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Question of the day

Friday, May 2, 2014

* Sean Sullivan writing in the Washington Post’s “The Fix”

The road to reelection for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) was always going to be difficult. But it looks even harder at the end of a troubling week for the Democrat when a federal probe of an anti-violence initiative he started has received widespread attention in the state.

At minimum, the episode is an unwelcome distraction; at most, it could become a big blow to the good-government image Quinn has carefully crafted, close watchers say. […]

A large part of Quinn’s path to victory will depend upon how negative a light Democrats can cast Rauner in during the run-up to November. But the more the focus is on Quinn, the more difficult his path becomes.

Keep in mind that Rod Blagojevich was reelected a few days after his top fundraiser Tony Rezko was indicted and that Quinn was elected in 2010 with an approval rating in the 30s. Also keep in mind that Bruce Rauner has a whole lot more money to spend than any GOP nominee in many a year.

* The Question: On a scale of one to five, with one being the least and five being the most, rate the impact of this anti-violence initiative scandal on Quinn’s reelection chances. Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

customer survey

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Darienite - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    Should the findings come back prior to the election against PQ, then he could be history. A 2 for now.

  2. - Ray del Camino - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    A “2.” Patronage in Illinois? I’m shocked. Shocked!

  3. - Stones - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:31 pm:

    I gave it a 3. Moderate impact based on the image he has attempted to cultivate over the years.

  4. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:33 pm:


    It strikes at the heart of Quinn’s image, these investigations tend to move slowly, and Rauner has the money to sear every revelation into people’s minds. By itself, this would be a “2″, but this also piggybacks off the other signs of “smoke” but no fire (yet) in regards to the Shakman suit and others.

    It’s going be a long, hot Summer. And Fall.

  5. - Bourbonrich - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    It was enough to make me reconsider who I was voting for.

  6. - wordslinger - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:37 pm:

    3. The best possible outcome to the crime program is that the Quinn crew comes out looking disorganized and incompetent, blowing tens of millions.

    But with the spouses of big-time Dem pols pulling down hefty salaries off the program, you imagine it could get worse as the investigations continue.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:41 pm:

    Today? 2…

    June? 3, State Fair, pushing 4.

    Optics plus Ads, then add in a tarnishing of the Image…the slide is “up” is going to increase. If Rauner’s Crew “slow plays” this, the intensity and scrutiny will rise far better than Dopey “hotline” numbers. Just saying.

    Today, a “2″ for me.

  8. - SO IL M - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:42 pm:

    2. To his supporters it wont matter they will re elect him no matter what. Even if they have to tell them selves he is just incompetent but honest. To Rauner supporters well they wont vote for him anyway. To the undecideds it is to far away from November to have much impact at all. Many of them will forget. It will make a few stay home and not vote at all and a few to vote against him but not enough to make much impact.

  9. - Walter Mitty - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    4. What Word said… The best possibile outcome is enough to swing the undecideds….

  10. - In the Middle - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    The voting totals look like a distribution curve, a pretty random spread.

    I voted 3. It’s just too hard to tell at this point.

  11. - CD - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:48 pm:

    I only say 3 because of the cash Rauner has to push it on TV. Maybe only a 2.

  12. - Mason born - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    I put it as a 4. It hits as Quinns stregth and the belief that he is fundamently a good guy. Then again he has the luck of the Irish. I just wished this all would have come out November and December of last year. Maybe we’d have a decent candidate on the ticket in his place.

  13. - Anonymous - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:50 pm:

    #2 Quinn’s only real problem is with public employees and they are not fooled by Rauner. The Republicans blew the election in the primary.

  14. - LF - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    #2 Quinn’s only real problem is with public employees and the Republicans ensured Quinn’s reelection in the primary by choosing Rauner. To put it differently, Quinn has less of an uphill climb and scandals don’t really hurt Democrats because they vote in lock step.

  15. - Wensicia - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    I’ll say 2. It’s early, yet, and the Feds could be investigating this for months, perhaps past the election.

  16. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    If Quinn stops getting the benefit of the doubt as “well-intentioned” and questions begin spreading to other state programs, things could get much worse.

    This is a nasty cocktail of events. Possibly a Molotov.

  17. - OneMan - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Was thinking a 2.5 so I rounded up… I think it will easier for Rauner to make hay on this.

  18. - Anonymous - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:54 pm:

    Probably just the very first wave of attempts to dig up slime from the candidate who has unlimited money to spend to do so. Not that I’m a fan of Quinn but I don’t think he has a chance to return the favor of rounding up the posse to defame Rauner. I said 1 just because in any other election year where there were actual votable candidates to get behind, this might be worth something. But in this election? Meh.

  19. - lake county democrat - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    I voted 3 - what’s Quinn’s everyman/good guy image worth if he can’t be bothered to clean up his own house? Not fatal, but not negligible.

  20. - WhoKnew - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    “He’s toast”!

    Looking for that “What was he thinking” jab from Rauner’s group to seal the deal!

  21. - Walter Mitty - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    Wow… I am a bit surprised and actually perplexed at anything lower than a 3…. That “optimism”brought you Rauner as the primary winner… Then Governor. It’s May, yes, in just two days it went from local to Feds… This lasts more than long enough to be an issue… As it all drips out… When something like this happens, there are no secrets… Someone will talk… They will save themselves… Wether it’s all the way to PQ or not… He’s stuck with this…

  22. - Robert the Bruce - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 1:57 pm:

    3. Significant enough to hurt Quinn’s traditional argument of being an open honest guy, which allows a real attack from Rauner.

  23. - The Prince - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    No problem whatsoever. cf. Blago in ‘06.

  24. - Big Muddy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    4. Not because I think it will turn out to be a huge deal but because Quinn is up against a guy that will spend big $$$ so that people are reminded of it. Constantly. In the race to define your opponent Quinn is losing. It’s still early but not trending Well for Quinn.

  25. - Willie Stark - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:02 pm:

    Simply too early to know. But, it’s not going to play well in the swing suburbs, that’s for sure. Combined with the fact that the disorganized Quinn campaign and administration cannot effectively push back, spin, attack or communicate a message to save their lives. If he wins, it’s going to be because outside groups intervene and batter Rauner, all the while Quinn is convinced that the people saw that he was “good and true” and that’s the reason for his victory.

  26. - Soccermom - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    You cannot compare Rod and PQ.

    By 2006, pretty much everybody knew that Rod was a sleazeball, but Judy didn’t give him much of a run. And there were many many people who took the “Rod in ‘06, Quinn in ‘07″ approach.

    This is a very different race. An attack on the Governor’s integrity hits at the heart of his “win set”, in a way that an attack on Rod’s non-existent character did not.

    And don’t forget that Rod massively outspent Judy. That’s not going to be the case in this race.

    PQ is far from out of this race. But 2006 has nothing to do with this election.

  27. - Norseman - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    I went 3. If the scale had been 1-10, I would have put it at 6 to indicate that its more than a middling issue. This is more than an annoyance for Quinn, but not fatal.

  28. - Generation X - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:21 pm:


    He is not toast yet, but is on the ropes big time. He will need a big Rauner slip to recover from this

  29. - Steve - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:23 pm:


    Because Quinn doesn’t have much to run on. Rauner has the money to destroy Quinn’s reputation with the independent voters.

  30. - DuPage - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    A 1. How was he to know? Show a clear link that PQ knew about everything, it might be different, but so far it looks like PQ was PQ. Inept and easily fooled.

  31. - Ron Burgundy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    A 2 right now, with the potential to swing from a 0 to a 5 anytime between now and November. Always a scary proposition to know there are things out there that you can’t control.

  32. - democrat Grrrl - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Rauner has the $$ to make hay with this. I gave it a 3, but this has the potential to rachet up to bigger problems for Quinn.

  33. - Upon Further Review - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    It is going to be hugely damaging to Quinn among suburban voters. It is not going to have much of an impact upon him in the inner city beyond the fact that there is going to be less walking around money for the ward heelers when election day approaches.

  34. - GOP - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    It’s always best to listen to a Sullivan…they’re smart & they throw the best parties!

  35. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    3, And it could swing as low as a 2 by election day or up to a 5, depending on how closely he is tied personally to the events, and how effective Rauner is with his messaging and money. I just don’t see this going away, only counterbalanced by negatives against the other guy.

  36. - orzo - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    I hedged with a 3 because it’s too early to tell–I expect many other issues will come up before fall. It also depends on what has come out by then–with all those projects and contracts, there will undoubtedly be a few bad apples, even if the goal was a good one, attacking the violence in some communities.

  37. - Walker - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    This will be bigger the more Rauner can spend on it, and that’s a lot.

    Rauner’s best option is that nothing is settled for months, and he can say whatever he wants about it and Quinn.

    I gave it a 3 based on Rauner’s budget and effective ads so far.

  38. - Louis Howe - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    Bingo 4…If Quinn’s anti-violence program is anything like Ceasefire, it won’t hold up to a federal investigation. Even if the investigation results aren’t completed, spending 50 million handing out brochures sounds ridiculous to most voters.

  39. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    == Show a clear link that PQ knew about everything ==

    == At the meeting, an official from Quinn’s administration assured state officials that the program would have the necessary funds.

    “The governor’s office is committed to allocating some of the funds for this initiative immediately and will allocate the rest after the election,” the official said, according to the meeting’s minutes.

    Murphy called that statement a “smoking gun.” It shows, according to Murphy, “that motivation for this program was to get money out in politically important neighborhoods for Gov. Quinn before … a tight election.”

    “Why on earth would anybody in a government position talk about the timing of an election with the release of public taxpayer dollars if it wasn’t for the political advancement of their boss?” Murphy said, referring to the Quinn staffer’s comments.

    “I wouldn’t say it’s buying votes,” said Democratic state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, when asked about the timing of the governor’s announcement of the anti-violence program. “I could see (it as) currying favor.” ==

  40. - Secret Square - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    At least 3, possibly 4. Yes, IL voters have blown off scandals before but given the extreme levels of discontent registered in the recent Gallup polls (”Half of Illinois residents say they want to leave”) I wonder if voters are not reaching a breaking point where their desire for change overcomes their desire to stick with the “devil they know”.

  41. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Whoever posted the following under the name “Really??” at 2:13pm on October 29 2010 looks downright prescient:

    == The $50 million Governor Quinn is using for the new Neighborhood Recovery Initative (touted as a violence prevention program) is using capital funds? This is a program that is providing funds to local community based organizations to engage youth, offer job training and provide funding for small businesses. I don’t think that’s capital funds. ==

  42. - VanillaMan - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    It fits his opponents narrative, comes after two previous governors ended up in prison, Madigan is losing support across the state on two major reform issues, and voters are reminded why they hate Illinois.

    It is at least a 3. If this wasn’t Illinois, I’d say 5.

    It will keep donors guessing too. Not good.

  43. - stand - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:02 pm:

    I put a 3. It should be a 4 or 5 but this is Illinois!

  44. - too obvious - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:27 pm:

    Quinn’s dealings don’t compare to the shady connections and problems within Rauner’s empire. Not even close.

  45. - Bored Chairman - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:40 pm:

    The whiter the horse, the more you can see the mud splattered on it. Quinn’s brand of honesty is tarnished. This will sway undecideds, and Rauner has the dough to keep reminding them. At least a 4.

  46. - zatoichi - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:42 pm:

    Rauner needs to find the dirt to make some ‘Rove’ political claims. Anything will do and this incident comes with some sizable meat. Just another item on the attack platter.

  47. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    ===Rauner needs to find the dirt to make some ‘Rove’ political claims…===

    What, the Auditor General of Illinois forwarding his finding to the US Attorney isn’t enough dirt?

    With Rauner’s Crew’s money, hammering a Federal Investigation prompted by the State Auditor General is pretty juicy. “But, we need to go ‘Rove’…”. Yikes.

  48. - The Prince - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 3:55 pm:

    It is not enough dirt when dealing in this state with a Democratic candidate.

  49. - Do Good - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    A “2″. It’s a hard issue to explain in terms that the average voter would understand or care about. Also, voters are becoming increasingly desensitized to corruption. In the scheme of things, this isn’t that sexy of a scandal, at least so far.

  50. - Judgment Day - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:18 pm:

    3. Just don’t know yet. But with the most recent two governors ended up in prison, the voting public just seems to be very dubious/cynical - and this issue doesn’t help any. Bruce Rauner just got handed an enormous gift.

    Pat Quinn has no more stumbles available to him. And that still may not be enough.

  51. - Formerpol - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    “Going Rove” is nowhere near as vicious or underhanded as was “Going Emanual” or “Going Axelrod”! Liberals have a very selective memory when using these metaphors!!!

  52. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:19 pm:

    Voted “2.” Note that over 2/3ds of all voting here, at least, put it at 1, 2, or 3. I’d imagine most folks marking 4 or 5 are voting for BR anyway and looking for another reason to try and slam Pat Quinn. The fact is that, on the whole, Pat Quinn IS, and has BEEN, the most Activist “Reform” Governor when it comes to ethical behavior and transparency that our Beloved Home State has ever seen–and in spite of their inquiry, the Feds and Anita Alvarez (a friend of the Governor, and on the very Stage right beHIND PQ cheering him on avidly on Election Night, know this to be true as well.

    This development is assuredly an annoyance but FAR from BR’s accusations and suggestions to the contrary, it will NOT shoot him down–not even close.

  53. - Walker - Friday, May 2, 14 @ 4:20 pm:

    VMan and Stand: Funny. We end up agreeing through different routes.

    My sense is: 3, would be 2, but this is Illinois.

    I think it’s likely to resonate more because of Illinois history and image, than it otherwise would in most other states.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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