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Brady chairman funding tea party groups

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010

* Bill Brady’s campaign chairman Ron Gidwitz is raising money for tea party groups

The former CEO of Helene Curtis Industries Inc., who ran for governor in 2006 and now chairs Republican Bill Brady’s gubernatorial campaign, is donating his own money and raising more from other Chicago executives to help Tea Party groups in various parts of the state. The money helps the activists get organized, a largely behind-the-scenes effort that could benefit candidates up and down the Republican ticket this fall.

“I see energized people,” Mr. Gidwitz says. “A lot of people are angry. We want to identify people who are dissatisfied with the status quo in Illinois and give them the opportunity to make a change.”

Mr. Gidwitz chairs and helps fund the Illinois arm of Americans for Prosperity, a Washington, D.C.-based conservative, anti-tax group that has a political organizer—longtime Illinois GOP operative Joe Calomino—working with Tea Party groups here.

“They’re very good at putting the plan on the ground,” Mr. McQueen says. “They’re instrumental at showing us what we need to do to be effective.

That move by Gidwitz seems logical, but there’s always the danger of tying his candidate too closely to the more “out there” tea party types.

Americans for Prosperity has not yet spent big money in Illinois. They did do a huge, $4.1 million ad buy in other states. But Illinois may be targeted soon

After seeing the list of the targeted districts, I thought it odd that AFP would neglect Illinois—given all the competitive races in Obama’s adopted state. So I called Joe Calomino who, with just one other staffer, runs the Illinois chapter of the 1.2 million member national group. Calomino told me that a new AFP project, November is Coming is, in fact, dispatching by bus grassroots activists armed with anti-spending petitions to “educate” voters in the 11th, 14th, and 10th districts on September 15th, 16th, and 17th, respectively.

One can safely bet that although the AFP bills itself as nonpartisan, its brigades will not be promoting Democrats Debbie Halvorson (11th), Bill Foster (14th), or Dan Seals (10th), the Democrat who is seeking the seat now held by Mark Kirk. The culmination of the Illinois events is an appearance in Hoffman Estates on September 18th by Glenn Beck who bashed Obama on air for his criticism of AFP.

* In other campaign news, Rich Whitney has come up with some pretty good spin

Green Party candidate for governor Rich Whitney went on the attack Monday, saying Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has “peaked” and can’t beat Republican state Sen. Bill Brady.

At a Springfield news conference, Whitney referenced recent independent polls that have shown Brady leading the race for Illinois governor. Whitney urged voters who don’t want to vote for Brady to vote for him instead of Quinn.

“He’s peaked,” Whitney said of Quinn. “He can only go down.”

If Whitney knew how to take advantage of this situation then he might have a legit shot. So far, at least, there’s no indication that he does.

* Emphasizing Whitney’s point, Quinn’s running mate Sheila Simon just admitted that her boss’ budget is a disaster

“It boils down to jobs and education and they are thrown in together,” [Simon] said. “The concern now about jobs is much more personal. It’s not a generic concern. The folks I am running into say they are concerned about their own jobs or the jobs of family members. The state budget and the disaster it is really has an impact on anyone at the school level.”

* Campaign 2010 roundup…

* Illinois Review: Despite the base of the Republican Party and the Party’s platform itself being staunchly prolife, Congressman Mark Kirk, also the IL GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate, continues to hold firm on his commitment to despicable and up-until-now non-productive human embryo experimentation. This response sent out by Kirk campaign to the U.S. district judge’s decision to strike down President Obama’s stem cell executive order is disappointing and disturbing, because it assures us where a U.S. Senator Kirk would be if presented with a decision on the ever-important issue of the sanctity of life.

* Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.

* One-sided debate

* Move to merge treasurer and comptroller offices gains steam

* Candidates Gear Up for City Elections

* Cook County Board of Review staff takes day off to raise money for Da Boss

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Ahoy - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    It’s not just Quinn’s budget, the general assembly (both Republicans and Democrats) put this budget together as well. The Democrats passed the buck to the Governor because they don’t want to deal with it and the Republican’s just sat and complained about it because they didn’t want to touch it either.

    If we want a governor who can deal with the budget, we’re probably going to have to get a new General Assembly because none of the jokers running for the top job can handle it on their own.

  2. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    Gidwitz is using money to keep the tea-partiers from turning on establishment GOP types like they have in other states. Once the election is over, it’s the end of the line for the gravy train, I bet.

    A cautious move, I suppose, though Tea Partiers didn’t really do anything in the GOP primary here.

  3. - shore - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:04 am:

    Sorry about the loss of your pal yesterday. I hope you are better.

    the crains article is behind their paywall. I don’t know if it’s legal to republish it for free, but it’s an interesting bit. I think we learned in the 2 million dollar ad buy against brady that went nowhere that voters really dont care this year about conspiracy theories or social conservatism. the issue is the economy and it will be interesting to see how 2 time loser dan seals fares now that the political winds are against him.

    On the stemcell statement by kirk, to conservatives I have thing to say-get used to it.

  4. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:08 am:

    Simon says,

    “The state budget and the disaster it is really has an impact on anyone at the school level.”

    Yet another Quinn Crew member “on message.” Forks anyone?

  5. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    The Republicans were never invited to the table to craft the budget. You can complain about them all day, but it wasn’t until the very end until they were raked over the coals to give their vote to a budget they weren’t deemed worthy to have any input on.

  6. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:21 am:

    If Ron Gidwitz wants to fund the tea parties, good for him. Although it’s hard to imagine anyone more removed from the average tea partier than the very wealthy and very establishment Mr. Gidwitz.

    Will be interesting to see if the money buys abandonment of principle and all the things that made the tea parties what they are.

    He who pays the piper calls the tune. This will be a big test for tea partiers. In the past they shook off GOP attempts to co-opt them. But I don’t think they were ever promised money directly.

  7. - Segatari - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:22 am:

    >That move by Gidwitz seems logical, but there’s always the danger of tying his candidate too closely to the more “out there” tea party types.

    Some of these “out there” tea party types have been exposed as Democrat plants.

  8. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    Quinn lost a lot of the black community when he picked Simon for his Gov Lite. So far Simon does not appear to be generating any votes for him, much less setting off the ones he lost by the choice.

    interesting question of the day, name a good decision by Quinn :)

  9. - Siriusly - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    Rich that New Yorker article is fascinating, great link. Thanks!

  10. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:28 am:

    I wonder how the black community will react to the James Wright firing?

  11. - Reddbyrd - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    Guess it just got a little clearer why it would be dumb to limit political committee spending…Ronnie G. slides some cash to TPers…then they magically go to work….kinda like Edgar giving out literacy grants when he was SOS.
    Hope the TPers don’t mind being bought off
    Of course if the bait and switch occurs on the tax hike they will all play dumb

  12. - the Patriot - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:30 am:

    == Quinn’s budget, the general assembly (both Republicans and Democrats==

    The budget only had a handful if any republican votes. It is a democrat budget.

    ==“It boils down to jobs and education and they are thrown in together,”==

    I think what Sheila is saying is that we really need to elect Bill Brady. Since neither her or Quinn have any private sector experience in creating jobs.

    Also, Pat Quinn has been a part of an administration that has cut education spending more than any duo on the history of the state.

    Somebody get Sheila Simon a copy of the pro dog legislation talking points before she loses the election.

  13. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:34 am:

    Being “bought off”? Well, I suppose that depends. If Gidwitz is funding activities the TP is already doing, that’s support. If Gidwitz is funding people to act against the values and interests the TP espouses, that’s being bought off.

  14. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:44 am:

    ==it’s hard to imagine anyone more removed from the average tea partier than the very wealthy and very establishment Mr. Gidwitz==

    I cannot speak for Mr. Gidwitz, but IMO, one of the biggest of many misconceptions out there about the tea party local organizations is that followers can be easily picked out of a line-up and that there is a type that be defined as an “average” tea partier. These people are not as readily stereotyped as they are often made out to be by those who do not get what the tea partiers are about, or can’t understand what intellectually draws a variety of people to the movement in the first place.

  15. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:47 am:

    I laugh when people describe the Tea Party like it is some sort of monolithic group. If you had ANY first hand knowledge of the Tea Party, you would know it is more like herding cats. The fact that some bigwig Republican is “backing” the Tea Party is laughable on its face. There is no Tea Party organization. There is no “leader.” The best that can be said is that the Tea Party is a loose confederation of like-minded individuals. That Brady’s campaign manager is supporting some Tea Party organization is no more surprising to me that it would be to find that Quinn’s campaign manager made a contribution to A.C.O.R.N.

  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 11:59 am:

    Brady’s close associations with all of these anti tax groups further undermines any fantasies about Brady raising taxes to help reduce the state’s deficits and debts.

    And a comment to “Although it’s hard to imagine anyone more removed from the average tea partier than the very wealthy and very establishment Mr. Gidwitz” from Just Sayin’:
    Has this not been a continuing goal with the plutocrats since the founding of the Republic — reduce threats of class warfare by identifying common enemies with the lower classes?

    Brady and crew may replicate the rhetoric and deeds of the GOP’s past performances: repeatedly disparage big government when dems are in power, get elected on that theme, then reveal through their governance how it doesn’t work, and then get tossed out again.

  17. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:00 pm:

    Nobody said Tea Partiers are monolithic, or even coherent. But, as a self-identified group, they’ve lined up against GOP establishment types in other states.

