* Gov. Quinn is stepping up his ribbon-cutting as primary day looms…
As the Feb. 2 primary nears, Gov. Pat Quinn is embracing the power of incumbency, cutting a swath of ribbons and announcing millions worth of construction projects all in the name of the office he ascended to a year ago.
So far this week, he’s opened a children’s center and announced $10.3 million for Northern Illinois University building renovations, including more than $8 million for Cole Hall where the 2008 student shootings took place.
The governor, in the heat of a primary race, also recently announced state funding for Loop road improvements, remodeling a veterans’ home and a grant for a Chicago-based charter school to purchase an additional building. […]
“I wouldn’t say it’s an abuse. It’s an illusion. He’s cutting ribbons for buildings that don’t exist,” Hynes said.
Not everyone is happy about these events. From a Northwest Herald editorial about the NIU Cole Hall ceremony…
At the news conference Wednesday, Quinn read the names of those killed in the shooting, including Dundee-Crown High School graduate Ryanne Mace. The reminder of those who lost their lives cast a solemn shadow over an announcement that might otherwise have been laughable for its timing.
This news conference was seven months in the making, its substance a predetermined largesse, a déja vu declaration of a $31 billion capital projects measure Quinn signed into law last July.
So why all the fanfare for the announcement’s sequel? Surely we’re not so cynical as to suggest it has anything to do with a primary election that’s days away, are we?
Let’s face it, there’s not much political hay to be made in mid-July, when the capital bill was passed. Besides, there was no money available then. Now that money’s available because of a bond sale, and now that ballot booths are being dusted off, the incumbent can come to the rescue with promised money. […]
But only about $2.3 million is being released for renovation of NIU’s Stevens Building, far less than the $22.5 million highlighted for that purpose in the capital bill. Then again, the November general election is only nine months away.
* Meanwhile, the Sun-Times puts yesterday’s WVON debate in context…
Hynes stared down a political buzzsaw by agreeing to appear on “The Cliff Kelley Show” as Quinn and the former alderman-turned-talk-show-host took turns pummeling the three-term comptroller. Kelley, part of Washington’s City Council coalition, interrupted Hynes repeatedly in springing to Quinn’s defense.
The comptroller wanted to appear with Quinn on the station, which has a significant following among black voters, with some other host than Kelley, but WVON rejected that bid, representatives from both campaigns said.
Hynes relented instead of boycotting Kelley’s 38th-ranked afternoon drive-time show, which an industry source estimated has about 10,000 listeners. Not appearing could have been portrayed as a snub to an audience of voters Hynes covets on Tuesday.
That’s true. Not many people listen to Kelley’s show, but not going would’ve been much worse. Hynes did perform poorly, of course. This was the most cringe-inducing moment for me…
Cliff Kelley: You were in the commercial. Your father’s commercial.
Dan Hynes: Right, like I said, I support my father.
Cliff Kelley: Right. Right. But, you were in the commercials where he was attacking Mayor Washington.
Dan Hynes: Right, I was 18 years old and I love my father and I loved him then and I support him…
So far, the Quinn campaign has only been able to come up with footage of the younger Hynes in a positive TV ad with his father, not in the negative ones. Admitting he was in a negative ad was not a good move.
For his part, Quinn heaped praise on several of Rod Blagojevich’s African-American appointments, yet that got no coverage. But he did get out the best line of the day…
“I’d rather lose the race for governor than divide the people of Illinois along race,” Quinn said. “That’s what my opponent is doing.”
WBEZ has partial copies of Quinn-sponsored robocalls to African-American voters…
I’ve received three robocalls on my home answering machine this week from Gov. Pat Quinn supporters. Each message excoriates Comptroller Dan Hynes for invoking Washington’s image in a campaign ad. […]
Message one from U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. “Dan Hynes has no shame.” Message two from U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. “As a preacher, I believe in resurrection, but this ain’t no resurrection.” Message three from Jackie Grimshaw, a former Washington operative. “Legacy hijacked.”
You can hear anger in all of their voices. .
Progress Illinois has posted a couple of long excerpts from the debate on YouTube…
* Quinn and Hynes discuss Washington ad on WVON
* Quinn and Hynes compare tax plans on WVON
* CBS2 looked at union campaign cash in the race, but got it horribly wrong…
Quinn, who has received $416,000 in campaign contributions from organized labor, also got [AFSCME] to cut and delay a scheduled pay raise. But he had to promise not to lay off any more workers until the middle of next year.
Dan Hynes, Quinn’s Democratic opponent in the Feb. 2 gubernatorial primary, was invited to speak at a small get-together in North Lawndale Thursday. He has his own tight relationship with organized labor. He has received $350,000 from organized labor and released a new TV ad trumpeting his endorsements.
What? Gov. Quinn has received about $1.6 million from SEIU alone. Hynes has reported at least $375,000 from unions this week.