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IDPH wants to ban beer garden smoking

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* I don’t know how I missed this, but the Illinois Department of Public Health has filed proposed rules which will pretty much spell the death knell of smoking areas in beer gardens

Smoking is prohibited in a restaurant, bar and any area where food, beverages, or both, are prepared or served by employees, including outdoor areas such as patios, beer gardens, decks, or rooftops or concession areas.

The only exemption will be for “self service areas”

“Self-Service Outdoor Area” means an area or location where no employees are present and customers may serve themselves food or beverages or both and clean up the area after consuming their food and beverages. This area is not a place of employment because employees do not prepare or serve food or beverages in this area, and are not required to enter, leave, or pass through this area during the course of employment.

The public comment period expires September 29th. Click here to submit a comment to IDPH.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Yes, it’s quite a paradise

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Scott Reeder writes about the very real and disturbingly high increase in food stamp usage in Illinois and concludes

Other states like Indiana are prospering.

At a time when Illinois has been raising taxes, the Hoosier State has been cutting them.

When Illinois has adopted more labor regulations, Indiana has reduced them.

Indiana’s economy has been prospering and Illinois’ has been struggling.

Prosperity may not be around the corner, but it certainly is right next door – in Indiana.

* I checked the USDA’s website and found SNAP participation rates from 2009 through 2013

Indiana increase: 31.034 percent

Illinois increase: 39.498 percent

And on this page, you’ll see that June, 2014 SNAP usage declined in Illinois since June, 2013 by 5.8 percent. Indiana’s rate declined by 4.9 percent.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** What do Sha-Na-Na, Bill Enyart and pies have in common?

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* I get some weird press releases sometimes. For instance…

Mike Bost cancels AARP Debate - Enyart, Seniors and Bowzer from Sha-Na-NA to rally in response

Bowzer from Sha-Na-NA?

* I kid you not…

U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart (IL-12), will be joined by Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, advocate for seniors, to discuss Medicare, and Social Security issues surrounding the upcoming election.

“We can’t balance the budget on the backs of our seniors,” said Enyart. “We must protect Social Security, we must protect Medicare, and we must protect retirees and seniors on fixed incomes. Since day one in office, I’ve been fighting for these programs, and I will continue fighting each day.”

“Congressman Enyart is a champion of seniors’ rights,” said Bauman. “With his leadership and advocacy, I know that the interests of Southern Illinoisans will be maintained. On the other hand I find it shameful his opponent Mike Bost has canceled a 2nd debate with AARP because he believes they are a “Special Interest Group”.

Those interested in joining the rally should arrive at approximately 1:45 p.m., 15 minutes before the event.

TIME: 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: The Pie Pantry, 310 E Main St # 1, Belleville

Bowzer and Enyart at the Pie Pantry. I wish I could’ve made it to that one.

…Not really, just kidding.

* Bowzer went to Columbia, so he’s no intellectual slouch, and he’s still doing his schtick

*** UPDATE 1 *** It’s not just Enyart…

Sha Na Na Star Tours District in Support of Ann Callis, Praises Her Support for Seniors

CHAMPAIGN - Former Chief Judge and Congressional challenger Ann Callis today toured the district with Jon “Bowzer” Bauman to talk about the importance of protecting Social Security and Medicare for seniors. Bauman, known for his starring role in the group Sha Na Na, is also the co-founder of “Senior Votes Count!” a seniors’ advocacy organization that endorsed Callis’ campaign at stops today in Bloomington, Decatur, and Champaign.

“While you may associate me from the music of the 1950s and 1960s, I don’t want to see our country’s seniors go back to that time when their financial security was always in limbo,” said Bowzer. “I’m here to support Ann Callis because seniors in Illinois need a representative who will fight efforts to privatize Social Security or make Medicare into a voucher program, two proposals her opponent has supported that would be extremely harmful to seniors.”

Callis is running against Congressman Rodney Davis, who supported privatizing Social Security and voted for the Ryan budget that would end the Medicare guarantee and increase costs for seniors.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From the NRCC’s Katie Prill…

So apparently Bowzer is the DCCC’s secret endorsement weapon – that seems more like the kiss of defeat. Remember Elizabeth Colbert-Busch. And Alex Sink. And David Weprin.

