One might think Tuesday would be a big day for “new-age Republican” Myles L. Tobin. Going for a seat in the House of Representatives in the Democratic stronghold District 9, but with both Tobin and incumbent Arthur Turner II running unopposed, their face off won’t happen until November.
As a “new-age Republican” Tobin said he is a fiscal conservative, but also a social moderate, and for Chicago that represents a new style for Republican viewpoints.
“I’m pro-choice, I support gay marriage, and yet on fiscal issues I’m very conservative,” Tobin said. “I think we should live within our means.”
The Republican Party reached out to Tobin and asked him to consider running as a representative for House District 9. An oddly drawn district which covers neighborhoods such as the mostly Hispanic and White village of Cicero, through the mostly black North Lawndale and all the way up to the more cosmopolitan Lincoln Park.
The Lincoln Park resident said he agreed to run because he was tired of complaining about what others needed to do, and instead wanted to do something about it himself.
“I take great pride in living in Chicago and Illinois, and I don’t appreciate the fact that the state is being mismanaged,” Tobin said.
Rep. Turner (D-Chicago) has represented the 9th District since 2010, and the seat was previously represented by his father, Arthur Turner, since 1981.
“We have serious financial issues in Illinois and some folks have been dismissive of that,” Tobin said. “My background and experience helps me to understand how to deal with those issues.”
A partner at the law firm Fletcher & Sippel, Tobin has more than 30 years of legal experience representing organizations like railroads, transportation companies, and state and local governments.
“I’m not a politician, never been a politician never aspired to be one frankly,” Tobin said. “I’ve been a businessman and I understand how business operates.”
Tobin said he has also been the head of a law department, and handled multiple deals throughout Illinois and the United States.
Bringing business into Illinois is an important aspect Tobin said he wants to focus on because it also brings jobs back into the state, which is a concept he said “seems to be lost on our politicians in Springfield.”
Tobin said he has both business and financial experience, which make him a pretty solid candidate. He said the state has been a tax and spend, and spend and tax state “to the point of ludicrous.”
“The state doesn’t live within its checkbook, part of what I intent to do is to look for things for where we can cut spending,” Tobin said.
Chris Cleveland, vice chairman for the Chicago Republican Party, said he encouraged Tobin to run because he understands the nature of the problems that Illinois faces.
“He understands the epic tragedy that is Illinois,” Cleveland said.
Cleveland said Tobin also understands the neighborhood and cares about the community.
He said the Republican Party thinks Tobin’s chances are good, but “running in Chicago as a Republican is always a challenge.”
Robert Starks, an associate professor of African-American politics for the Inner City Studies Center at Northeastern Illinois University, said he thinks there is a great likelihood that Turner will come out on top.
“Republicans inside the city of Chicago haven’t done well in the city, county or state level,” Starks said.
And because there is a sense of familiarity with the Turner name, Starks said he thinks voters will lean that way, and because Turner has the support of House Speaker Mike Madigan.
Tobin has yet to seek out contributions or endorsements for the primary and does not have a registered campaign fund with the state. Turner’s campaign fund has more than $77,000 according to the latest quarterly findings with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
Kent Redfield, a professor of political science at University of Illinois-Springfield, said people with money almost always beat those without, but they don’t always win.
Redfield said money should be thought of as a threshold, you need a certain a mount to be visible and a certain amount to be viable.
Tobin said he doesn’t think the elections should be an issue of Democrats versus Republicans, but should be an issue of whether he’s a better candidate than Turner.
“And I think the answer is yes,” Tobin said.