Meredith Whitney, the analyst who correctly predicted Citigroup Inc.’s dividend cut in 2008, will release a report rating California’s financial condition as the worst among the 15 largest U.S. states, Fortune said. […]
After California, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio tie as the second-worst
A suburban political candidate said he regrets saying the nation’s attitude toward gay marriage will change because older people eventually will die.
“It was a poor choice of words,” said Rich Voltair, a Round Lake Beach Democrat running for the 62nd District seat. “I definitely realize that.” […]
“As a 32-year-old, I hold views that are consistent with my age group,” he said in that story, which was based on e-mail exchanges with both candidates. “These views represent the future and it is only a matter of time before the previous generation expires and our generation takes over.”
The Great Die-Off you speak of will also “solve” our Social Security, Medicare and state pension problems. But it’s not something you’re supposed to cheer for, dude.
Over the last several months, [Republican lt. governor nominee Jason Plummer] said he has been on the campaign trail, visiting those cities – Rockford, Moline, Danville – that are located near borders with other states.
But, then again, Chicago also has reporters who probably wouldn’t write puff pieces about you. So, better stick with the little towns.
* Dear Adam Andrzejewski,
Timing is everything. If the primary was later, you and your “forensic audit” proposal might’ve actually won the governor’s race. I mean, even a Chicago alderman is hyping the phrase…
[Ald. Scott Waguespack] now plans to put together an “agenda” — including a “forensic audit” of city finances and contracts — for a City Council expected to assert itself more forcefully in the post-Daley era.
“Open the books. Let’s look at how we’re spending and re-direct the monies towards our most important needs, including the Police Department,” he said.
But by referring to leaving “daily operations of the bank,” the Giannoulias camp clearly was trying to leave the impression that he had walked out the bank’s doors for good.
Giannoulias’ opponent, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, has been no more straightforward on Broadway Bank issues. Last week, in a meeting with the Sun-Times editorial board, he ominously said the Giannoulias family “took $70 million out of the bank before its collapse” without mentioning that most of that money went to pay taxes.
We can only hope both campaigns get more straightforward in the final weeks before Nov. 2.
The public floggings need to continue on a regular basis.
If huge, hungry Asian carp end up reaching Lake Michigan, their long-dreaded invasion might turn out to be less ferocious than once expected because a tiny competitor is gobbling up their primary food source, some Great Lakes researchers say.
The quagga mussel — a thumbnail-sized foreign mullosk first spotted in the lakes two decades ago — has devoured so much plankton in southern Lake Michigan that the entire food web is being altered, federal and university scientists say in a series of newly published articles.
Illinois is failing to crack down on water pollution from large confined-animal farms, the Obama administration announced Wednesday in a stinging rebuke that gave the state a month to figure out how to fix its troubled permitting and enforcement programs.
Responding to a petition from environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said its nearly yearlong investigation found widespread problems with the Illinois EPA’s oversight of confined-animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. Many of the cattle, hog and chicken operations produce manure in amounts comparable to the waste generated by small towns.
Rahm Emanuel lunched [yesterday] with Chicago billionaire Sam Zell, chairman of the Tribune Company, as the White House chief of staff mulls a run for Chicago mayor.
The two dined at a chic eatery, Central Michel Richard, a restaurant manager confirmed. The spot is about six blocks from the White House, where Emanuel serves as chief of staff to President Barack Obama.
“They have lunch all the time when he (Zell) comes to D.C.,” according to a source close to Emanuel, who cautioned against reading too much into the power lunch. “He’s known him (Zell) for a long time and I imagined they talked about the race, Chicago, the economy, education and other issues.”
In other words: This is not news. But, hey, if they were really enterprising reporters, they’d tell us what the two men ordered.
Odelson noted that a section of the statute in the Illinois election code allows individuals who are in service to the U.S. to keep their residency status, but only for voting purposes.
“Even if Mr. Emanuel could make a claim that he’s in service of the U.S. and still vote absentee, he cannot make the claim he has been a resident of the city of Chicago for one year prior to the election because he leased his house to a family,” Odelson said.
“Physical presence is very important,” Nally said. “The statute asks, ‘Were you residing in that municipality a year prior to election?’ That’s a pretty straight-up fact question.”
However, Jim Allen with the Chicago Board of Elections disagrees, and says if a candidate maintains a residence and voter registration, then he’ll pass muster. And Ron Michaelson, the former Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Elections, agrees with Allen…
“Intent goes a long way in determining where one’s residency actually is,” he said.
Michaelson also noted that in these types of residency laws, the benefit of the doubt is usually given to the individual claiming intent.
* The Highway Loss Data Institute released a study this week that claims state bans on texting while driving don’t work. Jamey Dunn fills us in…
The institute compared insurance claims data with stats from before and after the bans, as well as with those of neighboring states that did not have bans. Researchers also considered other factors that can affect collision rates, such as seasonal changes in traffic. The instance of collisions did not go down in any of the states; in fact, it went up a small amount in three of the four states studied. The largest increase was 9 percent in Minnesota. According to the study: “If the goal of texting and cell phone bans is the reduction of crash risk, then the bans have so far been ineffective.”