But really - If you’re born after 1975 or so you probably have no idea who that is. If you’re born before 1975, you probably have no idea why anyone would care. And if you’re in Illinois’ 12th or 13th Congressional District you have to wonder why any of this is relevant.

Perhaps Callis and Enyart would be better served calling Barbara Eden from “I Dream of Jeannie” because they have a better chance of winning their elections with her magic bottle than with Sha Na Na. :)

That’s the best response Prill has provided all season.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Rauner endorsed by several black ministers

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Skipping the Economic Empowerment Forum’s July meeting was either a mistake or Gov. Quinn figured he wouldn’t get the endorsement anyway. From a press release…

Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner today proudly accepted the endorsement of the Economic Empowerment Forum.

“My wife and I have devoted much our lives to improving opportunities for families throughout Chicago and have had an intense focus on improving schools for African-American students and parents. As governor, I will continue to do that,” said Rauner. “I am honored to accept the endorsement of the Economic Empowerment Forum and will go to work for every person in Illinois. It is clear that Governor Pat Quinn has failed the African-American community - African-American unemployment remains scandalously high and all too often African-American children are stuck in failing schools. As governor I will change that.”

“This year we have an opportunity to change directions,” Dr. Willie Wilison said. “We have a candidate, Bruce Rauner, who has been working in our community for many years.”

The Economic Empowerment Forum consists of American American ministers in the South and West Sides of Illinois who endorse Bruce Rauner for governor.

* A “partial” list of forum members…

Dr. Willie Wilson - Chairman of the historical Chicago Baptist Institute International (CBII)
Pastor Corey Brooks - Founder of New Beginnings Church of Chicago
Reverend Marshall Hatch, Sr - Pastor of the New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church
Pastor Stephen Thurston—Former President of the National Baptist Convention of America, Pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church & Exec. Assist to the Chairman of CBII
Pastor Dr. Robert Patterson—President of the Baptist Pastors Conference Chicago and Vicinity and Pastor of Spirit of Truth Baptist Church
Pastor Dr. Willie Cotton—President of the Baptist Ministers Union Chicago and Vicinity
Pastor John Gray—President of CBII and Pastor of Holy Zion Baptist Church
Pastor Michael A. Harrington—Liaison for CBII
Mr. Andre Fair—President of Omar Medical Supplies
Mr. Percy Coleman—Deputy Chairman Chicago GOP

Quinn has courted Pastor Brooks, who endorsed Jim Oberweis for Senate.

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Rodney Davis and Badabinka

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

A quick run-through of the down-ballot statewide polling

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Let’s take a brief look at some Sun-Times/We Ask America poll results, shall we?

* No surprise…


Over 40 in Chicago? Holy moly, a stomping appears to be coming.

* No surprise…


As I told subscribers earlier today, if Cross can keep himself around 20 in Chicago, he likely wins.

* Hovering just above 50 isn’t great, but her opponent has no money so he can’t do much about it anyway…


The Madigan brand has taken a serious beating.

* Compare AG Madigan’s performance among independents with Jesse White’s…

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Poll: A three-point spread

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* From We Ask America

* The Sun-Times has campaign react

“As people tune into the election, it’s encouraging they are recognizing that Gov. Quinn is making the tough decisions and getting the job done to move Illinois forward,” Quinn campaign spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said. “While there’s more work to do, Illinois is moving in the right direction under the governor’s leadership as evidenced by the fact that unemployment is at its lowest point in six years. Unemployment is down and jobs are up, and our economy is making a comeback.

“We expect this will continue to be a very competitive race, particularly since billionaire Republican Bruce Rauner will spare no cost to try and buy the election. It looks like the more voters find out about the real Bruce Rauner — and his plan for Illinois that benefits the very wealthy while hurting working families — the less interested they are in voting for him,” Anderson said. […]

Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf steered clear Sunday of offering any sense of what might be behind the apparent tightening in the campaign and whether internal Rauner polling is showing the same trend.

