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Today at Illinoize…

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

The Inside Dope has some info on GOP candidates who want to challenge Lane Evans.

David Morrison of the IL Campaign for Political Reform talks about judicial races.

Rep. John Fritchey has two posts up today, one on “intelligent design” and another about the Cook County president’s race and its impact on the governor’s primary.

Jeff Trigg, a new Illinoizian and former executive director of the state’s Libertarian Party, writes about the paucity of contested legislative races.

And too much more to list here! Point your browsers here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Extra reading

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

The Daily Herald has a pretty good look at the strengths and weaknesses of the various Republican gubernatorial candidates.

The State Journal-Register had one of the better stories on the Eisendrath kick-off.

This Sneed bit is somewhat telling:

Dem gubernatorial hopeful Edwin Eisendrath carried an appropriate totem when he announced his candidacy against incumbent Gov. Blagojevich: a silver bookmark engraved with the Winston Churchill quote, “Never, never, never give up.”

So, instead of a silver spoon, he’s got a silver bookmark?

And Jim Anderson of the Illinois Radio Network sent in this:

I’m trying to figure out the Eisendrath strategy, if there is one.

Where will the money come from? His family has a lot of its own, so this will be the least of his problems. With the SEIU being in big for Rod, maybe the AFL-CIO will go for Edwin — who knows. I think some lakefront liberals will give Edwin some money, but mostly he’ll have to pay out of his own pockets.

But getting in late — on the last day of filing — may actually help. Blair Hull spent zillions on a long campaign that came unglued at the end. Edwin can campaign like a house afire for 13 weeks, and see what it gets him. A candidate who has to raise funds, like Rauschenberger, needs as long a campaign as possible. But for Edwin, the short campaign might help.

Where will the votes come from? Let’s examine the 2002 Democratic primary, recognizing that in 2006, the electorate will be somewhat different, in that some of the 2002 voters have died or moved away, while new voters have moved into the state since then. But I don’t think the characteristics of the Democratic primary electorate have changed much.

Let’s suppose Eisendrath does well with the Vallas voters — 431,000 of them, or 34 percent in 2002. And let’s suppose Rod does well with the people who voted for him in 2002 — 457,000 of them, or 37 percent. That leaves Roland’s 363,000 votes to be fought over, with Rod only having to tie to win.

Here’s my assessment: The Roland voters would probably actually break toward Rod instead of Edwin. However, I think a lot of Rod voters may abandon him. If you look at how he did Downstate in the 2002 primary, he creamed the competition in county after county. I don’t see that happening if this alternative is perceived to be viable, so that has to be Edwin’s strategy: Make himself viable to Downstate Democrats who have fallen out of love with the guv, and hope he gets a good chunk of Paul’s votes.

In my opinion, Rod has solid support to win the Democratic primary in about the 70 percent range, meaning Eisendrath would still get close to 400,000 votes — a lot for a late-starting campaign for a guy with no name recognition, but not nearly enough to beat the Rodster.

UPDATE:And, for your holiday listening pleasure, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, sung to the tune of Folsum Prison Blues. I can’t stop listening. (Via Zorn, who, it turns out, wants to strap people down and extract their blood if they’re even suspected of a DUI.)

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

The blog will be all but shut down next week, so let’s begin our look back at 2005 today.

What do you think was the most important Illinois political story of the year?

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Another cigarette tax hike

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

A dollar a pack hike proposed in Cook County’s budget.

A $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax was the only hike proposed in the $3.1 billion 2006 Cook County budget released Monday by County Board President John H. Stroger Jr. (D-4th).

The increase would double the per-pack county cigarette tax, making it $2 for just the county portion of taxes levied on cigarettes in Cook County.

Stroger said the cigarette tax hike should take care of a $75 million shortfall in the budget, and he said it was appropriate in part because a “disproportionate” number of people who use the county health care system have problems related to tobacco use.

“I am proud of the fact that this budget limits growth to 1 percent over last year, well below the rate of inflation,” Stroger said. “I also appreciate that no one likes taxes, but the reality is that we have cut expenses to the bone and without some new resources, we will be faced with service cuts — something I cannot support.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Cegelis poll

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

As promised, here are some excerpts from yesterday’s Capitol Fax about the 6th Congressional District primary race.

Democrat Christine Cegelis lost to longtime Republican Congressman Henry Hyde last year 56-44. Since then, she has used her performance to argue that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ought to back her this time around in an open-seat contest against state Sen. Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton). […]

George W. Bush defeated John Kerry 53-47 in the Hyde district last year. So Cegelis underperformed Kerry’s result by 3 percentage points. Over in the 8th Congressional District, Democrat Melissa Bean defeated incumbent Republican Phil Crane 52-48, beating Kerry’s totals by 8 percentage points (Kerry lost that district 56-44). Bean lost in ‘02, but she outperformed Al Gore’s ‘00 performance in the district by a point.

