Frequent Visits to Illinois Confirm Stakes Are High for Clinton, Dole
Doubek, Madeleine, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Madeleine Doubek Daily Herald Political Editor
Lately, it's getting so we can't go more than a couple of weeks without a visit from President Clinton or presidential candidate Bob Dole.
It's barely July and presidential politics and patriotism are heating up as both men make appearances here during the Fourth of July holiday week.
Clinton comes to Chicago for three different events Tuesday, just less than two weeks after he stopped in at McCormick Place to talk to union workers. And Dole, of Kansas, will walk the Wheaton parade route with Gov. Jim Edgar Thursday before giving a speech in a park after the holiday march.
Illinois is a bellwether state toward the top of the electoral vote list. Its voters tend to swing between Democrat and Republican presidential candidates and have voted for every winner this century except in 1916 and 1976.
But Chicago also is an ideal place to stop over on the way to other critical Midwest battlegrounds in the presidential race cartography like Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The presidential candidates can put in an appearance here and be guaranteed saturation coverage in a major television media market that spreads west nearly to Rockford and south nearly to Peoria, noted Dole's Illinois adviser, Ed Murnane.
"You're being seen by a large segment of the Illinois voting population," he said.
Dole's visit to Wheaton will be his fifth in Illinois just since he announced in late May he would resign from the Senate.
Murnane, an Arlington Heights resident, said these trips send a message to party activists even if most of the rest of the voting population has not yet focused on the fall campaign.
"Bob Dole is sending a message to DuPage Republicans, and that message is, 'Hey, you're important to me and I'm not going to take you for granted,' " Murnane said. "The party workers need to see a candidate and see he is interested in them. …