And I can attest to this…
From the report: “This unexpected consequence of banning texting suggests that texting drivers have responded to the law perhaps by attempting to avoid fines by hiding their phones from view. If this causes them to take their eyes off the road more than before the ban, then the bans may make texting more dangerous rather than eliminating it.”
I’ve held my iPhone down low when looking up phone numbers because I didn’t want to get busted for texting, even though I wasn’t texting. I stopped doing that when I realized what an idiot I was being.
* So, what to do? Ban cellphone usage entirely? Rep. John D’Amico, a sponsor of the Illinois texting ban, says that’s a way to go…
D’Amico said a ban on using cell phones while driving would be a better solution. Illinois currently bans drivers from talking on phones in school and construction zones. He compared a possible ban to laws against driving while intoxicated, which have become more strictly enforced, causing the drunken driving to elicit more of a social stigma than it did in past decades. He said people will eventually see using a cell phone the way people see driving drunk now, and will say: “‘Boy I can’t believe we used to be allowed to do that.’”
But the Institute says that won’t help much, either…
Fleming said another study from the institute found hands-free options to be just as dangerous as standard cell phones. However, the same study also found cell phone bans to be ineffective in cutting accidents. Fleming acknowledges that such results are disappointing to those interested in improving driver safety. But, she said, if police can find better ways to catch violators in the act of texting or talking on the phone, bans could help make roads safer.
[Gov. Pat Quinn} has received political contributions connected to at least 77 of the people he has chosen for state task forces, agencies, boards or commissions since he became governor in January 2009, according to a Tribune review of public records. At least 20 of the donations from the appointees, their families or their businesses came within two months of the appointment.
We know via the story that three of those contributions were rather large. But we don’t know how big the rest of them were. We don’t even know their average size. $100? $500? $10,000? The Tribune doesn’t tell us, except to say that “many” are under the $25K asking price that Rod Blagojevich had set. They don’t define “many.” And until they tell us, I don’t think we should jump to any conclusions here.
* And of those four examples they gave? The first one was from the father of Mariyana Spyropoulos. Quinn supported her more than two years ago for MWRD. She lost the race, applied for an opening, Quinn gave her the appointment. Shortly before this year’s primary, when Quinn was literally desperate for money, her father contributed $25,000, then another $25,000 after the primary. She kicked in $1K.
While it doesn’t look great, Quinn appears to have known the father for quite a while, and dined with him twice in Copenhagen during the city’s Olympics bid.
Another appointee, William Brandt Jr., is described as a “high school chum” of Quinn’s. People with decent piles of cash often go in heavy for their oldest friends. No surprise The other is Steven Gilford, who worked with Quinn in the Walker administration.
* The last example shows you how much of a stretch some of these “connections” may be…
For an appointment to the Executive Ethics Commission, Quinn needed a Republican because state law required a degree of balance among political parties. He turned to retired Pinckneyville attorney Gayl Pyatt, a former member of the Illinois Gaming Board.
The job comes with a $37,571 annual salary and a ban on political activity. Quinn appointed Pyatt in October. Her husband, Richard, a retired funeral director, gave $500 to Quinn in November.
Gayl Pyatt said the “contribution was made because a very, very good friend” of her family held a fundraiser for the governor. If not, Pyatt said, “that check would never have been written.”
$500? Really? Move along. Nothing to see there.
…Adding… From a commenter…
Also, could the brain trust at the Trib let us know how many of those 77 received appointments to boards that PAY? Most don’t, as I recall.
* Two publicly released polls in two days showing a single digit governor’s race. Something’s up. Subscribers know one theory. From Public Policy Polling…
Bill Brady continues to lead the Illinois Governor’s race but Pat Quinn’s pulling a little closer, trailing 42-35 in PPP’s newest survey of the race. Independent Scott Lee Cohen gets 6%, Green Party candidate Rich Whitney is at 4%, and Libertarian Lex Green is at 2%.
Quinn’s doing better than he was in an August PPP poll, when he trailed by 9, largely because of an improved standing with independents. He continues to trail Brady 39-27 with them, but that’s a significant improvement from his 25 point deficit in the last poll. Quinn is incredibly unpopular with independent voters, at an 18/67 approval spread. But those voters don’t like Brady either, viewing him negatively 32/38.
It’s amazing that Quinn’s still in this given his continuing incredible unpopularity. 60% of voters in the state now disapprove of the job he’s doing to only 24% who are happy with it. In addition to those dreadful numbers with independents only 6% of Republicans think he’s doing a good job and even with Democrats he’s at just a 42/38 spread. But he’s fortunate that GOP voters nominated a very weak candidate themselves. Only 36% of folks in Illinois see Brady in a favorable light while 44% have a negative opinion of him.
The two biggest things to watch in this race over the final five weeks are the undecideds and the 10% of voters currently leaning either toward Cohen or Whitney.
The undecideds are an overwhelmingly Democratic bunch. 67% voted for Barack Obama while only 20% supported John McCain. They’re planning to vote Democratic for Congress by a 44-17 margin this fall. They’re supporting Alexi Giannoulias by a 21 point margin over Mark Kirk. But they don’t like Pat Quinn- only 14% of them approve of him with 42% disapproving. Whether their Democratic loyalties outweigh their dislike of Quinn in the end may determine whether he can still pull out this race despite his very poor personal numbers.
The folks supporting Cohen or Whitney right now are also a Democratic leaning bunch. 52% voted for Obama to only 32% who supported McCain. They’re planning to vote Democratic for Congress by a 43-28 margin. But they really hate Quinn- 4% approve of him and 83% disapprove of him.
If you allocate all of the undecideds who voted for Obama to Quinn and the ones who voted for McCain to Brady, the Brady lead shrinks to 44-43. My guess is that most of the undecideds will indeed end up in the Quinn camp and make this a much closer race. Quinn’s path with the Whitney and Cohen voters is tougher though and he needs to hope those folks’ dislike of him isn’t so strong that they’ll go so far as to vote for Brady to get him out.
This is a pretty fascinating race.
Yes, it is. That undecided info is also quite interesting. The question is whether the Democrats can keep them moving their way and then turn those people out. From the company’s president…
“Things are starting to look a little more encouraging for Pat Quinn than they did earlier in the summer,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “He remains personally unpopular but the minor candidates are starting to pick up some of the anti-Quinn instead of it all going to Brady.”
That can happen in a multi-candidate race. You slam the other guy, but those voters don’t automatically go to you if they have other options. It’s the biggest reason why Rich Whitney scored 10 percent four years ago.
PPP surveyed 470 likely Illinois voters from September 23 to 26. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.5%.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city index released Tuesday ticked up in July from June. But the gain is merely temporary, analysts say. They see home values taking a dive in many major markets well into next year.
That’s because the peak home-buying season is now ending after a dismal summer. The hardest-hit markets, already battered by foreclosures, are bracing for a bigger wave of homes sold at foreclosure or through short sales. A short sale is when a lender lets a homeowner sell for less than the mortgage is worth.
Add high unemployment and reluctant buyers, and the outlook in many areas is bleak. Nationally, home values are projected to fall 2.2 percent in the second half of the year, according to analysts surveyed by MacroMarkets LLC. And Moody’s Analytics predicts the Case-Shiller index will drop 8 percent within a year.
Despite the passage last year of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, foreclosure filings in Chicago’s six-county region rose 38 percent from the first half of 2009 to the first half of 2010, according to data from the Woodstock Institute, which tracks foreclosure activity in the region.
The program, part of President Obama’s comprehensive plan to address the housing crisis and restore economic stability, helps struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing their monthly mortgage payments.
Among other criteria, eligible candidates must have a monthly mortgage payment greater than 31 percent of their gross monthly income and have suffered a loss of income that prevents them from making payments.
But Katie Buitrago, policy communications associate for the institute, said actual delinquency is not a requirement.
* Marin: Feel Safer? Thanks to Cook County government, you’re not
There were more than 550,000 uninsured people — or 19.7 percent of the population — in the city of Chicago last year, according to the bureau’s American Community Survey. In Illinois, nearly 1.7 million people, or 13 percent of the state’s population, did not have insurance.
Nationally, there were 50.7 million uninsured residents, or 16.7 percent of the population, according to the data.
Despite a 24 percent spike in the number of people below the poverty level statewide over the past 10 years, Joliet’s numbers remained steady over the years between 10 and 13 percent. In 2009, the number of people in poverty was 11 percent.
However, Joliet’s median household income did dip slightly from $61,061 in 2008 to $53,687 in 2009, likely due to an increase in unemployment.
Mudge’s request follows by two days the publication of a News-Democrat investigation, which showed that Bathon took in about $140,000 in campaign donations from investors who bought delinquent property tax debts.
Those investors were routinely allowed to buy property owners’ tax debts at an 18 percent penalty rate — the maximum allowed under state law. The investors took in up to $200,000 apiece in penalties for some years.
“State law affords county treasurers wide latitude on how to conduct these sales,” Mudge wrote. “However, I believe an independent review is in order in light of the recent concerns expressed about these former practices.”
Mudge, a Democrat, added: “Everyone should be careful not to politicize this exercise during a campaign season. These authorities are aware of the situation, and I am confident that they will conduct a fair, independent and proper review.”
Despite it being one of the larger communities south of Springfield, Carbondale and its surrounding area is not within one of those designated areas. That’s not uncommon, but most of the land within Illinois’ borders east of Interstate 55 and south of Interstate 72 is also outside of an MSA. That means communities such as Charleston-Mattoon, Effingham, Mount Vernon, Marion and, of course, Carbondale can be easily overlooked in government reports.
Seems like quite a blind spot, especially when talking about a region that relies heavily on government programs to get by.
Metra officials said they also want an independent watchdog but prefer someone picked by the Regional Transportation Authority, which has oversight of the three transit agencies in the region. Another option is an IG named by the people who appoint the Metra board of directors, who include the Chicago mayor, the chairman of the DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will County Boards, and Cook County Board members.
Once again the CTA, which faces almost $7 billion in unfunded capital needs, will reluctantly use capital funds meant for improvements to help balance the day-to-day 2011 operating budget and avoid reducing services again, according to the proposed budget released Wednesday.
Certainly, Jarrett fills an important role for Obama: She has deep and personal ties to the president, as well as undivided loyalties, and can talk honestly to him on a first-name basis. But current and former White House officials I spoke with raised questions about Jarrett’s effectiveness and judgment.
With a projected $18 million deficit looming for 2011, the city has once again offered its employees the chance to voluntarily leave city service, with incentives.
For those who stay, the city is requiring each employee to give up 10 percent of their salary. That money can come from wages or benefits. Chief Management Officer Carie Anne Ergo said that however it’s done, the city is seeking a total of $8.4 million in savings.
That amount, Ergo said, would minimize upcoming layoffs, but not prevent them.
Prosecutors allege that Collins lived at 4382 Redfield in Swansea but voted from 22 Loisel Drive in East St. Louis in an election in which a federal candidate was on the ballot. Collins is accused of using the Loisel address to get work in and around East St. Louis and to be the Democratic committeeman in Precinct 26.
* Yesterday, Gov. Pat Quinn claimed during the debate that Bill Brady had admitted his budget cutting plan for schools would raise local property taxes. Reporters asked him about his remarks after the debate and Quinn referred to a comment made by Brady at the State Fair. We posted that video back then. Here’s the relevant excerpt…
REPORTER: How do you cut 10 percent out of school budgets or education money and not fire people?
BRADY: The local school districts will make those decisions.
REPORTER: And where do they get the money?
BRADY: Maybe they’ll have to forego some pay raises
REPORTER: Is that enough? If they’re getting 10 percent less money?
BRADY: We’re trying to drill down and see what the average pay raises are within those those things. So maybe they’ll have to make some decisions like the private sector’s made.
REPORTER: Like raising property taxes
REPORTER: So less money for schools, but no layoffs but no property tax increases for them to operate?
BRADY: Well, there are some natural property tax increases that will go into effect. I mean, if you drill down to education funding the state of Illinois provides less than a third, OK? So that would be a cut of less than 2.5 percent by what we defined as our budget. I think if you look at pay raises and you look at some other things, there are various options at the local level. I will ask them to be responsible as we have to be.
* Bill Brady is hit again in Gov. Pat Quinn’s latest TV ad for being a “millionaire politician who somehow didn’t pay any federal income taxes.” But the big kicker here is that Quinn claims Bill Brady’s “plan” would “throw 128,000 Illinois people out of work,” and add a billion dollars to the deficit by “giving tax breaks to the wealthy.” He’s “wrong and reckless,” the ad claims.
The 128,000 figure comes from a report by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability last year…
If the state were to close its $4 billion to $9 billion budget deficit by cutting spending, it could cause the state’s economy to lose anywhere from 56,893 to 128,008 jobs, thereby worsening the recession and the state’s unemployment rate.
Watch for State Rep. Susana Mendoza and Ald. Ed Burke to target the latest physical assault weapon: Sulfuric acid.
• Burke’s law: Ald. Burke, who helped ban the sale of spray paint cans in Chicago — which had been used for graffiti desecrating city buildings — plans to introduce a city ordinance restricting and/or banning the sale of sulfuric acid. “I can’t think of any good reason why these chemicals should be readily available for purchase,” he told Sneed. “Clearly it’s as dangerous as knives and guns.”
• Mendoza’s message: Watch for Mendoza (D-Chicago), who is running for city clerk, to introduce legislation creating a “separate enhanced penalty” for using acid as a weapon and restricting its access. “It’s easy to buy . . . and victims of this crime feel they are living death in life,” she told Sneed. “They feel their disfigurement will discriminate against them in the workplace; specifically in upfront jobs. By the way, I just met acid victim Esperanza Medina, who is a magnificent person with a great attitude.”
• Sneed’s query: So would Mendoza hire Medina in an upfront job if she becomes city clerk? “Absolutely,” she said. “Just watch me.”
…40 percent of likely voters back state senator Bill Brady, the GOP nominee, with 38 percent backing Gov. Pat Quinn, the Democrat’s nominee.
Fourteen percent support independent Scott Lee Cohen, while four percent support Green Party candidate Rich Whitney.
The crosstabs have Cohen scoring 16 percent of Democrats, 19 percent of independents and 6 percent of Republicans. They also have Quinn beating Bill Brady in Cook County 49-26 (with a whopping 17 percent going to Cohen), losing in the collars 53-25 (12 percent for Cohen) and losing Downstate 45-33 (15 percent for Cohen). Unlike other recent polling, Quinn is leading among women.
Forty-three percent of likely voters questioned in the poll say they back Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Democrat’s Senate nominee, while 42 percent support Rep. Mark Kirk, the Republican standard-bearer.
Eight percent back Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones, while another four percent remain undecided.
Other polls of likely voters conducted this month also indicate the race is a dead heat.
“The key to this race may be Jones, whose support among liberals and independents is in double digits. Since 13 percent of the independents are currently opting for Jones, Kirk has a 16-point lead among that group,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said.
The CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted September 24-28, with 1,504 adults, including 1,360 registered voters in Illinois and 828 likely voters, questioned by telephone.
The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for registered voters and plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for likely voters.
* A reader loaded the Bill Brady vs. Pat Quinn debate onto his Vimeo account. The YouTube process was just taking too long. Watch it…
* Progress Illinois has posted some handy snippets. Here’s Brady talking about being the “jobs governor“…
* Gov. Quinn attacks Brady for living in a “pretend world” which “doesn’t exist” regarding his budget ideas…
* The governor blasted Brady for being a “career politician” in Springfield 17 years over and over again during the debate, including in this clip “Perish the thought if he was ever governor,” Quinn said of Brady…
* AP: Brady, Quinn trade barbs about economy at debate
* WBEZ: Sharp Differences Between Quinn, Brady in First Debate: QUINN: Last time I checked people in Illinois pay a lot of that money to get federal government in taxes. And we’re entitled to get some of that money back.
* Tribune: Brady, Quinn lash out at each other at Chicago forum
* Sun-Times: Gov. Quinn at debate: Brady ‘doesn’t have a heart’
* Progress Illinois: Job Creation Dominates First Guv Debate: Quinn wasted few opportunities to bash Brady for that tax platform, which he said would help “multi-millionaires” and Brady’s “friends.” He also called Brady out for his failure to produce a detailed budget plan, a criticism the Republican has faced for months. “We’ve got to have someone with common sense,” Quinn quipped, “not nonsense.”
Saying he left in 2005 gives Giannoulias maximum distance from the bank’s questionable lending practices, the April takeover by federal regulators and other controversies such as a loan by the bank to convicted influence peddler Antoin “Tony” Rezko in early 2006.
But by reporting that he worked at least 500 hours at Broadway in 2006, Giannoulias was able to get a break that helped him avoid paying federal income tax for 2009.
Giannoulias said he has been clear that he left the “day-to-day” operations of the bank in September 2005 to prepare his first run for public office, but was on paid leave until May 2006 when he left completely to campaign full time for treasurer.
That 2006 work consisted of roughly 30 hours a week closing out his responsibilities before quitting as a bank officer, and didn’t involve making new loans, Giannoulias explained in a recent interview. It was more than enough to qualify him for the tax break, he said.
IRS regulations allow taxpayers to deduct business losses from certain types of corporations if they’ve logged significant hours there for five of the last 10 years. Giannoulias started at the bank in 2002, so working at least 500 hours in 2006 qualifies Giannoulias for the tax break.
Of course, when he was running for treasurer Giannoulias said in December, 2005 that he “currently serves as vice president and senior loan officer at the four-branch Broadway Bank in Chicago.” In March of 2006, he said this about his position at the bank: “I’m senior loan officer and vice president.”
First, he was a bigtime banker in 2005-06. Then he was on a paid leave of absence. And then we find out he told the IRS he worked 30 hours a week through May of 2006. He did mention that month back in September of 2006 when he was interviewed by the American Banker magazine…
He left his job at Broadway in May to focus on his campaign.
Focus on his campaign? His real campaign was the primary that year. He stomped a woefully under-funded Christine Radogno by 432,000 votes in November.
My head is spinning from all these story changes.
Hint to Alexi: Try telling the truth from the beginning and then sticking with it. That’s a whole lot easier.
* Gun control activist Jim Brady released a humorous statement today about the NRA’s endorsement of state Sen. Bill Brady for governor…
“Some years ago I had to parachute into Illinois and set the record straight when a candidate for the United States Senate said I was once in the business of selling machine guns. Now I’ve got to get involved in an Illinois political race again, because of some other guy named Brady.
“He’s probably a distant cousin of some kind, and if he is, he’s surely the black sheep of the family. Because no Brady in his right mind would be against keeping AK-47s off the streets and against restricting guns near schools. This ’shady Brady’ shouldn’t be in charge of Illinois gun laws, much less in charge of the great state of Illinois.
“If the voters in Illinois feel compelled to vote for an Irishman, then Pat Quinn’s the right candidate for them. I think he’s a cousin of mine, too.”
They’ve also set up a website documenting Bill Brady’s pro-gun voting record. The “anti-gunners” are pledging to push this story into the media bloodstream, but it’s so far been all but ignored. With everything else going on in Chicago, the news hole is pretty darned small these days. Editors want Rahmbo stories, not policy stories about a governor’s race that looks to be pretty darned lopsided.
The political arm of the National Rifle Association on Tuesday endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson in a hotly contested southwest suburban congressional race.
The gun rights group chose the freshman congresswoman over her Republican challenger, Adam Kinzinger, an Air Force captain.
The NRA’s Political Victory Fund touted Halvorson’s record, including a vote she took in favor of an amendment that would allow permit holders to carry concealed weapons in national parks and wildlife refuges.
For Halvorson, the endorsement was welcome news as she seeks re-election following a recent overhaul of her campaign team.
* Ironically, Halvorson’s recent TV ad got major props from liberal pro gun-control MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last night. Pretty unwatchable, but go ahead if you must. And her Republican opponent whacked her today for a fundraiser with Speaker Nancy Pelosi…
On Thursday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will have breakfast with DC lobbyists at a Washington, DC bistro to raise money for Debbie Halvorson, a loyal Pelosi ally. Halvorson has supported every major facet of Pelosi’s agenda including votes in favor of the massive government healthcare bill, the jobless Stimulus bill, cap and trade energy tax and policies that have led to record deficits. It is not surprising that Pelosi would host an event for a loyal follower like Halvorson, but it serves as a reminder of with whom exactly Debbie Halvorson sides and where her loyalty lays.
Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, was at the [Union League Club] Thursday to help raise funds for Adam Kinzinger, the Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Debbie Halvorson of the 11th District.
A few doors down, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was holding court at a party to raise funds for Illinois Democratic candidates.
When former Gov. Jim Thompson, attending the GOP affair, heard his friend Mr. Madigan was nearby, he pulled him out of the Democrats’ party to introduce him to Mr. Gingrich.
The men shook hands and shared a laugh, a club spokesman told me for my Taking Names column
* The Question: Unfortunately, we don’t have a photograph of Gingrich and Madigan shaking hands. So, you’ll have to just use your imagination. Caption?
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* Speaking of jobs, this came up in the gubernatorial debate today…
Despite the state’s financial woes, Gov. Pat Quinn [yesterday] said he would pump about $75 million into a jobs program to keep it alive through the end of November.
The move allows Quinn to get through the Nov. 2 election without outcries about a potential collapse of the Put Illinois to Work program that places trainees in jobs with multiple companies, typically at $10 an hour.
Quinn said the state cash would serve as a bridge until Congress can send federal funds, which expire Sept. 30. The governor said he would use the broad authority lawmakers gave him to pay for the extension from Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.
Quinn said he did not want people in the program to lose jobs while waiting for federal money. In some cases, workers had suffered because paychecks had been slowed down due to various glitches.
* Poverty rises slightly in Chicago area: Every county in the Chicago area except Kendall experienced slightly increased poverty rates during the four-year period, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Cook County’s rate was 15.9 percent in 2009, up from 14.8 percent in 2008 and 15.3 in 2006.
Rep. Phil Hare (D-IL), viewed in strong shape at the beginning of the year, now looks to be ins serious trouble, trailing his Republican challenger by one point. […]
Hare trails businessman Bobby Schilling (R) 44% to 43% in a Tarrance Group survey that was conducted Sept. 23-25. When asked if Hare deserved re-election or if it was time for someone else, just 35% of respondents [said] he should be re-elected.
Hare’s own polling has showed this to be a super-close race for a while, so this is no surprise. And the DCCC is now helping Hare…
The DCCC has reserved at least $200,000 worth of television time in the Quad-Cities. The Washington Post says it has also reserved time in the Springfield/Decatur market.
* There’s not a lot of news in the latest Senate numbers. Public Policy Polling’s fresh US Senate poll has Mark Kirk leading Alexi Giannoulias by four points. Unlike others, PPP actually included both third party candidates that have made it to the ballot. The crosstabs are here. From the pollster…
The Illinois Senate race continues to be very close, but because Mark Kirk is doing a better job of consolidating his base than Alexi Giannoulias is he’s taken a small lead after trailing by 2 points on PPP’s previous two polls of the race. Kirk is ahead 40-36 with Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones at 8% and Libertarian Mike Labno geting 3%.
Our August poll found Kirk winning 74% of Republicans and Giannoulias getting 72% of Democrats. Now Kirk has expanded his support from his own party to 79% while Giannoulias’ support from his has declined to 68%. Kirk is getting 9% of the Democratic vote while only 2% of Republicans are planning to vote for Giannoulias. Kirk’s double digit lead with independents persists at 41-27.
This continues to be a race between two deeply unpopular candidates. Giannoulias’ favorability is 33/48 and Kirk’s isn’t much better at 33/47. 16% of voters have a negative opinion of both candidates and Kirk leads Giannoulias 35-16 with them, accounting for most of his overall lead. For many swing voters this is going to come down to choosing who they see as the lesser of two evils and right now Kirk is winning that vote.
A big factor to watch moving forward is whether Jones, the Green Party candidate, can maintain his support in the final 5 weeks as it becomes more clear that votes for him could push this race into the Republican column. On one hand Jones’ voters strongly dislike Giannoulias- 56% see him unfavorably to only 21% with a positive opinion. On the other hand they are a strongly Democratic leaning lot with 65% of them having voted for Barack Obama to only 28% who were McCain voters. If Jones fades Giannoulias will gain but if his support remains steady that’s going to be a big plus for Kirk.
Another factor that could result in the race tightening further as voters more firmly make up their minds is that 46% of the undecideds are Democrats compared to 27% who are Republicans and 27% who are independents. If those folks end up ‘coming home,’ that will move Giannoulias even closer.
This continues to be one of the closest- and depressing- Senate races in the country. Only 39% of voters say they’re excited about who they’re voting for with 45% saying they wish someone else was running. This is one race where you may end up seeing an enthusiasm gap on both sides.
PPP surveyed 470 likely Illinois voters from September 23rd to 26th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.5%.
Barack Obama’s approval numbers have dropped into negative territory even with likely voters in his home state. 44% approve of the job he’s doing while 49% say they disapprove.
Obama’s home state approval numbers had before avoided some of the trends dragging down his numbers in other states but that’s no longer the case. Independents strongly disapprove of him with just 35% feeling he’s doing a good job to 57% unhappy. Whatever support he may have maintained with Republicans has now evaporated, with only 3% of them approving of him. And although his 80/12 spread with Democrats is still pretty solid it’s not what it had been previously.
* We’ve talked before about Republican congressional candidate Bob Dold’s problems with Internet tomfoolery and appearing to hide his perhaps “true” conservative side from 10th District voters. Yesterday, this briefly appeared on Dold’s Facebook site…
I noticed it yesterday before the Dold campaign deleted the post. It originally linked to this Hotline story…
The list of House races that could pose problems for Democrats this November is getting longer by the day, as leaders of the Tea Party-affiliated PAC FreedomWorks unleash a host of last-minute endorsements to “push the boundary of the competitive field.” […]
On Monday, FreedomWorks announced its support of Republicans Jeff Perry in the “lean Democrat” MA 10; Adam Kinzinger (IL 11), Andy Harris (MD 01), Brad Zaun (IA 03) and Todd Young (IN 09) in “Democratic toss-up” districts; and Robert Dold in the IL 10 “Republican toss-up” district.
First came the Illinois Federation for the Right to Life and Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum rescinding their testimonials for Dold after the primary election when Dold clarified that he is “pro-choice” on abortion.
Then Conservative Magazine of Illinois reported in a voter guide that Dold’s “campaign asks that he not be rated highly by our voter guide [indicating that he wishes to be viewed as moderate.]”
Dold denied he or his campaign begged off a high rating from the magazine.
“I’m pro-choice,” Dold said. “I believe Roe v. Wade should not be overturned. I said that in the primary.”
Dold isn’t sure how he initially got the good reviews from the anti-abortion groups, except that perhaps they agreed with his stands against taxpayer funding of abortion; against partial-birth abortions and in favor of notifying parents when their minor daughters get abortions.
Yep. Stuff just always happens to him. For whatever reasons apparently unknown to Bob Dold, the Right just loves him. Poor guy.
* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times also looked at Dold’s curious residency claims, which have now resulted in at least a cursory look by the Cook County State’s Attorney…
What was congressional candidate Bob Dold’s “primary residence” from 2004 to 2006?
He received about $4,000 in tax breaks during those years for claiming a homeowner’s exemption on his house in Chicago’s Roscoe Village neighborhood, according to the Cook County Assessor’s office.
But he voted in every primary and general election in Winnetka, according to the Cook County Clerk’s office. That’s in the North Shore 10th Congressional District where Dold, the Republican nominee, boasts he is a “life-long resident.”
When this apparent discrepancy was called to Cook County Clerk David Orr’s attention Tuesday, his office called the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office to turn over the information.
“When things like this are brought to our attention, we take it very seriously and we forward it to States Attorney’s office for review,” said Orr spokeswoman Courtney Greve.
* Dold repeatedly claims that he is a “lifelong resident” of the 10th District. But partisan blogger Ellen Beth Gill begs to differ. Gill dug up the info on Dold’s Chicago residence, and her further research indicates that Dold hasn’t lived very long in the district since he reached adulthood…
It’s probably a safe bet he didn’t commute from IL-10 to Washington, DC while he worked for Bush I and Quayle (per his own Linkedin page 1991-1993) or when he worked for the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee (again per his own Linkedin page from 1997-1999). I found an address for Dold in DC at 5306 Nevada Ave. in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. There are other possible addresses in Alexandria and Arlington, VA.
Dold didn’t attend college or law school in the vicinity of IL-10. He was in the DC area for about 4 years keeping him away through 1999. In 2000-2007, he appears to be in Chicago working in Oak Brook at Exodus Communications from 2000-2003 per Linkedin, and we can absolutely verify those 2 years in which he obtained the homeowner’s exemption 2005 and 2006–which of course does not preclude it in other years. Prior years are not on the Internet.
While it’s likely Dold didn’t live in the district from college to 2007, at the very least, Bob Dold did not live in IL-10 for the years he claimed a homeowners exemption for the Roscoe Village property.
I’ll also be posting stories about the debate as they come in. From the Sun-Times’ take…
The people of Illinois “need a governor with a heart - somebody who cares about them,” Quinn said. “Sen. Brady wanted to cut human services 50 percent. He didn’t have a heart then and he doesn’t have a heart now.” But Brady said Quinn’s announcement Tuesday that he was spending $75 million in state money to fund a program that gives 26,000 state residents $10-an-hour jobs now that the federal funding has run out for that program was heartless for the state’s social service providers, who are waiting six months or more to get paid by the state.
“Governor, where¹s the money?” Brady asked. “There is no federal money tied to the $75 million. Those 26,000 jobs should be provided by the public [he meant to say “private”] sector. Our human service providers, you don’t have the money to reimburse them - and they’re having to lay people off. This is a dishonest campaign ploy.” Among the other issues the candidates argued about are whether Quinn really lives at the governor¹s mansion. His predecessor Rod Blagojevich rarely visited the governor¹s mansion. Quinn said he was there Saturday night and he does live there.
“My clothes are at the governor’s mansion - even my underwear are there. I think that establishes residency, doesn’t it?” Quinn said after the debate to chuckles from reporters.
When asked whether he really resided in Springfield, Quinn replied with extemporaneous aplomb.
“The test is, where do you have your underwear,” Quinn said, before explaining unbidden that his skivvies are located at the state mansion.
*** UPDATE 1 *** The Tribune has a long story. Here’s part of it…
Brady also contended it is time to end the “secret deals” like the governor’s agreement with AFSCME, the state’s largest employee union, to avoid layoffs until mid-2012. The deal, which Brady wants Quinn to nix, came within days of Quinn getting the powerful union’s endorsement in the race.
Further Brady lashed out at Quinn over Tuesday’s announcement to pump $75 million to keep alive a jobs program until Congress can act to extend federal funds by November. The federal funds are due to expire this week. Brady said the state money should have been spent on paying down billions of dollars in backlogged state bills.
