* I’ve received just two press releases about this hopefully thwarted terrorist plot. One was from Gov. Pat Quinn’s state office…
Statement from Governor Pat Quinn
CHICAGO – October 29, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today issued a statement regarding the terrorist threat to Chicago:
“Since learning that packages containing explosives were addressed to places of Jewish worship in Chicago, I have committed the full resources of the state of Illinois - working cooperatively with federal and local officials - to ensure the continued safety and security of everyone in our state.
I have been in touch with leaders of Illinois’ Jewish community and will remain in close communication with leaders of Illinois’ faith-based communities. My thoughts are with Illinois’ Jewish community, and I urge everyone to stand together in unity during this time.”
The other was from Republican congressional candidate Joel Pollack…
JOEL POLLAK CONDEMNS ATTEMPTED TERROR ATTACK–WILL SPEND SABBATH IN ROGERS PARK
NILES, IL–October, 29: Joel Pollak, Republican challenger in the 9th congressional district of Illinois, issued the following statement in response to Al Qaeda’s attempted terror attack against synagogues in Chicago:
“All Americans stand in solidarity against Al Qaeda. This evening, I will be staying in West Rogers Park to spend the Jewish Sabbath there, in solidarity with the people of the 9th congressional district who were the direct targets of Al Qaeda terror. We must not fear, and we must not stop fighting to eradicate the twin evils of terror and hatred.”
* OK, now they’ve really gone too far. Check out the cover of the latest Democratic mailer that’s attempting to skim hard-right votes away from Mark Kirk. Click the pic if you need a larger image, but notice the rally sign: “Terrorists won’t kill us… Cap & Trade will!” Sheesh…
It’s also repeated on the back…
Let’s zoom in…
Here’s the Kirk hit…
And then to make it all legit, here’s Giannoulias saying the two boys are not playing well with each other…
Oh, for crying out loud.
* Meanwhile, things are deteriorating fast all over. Remember that interruption of a debate by Republican Joe Walsh supporters who “demanded” to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? Well…
The incident has inflamed the conservative blogosphere. Professional lightning rod Glenn Beck assailed Tate-Bradish and the League of Women Voters on his Fox News show earlier this week.
Tate-Bradish, a retired teacher, notified police after taking dozens of phone calls and e-mails at home and viewing “scary” comments in online forums, she said.
“They believe that I, personally, Kathy Tate-Bradish, mother of three, am planning to bring this country down,” she said.
Jan Czarnik, executive director of the Illinois League of Women Voters, said she reported to the FBI that death threats had been posted online against her and Tate-Bradish.
Incumbent Democrat Deanna Demuzio and Republican challenger Sam McCann were in studio for WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind” program.
During the interview, McCann likened those attacking him to terrorists.
“There’s a lot of folks out there that want to run for office,” says McCann. “You know why they don’t? They give me the same answer everytime. I say, ‘Why don’t you run?’ They say, ‘I don’t want to go through what they’re putting you through.’
“Instead of being public servants, it’s like they’re being terrorists.”
Let’s all chill out a bit, eh?
* Maybe we should all just have a cold beer or other adult beverage and listen to our old buddy Dave Dring on WBEZ’s Best Game in Town…
We meet up at Gene & Georgetti for a conversation about the final stages of the campaigns for governor, senate and the Illinois house. We also break down the latest on the race for Chicago mayor, after this week’s announcement that Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart will not seek the office.
Victoria M. DeFrancesco Professor, Northwestern University
Dave Lundy: Political strategist
David Dring: Political strategist and republican lobbyist
When only Giannoulias and Kirk are involved, the TPM Poll Average gives the edge to Giannoulias, 42.4-41.8
When Jones is added to the mix, Kirk gets the edge in the TPM Poll Average, 44.6-42.0-4.8
With all four candidates, the TPM Poll Average swings once again to Giannoulias, who barely leads over Kirk 40.4-39.7. Jones comes in at 5.0, with Labno at 3.6
Seven polls have tested just the two top candidates since August, ten have asked about just three of the candidates and twelve have asked about all four.
* However, five of those 12 polls which tested all four contestants are Democratic candidate polls (one was taken for the DGA and included Giannoulias). Take those out and you’ve got a 2.5-point average lead for Kirk…
The state’s highest ranking Republican, Christine Radogno, the GOP leader in the Illinois Senate, tells WLS a tax increase most certainly wouldn’t happen any time soon after the election, but then she left the door open.
“I’ve never been one to say no, never on any kind of a tax increase. And there are others that believe absolutely under any circumstances, no. But I think we need to wait and see. I’m willing to be convinced we don’t need a tax increase,” Radogno said.
