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The horses are approaching the starting gates

Tuesday, Mar 31, 2009

* Congressman Mark Kirk says he will make a decision about running for statewide office “by the end of next month.” He told NBC5 that he wants to read the Blagojevich indictment before making a final decision.

Asked if he’d made any downstate trips to learn more about the state, Kirk said he’s so far been to McHenry, DuPage and Champaign counties. [Hat tip: Team America]

* I asked a source close to Sheriff Tom Dart yesterday about whether Dart might be interested in running for statewide office. I’ll save the response for subscribers, but CBS2 talked to Dart himself

Sheriff Tom Dart seems to be everywhere these days. He’s arresting sex offenders, tackling the dark side of the Internet and rescuing puppies. He’s gone after cemetery vandals, helped to run a sting aimed at burglars, and Monday, in another moment made for TV, specifically Dr. Phil, Dart took on prostitutes using the Craigslist Web site. He’s a media regular.

So, is he running or what?

“People have talked to me about other opportunities out there,” Dart told CBS 2.

If Lisa Madigan runs for governor, as expected, some Democrats want Dart to run to replace her as state attorney general. If that doesn’t happen, Dart may against Todd Stroger for Cook County Board president. […]

“I can’t think of a scenario where I would not be running for re-election,” Dart said earlier this month. “I couldn’t be more honest with you, if I wanted to.”

CBS2 asked Republican strategist and Cicero town/township/park district/TIF district spokesperson Dan Proft his opinion about Dart. Maybe they should’ve also asked Proft about the quite weird but oddly persistent and credible reports that Proft wants to run for governor. I just tried calling him, but there was no answer, so I left a message.

* The Illinois Republican Party responds to yesterday’s announcement by Alexi Giannoulias that he won’t take corporate PAC money or federal lobbyist cash in his US Senate bid…

In an attempt to hide his record of questionable loans to crime figures and willingness to look the other way on Rod Blagojevich’s flagrant corruption, Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias announced today that his Senate campaign will refuse donations from corporate PACs and federal lobbyists.

“No amount of phony reform and renewal pledges from Alexi Giannoulias can hide his shameful history of bankrolling mobsters and convicted felons like Tony Rezko,” said ILGOP Spokesman Lance Trover.

The Giannoulias family bank, Broadway bank, made millions of dollars in loans to Tony Rezko as well as Michael Giorango and Boris Stratievsky, convicted felons and reputed mob figures. These loans were made while Alexi Giannoulias was the chief loan officer.

“If Mr. Giannoulias wants to kick off his campaign by talking about reform then he should begin by fully explaining why, throughout the last six years, he loaned millions of dollars to mob figures and endorsed Rod Blagojevich for re-election in 2006,” added Trover.

In addition, Mr. Giannoulias apparently has no problem with unions attempting to “buy a seat at the table”, as he neglected to ban the labor contributions that bankrolled his Illinois Treasurer campaign to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars.

* Sen. Rutherford is gearing up for treasurer

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney is headlining a fundraiser for state Sen. Dan Rutherford, who’s interested in running for Illinois treasurer.

A downstate Republican, Rutherford says he plans to announce when the General Assembly is on Easter break that he will form an exploratory committee.

* Chicago Public Radio talks to state Rep. Julie Hamos about her future

An Illinois state representative says she’s interested in running for two high-profile offices in next year’s election. But Evanston Democrat Julie Hamos says everything is in a “holding pattern” for now.

As we’ve discussed before, Hamos is thinking about running for attorney general or Congress, if Jan Schakowsky defies expectations and runs for US Senate.

HAMOS: Some musical chairs have to take place. People are judging where the state’s going, how well we can solve the problems facing us, and nobody’s quite jumping in to anything quite yet.

With a primary election in Illinois just ten months away, Hamos needs to organize and start lining up contributors - efforts, she says, that are already underway.

Petitions go out just over four months from now. Time’s a-wastin’.

Hamos is avoiding any firm position on possibly the most politically explosive issue right now in Illinois: Governor Pat Quinn’s proposed income tax hike. She says she wants more answers about the state’s finances.

That does put her in a bind.

…Adding… Ald. Preckwinkle appears to be using her vote against the Chicago parking meter contract to her advantage in the county board presidency bid.

