campaignheadshotrandi.jpg[Please help us welcome this morning's guest, Randi Scheurer to FDL.  As always, stay on topic and be polite -- and to quell discussion on me entirely, I live in the wrong district and it's not the right time for The Peanut for momma to do something like that, thanks for asking.  With that, please welcome Randi Scheurer! -- CHS]

One of the highpoints — albeit a very short-lived one (literally the time it took for an e-mail and a response) — was when West Virginia bloggers told me they were going to convince Christy Hardin Smith to run for Congress. Can you imagine working on that campaign? Not to mention how the average IQ of the congressional caucuses would rise! Or imagine the Jane campaign? Or Teddy, Marcy, Digby, Scarecrow, Pach, Egregious…None of these are professional politicians; they’re sharp, concerned citizen activists.

Speaking this week with Randi Scheurer, the progressive running against Bush Dog Melissa Bean, I couldn’t help but think how Congress needs far fewer professional politicians and far more concerned citizen activists like Randi — or Christy.

I can’t imagine the Inside the Beltway Democrats ever getting behind Randi. She is so not them! She doesn’t favor civil unions for same sex couples; she can’t see why their shouldn’t be total equality — in marriage, in health care and in every other issue used to discriminate against gay men and women. Ask her when the war should end; she doesn’t hesitate and she doesn’t equivocate: “Tomorrow.” Health care: guaranteed and single-payer. You get the picture.

Now what about the district? Illinois’ 8th CD is in the extreme northeast corner of the state. It shares Lake County with Dan Seals’ future district, McHenry County with John Laesch’s future district, and a long border with Wisconsin. It leans Republican– Bush took 56% of the vote in 2000 and 2004 — and when conservative Democrat Melissa Bean first won the seat from Phil Crane in 2004 she beat him by 9,000 votes out of 270,000 cast. Randi tells me that she’s lived in IL-08 for 30 years and she’s seen the demographics changing.

“Fewer people identify themselves as Republicans now; they think of themselves as independents. The voters in this district are sitting on the fence and waiting to see who addresses the issues best.”

And the voters in the district aren’t happy with Bush’s policies– policies largely supported by their putative Democratic congresswoman, a Blue Dog, a member of Ellen Tauscher’s reactionary New Democratic Caucus, and a vile pro-war Bush Dog.

I asked Randi if residents — just the average folks, not the activists– know about Bean’s support for Bush and his corporatist policies. “Yes,” she told me.

“I’ve been to thousands of homes already and I’ve been to events in various parts of the district and close to 98% of the people who sign my petitions and who I speak with say they do not like her and are very disappointed in her. People say they are disappointed in her voting record. They expected her to represent us better than she has. And she hasn’t responded to members of the community. She never seems to be part of the community.”

If you agree with me that we have enough professional politicians concerned primarily with special interests and you’d like to see someone just like us in Congress, please consider helping Randi’s grassroots campaign at our Blue America page.