August 03, 2004

IL GOP wooing Alan keyes to take on Barack Obama

According to this morning's Chicago Sun-Times, Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama may have a real race on his hands after all.

The Illinois Republican party is reportedly speaking with former Presidential candidate and noted black conservative Alan Keyes about a run for the open seat.

''It would be a classic race of conservative vs. liberal,'' said state Sen. Dave Syverson, a member of the panel looking for a candidate to go up against Obama. ''It would put this race on the map in this country -- just for excitement.'

''(H)e certainly has an interest, and he said if the group is interested in meeting with him and speaking with him about his views that he would be happy to come out and meet [later]," said Syverson, a Rockford member of the committee.

''He said that he was open to the idea. And he felt that Obama didn't really represent the views of the people of Illinois. So I think he was really just in the exploration stage."

Keyes is presently a Maryland resident, but the US Constitution only requires a change of residence by Election Day.

It would make for an interesting race, indeed, but as one who was upset with the carpetbagging move of Hillary Rodham Clinton in New York, I have to say that I'm not comfortable with the notion of Keyes pulling the same stunt.

Posted by mhking at August 3, 2004 02:44 PM

It won't fly. The fact he's from Maryland will work against him, the perception he was recruited precisely because he's black will work against him, and the fact he really doesn't know how to campaign will work against him.

Keyes is a great conservative and a cult favorite -- but he's just not candidate material. I would hope he could resist the ego temptation this presents.

Posted by: McGehee at August 3, 2004 03:25 PM

I hope this works out and the IL Republicans support Dr. Keys as the Republican nominee. I can see a few problems. Dr. Keys isn't a registered Republican atthe moment is he? But if his candidacy is a big problem for Democrats. Dr. Keys is a recognised name with experience. He can beat just about anyone in a debate. As a Senate candidate he is first class. Republicans could not have a better representative and consistent vote for conservative values in the Senate. But he can also take on liberals in IL and win I believe.

Democrats have been taking Obama to raise money, all over the country. He was in Mississippi this weekend, presumably raising money for the DNC. A real race would change that game plan.

A Keys candidacy could have some coat tails for the President and might really put IL in play. It would force Kerry to go there more, spend more money there, and that would force him to show himself more, a risky proposition for Kerry.

Posted by: Vanyogan at August 3, 2004 03:32 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Elizabeth Dole did the same thing in North Carolina when she was elected to fill Jesse Helms seat in 2002. I pulled the lever for her, but only because Erskine Bowles was far worse than her.

Posted by: David Beatty at August 3, 2004 03:47 PM

If Dr. Keyes is going to run here... I will vote for him. He's going to have a hell of a lot of work to do here very quickly, though.

I was set to go "no vote" on this race.

Posted by: Deb at August 3, 2004 03:49 PM

Not just Liddy Dole in NC, but Hillary in NY.... did RFK live in NY for very long before he ran for the Senate?

Posted by: Jeff at August 3, 2004 03:53 PM

Keyes is the best of a bad situation. The only way a Republican is going to have a shot is if there's someone with some star power who can get people who've written this race off back into it.

As a transplanted Illinoisan (who took it as a slap in the face when Hillary chose New York over the state she grew up in), I'm equally wary of an outsider coming in and purporting to represent residents with concerns he has no familiarity with. (Farm and transportation issues are big deals in downstate IL, especially)

But the truth is, at the moment, Illinois conservatives have no voice at all in the Senate race. Keyes won't speak for them as well as Jim Edgar or Ray LaHood or Steve Rauschenberger, but he'll give them a chance to be heard, at least.

Posted by: Gib at August 3, 2004 03:58 PM

I'm with Gib. Keyes would definately have to show Illinoisans that he's familiar with their concerns.

I'm in Connecticut but I've always felt like somewhat of a "frustrated" New Yorker. When Hillary announced that she would run for the Senate from New York there were a lot of folks who complained that she couldn't possibly understand what concerned New Yorkers -- especially upstaters.

When she announced that she would go on a "listening tour", I was impressed -- until she said that it was to learn of what New Yorkers felt "about health care and education".
Crikey! She only wanted to learn about New Yorkers' concerns about the things that she was concerned about (not farm and transportation issues)!

Then again, she won.

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 3, 2004 06:03 PM

As an Illinoisan, I believe this is a bad strategic move for the GOP for several reasons:

(1) Alan Keyes ain't from Illinois.

