LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Topinka earned it

Monday, Jan 27, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

I don’t think I’ve seen a Republican - or just about any candidate of any stripe - work as hard for an AFL-CIO endorsement than Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka did.

She assiduously courted the unions who represent workers in her office, worked to help the Teamsters pass a bill important to the union that jabbed at a non-union cemetery owner (the comptroller’s office regulates some cemeteries), built strong relationships with some labor union leaders and attended tons of their events and even endorsed the union-backed pension reform bill.

In other words, she went above and beyond her Democratic rival Sheila Simon on pretty much all counts. The Simon family has long enjoyed union support. Except for his successful US Senate primary bid in 1984, union leaders and members almost always backed her father Paul.

And the daughter would’ve likely had organized labor’s backing this year if she’d run for the open state treasurer slot instead of for comptroller against Topinka. So it was little surprise when Topinka received the Illinois AFL-CIO endorsement this month

It’s no secret that Illinois voters have tended to lean Democratic for quite a number of years, so successful Republican candidates have to prove they are not completely hostile to the prevailing state winds.

Voters know Topinka well, and many probably still kick themselves for voting for Rod Blagojevich instead of her. Blagojevich defeated Topinka by 10 points in 2006. You’d be hard pressed to find many people who were proud of that pro-Rod vote today.

And even though Topinka is well-known to voters, Simon’s family name still carries quite a bit of cachet, so Topinka has not rested on her laurels. Instead, she’s worked hard to outflank Simon on her left, and not just with the unions.

Topinka has long been aggressively outspoken on gay rights issues, and she upped her credibility on the issue with the gay marriage proposal, working the bill hard and then receiving a huge roar of applause when, during the gay marriage signing ceremony, she offered to serve as a “flower girl” for any couple who is married under the new law.

The state Federation of Labor will make fall election endorsements this summer, so I suppose it’s possible that they could go in a different direction. But Simon probably didn’t help her case any when she blasted the Topinka endorsement by “insiders” acting “behind closed doors.” The AFL-CIO always meets privately to discuss these endorsements, and it’s doubtful Simon would’ve been so concerned about the process if she’d received the nod.

Simon sent out a press yesterday shortly before the labor endorsement was announced praising herself for raising a mere $132,000 in the fourth quarter of 2013. Topinka raised even less, but her campaign claims she back-loaded her fundraising for this quarter. We’ll see. Either way, Topinka has $914,000 tucked away in her campaign bank account compared to $379,000 for Simon, and Simon now won’t be getting much if any major union contributions in the near future.

Topinka also endeared herself to many state legislators who don’t have second jobs when she immediately cut legislative paychecks after a Cook County judge ruled last year that Quinn’s veto of member salaries was unconstitutional. Quite a few of those legislators are African-Americans and Latinos, so Simon didn’t help herself with them when she criticized Topinka for her fast action and said she would’ve waited to see if the judge stayed his order.

And even Gov. Pat Quinn, who often nurses grudges, has seemed to brush off Topinka’s paycheck move. Quinn told the Chicago Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed this month that he “can’t praise State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka enough” for her work on animal welfare issues. Quinn is still reportedly not happy with his lieutenant governor for the way she abruptly jumped off the ticket a year ago when Lisa Madigan loomed large as a potential challenger, and for when Simon refused to endorse him last summer when it looked like he faced a difficult primary against Bill Daley.

Despite everything, Illinois is Illinois, so this campaign isn’t a slam dunk for the incumbent comptroller by any means. And that’s a big reason why Topinka worked so hard to win the state Fed’s endorsement this month. Very smart politics.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


18 Comments
  1. - x ace - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    Excellent Column


  2. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 9:58 am:

    === Quinn is still reportedly not happy with his lieutenant governor for the way she abruptly jumped off the ticket a year ago ===

    As well he should. Quinn raised Simon up and then she abandoned him when he looked to be at his most vulnerable. Then she kicked him when he was down by declining to support him in any way.