“It’s clear a large majority of Illinoisans are ready for a change after 100 years of Cullerton, Madigan, Quinn and Blagojevich. Voters know Pat Quinn has failed and Bruce is the only candidate they can trust to clean up Springfield and bring back Illinois,” Schrimpf said in a prepared statement.

All of a sudden, the Quinnsters love We Ask America. Imagine that.

* Related…

* Libertarian could help tip Illinois governor race

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

A bit petty, no?

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Last Friday, Matt Belcher posted a link on his law firm’s Facebook page to a post of mine about the Illinois Policy Institute

That same day, an Illinois Policy Institute staffer gave Belcher’s law firm a “one star” rating on Facebook

* Belcher’s response

Kristina Rasmussen your ‘one star’ rating of our legal office seems a bit unfair since you have never even set foot in our office, you never spoken to any of our attorneys, nor partaken of any of our available legal services. Perhaps if one wants people to respect their opinion, one would base the same on actual verifiable evidence rather than ignorance. Just sayin’.

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

Trouble in paradise?

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Laurie Higgins in Illinois Review

I’ve met Rauner. In a meeting with him last fall with some potential big donors, Rauner was asked about his position on same-sex “marriage.” He answered, “Frankly, I think the idea of two men marrying is just weird.” When asked about abortion, Rauner answered, “I believe that life begins at conception.”

Higgins used the piece to announce that she’ll vote for Gov. Pat Quinn to prevent Rauner (who is now saying he’s pro-choice and won’t touch the gay marriage law) from being elected. She was particularly upset about this Sun-Times op-ed by two gay businessmen endorsing Rauner

LGBT issues have recently been in the news regarding the Illinois governor’s race. We are deeply troubled by statements made by Gov. Pat Quinn and his allies, including those in the LGBT community. They would have you believe that Bruce Rauner is hostile to LGBT individuals and the progress we have made toward achieving full equality in Illinois. Nothing could be further from the truth. […]

As he has repeatedly stated, Bruce is “comfortable with the law” and does “not seek to change it.” Bruce will support and uphold the current marriage equality law, and all others that protect the civil rights of LGBT individuals and families. The fact is that the positive status quo on marriage will remain the same whether Quinn or Rauner is elected in November.

* Meanwhile, Illinois Review took this Rev. James Meeks quote from the Sun-Times

“There comes a time that black people will have to shake up the Democratic Party [candidates] because then, in the next election when they make us some promises, they will keep them,” Meeks said.

“I am tired of what the Democratic Party is doing to black people. Our vote is automatic. If you vote Democratic, 96 out of 96 times, they don’t have to wonder where black people are. Once the election is over, Democrats have no incentive to deliver on their campaign promises,” he added.

“This is the safest time for us to break the cycle. We can make other people come to our community and vie for our votes. We can put ourselves into the game because right now we are out of the game,” he said.

…And came up with this

The article has conservatives wondering if it isn’t time for them to shake up the Republican Party. As one Republican told Illinois Review, consider Meek’s statement from a conservative perspective.

    “There comes a time that conservatives will have to shake up the Republican Party [candidates] because then, in the next election when they make us some promises, they will keep them.”

    “I am tired of what the Republican Party is doing to conservatives. Our vote is automatic. If you vote Republican, 96 out of 96 times, they don’t have to wonder where conservatives are. Once the election is over, Republicans have no incentive to deliver on their campaign promises.”

    “This is the safest time for us to break the cycle. We can make other people come to our community and vie for our votes. We can put ourselves into the game because right now we are out of the game.”

The Quinn campaign has been telling me since the early summer that Rauner was gonna wind up having real trouble on his right flank. A couple posts on IR don’t yet represent much since most of the bigshots on the Right are in the bank for him at the moment, but watch while this is stirred up even further as the weeks go by.

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Durbin sides with Holland against Quinn

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Sen. Dick Durbin’s response to questions about the governor’s NRI program, which is now under federal investigation, is impossible to argue with..

