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US Senate debate live blog

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* I won’t be watching because I don’t live in Chicago, but if you’re in the area tune in to WTTW’s US Senate debate at 7 o’clock tonight and help us out in comments by live-blogging, please. Thanks. We’ve done this before and it’s been great.

* Also, the Pollster Who Shall Not Be Named released another poll today on the US Senate race. Once again, he didn’t include all the names. And “Some other candidate” received 5 percent of the vote. Go hear and read it yourself if you want.

* From the toplines, President Obama’s approval rating here is now 51 percent. Disapproval is at 48 percent. That’s about where Raz has always had him here. The Democrats have just a six-point advantage on the congressional generic ballot, which isn’t nearly enough…

* Thinking about this year’s elections - suppose that your vote determined which political party wins control of the U.S. Senate this year. Would you vote for the Republican Party or the Democratic Party?

43% The Republican party
49% The Democratic party
8% Not sure

And then there’s this…

* Do you consider yourself part of the Tea Party Movement?

22% Yes
63% No
15% Not sure


* A proposal has been made to repeal the health care bill and stop it from going into effect. Do you strongly favor, somewhat favor, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose a proposal to repeal the health care bill?

43% Strongly favor
11% Somewhat favor
9% Somewhat oppose
32% Strongly oppose
5% Not sure

Anyway, thanks again in advance for any live-commenting you can do.

- Posted by Rich Miller   61 Comments      

Quinn: Brady would rather gay people not exist

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* Back in the day,a candidate could say something inappropriate to a small publication and nobody would notice right away. That Interwebtube thingy has forever changed all that, however. Take, for instance, Gov. Pat Quinn’s comments to a publication called “Grab Magazine”

“Senator Brady doesn’t believe in equality for women and would rather LGBT people not exist,” said Quinn.

Really? Isn’t that just a slightly less blunt way of saying what Sen. Rickey Hendon said the other day? We’re awfully close to an invocation of Godwin’s Law in this campaign, if we’re not there already.

…Adding… Oops. I forgot to post these stories today. Sorry…

* Bright Start major issue in treasurer race

* AG candidates weigh in on corruption busting

* Foster fights to hold seat

* Herald & Review: Two area congressmen should be replaced

* Southern: Two Democrats, one Republican endorsed for U.S. Congress

* House candidate seeks transparency in state spending incentives

* Preckwinkle claims consistency on Cook tax repeal

* Marin: Assessor’s race ripe for protest vote

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Buried under the hype

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* The candidate who may have been “hurt” the most by the Daley/Rahm/etc. mayoral drama is Forrest Claypool. He was most certainly counting on a ton of earned media before the election, but editors have been too busy focusing on 2011 to care much about next Tuesday.

Today is a good case in point. Claypool held a press conference this morning at 10:30 to unveil some new information. Unfortunately for him, Sheriff Dart’s “I’m not running for mayor” presser was held exactly the same time. So, Claypool gets buried once again.

Luckily for us, Greg Hinz attended the Claypool event

In a revealing look inside county government that is both more and less than it appears to be, assessor hopeful Forrest Claypool released a detailed study that he said shows a connection between campaign cash and government decisions. […]

The findings: Of $6.2 billion in assessment cuts awarded by the board this year to all property owners — residential, commercial and industrial — 92%, or $5.7 billion, went to those who used a lawyer who has donated to Mr. Berrios, Mr. Claypool said.

That translates to just under $1 billion in taxes that were shifted to other property owners, Mr. Claypool said.

Mr. Claypool has promised not to accept campaign donations from property tax lawyers. Doing so is like “the judge taking cash from the litigant in front of him, and then making a decision.”

Claypool also said he would recuse himself as assessor from ruling on assessments if he accepted campaign contributions. He’s taken money from some bigtime land owners.

* Berrios responded via press release…

“It’s almost laughable because he obviously doesn’t know how the office operates,” said Joe Berrios, Democratic candidate for assessor. “The assessor sets the assessments. He is required by law to do so. To hire a third-party or assign the duty to someone else would require legislative approval and ultimately cost taxpayers.” […]

Claypool not only accepts money from the likes of the Pritzkers and Sam Zell, but from Houlihan, which is pure evidence of his hypocrisy and double-standard, Berrios said. “Houlihan takes contributions from anyone – including property attorneys and real estate developers — and he then turns that money over to Claypool. Allowing Houlihan to be one of the largest funders demonstrates that Claypool isn’t being straight with voters,” Berrios said.

You can see the Claypool handiwork by clicking here.

* By the way, would it have really been so difficult for Dart to wait until after Tuesday to make this announcement? Seriously. It’s only a week.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Dems scrambling to clean up, spin mess

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* This looks like Alexi Giannoulias’ positive closer. It features both President Obama and the First Lady

* The Question: After all the extreme negativity this year, can positive ads like this one break through all the last-week clutter and work? Explain.

* By the way, I let Barton pick the winner of yesterday’s “Cyclone contest,” and he chose Secret Square for this one…

The Capitol Fax Political Storm Prediction Center has placed all of Illinois in a High Risk for an outbreak of severe campaign rhetoric, damaging news leaks, destructive character attacks, and attack ads gusting to 75 words per minute until 7 p.m. next Tuesday.

SS should e-mail me with his/her particulars. Congratulations and thanks to all!

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** Democrats accidentally suppressing their own voters

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* I told subscribers about this today, and Chuck Goudie had the scoop last night. The bottom line is that the Democrats’ coordinated campaign really screwed up badly

An Illinois county election official is telling the ABC 7 I-Team that thousands — potentially hundreds of thousands — of voters who are expecting a ballot sent to them by mail may be disenfranchised.

That may be an exaggeration, but it’s at least thousands. This is a massive screwup. But the Lake County Clerk has to follow the law, so her sorrows are her own problem…

The Lake County clerk received a shipment of 500 ballot requests from the IDCC Tuesday. By law, her office has two days to process the ballot requests. The problem is, Thursday is the deadline for election officials to get the ballots out.

