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Kirk still leads by a few, 57 percent blame Bush recession for problems

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* Rasmussen is out with its latest. With leaners…

Kirk: 44% [41%, 45%]

Giannouolias: 41% [37%, 45%]

Jones: 4% [9%, N/A]

Other: 4% [5%, 3%]

Unsure: 8% [9%, 8%]

It looks like people are finally starting to harden up and moving away from third parties, but this is just one poll.

* Initial preference…

Kirk: 39% [37%, 40%, 40%, 41%, 39%, 42% 46%, 41%, 41%, 46%]

Giannoulias: 36% [34%, 42%, 40%, 43%, 40%, 39% 38%, 37%, 44%, 40%]

Jones: 6% [12%, N/A]

Other: 4% [3%, 6%, 8%, 6%, 9%, 7% 5%, 8%, 5%, 4%]

Unsure: 15% [14%, 12%,12%, 10%, 12%, 12% 12%. 13%, 10%, 10%]

* From the pollster…

Kirk and Giannoulias have now run within three points or less of each other in seven surveys since early June.

But a lot of voters still haven’t made up their minds. Just 56% of those who support Kirk say they are already certain how they will vote in November. Fifty-nine percent (59%) of Giannoulias voters say the same, along with 47% of those who support Jones.

Kirk has the backing of 80% of Illinois Republicans, while Giannoulias is supported by 71% of the state’s Democrats. The GOP candidate has a better than two-to-one lead among voters not affiliated with either party. Jones gets single-digit support from voters in both major parties and unaffiliateds.

If you’re wondering why Giannoulias is still talking to his base, that’s why.

* “I’m going to read you a short list of issues in the news. For each, please let me know which political party you trust more to handle that issue”…

Democrats lead on almost everything except their candidates.

* And here’s one that Raz didn’t publish


- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

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Question of the day

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* For all his other faults, Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. made a very valid point to the Chicago Defender

[Jackson] said in order for Democrats in this state’s races to win, Quinn – who heads the ticket for the party – has to strengthen his campaign against his Republican challenger.

“If Governor Quinn and Sheila Simon cannot inspire turnout at the top of the ticket, then Alexi Giannoulias has problems, but so do David Miller and Robin Kelly in the state-wide races, and so do Debbie Halvorson and Dan Seals in congressional races,” … “And all the Democrats … should be telling Governor Quinn the same thing, and doing it publicly.”

This is the same thing I’ve been writing about for weeks in the subscriber section. Quinn is undoubtedly a drag on the ticket. How extreme of a drag he ends up being in November depends on whether he can somehow stabilize his campaign right now. Notice, I didn’t say “win.” I said “stabilize.” First things first.

Jackson adds…

“Pat Quinn has to come to our community to make up for what is going to be a tough road for them in other parts of the state. And the DNC and the party committees have to come to places like the South Side and the West Side and the South Suburbs too to help statewide candidates get across the finish line,” the congressman said. “And when they come to our community, it’s got to be with substance.”

That’s very true, especially with Scott Lee Cohen spreading money all over the West and South Sides. But Quinn is tanking so badly in the exurbs and Downstate that I’m not sure right now that he can make up the difference in Chicago/Cook.

* The Question: What one piece of campaign advice would you give both Pat Quinn and Bill Brady at this point in the campaign? Try not to be snarky, please. And explain fully. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller   71 Comments      

Kirk’s message discipline, Giannoulias’ Labno love and the First Lady comes to town

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* This interview with Mark Kirk was obviously a frustrating experience for the AP staff

While insisting Illinois voters deserve “more honesty” from politicians, Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk repeatedly ducked questions or fell back on stock answers Tuesday when pressed about his military record, attacks on his opponent and other issues in one of the nation’s most-watched Senate races.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Kirk repeated his past apologies for exaggerating his accomplishments in the U.S. Naval Reserve, but would not comment in detail about the false claims or say why he made them. […]

Kirk refused to say whether he agrees that Alexi Giannoulias, his Democratic rival for the Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama, is a “failed mob banker” — a label used almost daily by Republican allies and his own campaign. […]

Kirk was so precise during the hourlong interview that he described Giannoulias’ actions with virtually the same phrase — “he lent a tremendous amount of money to mobsters and felons” — eight times. […]

Kirk also has suggested he came under fire while an observer on flights over Kosovo and Iraq, but he repeatedly refused Tuesday to discuss those incidents or even confirm whether they took place.

I get that Kirk’s past problems with the truth means he has to watch every word he says, but constantly avoiding questions by repeating the same phrase over and over again will drive reporters absolutely batty.

On the other hand, give him props for staying on message. What some candidates fail to realize is that just because a reporter asks you a question more than once doesn’t mean you have to answer it.

* In other news, the Daily Caller takes a look at Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign attempting to inform voters through the media that the Libertarian Senate candidate is the only pro-life, pro-gun person in the race

Brian Gaines, an associate professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a member of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs, expressed doubts that either a Green or Libertarian candidate with little money and little name recognition could steal a significant number of votes to make a difference. “For Giannoulias, the risk of mentioning [Labno] at all is that it smacks of desperation,” he told The Daily Caller in an e-mail. “In his bid to ridicule Kirk, he could end up looking like a guy grasping for straws, wasting his breath on trivial points in the absence of a compelling message.”

