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“Fraud at Polls!!!”

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2012

* House Speaker Michael Madigan defeated Michele Piszczor 76-17 yesterday, but that didn’t stop Piszczor from claiming she was robbed

“I know he cheated,” Piszczor said to Progress Illinois in the Marriott lobby.

“If I lost fair and square, OK. The fact that you cheated to get to where you’re at, no, you didn’t win.” […]

“They’re over here soliciting votes, sitting there literally guarding the door,” she said, referring to at least five people standing or sitting in front of the polling location at 10 a.m.

“It’s unbelievable. They approach voters like hound dogs. It’s illegal. They can’t be doing this.”

* Mark Brown was also in Madigan’s district yesterday

While I didn’t observe any cheating Tuesday except perhaps the usual electioneering too close to the polling place, it was evident that Madigan’s old-fashioned patronage army was pushing extra hard to bring in good numbers for the boss. That type of effort that has been known to lead to excesses, but it doesn’t explain losing 76 to 17.

I’m not suggesting Piszczor wasted her time in challenging Madigan.

There’s certainly a value to making sure no politician takes his constituents for granted, as some voters I met Tuesday complained of Madigan.

Others told me they might have considered voting for an alternative if only he’d had a more serious opponent than Piszczor.

Brown’s conclusion is something that I think I share

I’m as eager as anybody for Madigan, who turns 70 next month, to ride off into the sunset — if only to give us a fresh start in Springfield.

But portraying him as the all powerful cartoon villain from whom all evil flows in Illinois government is also an overly simplistic rewrite of history. Madigan helped get Illinois into this mess, but he also may be the best person to help get us out.

* Meanwhile, Carol Marin didn’t think much of Toni Preckwinkle’s win-loss record

Toni Preckwinkle is a rare popular politician at a time when voter love is in scarce supply. Even so, in Tuesday’s primary, the coattails of the first-term president of the Cook County Board couldn’t carry some of the high-profile candidates she endorsed.

Preckwinkle’s candidate for Illinois Supreme Court, Joy Cunningham, lost resoundingly to Mary Jane Theis.

Her candidate for Cook County Circuit Court clerk, Ricardo Munoz, was soundly defeated by incumbent Dorothy Brown.

Her pick for the 8th Congressional District seat, Raja Krishnamoorthi, lost to Tammy Duckworth.

A bright spot for Preckwinkle, however, was winning a fight on her Hyde Park home turf, where her chosen candidate, Christian Mitchell, was leading against Kenny Johnson in the 26th District state House race. […]

For Preckwinkle, Tuesday night was not a night of addition.

Preckwinkle also backed Rudy Lozano, who lost the 21st House District race to Silvana Tabares.

That Hyde Park win came at a very high cost. Preckwinkle spent a fortune and had to deploy just about every resource she had to drag Christian Mitchell across the finish line, even though Kenny Johnson had some serious problems in his background

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s night went considerably better. He backed Rep. Toni Berrios in her close win over progressive Will Guzzardi. Rep. Kelly Cassidy raised a lot of money for her winning primary effort partly because of Emanuel’s efforts. The mayor also supported Ald. Deb Graham against Congressman Danny Davis for 29th Ward Democratic Committeeman and Graham defied all expectations by beating Davis 51.5 to 48.5. Emanuel did some robocalls for Christian Mitchell, was totally instrumental in Justice Theis’ Supreme Court victory, helped Duckworth, etc. Not bad at all.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Publius - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Lesson: Don’t challenge the speaker as it will end badly for you. When you lose be graceful about it and don’t claim fraud.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if her garbage is never picked up ever again.

  2. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    Thanks for covering this Rich.

    I know that t.v. reporters in particular have a hard time filling airtime while the polls are open and the day after, but these stories about alleged impropriety are crazy.

    Yard signs get stomped on Election Day. Door hangers get ripped off. The other guy has more bodies, or he’s paying them.

    This is true in every single election in Illinois. Its not news.

    That’s not to say that there is no news around GOTV:

    1) When election judges are committing fraud, that’s news.