IDCC told the clerk that another 1,500 ballot requests are headed to her office, which, she says, may not give her enough time to process all the ballots, potentially disenfranchising voters.

There’s an even worse problem, though. Subscribers already know what that is. Basically, if you sign the application and stick it in the mail, it is sent to the coordinated campaign. They then process the applications and send them to the clerks. But lots of people got their absentee applications yesterday. The deadline for sending them in is Thursday. If those recipients signed the apps and send them in today, the earliest the coordinated campaign will get them is Thursday, which, again, is the deadline day. Considering the US Postal Service’s record, the Democrats will probably get a ton of applications after the deadline. This was just a horribly designed plan.

And then there’s this…

Carter and others who contacted the I-Team are furious that their vote may also be thrown out because the IDCC put the registered voters’ wrong birthdate on the form.

The coordinated campaign says that only one percent of the applications have the wrong birth date. It’s probably way more than that. But, again, Goudie is exaggerating here. Birth dates aren’t required information in some areas, including the city of Chicago. And it’s not their “vote” which may be thrown out. It’s the ballot application.

Either way, though, this stupidity is causing huge problems and mass confusion.

A Chicago elections board spokesman told me yesterday that voters who get these late applications should just download a form from the board itself and mail it in by Thursday. The Chicago media and every other state media outlet needs to get on this one fast. People need to know that their party might’ve just accidentally shafted them.

And this is another really bad thing…

Forty-five of the ballots the Lake County clerk received Tuesday from the [Democratic coordinated campaign] should have gone to Will County.

That’s almost ten percent of the ballot requests she received yesterday.


…Adding… A Daily Kos diarist wondered aloud yesterday if these flawed ballot applications might be some sort of Rovian trick

I just noticed something strange, and I don’t know if it is a genuine mistake or some sort of evil trick. […]

I’d hate to think it is an evil plot by Karl Rove to dupe a lot of people into unwittingly committing “voter fraud.”

Nope. Karl Rove isn’t trying to suppress Democratic voters. The Dems are doing it to their own kind. And they’ll probably end up suppressing more votes than Mark Kirk and the Illinois Republican Party ever could, despite Alexi Giannoulias’ many claims.

If either Pat Quinn or Giannoulias lose by a few thousand votes, they may have their own party’s coordinated campaign to blame.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Illinois Review diarist “Ghost of John Brown” received an absentee ballot app mailer today from a Republican group

Today Mrs. Ghost and I both received mailers from the Alliance for America’s Future, which is a group operated by Dick Cheney’s daughter, Mary. The mailer encourages you to go to a personalized website so you can get an absentee ballot. Click [here] for a full view. The trouble is that at least in my County, an absentee ballot has to be mailed out five days ahead of time, which is Thursday. How likely is it that if you fill out the on-line form that your election board will be able to mail out the ballot in time? Not likely. However, you might THINK that you are getting one, and fail to vote.

Sheesh. Both sides are suppressing their own voters. What a mess.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Blogger’s blogger OneMan received three absentee apps from that same Republican group yesterday.

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      

Quinn, Brady agree on no gaming expansion during veto session

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* I told subscribers about this weeks ago. At least it seems like weeks ago

State lawmakers are quietly exploring how to push through a major gambling expansion during next month’s fall session, the political safety zone that will open and shut over a few weeks following Tuesday’s election.

The details are evolving, but one version would put a land-based casino in Chicago and new riverboats in Lake County, the south suburbs and downstate Danville. Horse tracks would get video gambling to create “racinos,” and existing riverboats would be allowed to expand. Supporters are dangling the prospect of more than $400 million upfront and hundreds of millions more as the casinos come online for a state that can’t pay its bills.

Slipping through big-ticket items during lame-duck sessions is nothing new in Illinois. In the past, lawmakers have raised their pay, legalized off-track betting and cut a deal to rebuild Soldier Field into its current saucerlike shape. Legislators who aren’t returning have little to lose in casting controversial votes, creating a deal-making atmosphere inside the Capitol.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea” Gov. Quinn told the paper. Brady’s response…

“There are a lot of dangerous things that you always fear in a lame-duck session when one party loses power,” Brady said. “They should wait until the newly elected people of the state of Illinois can weigh in on it.”

Unless it has no immediate effective date, any gaming bill would have to get three-fifths majorities in both chambers during the veto session. They could, however, pass a bill with an immediate effective date in January before the new General Assembly is sworn in. If Brady wins the governor’s race, they could conceivably pass more than one bill that way. The Republicans blazed that trail in 1997, after the Democrats took back the House.

* In other campaign news, the State Journal-Register has decided to endorse Bill Brady for governor because the Democrats have failed to govern together…

If we have learned anything from the past eight years, it is this: Illinois Democrats don’t work well together.

When Rod Blagojevich was sworn in as governor in 2003, it marked the first time since the Dan Walker administration ended in 1977 that Democrats held the governor’s office and controlled both the Illinois House and Senate. Except for a two-year span during the Jim Edgar administration when Republicans controlled both houses, the parties shared power in some form for 26 years under Republican governors. Democrats and Republicans didn’t join hands and sing “Kumbaya” during this time, but things generally got done under shared power.

That’s why today we endorse Republican state Sen. Bill Brady for governor. In fact, it’s the only reason we endorse Brady.

They don’t care for Brady at all, and that’s an understatement…

We’re far from confident that Brady will fare better as governor.


We can only hope that maybe, as a Republican governor, Brady will manage to stir enough across-the-aisle cooperation to break the stalemate that finds Illinois in a deep hole and sinking fast.

This actually does make some logical sense. Republican governors can generally convince at least some Republican legislators to go along with them while the governors try to make deals with Democratic chamber leaders. How the Democrats react to Brady, however, is unknown at the moment.

* Meanwhile, a crucial line was left out of this story

Republican State Senator Bill Brady says he has no knowledge of disparaging remarks made by commentator Glenn Beck about first lady Michelle Obama while at a “Right Nation” event last month. That’s despite the fact that Brady spoke at the event.

