* Democratic US Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias is being endorsed by SEIU this morning. But fellow Democratic hopeful David Hoffman’s campaign blog has a post today which rips into both Giannoulias and SEIU’s state leadership…
The National GOP is champing at the bit to make the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Illinois all about former Governor Rod Blagojevich. This morning, the Alexi Giannoulias campaign is serving them up a free punch, trotting out an endorsement from the union leadership that was Blago’s biggest supporter and whose president was completely enmeshed in the controversy over Rod’s attempt to sell this Senate seat. (He even appears on the infamous Blagojevich wiretap!)
You can bet Giannoulias will sit silently on the dais and smile broadly as he receives the endorsement of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) leadership, just as he did when the Blagojevich controversy first surfaced. He doesn’t rock the boat, and he’s no doubt excited about stepping up to the same trough that netted Blagojevich more than a million dollars in campaign cash.
This kind of merry-go-round involving the same cozy insiders doing the same political dance is what’s wrong with Illinois politics. This is why David Hoffman– a true independent corruption-fighter with no ties to the scandals of the past– is running to be our senator. We deserve better. The SEIU members deserve better. David stands with them.
The National Republicans who are looking to take the President’s Senate seat next year are going to have a good morning with this endorsement.
Wow. You won’t see many statewide Democratic candidates say stuff like that. And for good reason.
SEIU most certainly does have a lot of explaining to do about its past support of Blagojevich. I can’t argue with that at all. However, I don’t think the FBI wiretaps show that the union’s leadership was “completely enmeshed” in Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell the Senate seat.
And, without that union, only a couple of those independent Chicago aldermen would’ve been elected in 2007. Those campaigns added up to a huge accomplishment which too many people have forgotten. The union was also the prime force which moved Speaker Madigan off the dime when he was refusing to raise the minimum wage. SEIU is currently plotting to oppose some of the dead weight in the House Democratic caucus come February.
Its serious Blagojevich blind spot aside, the union leadership has done a lot for causes that Hoffman supposedly espouses. It has worked on issues with good government types like Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, who has endorsed Hoffman. Sen. Schoenberg has received thousands of dollars in contributions from SEIU over the years.
I’ll be interested to see if this campaign post gets any media play. The Republicans will surely play it up.
* In other US Senate campaign news, I told you yesterday that Giannoulias had whacked Mark Kirk for missing a vote on extending unemployment insurance, possibly because he was too busy with campaign work. The Trib has more…
The Republican National Senatorial Committee waded in, noting that three prominent Chicago Democratic congressmen—Jesse Jackson Jr., Bobby Rush and Luis Gutierrez—also didn’t cast votes on the legislation, which passed on a bipartisan 331-83 roll call. Kirk, Jackson, Rush and Gutierrez were among 18 congressmen who didn’t vote on the legislation.
A Republican spokesman questioned whether Giannoulias and the Democrats are also suggesting that “their fellow Illinois Democrats similarly ‘turned their backs’ on Illinois families yesterday” and called the shot at Kirk a “desperate and ill-conceived” political attack.
Kirk spokesman Eric Elk said the congressman issued a statement into the record that he was “unavoidably detained” but would have voted for the jobless-benefit extension as he had in previous roll calls last year.
Giannoulias’ campaign wouldn’t back down when asked about this push-back. They claimed that Kirk, unlike the Democrats listed above, has voted against extending unemployment insurance several times before and wondered whether he purposely avoided the roll call. Conservatives believe, as a rule, that extending unemployment benefits keeps people from looking for work. Kirk has already taken lots of heat for voting against conservative orthodoxy on the so-called “cap and trade” bill.
* Other political stuff…
* Berrios and Shaw: Fetch the bellhop for baggage: I tried to stay calm Wednesday. Eight cups of coffee did not help. This morning at the South Loop Hotel, Robert Shaw will announce his candidacy for Cook County assessor. He and county wheeler-dealer Joe Berrios are running for the Democratic nomination… To show how far we’ve come since then, we have two candidates running for an important countywide office, both chiseled from the block of patronage, both shaped by a lifetime of the “old way.”
* Cook County assessor candidate to come out swinging today: “Anybody who lives in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones,” said Berrios, Cook County Democratic chairman and a Board of Review commissioner who considers property tax assessment appeals. “I don’t think he should talk.”
* Evanston gay alderman: Mark Tendam says voters are far more concerned with public issues than his private life - Other gay elected officials cite growing acceptance — but more progress needs to be made, advocates say
* Rauschenberger to host town halls on Illinois budget crisis
* Press release: Gubernatorial Candidate Adam Andrzejewski Responds to Bill Brady
* Long line forms for slim chance at becoming Illinois governor by default
* Truth Lost Amid the Din