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*** UPDATED x1 *** Preckwinkle to endorse Hutchinson

Monday, Jan 28, 2013

* I told subscribers about this earlier today

In what some observers say is a surprise move, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle won’t be backing her one-time cabinet member Robin Kelly in the 2nd Congressional race, but will throw her significant political weight behind state Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Olympia Fields).

Preckwinkle told the Sun-Times on Monday that she believed Hutchinson – not Kelly – had the muscle to win the race.

“It was a really tough decision to make. I had to make a difficult choice between two people…” Preckwinkle told the Sun-Times by phone, pausing for a moment. “But I had to pick the candidate who I thought could win.”

Preckwinkle declined to answer any more questions, saying she’d talk more at an afternoon news conference to announce her endorsement of Hutchinson.

Kelly, who was also a chief of staff to former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, was among Preckwinkle’s first hires when she won the November 2010 county board presidency. Kelly was earning $172,519 annually before stepping down in December to focus on campaigning for the seat vacated by Jesse Jackson Jr.

*** UPDATE *** With a hat tip to a commenter, here is Robin Kelly’s response…

“Getting an A rating from the NRA might get you President Preckwinkle’s endorsement, but it won’t fly with the voters in the Second District. They want someone who will fight against the NRA not stand with them. Robin Kelly is the one candidate ready to stand with President Obama to bring common sense gun control to help families throughout Chicago and the Southland.”

A bit harsh, no?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


48 Comments
  1. - bored now - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    her political people have been supporting toi all along, and tried to convince robin to get out of the race. i’d be more impressed if i didn’t know that *i* was *the* political force that got toni the vote in 2010…


  2. - anon - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:26 pm:

    Why endorse her? Whats the benefit? I dont understand. Is Toni weak in the parts of Cook that Toi represents?


  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:30 pm:

    change in the 2nd Cong is a breath of fresh air. Hutchinson base comes from so far outside the City and with no regular insiders it’s great to see Preckwinkle throw her support that way


  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:33 pm:

    She should’ve told her employee before she quit. Bridge burned.


  5. - 2nd CD voter - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    How much political weight does she have? Two of of the three candidates (Raja, Munoz and Mitchell) she supported lost! How does Preckwinkle’s support for a pro-gun candidate look to residents of the second congressional district who have experienced gun violence?


  6. - bored now - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:42 pm:

    anonymous: robin was aware of toni’s preference, whether she was told directly or it was inferred by both the questions in the poll she commissioned and the attitude of her political people when that poll was presented to robin. but there’s a lot of burning bridges in the south suburbs…


  7. - Brendan - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    ===Hutchinson base comes from so far outside the City and with no regular insiders it’s great to see Preckwinkle throw her support that way===

    You obviously have no clue where Robin Kelly is from.


  8. - 1776 - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:52 pm:

    Old news. Preckwinkle and her team have been helping Toi for many weeks. More interesting news is that lots of the Obama team is on board with Robin.


  9. - Chitown Reg Dem - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 12:55 pm:

    @2nd CD voter -I wouldn’t call Hutchinson pro-gun just because she has the opinion for her district as she does. Plus Mitchell won. There are so many issues that should be looked at in this race. it’s a crime that guns have been made the primary issue. Violence obviously is not good, but so is unemployment, lack of primary school funding and much more.


  10. - Hyperbolic Chamber - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:10 pm:

    This Kelly statement was as ill-advised as it was over the top:

    Her campaign said in a statement: “Getting an A rating from the NRA might get you President Preckwinkle’s endorsement, but it won’t fly with the voters in the Second District…”


  11. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    Does Preckwinkle have concerns about the Dems holding IL-02?

    The “b/c she can win” line seems odd, almost weird. Is the person that needs to be beat Debbie Halvorson?

    Why not say, “I support Hutchinson b/c I believe she will be a more effective legislator”?


  12. - Centennial - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:24 pm:

    I agree Carl.

    The “because she can win” line made me cringe…


  13. - Frank - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    I give Preckwinkle credit for doing a very solid job as County Brd Prez, but I’m put-off a bit by her political activities. She endorses more candidates than any other major office holder in the state.

    Let’s say Terry O’Brien beat Toni in 2010 and was currently the Cook County board president. And let’s say he was also serving as a ward committeeman and endorsing candidates with reckless abandon. What do you suppose the reaction of the media and the self-appointed political “watchdogs” would be? They would be tearing him apart, calling him “boss,” criticizing him for building a political machine, and wondering aloud if Michael Shakman or the US Attorney’s office were paying attention.

    But the goo-goos are silent about Toni’s political maneuvering. I guess Hyde Park liberals aren’t held to the same standards by Carol Marin, Andy Shaw, the Tribune Editorial Board, and Chicago’s other guardians of virtue.


  14. - Amalia - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:43 pm:

    Frank really nailed that!


  15. - Centennial - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Yep. Ditto what Frank said.


  16. - walkinfool - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Toni often says exactly what she’s thinking. The “because she can win” line made me grin.


  17. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Frank +1

    Couldnt have been better said


  18. - Ravenswood Right Winger - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 1:59 pm:

    Frank wins Post of the Day!


  19. - Casey - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    I don’t see how Toni could suppot a candidate that has taken the lead on so many measures that hurt the average taxpayer. Remember, this is the Senator that got egg on her face for introducing the bill to give a massive bail out and taxpayer money to billionaire corporations Sears Roebuck and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and not two months later Sears, after getting their money, let go hundreds of workers anyway. While at the same time, voted to raise income tax on regular citizens in Illinois by nearly 70%, gave permission for Commonwealth Edison to double its electric bill rates, gave permission for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to enact Speed Trap cameras on its citizens and for Chicago to confiscate the State Income Tax refunds of taxpaying citizens. And recently introduced bill to increase license plates to support parks – a non related function and one most of her constituents do not use. Also imposed tax on gentlemens clubs for another unrelated purpose. Hutchinson is no friend to the average everyday voter. Her answer to every problem is to increase taxes. Plus she is Halvorson’s ex chief of staff.
    Toni’s judgement on this one is flawed. It sounds like she just wants to back a winner instead of the best candidate.


  20. - Casey - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    Robin Kelly and Toni Preckwinkle, notwithstanding the fact that Robin had a $175K job with Toni, were not a coo-some, two-some. Robin, along with a boat load of other staffers from the Alexi Gianunnilas camp, were dumped on to Toni. Don’t know what the quid pro quo was, but something tells me that after the campaign, Toni will consider the debt to Alexi paid in full and Robin will not be back in her old job. Resigning instead of taking a leave of absence is telling.


  21. - Snucka - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    —i’d be more impressed if i didn’t know that *i* was *the* political force that got toni the vote in 2010…—

    Um… wow. Your $1,800 worth of “consulting” was the main reason she won?? I almost wonder why she even bothered to raise and spend well over $1,000,000. Could have saved a lot of trouble.


  22. - bored now - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:09 pm:

    snucka: i wasn’t referring to our election day efforts, but the fact that, from what the preckwinkle campaign told me at the time, my peeps were the only ones active for preckwinkle down in the south suburbs. (i thought it was understood that i meant in the four townships considered south suburbs. if you took it to mean the whole of cook county, than i apologize for the misunderstanding. they had *lots* of support outside the south suburbs.)


  23. - bored now - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    1776: there’s a reason that the obama folks are supporting robin — robin supported barack when everyone else was supporting hynes. even robin’s own committeeman went along with the machine. robin was the central organizing figure that got barack the vote back in 2004. loyalty means something…


  24. - Snucka - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    Understood. I know there was a lot of hesitation on the part of south suburban leaders to support anyone in 2010.

    This is going to be close, and honestly I’m not sure that any endorsement is going to seal the deal. Zuccarelli is the only committeeman who could really swing things with manpower, but at least publicly he doesn’t seem inclined to do so. Yet.


  25. - Casey - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    Frank - are you put off by Madigan’s support of candidates up and down the ballot ? How about Rahm Emmanuel ? Or is your put-offness only when a black woman dares tread on formely whites only territory ?


  26. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    I find the Preckwinkle endorsements a little bit unusual and also a little bit refreshing. I truly don’t think she has any political “what’s in it for me?” behind her endorsements.

    Preckwinkle actually - gasp - endorses who she thinks would be best for the job. Acknowledging that there are reasons to hold off endorsing or only backing a winner, how many elected officials do what Preckwinkle does?

    But the quote from this endorsement really seems strange -
    “I had to pick the candidate who I thought could win.”

    Does Hutchinson really have a significantly better chance than Kelly of winning? Kelly is raising money, doing early ads, has a campaign apparatus. It isn’t as if she is a complete longshot.


  27. - Will Caskey - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    Far be it from me to tell a professional opponent his/her business but that is not at all how I would have structured a response to this were I working for Kelly.


  28. - Frank - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    Casey — First off, I don’t think Madigan or Rahm endorse candidates anywhere near as often as Toni does — particularly in Democratic primaries.

    And second, I’m not sure what rock you’ve been living under, but Madigan and Rahm (Rahm to a lesser extent,) are both regularly villified by the press and goo-goo types for behaving like political bosses.

    Toni has plenty of attributes you may employ to defend her. It’s a shame that you stoop to race-bating.


  29. - OneMan - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:18 pm:

    If she is going all in on the NRA stuff, might as well go all in on the NRA stuff…


  30. - so... - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    ==A bit harsh, no?==

    Hits what seems to be her central line of attack against Hutchinson, and is harsh enough that it might make it into the newspaper write-ups of the endorsement. (it made it into an update here)

    Looks to me like it’s just harsh enough.


  31. - overcooked - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 4:49 pm:

    This appears to be a stop Halvorson move based on momentum Debbie has picked up on the gun issue.


  32. - Responsa - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 5:13 pm:

    == that is not at all how I would have structured a response to this==

    I agree. With a stroke of the printer Robin has essentially declared this to be a one issue race on her terms. It’s not. It’s sad, too, because there are so many additional important issues for the residents of the 2nd to consider as well. It will be tragic for the district if those issues all get lost in the shuffle.

    Since Toni serves, and will be running for re-election in her larger, more diverse in every respect county universe– and will once again probably need some law abiding suburban NRA members willing to vote for her–I can see why she felt the need to get out in front of this Robin-Toi business.


  33. - Muffin Man - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    Obama and Kelly have to remember that there are still a substantial number of voters out there in the Second Congressional District that have nothing but their “Bibles & Guns” to cling onto. Toi realizes this just like Halvorsen realizes this. Also, there are a lot of voters that are looking for “someone” outside of the Chicago Machine to cast their vote for. The Jackson Dynasty probably played well if you live in Chicagoland but if you live in Kankakee and Will Counties, most voters want a “fresh face”. No more Chicago politicians. Toi has won the respect of many of the Independent and some of the GOP voters in this area. Preckwinkle probably sees that and is looking at future general elections. She has won their respect even though she may not have been a member of their GOP.


  34. - The Captain - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 5:34 pm:

    === The Jackson Dynasty probably played well if you live in Chicagoland but if you live in Kankakee and Will Counties, most voters want a “fresh face”. No more Chicago politicians.===

    In the 2012 Democratic primary 89% of the vote came from Cook County, so good luck with that.


  35. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 7:12 pm:

    Endorsing a candidate is not exactly political maneuvering, and it does not make someone a boss. You will need to come up with more evidence before that makes sense.


  36. - Anonymous 45 - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 7:14 pm:

    Robin is in a bit over her head in this race. She’ll have to run on all the issues, not just guns…Kelly was not a go getter in the GA. She is not the real deal in this race.


