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State Fed neutral in guv’s race and other campaign news

Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009 - Posted by Rich Miller

* As I’ve already told subscribers today, the Illinois AFL-CIO has decided to remain neutral in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Hynes’ press release just arrived, so I figured it was time the rest of you heard the news…

In a major rebuke to a sitting Democratic governor, particularly one who touts his dubious record on job creation, the Illinois AFL-CIO chose today not to make an endorsement in the race for the Democratic nomination for governor. The federation of Illinois labor organizations voted 58-42 in favor of challenger Dan Hynes.

“Rather than offering the expected formality of endorsing the sitting Democratic governor, the Illinois AFL-CIO today instead issued Pat Quinn a stinging rebuke by opting not to make an endorsement in the race for the Democratic nomination,” Hynes campaign communications director Matt McGrath said. “Make no mistake, this is a direct reflection of the Governor’s lack of leadership and inability to create jobs. No matter how many ribbon cuttings Pat Quinn attends and takes credit for, the working men and women who actually build and repair our communities and infrastructure clearly know better.” […]

“The events of recent days add up to one thing: more and more people are alert to the fact that Dan Hynes has the vision and the ideas to lead our state forward, and our campaign has real momentum,” McGrath said. “The budget continues to be a mess and unemployment is at record highs, and Dan is the one candidate offering real solutions, with the record and competence to see it through.”

I’ve asked the governor’s campaign for a response and will post it here as soon as it arrives. SEIU and some other big unions have gone with Quinn, so the governor should’ve had the advantage, particularly since he’s an incumbent governor who signed the first capital bill into law since George Ryan’s days.

* Gov. Quinn reacts to Dan Hynes receiving the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ endorsement

Quinn said he was “disappointed” he didn’t get the teachers’ backing.

“You always want to try to get every endorsement you can,” he said.

As the campaigns march toward the February primary, another plum teachers’ union endorsement is still up for grabs: the 133,000-member Illinois Education Association. If the union makes an endorsement, it won’t be until after a January board of directors meeting, said union spokesman Charles McBarron.

The IEA often stays out of statewide primaries, but this is a hot one and it’s always possible they could jump in. Stay tuned.

* Mary Mitchell slams Mayor Daley for refusing to endorse Todd Stroger for reelection

When you consider how much Stroger’s father, John Stroger, stuck his neck out for Daley when Daley needed it the most, the about-face is nothing short of appalling.

The elder Stroger stuck his neck out for Daley time and time again. I agree that there’s a serious debt there that can never be fully repaid, but John Stroger was county board president for quite a while and the son was dragged across the finish line and given every chance to prove himself. He screwed up. Debts only last so long, particularly political debts to somebody who had nothing to do with the original debt and who has so thoroughly screwed up his family’s formerly solid name.

* Democratic US Senate candidate David Hoffman took questions on Daily Kos yesterday. As usual with posts like that, not much actual news was made.

There were a couple of interesting moments, however. Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign has hired Georgia Logothetis, better known as former front-page DKos blogger “Georgia10.” Logothetis and other Giannoulias backers were fully engaged during the discussion, rebutting Hoffman’s polling claims and posting Giannoulias’ positions on various issues. Hoffman’s campaign did the same to Giannoulias over at DKos last Saturday, so turnabout was fair play, I suppose.

The other item of interest to me was finding out that Hoffman has hired former Democratic congressional candidate John Laesch, who ran against former Speaker Denny Hastert and lost and then lost the Democratic special primary to Bill Foster. As longtime blog readers know, I’m not exactly a fan. He’s also probably looking for a little revenge on Giannoulias, whose endorsement of Foster inspired this Laesch retort

Laesch shrugged off Giannoulias’ endorsement, calling him “just a wealthy guy who bought himself an office.”

But the pièce de résistance - for me, at least - was this comment by Laesch

“Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know if you know this, he didn’t [free the slaves] for the right reason, social justice. He just did it because so many white people were out of work because they couldn’t compete with slave labor.”


Nice hire, dude.


  1. - Frank - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 12:48 pm:

    I agree with Rich here on the non-Stroger endorsement. Todd Stroger is not John Stroger. Daley owes him nothing.

  2. - Gregor - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 12:52 pm:


    Wow. Just…. wow.

  3. - Red Ranger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 12:57 pm:

    As I try to think about the Dem Senate race objectively, I just dont know why the Dems are so lock-step with Alexi. I have thought for a time now that he has so many potential pitfalls as a candidate under the “hot-lights” of a US Senate campaign. Things that get over-looked in a down ballot race wont be in a US Senate race. But maybe a lack of judgment is the reason Dems aren’t flocking to Hoffman? His first tv ad isn’t great. Jobs not corruption is the key to this race. Now this odd hire? Maybe there are more issues with Hoffman out there that only the insider Dems know and that is why he hasn’t caught on? Because to me, at least on paper, hes a better choice than Alexi.