It’s difficult, to say the least, to buttress an argument that Cegelis is entitled to another shot when she underperformed the top of the ticket.

And now the poll.

The poll of likely Democratic primary voters was taken August 8-10 and the results here are a subset of a general election poll, so the margin of error is pretty high, +/-6.5 percent. The data was also “weighted by age” by pollsters Bennet, Petts & Blumenthal “to better reflect the composition of the electorate.” Still, they’re the only numbers we have.

* Just 28 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in her district knew who Christine Cegelis was. Remember, this is after her high-profile race against Hyde and a strong effort to keep her campaign going in the months since then. Cegelis has burned through a bunch of money in the past year to keep her name out there, but just over a quarter of Democratic primary voters recognized her name in August.

* 48 percent of those same likely Dem primary voters knew who Peter O’Malley was, even though he had never run for office before. O’Malley dropped out of the Democratic primary race a couple of months after the poll was taken (the poll was not conducted by or for O’Malley’s campaign).

* Before he dropped out, the poll showed that O’Malley was leading Cegelis 26-19 (or 22-16 excluding “leaners”) in the primary. Even with that high margin of error, a seven-point lead is still pretty solid - about an 86 percent probability that O’Malley was ahead and the result wasn’t due to sampling error.

* Just 15 percent had a favorable view of Cegelis, while 5 percent had an unfavorable view. That’s bad news for someone who thinks that her last race will propel her to victory in the next contest.

The poll is flawed because of its small sample size and weighting, but until someone shows me better numbers and explains to me why underperforming the top of the ticket last year was no big deal, I can see why the DCCC decided that Christine Cegelis wasn’t the best Democratic candidate for that district.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Shaw to challenge Rep. Miller

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2005

I told you about this yesterday.

Nearly a lifetime in politics and two recent election setbacks apparently have not suppressed Robert Shaw’s desires to rejoin the political scene. […]

The former Chicago alderman and Cook County Board of Review commissioner filed Monday for a run in the Democratic primary for the state representative seat currently held by David Miller.

Shaw was soundly defeated earlier this year when he challenged longtime South Holland Village President Don DeGraff. […]

Another candidate, who works under William Shaw in the village of Dolton, filed petitions announcing her candidacy against the Rev. James Meeks, state senator from the 15th legislative district. […]

Howard, who also serves as spokesman for Meeks’ challenger, Carmella Glenn, said she works on the youth commission in Dolton and is a longtime child welfare advocate.

Strange doings down south. More in tomorrow’s Capitol Fax.

Consider this a primary politics open thread.

- Posted by Rich Miller   7 Comments      


Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Wednesday’s Capitol Fax will be chock full of interesting stuff from today’s candidate filings.

Two teasers. Former Cook County Board of Review Commissioner and former Alderman Robert Shaw filed against Rep. David Miller. And former Rep. and former Chicago Alderman Ray Frias filed against Sen. Tony Munoz a few minutes ago.

This is a primary election open thread.

UPDATE: It appears that Pat Quinn feels comfortable slamming the guv now that the nominating petition deadline has expired.

Politicians and veterans groups say Gov. Rod Blagojevich should reopen a state job the administration concedes was improperly filled so military veterans have a chance at it.

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn and others have called on Blagojevich to reverse the hiring of an Illinois Department of Employment Security administrator because it effectively bypassed a law giving veterans preference in state hiring.

“If there’s any question with the way the hiring was done, if there’s a taint, then I think you have to unwind it from a legal perspective and begin again, and do it right,” Quinn said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

This just in… Quigley out, to back Claypool

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Actually, it came through an hour ago. I missed it until now.

Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley announced today that he is dropping out of the race for County Board president and is throwing his support behind fellow Commissioner Forrest Claypool to unseat incumbent John Stroger.

Rather than run for the County Board presidency himself, Quigley said he would be chairman of Claypool’s campaign.

Barring a last-minute filing by somebody else, today’s announcement leaves a one-on-one matchup in the March Democratic primary between Claypool, former head of the Chicago Park District and twice chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley, and three-term President Stroger.

Quigley announced his decision to remove his name from the board presidency campaign and instead seek a third term as a county commissioner at an afternoon news conference at the Hotel Allegro in downtown Chicago.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      


Monday, Dec 19, 2005

The Anti-Christ rolls.

Former Illinois House Speaker Lee Daniels’ one-time top aide is cooperating with the federal government in a political corruption investigation, a prosecutor said today.

But more time is necessary to work out an agreement between prosecutors and attorneys for Michael Tristano, Assistant U.S. Attorney Manish Shah said.

