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More shady ties

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

There may not be a completely direct connection here to yet another alleged mobster, but Radogno’s point at the end should be addressed.

Former state Sen. John D’Arco — twice convicted of federal corruption charges — is involved in a land deal financed by a bank that’s owned by the family of Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic candidate for Illinois treasurer.

Official records in Florida indicate that Mr. D’Arco and two convicted bookmakers joined in March 2001, to incorporate a company that acquired the Lorraine Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla. Two months later, the firm received the first of a series of mortgage loans from Broadway Bank, where Mr. Giannoulias is a vice-president.

Mr. Giannoulias and the bank Tuesday released nearly identical statements saying that Mr. D’Arco, whose name does not appear on mortgage papers, “has never been a loan applicant, recipient, co-signer, guarantor or customer” of Broadway, and does not hold an ownership share in the hotel deal.

But Florida records also indicate that Mr. D’Arco signed legal papers in connection with renovation of the hotel in October 2001 — four months after Broadway issued its first mortgage loan. […]

In April, after a series of media reports about Broadway loans, Mr. Giannoulias promised to review all loans at the bank for problems “and behold, he never mentioned this,” [Republican opponent Christine Radogno] said. “He’s not forthcoming. Instead, things are coming out little by little. How much more is out there?”

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

“We count on her to do what’s right”

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

Not that she needs to spend much to win, but Lisa Madigan’s new TV ad is up. She even throws in a little jab at the governor.

Also, Phil Hare’s new TV ad is posted on his website. Access it here. [Hat tip: Robbie C at Illinoize. Our little brother blog is on fire lately. Go check it out.]

- Posted by Rich Miller   15 Comments      

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Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Enter your password to view comments      

Sun-Times goes straight “D”

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

I didn’t notice this until the Giannoulias campaign sent me an e-mail. The Sun-Times and the Sun-Times News Group have endorsed the entire statewide Democratic slate. They lead with Alexi. [Actually, the Sun-Times News Group endorsed Giannoulias. The other papers are apparently allowed to go their own way on the other races.]

Over the last several elections, Illinois voters have increasingly trended toward Democratic candidates. This year, the Democrats offer for statewide offices an attractive field of candidates that includes three incumbents and one political novice. The newcomer to politics is Alexi Giannoulias, who is the choice of the Sun-Times News Group for state treasurer. Giannoulias, though still a young man, will bring valuable private enterprise experience from banking to the job. […]

While that banking experience is the reason we’re endorsing Giannoulias, that background also has opened him up to criticism over some of the bank’s loans. He’s been accused of making million-dollar loans to felons. He insists there was nothing improper in those transactions, says that the bank doesn’t do criminal background checks on bank customers, but admits he’s been too cavalier in answering questions about the loans. Still, Giannoulias hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing, and the loans were repaid. In other words, the community bank, which was in the business of making loans, did just that.

We believe Giannoulias’ banking experience will help him bring creative money management ideas to the treasurer’s office. For instance, Giannoulias outlined a securities lending program that he’d like to explore. The investment strategy, temporarily lending out state-owned securities, is being used in Connecticut, Missouri, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio to boost investment portfolio returns. Other of his priorities include improving the “Bright Start” college savings program and promoting home-grown ethanol-based renewable fuels. Giannoulias proposes that the treasurer’s office offer low-interest loans to gas station owners who convert to offer E-85 fuel in Illinois.

His Republican opponent, state Sen. Christine Radogno, has an impressive background in politics and legislative work on fiscal issues, but our vote goes to the new ideas offered by Giannoulias.

In case you’re wondering, my occasional little column gives me zero influence over Sun-Times editorial policy. They don’t tell me what to write, and I don’t tell them what to write. Obviously.

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

I’ve asked this before, but with two weeks remaining I thought I’d ask again.

Are the national Republicans heading for total disaster on election day? With the Democrats pick up the US House and US Senate? Yes, this is a national question, and I usually try to avoid them, but to give it a local twist I’d like you to also note whether you think any GOP disaster/non-disaster will have an impact on Illinois races, including the governor’s race.