“I don’t know where the chips are going to fall. I don’t know who’s responsible for wrongdoing here,” said Durbin, D-Ill., Friday in an interview with Early & Often. “I’m not for a whitewash or walking away from it. Let’s find out.” […]

Durbin lauded William Holland, the state’s auditor general, who in February released a blistering review of the program, describing it as “hastily implemented” and said it didn’t target some of the most crime-prone neighborhoods in Chicago. Holland found that Quinn’s administration didn’t “adequately monitor” how state grant dollars were spent or on whom; community organizations that hired people with those funds weren’t maintaining time sheets; and city aldermen dictated where funding was to be steered.

“I’ve known him for years. Years. We worked together on the Senate staff, back many years ago. And he’s been auditor general two decades or more,” Durbin said. “I have the highest respect for his integrity. When he looks at it and says, ‘This needs to be investigated,’ I agree with Bill Holland.”

* Meanwhile, this was a pretty darned good pivot when asked about Jim Oberweis’ charge that he had “bullied” companies like Walgreens to keep them from moving their headquarters overseas

“I think that’s a senator’s responsibility. To work to keep businesses in this state and to keep them in this country,” Durbin said. “Now, here comes my opponent and he’s saying: “oh, you shouldn’t do this. There’s a reason why he’s saying that. Jim Oberweis is a walking inversion.”

Durbin cited Oberweis’ wife claiming permanent residence in Florida and the husband and wife filing separate taxes to take advantage of tax breaks in Florida.

“Jim Oberweis has refused to disclose his state income tax return. The obvious question is out of the million-dollar-plus salary … how much did he pay Illinois income tax on?” Durbin said. “I think it’s a question he ought to answer. I disclose all my income tax … schedules included.”

* And he called the support of Oberweis by two black ministers a “novelty”

“I’ll tell you this: If Mr. Oberweis wants this battle fought among African-Americans in Chicago or in Cook County — be my guest,” Durbin said. “I think [with] my voting record, my support of the president and my support of programs that will make a positive difference in their lives, I’ll do quite well.”

* But the Oberweis campaign got in a solid zinger of its own after Durbin called on his opponent to raise wages at his ice cream stores

“Dick Durbin’s policies have resulted in the worst economic recovery in U.S. history and devastation for the poor and middle class in Illinois,” said Oberweis spokesman Dan Curry. “He’s possibly the last person on Earth Jim Oberweis would go to for advice on how to run his successful businesses.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Nursing home bankruptcy trial gets underway

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* We’ll let Doug Ibendahl set up this post since he is responsible for breaking the story before the spring primary

The long-awaited trial involving Bruce Rauner’s private equity firm’s alleged “bust-out” of its nursing home company is set to begin today, September 22, at 8:15 a.m. Eastern before Judge Michael G. Williamson in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Tampa, Florida.

This is the case Judge Williamson previously described as having “all the makings of a legal thriller.”

The case is brought on behalf of the estates of six elderly victims who suffered abuse and inadequate care while residents in nursing homes controlled by Trans Healthcare, Inc. (“THI”). GTCR acquired THI in 1998 and made the company its vehicle for rapidly buying-up over two-hundred nursing homes around the country.

Rauner was chairman of the Chicago-based GTCR when all of the alleged wrongdoing occurred. A series of GTCR entities are named defendants: GTCR Golder Rauner, LLC; GTCR Fund VI, LP; GTCR Partners VI, LP; GTCR VI Executive Fund, LP; GTCR Associates, VI; and THI Holdings, LLC.

Edgar D. Jannotta, Jr., formerly one of Rauner’s fellow GTCR principals, and now one of the largest contributors to Rauner’s gubernatorial campaign, is also named as a defendant in his individual capacity.

* The Tribune also had a front-page story today about the case. I couldn’t help but notice that some of the article was deja vu all all over again

In an interview early this year, Rauner told the Tribune he had little involvement with the nursing home firm, Trans Healthcare Inc., except for a brief period after GTCR started it. […]

But a document from the nursing home chain bearing Rauner’s signature and filed in the Florida case shows he served as a director on the chain’s board at least four years later.

The guy sure has switched his stories to the Tribune a lot this year.

* And I’m sure I’ve seen this somewhere else

But growth brought financial problems, and creditors aired suspicions that the company had misstated earnings, making a significant loss look like a modest profit, according to court documents.

Oh, yeah, now I remember where I saw that before: Lason Inc.

