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Because Illinois is a real battleground state

Thursday, Apr 24, 2014

Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)

* There are a lot of big names on the Yes to Independent Maps’ list of donors. Former U.S. District Attorneys Patrick Collins and Patrick Fitzgerald, former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Illinois Manufacturers Association, the McCormick Foundation, Sam Zell, the Pritzkers, Tom Ricketts, Robin Steans of Advance Illinois, former Lt. Gov. Corine Wood, just to name a few.

But the one that jumps off the page at me: Ken and Anne Griffin, who have contributed at least $300,000 to the movement thus far.

Certainly that’s something to consider at the very least when you read this back and forth…

House Speaker Mike Madigan said a popular effort to change how the state’s legislative maps are drawn is being driven only by politics.

The campaign, aimed at turning the state’s legislative redistricting process over to an independent body, is the result of Republican anger, the Chicago Democrat said Tuesday.

“The redistricting constitutional amendment is just pure Republican party politics,” Madigan said.


“There would be an adverse effect upon minorities,” Madigan said. “Put the Republicans in charge of something, and there’s going to be an adverse effect on minorities. Look at what happened on the immigration question. Look at what happened to the support for the Obama library in Chicago.”

* And the response…

Michael Kolenc, campaign manager for Yes for Independent Maps, called comments by House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, questioning the political motives of the effort “absurd.”
“It is no surprise that the status quo is upset that a bipartisan campaign has successfully worked over the last 2 ½ years to put in place an independent, transparent and fair redistricting system,” Kolenc said in a statement. “Speaker Madigan’s claim that we are just ‘Republican Party politics’ is absurd and has no basis in reality.”

Kolenc, who has worked on Democratic campaigns, said Madigan “insults Democrats, Republicans and Independents across the state with his campaign rhetoric and tries to distract from the problem of our broken redistricting system.”

Discuss in comments below.

* Recent national political conventions have been held in key battleground states, such as North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado. If that principle is followed, this may be nothing more than a light snack for the beast…

Mayor Rahm Emanuel opened the door on Tuesday for the city to bid for the 2016 Democratic convention, a switch from February, when City Hall was not interested.

“We will evaluate the opportunity this could provide and proceed accordingly,” Emanuel spokesman Sarah Hamilton told me.

It’s not clear what has changed or how serious Emanuel really is about pursuing the Democratic convention, which would come as he ramps up his 2015 re-election bid.

Chicago is on a list with many other major cities across the country…

The cities under consideration are: Atlanta; Chicago; Cleveland; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Indianapolis; Las Vegas; Miami; Nashville; New York; Orlando; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.


While the city is Obama’s hometown, the president’s lame-duck status makes a Chicago choice questionable as Democrats pick a nominee to succeed him. At the same time, political parties also factor in the political value of a potential host city — particularly when it might help to locate the event in a potential swing state such as Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor        

  1. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:15 am:

    Because Mike Bloomberg screams Republican anger…

    You know, perhaps it isn’t driven by Republican anger Mike, but just a desire to not have the map drawn in some partisan way…

    Call me crazy…

  2. - Jimbo - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:47 am:

    OneMan, I’m all for independent maps, but let’s not kid ourselves why the republicans favor them in Illinois and not in Texas. The minority party in every state wants to take away politically drawn maps. I agree we should, but unless there’s progress in red states too, I don’t see how I, as a democrat, can support them here. If all of the blue states go to fair maps, the republicans will have a huge advantage in the US House. I wouldn’t mind more republicans in our GA, but federally, if red states can keep stacking the deck with gerrymandering, there needs to be a counterbalance.

  3. - Jimbo - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:49 am:

    I should be clear that when I say I’m all for fair maps, I mean that every state should have them. I don’t favor unilateral disarmament.

  4. - Ray del Camino - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:54 am:

    Jimbo, I think the Fair Map proposal is only for state legislative districts.

    It is clearly bipartisan, and IL Dems were mad as hell when the GOP won the coin flip to push their map through. I’m generally sanguine about MJM, but this time he’s full of it.