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      

Guv talks about Rezko, Kelly, Levine *** Updated x1 ***

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

The governor appeared at the Daily Herald editorial board yesterday.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich predicted Monday his campaign fundraising friend won’t be indicted for corruption, argued it’s not a bad thing that his plan to sell the lottery leaves a $1 billion school funding shortfall, and apologized for once comparing state lawmakers to “drunken sailors.” […]

The indictment alleged Rezko worked on the scheme with an “Individual B,” whom multiple sources have identified to the Daily Herald and other media outlets as Christopher Kelly, a roofing contractor and another top fundraiser for the governor.

Asked if he’ll stand by Kelly in the event of an indictment, Blagojevich said he wouldn’t answer, because “I don’t believe that will ever happen.”

The governor also said he was surprised the Rezko had been indicted and said Rezko was never a close adviser.

“He’s a friend of mine, I don’t dispute that. Never a key adviser. He made recommendations to agencies. I sought out his advice on recommendations for agency directors because we wanted diversity in my administration,” Blagojevich said.

Diversity? That’s some interesting spin.

The governor finally gave a straight answer on the $1500 check, after waffling for weeks over which daughter may have benefitted from it.

“That was a birthday gift to my daughter, pure and simple,” he said Monday. “And I disclosed it. Followed the law.”

Animal Farm has more.

*I asked Blagojevich if, given all the oceans of newspaper ink that have been spilled the past four years about his ethics and numerous policy ideas, what he would take back. The governor paused for a while, as you might expect given that type of question, then threw out some Ditka-esque “In life..”-type rhetoric, even quoting Socrates at one point: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” […]

*The governor also gave what I believe to be a preview to what his statements will be after Friday’s guilty plea by Stuart Levine in the teacher pension corruption case. “You’ve got a longtime Republican operative in Stuart Levine,” Blagojevich said. “By all accounts, and I suspect we’ll learn more shortly, this was probably a continuation of a scheme that happened long before I was governor…It spilled into my first year and got detected at some point during that time.” The governor also said Rezko somehow got involved with Levine during 2003, his first year in office.

The full transcript is expected tomorrow.

*** UPDATE *** Gov. Blagojevich can recite the list of John Wayne’s B movies, he can rattle off 40-year-old lineups from long gone baseball teams, has memorized the lyrics to just about every Elvis song ever recorded, but has a difficult time recalling much of what happened during less than four years in statewide office.

Governor Rod Blagojevich says he doesn’t remember getting a list of people that a now-indicted friend and fundraiser wanted to be appointed to state boards.

Blagojevich doesn’t deny getting the list. He said today that it’s no secret that Tony Rezko recommended people to serve in his administration.

The Democratic governor wouldn’t comment on what he discussed with Rezko when the two met around the time the list was written.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Weird doings

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

This is pretty solid evidence that Stroger’s campaign is flailing late in the game.

What was billed as a kickoff for the “Rod and Todd Show” instead stumbled getting out of the gate Monday.

More than 100 ministers gathered at New Spiritual Light Missionary Baptist Church, 7566 S. South Shore Dr., armed with campaign fliers and signs touting the candidacies of Rod Blagojevich for governor and Todd Stroger for Cook County Board president.

But Stroger was almost two hours late for the event and Blagojevich was a no-show.

Stroger campaign officials said he was delayed by earlier campaign appearances, while Blagojevich campaign officials said he never committed to the event and instead had staffers there on his behalf.

“Bizarre” is the word that immediately comes to mind.

I thought they were supposed to be working together?

Gov. Rod Blagojevich leads his opponent in cash and in the polls while Cook County Board president candidate Todd Stroger is struggling on both counts, but both are quietly exploring how to benefit each other by mobilizing African-American turnout.

Sources familiar with each Democrat’s campaign said plans are in the works for a rapid-fire, street-level effort to begin in the hours shortly before Nov. 7 to secure a large turnout of African-American voters–a core voting bloc essential for both men. […]

Publicly, Blagojevich has been making Stroger part of his campaign pitch, including at recent stops in the city’s black wards. On Saturday, Blagojevich campaign workers yelled, “Vote for Rod and Todd!” as a truck with campaign signs for the two idled nearby. Inside a South Side Target store where he was campaigning, Blagojevich enthusiastically told one shopper, “You should vote for Todd–and Rod.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

SurveyUSA: 44-34-14-8

Tuesday, Oct 24, 2006

Crosstabs are here. Discuss.

