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Braun campaign was in serious denial

Friday, Mar 4, 2011

* Right up to the end, the cheerleaders in Carol Moseley Braun’s campaign were predicting she’d run up huge numbers in the black wards and among women. This is from a memo sent by the campaign to supporters on February 3rd

Never has credible African-American received less than 75 percent of African-American vote.

Never has lone credible woman candidate lost woman vote in multi candidate race with three credible male candidates.

The problem, of course, was that she wasn’t a “credible” black or female candidate.

As late as the Thursday before election day, Braun adviser David Schaffer was still predicting Braun would score at least 60 percent among black voters. That’s some serious denial.

* Also, Braun campaign manager Mike Noonan has apparently decided to protect his reputation by going public

Mike Noonan, Ms. Braun’s campaign manager, said the candidate and aides like Mr. Schaffer changed campaign strategy on the assumption that Ms. Braun was guaranteed the support of blacks when black leaders chose her as the community’s consensus candidate.

“It was a terrible mistake,” Mr. Noonan said this week. “The thinking was: ‘Why waste our time with African-American voters? They have no other place to go.’.” […]

Soon after that [nominating petition-gathering] success, Mr. Noonan said, he clashed with her. “We had fundamentally different views of how campaigns should be run,” he said, adding that Ms. Braun had made it impossible for him to schedule even the most basic campaign activities.

One e-mail shows that Ms. Braun canceled a meeting with an alderman on the eve of the event in December. “Nobody asked me about meeting with” the alderman, Ms. Braun wrote. “It can be rescheduled for another time that we clear.”

After a campaign loss like this, staff will almost always try to blame the candidate. In this instance, it’s almost entirely true. But going public is a bit on the gauche side.

* Meanwhile, if you want to see what can happen if you repeatedly fail to return a reporter’s calls, just read this story about Ald. Brendan Reilly’s involvement in the 46th Ward campaign

One of [Reilly’s] top lieutenants in ousting longtime 42nd Ward Alderman Burt Natarus four years ago, Dave Clarkin, is likely to take over as manager of Ms. Phelan’s runoff campaign, she says. And there are lots of other rumors about precinct help Ms. Phelan is getting from Mr. Reilly — who, like Mr. Clarkin, once worked for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

So, what’s up?

The answer appears to be that, just like Mr. Madigan, Mr. Reilly is trying to carve out a role for himself as an influence peddler in the new City Council, someone who has allies not just because of his beliefs but because of his wallet.

Mr. Reilly — who’s failed to return several phone calls on what he’s doing in other wards this season — certainly won’t be the first Chicago official to try to build a coalition. At the legislative level, Mr. Madigan long has been a master at doing so.

But I find it a bit odd that someone hailed as a big reformer, like Mr. Reilly, can be so quiet about his reasons in messing around in wards that are dramatically different than his.

It’s a classic pile-on. I’ve done versions of this myself with people who won’t call me back. There’s a penalty for not cooperating. Usually, though, I prefer to stick to simply berating them for their silence.

After Reilly finally called Hinz back, he explained that Molly Phelan supported his first aldermanic campaign and that Clarkin lives in the ward. Clarkin told me this week that he’s now hearing gunfire in his neighborhood during the day, when his wife takes their new baby outside, rather than just at night. That, he said, was a big motivation to get more involved in the runoff.

Also, the “influence peddler” accusation seems a bit much since Reilly was only apparently involved in two races. Madigan never confines himself to such minor power plays. These are the real players

Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel called on a secretly funded political group Thursday to disclose the names of donors behind its efforts to elect a pro-business, pro-Emanuel City Council.

Emanuel’s request came in response to Thursday’s Tribune story about the group For A Better Chicago. In turn, the group’s leader said future donations to council candidates will be transparent, and one alderman said she would return the group’s money.

Emanuel reiterated that his campaign is “totally independent” from the group that is aligned with his interests. But the group, run by a Chicago political consultant who managed Emanuel’s successful 2002 bid for Congress, shouldn’t use a “quirk in the law” to avoid revealing its donors, Emanuel said. […]

The Tribune reported that of the 14 runoff races for aldermen, For A Better Chicago has endorsed eight candidates. Seven of those eight candidates told the Tribune that Emanuel offered his support to them after his Feb. 22 election victory. The paper reported Thursday that none of the candidates in the other runoff races had received offers of support from Emanuel.

Emanuel dodged questions about why he has only offered help to runoff candidates who also are being backed by For A Better Chicago.

* Related…

* Emanuel Wading Into City Council Runoffs

* What Does the For a Better Chicago PAC Want From Rahm Emanuel, Aldermen, and Us?: You can take a look at their endorsements. I added up how many times their 34 endorsements intersected with the endorsements of others, and it went like this: Sun-Times (29 out of the Sun-Times’s 43 endorsements), Tribune (26 out of 44), Chicago Federation of Labor (26 out of 38), Chamber of Commerce (23 out of 34), AFSCME (21 out of 29), Citizen Action (16 out of 25), SEIU (15 out of 29), IVI-IPO (11 out of 26), Chicago Teachers’ Union (10 out of 25).

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- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jasper - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 6:30 am:

    Lost a lot of respect for Hinz with that one. Anybody who bashes Reilly and includes positive quotes from Fioretti is out of their mind. Those two are as different as they possibly can be. Hinz takes routine (Reilly backs people he likes) and makes it seem evil. Either Hinz is helplessly out of touch or he’s got an axe that needs to be ground.

  2. - Quinn T. Sential - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 6:55 am:

    After Reilly’s embarrassing defeat in the City Council over the McPlayland Museum invasion in the “forever free and clear” Grant Park, he thought that it might be helpful going forward if he had an ally or two in the City Council.