  5. - Jimbo - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:54 am:

    Sorry to spam the thread. I just found out that the fair maps amendment doesn’t apply to Congressional districts. I’m all for it then. Sorry I commented before having all of the facts. Oops.

  6. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:05 am:

    It’s hard to imagine any argument against a genuine “Fair Map” amendment. There’s nothing that says once a map is drawn, the population can’t move to consolidate more influence. It’s not like thousands of people would have to. Outside of very partisan urban areas and rural areas, the differences are very thin. It’s time. You could make the same argument that minorities may not move for fear of unequal representation. That 100M library line is falling kinda flat Mr. Speaker. Turns out most people hate the idea of giving over money in this fiscal climate and nearly as many think the sneaky approach was tacky. Rare tactical mistake. Little crack with Noland yesterday too. Maybe the foundation is beginning to crumble a little. Hmmm

  7. - OneMan - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:28 am:


    Have to say I was convinced about a need for fair maps when in the last two maps I saw fingers drawn in districts to include elected officials. Regardless of party that doesn’t scream democracy IMHO.

  8. - Fed up - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:43 am:

    Madigan’s controls his loyal Dems with the map also. Do as I say or He can draw you into a district where you won’t get out of the primary. Yes the map is gerrymandered to give complete dem control but it’s also drawn to elect the Dems Madigan’ finds acceptable.

  9. - Ahoy! - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:46 am:

    –House Speaker Mike Madigan said a popular effort to change how the state’s legislative maps are drawn is being driven only by politics.–

    Yes, because Madigan’s opposition to Independent Maps isn’t based in politics at all. It is based on good government principles that he controls the map process to elect his people to super majority’s.

  10. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:47 am:

    Madigan’s comments on support for the Obama library, as an indication that a new redistricting process would adversely impact minorities, betray the fact that this entire library effort was a blatant attempt at political pandering.

    No other presidential library has sought such funding (in fact, the libraries are supposed to be built with private funds). Obama has raised record sums of money in both of his presidential campaigns (in 2008, one of his first broken promises was to opt out of the regulations and limits on presidential campaign financing).

    Red herring alert. I am beginning to feel nostalgic for the days when Madigan did not speak to the media.

  11. - Bill White - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:49 am:

    Congressional districts are drawn by the state legislature which is covered by the Fair Maps Amendment.

    Independent redistricting an inherently good idea, however Illinois is far from the worst offender.

    In Illinois 54% of the voters voted Democratic and seated Democrats in 60% of the IL House seats

    In Wisconsin 46% of the voters voted Republican and seated Republicans in 60% of the WI House seats.

    The Republican dominated state legislature also drew the US congressional maps.

  12. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 9:57 am:

    Yeah, those Pritzkers are big-time Republican shills. Not.

    C’mon Brownie, you can do better than this.

  13. - Walter Mitty - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    I am shocked that Madigan is all in on the library. That is not popular. Even trying to tie it to R’s being against minorities will be tough…And will back fire… Raise taxes on Chicago… Air conditioning in schools? 100 mil… yikes

  14. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:04 am:

    Not to mention the Crowns and the Steans family in for 100 large.

  15. - Langhorne - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:24 am:

    Madigan retains power due to the map and money, moreso than political strategy. Strategy, and wins and losses, come into play only when he has the majority made possible by the map and money.

    The fair map amendment is the single most important public policy issue in my lifetime. Hopefully, it will make it onto the ballot, and the voters will pass it. If that happens, we will still have to be vigilant, as madigan massages its implementation.

  16. - Walker - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:30 am:

    For a little perspective, Madigan had some of his greatest gains in the decade under a legislative map drawn by Republicans. The impact of this has been overblown at the state level.

    A lot of Republicans, who are supporting this for purely political reasons, are going to be disappointed if it passes.

    Others who think irregularly drawn areas to create majority-minority districts will automatically disappear, would also be disappointed. They will remain.

    Many others are supporting it for good government reasons, and I respect them for it. Again, it will have more impact on the image than the reality of good government.

    Still, on balance, it’s a modest net improvement.