In an election for Governor of Illinois today, 10/23/06, incumbent Democrat Rod Blagojevich’s support is down, Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka’s support is down, and Green Party Candidate Rich Whitney’s support has doubled, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted exclusively for KSDK-TV St. Louis. Blagojevich today gets 44%, down 1 from an identical SurveyUSA KSDK-TV poll released 9/20/06. Topinka gets 34% today, down 5 points from 9/20. Whitney gets 14%, twice the 7% he got on 9/20. SurveyUSA observes that in two Governor polls released today 10/23, all “major party” candidtaes are down; minor party candidates are up. Could this mean that the anti-Republican sentiment detected in a number of SurveyUSA polls over the past 21 days is now manifesting itself more generally into an anti-establishment, anti-insider movement? Time, and more polling, will tell. It is possible the phenomenon is limited to Maine and Illinois, and not extensible elsewhere. That said, it is interesting enough to take note of, here.

Among Illinois independents, the candidates are effectively tied: Topinka gets 31%, Whitney 29%, Blagojevich 27%. Topinka had led Blagojevich by 12 among Independents, now leads Whitney by 2 in this group, where Whitney has doubled his support. 73% of Democrats vote for Blagojevich. 74% of Republicans vote for Topinka. Among female voters, Blagojevich is down 10 points; Whitney is getting many of these female votes; his support has tripled, from 4% to 11%, among women.

Among white voters, Topinka is down 5, Blagojevich is down 4. Whitney is up 9. In the Collar Counties of Chicago, Blagojevich is down 9, Topinka is down 2. Whitney is up 13. Blagojevich leads 3:1 in Chicago. Topinka leads 4:3 downstate. Blagojevich was first elected Governor in 2002. Topinka has been Illinois Treasurer since 1994.

- Posted by Rich Miller   38 Comments      

Tension mounts

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Could there be fireworks this Friday at Stu Levine’s federal hearing? The I-Team claims “Yes.”

The I-Team has learned that Levine wore a wire for the government and details of those conversations will be made public for the first time in federal court on Friday. […]

Sources close to the investigation tell the I-Team that the secret recordings Levine made while conducting crooked deals could be the missing link to several of Governor Blagojevich’s top associates and campaign fundraisers. Among them: the governor’s political guru Christopher Kelly, a roofer by trade who has been identified by federal sources as “individual B” in the Levine indictment. […]

Chris Kelly has not been charged with committing any crimes, nor have federal prosecutors cited him by name. Kelly’s attorney Michael Monico says he would be stunned if there were charges lodged against his client and that he doubts Kelly will be heard on any undercover recordings made by Stuart Levine.

Meanwhile, Topinka’s campaign is still dark. The Blagojevich people say she’s broke. The Topinka people say not to worry, an ad is on the way. We’ll all see soon enough.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Early evening radio/TV blogging

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

* Today’s afternoon update from WBBM 780 is below. The station’s website is here, you can subscribe to the station’s afternoon updates by clicking here. The afternoon show has a piece about Peter Roskam’s press conference.

* WBEZ has a story up about the state Senate committee hearing today on a statewide smoking ban. All of Chicago Public Radio’s latest stories can be found at this link.

* WBEZ’s full afternoon update is below, or go here.

* LifeHacker reports that This American Life now has a podcast.

* Rush Limbaugh claims that Michael J. Fox goes “off his meds” when he wants to stress the debilitating effects of Parkinson’s Disease.

* “Live” Chicago political interview show with Todd Stroger and Tony Peraica, among others.

- Posted by Rich Miller   6 Comments      

Congressional stuff

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Michael J. Fox is coming to Illinois for a stem cell research press pop for Tammy Duckworth. From a Duckworth press release:

Sixth District Congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth will hold a rally with Michael J. Fox on Tuesday to address the importance of stem cell research.

Fox did a TV ad in Missouri a few days ago, and it’s one of the most powerful spots I’ve seen all year.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton was in town today for Duckworth and Melissa Bean.

Former President Bill Clinton helped raise $800,000 at a fundraiser today for Democrats Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative Melissa Bean. […]

Earlier this month, President Bush came to Illinois for a fundraiser to help their GOP opponents, Peter Roskam and David McSweeney.

