Local campaigners say lessons from Iowa will help here

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz name-checked an Illinois volunteer in his victory speech Monday night.

    Texas Sen. Ted Cruz name-checked an Illinois volunteer in his victory speech Monday night. Associated Press File Photo

and Mary Hansen
Updated 2/3/2016 7:00 AM

For local supporters of the Iowa caucuses victors, it's time to move on.

Illinoisans who backed some top candidates for president spent time in Iowa in recent weeks knocking on doors and making phone calls for their candidates.


Now, Josh Hammer, a University of Chicago student and convention delegate candidate for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, says it's time to use those lessons in preparation for Illinois' March 15 primary.

Cruz named-checked Hammer in his victory speech Monday night, saying he was "inspired" by Hammer and other students "who spent their winter break at camp Cruz" in Iowa.

"We're definitely going to try to emulate as much of the Iowa operation as we possibly can," Hammer said.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also had an Illinois contingent in Iowa. State Sen. Mike Connelly, a Lisle Republican, spoke to a caucus event at a HyVee distribution center in Chariton, Iowa.

And he said state Sens. Mike Murphy of Palatine and Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington spoke at other events on Rubio's behalf, as did state Rep. Mike Fortner of West Chicago.

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"We're beyond ecstatic," Connelly said of Rubio's third-place showing.

Others were beginning to focus on other state contests. Even before Iowa, Trump's Illinois operation was trying to encourage local supporters to call voters in New Hampshire, where the nation's first primary is Feb. 9.

On the Democratic side, the very close race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders convinced some observers their primary season battle will last a while.

That could put Clinton's birth state of Illinois in play to help decide that contest. But Lauren Beth Gash, a Clinton delegate from Highland Park who campaigned in Iowa last weekend, said she thinks the nominee will be settled before that. About half the states hold primaries and caucuses before Illinois.

"It was quite different from Republicans I ran into who loved their candidate, and hated all the other candidates," Gash said. "I think that bodes well for Democrats in the general election."


Hillary Colby, a Bernie Sanders delegate from Aurora, says the excitement for Sanders will continue.

"When you consider what an underdog he was in Iowa, for him to break even was very exciting," Colby said.

Dan Johnson, a Sanders delegate and Wilmette resident, says the results from Iowa show the Democratic primary will continue to be hotly contested through Illinois' vote in March.

"I think the same forces that are fueling the most exciting, people-powered campaign this cycle will manifest in our state," Johnson said.

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