But her timing is pretty awkward for Mr. Brady, who’s having lots of trouble convincing lots of voters that his unspecified spending cuts add up to a balanced budget.
Ms. Radogno’s comments won’t help. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has called for an increase.
That’s true. But, other than that, this is nothing new at all.
*** UPDATE *** From the Quinn campaign…
“Today, the Illinois Senate’s GOP leader Christine Radogno revealed that Republicans are talking about a tax increase.
‘I’m willing to be convinced we don’t need a tax increase,’ Radogno said.
Sen. Brady has said for months we’ll have to wait until after Election Day to see his budget plan—did Sen. Radogno—his leader in the Senate—just reveal it? Apparently, she didn’t get the memo: the GOP is isn’t planning on revealing their secret tax increase plan until AFTER the election—just as Gov. Edgar and Gov. Thompson did.
What does it mean when Sen. Brady’s leader in the Senate, and one of his biggest allies, raises doubts about his position on one of this election’s biggest issues?”
-Mica Matsoff, campaign spokesperson
* From the Brady campaign…
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady today released the following statement in response to eleventh hour assertions about future tax increases in Illinois:
“Despite Pat Quinn’s desperate political assertions and wishful thinking, let there be no mistake – a Brady Administration will not raise taxes,” said Brady. “Period.”
“A Brady administration will force state government to live within its means, cut taxes, and raise long term revenue by enacting pro-growth economic policies that help create real jobs for families across Illinois.”
Never perhaps have there been stranger political bedfellows. In Nevada, a pro-Harry Reid group — he’s the Senate’s lead Democrat — promotes a little-known Tea Party candidate running against Reid: Scott Ashjian.
Illinois Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is running for Senate, yet funding ads propping up his Libertarian opponent. […]
Democrat Giannoulias helps a long shot Libertarian to try to take votes from Republican opponent Mark Kirk.
Some Democrats openly disclose their efforts. But for others, the tie is harder to find. You’d think this one flyer was put out by conservatives: it calls Iowa’s Republican candidate for Governor Terry Branstad “liberal” like “Clinton, Obama and Pelosi.”
But IRS filings show it’s the Democratic Governors Association behind the ads. They’re hoping to split Republican votes.
Turns out, this may just be sloppy writing. The DGA copped to the Iowa mailer when I called them today, but their communications director emphatically denied that the group had anything to do with the Illinois mailings, saying they don’t involve themselves in Senate races.
I’ve left a message for Pete Giangreco, who was quoted in a Politico story about the mailers, to see what he says. He’s at a friend’s funeral, so I’ll let you know what he says later.
*** UPDATE 1 *** So, apparently, I missed this one from the Sun-Times…
After the debate, Giannoulias admitted his campaign, in coordination with the Democratic Party, funded a mailer to Downstate conservatives touting Libertarian Senate candidate Mike Labno as the “pro-life, pro-gun” alternative to Kirk, who supports abortion rights like Giannoulias and who at least previously favored restrictions on handguns.
The Democrats hoped to divert votes from Kirk to Labno. Is that deceptive?
“No,” Giannoulias said.
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* Meanwhile, the Kirk campaign has been pushing this story for a while now without success until yesterday…
(T)he Kirk campaign suggested Mr. Giannoulias is overstating his claim that he saved Hartmarx and its jobs by leaning on its lender, a division of Wells Fargo, in his current post as Illinois treasurer.
In fact, it says, the California bank was paid only about $96,000 a year by Illinois at a time when Mr. Giannoulias says he threatened to yank $8 billion in bank business.
Team Kirk also points to a TV ad by Sen. Charles Schumer that focuses on the New York Democrat’s work to save a Hartmarx subsidiary in his state.
Team Giannoulias replies that the Kirk folks have been trying to peddle this story for a while; that Wells Fargo indeed was “custodian” of $8 billion in Illinois funds, investing that money at the treasurer’s direction, and that lots of people worked to save Hartmarx.
The Giannoulias campaign has said repeatedly that it worked closely with organized labor and others, but freely admits that the treasurer didn’t speak more than a few minutes with the company’s former president. The factory’s union rep is fully behind Giannoulias, which greatly undercuts the Kirk claims that Giannoulias wasn’t sufficiently involved. A Politico blogger posted a story on the topic today…
I spoke to a former Hartmarx official, who agreed to speak on background and suggested that Giannoulias was making more of his role in the crisis than may have been the case. The official said that Giannoulias had just one contact with the company and heavily credited other officials, including Schumer and Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), with working to get the bank to agree to a plan to save the jobs. […]
“I can’t say he did nothing,” the source added of Giannoulias but insisted that much of the work came from elsewhere.
I reached out to a Giannoulias spokesman, who told me that the campaign had never claimed that Giannoulias was the only force involved in saving Hartmarx, and that it was an effort of labor groups, elected officials and others.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Joe Costigan of UNITE-HERE just called to insist that Giannoulias played an “essential” role in keep the Hartmarx plant open. Costigan said Giannoulias was instrumental in making sure that this just wasn’t another anonymous factory closing in Chicago and worked hard with his union and others to make sure it stayed open. He also sharply criticized the Kirk campaign for attempting to minimize Giannoulias’ role.
As Gov. Pat Quinn heads toward a showdown at the polls Tuesday against Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, he has spent much of October announcing construction projects he says could create more than 100,000 jobs.
The running total for the amount Quinn has announced in October stands at $472 million, ranging from a new school in Carterville to a new rail station in Moline.
Most of these programs Quinn has “announced” are already on the books, and have been so for more than a year. But the Republicans knew full well that Quinn would use these projects when they agreed to the proposal. Why? Because they’re using them, too. Even Bill Brady has appeared at some ribbon-cutting events, including one at the Bloomington-Normal Amtrak station.
And it’s not just state money the governor is handing out…
In addition to state construction money, Quinn also has highlighted more than $300 million in federal spending heading to Illinois that will pay for projects ranging from the clean-up of the Waukegan harbor to improving passenger rail service in Chicago and northwestern Illinois.
Quinn’s campaign operates out of a suite of rooms on the third floor. There’s not much furniture except for desks with papers strewn every which way. Campaign staffers’ names are taped to doors. I figure we’ll begin talking to Quinn when he’s done with his interview and comes inside.
Wrong. From a window we watch Quinn hop into a car and speed away. We are left to talk with Quinn’s key campaign staffers, all of whom seem to be about 25. We learn that the governor has gone to his offices on the 16th floor of the Helmut-Jahns designed James R. Thompson Centre at LaSalle and Randolph, for a meeting. We’ll meet him there in an hour.
The campaign people have fetched bagels and coffee for us. But they won’t be going with us today. Spokeswoman Mica Matsoff explains that we will be traveling with “Governor” Quinn, not “candidate” Quinn, so we’ll be accompanied by the governor’s official staff. Ethics rules require that never the twain shall meet, Mica explains.
Also, I’m thinking that “Governor” Quinn doesn’t have to use money from “candidate” Quinn’s campaign. Today’s trip, which looks a lot like a campaign, will be billed to taxpayers.
Go read the whole thing. It’s a good piece. Chuck learned something most of us who cover Quinn have long understood…
On the road I learn quickly that while I had to coax Brady into talking at length about anything on my road trip with him, rarely today will I get a word in edgewise. Quinn is a filibuster machine.
This year, Illinois schools had to get all 77.5 percent of students—and subgroups of students, such as low-income or Latino students—to meet state standards. The Obama Administration wants to re-write the law so that schools would be measured on growth.
The unemployment rate in the five-county Peoria metropolitan statistical area was 9.4 percent in September, down from 11.3 percent in September 2009 and from the 10 percent figure recorded in August 2010, the state reported.
The New York-based firm on Thursday lowered its rating on $7 billion in outstanding general-obligation city debt to AA- from AA, particularly citing the city’s increasing reliance on one-time revenues to fix its budget. […]
Fitch applauded layoffs and other payroll trims implemented by outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley, but added, “The ability to make further expenditure cuts to personnel is extremely limited” due to union contracts.
* If you didn’t get a chance to see Gov. Pat Quinn debate state Sen. Bill Brady last night, you can now. Watch it…
I’ll post news stories here in a bit.
…Adding… The Tribune skimmed over a few things, which I suppose is necessary in any debate roundup. But they were pretty important. For instance…
The candidates also clashed on social issues, which have become a hot-button topic in the last week following remarks by state Sen. Rickey Hendon that Sen. Brady was “racist, sexist (and) homophobic.”
Asked by moderator Carol Marin if his stance against civil unions for same-sex couples promotes a hostile environment for gays and lesbians, Brady said “not at all.”
Marin also asked Quinn about his statement to a gay lifestyle magazine that Bill Brady would rather gay people “not exist.” Quinn said he never said that and claimed he called the reporter yesterday to tell him so. That took Brady a bit off-guard. He was obviously preparing to pounce.
Quinn found himself on the defensive over the state’s legalization of video gambling as a way to pay for a massive statewide construction program. Quinn said he didn’t like the idea but made sure cities and counties could opt out.
Brady said Quinn’s willingness to go along with the plan is a failure of leadership.
What the Tribune omitted was Quinn’s claim (which is verified) that House Republican Leader Tom Cross came up with the video poker idea and wouldn’t support other revenue schemes. Brady said he’d never heard that. He must not have been reading his Capitol Fax.
Brady repeatedly tied Quinn to Blagojevich, his two-time running mate and now-convicted felon, leading up to perhaps the debate’s nastiest exchange.
“You were Gov. Blagojevich’s partner for eight years. You can’t blame it all on him,” Brady said.
“He never talked to me. Everybody knows this,” Quinn answered, to some laughter from the debate’s audience. “I mean, as a matter of fact, he announced to the whole world that I was not part of his administration. I led the effort to recall.”
“Is that why four years ago you called him a decent, honest and honorable man?” Brady said.
“He lied,” Quinn said.
“Wait a second, governor, you knew he was under investigation at the time,” Brady continued, before Quinn turned the tables.
“What did you tell George Ryan? When George Ryan was running and even after those six children died, what did you say to him?” Quinn said, pointing to Brady’s support of Ryan in 1994 and 1998.
But, I don’t see why they didn’t skip over this. TMI.
* As with last night, I won’t be able to watch the WTTW debate tonight at 7, so please help out in comments. Y’all did a great job last night. Let’s try it again. Thanks much.
* By the way, this is from Scott Lee Cohen’s latest press release…
SATURDAY: Cohen wraps up the week with an appearance with Reverend Jesse Jackson at Rainbow PUSH on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.
Not quite. I called Rainbow PUSH and was told that this is their traditional candidates event. It’s open to all candidates who want to come. Cohen won’t be speaking. Rev. Jackson will simply be acknowledging the candidates in the room and what they’re running for.
Illinois GOP Senate hopeful Mark Kirk said Thursday morning that Democratic rival Alexi Giannoulias announcement at Wednesday’s debate that he would only run positive ads in the last week of the campaign was a “cynical” ploy because the Senate Democratic campaign operation is “doing his dirty work.”
“This move is very cynical,” Kirk said to reporters after a town hall session with Navistar employees at the Navistar World headquarters in Warrenville, in DuPage County, a mother lode of GOP votes.
“It’s just a few days to go. He is letting the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee do his dirty work. …I think his move is very cynical knowing that Sen. (Bob) Menendez and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is doing his dirty work,” Kirk said. Menendez is the New Jersey senator who is the chair of the DSCC, which is pouring millions into ads–many negative against Kirk–to bolster Giannoulias.
Yeah, well, at least somebody is running positive ads. And Kirk surely knows that, by law, Giannoulias cannot coordinate with a third party group about their ads.
* And a mystery is solved. Remember that mailer touting Libertarian candidate Mike Labno for Senate that was paid for by a committee of the Lake County Democrats? Well, the Lake County party chairman told the Sun-Times he didn’t know anything about it…
A line on the flier claims it’s paid for by “Illinois Victory, a project of the Lake County Democratic Party.”
State Sen. Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) heads up the Lake County Democratic Party, which he said has no “Illinois Victory” project. Link said he had never heard of the mailer until told of it by the Sun-Times Tuesday night.
A consultant to Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, Pete Giangreco, solved the mystery in a pre-debate press room this evening: It was, he confirmed, a “coordinated” product of the Democratic campaign, the latest in a series of such attempts by Democrats to drain Republican votes with more than a touch of deception.
* David Ormsby noted something interesting about yesterday’s Rasmussen poll. While Rasmussen has found that the number of self-identified tea party movement members is dropping nationally - to 17 percent in early October from 24 percent in April - it’s rising fast in Illinois…
According to… a March 8, 2010 Rasmussen Reports survey, 13% of Illinois voters identified themselves as members of the Tea Party movement, in contrast with a new survey on October 26 by the pollster which now identifies 22% of Illinois voters as part of the movement—a 75% increase. […]
In Illinois, only the precipitous drop among the 18-29 age demographic tracks the national numbers. In the March 8 survey, 21% of Illinois 18-29 voters self-identified as Tea Party members, while only 6% did so in the October 26 poll, a 71.4% drop.
However, Illinois women who claimed Tea Party membership spiked from 10% in March to 18% in October, an 80% increase. Self-identified men increased the protest movement’s ranks from 17% to 26%, a 52.9% jump.
In a couple of other key states though Democrats aren’t showing any increased interest and in some cases could even be sliding backward. The likely electorate in Illinois in August was Obama +9 and when we polled there last weekend it was still Obama +9. Usually for a Republican to win in a blue state like Illinois they would need a massive advantage with independents and to win over a fair number of Democrats. Mark Kirk and Bill Brady are doing neither of those things but still in a position to win because of what’s likely to be a massive drop in Democratic turnout in the state.
* The Right is certainly being stirred up here by shows like Fox & Friends, which told at least two blatant lies today…
The story is about how Cook County Jail inmates are suppposedly “taking priority” over soldiers. “Felons vote, soldiers don’t… at least, that seems to be the attitude in Cook County, Illinois,” said the show’s guest, Quinn Hillyer of the Washington Times.
The segment delved into the 2600 ballots that were allegedly delivered to jail inmates, which the show claimed, is the same number of ballots that were sent late to soldiers serving overseas “from that area.”
Actually, Cook County and Chicago sent overseas absentee ballots on time. Chicago’s board of elections sent the overseas applications two weeks ahead of the federal deadline.
They also claim on the Fox show that the city’s board “hand-delivered” ballots to inmates at the county jail. “It’s awful,” said Hillyer, who also claimed that “inmates don’t even have to request the ballots.”
A ballot is delivered to a detainee only if we receive an absentee application from a valid registered voter who is not yet convicted – under the standard of innocent until proven guilty. If the application is from someone who is convicted between the date they requested the ballot and election day, that sealed ballot, whether or not it’s from a registered voter, is not allowed into the count. Through [October 20th], there were 1,373 applications. [Emphasis added.]
So, to sum up: Inmates have to request the ballots. Only those who aren’t convicted are sent ballots. And soldiers received their ballots ahead of schedule. Other than that, the show was quite accurate. Except, there was no other than that.
* Speaking of stirring people up, blood always runs hot this time of year. But there’s hot and then there’s boiling…
BILL BRADY NEEDS 400,000-450,000 VOTES Cook County aka Liberal Hell, and if you think the tea party princess is going to magically sprinkle winning tea leaves on him to win, without your help… Well, you are wrong.
Mike Madigan will have 500 foot soldiers out in Worth Township and the 19th Ward protecting his home front this weekend. This. Is. Dangerous.
Plus, that lunatic, Toni Periwinkle, has earmarked $400,000-$450,000 to defeat conservatives on the Southwest Side. She has also promised to round up members of the Purple Army, members of SEIU! I needn’t explain that just because these people are not wearing Brown shirts doesn’t make them any different than their brothers and sisters from decades ago.
They have been flooding the Southwest Side and we need to defeat them.
If we lose, call the movers because we won’t have a prayer.
* Green: Where Quinn must get votes to eke out victory over Brady: Quinn must also narrowly win suburban Cook County; get beat by fewer than 125,000 votes in the collar counties, and get trounced by fewer than 200,000 votes Downstate. Key to Quinn losing the collars and Downstate by less than expected margins will likely be the success in these regions of Whitney, who is again running for governor on the Green Party ticket, and independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen.Brady, on the other hand, wins if the Chicago turnout is not robust and he is able to hold Quinn’s winning margin there to 375,000 votes, while breaking even in suburban Cook County. But he must also win the collar counties by 150,000 votes and totally demolish Quinn Downstate, with a margin of at least 250,000 votes.And unlike the Quinn scenario, Brady must minimize the vote for Whitney and Cohen in his base — the five collar counties and Downstate.
Bizarre. Brady has raised a ton of cash. There are no indications that his campaign is broke. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of that happening with a major campaign here. I wonder if this will come up during tonight’s WTTW gubernatorial debate. Paging Phil Ponce!
And, as the story notes, the RGA is now running ads, so Brady isn’t totally dark today. I saw it on the World Series last night. Here it is…
*** UPDATE 1 *** The Quinn campaign responded to the above story and then added something new. The campaign claims that Brady’s “Partner” ad has been pulled by some TV stations. I’m checking, but here is the statement…
Separately— one of the few Brady ads still on the air - “Partner” - was ordered to be pulled down today by television stations across the state. The ad attempted to link Governor Quinn and Rod Blagojevich, and makes claims found to be patently false.
Watch the ad in question by clicking here. It’s the Rod Blagojevich ad that claims Quinn stuck taxpayers “with a $250 million pay raise for government workers.” As I wrote the other day, the alleged “deal” with AFSCME was about layoffs. AFSCME’s contract, which included the pay raises, was negotiated by Rod Blagojevich.
…Adding… More from the Quinn campaign…
The first stations to report to pull it down were WIFR and WSIL. I’ll send the rest as they come in…but it may be everywhere it was playing.
*** UPDATE 2 *** I just got off the phone with Bill Brady’s campaign manager Jerry Clarke, who explained the situation. Jerry said the campaign placed a $2.2 million buy on Monday for the week. The Republican Governors Association was supposed to kick in $700,000 toward that ad buy today, but then decided to run its own ad instead. That meant the Brady campaign had to redo the buy and reduce it by $700K. The buyers, for whatever reason, did not pay for today.
Clarke said that the campaign is not dark. He didn’t know if WGN was in the current buy, but insisted that other stations have now been paid by his buyers and ads are running.
* As far as the Quinn campaign’s claim that Brady had pulled the “Partner” ad, Clarke said the ad was gone as of this morning because they changed traffic. “No station pulled it,” he insisted. According to Jerry, the “Future” ad is up as is the “Flatline” ad.
More info as warranted.
*** UPDATE 3 *** I called one of the two stations the governor’s campaign identified as “pulling” the “Partner” ad. WSIL TV general manager Steve Wheeler said the Quinn campaign claim is untrue. “We wouldn’t pull a candidate’s spot over its content,” Wheeler said.
This violates the old rule of letting your opponent twist in the wind. The Quinn campaign stuck their nose into this and screwed up the hit.
* Let’s add some semi-related stories while we’re at it…
Answer our phones or read our inbound e-mails and you’ll learn from Democratic activists that the Tribune reflexively has endorsed Republicans for Tuesday’s election. That is, our endorsements are preordained, partisan, party-driven. And the party is Republican.
Trouble is, that allegation would anger hordes of Republican activists still steaming that, in 2008, this page endorsed Barack Obama for president and Dick Durbin for senator. This year we’ve reopened those GOP wounds because, in two tight U.S. House races, we endorsed Democrats Melissa Bean and Bill Foster. Plus four Democrats and an independent, Forrest Claypool, in Cook County’s five countywide races. Plus six Democrats and two Green Party candidates (as well as six Republicans) running for Cook County Board. And a Democrat on the Illinois Supreme Court who faces a tough retention race. And so on …
The paper then moves on to its legislative endorsements…
We also hear complaints that we’ve endorsed people who aren’t likely to win, as if electoral prospects have anything to do with who’s best for the job.
But their logic is flawed. Their legislative endorsements do, indeed, appear to be preordained and partisan, and they appear to have provided themselves some partisan cover by what could be called a strategic endorsement of no-chance Democrats.
If you look at the Trib’s endorsement list, you’ll see that the Tribune did, indeed, endorse several Democrats for the General Assembly. Trouble is only one of those Democrats is actually in any sort of race. The rest appear to be completely safe from defeat right now.
For instance, the Tribune endorsed Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign), a tireless advocate for a tax hike, who is up against a tea party-backed Republican who had to run a write-in campaign to get on the ballot because the local GOP didn’t want much of anything to do with him. That candidate was recently slammed for allegedly racist remarks during an NAACP-sponsored forum. No state Senate Democrats in tough races were endorsed. Zero.
In the House, the Tribune endorsed one Democratic incumbent who is now having real trouble: Rep. Kevin McCarthy. But at the time of the paper’s endorsement, in late September, the House Republicans weren’t really doing all that much for McCarthy’s opponent. There were lots of rumors at the time that they just couldn’t get along with the guy. They spent less than $7,000 on him between July 1 and October 3rd. That’s all changed since then, however.
The Senate Republicans told me a few weeks ago that a member of the Tribune’s editorial board traveled to Springfield to meet with their Downstate candidates. The Senate Democrats said no such offer was made to them.
* The Sun-Times editorial board obviously leans Democratic, but that paper has been far more willing this year to endorse Republicans in hotly contested races. They backed three such Republicans in the House and two in the Senate.
Look, it’s the Tribune’s shop. They get to do whatever they want. I respect that. But a little more honesty, please.
The conduct of JUSTPAC, the political committee of the Illinois Civil Justice League and Kilbride’s primary nemesis, has been a big turnoff. The pro-business group’s leader channeled Malcolm X, of all people, in promising to use “whatever means necessary” to defeat Kilbride. The organization’s tactics prove that, not least of which was an ad using actors and graphic images to portray Kilbride as siding with violent felons. Some media outlets, including in Peoria, pulled the ad after its accuracy was questioned. Specifically there was an implication that Kilbride had voted to overturn the conviction of a serial rapist when in fact the case had been returned to the judge for resentencing because of procedural error. The ad did not provide that context.
JUSTPAC, which has raised nearly $650,000 in trying to end Kilbride’s Supreme Court career, has overreached here, has not played fair, especially for a group ostensibly representing the interests of healers. Arguably that has backfired, as it seems to have energized Kilbride’s supporters.
“Channeled Malcolm X”? Yikes. But I’m not sure they’re right about the JUSTPAC ads backfiring. Kilbride was in big trouble before those ads ever started.
* Is Sen. Rickey Hendon under a grand jury investigation? Today’s AP scoop could also indicate that a much broader federal probe is underway of state legislative grants. It’s certainly fertile territory…
A federal grand jury has demanded records describing how hundreds of thousands of dollars in state money was handed out to dozens of groups, at least some of which are linked to a top Illinois lawmaker who is running for Chicago mayor, records show.
Subpoenas from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office arrived in August at five state agencies seeking copies of contracts and other financial records related to nearly 50 not-for-profit agencies and more than a dozen individuals.
An accompanying letter says the subpoenas are part of “an official criminal investigation,” although it does not say who or what may have been the subject of the investigation.
A number of the agencies said they received grants with the assistance of Chicago mayoral candidate and Democratic state Sen. Rickey Hendon, who is also assistant Senate majority leader. Several of the individuals have ties to Hendon, including his sister and her daughter, whose film and stage production organization received more than $1 million from the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity in 2007-08, some of which went to make a movie. […]
Two people whose candidacies for public office Hendon backed financially are listed, including his office assistant, who ran for state representative. A Cook County official who said she is a member of Hendon’s political organization is named, but she told AP she has received no state grants.
The name of prominent Chicago magazine publisher Hermene Hartman appears. She wrote forewords to two Hendon books, but has received no state grants and told the AP she was unaware of the subpoenas.
* Blackmail? Really? Gov. Pat Quinn chose the Northstar Lottery Group in mid September as the new private manager of the state Lottery. The two losing firms then filed protests, including a company named Intralot. But then Intralot execs were reportedly whistled into a private meeting with Department of Revenue and the Lottery and told to zip their lips or else bad things would happen. Lewis Lazare had the scoop back on October 14th…
To the apparent amazement of the folks at Intralot, sources say, the state executives suggested it might be in the best interests of Intralot to drop its protest by Friday, Oct. 15, or the Lottery would move forward with a plan to release more detailed information about the so-called probity checks that doomed the Intralot bid.
A company named Kroll handled the probity checks for the Lottery management privatization…
What Kroll determined to be a problem during the Intralot probity check, sources say, is the background of the Greece-based head of Intralot, a gentleman named Sokratis Kokkalis. A brief review of Kokkalis’ background does suggest the man has had some questionable associations, including a stint as an agent with the East German secret police. He has also been indicted in several foreign countries, but cleared of all charges in every instance, sources tell us. What’s more, Kokkalis never became a huge sticking point in 12 other United States lottery-related bids and 40 foreign bids in which Intralot has participated in recent years.
The alleged blackmail threat apparently didn’t deter Inerlot, and the company hand-delivered a letter to the governor’s office on October 19th, according to Lazare, which explained their side of what happened.
Two companies who lost out on a contract to privately manage the Illinois Lottery have sent letters to Gov. Pat Quinn and others questioning how their protests to the contract are being handled.
Camelot Illinois is asking that the contract be rebid, but through an “unbiased intermediary” rather than by the Illinois Department of Revenue.
Intralot USA, meanwhile, in its letter cited an instance in which a Revenue official allegedly threatened to make public “certain negative information” about an executive with Intralot’s parent company if Intralot persisted with its protest.
Everybody on the state side is denying there were any improprieties and they’re planning to file a formal response soon.
This is some weird stuff, man.
* Meanwhile, in actual reform and renewal news, the Better Government Association now has several blogs for your perusal. We’ll be keeping an eye on them from now on.
The Realtor Association of Southwestern Illinois recorded 168 sales in September after reporting 196 in August. In Madison County, the Greater Gateway Association of Realtors recorded 194 sales in September and 190 for August.
Sales have been gradually falling in St. Clair and Madison counties since 2005.
“Defendant’s motion is founded in substantial part on the well-known principle that if a lawyer cannot attack the law or the facts in a criminal prosecution, the only recourse is to attack the prosecutor,” Zagel said. “One aspect of the case that makes it clear that the defense had no attack on the law or the facts … is that defense counsel did not, and correctly so, choose to attack the evidence” of Blagojevich’s guilt on the lone count of conviction.