A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman says about 600 people attended the fundraiser in downtown Chicago.

The former president urged the candidates to target all voters — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — as they work toward next month’s election.

…But all did not go extremely well, for either Clinton or Duckworth’s GOP opponent, Peter Roskam. Animal Farm:

*The event was closed to the press. After much pressure from reporters (including myself) over the weekend, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee relented and had a “media availability” with Clinton, Bean and Duckworth. Now, you might think that means all three would take questions. But no. Duckworth ducked questions from the press. Clinton took none. Only Bean came back to take questions from reporters. Duckworth, I’m told, was barely visible on the dais because college-age supporters blocked the view. Oh, and Clinton was 45 minutes late.

*The Clinton debacle unfolded after Duckworth’s Republican foe, Peter Roskam, had his own logistical nightmare. Roskam scheduled a news conference with the father of 9/11 victim Todd Beamer to criticize Clinton on national security. Well, Roskam thought he could hold his press conference in the lobby of the Hilton, the same place the fund-raiser was taking place. A couple problems with that: the hotel was on security lockdown because of Clinton’s presence. And the hotel was the home to a lot of marathoners from yesterday’s race, and they had events going on too. The hotel manager read Roskam campaign manager Ryan McLaughlin the riot act when he arrived, and made the Roskam campaign rent a room at the hotel to have their press conference.

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Yesterday, Governor Blagojevich offered his help for a possible Barack Obama presidential bid.

“He has to make that decision for himself, and I would imagine he’ll spend a lot of time consulting with his wife, with his family before making a decision like that. But if he were to do something like that I’d be eager to help him,” Blagojevich said.

How do you think Obama reacted? Snark heavily encouraged.

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      

“Rod… What are your thoughts?” *** Updated x1 ***

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

The governor can deny that he had anything to do with Rezko all he wants, but stories like this undercut his every word. Today’s Sun-Times piece puts some questionable behavior right in the governor’s very own lap.

One nondescript page — containing 19 names and a note to Gov. Blagojevich from his chief of staff — shows the clout Antoin “Tony” Rezko once wielded in state government.

“Rod, Here is a list of candidates that Tony Rezko wants to be put on non-paying boards. What are your thoughts?” Blagojevich’s former top aide, Lon Monk, wrote in a note faxed to the governor along with the Jan. 20, 2003, list.

Of the 19 people named on the document, obtained exclusively by the Chicago Sun-Times, 10 wound up being appointed by the governor to a state board or commission — or got a spouse named. Others wound up with contracts underwritten by taxpayers, or their children got state jobs amid a Blagojevich hiring freeze.

The governor, meanwhile, got more than $830,000 in campaign contributions dating back to 2001 from 15 people on the list, or from their businesses, state records show. The Blagojevich campaign called that figure an “inaccurate representation of the facts.” […]

Fifteen days after the governor’s office faxed the list to Blagojevich’s home, Blagojevich met with Rezko at Rezko’s real estate office at 853 N. Elston for an hour and 45 minutes, according to the governor’s schedule. […]

The Blagojevich campaign said it could attribute only about $80,000 in political contributions to those identified on the Rezko list. The larger Sun-Times tally includes individual contributions, donations from companies those individuals owned and, in one instance, dollars from a labor organization that operates under a top union official appointed by the governor.

The note and the list can be seen here. Make special note of the people listed as “Priority.” Two of them were appointed to the thoroughly corrupt hospital board, which was essentially controlled by Stu Levine. One is the wife of a Rezko busines partner whose tollway restaurant records have been subpoenaed by the feds.

Meanwhile, the AP ran this story yesterday.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Sunday he is not worried about what Antoin “Tony” Rezko could tell investigators if he decides to cooperate with federal authorities. […]

The governor was asked by reporters if the allegations surrounding Rezko stem from conduct the Wilmette businessman pursued on his own.

“Correct,” Blagojevich replied.

*** UPDATE *** The Sun-Times has posted a different version of the letter, which includes the “fax header” information. It can be downloaded here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

The Stroger beat goes on and on and on

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

The Sun-Times starts off our roundup with an endorsement of Todd Stroger.