* But as the Tribune story points out, Rauner himself was never deposed for this or other lawsuits regarding the alleged nursing home “bust out.”

On the other hand

Steven Berman, an attorney representing the government-appointed bankruptcy trustee in the case, contended that while Jannotta was a key player at Trans Healthcare, the investment committee of GTCR principals effectively ran the company.

“Bruce Rauner is also on the investment committee, and I don’t have any reason to believe that [former GTCR partner Edgar Jannotta] acted without the approval of Rauner and the other members of the committee,” Berman said. “They were calling the shots.”

Jannotta, who could take the stand, said in a sworn deposition in one of the wrongful death cases that GTCR made “all the decisions regarding THI at the investment committee level.”

The Rauner campaign said that the investment committee wasn’t involved in day to day details of operating or winding down the business, however.

* From today’s Bloomberg story

A corporate structure designed to transfer liabilities from the nursing home operator to a shell company without assets also has kept five other families from pursuing wrongful death lawsuits or collecting judgments, said lawyers for the family of Jackson, who was 76 when she died.

Trans Healthcare Inc. and Trans Health Management Inc., which the plaintiffs claimed operated the homes, never appealed or paid the 2010 verdict — $55 million each — awarded by a state court jury in Bartow, Florida. Collection was thwarted through a complex transaction that sent Trans Healthcare’s liabilities to a shell company called Fundamental Long Term Care Inc., which had no assets, while creating a solvent nursing home chain that was protected from judgments, lawyers for Jackson’s family contend. […]

The buyer of Fundamental Long Term Care Inc. was a graphic artist, now living in a nursing home himself. The artist, Barry Saacks, said in sworn testimony for the lawsuit that he didn’t know he owned the company and didn’t put up any money for it. He said he had intended to buy THMI for its computer equipment.

* But as a Rauner backgrounder points out, the plaintiffs offered to settle for much less…

Wilkes & McHugh Offered To Settle Five Out Of Their Six Lawsuits Against THI And THMI For $200,000 In 2008. “In an October 17, 2008 e-mail, Anderson informed THI’s CFO, Matt Box, that the ‘settlement amounts’ of the five Estates’ lawsuits filed to date were $215,000 total. In the fall of 2008, Wilkes & McHugh made a settlement demand of $200,000 to settle the six Estates’ lawsuits; THI countered at $80,000.” (“GTCR STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 7/22/14, p. 37-38)

* More from that Rauner backgrounder…

GTCR Strongly Denies That The Firm “Engage[d] In A Scheme To Shed Or Avoid Liabilities” Associated With Trans Healthcare Inc. (THI) “Plaintiffs wrongly accuse these defendants of misconduct in an attempt to find a deep pocket to satisfy “empty chair” verdicts against THI and Trans Health Management, Inc. (“THMI”) in other lawsuits. The evidence will show these defendants acted properly at all times. They did not engage in a scheme to shed or avoid liabilities, and Mr. Jannotta did not approve any transfer of THMI assets.” (OPENING STATEMENT OF DEFENDANTS GTCR GOLDER RAUNER, LLC et. al, In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 9/18/14, p. 1)

* And more, in case you’re interested…


GTCR Maintains That No Liabilities Were Transferred From THI To THMI In The 2006 Sale. “Plaintiffs have argued the restructuring was an elaborate plot to burden THMI with THI’s liabilities. That’s not what the evidence will show. No liabilities were transferred from THI or any other entity to THMI. As in any other stock sale, the buyer acquired THI’s equity interest, and, in that THI board-approved sale, THMI’s assets and liabilities did not change.” (OPENING STATEMENT OF DEFENDANTS GTCR GOLDER RAUNER, LLC et. al, In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 9/18/14, p. 4)

In Fact, GTCR Argues, The Sale Of THMI Decreased THMI’s Liabilities Because THMI Was Provided With “Broad Indemnification Rights With Respect To Nearly All Lawsuits Pending Against THMI.” “In fact, to the extent the restructuring affected THMI’s liabilities, it reduced them: (i) THI paid $7.5 million to settle litigation in which THMI was also a defendant; (ii) THI, Holdings, and THIB provided THMI broad indemnification rights with respect to nearly all lawsuits pending against THMI; and (iii) THMI was released as a guarantor of $67 million in secured loans.” (OPENING STATEMENT OF DEFENDANTS GTCR GOLDER RAUNER, LLC et. al, In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 9/18/14, p. 4-5)

