Candidate turns to Craigslist for staff

2014-01-02T00:00:00Z Candidate turns to Craigslist for staffKurt Erickson Lee Springfield Bureau nwitimes.com
January 02, 2014 12:00 am  • 

SPRINGFIELD | Surrounded by the usual mix of Craigslist postings for free firewood, used furniture and good-as-new bicycles last week was a help wanted ad seeking someone to run a campaign for Congress.

While his opponents in the race for the hotly contested 13th Congressional District already have hired on a slew of experienced campaigners, Democrat David Green of Champaign said he went looking for this key staffer on the free classified ad website for a simple reason.

"I'm running a low budget campaign," he wrote in an email to the Lee Enterprises Springfield Bureau.

"I need a campaign manager - one who largely shares my political values - to tightly schedule and coordinate speaking engagements during January, February, and the first two weeks of March," the ad noted.

The pay: $300 a week.

Green's posting comes as he and two other Democrats are jostling for position in a race that has drawn big money backing from national Democrats looking to gain a seat in the U.S. House by toppling freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville.

Former Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis of Edwardsville has nailed down support from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which sees the 2014 election as an opportunity to wrest the seat away from Republicans.

The DCCC months ago assigned press duties in the race to Andy Stone, who served as a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and ran the press shop for the PAC's western region in 2010.

Also seeking the Democratic nomination is George Gollin of Champaign. Bill Byrnes of Bloomington dropped his bid last week after his nominating petitions were challenged.

On the Republican side, Davis is being challenged by attorney Erika Harold, a former Miss America from Urbana, and Michael Firsching, a veterinarian from Moro, near Edwardsville.

Davis has collected staffers from former U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood's Peoria office, as well as U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's Illinois operation.

Harold has enlisted campaign assistance from former aides to U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson of Urbana.

Firsching ran in the 2012 Republican primary election, but was easily beaten by Johnson, who then retired.

In Green's posting, the 63-year-old social policy analyst at the University of Illinois' Center for Prevention Research and Development notes he is running a progressive, populist, leftists, "Occupy" campaign in a district that includes Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, Decatur, Springfield, and Edwardsville.

He says he needed someone with the "skills and ability and persistence to make contacts with student groups in all of these locations, as well as progressives, minorities, and labor unions."

Green said his goal is to raise $10,000, but acknowledged he'd make up for any shortfall out of his own savings.

"Once I begin making contact with more people outside of Champaign County personally, I think that my modest funding needs will easily be met," he noted.

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