Even though the 112th House District is ripe for a Republican challenge, Democratic incumbent Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) will likely coast to an eighth term on Nov. 2.
But for challenger Carol Kugler, an independent write-in candidate from Collinsville, the race is an uphill battle.
Kugler entered the race in August, disgusted that the Illinois General Assembly did not advance tort reform. In a record-setting overtime session, legislators wrangled with a budget crisis and other big issues but did not take meaningful action on more than 80 bills dealing with tort reform. Her husband, Morris Kugler, M.D., is an advocate for tort reform and an outspoken critic of trial lawyers.
"Neither party meets the criteria of what I believe a party should be about," Kugler said. "Democrats are in the hands of lawyers and Republicans are a single issue party."
Kugler denies that she is a single-issue tort reform candidate, a claim made by her opponent. Hoffman, who has not voted favorably on the issue, is an attorney for The Lakin Law Firm of Wood River, a major source of help for class action plaintiffs.
Kugler says she would advance education by equipping schools with adequate technology and resources to meet the demands of No Child Left Behind. She would also work toward creating a friendlier climate for businesses.
"I've met with business owners who are hesitant to make any moves because they're afraid of being sued," Kugler said. "A car dealership in the 112th District told me he's been sued 15 times."
Some telling factors in the 112th: in the 2002 General Election, 50 percent of voters favored the Republican candidate for Illinois Attorney General Joe Birkett; 54 percent of voters chose Republican Judy Baar Topinka for State Treasurer; a whopping 60 percent voted for Congressmen John Shimkus.