Democrats for Cook?
Republican congressional candidate Rodger Cook, former Belleville mayor, can expect a strong show of support from Democrats in the March 20 primary election. Cook, looking to succeed Jerry Costello in the 12th Congressional District, is one of four in a GOP field that also includes Teri Newman of Highland, Theresa Kormos of O'Fallon and Jason Plummer, also a recent O'Fallonite.
Democrat voters, on the other hand, don't have a serious choice in the primary. Former school administrator Brad Harriman is their guy – making it a cinch for Dems to pull an R ballot for Cook – the candidate they'd prefer over Plummer.
Plummer would clearly be harder to defeat in the general election. He'll have the support of the Republican National Committee – which has pledged close to $1 million for what it considers a top tier race -- combined with vast personal resources.
A Plummer victory would spell catastrophe for Democrats in southwest and southern Illinois. In St. Clair County, for instance, the Board, currently 21-8, Democrat to Republican, would shift to a Republican majority in '14 as more quality candidates step up due to a strong top of the ticket. Rep. Plummer's district would surely be favored by a Republican majority during his freshman term, making it more difficult for a Democrat challenger – say Brendan Kelly – to unseat him in '14.
While Cook might enjoy the temporary friendship from Democrats, he should expect things to dramatically change in a general election, as target of a fiercely negative campaign.
Speaking of Brendan Kelly... the proactive prosecutor, cloaked in a bullet proof vest, joined forces with local, state and federal officers in a raid at the Royal Inn Motel in East St. Louis last week as a Belleville man was arrested for his role in a non-fatal heroin overdose. Kelly's predecessor, now Circuit Judge Bob Haida, had only prosecuted fatal overdoses. Operation Royal Flush also netted 14 other arrests on various drug-related charges. Even if it was just optics, we like the aggressive pursuit of heroin-related crimes.
Tom Lakin is still awaiting two decisions from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Will he be transferred to a more secure facility now that he is required to register as a sex offender? He is currently housed at the low security FCI Fort Worth in Northern Texas. Secondly, will tax payers foot the bill for a left knee replacement? Prison administrators have yet to make those rulings. Lakin's projected parole date is Nov. 30, 2012.