  4. - OneMan - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:00 pm:

    For what it is worth, remember Laesch almost beat Foster spending about 1/10th of the money.

    And yes if he ran in the general we would be talking about Congressman Oberweis.

  5. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:08 pm:

    It is hard to believe that anyone would hire someone like this Laesch guy. Makes it more fun for the rest of us, however.

  6. - Bardo2 - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:14 pm:

    Hoffman and Laesch deserve each other.

    Goofy, just goofy.

  7. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:15 pm:

    Daley and John Stroger had a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s not automatically passed down.

  8. - shore - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:17 pm:

    the trib has posted a lot of their videos with candidates.

    its good stuff.

    why are there 2 teachers groups?

  9. - train111 - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:19 pm:

    Laesch’s 15 minutes of fame are over. The guy will never get elected to anything and probably will not be more much than a bit player anytime. I followed the whole controversy surrounding the guy back in 2006 and really think it is time to move on. Bitterness from this end isn’t the answer to bitterness from his end.


  10. - Obamarama - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===why are there 2 teachers groups?===

    Because there are two national teacher unions. The NEA (IEA big brother) and AFT (IFT big brother).

  11. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:24 pm:

    If The Hoff sends this goofball to important meetings (state central, county, funders) and he acts like he did in that video, party leaders will not be amused. And for good reason.

  12. - babs - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:33 pm:

    Hoff doesn’t care about state central folks or any party leaders. That’s his “thing” - not one of “them.” Will this be the year that it matters? Who knows? My guess, the first person who remembers that “It’s the economy stupid” will be the one who wins.

  13. - Will County Woman - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:39 pm:

    I don’t think it’s the end of the world for Quinn to not get some of the more key union endorsements, but I can appreciate if or how he or his camp might (privately) feel that way.

    on the subject of Quinn & Hynes endorsements, I found this take pretty interesting…

    I don’t always agree with Mary Mitchell, but like her I do feel a tad bit sorry for Tood because he is the only major office holder in this state to have balanced successive budgets. And on that note, and other notes over the course of his short time in the executive office, the guy who graduated from a HBCU has proven more effective than a phi beta kappa governor, and even a harvard educated lawyer president. put todd stroger’s first year in executive office up against their first year in executive office, get it?

    Overall I thought mary’s take was pretty fair and even-handed. My only issue, albeit minor, was towards the end. If I read her correctly, she seems to suggest something with which I totally disagree. To be sure, Todd Stroger is NO Harold Washington, and it’s way too late for him to try to be.

    Not to pick on Todd, but Harold Washington broke with the Democratic machine early enough to give himself considerable credibility against it, and good distance from it. if Todd were to break it would look like what it is, which is this: they didn’t let him play anymore so he got angry and took his marbles and went somewhere else to play. whatever.

  14. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 1:43 pm:

    Hoffman exemplifies what is SO wrong with government. He works for Rehnquist when the Supreme Court yanks the teeth out of the Brady Bill. Then he works for DOJ and complains that there are too many guns on the street because the Brady Bill has no teeth. So now he tells us that he’s running to put teeth back in the Brady Bill. Just think this is only one law he helped mess-up when working for Rehnquist and Jacobs. And for this we give him a pension for his 16 or more years of service. Great!

    I never understood a Reagan-Democrat, but I can comprehend that concept much better than a Rehnquist-Progressive.

  15. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:03 pm:

    I am not defending the dude, but he was partially correct on the Lincoln commment. Many historians argue that Lincoln did not free the slaves because of a desire to do a greater social good, but rather to put the final nail in the south’s coffin by making it completely broke. If there were no slaves in the field there could be no harvest which in turn meant no more money for southerners to use to continue their war effort.

  16. - Question - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:05 pm:

    Hey Rich,

    Has Hoffman had an event outside Chicago city limits? Frustrating as a downstater that he seems to be writing off this part of the state.

  17. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:08 pm:

    Anonymous, that doesn’t partially explain his comment. It doesn’t even come close. And, Q, yes, he has, but it’s been very minimal.

  18. - Ben S. - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:12 pm:

    @ Anonymous 2:03

    I’m taking a class on Lincoln and (Frederick) Douglass at the moment and I can tell you while economics played a part in Lincoln’s decision it was not the major influence over his decision. Lincoln was always morally opposed to slavery–not necessarily supportive of racial equality either, but always opposed to slavery. The war may had given him cover to do so without angering northern moderates, but he would likely have done it one way or the other. Laesch’s attack on Lincoln is historically flawed and disgraceful towards a great man; I for one am glad Foster took care of him in the IL-14 primary in 2008 so we wouldn’t have to deal with another Congressman who talks out of his butt as Laesch did here.

  19. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:17 pm:

    A friend just sent me this quote as his favorite: Laesch wrote in a letter to the Bloomington Pantagraph (4/2/04), “I agree that we should do whatever we can to raise taxes on ourselves and re-appropriate state funds until this blip on the screen called George Bush is gone.”

    Now those are dots I can connect!

  20. - Pat collins - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:19 pm:

    while economics played a part in Lincoln’s decision it was not the major influence over his decision.

    One of Lincoln’s major motivations was to deny the South the manpower they used. In fact, that is why in actual Civil War reports, the Union commanders refer to “contraband”. Under law at that time, contraband could be lawfully seized by any commander, and used for their own needs.

    So, when a unit moved into an area, they could (and did) use the local blacks for various duties, paying in food or cash.

  21. - TJ - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:22 pm:

    ==“Abraham Lincoln, I don’t know if you know this, he didn’t [free the slaves] for the right reason, social justice. He just did it because so many white people were out of work because they couldn’t compete with slave labor.”==

    No, he did it because it gave Union troops the authority to confiscate rebel slaves, lead to a drastic increase in runaways (both of which had huge and negative consequences on the Confederate economy and war machine), it opened the door for even greater black participation in the conflict on the Union’s side, it created a moral imperative for the conflict that helped keep European powers from recognizing the Confederacy, etc., etc.

    Someone should give this guy a history book before he opens his yap.

  22. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:41 pm:

    That was a hum dinger. Mary Mitchell’s column deftly (tho probably completely unintentionally) shone a bright light on exactly what is wrong with Illinois politics:

    1. It’s been too much about dynasty, family, and favors for decades.
    2. Personal political debts are expected to go on forever—-never to have an expiration date no matter how circumstances on the ground change over the many years.

    Also, she forgot to mention how very much the public resents the sneaky and underhanded way Todd was “put” in office.

  23. - Third Generation Chicago Native - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:52 pm:

    Todd Stroger used to have full support of brother Commissioner John Daley, it seems Todd not only lost the Mayor Daley support, but has been loosing Commissioner John Daley’s support as well. Not surprising, the Daley’s will stick together, and John probably had a lot of influence with his mayor brother.

  24. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 2:54 pm:

    Somebody should probably tell Laesch not to mess with Lincoln in the LAND of Lincoln.

  25. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 3:24 pm:

    Where is Professor Laesch teaching the new American history? Sounds like someone in History 302 who is a little ‘lightly’ prepared for today’s oral test and has read too many Harry Turtledove books.

  26. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 3:26 pm:

    Did anyone read the Daily Kos? Hoffman said we should vote for him because . . . “Ultimately, this race comes down to keeping President Barack Obama’s former Senate seat in the Democratic column.” That’s all he’s got? Oh I forget he has his secret weapon — Laesch.

  27. - Sheldon of Aurora - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 3:26 pm:

    Georgia10 in the Kos blogging last night has started to cross the line. She is still listed as an editor for Daily Kos, yet claims she isn’t involved with the blog until after the campaign. Kos is starting to blur the line on being impartial in this election. As noted in the blog, it was David Hoffman himself using the campaigns account name, not some staffer.

  28. Pingback ArchPundit | What a Fine Campaign David Hoffman Is Running - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 3:57 pm:

    […] That’ll help a lot. Rich has more and the video to remind us of the genius that is John Laesch. […]

  29. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:20 pm:

    Previous anonymous comment obviously was not mine.

    So, Responsa, are you making an argument for Candidates then who can pretty much self-fund?

  30. - How Disappointing - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:22 pm:

    Wow, Mr. Miller, personal attack politics do not become you.

    What do you have to say about 40%+ of the Democratic voting electorate in IL-14 that voted for Mr. Laesch?

    I’m sure those tens of thousands of voters would be thrilled to hear your opinion, wit and all.

    BTW, I do love isolated sound-bites that lead to historical discussions in the comments. Perhaps you could tell us, since you saw fit to try and ridicule Mr. Laesch for his opinion, what the impact of slave labor was, and please detail the evolution of Mr. Lincoln’s position regarding slavery as a moral question. Feel free to cite historians of note.

    I’m assuming you must have this information, no?

  31. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:26 pm:

    ===why are there 2 teachers groups?===

    Generally because AFT( IFT) had the big cities and the suburban/Republican/w_____ folks needed their own club.

    Hence the NEA(IEA).
    The lines have blurred some over the years

  32. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:32 pm:

    HD, I’ve read quite a lot of Lincoln history, so I think I’d put my perspective up against yours any day. To defend Laesch’s moronic statement is just goofy, especially considering that legalizing slavery was an active subject in Illinois up to and during Lincolns tenure in the Illinois House and he fought against it.

