basketball players. That kind of prep may not be in the best interest of a basketball player not destined to be a star.  He played as a freshman at Seton Hall, then transferred to the University of Iowa.  At Iowa, he was redshirted in 2006-2007, played in 14 games in 2007-2008, played in 19 games, starting in five of them his senior year – 2008-2009.  His career high was 21 points and seven rebounds in a win over Wisconsin.  He played three years of professional basketball – one year in Poland, two years in California in the C-League.  David Palmer’s candidacy is not fueled by his celebrity as a basketball player.

David Palmer lives in Central Illinois.  That’s where his wife is.  She was a graduate of Murray State in Kentucky, a school that is a lot closer to Nashville, TN than it is to Louisville, KY.  A produce account manager in Chicago, she moved south to manage the Central Illinois Bakehouse, a wholesale artisan bakery (if a wholesale artisan bakery is not a contradiction in terms) near the University of Illinois.  She became the Director of Marketing and Internal Sales for Central Illinois Produce of which the Bakehouse was one of its components.

Out of basketball, David Palmer worked with teens for a year, then became a financial representative for Northwestern Mutual.  He’s been an internal wholesaler and financial advisor and retirement planner for Country Financial for three years.

As I write about David Palmer, I think about how he resembles and differs from Congressman Antonio Delgado of NY 19.  Both are African-Americans married to white women.  Antonio Delgado represents a district in Upstate New York.  David Palmer would like to represent a district in Downstate Illinois.  Antonio Delgado grew up in Schenectady, NY, a town with a population of 66,000 not far from Albany, the capital of New York.  David Palmer grew up in Antioch, TN a town with a population of 86,000 not far from Nashville, TN.

Antonio Delgado went to a local Catholic High School where he was an outstanding basketball player.  He went to a nearby, private university – Colgate, excelled in basketball and in his studies.  He earned a Rhodes scholarship, went to Harvard Law School, experimented with creating records that would attract teenagers, returned to private practice, and ran for Congress against a Republican incumbent in upstate New York where his wife was from and where they were living.

David Palmer went to a local public high school, where he excelled in basketball.  He finished at the Oak Hill School, a Baptist-associated school that, as I said above, specializes in preparing basketball players for Division 1 college basketball.  Initially, David Palmer committed orally to play at the University of Illinois.  Instead, he went to Seton Hall.  Dissatisfied, he transferred to the University of Iowa where he was a solid bench player.  After three years in lower-level professional basketball, he retired to central Illinois where his wife was living and working, worked with teen agers for a year, then moved on to work in financial planning.

Antonio Delgado found a way into what people think of as America’s elite. Not David Palmer. He and his wife are working hard at middle management jobs. If you were told about a couple one of whom was in charge of marketing and internal sales for a wholesale produce company and the other was an internal marketer and advisor about financial instruments for local investors, you would guess they were Republicans.  You might guess differently if you knew one of them was Black. They are people who understand what it means to be African-American in middle America.  David Palmer was a young man who staked his future on success in sports, a route that can offer spectacular success but does not guarantee that success.

As Antonio Delgado did four years ago, David Palmer is targeting an incumbent Republican, a relative moderate in a party that has very few moderates remaining.  David Palmer advocates for investment in green infrastructure – windmills, solar panels that would work in central Illinois.  He argues that making healthcare accessible for all is both a moral and a financial issue.  He suggests that he has a solid understanding of what the people of central Illinois need.  He confronts those needs day in and day out as he helps people plan to pay for their children’s college education and for their retirement.  He knows just how hard that task is for ordinary people because, it turns out, he is one of the ordinary people himself.    He sees his work and the work he would do as a Member of Congress as a service to what is now his community.

Illinois 13 has been on the verge of electing a Democrat.  Twice the incumbent Republican Rodney Davis has come within just over a thousand votes of defeat – when he first ran in 2012 and in 2018.  Even a mild blue wave would make Davis vulnerable.  A slight redistricting shift would make him vulnerable.  Just being a Republican Member of Congress who leans slightly toward the center could make him vulnerable.

Rodney Davis has voted to end the travel ban to Cuba, to continue to allow undocumented immigrants brought to this country as children to join the military, and voted to certify the election of Joe Biden.  On the other hand, he voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, against the impeachment of Donald Trump twice, and avoided taking a position on gun safety after the Florida High School shooting by complaining that the shooter hadn’t been charged with a felony when he had brought a gun to school once before.  His preference for solutions that are not straightforward was demonstrated by a bill he introduced to Congress in 2013.  Employers could exclude veterans receiving health insurance from the Department of Defense from the list of their employees for health insurance purposes.  The effect of the bill would be to allow a few employers to drop their total number of full-time employees to less than 50 so they would not be required to purchase health insurance for the rest of their employees.  Some innovation.

We don’t know what redistricting will bring.  With sufficient resources, David Palmer could put Democrats over the top in this election.  Help him out.  Help the Democrats gain a seat and retain control of the House of Representatives.

So far, we haven’t looked at many Democrats challenging for Republican seats.  I will urge you to donate money to a Democratic challenger before the primaries when a competitive Democratic primary seems unlikely. 

 Candidates to flip Republican Seats

California 48             Harley Rouda

Illinois 13                  David Palmer

Ohio 15                     Allison Russo (Special election November, 2021.)

Pennsylvania 10     Eugene DePasquale

Below are vulnerable incumbent Democratic Members of Congress.  If you want to play some defense and you should, choose a few of them to support.  If you want to learn about them, look at my Notes about them in the website. 

 Members of Congress who won with less than 52% of the vote

 Georgia 07   Carolyn Bordeaux  Received 51.39% of the vote in 2020

Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Mexico 01 Tom O’Halloran  Received 51.61% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Oregon 04    Peter DeFazio  Received 51.26% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Virginia 02 Elaine Luria Received 51.6% of the vote in 2020

Washington 08 Kim Schrier Received 51.79% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

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