In his attempt to become one of the top three Republicans in the U.S. House, Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton worked to bolster his conservative credentials among his colleagues by speaking of his suburban predecessor in Congress, the late Henry Hyde.
After Roskam lost the race Thursday, one of his supporters, Rep. Randy Hultgren of Winfield, said Hyde never reached the leadership ranks and still had a legacy worthy of praise.
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Roskam "will continue to be a leader here," Hultgren said.
Roskam's immediate role will be different, though.
Roskam, who now serves as the chief deputy whip, lost the bid to be majority whip to Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana after a whirlwind campaign for the job that started when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost a primary election last week.
Roskam could be out of the leadership picture for now as Scalise gets to pick his right-hand lawmaker and could be expected to reward an ally who helped him rise.
"Eric's loss was a shock to all of us, and as we move forward we must do so united in the fight against the policies that are holding our economy and our people back," Roskam said in a statement. "I wholeheartedly congratulate Steve on his election. He ran a great race and I look forward to working together to achieve conservative policy wins that improve the lives of the American people."
In losing the bid, Roskam might have had trouble overcoming conservatives' desire for a Republican from a red state in the leadership post instead of the recently reliably blue Illinois. Roskam tried to address it by promising to appoint a red state deputy if elected, but that ultimately didn't work.
"Yes, I am from Illinois, the birthplace of Reagan and the Land of Lincoln and I'm a passionate, committed conservative from a red district," Roskam wrote to his colleagues last week. "By definition, the whip job is collaborative, and has to draw on relationships that transcend boundaries and groups."
Roskam had the support of Hultgren but couldn't keep the whole Illinois delegation. Rep. Aaron Schock of Peoria worked hard on Scalise's behalf.
"I'm disappointed," Hultgren said, while also praising Scalise.
"Certainly, I'm glad to work with him," Hultgren said. "He'll do a great job."
Rep. Rodney Davis, a Republican from downstate Taylorville who backed Roskam, said it might never be entirely clear how the vote ended up the way it did because the totals and who voted for whom are kept secret.
Davis said Schock could "very possibly" end up in the No. 4 leadership job Roskam holds now.
"I think he'll do a phenomenal job if he is chosen," Davis said.
Roskam was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006 after a tough campaign against Democrat Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates.
Now, both lawmakers are on the panel tasked with investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Take a 'mancation'?
The state's tourism-boosting agency has created a series of online videos narrated by legendary news anchor Bill Kurtis trying to entice would-be Illinois tourists to come here to take a "mancation."
"Start your engines, place your bets, double down and play ball," Kurtis says while seated next to a man dressed as a black bear polishing a bugle. "It's time to vacation like a man."
In the minute-long version, Kurtis peers from behind a romance novel called "The Echoes Say Yes" and tries to seduce men into using their vacation time in Illinois.
"Know what this is, fellas? This is your ticket to freedom," Kurtis says of the book. "Because for every book club she gets with the ladies, you get a mancation with the guys."
The line is followed by quick cuts of the starting gate at a horse race, a stock car race, more running horses, a spinning roulette wheel, craps dice and an explosion.
There are several videos on the Enjoy Illinois YouTube channel.
Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity spokesman Dave Roeder said the state focused on women in 2011 and 2012 campaigns promoting "girls' getaways."
He said the mancation ads cost $49,700 to produce, and Illinois plans to spend $180,000 to place them as ads on websites. They won't be shown on TV.
Speaking of Internet videos, the campaign rap song for Republican Illinois Senate candidate Don Wilson of Gurnee that we featured a few weeks ago has been put to a video.
It cuts the song down a bit but keeps lyrics like "now he has two daughters and a wife. Married for 18 years, doing it right. Member of Rotary ..."
Wilson, who is the frontman for a John Mellencamp tribute band, is running against Democratic state Sen. Terry Link of Waukegan.