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updated: 6/8/2012 12:04 PM

Palatine, Wheeling Twp. Democrats: Winning an uphill climb

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  • David Page

    David Page

  • Curt Renz

    Curt Renz

  • Matt Murphy

    Matt Murphy

  • Tom Morrison

    Tom Morrison

  • David Harris

    David Harris


Leaders in both the Palatine and Wheeling Township Democrats organizations acknowledge that slating candidates this fall against three seemingly popular Republican incumbents will be an uphill battle.

One official went so far as to say that the real mission is trying force Sen. Matt Murphy, Sen. David Harris and Rep. Tom Morrison to take more moderate positions.

"Is winning realistic?

Based on the numbers, no," Palatine Township Democratic Committeeman Sue Walton said. "But if there's no objection, (the incumbents) start getting pushed to extremism."

No Democrats ran in March's primary for the 27th Senate District, 53rd Senate District or 54th House District seats, nor did the trio of incumbents face challengers within the GOP.

Walton said it wasn't a hard sell to get active Democrats with strong convictions willing to throw their name into the race. On Monday, recently slated David Page, Curt Renz and Rich Rudd filed their candidacies with the Illinois State Board of Elections, with, they say, hundreds more signatures than required for placement on the November ballot.

Page, a financial planner and the Arlington Heights Elementary District 25 board president, is the only candidate to ever have held office. He's challenging Murphy, who was elected to the Senate in 2006.

Renz, a veteran who worked in real estate and investments, will challenge Harris, a freshman senator who served in the House for 10 years. Rudd, a carpenter, will face Morrison, a first-term representative who won 62 percent of the vote in the 2010 general election.

Rudd, who's volunteered for a few campaigns in the past, said he's just a hardworking blue-collar guy worried about the direction the state is headed.

"I feel that there's too much extremism with the Tea Party," Rudd said. "I thought it'd be better to have someone in there who could bring the conversation back to the middle."

Wheeling Township Democrats President Rob Nesvacil said that while he respects Murphy, Harris and Morrison, it can be an uphill climb to take on sitting legislators. Still, he said his organization believes voters deserve a choice, and that democracy doesn't work without it.

"Given that the incumbent conservatives seem to care more about getting media quotes, promoting invasive, anti-women legislation and pushing for failed European-style austerity, we know our candidates, with their business backgrounds and solid middle class work ethic, have a good chance at beating them in November," Nesvacil said.

Walton hardly considers the candidates sacrificial lambs, saying moderates and independents want elected officials who can tackle problems in a way that's best for everyone.

"Given the history of the districts, it's certainly a challenge," Walton said. "But with women's issues, labor issues and the fact it's a presidential year, it could be a new game. They'll have to start talking to voters in the middle if we put out positive candidates."

Morrison said he's always been up front about his staunchly conservative fiscal and social positions and won't waiver on them for the sake of votes.

"I have an open mind on issues, but I'm not one to stick my finger in the wind," Morrison said. "So far, the people of the district have given me their stamp of approval."

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