Doug Truax For Senate

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Today is primary day in Illinois.  The Chicago Tribune and I rarely agree on  anything, but we do agree that Doug Truax is a better choice for the Republican nomination for Senate than Jim Oberweis.


So this primary race involves several imperatives — one of them existential:

If the Republican Party is to outgrow its loss of stature in Illinois, it needs to recruit and promote candidates who are more like Truax. At 43 he’s a West Point graduate, a former Army Ranger and captain, and majority owner of a small Oak Brook firm that helps employers address the costs of their health care, retirement and other benefits programs.

Truax projects confidence in what a growth-oriented federal agenda could accomplish: He stresses that without more vibrant economic activity, America won’t solve chronic joblessness. He impresses us with smart ideas for rescuing entitlement programs, curbing federal tax loopholes, and empowering states to expand school choice: “I favor charter schools and maximum flexibility for parents and students to escape bad schools and a cycle of poverty.” And as a health insurance consultant, Truax offers fresh and detailed proposals for accomplishing what Obamacare cannot: affordably providing good coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions.

On many issues Truax isn’t far from his opponent, Jim Oberweis, a 67-year-old business executive who in 2012 won a seat in the Illinois Senate after five failed runs for higher offices: two earlier races for the U.S. Senate, two for the U.S. House and one for governor. Both men, that is, are mainstream conservative Republicans.

The two would, though, approach foreign affairs from different perspectives, and here Truax’s background gives him a distinct edge. While Oberweis last month told our editorial board he was “fairly satisfied with the direction” of Obama administration policies, Truax had answered our election questionnaire many weeks earlier with a comment many Republicans will see as prescient after Russia’s bold aggression in Ukraine:

“Our strong voice on the world stage is necessary — not to seek to become involved militarily, but to avert military involvement,” he wrote. “(A)s someone who is trained in military history, I know the consequences of weakness on the world stage. … I know that it tends to lead to instability and wars and that strength tends to lead to stability and peace.”

We’ve had a down-and-up history with Oberweis, most recently endorsing his 2012 run for state Senate. We wish that, after a year in that job, he hadn’t launched another bid for higher office. His best achievement in Springfield, a bill lifting the speed limit on some major roads, lost luster with the news that, since 1988, Oberweis has been ticketed for speeding 11 times.

Both Truax and Oberweis are pro-life conservatives, but that is where the resemblance ends.  Oberweis is a bumbler with a long history of electoral defeat.  He is a sure loser to the odious Dick Durbin in the fall.  Truax is energetic and ready for a fight.  If he gets the nomination he will give Durbin the fight of his life and might pull off an upset.

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  1. I’d give him a solid one in three chance to pull off an upset. In normal years he wouldn’t stand a chance, but Illinois is in an angry mood, in the sixth year of a lousy economy and Durbin is a classic career politician who has helped make Illinois an economic basket case. He is also seventy years old and looking every one of his years. The contrast with the young non-career politician Truax couldn’t be starker.

  2. Durbin is a classic career politician who has helped make Illinois an economic basket case.

    All his degrees were in state dependent disciplines and he has been a public employee without interruption since 1969. He never held a civil service position or worked for an ordinary law firm. He was in the employ of the Illinois legislature as an aide and committee counsel that entire time.

    What gets you about these guys is that the way they cling to office, almost as if they’d evaporate if they did not hold it. (See Richard Lugar and Ted Stevens for fine examples, or Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond for grotesquely comic ones).

    Very few seem to accomplish much in the offices they hold. It’s been round and round and round again the same issues for the entire time Durbin’s been in Congress. The only thing they do with dispatch is pass bon bons to their clientele (or block the removal of bon bons).

    You have to figure a great many of the people who make the laws in this country are just pathological.

  3. Unfortunately, Truax lost, most likely because his campaign had far fewer resources than that of the millionaire Oberweis.

    Meanwhile, the governor’s race in the fall will pit Bruce Rauner, aka Mitt Romney on Steroids Minus Any Concern For Social/Moral Issues, against bumbling hard-left incumbent Pat Quinn. They have very little in common except that

    1) both are probably about equally pro-abortion, although Rauner is slightly less enthusiastic about gay marriage than Quinn and does actually hunt and use guns (whether this means he will be any more amenable to 2nd Amendment rights remains to be seen);

    2) public employee unions can’t stand either one (they absolutely despise Quinn, even though he’s a Democrat, for reasons that would take all day to explain).

    At this point I am probably sitting out the general election because I cannot bring myself to vote for either. I suspect many social conservative types as well as state employees will do the same.

  4. Well, I am certainly sitting out the governor’s race. Very frustrating. Rauner got 40.4% of the vote against 37.4% for Dillard. Brady got 14.8% and Rutherford got 7.3%. Ostensible conservatives, a stretch to call Rutherford that, but that was what he ran as, dividing the vote and allowing a, well Rauner doesn’t even deserve the title RINO, Democrat in Republican clothes to take the brass ring.
    As for Truax, he came close at 45.7%. He got the momentum just a little late to push him over the top. I suspect we will see him again however.

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