    Self-appointed Tea Party leaders — like Breitbart, Palin, Armey, etc. — aren’t into money? To borrow from Michael Corleone, “who’s being naive, Kay?”

  18. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:02 pm:

    yeah I can just see Ron Gidwitz at a tea party rally dressed in Colonial attire and holding a big anti-Obama Administration sign of some sort. No doubt the sign would be very neat and proper as his butler is surely top notch.

  19. - Louis G. Atsaves - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:03 pm:

    Cincinnatus hit the nail on the head. The Tea Partiers in fact pride themselves for not being particularly attached to any political organization, including fellow Tea Party organizations. At best you will see a loose coalition of them host an event or two then splinter with pride.

    They also aren’t going away. Any political office holder or candidate who decides to ridicule them does so at their own peril. Right Dan Seals?

  20. - D.P. Gumby - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:24 pm:

    Read Jane Mayer’s article in the New Yorker about Americans for Prosperity and its origins

  21. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    I must have missed the memo… Americans for Prosperity is the Tea Party now?

  22. - John Bambenek - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    Also, if it’s all so astrotruf, where the hell is my paycheck?

  23. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:37 pm:

    JB, don’t hide your light under a bushel, son. The Koch Bros. are investing in grassroots politics in a big way. I’m sure you could draft a proposal for a worthy cause.

  24. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    - D.P. Gumby - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:24 pm:

    “Read Jane Mayer’s article in the New Yorker about Americans for Prosperity and its origins”

    I’ll see your AFP and raise you a

  25. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    Ron Gidwitz has credibility with his long associations in Chicago regarding education and other social issues. He has a good record as a moderate. He is a philanthropist. I’ve seen him work with every socio-economic group in Chicago. So his assistance with Tea Party groups in Illinois fits his bipartisan record.

    Those who mock their neighbors for exercising their political rights, are simply out of touch and will not understand either Mr. Gidwitz, or anyone in any Tea Party. They believe that after fifty years of doing the same thing across our communities, no one else has a right to the same type of citizen participation as they. The Anti-Tea Party people just seem shocked that a majority of their neighbors are questioning whether we should continue to attempt the creation of a whiffle ball world.

  26. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    I like wordslinger’s assessment. Tea partiers are quick to call someone a rino. He is diffusing this and keeping them at bay.

    Gidwiz is not a hardline conservative. There appear to be other motives than him supporting them based on opininons

  27. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    Vman, the tea party is not remotely close to being a majority of the populace.

    For a while the Christian Coalition drew support and political influence from many members of the far right who were disenfranchised. For a while they had political muscle and influence.

    Then there influence dissipated. The next group to appear and gather a similiair group has been the tea party movement. It has the ability to influence andimpact politics. In some locations, ta party associaition costs canidates elections, in other locations the afiliation carries the day.

    The tea party is a small group, but they are large enough to have influence that should not be ignored or embraced without careful deliberation.

  28. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 1:18 pm:

    Tea Partiers are a majority? Then I guess they only have themselves to blame for the condition of government, LOL.

  29. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 1:20 pm:


    You are partially right, a majority of the populace is not in the Tea Party, but recent polling suggest that a majority of likely voters support their goals.

    Looks like the far left, and their Democrat enablers are losing the hearts and minds of the voters, after their brief time of political muscle and influence.

  30. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 1:36 pm:

    The Anti-Tea Party people just seem shocked that a majority of their neighbors are questioning whether we should continue to attempt the creation of a whiffle ball world.

    Yeah you guys! You lost these people! Look at those polls! The majority has been lost. If you want to claim I am saying that a majority of voters are Tea Party members, then you can probably do that, but you will be just fudging what I intended to say - which would only re-confirm the statement itself.

    Continue mocking the majority, hope it makes you feel better because right now, that seems to be the only comfort headed your way.

  31. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Aug 24, 10 @ 2:10 pm:

    –If you want to claim I am saying that a majority of voters are Tea Party members, then you can probably do that, but you will be just fudging what I intended to say - which would only re-confirm the statement itself.–

    Thanks for clearing that up.

  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 25, 10 @ 9:30 am:

    As a Tea Party coordinator and being in touch with a number of Tea Parties across the state, I’ve yet to find a single one that has even heard from Mr. Gidwitz, much less received cash.

    It appears to me that the Steve McQueen is the recurring one in quotes. Perhaps Mr. McQueen’s Quincy group is receiving an infusion of cash but the major Tea Parties in Illinois most definitely are NOT! Nor would they accept any if it meant selling their souls to a political hack or dilettante.

    So with that in mind, it would seem to behoove those who castigate the Tea Party movement from recklessly charging local groups with being ‘on the take’ or compromised to check out the facts first. Unless, of course, the goal is simply to tear down and denigrate decent, principled, honorable and concerned citizens, neighbors, acquaintances and others.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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