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Mike Ditka....US Senator?
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Old 10 Jul 2004, 10:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mike Ditka....US Senator?

Mike Ditka emerges as possible Senate candidate
By Patrick O'Connor

In the wake of Steve Rauschenberger’s withdrawal from the Illinois Senate race, former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka has surfaced as a favorite of many Hill and state Republicans, according to interviews with GOP members and staff in Illinois and Washington.

The Super Bowl-winning coach and Hall-of-Fame player is a Chicago icon whose name identification and stature would make him a well-known, if inexperienced, candidate in the race to replace Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R), who is stepping down at the end of this legislative session.

Ditka has not made a public statement about his candidacy, but Republicans on the Hill and in Illinois said they would be eager for him to enter the race.

“If Ditka ran, Democrats would claim to vote for Obama and then secretly vote for Ditka,” said Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) “It would immediately put Chicago in play.”

Kirk said Ditka could campaign with his former players in minority areas, like Chicago’s South Side, that other Republican candidates could not previously touch.

A senior leadership aide said House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) would like Ditka to run, but said the speaker would not make a statement of public support.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said thought this was just a “last-minute ploy” by a “desperate” state party following the announcement today that Rauschenberger was withdrawing his name from consideration, hours after Hastert reportedly said he was “the best person” to replace Jack Ryan as the Republican nominee.

“They had all their money invested in the looks, the smile and the money,” Emanuel added. “Now they’ve got nothing to show for themselves.”

Ditka’s name has been swirling in the rumor mill for a week and a half, ever since Ryan announced he would drop out of the race, but the furor picked up considerably today. Talk radio shows in Chicago have been abuzz with the story most of this afternoon.

Ditka currently owns a restaurant in Chicago, gives motivational speeches and works as a part-time analyst at CBS Sports. He charges between $25,000 and
$30,000 for each motivational speech.

The whole commotion began with a website,The Link that was created by staff members in the Illinois House to gather signatures to nominate Ditka as the chairman of the state’s Republican party after the current chairwoman, Judy Baar Topinka, steps down at the end of this election cycle. The website has generated over 3,500 signatures since 8 a.m. today and 5,000 signatures so far. Ten thousand signatures are required to submit the candidate to the state’s nominating committee.

A number of Republicans in the state house who did not want to be named said Ditka has been contacted about the possibility of running, but the executive director of the state party said that no one, to his knowledge, had approached “Iron Mike.”

“He’s certainly an intriguing candidate,” said John Hoffman, executive director of the Illinois Republican Party. “He’s got name I.D., but it’s not my job to characterize him as a candidate.”

Calls into Ditka’s restaurant were directed to his charity, which had not responded at press time.

Ultimately, the decision resides with the state’s 19-member nominating committee, which is currently deciding who to run against Obama, a strong Democratic candidate who had a 22-point lead over Ryan before he dropped out of the race. A decision could be made as early as next week.

Hoffman said Ditka was an active Republican in the state and has headlined at least two Republican fundraisers, one for a candidate for attorney general and the other was annual state party dinner. On a national level, he has given $6,406 to Republican candidates since 1994, including $1,500 to President Bush, $1,000 to Sen. John McCain and $1,000 to former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.

Jonathan E. Kaplan contributed to this report.

http://www.thehill.com/news/070804/ditka.aspx
================================================== ========

Considering that the governor of California is an Austrian actor and one of the greatest US presidents was the guy who played in "Bedtime for Bonzo", I would be happy to see Ditka run. At least he would keep the seat in Pubbie hands.
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Old 10 Jul 2004, 10:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Why not, we had people campaigning Nick Saban (The national championship winning coach of LSU's football team) for governer. He wasn't running. He didn't even think about it.
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Old 10 Jul 2004, 11:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Nick would get elected in a landslide. Do you know if he is a D or R?
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Old 11 Jul 2004, 07:16 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Coleman
Nick would get elected in a landslide. Do you know if he is a D or R?
No idea of his party.

You're right, he would've been elected in a landslide. If state had write-ins, he would've won despite not even intending to run.
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Old 11 Jul 2004, 09:37 PM   #5 (permalink)
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^

speaking of coaches, most of the famous ones I knew were Pubbies.

Ohio St. Woody Hayes was good friends with Richard Nixon, Nixon gave the eulogy at Woody's funeral. Michigan's Bo Schembechler and Joe Pa were on the George W. Bush campaign team in 2000. Hayden Fry did commercials for George Bush in 1988.

Saban is from Parkersburg,WV (hour away from me) and if I had to guess, he is proably a Democrat, proably a conservative one at that.
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