Brady, the GOP nominee for governor, says he will not apologize for his party, despite Governor Quinn suggesting he was at the Beck appearance and clapping as Beck made an off color remark about Michelle Obama’s healthy eating plan.

“The governor’s got to realize that just because he says something, it doesn’t make it true. I was not at the Glenn Beck event… I don’t know what Glenn Beck said,” Brady said.

The ellipsis conceals that Brady actually said: “I was not at the Glenn Beck event with Glenn Beck.”

* And ABC7 found another way to keep the Rickey Hendon story alive

A prominent religious leader wants both Governor Pat Quinn and State Senator Rickey Hendon to apologize for comments Hendon made backing Quinn’s re-election campaign.

Bishop Larry Trotter of Sweet Holy Spirit Church claimed mudslinging that takes politics into the gutter is inappropriate. He referred to Hendon’s charge that State Senator Bill Brady, the republican nominee for governor, is sexist and racist.

“You and I may be on 2 different teams, but we don’t have to be ugly about it. It may push toward more voter apathy than if they just dealt with the issues, and left one another alone,” said Bishop Trotter.

More from Fox Chicago

“It’s like every time [Hendon] gets up, he’s in a rage. And I really want to talk to him, because there are a lot of people who like him. But they want to see a different — I mean he’s delivered as a senator. They want to see a different Rickey when he’s projected on a microphone. He said something terrible about Carol Moseley Braun the other week,” Trotter said.

Quinn was on a Fox Chicago program this morning and the Hendon thing came up. Watch…

* Roundup…

* Brady’s AFSCME Ad Is All Wrong

* 15 billion budget deficit looms over Illinois governor’s race

* Lawmakers may probe military ballot delays

* Another vendor quits doing business with Illinois

* 18 Illinois school districts to get state funds

* Brady Counting on Downstate Voters

* Faith From Voters Key for Quinn

* Quinn to announce new economic development program for region

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Sheriff Dart drops out of mayor’s race

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is announcing at a 10:30 press conference this morning that he won’t run for mayor. A top inside source confirmed the rumors earlier today which have been swirling since last night. The source choked up at times with emotion.

Dart has a large and very young family, and the time away from them would be just too much to bear, I’m told.

I’ll have more later if the situation warrants.

*** UPDATE *** Sun-Times

To be mayor means to “be less of a father,” Dart said at a news conference Wednesday.

“This time, it’s not something that would work for my family,” said Dart, who has five children.

He said fund-raising would not have been an issue for him in a race that would have pitted him against a champion fund-raiser, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, the former congressman from the Northwest Side.


“I have found it impossible for it to be compatible between running for mayor and being a father and husband,” Dart said at the news conference.

“I’m disappointing people, but at the end of the day I have to look myself in the mirror,” he said of those who wanted him to run for mayor.

Dart said no back channel overtures were made by other candidates to encourage him to get out of the race. “I haven’t spoken to any other candidates at all,” he said, with the exception of Gutierrez calling him after the congressman announced he wasn’t running.

Dart said he did not call any of the other candidates and said he has “no intention” of doing so.

* Mayoral roundup…

* Potential Mayoral Picks Narrowed To Meeks, Braun

* Emanuel sitting down with city education leaders as he plots schools policy

* Sneed: Emanuel creates first Spanish version of mayoral website

* Chico media firm has Democratic ties from Chicago to Washington

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      

New TV ads and promo videos

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* The spots aren’t posted online as I write this, but the DCCC is spending big bucks during the coming week on TV ads in two Illinois campaigns. From the Hotline

IL-10 Open (Kirk) $590,722
IL-14 Bill Foster (D) $526,917
IL-17 Phil Hare (D) $92,158

Phil Hare’s district is cheaper to advertise in, and I’m not sure what the DCCC has already booked, so I’m withholding judgment at the moment about what that particular figure means. Noticeably absent is Debbie Halvorson, who the polls show is trailing badly, and Melissa Bean, whose Republican opponent has no money.

* The DSSC has a new TV ad connecting Mark Kirk to George W. Bush. Rate it

* JUSTPAC has a new TV ad whacking Supreme Court Chief Justice Kilbride. Rate it

* The Tribune editorialized on the JUSTPAC ads today

You’ve probably heard one of those snarling radio or television ads aimed at bouncing Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride from the bench.

Three actors portray criminals, describing their vicious crimes’ vivid detail. “On appeal, Justice Thomas Kilbride sided with us over law enforcement or our victims,” one says. “Unfortunately for felons like us, other justices overruled Kilbride and our convictions stood.”

No, Kilbride didn’t hand out Get Out Of Jail Free passes to rabid criminals. He brands that ad and others as “gross distortions” of his record in criminal cases.

But crime isn’t the prime issue in this race. Politics is. The Illinois Supreme Court has four Democrats and three Republicans. A switch of one seat would shift the balance of power.

* John McCain had his plumber, Pat Quinn has his welder and now Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has an electrician

* Schakowsky’s opponent Joel Pollak claims that this is no ordinary electrician. From a press release…

The facts about Sindelar reveal that Schakowsky’s not fighting for workers–she’s fighting for her political cronies, including Sindelar.

Sindelar is a Democrat insider with close ties to the party machine:

Sindelar is the Treasurer of “Citizens for Elaine Nekritz,” the official campaign committee for State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-57) (

Sindelar filed a successful ballot challenge against Nekritz’s Republican opponent in 2006, Wayne Berzon, who was struck off the ballot (

Sindelar ran for Assessor in Maine Township in 2005 as a Democrat against Republican Tom Rueckert, and lost (

Sindelar was paid $1000 in January 2010 by Blagojevich appointee Bill Brandt, Chair of the Illinois Finance Authority, as Brandt began his campaign for 10th District Democratic State Central Committeeman (

Sindelar and his wife have donated thousands of dollars to individual Democrats and party organizations over the past several years (search

Sindelar has been paid for consulting work by the Maine Township Regular Democratic Organization (search

* First of all, Rep. Nekritz is not a “Machine” Democrat. She was the only Democrat who voted against Speaker Madigan’s rules two years ago, for crying out loud. I did my own searches and found $2600 in campaign contributions made by Sindelar and his wife since September of 2001. I guess that allows Pollack to claim “thousands” in contributions, but that’s an average of just $289 a year. Sindelar was paid $400 by Maine Township five years ago. Yeah, he’s some player.

