Thursday, June 22, 2006

Third-Party Candidate Expects To Get On Ballot

Pioneer Press
By Patrick Corcoran

Bill Scheurer, a Moderate Party candidate in the 8th Congressional district, said this week he has the 13,950 petition signatures he needs by Monday to get on the ballot.

"I don't have a final count, but I have every indication we've gone over the amount we need," he said.

The anti-war, pro-life candidate with labor support was worried last week that he may not reach the mark, but Scheurer says he made it with the help of dozens of volunteers and his wife, Randi, who collected signatures from thousands of local residents.

Scheurer, a lay minister, peace activist and a Lindenhurst resident, said he's found voters receptive to his independent candidacy.

"Voters are unhappy with the choices they've been getting," he said. "I think people have lost faith in the ability of Democrats and Republicans to come together in Washington, D.C., and fix things."

Determined to be a factor in November, Scheurer said he will run as a write-in candidate if he fails to get the minimum number of signatures or if his petitions are thrown out because of a challenge.

"If we do get ... knocked off the ballot, we're not going away. I know you can't win as a write-in candidate, but you can make a stand. This core peace movement will not go away no matter what the two parties throw at us," he said.

While he is considered by most voters to be an independent candidate, Scheurer is running under the banner of the Moderate Party, a party he has established for the 8th Congressional District race.

Scheurer said he anticipates a petition challenge from supporters of incumbent Melissa Bean, D-8th, who ran uncontested in the March primary. In 2004, Bean defeated Scheurer en route to her win over GOP incumbent Phil Crane.

The remainder of the week will be spent collecting extra signatures to fend off a disqualification from the race, Scheurer said.

David McSweeney, the Republican candidate, has already pledged he will not challenge Scheurer's petitions.

"I welcome him to the race. We disagree profoundly on issues, but I respect him personally," he said. "We will take zero steps to disqualify him from the race."

McSweeney also said Scheurer should be allowed to participate in any and all debates between himself and Bean, even more so if he earns a spot on the ballot.

Some labor organizations that parted with Bean over her July 2005 vote in favor of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), have boosted Scheurer's bid.

In 2005, he received $10,000 in contributions from the Teamsters, Machinists, and Aerospace Workers unions, and UNITE, a union representing garment workers and hotel and casino employees, according to the Federal Election Commission Web site.

Scheurer said, so far, he's received over $30,000 from labor in 2006.

Labor volunteers were also a significant part of Scheurer's bid to collect more than 14,000 signatures.

Scheurer said his name on the ballot won't hurt one party over the other because his core issues -- the war in Iraq, health care, balancing the federal budget and helping working families -- have universal appeal.

"There's no better a spoiler than winning, but people who think I'll attract Democratic voters and not Republican voters don't understand the issues our campaign is trying to address," he said. "Maybe I'm considered a spoiler because I will not have the kind of money on hand that they are going to have."

Scheurer ran unsuccessfully in 2004 on a single issue -- his opposition to the war in Iraq. He has two children in the military, including who who recently returned from Iraq, supports an immediate U.S. withdrawal and considers the war a mistake

McSweeney supports the U.S.-led campaign to root out terrorists and insurgents in Iraq. On June 16, Bean was one of 42 Democrats who joined 214 Republicans in supporting a non-binding resolution declaring Iraq a central front in the war on terrorism.

A Bean campaign spokesman declined to comment on Scheurer's candidacy.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

‘Betrayed’ Unions Refuse To Endorse Bean’s Re-Election

The Daily Herald
Joseph Ryan and John Patterson

SPRINGFIELD — The state’s trade and labor unions refused to endorse Democratic Congresswoman Melissa Bean’s re-election bid Tuesday, a rejection that amounts to political payback for her vote against the unions’ wishes on trade deals.

Illinois AFL-CIO President Margaret Blackshere said the debate over whether to endorse Bean in the 8th Congressional District was the most heated of any office in the state.

Blackshere said union members “felt betrayed” by Bean’s vote for a Central America trade pact last year.

Bean, who relied on union support to oust 35-year Republican incumbent Phil Crane, responded to the rejection by largely ignoring it.

“My highest priority is standing up for the moderate, mainstream values of my constituents,” she said in a statement.

The union blow to Bean is yet another turn in what is shaping up to be a fierce battle over whether 8th District residents are turning more Democratic or still staunch conservatives who simply had tired of Crane.

Bean, a Barrington sales consultant who paints herself as a moderate Democrat, is facing former investment banker David McSweeney of Barrington Hills, who styles himself a “Reagan conservative.”

Blackshere said there was no interest in backing McSweeney.

“Absolutely not,” she said.

A third-party candidate, Bill Scheurer of Lindenhurst, is banking on a revolt of unions and anti-war advocates against Bean. It remains to be seen if he can muster the signatures to get on the ballot.

The union dumping of Bean started last year, when she was one of a handful of Democrats to vote for the Central America trade agreement.

Soon after, a machinists union signed a $5,000 check for Scheurer’s campaign and other unions picketed Bean’s Schaumburg office.

Bean voted with the AFL-CIO’s wishes 62 percent of the time, but union leaders asked to pull her name from a list of endorsements for further debate. After a heated exchange behind closed doors, the decision was made not to endorse her.

A few union leaders have claimed Bean promised to vote against such trade deals during the 2004 campaign, but she denies such a pledge. She defends the vote, saying many district residents work for international businesses in Lake and Cook counties.

Yet Bean is also drawing accolades from the big businesses. In March, she picked up the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award for voting 73 percent of the time with the lobbying organization.