Change must come to Cook County government, no matter who wins the race for county board president. The old way of doing things, personified by the honorable yet inflexible former president John Stroger, will not suffice any more. Because both parties have fielded candidates who are promising to shake things up in the $3 billion-a-year government, the question therefore becomes, who is more likely to succeed? While we believe Republican Tony Peraica is a qualified and experienced candidate who would be dedicated to reform, we fear his agenda would founder on the rocks of the county’s Democratic domination, paralyzing his tenure. We therefore endorse Democrat Todd Stroger, the 8th Ward alderman and the son of the former president.

Peraica’s campaign called the editorial “Stuck on stupid redux” and released a statement from consultant Dan Proft.

“The Sun-Times’ extraordinary and confounding endorsement of Todd Stroger for County Board President is, quite simply, a violation of the public trust.

“Besides flying in the face of common sense and the manifest weight of the evidence in this race, it is completely at odds with virtually every Sun-Times commentator who has weighed in on this campaign.

It goes on and on, but you get the drift. If you want to read the whole thing, I turned it into a text file that you can download here.

Meanwhile, Bill Beavers asked the governor on Friday (through the media) to pony up $100,000 from his obese campaign chest to help fund the Stroger effort The governor responded Saturday that he had agreed to give Todd some money, but he couldn’t resist putting the onus on everybody else.

“We are working on gathering contributions for Todd,” he said. “We are in the process of getting … Mike Madigan to be a good party chairman and help … We’re looking to get … Lisa Madigan to help Todd Stroger because she doesn’t have a race of any consequence. We want the other candidates who … don’t have hard races to help … If they’ll help, we’ll help.”

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown said his boss has supported Stroger financially and has “no idea what the governor is talking about.”

Perhaps I can translate for Brownie. “I’m not going to give any money to Stroger out of my campaign fund because I may need it for, um, other things. I will, however, raise money for Stroger from other people like Lisa and Mike Madigan.”

But Stroger has more money than he’s let on.

While his campaign says it’s broke and his allies hit up the governor for cash, Cook County Board presidential candidate Todd Stroger has quietly formed a new campaign fund that is collecting tens of thousands of dollars every day.

Stroger’s campaign officials waited more than two months to notify the state about this new fund — a delay that may be illegal. […]

According to those reports, Stroger’s new campaign fund has pulled in $261,636 in 149 large donations in just 11 days.

- Posted by Rich Miller   46 Comments      

Reform and Renewal marches ever forward

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Copley has bad new for the governor:

Springfield attorney Mary Lee Leahy must give a deposition in an Illinois Department of Transportation wrongful-firing lawsuit, and the questioning will not be limited to the one agency, a federal judge ruled Friday.

In a setback to the state, Judge Byron Cudmore said Leahy must answer questions about her work for more than a dozen state agencies during the six months she was a contractor for Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s administration. Leahy, best known for getting the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw most political patronage through the Rutan decision, was employed to review state hiring practices and identify unnecessary jobs.

Seventeen former IDOT employees are suing the state, claiming they were illegally fired by the Democratic administration because they are Republicans. Lawyers for those employees want to question Leahy about personnel activities in the early days of the Blagojevich administration. […]

“Plaintiffs allege that the defendants participated in an illegal, statewide scheme to fire supporters of the Republican (George) Ryan administration in violation of the employees’ First Amendment rights,” Cudmore wrote. “Leahy’s work with state officials outside of (IDOT) may be relevant to this claim or may lead to relevant evidence related to this claim.”

And Finke finds more taxpayer subsidies of the governor’s campaign fund.

Last week, Peoria resident DIANE FREEBURG received an envelope from the Department of Revenue. In it was a brief message saying that all Illinoisans who filed tax returns were getting information about prescription drug assistance. (It was only those over 65.) The drug information was contained in a separate letter in the envelope from, ta-daa, Blagojevich. We know this because the letterhead says “Office of the Governor. Rod Blagojevich, Governor.” Just to get the point across, he also signed the letter.

“I believe that everyone deserves access to good, affordable health care,” writes the governor, sounding like one of his paid TV commercials. “I also believe that no senior citizen should ever have to worry about how to pay for the high cost of prescription drugs.”

