Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Drafting Coaches to Politics -- with Chicago & Pittsburgh Roots

I lived and coached in Chicago. I met my wife there as she was getting her Ph.D. at Northwestern.

Furthermore, drafting "running partners" is a theme -- as is there a need to draft good candidates in general.

The Draft Ditka movement, mentioned here a while ago, picked up steam, then turned to State Party Chairmanship -- not US Senata. Ditka went to a House Republican Organization Fundraiser at Navy Pier. House GOP Leader, Tom Cross, HRO Chairman, Skip Saviano, and Deputy House Leader, Brent Hassert, were set to endorse a Ditka Candidacy. For the latest, contact: David Dring 312.505.0256 or Tom Pence 630.215.3017, or visit their site.

Football fans, Pittsburghers, ex-coaches and GOPers take note. Some are hoping to draft former Chicago Bears Coach Mike Dikta into the big leagues of Illinois politics. was created by staff members in the Illinois House to gather signatures to nominate Ditka as the chairman of the state's Republican party after the current chairwoman, Judy Baar Topinka, steps down at the end of this election cycle. Within days, the website had generated 6,000 signatures.

With the vacancy left by Jack Ryan for the GOP Nomination for U.S. Senate, Coach Ditka's name came to the surface.

There are some real heart warmers on the "Letters to Ditka" page worth reading. My letter went like this:


I too am a Pittsburgh-native, coach, GOPer, and have had the same passion of you and helped here with Pitt Rocks fellows to save Pitt Stadium. That was my entry into serious politics. And, I'm still mad -- and expect to run again for Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, in 2005. I'd love to have you visit Pittsburgh and hold a special event for you here in Pittsburgh. And, we'd put it into a TV show. How about a policy address to those beyond the Lincolnland -- from your homeland. Thanks for the consideration. Call my cell: 412-298-3432. We'll be in Chicago and would meet with anyone there in early August.

My efforts are now being put into motion so as to hold an event on September 11, 2004, in Pittsburgh with Coach Mike Ditka. We'd be able to attend the Pitt game vs. Ohio University. Want to help? Send an email ---> Ditka-Rocks@CLOH.Org.

More political spin: Phil Jackson is also free these days and might consider coming back to Chicago, and if it's not for DAAA Bulls it just might be for DAAA Elephants.

News Swells and a recent story that is the Top Story on Yahoo!

Former NFL coach eyes US Senate seat

CHICAGO (AFP) - A former NFL coach is considering a run for a US Senate seat, following a path already blazed by the likes of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (news - web sites), and former Minnesota governor Jesse "The Body" Ventura.

Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, better known to his fans as the irascible "Iron Mike," is mulling a run for public office -- one in which his considerable name recognition would be a powerful asset.

"I'm getting excited about it," Ditka said in an interview with a Chicago television network Monday.

The 65-year-old NFL Hall of Famer stressed that he was just evaluating the idea, but that was enough to rev up his many fans in this Midwestern state, some of whom have already established a "Draft Dikta" campaign.

"We need more signatures on the petition. We want to present them to him this week and we need your help," read one entry made Monday on the "" website.

"Da Coach will do this if we push him!"

The people behind the website aim to collect 10,000 signatures to encourage Ditka to run, and say they have already passed the 6,000 mark.

Republican Party officials have not formally approached the 65-year-old about joining the race, but they are desperate to find a viable candidate to put on the ticket.

The previous candidate, millionaire banker Jack Ryan, quit the race late last month over a late-breaking sex scandal, and some Republicans who have been touted as possible replacements have reportedly balked at jumping into a campaign at this late stage.

Even before the sex rumpus, Ryan was trailing his Democratic rival Barack Obama by 20 points in the polls.

"Certainly, you wouldn't have to spend five or six million dollars for people to get to know (his) name," said Dennis Hastert, a US representative from Illinois and the most senior member of the state's congressional delegation.

Even this state's Democratic governor said he would welcome a Ditka candidacy because it would add spice to the race. "I love Mike Ditka. He's a straight talking guy who talks from the heart," said Rod Blagojevich.

There are still some hurdles left: Ditka's wife has said she will divorce him if he throws his hat in the ring, and he is not apparently even registered to vote in this state.

The Senate seat is currently held by a Republican, Senator Peter Fitzgerald, but he is stepping down after one term and voters will choose his successor in November.

No comments: