Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Al Salvi are campaigning for the 1996 Illinois Senate race. Both candidates are seeking to moderate their messages in an attempt to win over moderate, mainstream voters.
0:06Copy video clip URL Democrat Dick Durbin runs against Republican Al Salvi for the 1996 Illinois Senate race. Salvi’s unexpected victory in the primary shocked the Republican Party establishment. Much of his support had come from Christian coalition members, anti-abortion groups, anti-gun control groups, and home-schoolers. Steve Neal of the Chicago Sun Times says that Democrats were encouraged by Salvi’s win, since they think his views are too right-wing for moderate voters.
1:56Copy video clip URL Durbin’s campaign strategy is focused on keeping Salvi labeled as an extremist and linking him with the “Newt Gingrich Congress”. Salvi has counter-attacked by painting Durbin as a liberal extremist, especially concerning tax increases.
4:22Copy video clip URL The battleground for the race will be fought in suburban middle-class neighborhoods, “where voters, particularly women, don’t like extreme messages or extreme labels.” To make his image more moderate, Salvi’s ads focus on his family, and he avoids talking about conservative social issues during speeches. Salvi has picked up the support of moderate party leaders, including Bob Dole. Neal says that Salvi has made the race competitive by moderating his message and picking up mainstream voters.
6:53Copy video clip URL Durbin is also emphasizing a more moderate message, trying to win back former Democratic voters such as union workers. He hopes to get a boost from Clinton’s popularity in Illinois, picking up Clinton’s moderate message as his own.
8:57Copy video clip URL End of tape.