Just for the heck of it, I checked campaign contributions made by my handyman. Tony and his wonderful wife have contributed $2,247 to Republicans since 2000 - not much different than Schakowsky’s alleged “Machine Democrat” electrician. Tony is also listed as the handyman for the local county party. Do those contributions and expenditures make my handyman a Republican hack? Heck no. He’s a fine, upstanding American who likes to be involved in the American Way. Does his activism make Tony less of a handyman? Absolutely not. He’s the best handyman ever, in my opinion. I absolutely love the guy and recommend him all the time to Democrats, Republicans and to folks who I have no idea what party they belong to.

There’s nothing at all wrong with people being an electrician or a handyman and at the same time being politically active. This would be America, after all.

* Let’s look at some Internet promo videos. First up, Otis McDonald, of the landmark McDonald v Chicago gun control case has endorsed Bill Brady for governor. The video is long and slow-paced and doesn’t get to the point until 3:50 into it

Good man. Bad video.

* I think this is an Internet video, but am not sure. “Seals” for Dold

…Adding… Politico says that the seal is actually a sea lion. Oops

* Meet the Hultgren Voters

Hint to the Hultgren campaign: Turn down the background music. It’s overwhelming.

* More videos…

* IARF Interview: Senator Bill Brady

* IARF Interview: Gov. Pat Quinn

* Serafin on FOX: Governor’s Race Enters Final Week

* Senator John Thune: Mark Kirk is One of the People Everybody Looks To

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

* Kadner: When the unemployed no longer count

“I’m what they call a 99er,” the 43-year-old Oak Lawn resident said.
I had heard of 49ers, in reference to the football team in San Francisco and to the California Gold Rush. But I didn’t have a clue what a 99er is.

“It means I’ve gone past Tier 4 in unemployment benefits, which goes to 99 weeks,” Hannah explained. “So they call those of us who are no longer eligible for unemployment ‘99ers.’ “

And so the Great Recession has created its own language.

No one knows the exact number of 99ers, although the government estimates that they represent about 10 percent of all the people who are jobless. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, that’s 1.4 million Americans, but the number in all likelihood is much greater.

* 60 Gang Members Arrested After Murder

* Two Chicago cops sue Jody Weis for slander

Two Chicago police officers are suing Supt. Jody Weis, alleging the city’s top cop defamed them when he stripped them of their badges after a high-profile internal investigation was launched into a group of officers who allegedly beat a handcuffed suspect.

A global-positioning device in the officers’ squad car showed the Gresham District Tactical Unit officers, Lynn Meuris and Jason Vanna, weren’t present during the alleged Oct. 11 beating and they were returned to street duty .

* Lynwood chief says his cop should sue Will County

* Fire Commissioner Says No Way To Cutting Fire Crews

* Who has the scissors to cut City Hall biz red tape?

Outgoing Mayor Richard M. Daley took a couple of stabs at one-stop-shopping for permits and the like, but the fact is, Chicago remains an extraordinarily difficult place for someone with a good idea but little time and capital to get on his or her feet.

* Sun-Times: Budget ideas deserve a closer inspection

* Gas City files for Chapter 11

* Elmhurst flooding: ‘It’s a capacity issue’

* Glen Ellyn OKs boost in pay for village clerk

* 30 years as Wheaton’s manager

Historical accounts indicate that in DuPage, only the late Elmhurst City Manager Robert Palmer, who held his post from July 1953 until December 1983, served longer. And next spring, Rose will surpass Palmer to become the county’s longest-serving city manager.

* State OKs cancer center in New Lenox

* Rolling Meadows still facing budget crunch

* E.M. schools have new superintendent and board president

* Keystone project a ’slap in the face’ to labor

After receiving millions of dollars in state assistance over the past decade, Keystone Steel & Wire Co., stunned area legislators by hiring out-of-state labor for a current plant upgrade. […]

What the company requested and received was a lower employment threshold to qualify for a utility tax exemption. The exemption is normally granted only to companies with employment of at least 1,000 people.

When layoffs at the Bartonville plant caused employment to dip to 165 salaried workers and 668 hourly workers, the utility tax would normally have kicked in.

A bill signed by Gov. Pat Quinn last January extended the company’s utility tax exemption, a move that saves Keystone an estimated $120,000 to $140,000 a month.

* Peoria City Council left waiting for more budget information

* Sales tax supporters joust with county board members at meeting

* Jackson County Board set to meet today to approve 2011 budget

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   10 Comments      

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Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

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Another Brady ad connects Quinn to Blagojevich

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

[Bumped up from Tuesday evening for visibility.]

* I posted a Bill Brady ad earlier today that brought up Rod Blagojevich right off the bat. Another ad, called “Partner,” is far more negative with the Blagojevich stuff. Rate it

…Adding… The ad falsely claims that Gov. Quinn stuck taxpayers “with a $250 million pay raise for government workers.” The alleged “deal” with AFSCME was about layoffs. AFSCME’s contract, which included the pay raises, was negotiated by Rod Blagojevich.

To refresh your memory, here’s that other ad, which goes positive at the end

* And for some nighttime viewing, the SJ-R has posted raw video from their gubernatorial endorsement sessions…

* Gov. Pat Quinn, Part 1

* Gov. Pat Quinn, Part 2

* Gov. Pat Quinn, Part 3

* Sen. Bill Brady, Part 1

* Sen. Bill Brady, Part 2

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

*** UPDATED x3 *** Did Bubba bomb? Plus Berrios’ new TV ad

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* From WLS Radio

Former President Bill Clinton’s ‘get out the vote’ rally for Democrats at a downtown Chicago hotel was the most unenthusiastic WLS veteran political reporter Bill Cameron has ever witnessed.