The Plaintiff’s Own Expert Report Acknowledges That THI Assumed Responsibility For THMI’s Legal Liabilities Following THMI’s Sale. “Post the FLTCH and FLTCI Transactions, the BIP sought indemnity from THIH and THI for claims under Section 6C(iii). For example, THI of Baltimore Management, LLC notified THIH on September 25, 2006 that it received a Summons and Complaint naming THMI as a defendant in a case brought forward by Opal Lee Sasser, et al. The letter goes on to state, ‘THM(I), a Buyer Indemnified Party, hereby demands indemnification for any liabilities which may arise as a result of this matter and requests that you retain counsel to defend its interests and arrange for its dismissal from the above-referenced action as soon as possible.’ THIH and THI complied with the indemnification requests by funding such indemnified litigation costs and claims for approximately ten cases.” (“Expert Report Of James S. Feltman, CPA,” In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC., United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 5/29/14, p. 13-14)

Fresh Capital

GTCR Invested A Fresh $20 Million Into THI As Part Of The 2006 Restructuring. “Recapitalization of THI. The GTCR Funds contributed more than $20 million of new capital, in addition to the $8.78 million that Holdings (83%-owned by the GTCR Funds) contributed to THI. The GTCR Funds also forgave more than $13 million in principal and interest—the entire balance on loans that THI had previously received from the GTCR Funds.” (OPENING STATEMENT OF DEFENDANTS GTCR GOLDER RAUNER, LLC et. al, In re: FUNDAMENTAL LONG TERM CARE, INC, United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District Of Florida, Case No. 8:11-bk-22258-MGW, 9/18/14, p. 3-4)

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

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Monday, Sep 22, 2014

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Davis’ poll shows him leading big

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* RollCall

Freshman Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Ill., a top Democratic target this cycle, had a 19-point lead over his opponent with six weeks to go until Election Day, according to a poll conducted for his campaign and provided first to CQ Roll Call.

Davis led Democratic rival Ann Callis, 55 percent to 36 percent, in the survey of the 13th District conducted by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies. Just 7 percent of voters were undecided.

The poll found atmospherics in the district are also stacked against Callis, making it tougher for her to make up ground in the short amount of time left until the election.

President Barack Obama’s approval rating stood at just 38 percent in this Springfield-based seat in his home state.

At the same time, the gubernatorial contest in the Land of Lincoln could also drag Callis down.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn badly trailed Republican gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner, with 30 percent to Rauner’s 47 percent, according to the 13th District survey.

* The polling memo…

The political environment in the 13th District is favorable to Republican candidates.

    Just 24% of voters say the country is headed in the right direction; nearly three-in- four voters (71%) say the country is off on the wrong track.

    President Obama has a dismal job approval rating in the district. Just 38% of voters approve of his performance as president, while 58% disapprove – 45% of them strongly.

    The Republican leads by eight points (45%-37%) on the generic Congressional ballot, and voters prefer a Republican who will be a check and balance to Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats to a Democrat who will help Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats pass their agenda by a 14-point margin: 53% to 39%.

    The gubernatorial race is not competitive in the 13th District: Republican Bruce Rauner leads Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn 47% to 30%, while libertarian Chad Grimm clocks in at 10%.

Rodney Davis has a significant name ID and image advantage over Ann Callis.

    Davis’s name ID is 85%, and his image among voters is 41% favorable/21% unfavorable.

    Fewer than two-in-three voters (63%) have heard of Ann Callis, and her image is polarized: 19% of voters have a favorable impression of her, while 17% have an unfavorable impression of her.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Rauner on patronage: Zero if elected

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* Do you think he can make this promise stick?

The people helping Rauner try to win the election – county chairmen and other party organization bigwigs who’ve been out in the cold for 12 years in terms of state government being a job opportunity for party supporters – can expect nothing in return, Rauner said, in terms of jobs for anyone they might recommend.