    It’s like the old Kodak commercial: “I see your true colors shining through.”

    We see your true colors, Sheila. And they’re not pretty.


  3. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 10:08 am:

    I really have little to add to an outstanding explanation of the raw politics at play, and why the argument…isn’t much of an argument; Comptroller Topinka is arguably the most popular republican in Illinois politics, and Comptroller Topinka is a top governmental force, with a Crew that aids her in both facets very ably.

    I say it often, for me, ” You dance with the one who bring ya”. While that is a very strong reason to not support Sheila Simon, but I feel Rich’s article gives the real reason, beyond the Dopey politics of Sheila, to rally behind and support Judy Basr Topinka.

    Good on the article, but outstanding work by Topinka and get Crew.

    If someone actually sees… the current LG, ask her if she like apples…


  4. - anon - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 10:10 am:

    Great work, JBT. I really enjoyed watching her get beat in the governor’s race in 06, but I feel that she’s been vindicated. Im happy for her, and happy that Sheila Simon is getting embarrassed. Simon — what a joke.


  5. - Joan P. - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    JBT is one of those office holders whose job performance trumps politics. I generally vote Democratic, but I’ve also always been a fan of hers. The only reason I voted for Rich Whitney instead was because she chose Joe Birkett as her running mate. I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the lever (oops, sorry, punch the ballot -yes, I’m old) for him.


  6. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    I wish JBT ran for governor this year.


  7. - Conservative Republican - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    ==Simon’s family name still carries quite a bit of cachet==

    I don’t disagree with this. But, you know, I really think it’s getting to the point where Paul Simon has been largely forgotten by the voters. Certainly by voters who are either Republican or independent. I think being the child of Paul Simon means very little politically. Moreover, whatever political touch Paul Simon had, Sheila seems to have inherited very little of it.


  8. - Buster - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 11:24 am:

    Good column!
    I wonder if people will ever stop underestimating Judy. We’re lucky to have her in Illinois. There’s unfortunately not very office holders that can be said about.


  9. - k3 - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:01 pm:

    I have no love for Simon. You can’t point to anything she has actually accomplished in public life, so I’ll be splitting my ticket to vote for Judy.


  10. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:02 pm:

    Great column, Rich.

    Well said, Willy, and to add just one point, JBT is a Republican leader that all in our Party, young and old, can point to with pride. Don’t have too many of those, sadly.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    - AA -, of course, good add, too true.


  12. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    Taxpayers get their money’s worth from JBT.


  13. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 12:45 pm:

    JBT was one of the only Republicans (if not the only one) on the stage when Quinn signed marriage equality into law. For this I commend her.


  14. - State Worker - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    I’m a Dem….but always proud of Judy’s ability to do the right thing. She’s always had my vote.


  15. - Marie - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Way to go Judy


  16. - Ghost - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    Simon who?

    This article misses all the key jbt facts…. Which are she raffles off Harley’s and owns dogs… What’s not to like?


  17. - walker - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 3:19 pm:

    And she earned it by being a non-political, transparent, informative, honest state office holder.

    To agree with OW’s comment about some Dems on this site:

    “We love us some Judy.”


  18. - dr. reason a. goodwin - Monday, Jan 27, 14 @ 11:06 pm:

    I also wonder if the Governor wasn’t taking a little swipe at Sheila last week when he appointed former Carbondale Mayor Brad Cole (R) to the state Human Rights Commission ($47,000). Cole beat Sheila when she ran for Mayor,


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* Today's numbers: 25-41
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has the big fight finally begun?
* Fisking Exelon's latest ploy
* More corrections needed
* House Dems ignored real reform needs
* Gov. Rauner to speak to Chicago city council
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Your daily "right to work" roundup
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * Google ATAP teases hot new wearable for I/O 2015
        * Xfinity Share app lets you livestream on to your TV
        * All HTC One M9 screens may not be created equal, with some using last-gen glass
        * Samsung starts pushing out Lollipop OTA for the Galaxy S5 in Austra, Czech Republic & Italy
        * ZTE announces new Nubia Z9 smartphone with a bezelless display
        * NVIDIA halting Icera modem operations, will explore selling the division
        * Keylink reappears on Motorola’s online store