    So, bite me, moron.

  33. - Ben S. - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:37 pm:

    @ How Disappointing

    “I have always hated slavery…I think as much as any abolitionist.”
    –Abraham Lincoln, 1858 (quote from the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol 2, pg. 492)

  34. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 4:58 pm:

    –are you making an argument for candidates then who can pretty much self-fund?–

    Um no, I was thinking more in terms of candidates who can self-back scratch. Especially if the itch has been going on for decades.

  35. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 5:27 pm:

    Sheldon of Aurora, Why do you think that Kos is any different than the rest? Sure they claim to crusade against Resko, Blago, and Abramoff, but you should have a huge clue when a front pager leaves to work for Alexi.

  36. - How Diappointing - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 5:42 pm:

    -perhaps you didn’t receive this response when I sent it initially, as I would find it hard to believe you’re censoring comments on your own site. No one is that thin skinned.

    iNever suggested any expertise in the period-but figured you must, since you saw fit to try and ridicule someone else’s opinion.
    Please do provide cites, and why you feel they are the most accurate historical works.

    Oh, and the ad hominem was a nice touch.
    Frightfully classy- Will be happy to forward that message to the Dem organizations in IL-14. Wit inclusive.

    And the use of sound bites from political attack sites is not only poor journalism, it’s also reflective of the poster’s personal integrity.

    How disappointing.

  37. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 5:58 pm:

    ===And the use of sound bites from political attack sites is not only poor journalism, it’s also reflective of the poster’s personal integrity.===

    So, it was a robot making those comments? Was that it? LOL

    Try not to be so silly.

  38. - Georgia L. - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 6:01 pm:

    Sheldon & Anon, you are grossly mistaken.

    As I explained previously on the site, “I didn’t want to “use” my Contributing Editor account for the campaign, even if it was tweaking my old UID with a disclaimer. I wanted as clean a break as possible.” (…-(sort-of))

    My profile clearly states that I am on hiatus.

    If you’re going to claim that I “crossed the line”, you better have the facts to back that false claim up. Which, of course, you don’t. Which explains the utter lack of facts in your initial post.

  39. - How Disappointing - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 6:15 pm:

    As your own loyal commenters offered differing opinions, I was hoping that you would offer the definitive version of history, with academic cites to support your position.

    As to utilizing isolated video, your justification is worthy of a Fox News editorial meeting. I’m assuming you must have contacted Mr. Laesch and asked him to elaborate-no self-respecting journalist would use soundbites that way, especially soundbites years old, from a political attack site.

    All that being said, you never responded to what was perhaps the most important question, what are you saying to the tens of thousands of IL-14 Democratic voters who voted for Mr. Laesch?

    Is it “Bite me, moron?”

    Your reputation is well-earned, and you should stick to hard reporting, as I was being facetious regarding your wit.

    Personal attack politics does not become you.

  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 6:19 pm:

    There’s no need to elaborate on something as stupid as that. And the point about where the video came from is a red herring. He said it, he had to deal with it then, he should have to deal with it now. Simple. You can’t win this argument. My wife’s out of town. I got all night to rebut your silliness.

  41. - Responsa - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 7:01 pm:

    Georgia L, How Disappointing/Laesch,

    What ever happened to that long held guiding principle in campaigns that the candidate should be the one with the name recognition and in the news–not the staff?

  42. - chuddery - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 8:15 pm:

    ===what are you saying to the tens of thousands of IL-14 Democratic voters who voted for Mr. Laesch?===

    I clearly don’t want to speak for Rich here, but I’ll tell you what I would say to those tens of thousands of voters: you voted for an idiot, and I hope you generally make better decisions than that.

  43. - Obamarama - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 10:09 pm:

    ===I hope you generally make better decisions than that.===

    Generally? Nope. Look how many times we elected Denny.

  44. - Anon - Tuesday, Dec 8, 09 @ 11:34 pm:

    Georgia L

    I could careless about your UID # and disclaimer — leave that to your Kos people who like shiny objects.

    What is untrue about Alexi’s relationship with Resko, Blago & Abranoff. Lets stick to facts. You went on hiatus from a site that claims to hunt down corruption and went to work for Alexi.


  45. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 9, 09 @ 12:57 am:

    This whole issue of how we can’t make fun of a guy because he got a bunch of votes last year is really quite bizarre.

    By that perverted logic, every politician in America would be completely off limits to ridicule.

    Oh, we shouldn’t say anything bad about Rod Blagojevich because millions of people voted for him.


    And, by the way, posting under numerous false identities and making empty, ridiculous (and deleted) threats is pretty darned stupid. You want to say that to my face? Be my guest.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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