    2) When campaigns interfere or attempt to intimidate voters from exercising their right to vote, that’s news.

    3) Vote-buying is news.

    But 1, 2 and 3 hardly ever happen in my view.

  3. - Emanuel Collective - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    Part of being a serious candidate is recognizing the disadvantage you are placed in, and responding to it productively. Part of being a serious politician is taking a loss with grace. Piszczor’s constant accusations of illegaility and cheating even after a blowout loss cost her dearly on both counts.

  4. - Observing - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    This whiney, bratty rant from Piszczor only adds more proof to the fact that she was in way over head and lacks the maturity to be taken seriously. She didn’t lose by a few votes. She got freaking annihilated by the best ground game in Illinois. Time to grow up and get on with your life.

  5. - Boone's is Back - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:50 pm:

    I think this takes a lot of wind out of Preckwinkle’s sails. Even with Christian Mitchell’s win she had a mutany on her hands in Hyde Park with pols like Kwame Raoul endorsing Johnson. I think she also lost some credibility with suburban voters by picking Raja and Lozano. Tammy was unstoppable with female voters and Lozano came off as a communist to many of the dems in the Western Suburbs.

  6. - Anon - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    Preckwinkle also backed Annazette Collins.

  7. - titan - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:07 pm:

    Whatever your opinon of the Speaker, one has to recognize that he is exceedingly detail oriented and leaves nothing to chance - as does his remarkable organization (full of very dedicated, bright and hard-working up and comers).
    It seems moer likely that they would grind out a big win like this on the level - just to amply demonstrate to everyone that they can.
    Lesson here - kitty cats should not poke the lion.

  8. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:08 pm:

    Speaking of which, did Pat Quinn have any “skin in the game” yesterday, or was he neutral in all of these races?

  9. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:12 pm:

    Yes, we should all call Piszczor a young whiny brat and ridicule her for making an effort to run for public office, even an ill-advised run against the most power politician in Illinois.

    From what I’ve read, her signs got stolen and the thief, caught red handed working for the opposition was not arrested or charged. She alleged her car tires were slashed and that she was followed and stalked. A Hispanic group lead by someone who had 17 members of his extended family working public jobs demanded that she return all of her paltry political donations, which were dwarfed by her opponent.

    And now she is being criticized for not being gracious in defeat?

    When she first ran, she should have expected the dirty tricks, the stolen signs, because that is the Illinois way of doing things for a long long time and any complaints to the contrary are laughed at?

    THAT will teach her to attempt to participate in our democratic process in Illinois! Shame on her for even trying!

    Well, let me be the lone voice here. Good try kid! Don’t give up on the process. Run for something else in the future.

  10. - Curious - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:12 pm:

    It pains me to say it but have to agree with Boone’s and Marin. The lengths Preckwinkle went to win a state rep seat in her home turf only to pull out that close a race against someone with big negatives is weak. She may have lost valuable allies in the process. Loyalty is one thing, but her political team needs a shake up. She can’t keep making these same mistakes because it will cost her in the long run. Does this put a damper on those rumors that she’s being courted to run for governor?

  11. - Jasper - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    Preckwinkle needs to decide if she wants to be reformer. If she does, then supporting some 25 year old who’s primary line on his resume is “Supports 4th Ward” is not going to help. Will Burns was also heavily in on that race too and it is not going to help his reputation either.

    If Toni decides she’s going to be an old fashioned politician, then she’s got to get better at it. 52/48 when the candidate is also backed by Rahm and the opponent has major tax problems? That’s not a good result. Instead, it says that next time a candidate without baggage can win. If you are going to be a major political force, you need to put up margins big enough that people don’t want to take you on.

  12. - Reely? - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    Not sure how you can say Emanuel “backed” Toni Berrios? If saying, yes I support her (because I’m deathly afraid of crossing her father) then yes, he supported her. Did Emanuel have anyone in the field for Toni either before or on Election Day?

    Also, speaking of Quinn, he was in for Berrios, Collins, Lisa Hernandez, Luzano and Mitchell (not like preckwinkle at all tho).. I heard he had vols out in Berrios district, in 42 for Mitchell, In Collins district and in Hernandez district. The Collins gamble fell thru for him and will prob cost him. Luzano not as much.

    Also, mixed night for Jesse. Heard there’s Fear running thru his org. Big question is - who replaces smith on the ballot and through Nov.

  13. - Regular Reader - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    When Piszczor said that Mike Madigan is the most corrupt politician in Illinois history, everything she said thereafter became suspect to me.

    I’m sure Madigan really needed to slash Piszczor’s tires, hire stalkers, and intimidate voters to win against her.

  14. - mark walker - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:07 pm:

    “We lost 76-17 because the other team cheated, and the ref must have been like blind.”


  15. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    I’m also tired of Piszczor’s constant complaining. If you’re going to run in the big leagues, don’t cry when they play hardball.

  16. - Observing - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:37 pm:

    ==And now she is being criticized for not being gracious in defeat?==

    You got it. And with comments like “I know he cheated”, she comes off as nothing more than the petulant child she is. Feel free to continue to defend that, if it suits your fancy.

  17. - The Captain - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:49 pm:

    Did you guys expect that the person who would take on Speaker Madigan was a rational person who behaves and reacts rationally?

  18. - Ron Gorn - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    Piszcors’ childish attitude is just that. If she were to handle herself with class when she was beat fair and square(out organized, spent, and intellectually) she would be perceived as an adult woman. I really hope I have heard the last of her nonsense..

  19. - just sayin' - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 3:50 pm:

    Go away Michele Piszczor. The sour grapes aren’t helping you.

  20. - Bill F. - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:18 pm:

    This Mitchell narrative here ignores that Johnson, 1) was in his third run in five years, 2) had no small amount of resources, and 3) was backed by Jesse Jr., Sandi, Brendan Reilly, Bob Fioretti, Kwame Raoul, Danny Davis, AFSCME, CTU, IFT…

    You can argue about Preckwinkle’s internal politics all you want, it was a big win for Mitchell.

  21. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:19 pm:

    I didn’t know the election was called in favor of Berrios. She’s my state rep. I remember her 2010 race, in which she beat the Green Party’s Jeremy Karpen. I don’t remember the exact numbers, but I think Karpen did quite well and got around 35% of the vote(?) or possibly less. I figured this race would also be close, but not this close.

    Her possible/apparent survival in this contest should bode better for her in the November election, in which she will possibly face a Green Party candidate or some independent.

  22. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:34 pm:

    I would like to briefly comment about the low voter turnuot. A story just came out about Romney’s campaign, that he was saying he could just start over during the general election. His campaign staff just said something like this, too. This probably turns off a lot of voters and could be why so few voted. So we’re going to see more flip-flopping and pandering from Romney if he is the nominee? He thinks voters will just forget what he’s been saying? That can’t be good for him.

  23. - 26th district armchair quarterback - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 4:47 pm:

    @Bill F.

    Johnson may have had some resources but you can’t argue that Preckwinkle failed to pull out all the stops for Mitchell. There are not many 25 year old state rep candidates out there that can raise over $400k nor get the endorsements Mitchell enjoyed. Preckwinkle and Burns’ fingerprints are all over that one.

    They both wasted a lot of money and political capital on a race they could have had for free, had they run Kim du Buclet in the race.

  24. - zatoichi - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 5:06 pm:

    52-48 - Hey, he cheated! OK, maybe.
    76-17 - Hey, he cheated! Say what?

  25. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 8:59 pm:

    When is John Kass going to realize that Michelle is just all a part of the Combine Plot?

    Seriously, I hope she was a “consultant” to her campaign and banked some of that Roeser money.

  26. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 9:49 pm:

    In the Berrios-Guzzardi race there was a district-wide endorsement letter from Rahm was sent asking voters to support Toni Berrios last week, as well as a robo call.

  27. - earl - Wednesday, Mar 21, 12 @ 10:24 pm:

    In Chicago,it’s not an election-it’s an appointment by a well run machine.Get use to it or get out.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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