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August 2nd, 2022 Political Note #489 Eric Sorensen Illinois 17
2022 General Election
“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Lyrics by Bob Dylan adopted by the Weathermen.
Opponents of the Vietnam War and American imperialism. Supporters of Black Power. Allies of Timothy Leary, hero for his advocacy of psychedelics. Feminists of a sort, they changed their name from Weathermen to Weather Underground. Aspiring revolutionaries, they could have used someone to advise them about which way the wind blows. Bombings, bank robberies, and murders made them enemies of most Americans.
Eric Sorensen is a genuine weatherman, has been for more than 20 years. Not the Weather Underground kind. The Al Roker kind.
Eric Sorensen was born and grew up in Rockford, Illinois. He went to college 40 miles away in DeKalb at Northern Illinois University. He is living and working a little farther away from home now. He lives and works in Moline, 100 miles from Rockford. Moline is part of the Quad Cities (It probably should be called the Quint Cities because people have added East Moline to the group that includes Rock Island and Moline, Illinois; Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa.) The station is WQAD-TV.
Eric Sorensen’s first job was in Texas where he was fired. His boss hauled him into the office and pointed out the morals clause in his contract. No gays at that station. Eric Sorensen took on a new job in Texas, chasing tornados, among other things, He came home to a television station in northern Illinois.
Returning to Rockford was a blessing for Eric Sorensen. It was rural and conservative, but it was a place he could be himself. He was part of the community without compromising who he was. He created Project Tornado – school visits by meteorologists to talk to kids about tornados and other weather phenomena. He joined and served on boards devoted to the LGBTQ community. And he found a partner. In 2014, he moved to Moline and found a larger audience.
His Congresswoman lived in Moline. Cheri Bustos was first elected to Congress in 2012. Describing herself as a different kind of Democrat, she and Senator Dick Durbin were, at the time, rare Illinois Democrats in Congress from outside of Cook County. Bustos saw the Democratic party as a majority party representing small cities and rural areas as well as the big cities,
She got her chance to fulfill that vision after the 2018 Democratic wave election. Promising that she could help Democrats protect seats that Trump had carried in 2016, she was elected to replace Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico. Lujan had been the first DCCC chair to be elected by the Democratic Members of Congress rather than be appointed by he leadership. Rewarded for presiding over the wave, the Members elected him Assistant Democratic Leader.
Lujan didn’t stay long. He was elected to the Senate from New Mexico in 2020. Cheri Bustos didn’t stay long either. Democratic infighting got her. Her staff was not diverse. In July, 2019, confident from the 2018 win and devoted to the diversity of the Democratic Party, some Democratic Party Members forced the replacement of several senior DCCC staff.
In 2020, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives dropped from 232 to 222 despite the Presidential win. At home, Cheri Bustos defeated Esther Joy King by only 4 points. The Republican daughter of Christian missionaries along the Texas Mexico border and a graduate of Oral Roberts University, King avoided social issues and focused her campaign on reducing taxes and economic growth
King had been an associate in a big law firm for two years. She left the firm for the Illinois Department of Commerce. She stayed for three years, leaving when a Democrat was elected Governor of Illinois. In 2018, before her 2020 run for office, she joined the Army Reserves as a JAG officer. Immediately after Cheri Bustos announced she would not run for reelection in 2022, Esther Joy King announced she would run again for Congress.
Eric Sorensen earned the Democratic nomination for 2022 with 38% of the vote from among a field of six candidates. His closest competitor, Litesa Wallace, the state rep from Rockford, trailed him by 15 points. Eric Sorensen’s approach to the general election campaign is different from Esther King’s. Genuinely a part of the larger communities in the district, Rockford and the Molines, he approached issues and campaigning avoiding being divisive.
Eric Sorensen’s website outlines his five crucial issues and begins with the one issue that is most clearly his – climate change. He describes the climate crisis and emphasizes that it is not a partisan issue. King lists her 16 issues in alphabetical order on her website. Climate change is not one of them.
Do what you can do to help this weatherman. Without contextual considerations, 538 sees Illinois 17 as having a D+4 lean. At the end of July, the website sees Eric Sorensen tied or ahead by 2 points. Money makes a difference. On July 1, King had $1.8 million for her campaign. She had already spent $1.3 million. On July 1, Eric Sorensen had $115,000. He had spent $485,000 to win his primary. He needs the help. Give him some money so he can work with this district that has a Democratic lean and knows him. With resources, even if they are not as great as King’s resources, Eric Sorensen can win this election.