(2) He's too conservative for this seat, as Illinois rarely picks conservative Senators. Retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald is conservative, but has a strong independent streak (he regularly battled with GOP leadership).

(3) He only has 3 months to raise funds, increase his name recognition in Illinois, etc. Of course, that's the fault of the Illinois GOP for waiting six weeks after Jack Ryan dropped out of the race.

(4) past controversy over using campaign funds to pay off his personal bills

(5) When he ran for the presidency, he only got about 4% of the Illinois vote

The best chance for the Republicans to retain this seat and keep their U.S. Senate is to put up Andrea Barthwell, a moderate black Republican (and Bush assistant drug czar). Lack of star power works against her. However, she's the only one among the 11 candidates for the replacement position who can make inroads into key parts of Barack Obama's core support: the black vote, the soccer mom vote.

Posted by: molotov at August 3, 2004 06:50 PM

The selection process is now down to two folks: Alan Keyes and Andrea Barthwell. The selection committee will make its final decision tomorrow. Either way, Illinois will send a black Senator to D.C. This will be a historic race, and should be an interesting one. Whoever the GOP nominee will be will get some good national attention out of it, and probably donations as well.

Posted by: molotov at August 3, 2004 08:46 PM

Keyes is ethically challenged, as proven by his Maryland races for office.

Posted by: DarkStar at August 3, 2004 09:15 PM

Another reason why the GOP must pick Andrea Barthwell: Barack Obama alone got more votes in the Democratic primary than all the Republican primary candidates combined. That must be on the Illinois GOP's mind.

The only way the GOP has a chance (and it'll still be an uphill battle) to take Obama down is someone who can siphon off votes and money from Obama's Chicagoland multi-culti coalition. A moderate Republican can do so (as shown by other GOP statewide politicians), a conservative one cannot this year.

**IF** the Republicans put down money to keep the seat and advertise on black urban radio, Barthwell can get at least 20% of the black vote. The more conservative candidate (Barthwell, over Obama) will get the downstate vote. With her pro-choice position and (let's face it) being female, Barthwell has a good shot with many suburban female voters.

Posted by: molotov at August 3, 2004 10:16 PM

No, no, no. I greatly admire Dr. Keyes and never miss a BAMPAC dinner but at this point in his life running against Obama would not be a good thing. Obama has the race tied up. Keyes would just be a sacrificial lamb and he's too good and has done too much for the party to be treated like that. Dig up a Jack Ryan clone instead.

Posted by: kimberley at August 3, 2004 10:19 PM

Sounds to me like you folks from Illinois have a better handle on this than I. If I was from IL, I would not like an imported candidate. Let's face it, a senator has to smooze and bring home the bucks to their constituents. I don't like it, but that's the way it works.

Posted by: Vanyogan at August 3, 2004 11:51 PM

Frankly, I didn't know the party had someone else on the line. I will vote Republican if one is present. President Bush is going to need these people in the coming 4 years to carry out the tax reform.

Posted by: Deb at August 4, 2004 01:00 AM

How's it going, King Michael? I blogged about the potential Obama-Keyes race, too. Whatever happens it looks like a black whatever will be sitting in the Senate once again.

Posted by: La Shawn at August 4, 2004 04:09 PM

According to a link on Drudge that doesn't seem to be working, it's going to be Keyes.

I still don't think he'll win, but I wish him luck and I hope he proves me wrong.

Posted by: McGehee at August 4, 2004 10:01 PM

Yep, it's probably a mistake. But let's cross our fingers now...

Posted by: Tuning Spork at August 4, 2004 11:54 PM

I am glad to see that DR. Keyes is considering running for the open Senate seat in IL.
He is more than qualified and will bring issues related to the State as well as the nation to the forefront.Our country needs a man of honest integrity in the Senate.
The carpetbag issue died in the 60's when RFK stopped by NEW YORK for a cup of coffee and unseated a great Senator Ken B. Keating. Then there is the former first lady enough said about carpetbagers.
Mrs. Dole was born in the state I would not put her in the same catagory as the RFK and Clinton.

Posted by: Donald lIVINGSTON at August 7, 2004 04:15 PM

Go Alan Go! Keyes for Senate.

Posted by: Dr. Dennis Purificacion at August 14, 2004 05:01 AM

Here's his website:

Posted by: Dr. Dennis Purificacion at August 14, 2004 05:02 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?