Clinton was an hour late for the Tuesday afternoon rally at the Palmer House and droned on for another hour, sending dozens of the few hundred Democrats in attendance for the exits.

The “few hundred” turnout number appears to be way off. I talked to a reporter who was there who said at least a thousand people showed up. The official number given by the Quinn campaign was 1,300, and the Sun-Times used that figure.

And this is from Fox News, which is hardly a Democratic Party shill

After taking the stage almost an hour behind scheudule, Bill Clinton fired up the crowd of more than 1,000 inside the historic Palmer House Hilton saying, “We are all here. Now the question is, what are we going to do?”

“Fired up” does not sound to me like “most unenthusiastic rally ever.” According to my reporter friend, Clinton did indeed “drone on” for a long time. WBEZ said the speech sounded “more like a college professor’s lecture than a rallying cry for Democrats.” A sample

“You can win every race represented on this stage,” Clinton told 1,300 cheering Democrats at the Palmer House Hilton.

“You could also lose every single one of them. It depends on how bad you want this and whether you know what to say to the people who are not here.”

I’m told the crowd reaction was strong. Also, my friend said, only a few people actually walked out. That’s normal for an event which started an hour late because of the big storm.

The Brady campaign e-mailed WLS’ story probably hoping to gin something up. But I think WLS’ coverage may be a better angle. They pushed that totally goofy “Greek draft dodger” story every hour on the hour during their news programs yesterday.

It would be a real shame if the attitude of the station’s right-leaning infotainment jocks has now overtaken WLS’ news desk. That used to be a great station.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Thanks to a commenter, here’s a photo of the rally

As the commenter said, that doesn’t look like a few hundred listless people.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Video of what doesn’t appear to be lethargic people

*** UPDATE 2 *** ABC7’s Charles Thomas backs up Cameron on crowd size but not enthusiasm

When the former president began his speech, the Palmer House ballroom was half filled with enthusiastic Democratic Party workers. By the time Clinton finished, the candidates he promoted had been standing behind him for nearly an hour and the room was at best a third filled.


[ *** End Of Updates *** ]

* Meanwhile, in other campaign news, Joe Berrios’ new TV ad will start tomorrow. Rate it

- Posted by Rich Miller   68 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Libertarian in the boxes? Not quite

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

*** UPDATE *** Click here for the second mailer, scanned in by a friend. It’s about the Wall Street bailout.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Some suburban [and, according to commenters, Downstate] residents received a curious looking direct mailer the other day. I apologize for the quality. It was scanned and e-mailed to me by a friend. Here’s the front…

Venture inside and you’ll see this…

Libertarian Mike Labno has the money for mail? And he’s using it to blast Mark Kirk?…

But it isn’t from Labno. Check out the return address…

And there’s a pro-Giannoulias message as well, which kinda defeats the whole purpose…

* The idea here, obviously, is to peel off a few conservative votes from Kirk and send them to Labno. But I just don’t see this working since it’s paid for by the Democrats and features a big pic of Giannoulias. Not many “true” conservatives will fall for that.

…Adding… A commenter rightly notes that the vast majority of people will only see the cover of this mailer. That’s why I wasn’t as harsh as I could’ve been about the piece. You get a few seconds between the time they see it and the time they pitch it in the garbage can. Also, from a trusted politico…

I seriously doubt they are sending only a single piece. That’s not how mail guys work. They send waves. So, you’re probably seeing the first of 2 or 3 which says Labano is pro life and pro gun and Kirk isn’t

* Roundup…

* Clinton exhorts Democrats to turn back Republican tide: “They have relentlessly, in a uniform and unified way” played on people’s anger, Clinton said. But he said that anger should be focused on Republicans. “We only get hired as Democrats, really, when things are messed up,” he said. He urged Democrats to ensure that President Barack Obama, who returns to Chicago this weekend for his own rally, gets the continued support of a Democratic Congress.

* Sen. Scott Brown–Massachusetts miracle–at Kirk get out the vote rally Sunday

* US mid-term election spending nears $2bn mark

* Sweet: Illinois Senate race: What’s with the undecides?

* Big names hit Ill. in campaign’s last days

* Obama heading to Chicago for free rally on Saturday

* Huntley: Desperate Dems turn to dirty politics

* Illinois Senate candidates burn through $7.7 million in 13 days

* Critics: Giannoulias lacks the experience

* Giannoulias tweaks Kirk with one-man Senate ‘debate’

* Giannoulias: We’ve Been Endorsed By Every African-American Official Except One

* Voters’ trust in Kirk dashed after gaffes

- Posted by Rich Miller   66 Comments      

Fox News Poll: Brady ahead by 5 points

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* A new Fox News poll left out one the candidates’ names (Libertarian Lex Green), which is just ridiculous. But “Some other candidate” took 1 percent, which is about in line with other recent polling.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters taken October 23rd has Bill Brady leading Gov. Pat Quinn 44-39. Independent Scott Lee Cohen has 6 percent and Green Party nominee Rich Whitney has 4 percent.

According to the poll, Quinn leads among women voters just a single point. He has just 64 percent of the “non-white” vote, while Brady has 12, Whitney has 6 and Cohen has 5. Quinn has just 74 percent support among Democrats, but Brady has 87 percent backing among Republicans. Independents break heavily 45-27 to Brady. All those numbers are pretty much right in line with other recent polling.

Among those who have already voted, 58 percent said they cast their ballot for Quinn, while 37 percent were with Brady. That could help put some of these early voting stories into context.

43 percent said the policies of the Obama administration have hurt Illinois’ economy, while just 31 percent said it helped and 23 percent said it made no difference. Just 44 percent said Obama’s policies will help the country in the long run, while 47 percent said they’ll hurt. 45 percent strongly or somewhat support the tea party, while 43 percent oppose it. 11 percent were neutral. 49 percent of women opposed it, while 37 percent supported it.

