“Brendan Kelly secured the nomination with incredible momentum heading into the general election,” said DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “As a veteran and prosecutor with deep roots in his community and a record of working in a bipartisan manner to effect change, Brendan is already providing a clear contrast with his opponent as he focuses on the critical issues facing Southern Illinois. Brendan is in a great position to win this race in November.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Jacob Peters, DCCC Regional Press Secretary
Date: March 20, 2018
RE: The Case Against Rep. Mike Bost
There is no better contrast between what is wrong with Washington D.C. and how to fix it than the race between Rep. Mike Bost and Navy Veteran and State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly.
After decades of collecting a taxpayer-funded salary, and now two years of double-dipping into the deeply trouble Illinois state pension system to the tune of $70,000 annually, Mike Bost has lost sight of what matters to working families in Southern Illinois. In Washington, Bost sides with Speaker Paul Ryan and his powerful special interests 95% of the time, even if that means voting to take health care away from his constituents in order to give tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations. And back home, Bost can’t be bothered to show up and answer to the families he has let down, breaking a promise he made during his first congressional campaign to hold town halls.
Brendan Kelly has always fought for working families against the powerful few and their special interests. While Mike Bost and his friends in Washington aren’t listening, Brendan Kelly is standing up for middle class families in Southern Illinois. Brendan Kelly was the first State’s Attorney in Illinois to file suit against national pharmaceutical manufacturers for deceiving patients about the dangers of opioids, showing brave leadership in tackling a crisis that has ravaged local communities. He has also taken on criminals, domestic abusers, corrupt politicians in both parties, and successfully held Wall Street banks accountable for fraudulent mortgage practices that hurt southern Illinois. Now Brendan is running for Congress to invest in jobs and infrastructure, reduce health care costs, and continue to fix the opioid crisis.
With his deep roots in Southern Illinois and strong record of service in the military and as a prosecutor, Brendan Kelly is ready to hold Bost accountable, flip this seat, and give the district the independent voice it deserves in Congress.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Democrats may have landed their most prized recruit of the 2018 cycle in St. Clair County prosecutor Brendan Kelly, who outraised Bost this past cycle […] This is a top-tier Democratic opportunity.” [Cook Political Report 02/08/2018]
“The Downstate district swung heavily for Trump, but St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly gives Democrats a chance to win it back.” [Inside Elections 02/16/18]
“[…] Democrats believe Kelly is the game-changing candidate who can win. Party strategists have been trying to persuade him to run for years and it looks like it was worth (the) wait. […] GOP Rep. Mike Bost benefited from the political wave in the area previously but it’s unclear that he is ready when the climate shifts against him.” [Inside Elections 01/19/2018]
Belleville News Democrat: Probable Kelly-Bost matchup expected to be a fall toss-up
“The rating change comes as Kelly outraised Bost in the fourth quarter of 2017 — $315,000 to $248,000.” [02/09/2018]
“Republicans, including all six from Missouri and John Shimkus and Mike Bost from the Metro East, voted for the $1.5 trillion bill on the dubious pretext that it will spark economic growth that magically will trickle down to everyone’s benefit. In the meantime, corporate shareholders and wealthy taxpayers would enjoy the vast majority of the bill’s benefits.” [St. Louis Dispatch, Editorial, 11/21/17]
Rep. Mike Bost: Career Politician Who Lost His Way
All the Perks, None of the Work
If Mike Bost was ever the “citizen legislator” he claims to be, he certainly isn’t anymore. After criticizing his 2014 opponent for refusing to hold town halls and using tele town halls, Mike Bost has done the exact same thing, combining a shameless hypocrisy with a complete disdain for being accountable to his constituents.
Bost has been panned by local press for his use of taxpayer funds to help defend his own re-election. And at the height of the Illinois budget crisis, Mike Bost chose to startcollecting a state pension of $73,018 per year on top of his $174,000 congressional salary. Bost’s brazen double-dipping is the encapsulation of a career politician who has completely lost touch with the concerns of working families.
“Bost’s pension is calculated at the maximum rate, 85 percent of his final salary — a rate that teachers will never get, regardless of retirement age or years of service. The maximum rate for teachers’ pensions is 75 percent of final pay.” [Peoria Journal Star, 2/24/2018]
Abandoned Working Families, Seniors on Health Care
Despite opposition and concern from his district, Mike Bost voted for Paul Ryan’s health care bill that would have left nearly 38,000 fewer people in Southern Illinois with health insurance, raised their premiums, imposed an age tax on seniors, and did nothing to lower the price of prescription drugs. After that failed, he supported gutting the Affordable Care Act as part of the GOP Tax Scam, which will lead to a 19% premium increase in Illinois this year. And because of how that bill blew up the deficit, it has opened the door to Washington Republicans coming after Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Put Corporations Ahead of Workers with GOP Tax Scam
Mike Bost voted for the Washington Republican tax scam that gives 83% of its benefits to the wealthiest 1% of Americans, while millions of middle class families pay more over time. If that weren’t bad enough, the GOP tax scam will increase incentives for companies to move jobs overseas and would lead to more expensive health insurance. While Bost tries to sell this as a middle class tax cut, his constituents know this bill is just a hand out to corporations, banks, pharmaceutical companies, and dozens of lawmakers. That would explain why Washington, D.C., lobbyists took a victory lap after Bost’s vote, while Bost’s constituents protested the bill.
THE PATH TO VICTORY
Brendan Kelly is a top-tier candidate whose independent profile and strong campaign have made this Trump district a Toss Up. Brendan Kelly has outraised Mike Bost in two consecutive fundraising quarters, and raised nearly four times as much as Bost between January 1 and February 28. Even more stunning, Kelly ended that period with $663k in the bank, just $21k less than Bost’s $684k. But even more than his strength as a campaigner, it is Brendan Kelly’s record of service as a Navy Veteran and prosecutor that makes this race so competitive.
Brendan Kelly is the elected State’s Attorney of St. Clair County, where nearly 39% of the district’s voters live. During his career, Brendan successfully sued the big banks for pushing fraudulent mortgages; was the first State’s Attorney in Illinois to take on pharmaceutical companies for their role in the opioid crisis; and has more than doubled the rate of charges for domestic assault cases. This record of independent leadership – combined with his message of taking on special interests and standing up for working families – is exactly what a Democrat needs to win in a district that supported Trump by fifteen percentage points in the same year that Senator Duckworth carried it by nine points. One Brendan Kelly’s first digital ads of the campaign told the story of a mother who had lost her daughter to the opioid crisis and how he has led the fight to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable – a preview of how he will highlight his record of getting things done on issues important to the community.
While the district shifted sharply towards Trump in 2016, it supported President Obama twice and has a history of supporting down-ballot Democrats. The district is majority rural, and has a lower than state average median income and higher than average rate of individuals without health insurance, making Bost’s votes to undermine health care coverage and give tax breaks to the wealthy and large corporations particularly toxic.