The second primary of the 2014 election season is set for tomorrow, Tuesday March 18th, and one of the most important federal races in the country this November is IL-13.
Illinois's 13th District is viewed as one of the most important swing districts in the nation. According to the Cook Political Report it's an Even district, so we're talking about one of the swingiest of the swing districts.
What's more, IL-13's current representative is Republican Rodney Davis, who was only recently elected in 2012. Since Representative Davis has only been in office for one year, his incumbency advantage is pretty weak. And, he only prevailed over Democrat David Gill in 2012 by 0.3% - not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Due to the elevated importance of this race in November, we have to weight general electability, fundraising, and campaign effects higher on the scale than ideological considerations in this Even district. That's why we fully support Ann Callis's campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Our algorithm expects a House Democrat in an Even district to vote progressive 68.1% of the time, and everything we've heard so far indicates that Ann Callis will clear this threshold, and will also have the tools to beat Rodney Davis in November.
Callis has a couple of challengers in the primary tomorrow -- but the only other real candidate is Professor George Gollin.
Mr. Gollin is in no way a bad candidate -- and is considered by some to be the more progressive candidate. But while we would support Gollin if he did become the nominee, it is unsettling that he's raised only about half of the money that Callis raised in the primary, and that he is trailing Rep. Davis 41-33 in the most recent polls, while Callis is trailing by a smaller margin of 40-35. Some of the stories we are hearing about his off-kilter campaign tactics also make us nervous. Why Gollin or his campaign team would think the best use of their candidate's time is flyering Callis volunteers' cars and putting Gollin yard signs outside of the Callis Campaign HQ is a mystery.
To beat a well-funded Republican incumbent in an Even district, you have to a run a near-perfect campaign. Davis will raise tons of money and run a real campaign - a campaign the Democratic absolutely must match with a well-funded professional operation of her own.
For all these reasons, Primary Colors is supporting Ann Callis. We believe she will represent progressive values well in this district, and will have the best opportunity to make IL-13 a Democratic pick-up this November.