* Speaking of the tea party

When is a tea party-sponsored event for Republican governor nominee Bill Brady not a tea party-sponsored event? When Brady is the one promoting it, apparently.

Brady’s campaign today sent out an e-mail promoting the “final stop on Brady’s suburban ‘Clean Break Express’ tour” on Wednesday in southwest suburban Homer Glen. Appearing with Brady will be Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Bob McDonnell of Virginia.

But in promoting the event, dubbed “Crunch Time 2010,” Brady’s campaign made no mention of the fact that the Will County Tea Party Alliance is hosting the event. The tea party group and a variety of conservative groups are promoting attendance by saying, “Tea Partiers, Independents, Republicans, Conservatives, and Libertarians will gather together in Homer Glen to prepare for the final drive to victory.”

* And David Axelrod uses big words to excuse possible failure

A top White House official blamed “extraneous factors” for Democrats’ troubles this fall in President Obama’s home state.

White House senior adviser David Axelrod blamed the political fallout from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s (D) time in office for some of the difficulties now facing Alexi Giannoulias (D) in his race for the president’s old Senate seat and Gov. Pat Quinn’s (D) bid for reelection.

“There were some extraneous factors in Illinois this year,” Axelrod said on MSNBC, “including a lot of contretemps about how the president was replaced.”

* The Fox News pollster only included two names in its US Senate poll, so I’m not reporting the results here. Go see it for yourself.

* Roundup…

* Big, late cash in guv race

* New Chicago Tribune poll mirrors Post-Dispatch’s, has GOP’s Brady up by 4 for gov

* Social issues divide Brady, Quinn

* Brady: I’ve Always Been Campaigning for Black Votes

* Brady: “There’s No Room for What Rickey Hendon Did”

* Quinn, Brady Argue Over Who Should Apologize

* Scott Lee Cohen puts another $3.2 million of his own money into governor race

* Scott Lee Cohen has loaned $2.1 million to his campaign since July

* Sun-Times: For lieutenant gov, Simon bests Plummer

* RR Star: Keep Jesse White as secretary of state

* “This will be it,” Jesse White says

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Early voting spikes up a bit in city

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* Greg Hinz sees a little ray of sunshine for statewide Dems

As of Monday 52,900 city residents had cast ballots, according to the Board of Elections. That’s less than one-third of the early vote in the extraordinary Barack Obama year of 2008, but more than twice the 2006 total of 24,800. The early polls remain open until Thursday evening.

Some folks who watch these numbers say they indicate that overall city turnout now is headed well above 50% — absolutely critical if the Ds are to give GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady and U.S. Senate hopeful Mark Kirk a competitive race.

Early turnout in the city now is approaching the 55,000 total in suburban Cook County, the latter number from County Clerk David Orr. But while the city already has more than doubled its final 2006 number, the county still is a bit shy of that mark; 33,000 voted early then. […]

Meanwhile, the Lake County Clerk’s Office reports 24,885 early voters as of Tuesday morning, somewhat above the 18,437 who voted early in 2006, and under a third of the final 2008 figure of 83,000.

Totals are softer in DuPage County. According to the clerk’s office 21,400 have voted as of Tuesday morning. That about matches the final 2006 number of 21,232 and is under a quarter of the final 2008 number of 96,000.

In addition to early voting, remember that people can vote absentee without an excuse this year.

*** UPDATE *** Hinz updates

A Republican operative with access to number crunching came up with a wider view of what’s occurring — and a different spin.

According to that source, while 55,000 Chicagoans so far have voted early and roughly 36,000 in sububan Cook, 82,000 have done so in the fiive suburban collar counties and 67,000 Downstate.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* From WLS Radio

The turnout this year may double that of 2006, a release from [Cook County Clerk David Orr’s] office said. “We anticipate at least doubling the 33,000 early voting ballots cast in the 2006 gubernatorial election,” Orr said. “Twenty of our 43 locations have served 1,000 voters or more and the busiest days may still be ahead.”

The Orland Park Village Hall, (3,981), Wheeling Township Hall (3,681), Northbrook Village Hall (3,034) and Centennial Park in Wilmette (2,458) are the busiest sites after two weeks, the release said.

* Illinois Statehouse News

Many election experts expected up to 10 percent of voters to vote early. But with only a few days left before early voting closes, many of the state’s larger counties have fallen short of that number.

In Sangamon County, Stacey Kern, director of the election office, said she has seen less than 3 percent of registered voters show up for early voting. […]

Georgia Volm, County Clerk of Adams County, said she has seen less than 5 percent of registered voters show up to vote early.

Farther north in Rock Island County, Dianna Ruhl, Acting County Clerk, said she has seen a little less than 7 percent turnout for early voting.

Pamela McCullough, County Clerk for Boone County, said this fall has had heavy turnout for both early voting and absentee voting in the county. She said her office has seen 391 early voters since Oct. 18 out of 33,679 registered voters.< /blockquote>

* Meanwhile

A federal judge will hear testimony Tuesday on a Republican bid to widen the scope of an agreement giving six Illinois counties more time to count military and overseas ballots.

Under terms of a pact inked Friday between the state and the U.S. Department of Justice, three counties -Boone, Jersey and St. Clair -have until Nov. 18 to count ballots that are returned from overseas voters. Schuyler, Massac and Hancock counties have until Nov. 19.

All other counties and election authorities - even those that were late in sending out some of the military ballots - will have to count returned ballots by Nov. 16. In all, nearly a third of Illinois election authorities missed a Sept. 18 deadline to send out the military ballots.

* Related…

* Early, absentee voting nearing conclusion

* Early deadline voting looms for Southern Illinois

* ‘Grace-period voting’ ends today

* Dems tout encouraging signs in early voting

* The early vote: signs of GOP passion

* Unions labor to rally rank and file for elections - Democrats are counting on an intense get-out-the-vote effort to help their chances in key states.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Midday shorts

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* New law allows schools to opt out of unfunded mandates; how will it work?