  37. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 7:37 pm:

    ===Preckwinkle actually-gasp-endorses who she thinks would be best for the job.===

    But that’s not what she said. Her quote about support was specifically “…for who I thought could win.” Very different, not at all about who’s “best” and not strange at all. If one reads between the lines, the point is that it’s ALL (or MOSTLT, for sure) about WINning for Preckwinkle, and likely about who as such will be most helpful to HER winning in the future…


  38. - Just The Way It Is One - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 7:38 pm:

    That was (or MOSTLY, for sure)…


  39. - Another 2nd District Voter - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 8:51 pm:

    I, too, am bewildered by Preckwinkle getting involved.

    Toni or not, I won’t vote for any candidate who refuses to speak out against the airport boondoggle in Peotone.

    Jesse may be gone, but I’ve yet to hear anything motivating enough from these candidates to keep from writing in my neighbor’s name on the ballot.


  40. - DoubleDown - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    Peotone resident here, any candidate reading this blog and reads this thread I also will not vote for any candidate that supports or does not have a opinion regarding a airport in Peotone republican or democrat.


  41. - k3 - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 9:44 pm:

    Hey muffin man-we have plenty down here other than guns and bibles so maybe you can venture south of 80 for once in your life. And our support for Toi has next to nothing to do with guns or a fresh face. She has an actual record to run on. Maybe that’s why Toni endorsed her


  42. - Another 2nd District Voter - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 10:11 pm:

    @DoubleDown — You’d think these candidates would want to differentiate themselves more, if not from each other than from JJ, Jr.

    What would be a better way to do that than say they’ll work to get the state & feds to stop wasting $$$$$$ on an airport that isn’t needed nor wanted?


  43. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 10:18 pm:

    OK, so where are all you anti-Peotone airport folks coming from all of a sudden?


  44. - LKBF - Monday, Jan 28, 13 @ 10:20 pm:

    Little Known Black History Fact: The older black population (50 +) on the south side of Chicago and South Suburbs already own guns and keep them in their homes. Many served in the military or have family who hunted in the South. So an “A” rating with the NRA doesn’t offend them. In fact, many want conceal and carry to pass in the city and surrounding suburbs.


  45. - Downfall - Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:13 am:

    To the folks who don’t think guns can win: this is a special election. This isn’t the typical electorate which prioritizes issues in a typical fashion. This is the left of the left and highly motivated voters. Name recognition goes out the window (sorry Ms Halvorson). Typically guns would not work but not only is the issue getting Ms Kelly some great earned media, it’s truly differentiating her with liberals. And to oversimplify it that’s what matters in a special, democratic primary.

    As for Ms Preckwinkle endorsing, yikes. It is clear she is loyal to her a select group of political aides. Don’t think because she hired Ms Kelly she is loyal to her. She is loyal to SnyderPickerill for Mr Snyder’s help in winning her the Board Presidency. A lot of competing interests. She had Mr Burns, Ms Kelly and Ms Hutchison. Interesting that Mr Burns, who she was so close to, could not launch due to a poll done by Ms Preckwinkle. The same poll hurt Ms Kelly. There are a lot of people helping Ms Kelly that used to be friends of Ms Preckwinkle. This election will leave her with few allies left.


  46. - Johnny Justice - Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 12:20 am:

    First of all endorsements usually don’t mean much. 2nd, both Robin & Toi (& Halvorsen too), if elected will try to help Cook Co. as much as they can. Toni would’ve been best to stay out of this. Now, if Robin wins, she has an enemy. If Toi wins, she doesn’t get anything more than if she hadn’t endorsed Toi.


  47. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 8:09 am:

    Robin Kelly wants you to believe that the reason for the murders occurring in the Second District is due to a special interest civil rights group. She hopes you will share her easy moralizing and political scapegoating for a campaign win.

    Kelly isn’t stupid. But she hopes you are stupid enough to fall for her fantasies.


  48. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 29, 13 @ 9:30 am:

    turnout, turnout, turnout.


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