Citing the cost of $2,270 to send all three, trustees approved sending two commissioners, Marv Ruppert and Wayne Winterberg, at a cost of $960, but they won’t attend all of the sessions and won’t stay at the hotel where the conference is being held from Nov. 5 to 7 in Bloomingdale.
The key changes would be allowing voters to elect the city clerk and treasurer, rather than having the mayor appoint them, and the creation of a 7th Ward - the Roosevelt Ward, named after an elementary school in the proposed ward’s boundaries.
Since the year began, Elgin officials have handed out $21,345 in fines for violating the city’s animal control ordinance.
So far, the city has collected $6,820, or about a third of what’s been levied so far, said the city’s Corporation Counsel William Cogley.
Soon, if someone can’t pay a fine penalties under the city’s stronger animal control ordinance are $1,000 if a dog bites a human or another dog they will be able to work it off through community service at a rate of $10 per hour.
A third construction-related business has provided $1,000 to backers of a Gurnee Elementary District 56 ballot question seeking permission to borrow $28.5 million mostly to build a new school in Wadsworth.
Black Engineering Co. Inc. of Lake Forest made the most recent donation to Citizens for District 56 Schools. Black’s $1,000 gift was logged Oct. 20, according to state campaign finance disclosure records.
Quincy ranked the highest among the top 15 cities in cost of living and commute time. Forbes ranked Quincy No. 4 in the nation in lowest cost of living and No. 7 in shortest commute time(s).
Dubuque, Iowa, was ranked No. 1 overall, followed by Manitowoc, Wis., Marquette, Mich., Midland, Mich., and Marshfield, Wis., in the top five. Twelve of the top 15 cities listed are from the Midwest.
The state made that easier Wednesday afternoon, by officially creating a STAR Bonds District. It will offer major tax incentives. Developers say they can now recruit potential businesses a lot more easily.
When Kirk pulled out his yellow-highlighted list of mobsters that Giannoulias gave loans to as senior loan officers at his family’s Broadway Bank, Giannoulias pulled out his own list of five felons Kirk has taken campaign contributions from over the years.
But Kirk said the difference was he had returned those loans “The instant we knew about criminal activity.”
The testiest exchange came when Kirk accused Giannoulias of flip-flopping on President Bush’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, which Giannoulias has said he would have voted for but would have insisted on more safeguards to prevent the big banks for mis-using the money.
Giannoulias complained that Kirk voted for that bill but against President Obama’s follow-up bills and the bills to prohibit banks that took the money from giving executives big bonuses.
“Congressman Kirk, because he’s bought and paid for by the corporate special interests, voted against it,” Giannoulias said. “That’s the fundamental difference. I never said I was against it.”
Kirk contended Giannoulias, the first-term state treasurer, displayed his “immaturity” by “trying to have it both ways” in saying he would have voted for the Congressional bailout of financial institutions while wanting more oversight in the legislation.
Kirk also accused Giannoulias of flip-flopping by saying he did not favor reopening the North American Free Trade Agreement, though the Democrat’s Web site proposes to seek more labor and social protections. Giannoulias “wanted to start a trade war,” Kirk said, prompting the Democrat to interject that the Republican’s statement was “absolutely unequivocally untrue.”
The two began talking over each other so much that Kirk asked the show’s host, Phil Ponce to restore order. “Do you want to moderate this?” Kirk asked.
Questioned on his vote for the Iraq war, Kirk, a five-term Congressman, criticized the way intelligence gathering was handled. On reports that Iraq was pursuing nuclear weapons, Kirk said, “I think that we were lied to in the end, by the deputy director of national intelligence absolutely.” Questioned on the point, Kirk backtracked, saying the intelligence was wrong.
Giannoulias pounced on Kirk’s answer, saying, “He actually convinced other members of Congress that he knew to a moral certitude” that the Iraq war was necessary.
[Kirk] returned repeatedly in the debate to his credentials as an endangered moderate. “The path to partisanship,” Kirk said, “is the path to leadership” in the House of Representatives, explaining that he’d deliberately sought Democratic co-sponsors and consensus causes.
“Most Americans are centrists and moderates who want to make things happen and the question is who represents us,” he said. “I’ve tried to be very moderate, very centrist, very coalition-building.”
Giannoulias also said that he will not be running negative ads from here on out. However, the DSCC is still up with negatives and isn’t going to stop.