  17. - Upon Further Review - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:34 am:


    The Republicans did not go to the limit when remapping the House — they were fearful of a court fight. Lee Daniels manage one term as Speaker. In the Senate, the Republicans fared much better and their majority was intact until the next redistricting.

    As for Congress, the Republican map manufactured a district for Luis Gutierrez.

  18. - Walker - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 11:00 am:

    @Upon Further Review:

    Thanks. You made my points for me. I am glad we agree.

    @Langhorne: ==the single most important public policy issue in my lifetime.==

    Hunh? A little hyperbole perhaps?

    I’m guessing you’re old enough to recall the civil rights issues, the voting rights act, the VN and Iraq wars, the life v. choice arguments, gun control, balanced budget amendments, political contributions issues, to name a few.

    Mapping processes at the state level have some importance, but a little perspective please.

    With respect.

  19. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 11:04 am:

    Madigan should not make public any comment which can only bring more attention to how he has carve up Illinois only to politically serve himself.

    He has been in power so long, he doesn’t recognize how he looks to everyone else watching him rule as he does.

    Cries for non-political gerrymandering are the result of spectacularly successful political gerrymandering. So it is understandable that the Master Gerrymanderer won’t empathize with anyone questioning HIS MAP.

    Public feelings are running against you on this Mr. Speaker. You brought it on yourself.

  20. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Upon Further Review “The Republicans did not go to the limit when remapping the House — they were fearful of a court fight. Lee Daniels manage one term as Speaker. In the Senate, the Republicans fared much better and their majority was intact until the next redistricting.

    As for Congress, the Republican map manufactured a district for Luis Gutierrez.”

    There was a massive court fight that ended in the Illinois Supreme Court when Democratic Judge Joseph Cunningham sided with the GOP apparently because the Ds did not support another term for him. As for making a seat for Luis Guiterrez, it was part of the tried and true GOP strategy of parking Democratic (minorities, mostly) into fewer districts, allowing for the minority to elect one of their own but depriving neighboring Democratic candidates of voters.

  21. - Bill White - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 11:53 am:


    As with term limits, the Fair Maps amendment won’t be in play any earlier than the elections of 2022.

    Also too, the selection of the next Auditor General will become very political;

    Next, if you think politics will play no part in the selection of “eligible applicants” to be selected “at random” you are naive; and

    Finally, given the requirements of section (d) of the proposed amendment there actually will be rather few candidates to draw from randomly, once the 90 candidates are divided up by judicial district and party.

  22. - Formerly Known As... - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 12:09 pm:

    == “The redistricting constitutional amendment is just pure Republican party politics,” Madigan said. ==

    That statement is either intentionally dishonest or the byproduct of hallucinations.

  23. - shore - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 12:30 pm:

    I’m a Republican but I’ve always been with Madigan here. Democrats won in 2010. That’s it. And elections have consequences and Republicans in other states did exactly what Madigan did and Illinois Republicans like Peter Roskam benefited from it because it enhanced their ability to maintain their dc majority and they did in 2012.

    This after the fact whining from people is tough $#!% for my party and it’s even worse for them when you consider Democrats all but gifted that cycle to us and we still couldn’t get it done.

    Now try running and winning campaigns for a change.

  24. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    @ Bill White
    I never said that because that is a given.
    Your opinion, but seems based on a kind of logic.

    Thanks, but I don’t know why you directed that at me.

    Supporting political gerrymandering like how it is done in Illinois today, is a loser. A majority of voters hate it, always hated it, and will hate it until it is eliminated. Other states have moved on, and we need to do the same.

    When your state has not doing well for over a decade, you can’t blame people for calling for change from what is currently being done.

    This is a change election. Either be a part of that, or lose.

  25. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    –There’s nothing that says once a map is drawn, the population can’t move to consolidate more influence–

    LOL, is that a gag?

    If that makes any sense to you, I guess that could be done today, too, couldn’t it?

    A Guy is leading a pilgrimage to take over the 13th Ward and retire MJM. Sell your house, move and “consolidate your influence!”

