Danny Davis turns back challenger, no votes are cast

Danny Davis faced a challenger in the March primary, River Forester Dan Roche, 38, husband, father of two, experienced in counter-terrorism with the CIA, currently heading anti-terrorism worldwide for CME (formerly Chicago Mercantile Exchange), smart, fotogenic, a fourth-generation Oak Parker by birth, a Fenwick alum.

Chi Mag writer Carol Felsenthal thought he “seemed to have a pretty good campaign going” over three months, until Jan. 10, when he dropped out as a candidate, his nominating petititions unrelentingly challenged by a Davis worker until it became clear to Roche and his lawyers that he was running out of money.

“The process was becoming too costly,” Roche told Felsenthal. “They [even] challenged my wife’s signature.” The idea, he told supporters, “was to waste our time and money [at] hearing after hearing at the Board of Elections, requiring full preparation of election lawyers and paid staff.” He couldn’t afford it. Danny Davis won. He had more money. Not a ballot was counted.

Felsenthal had not seen it coming.

Roche had some savvy people working for him, and more interns than he could use. He was raising some money ($50-75,000 in two months, he says, and the same in “commitments”), and he claims that he was accumulating endorsements from “suburban officials” and Chicago alderman, but he won’t name names.

Roche posits that Davis saw him as a real threat, as “a viable alternative. I have a history of public service, fourth generation in the area, business experience, enthusiasm and energy and the potential to raise real money.”

I asked Roche if he’d run again in the 7th—he absolutely rules out moving his family to another district. He called the result of his short campaign “disheartening,” but said “I would be remiss if I didn’t consider running again.”

He comes back often to his 9-year service, much of it “in harm’s way,” abroad, in the CIA. He joined right after 9/11, working in “counterterrorism analysis and operations. I know government service [he said] and it’s not the commuter flight between Reagan and O’Hare. Right now I’m just a citizen, which seems a pretty good thing,” Roche says. “I’ve been in some lousy, lousy places overseas.”

He could be back in a year or so. He’d be “remiss,” he said. We could hear more from him.

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