  3. - One to the Dome - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 7:29 am:

    I agree with Rich about Noonan going public. Granted CMB campaign was problematic and top heavy, but Noonan was also managing the campaign of Rich Bradley (HDO backed) in the race against Sen Iris Martinez…51:41 Martinez. just the facts…

  4. - Canned Yard - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 7:42 am:

    It’s one thing to make your bones running deep-pocketed campaigns (Franks and Lisa Madigan, come to mind) where the Speaker has an interest and volunteers just seem to appear out of nowhere. It’s another to read the tea leaves yourself and go all-in as Noonan and Reyes did with Braun. Being able to manage all that chaos is easy when the Speaker has your back. Not so much when the candidate can say, “Hey, I call the shots.”

    Interesting Reilly story. He and Clarkin know the downside of avoiding a reporter. Better off exiting Boss Bar and picking up the phone.

  5. - Belle - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 8:05 am:

    Dear Mayor Daley:
    You may be right that we tend to be a nation of whiners.
    One of the things that we love to whine about is being robbed by politicians. That may be a problem for you since you think you did everything for us…maybe we just cannot appreciate you? You wasted a lot of money the past couple of decades helping your buddies and family become wealthy with projects that were not always necessary or well executed not to mention all of the people who were hired that will now receive pensions for doing almost nothing.
    You were generally doing what you wanted to do not what was always the right thing. We are a bit upset but it was all our fault for trusting you.
    You, your family and your friends have plenty of money and many of these people have gotten away with some criminal acts.
    Please go to a foreign country and stay out of the news while we try to recuperate from the past two decades of this very dysfunctional relationship.

  6. - wordslinger - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 8:44 am:

    Hopefully, we’ll get to see who’s backing For a Better Chicago as Emanuel tries to put together 26.

  7. - Boone Logan Square - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 8:48 am:

    The Zipcar deal might be a useful model for public-private partnerships. Now if the city would contract for a sensible recycling contract that doesn’t simply give revenues away like the parking meter fiasco did, a long-term path to reducing debt is possible.

  8. - Robert - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 9:00 am:

    nothing wrong with helping a friend, I agree. I saw firsthand that Molly Phelan had an impressive/intimidating army of attorneys in the precincts on election day, challenging voters who weren’t eligible.

  9. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 9:02 am:

    The number one rule in a campaign is never assume anything. Thinking someone is going to vote for you just because they are the same race was a mistake, and insult to the voters. If you are a bad canidate as Ms Braun was people see it. Hopefully the black caucus in Chicago will see the is no longer relevant and now maybe she will go away.

  10. - Jasper - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 9:48 am:

    Hinz seems a bit obsessed with the topic. He wrote about it the next day too:

  11. - Wumpus - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 9:58 am:

    CMB is a true pioneer.
    Never has credible African-American received less than 75 percent of African-American vote.

    Our esteemed Black Leadership thought she was credible.

    This moment in Black History

  12. - Cheryl44 - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 10:01 am:

    Zipcar? I-Go is locally-owned and they have cars downtown also. It’s ridiculous to go with the company that’s corporate offices are elsewhere if they could deal with a local company.

  13. - John Parnell - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 10:23 am:

    Typically a campaign staffer blames the candidate for any loss, and basks in glory among his peers when a win occurs. But Noonan has always been given credit when it wasn’t due. While working for House members under Madigan he would create riffs with other candidates on the ballot. His “going public” is just a way to try to save his fanny. Why didn’t he just walk away if he knew he wasn’t listened to early in the campaign? He just stayed for the payday. It’s hard to believe that he voiced no objection to using Rod McCullough as Braun’s pollster, but Noonan didn’t say a thing and took his paycheck.

  14. - Excessively Rabid - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    Word for the day: credible.

  15. - Redbright - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 10:28 am:

    I interviewed both candidates in the 46th (for a group endorsement). Cappleman is running to be the social service alderman; Phelan is running for the business development alderman. Both are very capable people just with very different priorities.

    I don’t know about the 46th ward voters but outsiders are more like to prefer Phelan. She’s appears more energetic and has been promoting an Uptown Music District (which Rahm seems to like too).

  16. - A. Hack - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 10:40 am:

    Anyone who has watched Noonan’s career can’t be surprised that he’s publicly throwing his candidate under the bus before the body is even cold. While its true that most campaign staffers blame the candidate — its usually done privately among peers, not with the press.

    But Noonan has been a legendary and divisive self promoter since his earliest days with the Speaker. Anyone else remember the two page Sun-Times spread he had written about himself when he was managing the first Lisa Madigan campaign? It was jaw dropping.

    It was never a question of whether Noonan would go to the press to try to save his reputation at someone else’s expense, it was only a question of how long he would wait. The answer? Not very long.

  17. - Responsa - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 11:13 am:

    I love the idea of a live music district. It’d be a great draw for tourists, conventioners and locals alike. Do it, Do it!

  18. - The Captain - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 11:37 am:

    I used to believe in the monolithic black vote until I saw what it did for Howard Brookins. He only broke 50% in four wards: 6, 8, 21 and 34. Heck Larry Suffredin took over 20% in 4, 5, 7, 24 and 28, and Anita Alvarez took over 20% in 15, 16, 20 and 37.

    Regardless of what candidate you work for you have to be completely open to the possibility that you might lose and be willing to learn from the past to have any chance at putting together a winning strategy. Unless you’re just really lucky.

  19. - amalia - Friday, Mar 4, 11 @ 1:14 pm:

    Noonan managed Rich Bradley against Iris Martinez? and got that loss? knowing that back then would have made me lose the respect for Noonan I’m losing now over his public bashing of CMB. she’s a horror show, but do it in private Noonan. classless.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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