Sunday, August 14, 2005

Thinning the herd

The subject of what, if anything, I am running for next is one that comes up often. Not surprisingly perhaps, comments that I have heard or read run the spectrum from very encouraging to derisive. What is interesting is this, whenever a legislator works hard or takes on issues that don't just fall in their laps, people assume that they are simply doing it to try to make a move. I think that there are a number of legislators that are actually motivated by the simple desire to try to do some good things and not simply the thought of advancing to a higher office.

I look at the General Assembly as analogous to camping. Try to leave the place in better shape than you found it.

To be candid, at the urging of a number of people, I have taken a look at the State Treasurer race for 06. I think that it is a very winnable race should JBT not seek re-election, and one in which a person could take on some very substantive issues, but for the reasons stated below, I will not be a candidate in that election.

Through the quirks of geography, I am the State Rep for the Governor, Attorney General and Comptroller. Furthermore, if the wind is blowing out, I could probably hit Quinn's house and Jesse's house with a baseball from my district border. Ok, I couldn't, but maybe Osterman could, but you get the idea.

That being said, I just don't think that it is wise or a positive for the party to have another candidate from the same area. Too much campaign time would be spent dealing with a non-substantive issue rather than the issues that are important to that office. And there are many.

Many voters in this state would like to consider themselves somewhat independent. Given that the Democrats hold all but one of the constitutional offices, the Treasurer's race is an easy place for Democratic voters to show that independence by crossing over. To combat this, we need to have a candidate in that race that can distinguish themselves and bring something unique to the table. A good starting place would be some geographical diversity.

I won't get into who I think will run, but I think that we would be remiss not to field a strong candidate for what is a very winnable race. That is to say, don't just throw somebody from downstate on the ticket to say that we have balance, but support a qualified candidate who can articulate the issues and strengthen the overall party. (I'll talk more about this concept another time.)

As for myself, I have no idea what I am going to do at this stage. Every day brings somewhat different thoughts. I do know that I believe in the process and enjoy being a part of trying to make good things happen. What my future holds, if anything, I honestly don't know.


At August 14, 2005 at 9:09 PM, Blogger Amy Allen said...

Well, sir, we know that your future will be ripe with political potential.

At August 14, 2005 at 9:44 PM, Anonymous Southern Illinois Democrat said...

So often I hear in Democrat circles that if JBT does not run the Treasurer's post is winnable.

I believe that the Treasurer's post is winnable if JBT runs. It would be a tough race, but winnable.

If a consevitive Southern Illinois Democrat runs who would take a stand on issues that are totaly opposite of JBT many many Republicans in Southern Illinois and throughout our state would cross over and vote for that Democrat.

A consevitive Democrat could win who is pro-life, pro-gun rights, opposes gay marriage, pledges to work to hold the line on tax increases while supporting the values of Democrats throughout our great state, such as, health care for the working poor, increased spending on education, cheaper drugs for our senior citizens and a higher minimum wage for working men and women.

At August 14, 2005 at 10:09 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

I didn't mean to imply that it is not winnable if she stays in. It was just simply my expectation that she is going to run for Governor.

For whatever it's worth though, let me ask you this (and not rhetorically either), whose the last Democrat fitting your stereotype that has won at the statewide level? And why do you think that is?

The reason I'm asking is because it gets to the core issue of what a 'Democratic' candidate is, or should be, in Illinois. A good topic for the near future.

At August 14, 2005 at 11:12 PM, Anonymous Southern Illinois Democrat said...

Dixon for U.S. Senate was the last conservative Democrat to win state wide office.

Glenn Poshard came very close and most people will tell you should have won.

I belive that an office such as Treasurer would be more winnable by a conservative Democrat state wide because it is not as high profile as Governor, Attorney General, or U.S Senate.

Republicans would be more likely to cross over and vote for a Conservative Democrat on social issues in a Treasurer's race.

The bottom line for me and, I hope for all Democrats in Illinois, is who ever our candidate is for Treasurer they will get our support and vote.

At August 15, 2005 at 8:36 AM, Blogger Dan Johnson-Weinberger said...

I think you're right that people like to cross-over, and the Treasurer's race is the most likely cross-over race for independent-minded voters to move over and support at least one Republican, assuming that every other constitutional officer runs for re-election. I thought Mike Boland would make a good candidate, but I understand that he has decided to run for re-election instead.