        * AT&T Unlimited Data Plan Automatic Throttling Limit Removed
        * Head of $100 Billion High-Tech Saudi City in Town to Meet With Silicon Valley Firms
        * SpaceX Puts Dragon Passenger Spacecraft Through Escape Test
        * T-Mobile Shaves Off $100 From The iPad For Mother’s Day
        * Siri To Get A Fresh Coat Of Paint In iOS 9
        * Ask for a Sibling Discount to Save Big at the Dentist and Elsewhere
        * Cox Gigabit Internet Arrives In More Cities

        * White Sox circle wagons around Robin Ventura
        * Shark buckles down, tames first-place Tigers
        * Shark steps up, plays role of stopper
        * White Sox 5, Tigers 2: Big inning found at home
        * Sale aims to bounce back against Tigers
        * Shark buckles down, tames first-place Tigers
        * Eaton over flu, returns to starting lineup

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * The Length of Concurrences and Dissents at the .....
        * House considers governor's proposed cuts to hum.....
        * Put differences aside, former Olympian Joyner-K.....
        * Rauner to aldermen: 'For Chicago to get what it.....
        * For Chicago to get what it wants, Illinois must.....
        * Democrats' budget outrage? Please. You guys cau.....
        * Rauner: "We Don't Have the Money to Simply Bail.....
        * Gov. Bruce Rauner addresses Chicago City Council..
        * Gov. Rauner to speak to Chicago city council..
        * More corrections needed..


        * Chicago approves $5.5M package for police torture victims
        * Waukegan to pay $7.5M to man wrongfully convicted of murder
        * Woman known for trying to sneak on planes jailed in Chicago
        * Gov. Bruce Rauner: Illinois can't bail out Chicago
        * House considers governor's proposed cuts to human services
        * Jurors convict man of killing Chicago officer, ex-official
        * Police: Missing Illinois college student's body found
        * Jurors convict man of killing Chicago officer, ex-official
        * Nurses approve 4-year contract with University of Chicago
        * Casino project owners, investors vetted by regulators

        * Grand jury taking testimony in probe of Schock's spending
        * Rauner: Illinois can't bail out Chicago
        * House considers Rauner's proposed cuts to human services
        * Put differences aside, former Olympian Joyner-Kersee tells prayer breakfast
        * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,300
        * Bill at Statehouse would lift restriction on cities enacting assault weapons bans
        * Child advocacy group wants more in taxes to pay for programs
        * Bill would lift restriction on enacting assault weapons bans
        * Business groups, injured employees weigh in on workers' comp
        * Rauner names federal prosecutor as new inspector general

        * Ford removes Chicago plant managers amid sexual harassment investigation
        * Allstate investors alarmed at eroding profit margins
        * Former MillerCoors executive, others, indicted for fraud
        * Emanuel facing decisions on Board of Ed
        * Cargo shipments surge at O'Hare


          * Man convicted of killing Chicago cop, car burglary victim
          * Judge: I won't be 'emotionally blackmailed' by bid for more Mack trust money
          * Union Station transit center work to impact West Loop traffic
          * Illinois employers plan to lay off 1,100 workers
          * Former MillerCoors executive indicted for fraud
          * Woman known as 'serial stowaway' arrested at Midway, O'Hare
          * Guilty verdict in slaying of 2 men, including on-duty Chicago cop
          * Dense fog from 'impressive intrusion' of warm air
          * Chicago City Council approves $5.5 million reparations fund for Burge victims
          * Vann ordered to provide handwriting sample


