With more than $2 million in Rep. Jerry Costello's enviable campaign coffers, the retiring congressman has a number of spending and saving options. He could give it to charity or to the Democratic National Committee. He could give $2,000 to Democrat candidate Brad Harriman, former St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools who was slated to run for Costello's seat. He could also give it to a political action committee or convert Costello for Congress into a new machine. He could also reserve the funds in case he was called to serve again.
Even if Harriman survives the primary – he has opposition at least from Chris Miller of Carbondale, the only Democrat who has so far filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission -- and out spends and out campaigns likely GOP nominee Jason Plummer, don't count on a lot of support from the Costello camp. (Dr. Georgia Costello, the congressman's wife, is a former regional superintendent and current Southwest Illinois Community College president).
Dicta hears that Harriman would be keeping the seat warm for the up and coming Brendan Kelly, St. Clair County State's Attorney, and the new face of the county Democratic apparatus.
In a span of three years, Kelly has risen from assistant state's attorney to Circuit Clerk to State's Attorney.
Friends of the Chief
It helps to have friends in high places. In Madison County, there are rumblings over Associate Judge Kyle Napp's quick claim on retiring Circuit Judge Charles Romani's seat. Shortly after Romani announced last month that he would not seek another six-year term next year, Napp, who in 2007 was appointed to fill Judge Lewis Mallot's seat, announced her interest in moving up. Napp is a close ally of Judge Ann Callis, who after two successive reins as chief judge, remains the most powerful figure in the courthouse.
Note that when Circuit Judge Daniel Stack announced he would not seek another term in 2010, the chief judge helped ensure that another ally, State's Attorney Bill Mudge, would succeed Stack.