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IL-06 looks set to host a bitter primary between grassroots star Christine Cegelis and decorated Iraq War vet Tammy Duckworth. I've expressed my admiration for Duckworth before, and I've been a fan of Cegelis since her first run in 2004. So I've got no dog in this race. Like the Ohio Senate Democratic primary, I feel that Democrats win regardless of who emerges from the primary.

But, this is a classic insider-outsider race. The DCCC has been undermining Cegelis for months, making sure donors knew that they were working hard to find someone to replace/take on Cegelis. The D-trip claimed Rahm's efforts stemmed from Cegelis' poor fundraising, but of course Rahm was working to sabotage her fundraising. It's the same dynamic we're seeing in Florida as the GOP works to sabotage Katherine Harris' fundraising, then using her poor results as an excuse to try and find an alternative.

Local Democrats, pissed off at the DCCC meddling, are working to block Duckworth from appearing at official party events in the district. I met Rick Klau while working the Dean campaign, he worked Obama's 2004 netroots efforts, and now runs the Naperville, IL Democratic Party. His grassroots/netroots bonafides are impeccable. Yet he was disturbed at local party efforts to saborage Duckworth:

I received an e-mail last night that copied me in on a letter written to Duckworth (and Emanuel). Written by a fellow local party chair and speaking on behalf of the entire township party, the letter starts out by saying Duckworth's campaign is "emphatically unwelcome" and calling Duckworth a "carpet bagger" (she doesn't live in the 6th District -- a curious complaint, as I don't remember many Democrats worried about the fact that Melissa Bean doesn't live in her district). The letter goes on to express a lack of support for her campaign, and while she is welcome to attend this group's upcoming meeting, "please be aware though that Duckworth's campaign workers will not be allowed to speak nor will they be allowed to appear in her behalf." [...]

I was asked to join this party chair in barring Duckworth from running for Congress, something I absolutely refused to do. Here's the text of the letter I sent in response to that request:

I appreciate [his] position, and though I've supported Christine's campaigns (2004 and 2006), I do not see the basis for challenging Tammy's right to run. It's not my position to do so, and I'm strongly in favor of quality candidates who want to serve the party and their constituents. Do I know whether Tammy's the right candidate? No. But I think it's her job to make that case, not someone else's job to shut down that avenue for her. As for the residency requirement, that's a non-issue. We didn't complain when Melissa Bean lived outside of her district, and there is no residency requirement written anywhere that says you must live in the district you run in.

So a little ugly, but that's politics. Tensions are bound to run high an all sides, especially when the DCCC does its "heavy hand" routine. But like Klau writes, it's a democratic process. The voters of the district will ultimately decide who they support.

But then Klau caught someone at the D-trip running astro-turf on his site on Duckworth's behalf:

And then there was this comment left earlier today by "Lisa", who says she lives in Melissa Bean's district and lays out why she thinks Duckworth is the right candidate. Interestingly, the IP address associated with Lisa's computer is owned by the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

The DCCC is in the same building as the DNC. Perhaps a rogue staffer, but still, not the sort of thing the DCCC needs as tensions run high. This whole situation has clearly been mishandled.

Update: Matt Stoller has more.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 12:25 PM PST.

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