The letter then explains the state’s prescription drug assistance program for seniors.

The Department of Revenue mailed the letter, but the production originated with the Department on Aging, said Revenue spokesman MIKE KLEMENS. For the record, 329,000 letters were mailed at a cost of $103,000. Aging picked up the cost.

Blagojevich spokesman GERARDO CARDENAS said the letters were mailed now because people already enrolled in the program must renew by Dec. 31. Also, November is open enrollment for Medicare, and seniors will be focused on their possible need for prescription drug assistance.

The intended recipient died in January.

- Posted by Rich Miller   18 Comments      

Topinka picks up a few endorsements

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

The endorsements of Topinka read more like diatribes against Blagojevich, but I’m sure she’ll take whatever she can get at this point.

* Tribune:

The governor’s flimsy responses–he doesn’t know, he can’t recall, he’s the victim here–insult the people of Illinois.

The governor who promised in 2002 to “end business as usual” would have you pay no attention to the gathering evidence of broad corruption.

He points to his efforts in health care and education. He has indeed expanded access to health care for Illinois children. He has expanded government-funded preschool. The governor says, next up: universal health care in Illinois!

But he refuses to acknowledge that he can’t pay for all those things. He can’t pay for the government we already have. The state’s long-term debt has grown dramatically during the Blagojevich administration.

* Peoria Journal-Star:

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich must take Illinoisans for fools.

You’d have to be a fool to buy the 49-year-old Chicago Democrat’s explanations regarding the ethical misconduct allegations that dog his administration as he tries to defeat GOP challenger Judy Baar Topinka.

* If you can find the Herald & Review’s endorsement, link it in comments.

* Blagojevich responds:

Newspaper endorsements backing Gov. Rod Blagojevich all refer to the “cloud of scandal” surrounding his administration, but the incumbent Democrat said Sunday he is not concerned with how those comments might shape the public’s perception of him as the Nov. 7 election approaches.

Blagojevich said “real people” are aware of the accomplishments of his first term and understand his administration is not the first to be investigated by federal authorities.

“That’s just the nature of the beast in today’s politics,” Blagojevich said after receiving the endorsement of the Illinois Nurses Association, adding officials in local, state and federal government are increasingly under scrutiny.

* The AP also ran this puff piece:

Gov. Rod Blagojevich is more than a casual John Wayne fan.

When he rattles off Wayne’s movie titles, his list of favorites includes the little-known B-Westerns the Duke made before “Stagecoach” made him a star.

He can list all of John Wayne’s B movies, but he can’t remember if his kid ever got another $1500 check.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

The “empire” expands just a bit

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

I knew they were doing this in the print version, but I hadn’t noticed that they put it online until now. The Daily Southtown is running excerpts from your comments on a regular basis (I think every week). You can see the latest version - from the QOTD “Assume it’s the first 100 days of a Pat Quinn administration. What happens?” - here. Pretty cool. The “empire” will expand even more this week. I’ll have details soon.

Meanwhile, after going through the poll results that we’ve covered here before, my syndicated newspaper column ends thusly:

It seems easy to predict a Blagojevich victory because he’s ahead in every poll, this state leans heavily Democratic and Topinka has been successfully transformed by the governor’s media team from being a respected state elder into a George Ryan hack. But no credible poll shows Blagojevich with enough votes to win, despite all the positive TV ads he’s running. His favorability and job approval ratings are so bad that he hasn’t been able to close the deal.

On the other hand, Topinka’s numbers are even worse. Usually we assume that the vast majority of undecided voters will eventually break towards the challenger. In a “normal” year, Topinka would have a decent shot at closing the gap. But this isn’t a normal year. The undecideds don’t like her, either.

Lots of voters appear to be mulling whether to cast their ballot for the Green Party candidate. Normally, voters will change their mind at the end and go with an established party candidate. But, like I said, this isn’t a normal year. As a result, if Topinka doesn’t change the race’s dynamics right now then Rich Whitney (and Green Party treasurer candidate Dan Schlorff) might end up with a lot more votes than most people think.

