• EARLY voting for the June 28 Primary Election is only 3 weeks away, starting on Thursday, May 19. Congressional candidates in the 13th and 15th District races, which involve Decatur and Macon County, are picking up the pace even more as the day draws near.
Republicans Regan Deering and Jesse Reising, and Democrat Nikki Budzinski, have been active locally in the 13th District race. Budzinski will be the guest speaker at the Workers Memorial at 253 West Wood Street in Decatur Thursday, April 28, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Democrat David Palmer has been increasing visits to Decatur and when I talked to him earlier this week, he told me that Decatur and Macon County are very important in the 13th District race and any candidate who overlooks this area is making a big mistake. Palmer will be back in Decatur next week. By the way, the IL 13 Democrat Primary is now between Budzinski and Palmer, after a third candidate, Ellis Taylor, was removed by the Illinois State Board of Elections on April 14. An objection was filed by a Springfield man and it was determined Taylor didn’t have enough valid signatures
Congressman Rodney Davis has produced a steady stream of comments and information about his candidacy in the 15th District Republican Primary, while his opponent, Rep. Mary Miller, has promoted her connection to former President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
• THE RACE for the 13th Congressional District got somewhat more interesting last week when Sabato’s Crystal Ball changed the race rating from “Likely Democratic” to “Leans Democratic.” The IL-13, presently occupied by Congressman Rodney Davis, (who is now running in the 15th) was redrawn by the Democrats so that Democrat Nikki Budzinski would win and move the District into the Democrat camp. The Republicans wasted no time in promoting the rating change to show that a Republican may be able to win that district.
Courtney Parella, NRCC Regional Press Secretary, fired out a news release stating: “This is terrible news for Democrats – especially Nancy Pelosi’s pick, Nikki Budzinski. Thanks to Democrats’ destructive agenda that’s led to skyrocketing inflation, soaring crime, and a crisis at our southern border, Nikki Budzinski is in trouble.” I’m not certain how much impact Sabato’s Crystal Ball’s rating change really has on the race but it certainly presents a talking point for Republican candidates — plus some encouraging words for their supporters.
• IL 13 REPUBLICAN candidate Regan Deering of Decatur came to the Tribune office to discuss her views and the reason she is running for the office. It is a lot easier to know the strengths of a candidate in a private interview when no microphones or cameras are present. Deering has a sense of “giving back” and using her experience and community commitment to run for Congress. She has been hitting the campaign trail fairly hard through taking advantage of every opportunity to listen to the needs of the people she will represent if she wins the primary and the general election.
“I believe in civil conversations on the issues” she told me, adding that listening to other points of view is part of the process. She indicated that Rep. Rodney Davis was helpful when she talked with many community and area leaders about her candidacy. My sense is that Deering made her decision to run for the office after much consideration and is willing to put in the work necessary to get elected and serve. I’ll have more on Regan Deering as we get closer to the primary election.
• IL 13 REPUBLICAN candidate Jesse Reising, the other Decatur candidate in the Congressional Race raised a sizeable amount of money for his campaign during the first quarter. Reising raised $330,986 in the first quarter since he announced his campaign. Reising raised more than the rest of the primary field combined. “I’m overwhelmed by the swelling of support for my campaign and the message that we want to carry with us to Washington,” said Reising. “My campaign is about putting common sense American values before the values of the woke Washington insiders.”
• NOT FAR BEHIND — Although Reising leads in the fundraising for the Republican candidates, Regan Deering has raised $267,913 during the quarter and Matt Hausman raised $52,915 at the end of the first quarter — far behind Reising and Deering. No data was available for Terry Martin. The ability to raise campaign funds is a critical part of any Congressional Race.
• MOST MONEY — Democrat Nikki Budzinski announced recently that her campaign in the 13th District raised over $500,000 in the first quarter of 2022 and enters the second quarter of 2022 with well over $1 million cash-on-hand. To date, she has raised over $1.4 million since entering the race in August 2021. Budzinski’s fund-raising puts her in a strong position to communicate with voters and get the vote out.
Budzinski made the following statement: “I am thrilled by the support our campaign has received and the number of people that have been willing to invest in me. I look forward to talking to more voters and making sure my campaign is amplifying the voices of people in Central and Southern Illinois that need more from their representative in Congress.”
• THANKS to local sports figure Mel Roustio for sending me a copy of his book “99 Answers For The Sport Parent” which provides a lot of information relating to questions often asked by parents with children involved, or about to be involved, in sports — and by those parents who are coaching teams. Mel is certainly well-known for his involvement in sports as a successful coach and wearing many other titles during his long career. If you want to contact mel about the book or related information, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org Mel was also a longtime, good friend of our late Decatur Tribune Sports Editor J. Thomas McNamara, who passed away earlier this year.
• MEMORIES — David Miller, who graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 1958, sent me an item that local sports fans should be interested in — especially high school history sports fans. David sent me the link to the first Stephen Decatur High School/Eisenhower High School basketball game. It was played on February 11, 1958. SDHS Coach Gay Kintner coached against his son, EHS Coach Galen Kintner. The link to watch the game is https://youtu.be/7LunL_fLCEc
I’ve already checked it out and the first thing I noticed was that “Decatur” was on the front of the SDHS players’ uniforms. They were probably left over from when it was Decatur High School instead of Stephen Decatur High School. I had also forgotten how short the basketball shorts were back in those days. No one thought anything about it back in those days, but those short-shorts are very noticeable in today’s sports environment. Remember when the longer shorts started being used and they seemed so out-of-place at the time? Anyhooo, it’s a nice trip back to watch the first game between SDHS and EHS in 1958. The video is about 45 minutes long. Thanks, David Miller.
• SCAMS and more scams. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had more attempts to scam me out of something, via both phone and emails, than I can ever remember. Here’s one that I found more than a little interesting: “On 02/22/2022 You Purchased a Compact Pistol With Credit of USD 1,758. 00 The First Emi Of amount Is deducted From Your Bank Account. We have yet to receive payment from you of 175. 14 in respect of our Order ID #863212 which was due for payment on 04/22/2022. Kindly request you to clear the invoice. We look forward to more productive associations in the future. Please let me know if you have any questions.”
Here’s the “best” part of the scam: the person who allegedly ordered the compact pistol was none other than popular singer Ariana Grande! Since I know Ariana Grande isn’t charging items to the Decatur Tribune, I called the number on the invoice “for any questions” and after a half dozen rings, a woman answered the phone and asked if she could help. I immediately told her that I didn’t appreciate the scam operation and not to ever try that scam with me again!
Actually, I wasn’t about to get the “me again” words through because she blasted a loud horn in my ear!!!!!!! I guess that’s the response to being accused of operating a scam! Unfortunately, scammers are being successful enough in their “craft” that they continue to cheat enough people out of their money that they don’t have to put in an honest day’s work. Be careful with who or what you are dealing with on your phone or through your emails. There’s financial danger lurking in the global shadows — and some have a loud horn to blow in your ear if they get caught!
• I’M OUT of space and I have so much more to tell you about conversations with candidates, political races, people and places and a host of other subjects. I’ll have more next week.
• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00. I always enjoy our conversation.