At August 15, 2005 at 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fritchey for Governor!!

At August 15, 2005 at 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos on the blog, John. I Like ya, but I'm not going to heap praise on your decision or anything, although to paraphrase one of your constiuents, I will say it takes some cajones to do what you're doing. Unlike some others, I will say this -- while I agree that you can have a tendency to speak your mind and that could negatively impact you if it were to happen here, you are smart and fairly savvy politically speaking, so I think you'll do ok. However, I must say that the most impressive thing I've seen on this blog so far is that Matt Duco was up and posting before noon on a Sunday!!!! (See the last comment on the first post). Our little boy is growing up...too bad he's still a Sox fan. But hey, at least he's starting law school so give him a shout out.

At August 15, 2005 at 10:21 AM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

Not looking for praise, probably looking for an outlet more than anything else. Figure that this will let me speak my mind, so I can quit boring my friends and family with my thoughts.

And quit picking on my man Duco. Although it was good to see him surface. The Sox thing, well we'll just have to let that go as a mistake of youth. He'll outgrow it soon enough and join us in becoming a fan of teams that never win anything.

At August 15, 2005 at 2:39 PM, Blogger :::::HST said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At August 15, 2005 at 9:35 PM, Blogger respectful said...

What downstate Dem should run for Treasurer if JBT runs for gov? How about Rep. Mike Boland?

At August 15, 2005 at 9:44 PM, Blogger Rep. John Fritchey said...

My understanding is that Mike has decided to run for re-election. In the legislature, I think that Sen. Clayborne is somebody that should be considered.

At August 16, 2005 at 1:52 AM, Blogger The Houston Curmudgeon said...

Well, you've done the family proud. It is very refreshing to see a politico bare their soul without having to be 'DeLayed' by the press. You have rightfully inherited the ability to speak your mind and bear the consequences. And, fear not, a bloody nose, should it happen, is repairable.
As you are aware, I am no longer a resident of the great State of Illinois. However, I muse with how much state's issues are similar from one state to another. Med-Mal is not unique to Illinois and, in fact, is an issue under the rug of every Texas legislative member. If they - the Texas legs - would quit vacationing in Oklahoma and choose to do their jobs, maybe the issue will get some attention.
I agree that the new law in Illinois will probably be overturned by the courts but probably not for the best of reasons. After all, the courts are run by lawyers and lawyers are the biggest losers in any tort reform. It'll be hard for them to close down a major source of revenue. (That's not a criticism of your chosen profession, just an observation that I share with the masses.)
As to your future endeavors, you GO son. From reading the input of others, it would seem that you may have some grass-root support for the big chair. Give it some thought.
Love, Dad
P.S. Astros 12, Cubs 4? Well, I'll not rub that one in. :)

At August 16, 2005 at 9:38 AM, Anonymous goodbye Napoleon said...

Would you run for Treasurer if Jeff Schoenberg decides to run also?

What is your position on merging it with the comptroller's office?

Hot sauce or mild?

At August 16, 2005 at 9:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with anonymous #1 who said you should run for governor- I have been a Democrat all mo life, and I am voting for whoever is not Rod. ANd, I am not the only one.

At August 16, 2005 at 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stay where you are, John. You're a tremendous asset to the General Assembly and to Illinois. I think you show that in the many ways you strive for diversity and equality in representation. We're lucky to have you and I, for one, would like you to stay.

At August 16, 2005 at 2:09 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

If you read above, you'll get my view on the Treasurer's race. My decision has nothing to do with who is in or out of the race, but rather that there is a geographic issue that cannot and should not be ignored.

As far as merging the two offices, I think that it is something that would appear to create for greater efficiencies and potential cost savings, and if that is in fact the case, I would support it.

At August 17, 2005 at 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are right on target; the Democrats nominate another Cook County candidate for statewide office at their own peril. I live in Rock Island County, and can tell you that we desperately need a downstate candidate!

Are we a truly STATEWIDE Democratic Party? If so, then the Chicago Dems had better pay better attention to the loyal Dems in the other 101 counties and more specifically the 96 downstate counties.

I certainly appreciate your concern about providing some regional balance on this issue.


Porter McNeil

At August 17, 2005 at 10:20 PM, Blogger Hon. John Fritchey said...

Thanks Porter, nice to have you weighing in here.

At August 18, 2005 at 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Porter McNeil for Treausrer!!


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