As you may recall, before choosing Alan Keyes to run against Barack Obama, the IL GOP held a ludicrous search for a candidate. About the only person they didn't consider was Chitown's own Bozo the Clown. Eventually they settled on Alan Keyes, who now trails Obama by a whopping 41 points.
At the time, the story that failed to gain any traction was that there was a perfectly good challenger available and he even lived in the state in question: Jim Oberweis. He finished second in the primary behind Jack Ryan.
So, why wasn't Oberweis picked? Because he made the mistake of opposing illegal immigration and criticizing Bush's amnesty plan. Imagine that! A legislator who wanted to uphold our laws? Imagine the scandal.
The article "GOP Immigration Idiocy In Illinois" has the scoop, and it includes this bit that I didn't know before:
Hastert didn't attend Keyes' announcement because he was busy lying during his appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press." Hastert said that he personally worked for five weeks to find homegrown replacement for Ryan but "couldn't find any takers."
See also "Illinois' Oberweis: "Bush Runs Tight Ship On Immigration." But It's Sinking", which includes an interview with Oberweis:
No other conclusion can be drawn: George W. Bush's Republican Party is more willing to take a licking in crucial November Senate elections than to allow its candidates to discuss illegal immigration.
Nationwide, there are at least three such cases-New York, California and Illinois. In all three, the Republican challenge is so feeble that the incumbents are essentially running unopposed...
[Oberweis says:] "Individuals interested in the Senate job were told to submit a paragraph to the Central Committee outlining their credentials. Those credentials would be reviewed and those candidates considered qualified would be invited to make a presentation to the Committee.
"I submitted a paragraph and never heard a word. Keyes never submitted anything and he's running for Senate."
Immigration2004 · Tue, 08/31/2004 - 19:28 · Importance: 4