“We are going to bring in people who are in the government for the right reasons, who are highly qualified for their positions, and if someone is not qualified, the answer is a clear no. And I want Michael Shakman and his federal hiring monitor right in there with me to make sure every department of government follows through,” he said. […]

Rauner says the people who help his campaign shouldn’t be doing it because they think they’ll be rewarded if he wins, and he wants Republican officials to hear this and believe it.

- Posted by Rich Miller   57 Comments      

You’re gonna need a bigger boat, Bruce

Monday, Sep 22, 2014

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

Bruce Rauner reportedly had one of those bugs that was going around last week.

I feel his pain. I was sick with one thing or another all week. Luckily, I took a little time off, or I’d probably have felt even worse.

Rauner didn’t take any time off and it showed. For the first time at his press conferences he read his statements right off the page, painfully stumbling over his words. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

He and his campaign also seemed grumpier last week. “Pat Quinn is not the folksy, bumbling fool he’d like us to think he is,” Rauner growled on Monday. On Tuesday, Rauner’s campaign barred some college journalism students from his press conference and Rauner himself refused to even have a word with them afterwards. On Wednesday, he turned his head and pointedly ignored a follow-up question from a Chicago TV reporter about the NFL scandals. More on that in a moment.

Maybe the recent Chicago Tribune poll which showed him trailing Gov. Pat Quinn by eleven points somehow added to his physical misery. It was Rauner’s personal decision, after all, to not flood the airwaves with TV ads during the spring and summer when Quinn didn’t have the money to adequately respond. He plain cheaped out, and now it’s gonna cost him a lot more money to win this thing, and he has nobody to blame but himself.

Or maybe it was that bottom-feeding Chicago Magazine “profile” published last week. Six thousand words were spilled on Chicago’s glossy pages to rehash boring stuff we already knew apparently in order to give the magazine an excuse to slip a couple of needlessly invasive personal items into the middle that told us absolutely nothing about the candidate or what sort of governor he’d be. I’d be pretty upset, too.

But, hey, that’s the game, I suppose. There will always be those who will try to use a person’s family to somehow disqualify the candidate for public service. It’s a filthy business. And despite the author’s claims to the contrary, let’s just say there’s at least a strong suspicion among the Raunerites that the Quinnsters somehow had a role in getting this information into the public realm. That’d make anybody grumpy.

Whatever’s going on, sickness, a bit of poll-induced regret/fright or protective familial anger, he and his campaign have to get over it. The Quinn campaign has obviously gotten under their skin. Quinn looks and sounds like a kindly, harmless older man. In reality, he’s a calm yet vicious street fighter who shows no remorse for his adversaries. He’s at his best during periods of chaos, and this campaign is only going to get more chaotic.

And that brings us back to the NFL scandals. Chicago TV reporter Mary Ann Ahern asked Rauner if he’d had any communication with the Pittsburgh Steelers (of which he’s a minority owner) about the recent NFL physical abuse scandals. Rauner said he hadn’t and explained that he was too occupied with winning an election in order to turn the state around. When she followed up to ask him to comment on the NFL scandals in general, he turned his head to take another question.

A better candidate would’ve used Ahern’s question to swing for the fences. It was a prime opportunity to talk about not only the NFL’s problems, but his own commitment to fighting domestic violence and then compare that to the very real cuts Quinn has made to domestic violence shelters over the years.

I’m not saying at all that the question was planted, but the Quinnsters were most definitely talking up the issue the night before and had a press conference already scheduled Wednesday to speak about women’s issues. Ahern denies ever talking to the Quinn campaign about it and I believe her. Rauner was clearly set up, by himself.

You gotta be ready for everything in this game and Rauner obviously wasn’t. Rauner may look upon himself as a cut-throat businessman, but business ain’t got nothing on Illinois politics, baby.

I hope you got some rest and tried to get healthier, dude, because you really need to step it up. We can all smell the blood in the water. And that’s your blood, Bruce. Fair warning. The sharks are circling and plenty more are on the way. If you want to win this thing, you’re gonna need a bigger boat.


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