Why Jack Franks Has to Run for State Rep.

The Northwest Herald has a story today saying that Democratic Party State Rep. Jack Franks is running for re-election.

Jack Franks

Since his first election to the Illinois House of Representatives over appointee Mike Brown, Franks has always played it safe.

He talked a good game about running for Governor in 2009, but when it came to crunch time, after having friends and family give and/or loan him over $1 million to get the media talking about how he might be a candidate for Governor, he folded.

But Franks knows the radical wing of his party can’t stand him…

  • even though he now has a pro-abortion enough platform to attract the endorsement of the most radical pro-abortion political action committee in the nation–Personal PAC–for the last two election cycles and
  • even though he voted for the Civil Union bill and was praising a young homosexual hero from far outside of his 33rd District in the Windy City Times , but in media published in his legislative district.

To put it succinctly, it is unlikely Franks could win a statewide primary.  He is not popular among fellow House Democrats, including Speaker and Illinois Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan.

So, if he would be taking a chance, why not run for Congress?

Franks has consistently received favorable attention from the Northwest Herald, the dominant media in about a third of the 4th Congressional District and owner Shaw Publications has sister publications circulating in Kane and Lake Counties.

Until Joe Walsh had his child support problem media coverage, I thought that Franks would not want to go up against that energetic Republican.

Although Franks is an energetic campaigner, that energy is not in Walsh’s league.

I thought that Franks would be more likely to want to run against Randy Hultgren, a solid conservative, who, like Franks, has been known to knock on lots of door, but may not be able to energize his supporters the way Walsh has.

I didn’t think Franks would run in the Democratic Party primary.

That would mean he would lose his bully pulpit as State Representative.

But he could wait until after the GOP primary to see who would win.

If he considered that person vulnerable enough, he could ask the Democratic Party candidate for Congress (McHenry’s Frank McClatchey has announced) to withdraw, offering his support for State Representative in exchange.

I have no reason to believe that McClatchey would agree, but such a strategy would fit Franks’ risk-aversive nature.

Even that would be an uphill fight that the electorally timid Franks might eschew.

After all President Barack Obama’s popularity is sinking right along with the economy.

And Franks continues to link himself with Obama and the defeated ex-Congresswoman Melissa Bean on his campaign web site.

This photo of Jack Franks with Barack Obama and Melissa Bean remains on the State Representative's web site.

Then there is that not-so-small problem of money to run for Congress.

People know he has hundreds of thousands of dollars in his campaign fund.

Over $450,000 at the end of June with a fund raiser coming up.

That’s not as much as Joe Walsh raised during the last six months, but Walsh didn’t get it in $50,000 and $100,000 lumps. $2,500 is the maximum one can give a congressman, the rules say.  ($5,000 from a multi-candidate PAC.)

Randy Hultgren also raised more than Jack Franks had in the bank at mid-year.

And, Franks can’t use the money in his state campaign fund to finance a congressional race, as you can see in the email below which I received from the Federal Elections Commission when I asked about such a possibility:

You can see p. 61 of our Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees (http://www.fec.gov/pdf/candgui.pdf), which says:

3. Transfers from Candidate’s Nonfederal Committee Are Prohitibed

A candidate’s authorized (federal) committee may not accept funds of assets transferred from a committee established by the same candidate for a nonfederal election campaign. At its option, however, a nonfederal committee of the same candidate may refund its leftover funds to its contributors and may coordinate arrangements with the federal campaign for a solicitation of those same persons. The full cost of this solicitation must be paid by the federal committee. 110.3(d). See also AO (Advisory Opinion) 1996-33.

Judith Ingram
Press Officer
Federal Election Commission

So, if Franks decides to run for Congress he would have to find a lot of people to contribute those $2,900 checks to catch up with either Walsh or Hultgren.

I conclude that Franks’ running for re-election is the safest play.


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