* New law costing McLean Co., election commission

* State, USDA announce expansion of conservation program

* Madigan Targets Meth Again

* Peoria home sales off again

The 988 homes sold - down from 1,336 in the third quarter in 2009 - marked the lowest third-quarter sales total since 1996, when 940 homes were sold.

* Springfield home sales remain stagnant

There were 278 home sales in the Springfield area during September, a 24.3 percent decrease from the 367 homes sold in Sept. 2009, according to the Capital Area Association of Realtors.

The drop-off year-to-date isn’t as precipitous, with 2,664 homes sold through Sept. in 2010 and 2,773 home sales over the same period last year. That’s a 3.9 percent decrease.

* Sun-Times, Tribune see print circulations slide, but online jumps

The Chicago Tribune’s Sunday circulation dropped 4.4% to 768,073 papers, while weekday circulation slipped 5.2% to 441,508.
Rival Sun-Times’ Sunday circulation declined 5.5% to 237,367 papers. Weekday circulation fell 9% to 250,747.

* Blago: I’m a Pauper

* SWANCC executive director resigns

The 47-year-old Beal was placed on paid leave from his $160,000-per-year job on Oct. 18 after an independent audit found a discrepancy that showed a “significant amount” of money unaccounted for in the agency’s financial records, according to SWANCC officials.

While officials won’t confirm how much money is unaccounted for, sources have said it could be as much as $400,000.

* Exec resigns after funds go missing

* Are emergency water supplies safe? Fed and states can’t tell for sure

* Chicago to Iowa City rail line gets $230 million federal grant

The new Chicago to Quad-Cities to Iowa City route would provide two daily round-trips. The project is expected to create 588 jobs per year for the four years of design and construction. The completed line is expected to increase business activity by $25 million per year, according to a release from Sen. Durbin’s office.

* Selection process opens for FutureGen carbon project

Communities have until next Monday to declare their intentions and until Nov. 15 to submit formal bids. An informational meeting for potential bidders, followed by a public open house, has been scheduled for Thursday in Springfield.

* ACT exams getting greater focus

* Chicago police make good on gang warning

This new approach has been used for up to 15 years in dozens of cities, including Boston, Cincinnati and Indianapolis. For now, Chicago is using its Violence Reduction Strategy only in the Harrison District on the West Side.

The concepts are the same in each city, said David Kennedy, the criminologist who designed the idea.

Gangs are responsible for most shootings and homicides, violence that is promoted and expected within the gang, Kennedy said. Yet much of the violence is not committed to protect the gang’s business — it’s often personal disputes and vendettas, he said. And if the entire gang has to endure an investigation every time there is a shooting, behavior changes, he said.

* Judge rules Chicago principal should be reinstated

* The Loop deemed ‘rattiest’ area of Chicago

Other neighborhoods where rat sightings were prominent include the South Loop, Lakeview/Wrigleyville, Lincoln Park and West Loop. At the bottom of the list of 21 Chicago neighborhoods in the survey were North Center and Lincoln Square.

* Chicago watchdog offers budget options, aldermen bite back

* True Chicago budget deficit over $1 billion a year, IG report says

* Tribune: Somebody nobody sent

* Oswego enrollment rises 3.7 percent

* Park City council adopts 1-cent gasoline tax

* Naperville proposes increasing tax rate

* Mundelein, Wheaton, Schaumburg win awards for community work

* Elgin police join forces with ICE to fight gangs

* Rockford police union grateful for show of support

* Rockford College enrollment up 6%; many reasons for increase

* Rockford City Council panel OKs Tapco building purchase

* State agencies discuss Terronez case

WQAD-TV Thursday night reported on its website that state officers are investigating allegations against Mr. Terronez, including one that he purchased alcohol for minors. The information was attributed to a “source close to the investigation.”

Additionally, Mr. Terronez was edited out of a television commercial supporting Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, who is up for retention this year. According to a spokesman for Justice Kilbride,the decision was made because of the reports of a state police investigation of the prosecutor.

* E.M. police seek mediator to settle contract

* WIU student arrested for bomb threat

* Adams County departments, officeholders have mixed bags of budget cuts planned

* East Peoria issues ban on open burning

* Pekin mayor, council won’t talk about potential hog plant

* Bloomington property taxes to drop slightly

* Auditor race only contested McLean Co. race

* Eureka College to build student residence hall

* $11M plan at Eureka a record

* UI student senate to hold first-ever meeting of student body

* Decatur misses connection on high-speed rail route

* Costello: ‘Yes’ vote to health care is worth it

* St. Clair County joins lawsuit against FEMA

* Herrin approves final TIF plan

* Scott Credit Union will build $12 million headquarters in Edwardsville

* Collinsville OKs crime-free ordinance; tenants can lose lease over criminal activity

* News-Democrat: Contribute to fair tax sales

* Tuition increase likely at SIUC

* Alexander County Clerk Says Corruption Is Being Addressed

* Jackson Jr will not run for mayor

* Jesse Jackson Jr. Won’t Run for Mayor

* Jackson will not run for mayor

* Dart dances fine line between sheriff, mayor races

* Influential leader of UNO to co-chair Emanuel mayoral campaign

* Moseley Braun repeatedly way late in paying property taxes

* Mayoral Hopefuls Short On Budget-Cutting Ideas, For Now

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   5 Comments      

Cyclone contest!

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* My intern Barton Lorimor asked me late last night if I’d heard about the cyclone heading for Chicago. I hadn’t, but I looked it up on the Interwebtubes and discovered the media was reporting that ALL CHICAGOANS ARE GOING TO DIE!!! OK, let’s hope nobody gets hurt. Seriously. I don’t want anything bad to happen to anyone.