Speaking of polls, the Hotline has a funny quip about the latest results:

Topinka is probably quoting Jon Lovitz-as-Michael Dukakis to herself at night: “I can’t believe I’m losing to this guy.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Morning shorts

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

* Gov. Blagojevich’s State Board of Education chairman appointed to ComEd board

* Krol: Quinn suddenly has little to say about Blagojevich

* McQueary: Turn off the TV, tune into the election

* Marin: Meeks didn’t run, but he isn’t going away

* Big-time spenders - Local bars, eateries benefit from politicians’ campaign cash

* Group pushes to alter smoking ban - Beverage association chief says council will hear proposal to end ban at bars

* FEMA rejects Rockford’s request for disaster funds - The agency says damage in the city was $1 million, not $30 million.

* Rockford Residents mum on political affiliation

* Washington: What has Brown done for — her campaign?

* Madigan, Umholtz a study in contrast

* Blagojevich, Topinka trading accusations of improper doings

- Posted by Rich Miller   3 Comments      

That’s gonna make a heckuva mailer

Monday, Oct 23, 2006

Alderman Burt Natarus continues behaving like a man who either doesn’t realize that he’s headed for the toughest re-election fight of his life or doesn’t care.

“Downtown, we have more dogs than people. Everybody’s got to have a dog. You know why? They’re lonely. The young women don’t have kids yet. They’re not married. So, they have a dog as a child. And some of the fellas who don’t want to get married — they want to have kids around, so they have a dog. That’s a substitute,” [Naturus] said.

It’s always the politically smart thing to insult your constituents. Not.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
* Tribune drops bombshell on Biss running mate
* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner: "Madigan has rigged the Democratic primary for Pritzker"
* New Ives radio ad claims Democrats are trying to help Rauner, while Brady does Rauner robocall
* *** UPDATED x1 - DGA responds *** Elections board says DGA should file disclosure for Ives ad
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Jones; IEA/IFT; Reis; Mitchell; Edgar
* ISRA, Drury both try to claim Raoul inserted "poison pill" into gun bill
* Pro-life group launches GOTV effort for Lipinski
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner opens new online track against Ives
* Erika Harold still can't remember comments, but says "I was wrong"
* Rauner calls Madigan "a unified force of bad, of evil"
* Sen. Duckworth gets involved in another state central committee race
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Has Pritzker gone to ground?
* Illinois House Bill HB 4900 Wastes Government Resources
* McCann, barred from SGOP caucus meeting, claims Rauner threatened to "destroy you and your family"
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Caption contest!
* Obama mailer kerfuffle in Lipinski district
* Rauner attended Quincy campaign event after Quincy veterans' home presser
* After spending millions in Dem primary, Rauner accuses "Washington liberals" of "hijacking" the GOP primary
* Yesterday's stories

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* City of Chicago increasing security at Millennium Park
* Holcomb signs bill to replenish eroded NW Indiana beaches
* Illinois primary puts focus on security of state voter rolls
* EXCHANGE: Historian doesn't want hero's story lost
* EXCHANGE: Losing a limb has not handicapped Pekin bowler
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Judge gives FBI more time in alleged serial killer case
* Michigan shipwreck hunters find schooner that sank in 1873
* Immigrant reunited with child months after separation by US
* SIU consolidating student housing to west side of campus

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th
* Trump factor looms large in Illinois governor primary campaigns
* Ray LaHood brokers deal for O'Hare expansion
* McCann says Rauner threatened to 'destroy' him in 2015 over vote
* Rauner looking into state buying vacant nursing home in Quincy
* Luciano: What if Downstate dumped Chicago and formed new state?
* AP review: Push for gun laws faces resistance in most states

* Crain's tells the stories of women in business
* Like our roundup? Share it around.
* Amazon search team in Chicago next week
* Amazon HQ2 search team visiting Chicago March 21-22
* Pension mess? You'd hardly know it from 2018's gubernatorial candidates.

* Here are the questions for Tuesday — the answers are up to you
* Sean Bean on his many deaths and ‘Game of Thrones’ legacy
* Man shot in Gage Park
* Sun-Times/WBBM Religion Roundup: Anti-Semitic incidents in Illinois up sharply
* 2 wounded in shooting on Dan Ryan
* Man wounded in Portage Park drive-by shooting
* Man accidentally shot at Englewood apartment
* Man shot while standing on sidewalk in Homan Square
* 3 injured, 2 critically, in DeKalb crash
* Missing 76-year-old man last seen driving in Park Manor

* Turtle racing's had a long, slow burn in Chicago
* Annual Las Vegas homecoming renews Bryce Harper subplot for Kris Bryant
* Rocky toppled: Clayton Custer's do-or-die shot lifts Loyola over Tennessee and into Sweet 16
* NBC renews 'Will & Grace' for season 3, adds to season 2 episode order
* LeBron James' triple-double too much for Bulls as Cavs pull out 114-109 victory
* 'Saturday Night Live': John Goodman, Fred Armisen make surprise appearances
* Kyle Schwarber's improvements evident in spring training
* Russia votes but outcome is clear: 6 more years of Putin
* North Korean diplomat heads to Finland for U.S. talks
* Turkey says its forces take control of Syrian town of Afrin

» A Feisty Debate, Offshore Accounts — And Some Side-Eye
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: March 16, 2018
» The Week in Review: Pritzker Slammed Over Offshore Holdings
» Web Extra, The Week in Review: American Airlines Changes Stance
» How Parking Ticket Debt Punishes Black Drivers In Chicago; The Best Illinois Movies
» State Week: Rauner's Gun Veto; Dem's Mean Debate
» #642 Songs About the Music Industry & Antibalas
» March 15, 2018 - Full Show
» Illinois Has Issues: Gov Candidates Talk Marijuana
» Rauner: Replace Legionnaires’-Stricken VA Home With New ‘Ultra-Modern’ Facility

* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Statehouse Insider: Sadly, the primary campaign is coming to an end
* Bernard Schoenburg: My predictions for Tuesday's primary election
* Our View: A recap of The State Journal-Register’s endorsements
* Bernard Schoenburg: Guessing who will be celebrating Tuesday night
* Madeleine Doubek: Time to end gerrymandering in Illinois
* United Way: Reporting results that matter
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears
* Madigan backs Dem central committee incumbent in 13th

* Alexander County enters utility deal with SmartWatt that could save the county
* The primary election is Tuesday. Here's what you need to know before you vote.
* Good cause, fellowship, food draws thousands to Mennonite Relief Sale
* Significant Structures: Burnham Athenaeum
* All-Area Girls' Basketball 2018
* Silver anniversary
* Few choices appear on primary ballot
* Decatur and Macon County Neighbors: Obituaries published today
* 'It is going to be extremely difficult': Southern Illinois leaders prepare for cuts from governor's proposed budget
* Daily Digest 3/18/18

* The reasons behind Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane's warmup tradition
* Indiana trail group wants Nickel Plate rail preservation
* Sevilla loses 2-1 to Leganes in Spanish league
* Philippine leader urges nations to exit international court
* Egypt censors play 'Before the Revolution,' author appeals

* Dem Intel Member: Lewandowski Avoided Trum...
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* Getting To Know Steve Schwartzberg
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* Bernard Schoenburg: My predictions for Tue...
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* This week.
* Tucker: Washington not worried about male wage crisis
* State of the Legal Industry: A Leading Innovator Concludes that Inefficiency Prevails
* Wednesday, March 14, 2018
* Monday, 3/12/2018
* Online University Programs and Microcredentials Enhance Professional Learning
* AI is the new electricity, says Coursera’s Andrew Ng
* Bolstering Academic Integrity in the Online Classroom
* Here’s 5 Reasons Why You Should Study An Online MBA In 2018
* 3 Technologies that Education Needs, But Have Not Been Created

* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties
* Winter Storm Warnings for Areas Along and North of I-80
* IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes

* My bubble wrap phone case doubles as an audio experience
* Must read: top 10 Android stories
* Honor View 10 international giveaway!
* Stop whining, GDPR is actually good for your business
* Counterclockwise: the story of Galaxy S phones, part 2
* Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’
* Oculus Go standalone VR headset rumored to launch at F8 developer conference

* White Sox announce James Shields as Opening Day starter, because of...
* Cool with No. 2? Avi paces Sox 5-2 win
* Lefty Ross making case for bullpen spot
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields honored to be Opening Day starter
* Shields to start for White Sox on Opening Day
* Shields to start for White Sox on Opening Day

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