Bean hard to beat

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is not convinced the GOP can easily take back a seat in one of the most heavily Republican districts in the country — in his own Illinois back yard. In her second try, last November Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) beat Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) and took over the district he had represented for 34 years. Hastert, in an interview for my Chicago Sun-Times column, said it will be hard to beat her. It’s quite an admission.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) is not convinced the GOP can easily take back a seat in one of the most heavily Republican districts in the country — in his own Illinois back yard.

In her second try, last November Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) beat Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) and took over the district he had represented for 34 years. Hastert, in an interview for my Chicago Sun-Times column, said it will be hard to beat her. It’s quite an admission.

“It is the best Republican seat in the whole state of Illinois,’’ Hastert said. Then, noting how hard it is to beat an incumbent, the Speaker said, “And once someone has possession of a seat like that, no matter what the numbers are, it is not always easily to take it back.

“I think we need to find the best candidate and I think we need to have a lot of folks who are interested in it come forward and present their case.’’

The recruitment process Hastert is suggesting, however, takes time — and Bean is already putting together a fundraising plan to sock away a lot of bucks by the end of the year. Dems also named her to a prime committee perch — a spot on the Financial Services Committee.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) chief Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) said the Bean district will be a priority race for the DCCC. As for Hastert’s comments, Emanuel said, “sounds a little close to throwing in the towel.’’

Keeping tabs on Rahm: Emanuel would rather the press not be focused on his extensive fundraising activities, and he would prefer, I know in my heart, that I use this space to run his full floor statement on the escalating costs of Medicare … but this is a full-service column, and he is so excellent at it, I figure, Rahm, why keep it a secret? Let’s work in the sunlight. Anyway, you are probably going to be better than Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNYT: Don't make Acosta a political martyr Charities say they never received donations touted by Jeffrey Epstein: report Schumer to donate Epstein campaign contributions to groups fighting sexual violence MORE (D-N.Y.), who chairs the rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, because you are Rahm and … he is not.

I want to let everybody know how good you are when it comes to picking the pockets of some of the very wealthy people you hang with while you worry about people who may only have Social Security to depend on when they retire. On Monday night, Emanuel raised $1 million at his first big funder as DCCC chief, at an event in Chicago. On Monday night, Emanuel raised $1 million at his first big funder, an event in Chicago where he was “honored” as the new DCCC chief. Headliners on the invitation included Mayor Richard Daley, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the Illinois Democratic senators, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJulián Castro: 'Everybody knows that the President acts like a white supremacist' Ex-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins ABC News as contributor Daily Mail: Ex-British ambassador said Trump left Iran deal to spite Obama MORE and Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinProblem Solvers Caucus co-chair calls Trump comments about progressive congresswomen 'totally unacceptable' Trump's tweets unify a fractured Democratic Party Sunday shows - Immigration raids dominate MORE, plus the Dem House members.

Emanuel, the newly minted Ways and Means Committee member, had his event hosted by James A. Gordon, the founder and managing partner of Edgewater Funds, a private equity firm headquartered in Chicago. Here’s a great line from Edgewater’s website: “In our experience, the best investment opportunities are often found through introductions from trusted sources.’’

Emanuel told me that, at the end of February, he will be heading to Las Vegas to do some prospecting at the AFL-CIO convention and then do some Western-state candidate recruitment work. Thanks for sharing.

Reid takes on K Street: Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSteyer's impeachment solution is dead wrong The Hill's Morning Report - House Democrats clash over next steps at border Democrats look to demonize GOP leader MORE (Nev.) is taking a cue from the White House when it comes to going after the business base. He’s working the margins. This morning, Reid is breakfasting with a large group of healthcare lobbyists.

Sweet is the Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times. E-mail: lsweet3022@aol.com