Anyway, here is a very small portion of our subsequent online instant messaging. Much of it, as you might imagine, was unprintable…

BARTON: I’m sure Mark Kirk has some combat experience that could save us all
RICH: Pat Quinn will give the storm a capital project to settle it down
BARTON:  Only if Vaught goes with
RICH:  Brady will cut the storm’s strength by ten percent
RICH:  But he’ll actually have to cut it by 40 percent, so he’ll raise taxes instead
BARTON:  Bobby Schilling says it doesn’t believe in the Constitution
RICH: Steve Brown, of course, will say that the storm is “under review”
BARTON: Ramey says this wouldn’t have happened if we had just dealt with the state’s immigration policy
RICH: Rich Whitney will protest that the storm didn’t invite him
BARTON: Bill Black can’t understand why we’re talking about this and not the budget
RICH: And then resign. AGAIN
BARTON: Will Burns just introduced the cyclone hair braiding permit bill
RICH: My interns will videotape it and die
BARTON: Meh, send Dan

Your turn.

And keep it clean, campers. I don’t have time to police your every word today. Plus, I was up late joking with Barton last night. I’m tired.

Funniest commenter gets to buy drinks for Barton.

- Posted by Rich Miller   99 Comments      

Morning videos: Brady, IEA, Jaws, China, IRRP

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* Bill Brady is running a new TV ad called “Future.” Rate it

* The IEA’s latest anti Brady spoof video is made for Halloween

* The Republicans sent their guy in a shark costume to an Alexi Giannoulias get out the vote rally

* Another lame attempt at satire: “Mark Kirk™ Campaign Opens Office at Chinese Consulate”

* And here’s one of the more inappropriate YouTube promo videos of the season. It was made by the Illinois Republican Renaissance PAC

A wee bit on the violent side, dudes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Lite guv candidates debate on WTTW

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

* Last night was the first time that the two major party lt. governor candidates have faced off. Rate the debate

* Tribune coverage

Plummer found himself immediately on the defensive as he struggled to answer why he refused to release his income tax returns when quizzed by moderator Phil Ponce on WTTW-TV’s “Chicago Tonight.”
“It’s not a leadership issue,” said Plummer, who is the running mate of Bill Brady, the Republican candidate for governor. “It’s just, I think, a privacy issue.”

Plummer tried to dismiss the question, saying he won’t let Simon or her running mate, Gov. Pat Quinn, distract voters with “these silly issues.”

“That’s not an issue that’s ever come up with the voters,” Plummer said.

* AP

The two differed starkly over a host of issues, including rights to carry hidden weapons. Plummer said it should be allowed as long as a gun owner meets key requirements. Simon said flatly that it shouldn’t be permitted.

Creation was another point of dissension. Plummer said he believed in a Biblical version of creation, although he said local districts should decide whether it was appropriate to teach that in schools.

But he paused and declined to answer directly about whether he thought the earth was created in six days and is a mere 10,000 years old

“My faith is my faith,” he said. “But that that’s not an issue voters are talking about.”

* And Green Party nominee Rich Whitney protested outside WTTW with some high school kids

“Like, I personally think that’s amazing.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

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Tribune poll: Brady leads Quinn 43-39, Rutherford leads Kelly 42-38

Tuesday, Oct 26, 2010

[Bumped up for visibility.]

* There just isn’t any good news for Gov. Pat Quinn in the Tribune’s new poll. For instance

Among independent voters, Brady’s backing improved 10 percentage points in the new survey while Quinn’s support remained about the same.

Brady’s now leading 47-28 among independents. If this poll is correct then they’re breaking hard his way.

* More bad news for Quinn…

Indeed, Brady now has the support of 85 percent of voters who call themselves Republican, up from 79 percent four weeks ago. Quinn’s support among self-identified Democrats has increased from 71 percent to 75 percent during the same time period. […]

Slightly more than half of black voters viewed Quinn favorably, just two-thirds supported him and more than a quarter are undecided or backing a third-party candidate. Among women statewide, Quinn has a narrow 43 percent to 38 percent advantage over Brady. Among white suburban women, the two men are statistically even at about 40 percent support.

Tied among white suburban women. Nice job, governor. Better roll out that puppy ad.

* And this is just bizarre when you think about how much money has been spent attempting to define Brady…

The poll indicates a sizable chunk of voters — nearly one in three — still have no opinion of Brady despite a year of campaigning for the state’s highest office. That Brady now has a slight lead in the poll indicates a willingness among many voters to seek change during a time of economic uncertainty and go with an unfamiliar candidate rather than a better-known commodity like Quinn.

Scott Lee Cohen was at 5 percent, Rich Whitney was at 4 and Lex Green was at 2. Another 6 percent are undecided.

* The poll also found that Bill Brady has increased his support in the collar counties by 11 points, while Gov. Quinn fell by 8. The tally there now is 50-38. But the last Tribune poll had the two tied in the collars, which nobody really believed. The new number seems much closer to reality and indicates that the paper’s previous poll (which had Quinn leading Brady 39-38) could’ve been an outlier.

The only possibly good news for Quinn is that since the poll was taken Monday through Friday, much of these results are a week or almost a week old. It’s possible that he’s moved up since then. Then again, he could’ve also moved down.

* Meanwhile, most of the down-ballot statewide races are blowouts, which is no surprise. The only close contest is for treasurer

Republican state Sen. Dan Rutherford held a 42 percent to 38 percent edge over Democrat Robin Kelly, a former south suburban lawmaker and current chief of staff to Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. The poll’s error margin is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

Rutherford, who lost a run for secretary of state four years ago, held a 3-to-1 cash advantage. He launched broadcast TV ads in the Chicago area in mid-October.

Kelly did best among Chicago voters, with 61 percent to Rutherford’s 11 percent. Rutherford led Kelly in the collar counties, 53 percent to 31 percent, and downstate, 51 percent to 29 percent. Both candidates had 41 percent support in suburban Cook County.

Independent voters broke toward Rutherford, who had 46 percent to Kelly’s 25 percent.

Judy Baar Topinka is creaming David Miller 57-26. Lisa Madigan is crushing her opponent 69-21. And Jesse White is absolutely trouncing his Republican opponent 72-18.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

* Sunday leaders meeting notes: Madigan counts the minutes, Republicans claim "new level of stalling"
* Yesterday's blog posts

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