* Related…

* Giannoulias to decline special interest cash

* Treasurer says he won’t accept lobbyist cash

* Editorial: Quigley for 5th District seat : A brief word about Pulido. She is the founder of the Illinois Minuteman Project, a far right group that battles illegal immigration. The national Republican Party is offering Pulido no help, which speaks volumes about her candidacy. She is well outside the mainstream.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Bill - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 10:54 am:

    Dart should run for US Senate if Lisa doesn’t.

  2. - ValleyGal - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:01 am:

    I about lost my coffee just now — Kirk thinks DuPage and McHenry counties are downstate?? sheewh

  3. - Bill S. Preston, Esq. - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:05 am:

    Good to read that the Republicans are really going to try and stick to the issues this election cycle.

  4. - Some Guy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:06 am:


    I had the exact same reaction.

  5. - EmptySuitParade - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:07 am:

    I am shocked that Chairman TugBoatAndy is not going all out in the 5th…..Someone should ask Commando/Congressman Kirk how soon he plans to visit Lincoln County

  6. - Lamebrain - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:08 am:

    Mark Kirk is waiting to read the Blago indictment? How lame is that for a reason that he’s not ready to announce?

  7. - Heartless Libertarian - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:10 am:

    Good luck, Mr Rutherford… I hope you can do it….

    From what I hear, word on the street is Hines is going to run for Attorney General if Lisa runs for Gov. So, now Dart is going for it too? Or is one of them just playing a smoke and mirror game?

  8. - Deep South - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:11 am:

    Yeah, good luck to Kirk. I’ve seen too many “upstate” politicians who think the Illinois ends at Peoria or Champaign or Springfield. You know, somewhere “downstate.” Most were never heard from again.

  9. - shermans ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:14 am:

    “downstate trips to learn more about the state, Kirk said he’s so far been to McHenry, DuPage and Champaign counties. [Hat tip: Team America]”

    And this is the attitude that irritates the heck out of downstate folks about cook county politicians. Total blindness to most of the state.
    Incredible level of ignorance.

  10. - Rob_N - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:19 am:

    Sherman - re: Kirk, make that a “Lake County politician”

    I’m surprised Team Am publicized that bizarre quote. McHenry County borders Wisconsin… how is that “downstate”?

  11. - lake county democrat - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:19 am:

    Kirk annoys the heck out of me in a way John Porter never did. He has purposefully flown under the radar ever since getting into office. He sends us inane push-polls (for example, he’s asked us if we agree with Chuck Rangell’s call to bring back the draft, but never asked us what we think about Iraq). He’s never on the national talk shows and never taking point on a controversial issue. “Moderate” doesn’t have to mean dispassion.

  12. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:25 am:

    At least Kirk had to travel through a couple of other counties to get so far south as Champaign. Must have been an exhausting trip. He will think of himself as a real world traveler when he has made it to Paris, Berlin, and Vienna.

  13. - Hair today, gone.... - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:26 am:

    I heard Hynes doesn’t want to stay on as comptroller and is eyeing AG if Lisa runs. He should walk away and go into private practive.

    Tom Dart has gotten pushed aside several times for Hynes. Dart has a proven track record of doing the job and doing it well. He’d be a great county board pres or AG. I don’t think he wants to go to Washington, at least not now. I hope he doesn’t get passed over again this time.

  14. - Amy - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:27 am:

    once upon a time, R.M.Daley leaked to all who would listen that he was going to run against Morgan Finley, who had infamously deserted the Bridgeport gang, moved to the burbs, and linked up with Jane Byrne. Then Daley ran for State’s Attorney, surprising all and scaring Finley all at once.

    sort of reminds me of what Dart and Hynes are doing to each other.

  15. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:35 am:

    Dismissing the Minutemen as a far right group is inane.

    Its sole position is that it opposes illegal aliens and ia in favor of borders. It does not oppose legal immigration.

    Its position is quire sound. The entry level positions which are being taken by illegal aliens need to be filled by our legal residents — green card aliens and citizens.

    Unfortunately this is opposed by of all people the right wing capitalists who see larger profits, rather than having to raise wages to attract our own people..

    There is a huge Gray Market which receives cash wages paid by off the books sales.. On the labor side there is an avoidance of paying into the social security trust fund, contributing to medicare and paying withholding and making state and local income, unemployment compensation and workmen’s compensation taxes.

    Entry level jobs provide the discipline to the worker which will carry him on a path of self improvement and savings.

    Beyond that, the open borders are used as conduits for drug smuggling — marijuana by the ton and other drugs — and provide a pathway for terrorist infiltration.

    I do not understand why this can be coinsidered an extreme right wing position.

