* You may not have noticed, but the Cook County Democrats slated Mike Frerichs for state treasurer last week…
Down ballot, Frerichs, in his seventh year as a state lawmaker, found his anticipated endorsement challenged by Ervin, a West Side alderman. Frerichs narrowly got the backing of a subcommittee charged to recommend candidates to the full panel of slatemakers, though many African-American committeemen, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, initially backed Ervin.
“I feel confident that the Democratic Party is going to present a slate that has ethnic, gender, racial and geographical diversity,” said Frerichs, who noted the contenders for governor have yet to pick their running mates under a new state law that requires them to run as a team in the March 2014 primary.
* And Mark Brown looked at judicial slating…
What’s especially strange is that the partisan pandering is expected even though most would tell you the selections have been made in advance.
“By the time they come here, the cake has been sliced,” said one Northwest Side committeeman. Practically proving the point, neither Ald. Ed Burke (14th) nor House Speaker Mike Madigan, the most powerful voices in picking judges, were even in attendance, although their imprint was evident.
Earlier, as candidates for Appellate Court justice were making their cases, one committeeman sidled up to complain: “It’s all pre-determined.”
When I pressed him for the pre-determined picks, he got skittish. But another laid it out.
“Freddrenna Lyle, David Ellis, John Simon,” he predicted and was proven correct soon afterward.
Lyle has been a judge for less than two years, but she is the former 6th Ward alderman and still popular with her City Council colleagues, many of whom are committeemen.
Ellis hasn’t been a judge at all, but for many years he was the chief legal counsel to Speaker Madigan, the state party chairman. In that capacity, Ellis prosecuted Gov. Rod Blagojevich at his impeachment trial. Madigan’s support made Ellis a shoo-in. Ellis also is a very successful writer of mystery and suspense novels, which he said he expects to continue in his spare time.
Although already serving as an appointed justice, Simon was a somewhat less obvious selection, only in that for many years he was a favored recipient of Republican pinstripe patronage legal work. His father, Seymour Simon, was the Democratic state Supreme Court justice who won the everlasting appreciation of the state GOP by siding with Gov. Jim Thompson in his 1982 recount battle with Democrat Adlai Stevenson III.
* Frerichs, by the way, provided a lot of red meat at the fairgrounds last week…
“He’s that guy standing on his head,” Frerichs said, referring to commercials in which Rauner at first appears upside-down, saying he’ll put things right in Illinois.
“I think a little too much blood has rushed to his head if he thinks that the people of the state of Illinois are going to elect a Scott Walker clone who’s going to try to make this a right-to-work state,” Frerichs said.
Walker is the Republican governor of Wisconsin, and Rauner has said local governments should be able to implement right-to-work laws that would allow people to refuse to join union bargaining units or pay dues at their workplaces.
Frerichs used the “fabulously wealthy” Rauner as an example when recalling one of his grandfather’s sayings: “If you want to live like a Republican, you’ve got to vote for Democrats.”
Rauner spokesman Mike Schrimpf responded later that such talk is “not surprising coming from a leading member of the Democrats’ tax hike caucus. Bruce is focused on economic policies that actually encourage job creation so Illinois will no longer have the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest.”
* And from Frerichs’ Facebook page, a photo with a Lincoln impersonator…