The Cook Political Report has switched the dial on the battle over Illinois' 12th Congressional District, dubbing the race between Democratic incumbent William Enyart and Republican challenger Mike Bost a toss-up.
Previously the nonpartisan newsletter had called the Nov. 4 election in Enyart's favor. But in a new analysis, via Capitol Fax, it pivots predictions for 21 House races to estimate GOP victories in 17 districts and Democrat wins in four districts.
"Several polls show Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn well behind in this Downstate district, and that has Enyart backers worried. Democrats portray GOP state Rep. Mike Bost as 'Meltdown Mike' for his infamous tirade on the state House floor, but Bost has worked hard to cast Enyart as 'Beltway Bill' and actually outraised him in the second quarter of this year," Cook reports.
Moreover, "Some Democrats complain Enyart needs to work harder to raise his visibility in his district, otherwise Quinn could drag him down. Voter anxiety about the EPA could also play a role in a district where coal is a major industry. Private polling shows the race extremely tight, and Democrats may need to air footage of Bost’s meltdown to cast him as too hotheaded for Congress."
Politico on Thursday re-labeled the Illinois governors' race from "toss-up" to "leans Republican" in favor of Winnetka venture capitalist Bruce Rauner over Democratic Quinn, considered to be a massive liability within his own party.
At Illinois' lower southwest side, District 12 encompasses downstate counties include Jackson and St. Clair and cities including East St. Louis, Carbondale and Mount Vernon.
Second-quarter filings show that Bost raised $168,207 in campaign contributions to Enyart's $135,735. The incumbent leads in total donations, however, amassing nearly $1 million since last fall while Bost collected $353,154.
If Cook's projections don't pan out, and Bost loses to Enyart, than Springfield will get to keep one of its most entertaining (and sometimes unhinged) state representatives.
Let's roll the priceless footage of Bost freaking out over pension reform circa May 2012 and shouting "LET MY PEOPLE GO!!!!" This never gets old: