Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* Kurt Erickson used the top of his Sunday column to talk about the challenges Leader-elect Jim Durkin faces…
Rank-and-file members emerged from Thursday’s king-making session saying they want to gain seats and become more relevant under the Statehouse dome.
But that leads to another one of Durkin’s problems. He inherits a campaign warchest that is lagging behind the money House Speaker Michael Madigan has at his disposal.
It probably was smart of Durkin to not make any pronouncements about how many seats Republicans might have a shot at picking up in the 2014 election.
On pension reform, Durkin has voted for a sweeping package of benefit cuts backed by House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, while Rep. Raymond Poe of Springfield, a downstate favorite for House GOP leader, voted against each of the pension reform bills that came to the House floor this year.
Durkin is like Cross in that respect and might be expected to follow the same path on an issue that has not only split the two parties but also has caused internal fights among both Republicans and Democrats.
Finke provides more context on the HGOP and pension reform…
Cross, the current leader, is also a strong supporter of SB 1. So what happened when the bill got a vote in the House in May? It passed, but only 22 Republicans voted for it, despite the leader’s support. Another 24 voted against it. Cross’ position was no guarantee the rest of his members were in lock step.
Moreover, if the business community wants to retaliate against Republicans they think are on the wrong side of pension reform, they already have their list of targets. Threatening Poe supporters seemed rather pointless.
The Champaign News-Gazette in an editorial said Durkin was “clearly the best choice.” But given the information here, which shows division among Republicans on pension reform, does that statement still hold up?
* Natasha Korecki has numbers…
Last session, the House Republican Organization, a fund-raising arm for members, closed out with a paltry $21,000. Though now there’s fund-raising hope with the Reform PAC that’s called on big-name donors, including gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, to pump money into Republicans running for the Illinois House. There’s $100,000 and counting since the PAC’s Monday filing. Durkin officially takes the helm on Sept. 20.
* A Political Action Committee chaired by Bruce Rauner is also planning to put legislative term limits on the November 2014 ballot. As Kerry Lester says in her report, this is not the first time this issue has come up, and it’s generally a populist issue. Gov. Pat Quinn has also said he favor term limits.
The reported challenge comes from a past Court opinion and getting enough signatures…
But history shows that it will be an uphill battle in Illinois, the biggest hurdle being a 1994 state Supreme Court ruling that stopped the initiative by Quinn, now the Democratic governor Rauner is aiming to unseat.
“How are you going to get around that decision?” asked Charlie Wheeler, who teaches public affairs reporting at the University of Illinois at Springfield. “A precedent is a precedent.”
To get the term-limits question on the 2014 ballot, proponents would need to gather signatures totaling 8 percent of votes cast in the last gubernatorial election, in this case roughly 288,000.
Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf would not reveal details of the new campaign or what maximum term it would seek to impose. If elected, Rauner pledges to serve a maximum of two terms in the governor’s mansion, but the state constitution would restrict any term-limit initiatives to legislators.