He may be right if it’s only an earned media message, but since I first commented on this development I’ve been hearing about a planned paid media message via direct mail through an independent expenditure. We’ll have to see if it comes to fruition.

* Speaking of earned media

First lady Michelle Obama will visit Chicago on Oct. 13 to help raise money for state Democrats leading up to the Nov. 2 mid-term elections.

Obama will appear at a fundraiser for Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias and at a joint fundraiser for Reps. Bill Foster and Debbie Halvorson and House candidate Dan Seals, her office announced today.

Don’t expect the first lady to take sharp aim at the Republicans.

Instead, an official said, Mrs. Obama will talk about how the country is beginning to turn a corner in terms of strengthening the middle class. She will highlight insurance coverage for children with pre-existing conditions, protection from hidden credit-card fees, work-life balance and other topics, the official said.

That visit will be covered heavily, and, of course, it ought to raise a whole bunch of cash for paid media.

* Related…

* Education Secretary Arne Duncan will campaign for Democrats: Duncan also mentioned plans to campaign for Virginia Rep. Tom Perriello and Illinois Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias.

* LeAlan Jones Says “Meet the Press” Is Blacking Him Out

* DSCC Attacks Mark Kirk on Jobs in New Ad

* Truthish or Falsey: DSCC Says Kirk Is Indifferent to the Unemployed, Minimum Wage Earners

* New exchange in Kirk/Giannoulias TV war

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Quinn ad slams “millionaire” Bill Brady for not paying taxes

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* Gov. Pat Quinn’s new TV ad is visually uninteresting, but delivers a powerful message. Rate it

* Mark Brown discusses the controversial AFSCME “no layoffs” deal today

Is it any wonder that Quinn finds himself looking up in the polls at a right-wing slacker who looks the part of a pleasant businessman and promises to cut the state budget, even though he can’t actually explain how he plans to do it either?

Let me answer that. No, it’s entirely understandable, and it’s a shame, because Pat Quinn is a good man who wants to do right by the people of Illinois. But he continues to show he just doesn’t get what the world of state government looks like to those outside it.

I can’t argue with a single word in that. Same with this…

The only means the governor has at his disposal to force AFSCME to the bargaining table is the threat of layoffs.

The problem is that Quinn considers himself a friend of state workers and doesn’t really believe in layoffs, which means that when push comes to shove, he’s a pushover.

“The worst thing to do in a recession is lay people off,” he told the editorial board.

I can understand that. Hasn’t been much fun to watch my friends ushered out the door here in recent years, maybe the same where you work. But I sure as heck don’t believe in increasing the pay of state workers when the state is broke and its residents are taking real pay cuts — the kind that leave you with less money than you used to get, not just a scheduled raise that gets postponed.

But not this…

There was some nonsense Tuesday from Republican candidate Bill Brady that the deal is “scandalous” because Quinn agreed to it around the same time he got the union’s endorsement. That’s stupid because the real problem is that Quinn was always inclined to protect those workers and always going to get that endorsement.

Not necessarily. Quinn signed the pension reform bill and AFSCME was hugely upset. They’ve sat out governor’s races before, they could’ve done it again. Quinn wanted that endorsement badly, so he pushed hard for it.

* Meanwhile, Pat Quinn used some of his time at the candidates’ forum yesterday to go after Bill Brady over Glenn Beck’s words at Right Nation 2010

Gov. Quinn said Tuesday that Sen. Bill Brady should apologize to first lady Michelle Obama for a wisecrack commentator Glenn Beck made at her expense Saturday night. […]

“Get away from my French fries, Mrs. Obama,” Beck warned. “First politician that comes up to me with a carrot stick, I’ve got a place for it. And it’s not in my tummy.” […]

“I thought it was important: I was disturbed on Saturday night to see Glenn Beck come to our state and disparage and mock the first lady of the United States of America,” Quinn said Tuesday following a private debate before the Commercial Club of Chicago. “Michelle Obama is my friend.” […]

Tuesday’s Commercial Club forum was closed to the press and public. But Brady spokeswoman Patty Schuh said when Quinn asked Brady to apologize for what Beck said, “Bill answered to the roar of the crowd. ‘You have to be kidding me.’”

Tying Brady to Beck in a news item is a good thing, and Mrs. Obama is still quite popular, but this is more than a little trivial.

* Related and a roundup…

* Tribune: Quinn’s escape route

* Pantagraph: Quinn’s deal with union ties hands, horrible for state

* Brady: Quinn Needs to End the Secrecy

* Report: $4B in tax breaks for state from health law

* Ill. council to meet on national health care law

* More than a million in Illinois will qualify for health insurance payment help in 2014

* Illinois legislators gather input from cities, unions on pensions

* Morrissey testifies in Chicago about pension reform need

* Smaller turnout expected for 2nd round of appliance rebates

* State owes Richland Community College $500,000 this fiscal year

* Lawmakers question lottery deal

* Losing bidder challenges lottery management contract choice

* High-Speed rail construction begin in Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

New campaign ads from Hultgren, Seals, Rauschenberger, plus a roundup

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* Republican congressional candidate Randy Hultgren’s second TV ad

From a Hultgren campaign press release…

“As Bill Foster launches one desperate and dishonest attack after another on Randy Hultgren, it’s important that voters are fully informed of Bill Foster’s out-of-touch, liberal record of voting with Nancy Pelosi 93% of the time, and his support for the Wall Street bailout, the so-called ‘stimulus,’ and the Foster-Pelosi government takeover of health care,” said campaign spokesman Gill Stevens. “This ad does just that, and reminds voters that Bill Foster is part of the problem in Washington, DC.”

* Democratic congressional candidate Dan Seals’ second ad


NARRATOR: Look closer at Bob Dold and you’ll find he wants to privatize Social Security

WOMAN #1: It’s very scary to think of what he would do with people’s money.

NARRATOR: And Dold’s supported by a radical group opposed to a woman’s right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest.

WOMAN #2: We can’t let that happen in our community.

DAN SEALS: We shouldn’t have to compromise our values to have fiscal responsibility.

DAN SEALS: We need to keep taxes low, bring down our debt, and get people back to work.

DAN SEALS: I’m Dan Seals, and I approve this message.

* I told subscribers I would post former GOP state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger’s TV ad earlier this morning, but it wasn’t available. It is now

Have at it. I’m expecting more soon.

* Down-ballot campaign roundup…

* 9th Dist. hopefuls on opposite sides of health care debate

* 10th District hopefuls spar over Social Security plans

* Health Insurance Changes Key to 10th Congressional Debate

* Dold, Seals clash on social security in 10th District

* Steinberg: Vote for Seals because Dold is a bad Jew?

* Hare asks opponent to give back donation: Democratic Congressman Phil Hare is asking his Republican opponent in the November election to give back a campaign contribution from a company cited for worker’s death in 2007. Hare made the request of Bobby Schilling during an appearance Monday at the Galesburg Labor Temple.

* State senate 31 candidates differ on employer performance reviews

* Elgin Mayor Schock backs Farnham in 43rd District race

* BGA, Berrios escalate clash

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

* Voter registration deadline approaching

Robert T. Saar, executive director of the DuPage County Election Commission, said the last day to register in DuPage County is Oct. 5, for the Nov. 2 General Election.

* Grade school exam scores up; high school results flat

More than 80 percent of grade school students met expectations on the state reading, math and science exams they took last spring, up slightly from 79.8 percent a year ago and continuing the steady climb seen over the last five years.

In high school, 52.7 percent of students passed in math and 52.4 percent of students got over the bar in science — the highest pass rate recorded in the last seven years. But last year’s junior class posted lower scores in reading — 54 percent of students passed, down from 56.9 percent a year earlier.

* Illinois student performance mixed on tests

* Parents See Ups, Downs of Teacher Ratings

The Los Angeles Times published individual teacher ratings recently–they were based on the progress kids showed on state tests—and they sparked a boycott and protests.

In Chicago, Huberman wants to release similar information.

* School days shrinking in Illinois

The newspaper found only one district in Illinois offering 180 full days of school this year: Glenview Public School District 34.

* Ald. Stone retiring? Will announce plans today

* Burge accuser goes free

Victor Safforld said he confessed to two murders only because he was tortured by former Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge’s underlings.

And as the 39-year-old walked out a free man late Tuesday evening, he maintained his innocence, even though he pleaded guilty to one of the 1990 gang-related murders last spring.

* Fioretti: Turn McCormick Place East into a casino

Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) mentioned the 37-acre campus that formerly housed Michael Reese Hospital, the old Chicago Post Office and 67 acres of vacant land at Roosevelt and Clark once owned by convicted businessman and Rod Blagojevich fund-raiser Tony Rezko as possible sites for a permanent casino.

But, Fioretti is not prepared to wait for construction of a permanent casino to stop the parade of gamblers and tax revenues flowing to Indiana casinos.

That’s why he’s talking about turning the underutilized McCormick Place East building known as Lakeside Center into a temporary casino, assuming he can convince the General Assembly to go along.

* Sun-Times exits newspaper delivery business; Tribune takes over duties

* Chicago Communities Overlooked for Promise Neighborhood Grant

* McHenry board mulls spending additional $400,000

The list includes paying for rising healthcare costs for jail inmates, increased costs of psychological and special public defender services through court administration and several new positions in the county’s information technology department.

* Evanston aldermen unconcerned with Tisdahl, Arceneaux real estate transaction

* State OKs location for Eldamain Road bridge

* Red light cameras voted out in Lombard

* Elmhurst moves forward with search for answers to flooding

* Bartlett drug stores OK’d to sell liquor

* Oswego School Board battles questions of growth

* Elgin police to work with TV show to help solve case

* Sandwich names interim police chief

* RR Star: County should lead, say no to tax increase

* EPA OKs demolition of Moline nursing building

* East Moline schools to pay resigning superintendent an extra $40K

* Former ESL official denies lying about Swansea residence

* Candidate wins challenge, is sworn in as Washington Park mayor

* Sewer backups causing a stink in O’Fallon

* Simon’s widow carries on fight for clean water

* Evergreen Park man dies in Carbondale

Police continue to investigate what happened to an Evergreen Park High School graduate who died over the weekend in Carbondale, where he attends Southern Illinois University.

Dan Seidl, 21, died about 4 p.m. Sunday of brain trauma after he apparently fell from a roof earlier Sunday, SIU spokesman Rod Sievers said.

Sievers said Seidl was a journalism major in his sophomore year.

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   5 Comments      

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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2010

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Kirk unveils new ad: “Trust”

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* ‘Tis the season. We’ve got another one. Photos of Blagojevich and Burris, along with Broadway and Bright Start and higher taxes, oh, my. Rate it


Trust your money with Chicago politician Alexi Giannoulias?

Alexi misled families in the Bright Start college savings scandal.

Cost to them: $73 million.

Alexi’s risky loans helped trigger the Broadway Bank collapse.

Cost: $394 million.

And now to fund even bigger government, Giannoulias supports higher state and federal income taxes.

KIRK: I’m Mark Kirk and I approved this message because I will spend less, tax less, and borrow less to put Illinois back to work.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

Karl Rove’s TV ad mocks Giannoulias

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* Karl Rove’s tax exempt group American Crossroads has launched its new TV ad that attacks Alexi Giannoulias. “Friends don’t let friends vote Alexi” is the tagline. Make sure to watch

…Adding… They pulled the video down and reposted it. So, it’s fixed now.

The group has put $482,000 behind the ad for a single week in Chicago, Springfield and St. Louis. That’s almost twice as much as the Democrats are spending right now. And St. Louis means they’ve expanded the field of play…

In the 30-second spot, a cutout figure of Giannoulias careens in a cartoon sports car through a Chicago landscape as a voiceover says, “He’s quite a driver. He helped drive his family’s bank into a ditch,” a reference to his tenure at Broadway Bank, which later went in to federal receivership because of bad loans.

The ad also refers to the Bright Start college education fund, which Giannoulias was responsible for overseeing as state treasurer. The fund lost money due to poor investment decisions by an outside firm. Giannoulias has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in connection with the bank or the scholarship fund.

The Giannoulias campaign tried to get in front of the ad yesterday by predicting it would be a cheap shot. It’s actually a pretty solid ad, and, as you’d probably expect, well done. Probably too wordy, but the visuals keep you focused. Here’s what Giannoulias was quoted as saying

“I’m not surprised that Karl Rove, the architect of the same policies that drove our economy to the brink of collapse, is now bringing special interest money to bail out Mark Kirk,” Giannoulias said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Scott Lee Cohen’s new TV ad

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* I’m not sure yet when it’s going up or how many points are behind it, but let’s rate it

…Adding… A Chicago friend told me he saw the Cohen ad last night and this morning.

This is his second ad. We’ve already looked at the first one.

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** And here it comes: Brady tees off on Quinn

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* The AP is up with a short radio-style piece on Bill Brady’s media availability today. Check back because I expect more soon

Brady calls the [AFSCME “no layoffs] agreement a “secret deal” that’s scandalous because it comes shortly after an endorsement from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Brady says it’s also questionable that Quinn’s budget director was at the endorsement interview.

Subscribers already know about that second graf.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Hinz lets the cat out of the bag

As reported by Capitol Fax, state Budget Director David Vaught both negotiated the deal and accompanied the governor to a meeting with union officials to discuss its endorsement.

And adds…

Mr. Quinn said the new concessions, together with earlier concessions on pensions and other matters, amount to more than a $300-million savings for taxpayers. In comparison, he said, Mr. Brady has only a “secret” budget-cutting plan that could lead to increases in property and other taxes.

The deal is not and does not look bad, Mr. Quinn said. “Sometimes, a governor has to make tough decisions.”

But Mr. Brady termed the deal “unconscionable,” and called on Mr. Quinn not to sign the deal, which is expected to be finalized later this week.

…Adding… A friend sent me this earlier today after reading this morning’s subscriber edition…

The news about Vaught attending the AFSCME endorsement session reminded me of the scene from the Godfather when Frankie Pentangeli is getting ready to testify, and his brother shows up and sits in the back of the room, causing him to change his story. Vaught didn’t need to say anything in the meeting - the message was pretty clear.

I hate to say it, but Quinn really screwed up on this one. How is this any different from having the administration point person on a vendor contract be present at a political meeting when the vendor is asked to make a campaign contribution, and then the contract is approved a few days after the contribution is made? That would have the US Attorney all over it.

The scene in question

…Adding More… Pat Quinn’s Brain makes a funny

I have been fighting for reform all my life! When I cut a politically advantageous deal, it’s ethical because I said so!

*** UPDATE 2 *** Bill Brady campaign press release…

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Bill Brady today called on Pat Quinn to renounce a secret deal with state employee union leaders, calling it an apparent example of old pay-to-play politics that will cost taxpayers millions.

“This secret, backroom deal reminds voters of pay-to-play politics,” Brady said. “It ties the hands of the next governor to fix this economic catastrophe, and proves Pat Quinn is more concerned about his political crisis than our fiscal crisis.”

Reports yesterday revealed that Quinn’s office and leaders of AFSCME, the state employee union, struck a deal at almost the same time union leaders endorsed the Governor’s re-election bid. The deal mandates increased state pay hikes, job security and no layoff guarantees in exchange for promises of future, but limited budget efficiencies.

Brady also raised the fact that the state’s budget director apparently helped negotiate the deal and also sat in on the endorsement session.

“Illinois should be outraged that the same budget aide that received a $24,000 pay hike from Pat Quinn was present at a political endorsement session with the very union leaders with whom he’s negotiating an agreement that mandates even more pay hikes.

“Unfortunately, this is part of a disturbing pattern we’ve seen from Pat Quinn,” Brady said. “He should embrace every cost-cutting measure possible, work with union leaders to freeze salaries, and avoid eleventh hour, election-year agreements that lock in more pay hikes and job security guarantees in an arrangement that reminds voters of the very pay-to-play politics that I seek to end”

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Bringing it on themselves

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* House Speaker Michael Madigan usually takes no chances when it comes to his district. Madigan’s Republican opponents are generally friendlies that can be counted on to safely disappear.

This year’s self-sacrificing victim is Patrick John Ryan, whom the Republicans say “is a 30-year old resident of Chicago’s 13th Ward who voted in Democratic primaries until this year.” He has no campaign committee, which means he hasn’t raised any real money.

So, the Illinois Republican Party has decided to tweak Madigan and gin up some publicity by holding a “fundraiser” for his “opponent.” The party issued this tongue in cheek press release today

“We applaud Mr. Ryan for taking on such an enormous challenge of trying to unseat Speaker Madigan, and we want to show our support,” said Chairman Brady. “He’s definitely got the intestinal fortitude we look for in our Republican challengers. I’d just like to meet him.”

The “funder” is Thursday, September 30, at English, 444 N. LaSalle Boulevard, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm. Be there!

* State Sen. Randy Hultgren has brought this story on himself

In a year in which TARP has become a dirty word from coast to coast, most Republicans are ripping the government’s decision to bail out Wall Street through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

But one local congressional candidate can’t do that —because his day job is to market securities for a firm that offered investments backed by TARP and subsidized by another federal bailout program.

Hultgren has said he would’ve voted against TARP, and he denied that he was the lead marketer for the firm on TARP-backed securities. Here’s what his firm, PTIA, marketed…

One of the four funds offered by PTIA in the past year or so is known as Performance Trust TALF Fund Ltd. TALF stands for Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility. The TALF program was set up by the Federal Reserve Bank to help banks get toxic assets off their books by loaning those who would buy the securities up to 90% of the price at low interest rates — something that wealth adviser Carol Pepper described to Forbes Magazine as “an incredibly free lunch.”

And what about Hultgren’s flat-out denial that he was involved with marketing any of that? His firm threw him right under the bus…

But PTIA, in answer to written questions submitted by me, said, “Mr. Hultgren’s role has not changed.”

* And if you watch this video at work, make sure you have an understanding employer or you’ll be bringing some problems on yourself. It’s from Vote Naked Illinois and it’s ostensibly about encouraging early voting. As you might imagine, it’s also the most unusual Illinois political video I’ve ever seen. It’ll probably also become the most watched. The thing just went up yesterday and it has almost 3,000 views already. Take a peek

* A big down-ballot campaign roundup…

* Stark contrasts in 8th District race over abortion, guns

* 10th Dist. hopefuls back Metra’s STAR line

* Seals camp slams rival (a Christian) for attending event on Yom Kippur

* Schilling, Hare remain at odds on debating

* Schilling, Davis plan 3 debates; Hare still wants 2 on TV

* Deadline passes for scheduling more Hare, Schilling debates in 17th District race

* Treasurer candidate visits Jacksonville

* Pollak challenges Osmond for House seat

* 43rd House candidates debate budget fix

* 56th District rivals address ethics of campaign finance

* House 66 candidates call for limited spending, no tax hikes

* 91st race galvanizes over abortion issue

* Herald & Review: Flider’s campaign ad stoops too low

* Newcomer named in Kane County board race

* Candidates to take gloves off in debates

* Dist. 15 candidates talk about openness in Lake Co. government

* [McHenry] County sheriff hopefuls point out differences

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* Besides “jobs,” the economy, etc., what specific campaign issue would you like to see discussed more often this year by the gubernatorial and US Senate candidates? Explain.

- Posted by Rich Miller   39 Comments      

The story that won’t ever die; Brady says balancing budget is “simple,” and other silly things

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* The AP’s John O’Connor has the opposite of ADD. Once he gets on a story’s trail, he never, ever quits. So, here we go again

Just weeks after a convicted burglar was freed under a secret Illinois early prison-release program last fall, his parole officer learned he was a suspect in a violent battery case.

Instead of being locked back up, however, Darrell Bracey was on the street for another 11 weeks — during which time he was accused of a second beating and became the suspect in the alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl, according to internal and public records obtained by The Associated Press.

Corrections Director Michael Randle, who resigned this month after coming under criticism for the secret release program known as “MGT Push,” told the AP last spring that the sexual assault allegation was “horrible” and that he would investigate whether miscommunication inside the agency prevented agents from picking Bracey up sooner.

But now state officials refuse to say what they learned in the promised investigation or whether they have taken corrective steps.

Bracey’s timeline is here.

Bill Brady plans to do a media availability after today’s closed-door gubernatorial candidates forum. I imagine he’ll talk about O’Connor’s story and the AFSCME “no layoffs” deal which was finalized two days after the union endorsed Gov. Pat Quinn - and possibly my follow-up in this morning’s subscriber edition.

* In other news, Bill Brady told a McHenry County group that balancing the budget isn’t all that hard

“Balancing the budget is relatively simple,” Brady said. “Bottom line of it is, you can’t spend more than you have.”

Yeah. Simple. It’s really easy if you’re just looking at numbers on a piece of paper. Try putting those numbers into real, human terms, however, and that’s when it becomes difficult.

* During Saturday’s Right Nation 2010 to-do, Brady roused the crowd by saying “we have to end career politicians.” Watch him

Ungrammatical as that may be, Brady has been in the Illinois General Assembly all but two years since 1993. Billy, 15 years is a career.

* Brady also told the RN2010 crowd, “Unfortunately, we live in a state where there’s one city that might steal four or five points from ya’ the night before the election.” Have a look

The night before the election? That’s one powerful machine, baby. Not to mention that stealing that many votes in these times would be practically impossible. Doug Ibendahl is spot on

The stolen election in Chicago canard is a lame excuse Republicans have been using for years in Illinois as a way to distract from their own failures.

* Related and a roundup…

* Gov. Pat Quinn’s Deal With State Unions Bars Layoffs of Most State Employees

* Quinn questioned about timing of union deal, endorsements

* Tribune: Selling out Illinois

* Brady Questions Timing in Union Endorsement of Quinn

* Honesty In The Budget Debate

* Sweeny: Politicians who say taxes won’t go up are lying

* Pension discussion today

* State to rebuild I-57 bridge

* New report lauds benefits of high-speed rail

* Study: High-speed rail could create 57,000 jobs

* Legislator, transit agencies at odds over reports

* Senator skewers Metra consultant fees

* Oases foreclosure saga ends with new leasee

* Union carpenters at McCormick Place make peace with convention organizers

* Nursing home sweeps find residents with arrest warrants

* New lottery managers promise more games, more retailers, more profits

* Hasara earns $60K as state lottery adviser

* Friday: Snag a Rebate on New Appliances

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Dart jabs at Emanuel and others who are “in it for the money”

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* Sheriff Tom Dart previewed his campaign a bit yesterday by taking a not-so-subtle swing at Rahm Emanuel

“There are too many people that gravitate toward politics that are in it for the ego; quite a few of them are in it for the money,” Dart said.

“I remember my father — he told me a long time ago, ‘If you are serious about a political career, Tom, you cannot be serious about making money. And he actually was much more in favor of me making money,” Dart said to laughter at the gathering of 260 “Women for Dart.” […]

“I made no money,” Dart said. “There were quite a few attorneys when I was down there in Springfield, who were legislators. I was one of two or three who did not practice law. My sole income was out of the Legislature, a whopping 30-some thousand a year. [I had a] 700-square-foot house and a dog, and I was happy.”

His father referred to him as “My son who lives in abject poverty” but Dart said, “If you’re serious about politics, you’re serious about government, you can’t be in it to try to make money. If your dreams are having multiple houses and cars and the rest of it, you’re in the wrong business and you need to get out of it. The people like that are the ones destroying it for everybody else and it’s really horrible.”

After Emanuel left the Clinton White House and before he ran for Congress, he made big bucks helping put together the ComEd/Exelon deal, among other things. And, of course, Emanuel’s ego is beyond legendary.

* Congressman Danny Davis becomes the latest to kinda sorta toss his hat into the mayoral ring. From a press release…

As a result of discussions with a large number of individual citizens, groups, elected officials and clergy from diverse sections of the city, I have decided to formally explore the possibility of running for Mayor of the City of Chicago.

The retirement of Mayor Daley will leave a tremendous leadership void and I feel that the city must be organized, united and structured with leadership that will embrace the thoughts, ideas, hopes and aspirations of all people and all communities throughout the city.

Chicago, like most large urban centers throughout the nation is plagued with a plethora of problems; therefore, it is going to need solutions oriented leadership, leadership willing to face realities head on, willing to engage the people, willing to assemble the most talented people that can be found and willing to listen.

I believe that I can pull it together. Therefore, we begin circulating nominating petitions today.

* Carol Moseley Braun is trying to shut down her federal campaign account, but the FEC won’t let her because she still owes more than $262,000 in unpaid debts

The other debts from that 2004 campaign include almost $90,000 to a Washington law firm, about $76,000 to the committee’s accounting firm and almost $13,000 to East Lake Group Inc. for office rent. East Lake is led by Elzie Higginbottom, a prominent Chicago political fundraiser.

Moseley Braun said the lawyers and accountants want to waive those debts but the FEC would not allow it. “They were perfectly happy not to ask me for any of it,” she said. “If I have a winning lottery ticket, I will try to pay them back just because they were so nice.”

Braun made her announcement yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, even though the hotel union has authorized a strike. And she said she will bow out of the race it if turns nasty

Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun kicked off her “almost candidacy” for mayor Monday with a warning that she won’t get in the wide-open contest if it becomes “divisive.”

“If it gets nasty and there’s name calling and scurrilous allegations, I’m not going to be a part of that,” Braun said.

* Sandi Jackson, another unannounced but possible candidate, was supposed to appear with her husband yesterday to hand out 1,500 free chickens to constituents and talk about jobs. A bit Hooveresque, no? Anyway, Congressman Jackson didn’t show. He had a stomach ailment, Mrs. Jackson said. I would too if I knew that Sun-Times story was coming.

…Adding… No surprise. Fioretti says he’ll circulate, Ald. Joe Moore says he’s probably a no-go

“Petitions will be circulated in all 50 wards in the next couple of days,” said Ald. Robert Fioretti, who also has petitions out for re-election as 2nd Ward alderman while he weighs his options. “We are starting a fund-raising campaign.” […]

“Barring some unforeseen event, I am running for re-election,” Moore said. The Rogers Park alderman is one of the council’s leading independent voices.

* Roundup…

* Possible mayoral candidates gather signatures

* New entries, departures in mayoral derby

* 2 Big Names Move Closer To Mayoral Bids

* Dart Decision on Mayoral Run in Weeks, Not Days

* Moseley Braun declares ‘almost candidacy’ for mayor

* Braun tests water; Chico, Flores jump in mayor’s race

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

*** UPDATED x4 - JACKSON APOLOGIZES *** Sun-Times report spells big trouble for Jesse Jackson, Jr.

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* Uh-oh

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities. […]

…[Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak] said he had a critical conversation with the congressman about the seat while the two were alone. Nayak, also a former Blagojevich fund-raiser, said that Jackson asked him to tell Blagojevich that if the then-governor appointed Jackson to the U.S. Senate, Chicago’s Indian community would raise $1 million for Blagojevich and — after Jackson was appointed — Jackson would raise $5 million for the then-governor.

The Oak Brook businessman had been in Washington for a bill signing regarding U.S.-India relations. Jackson picked up Nayak from the White House, where they posed for a picture together. The photo was entered into evidence during Blagojevich’s summer trial.

Methinks somebody just brought it on.

* And then there’s this seemingly tawdry angle…

Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a “social acquaintance” of the Democratic congressman at Jackson’s request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.

The FBI interviewed that acquaintance — a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro — about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. […]

[Huidobro] also said she flew to Chicago on several occasions at Jackson’s request and that Jackson sometimes reimbursed her for her travels.

Nayak told the FBI that he paid for two airline trips for Huidobro from Washington to Chicago in 2008.

* The Southtown editorializes

Now, new revelations suggest that an Indian-American businessman, Raghuveer Nayak, was doing favors of another kind for Jackson.

A Chicago Sun-Times report today that Nayak - the same political fundraiser who told federal authorities he agreed to help Jackson get the Senate seat - bought airline tickets for a restaurant hostess to visit Jackson in Chicago paints Jackson as a sleazy wheeler dealer with friends to get him anything his heart desired.

* Phil Kadner gets to what’s really important here

Here’s what we know for sure: A meeting between Rod Blagojevich and Jackson did take place on Dec. 8, 2008, at which the Senate seat was discussed.

And the next day Blagojevich was arrested by FBI agents for, among other things, trying to sell the Senate seat.

Mess with the bull, get the horn.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Ms. Huidobro is also a model and has served as a “host” for her modeling agency, according to its website.

*** UPDATE 2 *** The Tribune confirms most of the Nayak stuff with their own sources.

*** UPDATE 3 *** Congressman Jackson responds…

“The allegations about fundraising and the Senate seat are not new. I’ve already talked with the authorities about these claims, told them they were false, and no charges have been brought against me. The very idea of raising millions of dollars for a campaign other than my own is preposterous. My interest in the Senate seat was based on years of public service, which I am proud of, not some improper scheme with anyone.

“The reference to a social acquaintance is a private and personal matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago. I ask that you respect our privacy.

“I know I have disappointed some supporters and for that I am deeply sorry. But I remain committed to serving my constituents and fighting on their behalf.”

Well, he pretty much just confirmed the “social acquaintance” angle. The media should be commencing with the feeding frenzy any moment now.

…Adding… Just for fun

…Adding More… From a commenter…

I’m having trouble balancing JJJ’s request to “bring it on” with his latest missive to “respect our privacy.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** Sandi Jackson

“Today’s disclosure, one that my family and I have been privately addressing for several months, is a very private, painful and unfortunate situation. Therefore, I would hope that the public will respect our ongoing personal handling and healing from this matter,'’ she said in the statement.

* Related…

* No-Show Jackson to Make Mayoral Announcement

* Sandi Jackson: Jesse’s More Likely to Run

* Sandi Jackson Avoids Blagojevich Questions

* Ald. Sandi Jackson: Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and I are Talking About Running for Mayor of Chicago

* Sneed: New gig for Rod Blagojevich: Blago — who is desperate to support his family and fund additional lawyers for his upcoming trial — has inked a deal for major bucks to star in a national commercial.

- Posted by Rich Miller   112 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** New TV ad blasts Kirk on unemployment, minimum wage, pay hikes

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* The DSCC is spending about $250K on this ad blasting Mark Kirk. Rate it

The NRSC has committed $3.4M in coordinated campaign funds for Kirk. It shouldn’t be too long before we start seeing that cash. We’re running out of time.


We’ve heard a lot about Mark Kirk’s problems lately…

But Kirk doesn’t know much about ours.

On unemployment, Kirk said, “I’ve heard very little…I have a very high-income district.”

And voted six times against extending benefits for laid-off workers. And five times to block increasing the minimum wage.

While voting to raise his own pay six times.

Congressman Mark Kirk. The problem is him.

From the Kirk campaign…

The DSCC ad does not mention the quote they reference was from over two years ago - June 2008 - when unemployment stood at 5.5 % according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (GOP Rallies on Unemployment, Roll Call, June 16, 2008)

Mark Kirk has voted to extend unemployment benefits eight times… Mark Kirk has said he would vote to extend unemployment benefits again if the legislation did not add to the debt or raise taxes.

Mark Kirk broke with his party to support raising the minimum wage to its current level.

[Pay raise claim] This is a tired and misleading attack that uses procedural votes that have nothing to do with Congressional pay increases. According to the Congressional Research Service: “There are no provisions for funding the salaries of Member in the Treasury and General Government Appropriations bill. Member salaries are funded in a permanent appropriations account of the legislative branch in the Federal Budget.”

On up or down votes specifically dealing with congressional pay, Mark Kirk voted for a congressional pay freeze all four times.

The DSCC ad makes no mention of the fact that Alexi Giannoulias’ pay increased over $20,000 from 2007 to 2009 - even though he pledged not to accept any pay increase when he ran for Treasurer in 2006.

As I’ve been telling subscribers, pay raises have become a gigantic issue in this campaign season for both sides.

*** UPDATE *** Speaking of pay raises, Giannoulias responds…

In response to an ad that highlights how completely out of touch he is with the effects of his disastrous economic agenda, Congressman Kirk responded the only way he knows how — with a lie.

“Alexi pledged not to take a pay raise, and he did just that,” said Alexi for Illinois campaign spokesman Scott Burnham. “Annual salaries of constitutional officers are determined by the State Legislature. Alexi has reimbursed his pay raise back to the State of Illinois for every year he has been in office.”

Giannoulias has returned $19,280.03.

* Related…

* Donor Names Remain Secret as Rules Shift: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies would certainly seem to the casual observer to be a political organization: Karl Rove, a political adviser to President George W. Bush, helped raise money for it; the group is run by a cadre of experienced political hands; it has spent millions of dollars on television commercials attacking Democrats in key Senate races across the country. Yet the Republican operatives who created the group earlier this year set it up as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, so its primary purpose, by law, is not supposed to be political.

* Kirk: Voters Don’t Know Why Senate Race Is Key

* Former Illinois GOP leaders: 2010 is the new 1994

* Brown: Senate could give immigrant chance to serve

* Illegal Immigrant Students Rally For DREAM Act

* In B-N, Kirk says 60-day Senate term vital

* Illinois U.S. Senate Candidates Debate TARP Funds

* Kirk advocates early end to federal TARP

* Kirk: Ex-Gov. Ryan doesn’t deserve to be released from prison early

* National attention to focus on Illinois Senate race, Kirk thinks

* Sen. Burris denied bid to serve out remainder of term

* Sen. Burris denied final months of term

* Court denies Burris request to stop election

* Supreme Court: Sen Roland Burris Doesn’t Get to be in Senate Special Election

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Morning Shorts

Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

* 2 Men Shot Outside Preckwinkle’s Office

* DEA: Chicago a Top Hub for Mexican Drug Cartels

* Slain Boy’s Mother Pleads For Leads

* Illinois soldier based in North Carolina killed on 9th tour

* Two events to honor fallen Antioch soldier

Richard “Joe” Jordan was one of those “shirt off his back” guys, always smiling and trying to help, according to friends.

That spirit will be rekindled Oct. 8 and 9 in Antioch with a pair of memorial events for the Army staff sergeant who died last March in a vehicle rollover while on duty in Iraq.

* Former Chicago Heights mayor honored

* Report criticizes response to fire that killed firefighter

The report cites several errors including ineffective fire control tactics, insufficient staffing and failure to recognize and react to deteriorating conditions.

* Homewood Fire Department assailed in report on firefighter’s death

* Corn crop in great shape

“As bad as last year’s was, this year is almost exactly 180 degrees,” said John Hawkins, spokesman for the Illinois Farm Bureau.

* Whittier Elementary School sit-in enters Day 6

Parents, children and activists have occupied a field house at Whittier Elementary School around the clock since Wednesday. CPS says the building is unsafe and must be demolished because there is no money for renovations, but protesters insist it could be converted into a library for less than the cost of demolition.

* Whittier Field House Sit-In Attracts Political Support

* NU med school gets $45M bailout

* School districts cut back on driver’s ed classes

* Laborers Union proposes $10 recycling fee

* Appeals court gives Chicago OK to take cemetery

The historical graveyard is at the center of both a runway under construction and a legal dispute between the city and relatives of people buried there.

The 2nd District appellate court’s decision Friday means Chicago can continue with relocating graves, although it’s possible families and St. John’s United Church of Christ in Bensenville, the landowners, will appeal the decision.

* St. Charles mayor optimistic about $30M bridge

* Parks’ shortfall at $22M; union concessions, fee hikes possible

* McHenry County College enrollment grows again, sets record

* Plans Back To Square One For DuPage Muslim Center

* Evergreen Park trustees reject settlement on retirement home

* Batavia considering rental-unit licensing

* Barrington Hills readies for final round of lighting debate

* Des Plaines approves firefighter raises

* Who wins in [Rockford] mayor vs. council squabble?

* Report: Crime in Rockford at 4-year low in 2009

* Freeport back in the black

* Ten E.M. employees to lose their jobs

* Quincy negotiates for lower electric rates at city-owned facilities

* Quincy teachers ‘overwhelmingly’ reject contract offer

* [Peoria] City manager worries linger as budget work looms

* Mayor: Eureka ‘dropped ball’ on boil order

* Danville school board to vote on union contracts

* Union group will protest at UI trustees meeting

* Springfield alderman recommends cutting his own county job

* Officials hope to revamp convention center; expansion plans on hold

* Prosecutors in vote fraud trial try to pinpoint exactly where ESL councilman lives

* Local mayors, legislators set to discuss regional issues

* Jordan to fill West Frankfort mayor post

* Southern: Get involved in region-wide planning for ‘destination’ success

- Posted by Barton Lorimor   1 Comment      

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Tuesday, Sep 21, 2010

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* 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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