  16. - chiatty - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:45 am:

    Tom Dart is a very capable, diligent and ethical politician and would be an asset as the Illinois Attorney General or any of the other constitutional offices. I hesitate to say that he should run for the U.S. Senate seat, because of the depth of competition, but he certainly wouldn’t be “out of his depth” with any of the candidates whose names have been mentioned thus far. Others may have better financing and arguably better name recognition, but none is better qualified, IMHO.

  17. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:51 am:

    Kirk didn’t say he had been downstate, he named the places he has been - McHenry, DuPage and Champaign.

    Plus, look at Kirk’s bio. He was born in Champaign, has family in Sullivan, grew up in Downers Grove and Kenilworth. He knows his IL geography. I think we are just splitting hairs.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 11:58 am:

    Lake County Democrat -

    Does Kirk annoy you because he is a moderate Republican who had proven that he can win even in the toughest of elections?

    Don’t forget, Seals couldn’t even win in a year when Obama got 61% in the 10th District.

    If Republican really wants to win, they need to recognize Kirk is a solid candidate who can raise money and offer a unifying message.

    Or we can just lose another Senate race - again (Jim Durkin) - and again (Jack Ryan/Alan Keyes) - and again (Steve Saurberg) and again…

  19. - Winston - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    Looks like the Alexi apologists are out in force today - “pay no attention to Alexi taking union PAC money, or direct contributions from businesses or lobbyists.” His announcement yesterday really shows the worry that Alexi can easily be branded as the “mob’s banker.” Talk about evil corporate PAC money, and all of a sudden, “poof,” a clean candidate.

  20. - JonShibleyFan - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:07 pm:

    So, these words are strung together above:

    “…Proft wants to run for governor.”

    And no comments? Seriously?

  21. - Ela Observer - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:09 pm:

    Mark Kirk’s Scarlett-O’Hara-playing-hard-to-get routine is all about he would be giving up a relatively safe congressional seat — to run for Senate. Where it is likely he wouldn’t even survive the primary. Kirk is waiting for concessions & guarantees from the State leadership. My guess is he ends up staying put in the 10th.

  22. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:14 pm:

    Here’s one JSF,

    Please please please run Dan! Proft is a opp researcher’s dream candidate. Walk into the arena and see how fast you’re carried out. I might even send a contribution just to see it happen.

    What a train wreck the ILGOP is that someone like Proft could utter those words with a straight face.

  23. Pingback ArchPundit | Because God Cannot Love Me This Much - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    […] From Rich: […]

  24. - One to the Dome - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:15 pm:

    Alexi can self fund… he does not need to take the money

  25. - Ghost - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:35 pm:

    SO much for the Hynes gets AG discussion if Hamos and Dart want to ake a run for it. Could be interesting to see which way the madigans go in a Hynes v hamos pair up. And I though all the fun was gone with rod.

  26. - Frank E. - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:40 pm:

    Would love to see either Dart or Hynes run for that Senate seat. (Maybe that’s the plan, one runs for AG the other for Senate.)

    I can’t stand the idea of Alexi getting a free ride in the Senate primary if Jan and Bill Daley aren’t running.

  27. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 12:44 pm:

    Gee! The anti-Kirk people jumping up and down neglected one key fact. Mark Kirk lives a mile away from me. We both live in Lake County. Lake County borders Wisconsin. Nearly everyone is “downstate” from where we both live.

    Kirk is a tireless campaigner. You will all get plenty of face time with him.

  28. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:28 pm:

    On top of the races mentioned, I suspect that some in the State House who were close to Blago are going to have some well-funded challengers.

  29. - Shore - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:36 pm:


  30. - ConservativeVeteran - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 1:37 pm:

    In the 5th Congressional District, the best candidate is Rosanna Pulido. Quigley rewards criminals by ensuring that Cook Co. is a sanctuary for illegal aliens. Pulido thinks that law enforcement officials, of all levels, should enforce the laws, better.

  31. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 2:31 pm:

    Kirk’s comment about “Downstate” reminds me of another prospective candidate who mentioned going to “southern” Illinois by taking a trip to Springfield!

    Sheesh. Get a roadmap. There is still a lot of Illinois south of the capital.

  32. - Kellen - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:05 pm:

    If any of you even watched the interview with Kirk, you’d notice that he NEVER says that McHenry, DuPage or Champaign are downstate. He is asked if he has been to a few specific towns- E. St. Louis, C’dale, Peoria, Decatur- for a listening tour, and he says that he has not but he has been to these other places in the last few months. Don’t misrepresent what a guy says.

