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Poll: Krishnamoorthi Lags in Bid to Succeed Duckworth

Villa Park mayor Deb Bullwinkel

Villa Park mayor Deb Bullwinkel

(Chicago) – A new poll suggests that ex-Illinois Deputy Treasurer Raja Krishnamoorthi, despite hefty funding, will struggle to win his latest bid for elected office.

Krishnamoorthi, who failed to win the Democratic primary for comptroller in 2010 or a Democratic primary for Congress in 2012, trails in the current Democratic contest for the U.S. House seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth against two other underfunded opponents, a survey by one of those opponents shows.

The October 8-11 poll of 400 likely Democratic voters, commissioned by Villa Park mayor Deb Bullwinkel, found that State Senator Mike Noland (D-Elgin) leads both Krishnamoorthi and Bullwinkel 29%-22%-8%.

A whopping 41% of voters were undecided, according to the survey which had a +/- 4.9% margin of error.

“With less than six months until the primary, the race to become the Democratic nominee in IL-CD-08 is up for grabs,” Anzalone, Liszt, Grove pollsters Brian Stryker and Kevin Akins wrote in their polling memo obtained by The Illinois Observer. “None of the three announced candidates has a defined brand throughout the district…”

Bullwinkel jumped into the contest on August 25 after the race’s early favorite, State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park), pulled out.

The lack of “brand identity” should most worry Krishnamoorthi’s camp given his previous runs in the district and statewide and it should boost the hopes of backers of both Noland and Bullwinkel.

Krishnamoorthi has raised over $1 million since he entered the race for Duckworth’s 8th Congressional District seat in April. But in previous million dollar campaigns, he came up short.

He raised $1.2 million in the 2012 Democratic primary race for the 8th C.D. seat in which he was smoked, 17,097 to 8,736, by Duckworth. His other “$1 million” campaign was in the 2010 Democratic primary for comptroller, where he lost narrowly to then-State Rep. David Miller, 38,4796 to 39,3405. He spent $1.16 million on that race.

According to the polling memo, both Noland and Bullwinkel make significant strides once voters hear their respective campaign messages.

Here are the message tested:

Deb Bullwinkel is the Mayor of Villa Park. Bullwinkel worked as a journalist out of college, covering our communities. She’s a small business owner who will fight for fair wages, she mentors students in Villa Park, and she worked at mental health nonprofits to help families get the health care they need. As Mayor she invested in infrastructure, creating hundreds of good paying middle-class jobs. Bullwinkel will go to Congress to fight for the middle class, working to bring good jobs here and make it easier to afford to raise a family.

Mike Noland is a Navy Veteran and State Senator from Elgin who says he’s the only proven progressive running and that he’s stood up against Republicans in Springfield. Noland will fight for universal health care and tax reform to help the middle class.

Raja Krishnamoorthi runs a small business in Schaumburg that creates renewable energy products. He also served as Deputy Treasurer for Illinois where he helped revamp the state’s unclaimed property system and ran a technology fund that created hundreds of good-paying jobs. Raja served as issues director for Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign and was an advisor to his Presidential campaign. Raja wants to bring common sense problem solving to Washington, not partisan politics based on ideologies.

After voters are spoon fed the candidates’ messages, Noland holds his lead, but Bullwinkle pulls into a statistical tie with Krishnamoorthi: 37%–26%–24%. Bullwinkel gains +16 points twice that of Noland and four times that of Krishnamoorthi.

Additionally, Bullwinkel is the top second choice of voters over the other two candidates (32% Bullwinkel / 29% Noland / 27% Krishnamoorthi).

Nevertheless, for either Noland or Bullwinkel to capitalize on their strengths, they will need to communicate – spoon feed – their messages directly to voters. That means money. Lots of it. And money is a crucial element that both currently lack in their race against Krishnamoorthi.

According to campaign finance reports, Krishnamoorthi has $1 million in the bank while Noland has $60,000, and Bullwinkel, less than $40,000, owing to her late entry into the contest.

As the only woman in the race, Bullwinkel has an opportunity to ride the likely wave of enthusiastic Democratic women eager to turn out and to vote for Hillary Clinton when Illinois also holds its presidential primary in March and the Clinton bandwagon rolls into town.

Bullwinkel will not need to have more money than Krishnamoorthi or Noland in order to win, but she’ll need a hell of a lot more dough than she has now in order to compete.

If her supporters begin writing big checks, she’s got a shot.



Twitter @DavidOrmsby

(*Note to Political Insiders: The Illinois Observer also offers our exclusive, subscriber-only e-newsletter – The Insider – to, well, Illinois political insiders. Each Tuesday and Friday at 7:00 a.m. The Insider arrives in e-mail boxes with the choicest Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago political gossip, insider information, and news tips. For more information and a free, 4-week trial subscription to The Insider, please go here).

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