I thank you for all your hard work and support during my last 910 days of campaigning.
It was your challenge to the power structure that weakened Dennis Hastert in 2006,
culminating in a Democratic victory in the March 8th special primary.
This campaign has never been about me as an individual.
Any success that we have achieved in building a stronger political structure in Illinois and raising the bar on our Democratic opponents is because of you.
Many of you have written e-mails encouraging the pursuit of the recount over the last four weeks.
I have considered and carefully weighed the opinions of those who worked hard going door-to-door and contributed for real change.
However we have to remember that the possible is not always probable, and a recount will be costly in terms of both volunteer time and supporter money, and there is no guarantee.
In light of Saturday’s election results, and in consultation with my senior campaign staff, I have directed my attorney this morning to withdraw the recount petitions.
Because our Congressional campaign is over does not mean I will end my involvement in electoral politics. I vowed to stay in until our service men and women return from Iraq, and I have every intention of honoring that vow.
My brother and I worked on our first campaign in 2004. He recently sent a picture with his son Luke and offered his thoughts on the election:
“… let them know, that despite everything you are going to fight on for Single Payer, because that is where the Democratic party should be, fair trade agreements, because that is where the Democratic party should be, and so on…”
That is what I plan to do; stay involved and fight for real change.
I did not get involved in politics for personal gain or power.
I got involved because the alternative was doing nothing about the injustices I see every day.
Bobby Kennedy was fond of saying, “the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who fail to act in great times of moral crisis.”
As Iraq and the economy continue to burn, I hope that everyone will stay active in electoral politics, will stay informed and will hold all our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make in our name.
Let me begin by congratulating Bill Foster in his special election win.
We will be cheering him on in the special election.
This is what we know with respect to the regular primary election that was held on February 5th.
Currently, we know that there is a difference of 355 votes out of 75,000 votes cast in a historic Democratic turnout for this district. This is less than 1 vote per precinct.
Yesterday, February 7th was the first day when election officials could begin to count provisional ballots. As of today, there are a significant number of provisional and absentee ballots that remain uncounted.
We have been in close contact with officials in the 9 jurisdictions throughout the 14th Congressional District. And I would like to express my appreciation to all of the election judges who had to deal with the challenges that came with three elections in a very short period of time. It has been challenging for many of them and we are grateful for their continued effort to help us resolve some of the unknowns as we await the process.
By Illinois Statute, provisional and absentee ballots must be counted by February 19th. The regular primary must be certified by March 7th.
While we are awaiting the official election results, we remain committed to the Democratic process.
The next question I would like to answer is what is next for John Laesch?
I became involved in electoral politics because I disagreed with 2003 pre-emptive war policy and invasion of Iraq. I chose to run for United States Congress in 2005 after my brother received his orders to go to Baghdad. I have stated consistently that I will remain involved in electoral politics until every single U.S. soldier is safely home from Iraq.
My younger brother, Sgt. Pete Laesch voted with an absentee ballot on February 5th.
As of today, my brother’s vote has not been counted.
We have no choice but to await the final results of the February 5th Primary Election.”
The League of Women Voters sponsored a forum on Tuesday for all five candidates running for former Speaker Hastert’s open seat in the 14th.
Video of the debate will be posted on the League website and we’ll let you know when that happens so you can see John in action.
Excitement and interest in this race are high.
We were told the LWV expected about 200 hundred people but today’s papers report the crowd was 600.
Last night, John showed that he had the political will to lead and fight for important issues.
Among the candidate’s positions on Iraq, John’s was the only one clear and direct: cut funding for the war, the only real option for a Congressman, and bring our soldiers home now.
Regarding our health care crisis, John’s support of Rep. Conyers’ bill, HR-676, Medicare for All, distinguished him as the only candidate ready to vote for true universal health care.
While the Republicans on stage called for more free market/for profit solutions and John’s Democratic opponents wouldn’t commit to any particular health care financing solution, John offered a national health care plan that 79 members of Congress already support.
John challenged Republican Jim Oberweis’ impartiality on trade issues.
John noted that Oberweis’ investment fund , Oberweis Asset Management, makes $ 14 million dollars a year from investment in China, creating a potential conflict of interest regarding trade legislation. Oberweis did not respond to John’s comments.
John Laesch is campaigning for Congress in the 14th District of Illinois.
Laesch, a former military intelligence analyst, previously ran for the 14th District seat in 2006 but was defeated by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Hastert has since announced his retirement and does not plan to run for Congress in 2008.
“You’ll hear me talk consistently about the importance of three things,” Laesch said. “Those things are the war in Iraq, the importance of health care and the economy.”
Laesch has one eye firmly fixed on international affairs.
“One of the biggest reasons why I’m running is the war in Iraq; there’s no real plan to get out or to win the peace,” Laesch said. “The primary reason we’re involved is because of oil, only to occupy. Bush wants his friends to monopolize the region, that’s his goal.”
The lack of military experience in today’s political leaders is something Laesch, who served in the Middle East, sees as an advantage for himself.
“Basically, we’ve got a bunch of lawyers making decisions they know nothing about,” Laesch said. “We need someone in there who knows the situation and the region we’re dealing with.”
Laesch has a personal tie to the current war in Iraq.
“My brother received his orders to go to Iraq in 2005 and was there for the end of 2005 and most of 2006,” Laesch said. “When he went overseas, that’s when I decided I was running.”
“I want to get every American soldier and private contractor out of Iraq,” Laesch said. “We could do that in two to three months successfully. The problem is, Congress doesn’t have the power to do this directly. But I can vote to cut the war funding and basically twist the president’s arm behind his back, forcing him to do something he doesn’t want to.”
Laesch also emphasizes health care and economy, hoping to bring better coverage and more jobs to citizens.
“We’ve got families working two to three jobs just to get by sometimes. They can’t afford to pay health insurance,” Laesch said. “What I’m working toward is a single-payer national health care plan, which essentially means people will get medication and coverage for free. Basically, everyone would have open medicare from birth to death, instead of only having access to it once they are 65.”
Laesch has outlined an environmentally conscious plan which will create new jobs.
“I would adopt a new environmental energy policy, involving the production of hybrid cars, a high-speed continental railroad and environmental home remodeling,” Laesch said. “All three of these things will create jobs.”
“The trade deficit is ridiculous – something like $702 billion, it’s a problem that has to be addressed. We need to fix the trade imbalance, so we’re producing things in America again,” Laesch said.