“Mr. Tristano is cooperating with the government,” Shah told U.S. District Judge Charles R. Norgle. But he said no agreement was likely before mid-February.

Attorneys for the two sides already had said they were trying to work out such an agreement but had not specifically said that Tristano was already cooperating with the government.

Tristano, 49, is charged with fraud, theft and extortion conspiracy.

- Posted by Rich Miller   2 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Handicap the Republican lieutenant governor’s primary battle.

Rauschenberger, Birkett, Wegman, Kathuria, Cole and this guy, who I’ve never heard of.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Low turnout a sign of things to come?

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Only about a hundred people showed up for Edwin Eisendrath’s announcement yesterday.

In a 10-minute speech, Eisendrath promised to end “the era of scandals and investigations and embarrassment.”

Word of Eisendrath’s candidacy surfaced a month ago, but so far no fellow Democrats have endorsed him publicly.

Still, “I expect there will be plenty of support,” Eisendrath said.

Eisendrath is up against the governor’s $14 million campaign war chest. Eisendrath, who comes from a wealthy family, has said he hopes to raise $3 million to $6 million.

And since our current governor has a reputation of not responding to reporters’ inquiries, this is not a good sign.

Democrat Edwin Eisendrath, a former Chicago alderman who said he planned to challenge Blagojevich in the March primary election, also did not return a phone call for comment.

Everybody eventually learns the same lesson in Springfield: Keep Aaron Chambers happy or else. I was his roommate for a while. Very pleasant, easy-going guy. Best roommate I ever had, in fact. Never want to be on his bad side, however.

And what’s with the “Edwin” stuff? It’s all over his website. Sounds a little too snooty to my ears. Doesn’t anyone ever call him “Ed”?

UPDATE: Pool report from today’s Springfield press conference.

…just awful. He pretty much refused to speak in specificity about anything from his political support to his personal financial commitment to his positions on any number of policy issues. He came off as much, much more arrogant than I pictured him. He didn’t do himself any favors with a press corps that would be more than happy to run with stories unfavorable to Blagojevich.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Good stuff

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Laura Washington’s column today is very good.

‘Every morning, I am not awakened by a phone call from my father telling me what to do today.” — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

“I just don’t trust the boys. Like anything else, they will promise you anything. … It’s the same damn thing in politics.” — Illinois Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka

“I put love and loyalty over my career.” — Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun

These are just a few savory tidbits from an elegant afternoon tea held last Wednesday at the Drake Hotel. The scones and watercress were delicate, but the ladies minced no words.

The tea, sponsored by the Chicago Network, featured eight veteran women pols reflecting on how women make a difference in politics.

Read the whole thing.

- Posted by Rich Miller   4 Comments      

How ’bout them Bears?

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Man, there was some magic on that field last night.

This is a Chicago Bears open thread. Have fun.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Duckworth interview

Monday, Dec 19, 2005

Things got busy and a little crazy here this weekend and I didn’t have time to transcribe the 6th Congressional District Democratic candidate Tammy Duckworth interview. Sorry about that.

I’ll hit a couple of high points and try to get to the rest of it later, but I can’t make any promises at the moment.

Also, I’ll post some of those poll results I had in this morning’s Capitol Fax later today.

On O’Hare expansion: “The decision has already been made,” so she wants to take full advantage of it for her district, including the western access route. Duckworth also noted that she is a pilot and has flown into O’Hare. “I understand noise mitigation,” she said, “Nobody can pull the wool over my eyes.”

Duckworth complained about the lack of funding behind the president’s No Child Left Behind law, and said it was too “one size fits all.” She said there should be some “localized standards” but said “some testing is beneficial to teachers,” because it’s a “diagnostic tool.”

“The commute time is horrible,” on the tollways, she said, and supported more funding for the system, as well as widening some other roads in the district and more support for Metra. “Common sense stuff,” she claimed.

She has a plan for a “high-tech corridor” in the district. Her husband is an IT guy, who, she said, “worked a couple of IT jobs that were transferred to India.” This will likely be the centerpiece of her campaign, so watch for a lot more on this issue.

Train whistles are a big problem in the district, according to people I know there. The whistles blow all night. Duckworth didn’t miss a beat when asked about the issue, even though it was obvious that it was a surprise question. “Safety balanced with quality of life issues,” was how she fleshed it out while we were on the phone. “Maybe more funding for better crossings,” was one suggestion she came up with.

On illegal immigration, she said we “definitely need to strengthen our borders,” but “illegal immigrants are in this country… We need to come up with a way to help them achieve legal status… (including) affordable fines… It’s a balancing act.”

Sorry, again, for not posting the transcript.

UPDATE: I’ll post the Cegelis poll numbers tomorrow.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

* One more day
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