          * In Baltimore, a different historic moment: A fan-less baseball game
          * Chicago teachers, school board at odds over pension payments
          * Emanuel outlines plan to end longtime debt practices
          * Closing a 'dark chapter'
          * Illinois medical marijuana approved for PTSD, osteoarthritis
          * New Illinois policy: No solitary to punish juvenile inmates
          * Sheriff's office announces new mental health clinic
          * College of DuPage puts president on administrative leave
          * Culturally-sensitive workouts yield health results for immigrants
          * Chicago May Day protests to include anti-violence as theme


          * Rauner: Illinois can't bail out Chicago
          * House considers Rauner's proposed cuts to human services
          * Put differences aside, former Olympian Joyner-Kersee tells prayer breakfast
          * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,300
          * Michael Gerson: The intricate knot of urban poverty
          * David Lloyd: Illinois can choose revenue over cuts
          * Bill at Statehouse would lift restriction on cities enacting assault weapons bans
          * Child advocacy group wants more in taxes to pay for programs
          * Business groups, injured employees weigh in on workers' comp
          * Rauner names federal prosecutor as new inspector general


          * Police: Missing SIUE student's body found
          * Wednesday May 6 government meetings
          * Illinois medical marijuana patients now number 2,300
          * Chance of showers this afternoon
          * 05-06-15 Penny for Your Thoughts
          * Hoops chats today!
          * Waukegan to pay $7.5 million to man wrongfully convicted of murder
          * Woman seeks rescue from boyfriend in online pizza order
          * SpaceX capsule soars with dummy in 1st test of crew escape
          * Daimler's self-driving big rig makes big entrance in Nevada


          * Images: Tiger Woods hits course for Players Championship practice round
          * Magenium Solutions debuts "Connected Home & Office" division
          * Gallagher acquires Canadian firm
          * United Stationers CEO resigns; board names interim chief
          * Gunman's hashtag hinted at Texas plot

          * The crooner annoyed passengers on a red-ey...
          * Political running of the bulls, is Trump n...
          * Bustos hopes to improve the lives of women...
          * San Diego Liposuction Center Achieves Accr...
          * Duckworth shares career insights with Plum...
          * Congressional hopeful wants to allow assau...
          * The Southern honors the region's brightest...
          * READ IN: Bob Corker’s Week Edition
          * Rep. Cheri Bustos stresses need for afford...
          * Roundtable offers opportunity for discussion

          * South Carolina editorial roundup...
          * Senate Republicans pass budget plan, eye '......
          * Carter: GOP budget will force decisions ‘n......
          * Syria safe zone would require ’combat miss......
          * Senators Call For Attorney General Investi......

          * Lausanne is not Munich...

          * DOJ Launching $20 Million Effort To Expand Police Body Cameras
          * Chicago Cab Drivers Demand Safety Reforms Following Robberies
          * Analysis Finds Higher Minimum Wage Would Mostly Impact Women
          * Report Outlines State Revenue Options To Avoid Deep Budget Cuts
          * LaHood sponsors Lincoln memorial resolution
          * Rauner and GOP lawmakers welcome USS Illinois crew and support group
          * Unes: Madigan's Worker's Comp hearing "more about theater than public policy" [video]
          * Sen. Morrison endangers Illinois gun rights with "massive gun grab" bill
          * Arn: Possible Debate Between Gov. Rauner and Rep. Smiddy Over Unions, Turn Around Agenda
          * Bill to decriminalize recreational pot faces Senate vote


          * Riding Season Here, IDOT Urging Motorists to “Start Seeing Motorcycles”
          * Party Before The Party - Illinois State Fair & Illinois Lottery Partner To Offer Fairgoers An Opportunity For Exclusive Backstage Party
          * Know Your Fair Housing Rights as the Rental Season Nears - Illinois Department of Human Rights Warns of Housing Discrimination During Rental Searches
          * DIRECTOR PHILIP NELSON ANNOUNCES NEW STATE FAIR MANAGER - Illinois Native Returns Home to Manage Springfield and DuQuoin Fairs
          * Emergency Preparedness Important for People with Disabilities and Functional Needs - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller