Rich Miller

Rich Miller

‘Trump bump’ had ripple effects

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By Rich Miller

Ogden and Fry conducted a poll in the days leading up to former President Donald Trump’s visit to the Quincy area for a U.S. Rep. Mary Miller endorsement in late June.

The poll of Republicans in the Downstate 15th Congressional District taken June 22-24 (Trump’s visit was the 25th) found Miller leading fellow U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis by 8 points, 46-38. When undecideds were pushed to decide, Miller’s lead jumped to 10 points, 55-45. She won by 15 points, 57.6-42.4.

RichMiller 1

Rich Miller

But if you look at the results from each day, you can see a definite trend. On June 22, Miller’s lead was less than 3 points, which is about where many of the pundits speculated the race stood at the time.

On June 23, as word spread more widely about Trump’s impending visit, Miller’s lead expanded to 9 points, 48-39. By June 24, the day before Trump’s speech, Miller led by 12 points, 48-36.

Now, these are really small subsets in a single poll. But Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey’s results in CD15 in the same poll also showed a slight upward trendline, from 52 on June 22, to 53 the next day, to 55 on June 24.

“Based on where our final polling was on several races it seems possible that that momentum continued through election day,” explained Ogden and Fry owner Matthew Podgorski, who is also a Republican Party official and candidate. “Candidates that would benefit from a Trump-Bump all did better than expected just days earlier,” he continued. “If highly motivated ‘Trump/Bailey’ voters showed up on election day while others gave up, several other races may have been affected.”

Podgorski’s statewide polling, for instance, had Tom DeVore ahead of Steve Kim in the GOP attorney general’s race by 4 points. DeVore won by almost 10. Podgorski had Kathy Salvi beating Peggy Hubbard, the most visible Trumpist in the US Senate primary race, by “a much larger margin than the [5-point] victory,” Salvi wound up with, Podgorski told me.

Hey, maybe Podgorski’s polls just weren’t accurate and he’s making excuses here. It’s been tried before by others. But I have thought since well before primary day that the Trump visit would likely reverberate throughout the state, up and down the Republican primary ballots.

The 2nd Illinois Supreme Court District might also be a case in point. The regulars and people like far-right Republican activist Jeanne Ives all backed Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes in the primary. Instead, Mark Curran, who is known for his outrageous public remarks (“We are taking on the Establishment, the Party Hacks, the Freemasons and those that could care less that Individual Liberty and Conscience Protection are no longer cherished or protected,” he told supporters last year) won the race by 2 points with almost no money.

Shanes was supposed to be the beneficiary of $6.25 million in campaign cash from Ken Griffin via the Citizens for Judicial Fairness front group. The committee spent about $200K to help Shanes in the primary and oppose Curran, suggesting that the people running that show were concerned, but still confident that they were doing enough to win.

Now they have $6 million leftover and no seemingly viable candidate in the 2nd.

Oops.

Also, unlike with Bailey and, to a lesser extent, DeVore, the Democrats had nothing whatsoever to do with this Supreme Court debacle. The Democratic Governors Association, the Democratic Party of Illinois and Gov. Pritzker himself all paid for advertising that boosted Bailey’s Trump bonafides. The state party paid for mailers doing the same for DeVore.

Bailey, by the way, has repaid the favor by bungling pretty much every statement he’s made since the day after winning the Republican nomination.

Last week, Bailey memorably urged people to “move on and celebrate” shortly after the Highland Park massacre, even though the shooter was still on the loose at the time. Later in the week, he held a press conference to apologize and try to clean up his own mess, but hit the flub trifecta in the space of just 10 minutes. Bailey “conflated state gun control laws, misidentified a neighborhood in Chicago where violence occurred over the weekend and even misquoted a Bible verse,” the Chicago Tribune reported.

DeVore, the Republican Party’s attorney general nominee, had this to say on Facebook just the other day: “Guess how many of those Republican establishment ‘leaders’, who sat idly by and watched your kids suffer for two years, called me after winning the primary? Zero!! I just might investigate them first before Pritzker!!”

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

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