    I used to live in Kirk’s district and think he is a good representative. I think he’d be a MAJOR upgrade for IL as US Senator.

  33. - Cosmic Charlie - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 3:13 pm:

    My guess is Dart will stay where he is this time around. He has sought an office for years and now that he has one I don’t see him giving it up after one term. Plus he does not have a whole lot of money in his political fund which would make statewide a difficult race for him.

  34. - steve schnorf - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:25 pm:

    Any interested in whether the Minuteman Project qualifies as a right-wing group, go to their website and read their piece on “Alien Birthright Citizenship”. Most of you will no longer be in doubt, as they attempt to take citizen status from persons whose citizenship is based on being born in this country.

  35. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    I believe the term is “anchor babies” Steve. Thanks for pointing that out.

  36. - Truthful James - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 5:28 pm:

    I have been to the Minuteman Project site and further to the documentation for the position taken by the Minuteman Project at:

    The Blog attempts to show that two factors not just the accident of birth apply. In addition to the location of birth, the ability of the parent to forswear allegiance to another country comes into question. If the mother has not arrived legally and has applied for legal residence preparatory to naturalization, she does not qualify.

    It is an interesting position, with which I happen to agree. The motive of the mother in having a child born in the United States comes into question.

    I do not believe that qualifies me for being an extreme right wing person. Birth is not a lottery prize. The illegal alien parent should not qualify for permanent residence in this country because she accidentally or purposefully gave birth to a child here.

    In fact, the child owes allegiance to its parent and should return with the deported alien parent to the country of origin. A case might be made if the child were adopted by a legal immigrant or citizen family under the assumption that the baby’s allegiance was transferred to its adopting family. In adoption the birth mother loses her rights as a parent and she can be returned to that country from which she came.

  37. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 6:48 pm:

    Why does Kirk have to read the indictment first? I don’t get it.

  38. - RFK fan - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 6:52 pm:

    Giannoulias seems like an honest guy who has had some good ideas. The GOP will have to do better than this–if possible, without making it up, please.

  39. - dan l - Tuesday, Mar 31, 09 @ 7:11 pm:

    47thward was all about:

    Please please please run Dan! Proft is a opp researcher’s dream candidate. Walk into the arena and see how fast you’re carried out. I might even send a contribution just to see it happen.

    What a train wreck the ILGOP is that someone like Proft could utter those words with a straight face.

    Sad but true. Sad but true. No beef with him, but his internet sock puppetry alone would be good for the lulz.

  40. - ding - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 11:22 am:

    re: the Minutemen of Il. I think the more accurate term to describe their group and their ideological foundation is ‘nativist.’

    The Center for New Community has a thorough report on nativist activities in the country, particularly the House Immigration Reform Caucus (HIRC), which promotes nativist goals and legislation.


  41. - lake county democrat - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 11:34 am:

    very late (and maybe unfair) response to anon: No, if those were the reasons Kirk annoyed me I’d have disliked John Porter, and I didn’t/don’t. That wasn’t posturuing, those are really the reasons I dislike Kirk.

  42. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 11:50 am:

    ding –

    I have read the 38 page article at the web site. It appears to be a screed opposing, as is their right, those who are anti-illegal alien.

    Which makes the Center for a new Community a pro illegal alien group, would you not concur? Or is that too hot a button?

  43. - ding - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 12:04 pm:

    It’s not a hot button for me. Nativism is just another expression of nationalism and it’s not appealing to me, or to others. You think it’s a screed? Whatever. I’m not here to get into arguments.

  44. - ding - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 12:16 pm:

    …And why does being for justice and civil rights have to mean being pro-immigrant? The Center is primarily an anti-racism group and nativism has its roots, historically and ideologically, in racism. If that makes them ‘pro-immigrant’ then so be it, I guess.

  45. - Truthful James - Wednesday, Apr 1, 09 @ 2:18 pm:


    Minuteman is pro legal immigration. They draw rhe line at illegal aliens.

    Your group draws no line which makes them pro illegal aliens.

    There is a standard involved here, Immigrants are lawful newcomers to this country. Illegal aliens are by definition not lawful newcomers.

    Unfortunately, organizations like the Center purposefully blur the difference

  46. Pingback ArchPundit | Daily Dolt: Mark Kirk - Thursday, Apr 16, 09 @ 11:34 am:

    […] Then again, he also seems to think McHenry and DuPage are downstate: […]

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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