Our first poll was conducted days after it was revealed that Dennis Hastert made $2 Million from a $207 Million highway earmark. Hastert who normally finishes each election year with 70-75% would only receive 55% of the vote if the election were held today.
The Chicago Tribune and almost every paper in the district covered the story. One reporter from the Beacon News dug deeper into the land deals and ran a series called The Road to Riches for three straight days after initial reporting.
I am John Laesch, the Democratic candidate running for U.S. House against Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.
Prior to heading to Washington D.C. last week we conducted an internal poll to establish a benchmark for this campaign. The poll, conducted by Downtown Professionals Network (DPN), showed two things. First and most importantly is that Hastert's highway scandall had a huge impact. Secondly and probably of equal concern is that I have some serious work to do in the "name recognition department."
The second question in the poll read:
If this fall's congressional election were held today, would you vote for Democrat John Laesch or Republican Dennis Hastert?
A. Laesch 33%
B. Hastert 55%
C. Other 7%
D. None 5%
Interestingly, Bush received 55% of the vote in 2004 and while we did not ask what people thought of George Bush we did ask:
Which of the following statements comes closest to your feelings about the direction in which Congress is leading the country?
A. The country's direction is a disaster 22%
B. We could do better 67%
C. I am happy with the current state of our nation 11%
Most of the people watching this race know that this is an uphill battle and I think it is fair to say exactly where we are coming from. Below are the election results from 2002 and 2004.
2002 Laurence Quick 182,363 (74%) 47,165 (26%)
2004 Ruben Zamora 279,208 (69%) 87,590 (31%)
As we dig in for the final round of this race I am going to have to do two things.
1) Work harder to build name recognition.
2) Keep telling people the truth about Dennis Hastert's role as "ringleader of the culture of corruption." I know - Rove, Cheney and Bush probably rank a rung higher but I'm not running against those crooks.
We are going to have to keep hitting Hastert where it counts and here is one billboard put together by a local blogger that does exactly that. I will take any suggestions from the netroots for other billboard ideas or if anybody really wants to see one of these go up right along Rt. 34 or 47 then you can just contribute now.
Take care and forgive me for not sticking around all evening. I will read suggestions later.