But Quinn, more than once calling himself the “Jobs Governor,” argued he could not cut a program that has given jobs and hope to as many as 26,000 people in Illinois, part of training program that typically pay $10 an hour to people who otherwise might be unemployed.
Quinn called on the hundreds of people in the audience to consider how he has improved campaign finance laws, reformed pensions and won passage of a major construction program, saying he should be judged by his record and suggesting they should refrain from embracing the platitudes of “fast-talking politicians.”
Supporters of Green Party candidate Rich Whitney picketed the event with signs reading “Let Rich Debate.”
According to Union League Club Executive Director David Kohn, Whitney was excluded because he hasn’t reached 10 percent in any recent polls.
“The ULCC’s policy for a general election candidate involving statewide offices requires candidates to demonstrate support of at least 10% in an independent , statewide poll conducted in reasonable proximity to the forum,” Kohn said, according to Green Party officials. “As the most recent statewide polls in the Illinois Governor’s race (conducted by Rasmussen Report, September 12; Chicago Tribune , September 3) show Mr. Whitney polling at 4% and 2%, respectively, Mr. Whitney does not meet this criterion and is, therefore, ineligible to participate in the forum.”
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index of Chicago-area single-family home prices rose 1.0% from June to July and was roughly even with its level in December 2002.
Chicago was among 12 of 20 U.S. cities tracked by Standard & Poor’s where prices rose from June to July, according to a report released Tuesday. An index of the 20 cities rose 0.6% over the same period and was up 3.2% from July 2009.
The number of people living below the poverty line in the state rose by nearly 8.5 percent in 2009, or nearly 131,000, to 1.68 million people from 1.55 million in 2008, the report revealed. Some 13.3 percent of residents in the state lived below the poverty level last year, up from 12.3 percent in 2008.
The 2009 poverty level was $21,954 for a family of four. Earlier this month, the bureau reported the poverty rate hit 14.3 percent nationally. Illinois was among 31 states that saw increases in both the number and percentage of people in poverty. In the Chicago area, the poverty rate rose to 12.7 percent from 11.9 percent.
Should any human remains turn up on the property identified as one of two crime scenes during the cemetery’s 2009 criminal investigation, the companies hired to do the work must notify the Cook County Sheriff’s Department before removing them.
Cemecare has offered to buy the historic black cemetery near Alsip where human remains were allegedly excavated so graves could be resold for cash.
Bills will be mailed around Nov. 22, Treasurer Maria Pappas estimated Tuesday. That’s nearly a full month later than last year, when second installment bills were sent Oct. 28. Any increase in property tax will be included in the bill, along with the second half of the amount shown in the first installment mailing earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the state has not yet finalized contracts with the private health care providers that will take over the caseload of some 6,000 people who receive access to Medicaid through the county.
The new state contracts with the county provide payment retroactive to July 1 and going forward until Nov. 8. That’s the date all the county’s social services in the health department should be fully transferred over to the private sector. It’s also the date 62 health department employees will lose their jobs.
The original lawsuit, filed by Seyller after the board voted against her request for addition funding, asks for a preliminary injunction to force the county to pay the $555,000 she wants until the court case is resolved. The initial court date was listed as Jan. 4, 2011; Seyller’s office could exhaust its funding next month if staffing remains as is.
* The DCCC is running some new ads in Illinois. First up, “Who’s Behind Robert Dold?” Rate it…
We’ll have more on this topic later today.
* The next DCCC ad has been running for a few days. “Randy Hultgren - Springfield Politician.” Have a look-see…
* The conservative American Future Fund is spending big bucks nationwide, including in two Illinois races. Background…
Des Moines-based conservative nonprofit the American Future Fund is spending big in tight Congressional races around the country in the hopes of tipping the balance to the Republican.
The group says it’s spending $4 million in 13 districts, including spending $500,000 against Mark Schauer in Michigan, $325,000 against Mike Oliverio in West Virginia and $250,000 against Martin Heinrich in New Mexico. All the ads are identical and spend more time attacking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for the federal stimulus and health care reform legislation.
American Future Fund is made up of numerous state and national Republicans, most of which have ties to Terry Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign and Mitt Romney’s 2008 Iowa Caucus campaign. As a 501(c)4 nonprofit, it does not have to disclose its donors. Following a recent round of attacks against him, U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, R-Waterloo, called on his GOP opponent, Ben Lange, to return a $5,000 donation from the group’s political action committee. He also suggested the donation could be a violation of campaign finance law.
AFF’s website is here. FactCheck.org info is here.
* And this is the almost identical AFF ad that targets Bill Foster…
* Republican Joe Walsh has posted an Internet promo video demanding that Congresswoman Melissa Bean debate him. Check it out…
* Our last video is a must-see if you’re a “fan” of Gov. Pat Quinn’s rambling speaking style. Watch him dedicate new runway construction at a Metro East airport. But also keep an eye on a fidgeting state Rep. Jay Hoffman, who is standing behind Quinn. That must’ve been torture…
“Planes are very, very important to all of us, especially when they produce jobs.” Hilarious.
We may not have these Quinn videos for much longer if the polls are right, so enjoy them while you can.