Jason Plummer, Where Art Thou?
Anybody seen Jason Plummer?
The political reporter at the most-watched television station in Illinois, yours truly, would like to meet the guy.
Like sometime before the November 2, 2010 general election.
In Chicago and its suburbs, sightings of the republican nominee for lieutenant governor are few and far between. And what's really weird for a candidate, when he does make an appearance north of Interstate 80 it is usually unannounced to the media by the Brady/Plummer campaign.
Last week, the 27 year old son of an Edwardsville lumber company owner "tweeted" from Geneva where he pressed the flesh at a Kane County Cougars minor league baseball game. His facebook account mentioned other stops in Carpentersville and Oakbrook that reporters like me could read about after the fact.
ABC7's Sheldon Hoffenberg, the producer of our Sunday morning Newsviews segment tells me that he's tried unsuccessfully for months to get Plummer on the set for a taping.
So what gives?
The Bill Brady for Governor campaign is pretty good about letting us know when the Bloomington state senator is anywhere near Chicago. Brady also bends over backwards to give reporters access when he's in town and is available by telephone when he's downstate.
Jamie Elich, a spokeswoman for the ticket, told me that Plummer is concentrating his efforts downstate and that his campaign appearances in and around Chicago have been limited by his commitment to the U.S. Navy Reserve.
To this reporter, it seems Plummer has been gun-shy when it comes to Chicago television since his disastrous live interview on WTTW's Chicago Tonight in late February (See Precinct7 February 26, 2010). And the first-time candidate who financed his winning primary campaign with over a million dollars of his own money has been a virtual fugitive from Chicago journalists since his refusal in May to release his federal income tax returns.
That was two months ago.
Surely, Senator Brady and his advisers do not expect that Plummer can avoid the Chicago media and its questions for an entire general election campaign. They should also understand that the longer Plummer tries, the more questions the city's newshounds will have about the number two candidate on the republican ticket.
The choice of a lieutenant governor for Illinois is a critical decision.
Just ask Pat Quinn.