Editorials

Can Democrats knock enough rust off machine to get two to Congress?

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis and U.S. Rep. Mike Bost. The two Republicans who represent portions of the metro-east will be targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis and U.S. Rep. Mike Bost. The two Republicans who represent portions of the metro-east will be targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Provided

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sees reason to hope they can unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Bost and U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis in 2018.

Maybe, but neither Republican should be quivering or updating their resumes just yet. The Democrats seem to have allowed cobwebs and rust to infiltrate the machine that Alan Dixon, Mel Price and Jerry Costello built, with the wacky controls veering too young or too liberal for southern Illinois sensibilities.

The DCCC is in the recruitment process. With the right candidates to face Bost and Davis, they would bring the cash to make serious challenges.

Note that they aren’t even talking about U.S. Rep. John Shimkus.

But that machine that produced the three aforementioned fiscally conservative, socially moderate Democrats no longer seems to function well, and seems out of touch with the grassroots movement touted by the DCCC. They tried a military man who was disconnected and inaccessible, they tried to run a nice kid with no experience and a former county board member who was mainly at home for two years.

Their recent picks have failed to show much savvy at running campaigns, much less at getting something done in the polarized snake pit within the Beltway.

If Democrats do find the right candidates that match local sensibilities, they tend to look too much like the Republicans they are trying to unseat. That means the newbies need to be exceptional or that the Republican incumbents need to mess up big time.

Which is why the Cook Report cited by the DCCC ranks the Bost and Davis races as “likely Republican,” meaning “not considered competitive at this point, but have the potential to become engaged.”

That is, if the Democrats can figure out where to find a Dixon or Costello who engages us.

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