  26. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 2:41 pm:

    –The Republicans did not go to the limit when remapping the House — they were fearful of a court fight. –

    You just made that up, out of thin air.

  27. - wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    –At the same time, political parties also factor in the political value of a potential host city — particularly when it might help to locate the event in a potential swing state such as Ohio, Pennsylvania or Florida.–

    Pennsylvania hasn’t gone GOP since 1988. I don’t know how they rate as a “swing” state.

  28. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 3:08 pm:

    Next, there will be the passage of the Fair Map, but like some Parliamentary voting, with the Pendulum swinging for seats, General Assembly Party leaders choose their districts to run in, moving party leaders in the safest of seats, and rank members by the safety of the seat they occupy.

    That would be fun.

    Total farce of the American governmental premise, but we would get some fun parliamentary races with off parties forming, and…

    Geez Louise, every two years we have term limits; voters decide if a term is up. If you want lazy or admit your Party can’t win, then congratulations, you are a victim to democracy. Win, then get back to me.

  29. - Norseman - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 3:16 pm:

    === The Republicans did not go to the limit when remapping the House — they were fearful of a court fight. ===

    How do you define “the limit?” That strikes me of the ole Bill Clinton definition of what “sex” is. Both parties have mapped with an eye on possible lawsuits since the 80’s - probably the 70’s as well but I wasn’t around to know for sure. They also have been looking at the other’s map for possible lawsuits as well. Its the game that is played to gain political advantage.

    I’d bet the fair map proposal won’t eliminate lawsuits either. Someone is always going to argue that they have been disenfranchised for some reason.

    That being said, the proposed amendment would be an improvement over the current system.

  30. - Wumpus - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    Hell, I am disenfranchised that I was drawn out of Roskam’s district into Duckworth’s. I shall file a lawsuit about Wumpus Disenfranchisement!

  31. - RNUG - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 3:28 pm:

    - Walter Mitty - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:03 am:

    You went halfway to a thought I had about 8 AM wheb reading the other thread. $100M for a museum that probably won’t end up in Chicago and $100M needed for A/C in Chicago schools. Coincidence? Bet after the O museum goes to Hawaii that $100M stays in Chicago and ends up in the school district.

  32. - A guy... - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 4:48 pm:

    ===wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    –There’s nothing that says once a map is drawn, the population can’t move to consolidate more influence–

    LOL, is that a gag?

    If that makes any sense to you, I guess that could be done today, too, couldn’t it?

    A Guy is leading a pilgrimage to take over the 13th Ward and retire MJM. Sell your house, move and “consolidate your influence!”===

    Hey smarty pants, I guess you haven’t noticed the urban migration specifically in Northern DuPage County. I know, I’m imagining it. When I learn to be as smart as you I’m gonna share that knowledge with everyone too. Lake, and Kane Co. haven’t changed at all either. Or any outlying areas of Cook. It’s all a mirage. Keep walking. YOu guys keep arguing for the way it is, denying any resident or business leaves Illinois for any reason. Nothing wrong with the map, nope, nothing. Elections are the same as term limits. You guys have locked down 20% of the electorate with that brilliant thinking. Even the Slytherin’s you continue to mock have got you beat.

  33. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 8:56 pm:

    I stand by my point.

    It would be true that Democrats and Republicans should have equal odds of winning elections if they had equally good ideas or Illinoisans agreed with them equally.

    How many Republicans voted for marriage equality?

    Case closed.

  34. - Norseman - Thursday, Apr 24, 14 @ 10:39 pm:

    YDD, here’s a case where I have to respectfully disagree with your comments.

    I don’t see a party-blind contiguous and compact map as guaranteeing the parties equal odds of winning. I believe the Democrats would still maintain control based upon their better position on many policy issues of concern to a majority of the current Illinois electorate. Nor do I believe the GOP will be able to field sufficiently qualified candidates to make much of a difference. What a party-blind map will do is allow all the voters in a district to make a choice based upon their own views of the candidates. Not based upon the fact that the powers that be or the lucky lottery winner has made sure their district has enough partisans to ensure a particular party wins an overwhelming majority of the time.

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