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Halloween came two days late this year.

One of the few Democratic gains in Illinois, one of a mere handful at any level in the country, was the 17th state-representative district. There Daniel Biss picked up an open seat previously held by a Republican.

I spent the day in his campaign office -- being not very helpful, I'm sorry to say. I wish I could say that this was a victory for our ideology. On the contrary, people seemed to vote for Daniel because they like him. He'd walked almost all the precincts in the district, many several times. And that's just this cycle -- he'd run two years ago, and he covered the district then.

I've heard campaign volunteers say that they didn't know anyone who'd met him who didn't like him. And volunteers outside the polling places report frequent comments like: "I'm supporting your guy, but no other Democrats."

Well, being extremely likable and extremely bright, an incredibly rare combination, might not be the easiest advice to follow. It was, however, the winning formula for this race.

Originally posted to Frank Palmer on Wed Nov 03, 2010 at 08:35 AM PDT.

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