This is the last piece on the House of Representatives for a little bit.
The previous pieces have used 538’s Deluxe model for projecting winners. The Deluxe model considers polls, fundraising, past district voting patterns, and the forecasts of Experts. =
For this piece I used the Lite Model which is based only on polls. Using the Lite Model, after assuming (a big assumption) that Democrats will win all the races they are supposed to win, the Lite Model suggests Democrats need to win 23 more seats to get a majority. The Deluxe model suggests only 20.
The difference, though, is the Lite Model projects closer races. That is a danger to the Democrats, but also an opportunity. The closer the race, the easier it is to make up the ground. The Lite Model sees the closes races in a range of 5 or 6 points. The Deluxe Model sees a range of 7 or 8.
The 50 closest Lite Model races
Projections based on the Lite Model – polls only.
- ME 02 Inc Jared Golden projected to win by 6.3 points
- PA 12 Summer Lee projected to win by 6.0 points
- MN 02 Inc Angie Craig projected to win by 5.8 points
- CT 05 Inc Jahana Hayes projected to win by 5.6 points
- OR 04 Val Hoyle projected to win by 5.6 points
- VA 07 Inc Abigail Spanberger projected to win by 5.2 points
- NJ 05 Inc Josh Gottheimer projected to win by 4.7 points
- NC 01 Don Davis projected to win by 4.2 points
- MD 06 Inc David Trone projected to win by 3.7 points
- IA 03 Inc Cindy Axne projected to win by 3.6 points
- OH 09 Inc Marcy Kaptur projected to win by 3.5 points
- PA 08 Inc Matt Cartwright projected to win by 3.2 points
- PA 07 Inc Susan Wild projected to win by 3.0 points
- KS 03 Inc Sharice Davids projected to win by 2.7 points
- MI 07 Inc Elissa Slotkin projected to win by 2.7 points
- AZ 04 Inc Greg Stanton projected to win by 2.6 points
- IL 13 Nikki Budzinski projected to win by 2.4 points
- CA 13 Adam Gray projected to win by 2.0 points
- IL 17 Eric Sorensen projected to win by 2.0 points
- NV 01 Inc Dina Titus projected to win by 1.9 points
- NV 04 Inc Steven Horsford projected to win by 1.8 points
- VA 02 Inc Elaine Luria projected to win by 1.4 points
- AZ 02 Inc Tom O’Halleran projected to win by 1.4 points.
- OR 06 Andrea Salinas projected to win by 1.2 points
- NY 22 Francis Conole projected to lose by 1.1 points
- NC 14 Jeff Jackson projected to win by 1.0 points
- NV 03 Inc Susie Lee projected to win by .9 points
- NY 19 Josh Riley projected to win by .8 points
- CO 07 Brittany Petersen projected to lose by .2 points
- PA 17 Chris Deluzio projected to lose by .7 points
- TX 15 Michelle Vallejo projected to lose by .7. points
- NJ 03 Inc Tom Malinowski projected to lose by .8 points
- FL 23 Jared Moskowitz projected to lose by .8 points
- WI 03 Brad Pfaff projected to lose by 1.0 points
- RI 02 Seth Magaziner projected to lose by 1.2 points
- NY 18 Pat Ryan projected to lose by 1.2 points
- NC 13 Wiley Nickel projected to lose by 1.6 points
- OR 05 Jamie McLeod-Skinner projected to lose by 2.4 points
- MI 10 Carl Marlinga projected to lose by 2.5 points
- NY 04 Laura Gillen projected to lose by 2.6 points
- CA 27 Christy Smith projected to lose by 3.2 points
- CA 22 Rudy Salas projected to lose by 3.6 points
- OH 13 Emilia Sykes projected to lose by 3.6 points
- FL 02 Inc Al Lawson projected to lose by 3.8 points
- MI 03 Hillary Scholten projected to lose by 4.5 points
- OH 01 Greg Landsman projected to lose by 4.6 points
- NE 02 Tony Vargas projected to lose by 4.6 points
- NY 03 Josh Lafazan projected to lose by 4.6 points
- IA 02 Liz Mathis projected to lose by 5.2 points
- IA 01 Christina Bohannan projected to lose by 5.2 points