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*** UPDATED x1 - Davis responds *** DCCC uses George Ryan, government jobs to whack Rodney Davis

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The DCCC has begun a $230,000 television buy in the Champaign market. The ad blasts Republican Rodney Davis for working for George Ryan and being on the disgraced former governor’s “clout list of political favors.” According to the ad, Davis is a “career insider” who has “taken nearly one million dollars in taxpayer-funded salaries.”

* From Roll Call

Illinois remains a target-rich environment for Democrats, who tried to put more House seats in play in their redraw of the Congressional map last year. The DCCC has reserved millions in TV ad time in markets across the state.

That’s why it’s notable Democrats started their Illinois ad campaign in the 13th district. The party’s preferred candidate lost the primary to emergency room doctor David Gill, who just joined the ranks of the DCCC’s Red to Blue program earlier this month.

As I told you earlier today, Davis is running a positive intro spot at the moment.

* Rate the DCCC’s ad

*** UPDATE *** The Davis campaign responds…

Today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a false, negative, misleading attack ad on Rodney Davis. Here are some of the misleading claims:

Misleading Claim #1: “Rodney Davis, he was right in the middle of it (George Ryan’s corruption.)”

Fact: Rodney Davis began working for the Secretary of State’s office as a fellow right out of college. He was a low-level employee who was only there for a short time and never had a connection to any wrongdoing.

Unlike David Gill, who appeared with Governor Rod Blagojevich in a thinly-disguised campaign rally, paid for by Illinois taxpayers, as a candidate for Congress in 2004. (Kurt Erickson, “Governor stumps for drug plan,Pantagraph, 10/26/04)

Misleading Claim #2: “named on the infamous George Ryan Clout List of political favors.”

Fact: Rodney Davis was added to Scott Fawell’s “master list” without his approval, consent, or knowledge. He never asked for a favor, job, or political help. The list included numerous people, both Republicans and Democrats, who had nothing to do with corruption.

Governor Rod Blagojevich also kept a clout list that included President Obama and Gill supporter Senator Dick Durbin, neither of whom have been accused of any wrongdoing.

Misleading Claim #3: “given a job in Governor George Ryan’s office.”

Fact: Rodney Davis never worked for Governor George Ryan. He was an employee in the Secretary of State’s office until 1997, two full years before Ryan became Governor.

Misleading Claim #4: “taken nearly $1 million in taxpayer funded salaries.”

Fact: Rodney Davis has been serving his community and has a strong understanding of the issues facing our communities. He lives here and works here and understands the challenges residents of the district face.


Question of the day

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Eric Zorn is unimpressed with the IL GOP’s “Fire Madigan” slogan

So, more realistically, the slogan should be “Demote Michael Madigan” — an exhortation to voters throughout Illinois to elect six more Republican representatives than they did in 2010, thus shifting the balance of power to the GOP and handing the speaker’s gavel to House Minority Leader Tom Cross of Oswego.

But even that slogan carries more than a whiff of futility. Since the election of 2010, Democrats redrew the Illinois legislative map to all but guarantee that Madigan, 70, will be speaker as long he likes.

So how about, “Save Illinois: Impose Term Limits on Legislative Leadership Positions and Thereby Deny Michael Madigan a Lifetime Job as Unelected, Defacto Leader of Illinois“?

It wouldn’t fit well on a dog T-shirt, I realize. But it’s an idea I’m guessing the public would like.

Um, OK. Obviously, Eric didn’t go to advertising school.

* The Question: What should be the Illinois Republican Party’s official slogan?


*** UPDATED x2 - Scott Walker piles on *** S&P lowers Illinois rating a notch - Quinn wants leaders meeting in early September

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This wasn’t the much-feared double-downgrade. S&P’s action still leaves the state in investment grade territory, but just barely

Continuing pension problems have earned Illinois another reduction in its credit rating.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services announced Wednesday that it is lowering Illinois’ rating a notch. The decision is based on weak funding for government pensions and a “lack of action on reform measures.”

* The official statement also warned about the expiration of the income tax hike

-Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its rating on Illinois’ general obligation (GO) bonds to ‘A’ from ‘A+’. At the same time, Standard & Poor’s assigned its ‘A’ rating to the state’s $50 million GO bonds of September 2012. The outlook is negative.

“The downgrade reflects the state’s weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels and diminish cost pressures associated with annual contributions,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Robin Prunty. “The downgrade also reflects continued financial weakness despite significant measures in the past two years to improve structural budget performance,” added Ms. Prunty.

The negative outlook reflects the potential for further erosion of the state’s pension funds during the two-year outlook horizon and the uncertainty and risk to future budget performance due to the expiration of personal and corporate income tax rate increases on Jan. 1, 2015, which we believe could weaken financial operating results.

* Gov. Pat Quinn tries to get ahead of the blame curve with an early statement…

“Today’s action is no surprise.

“Over and over again this summer, I made clear that if we do not act on pension reform, the state of Illinois would suffer the consequences. Now it has.

”Eliminating our $83 billion unfunded pension liability is vital to getting our financial house in order. Today’s action by Standard & Poor’s is more evidence that we must act.

“I cannot act alone. We must work together to make the tough decisions necessary to correct poor financial decisions made by previous governors and legislatures over decades that created this situation today.

“We cannot fix these challenges overnight but, as we have shown with the Fiscal Year 2013 budget by reducing our Medicaid liability by more than $2 billion, paying down $1.3 billion in bills, and taking discretionary spending to below 2008 levels, steady progress can lead Illinois to sound financial footing.

“The only thing standing between Illinois and comprehensive pension reform is politics.

“We must put politics aside. Pointing fingers will not resolve this problem. Inaction on pension reform is unacceptable and unfair to our children.

“We must address the unfunded pension liability and we can only do it together. I am inviting the four legislative leaders to a meeting in early September to work on pension reform. Illinois cannot move forward without it.”

The governor didn’t call a leaders’ meeting for most of the summer. Now, he appears to be hoping that the downgrade will move people off the mark. Don’t bet on it.

*** UPDATE 1 *** The two Republican legislative leaders have released a joint statement that attempts to avoid any blame…

“When the Democrats adjourned the special session on pensions two weeks ago, we stood together and said we should not leave Springfield until we pass comprehensive pension reform to address our crisis. We continue to be ready to address the problem, armed with ideas and solutions that could work. We cannot wait until after the election, or even after the Governor’s grassroots’ tour. The time for action is now. S & P’s downgrade today cited our ‘lack of action on reform measures’. This is a clear signal that we must work on a comprehensive bill that solves our pension problem—not a piecemeal approach. The blame game must end, let’s get to work.”

*** UPDATE 2 *** Our neighbor to the north kicks us while we’re down

“There could not be a more stark contrast between Wisconsin and Illinois,” Walker said in a statement response to the rating. […]

“Political leaders in Illinois kicked the can down the road,” Walker said Wednesday, “raised taxes, and ignored fiscal realities. Now, they’re realizing the consequences of their actions: credit downgrades and negative outlooks.”

If taxes hadn’t been raised to Wisconsin-like levels, our fiscal problems would now be infinitely worse.

…Adding… The AP adds some context. Is Walker still upset over his recent thumping by Illinois?

Walker has tried to use Illinois’ economic problems to lure businesses to his state. Last week, though, Illinois landed an aerospace company that Walker was courting.


Expand it or kill it?

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Two opposing views on gaming expansion. First up, Chuck Sweeny of the Rockford Register-Star

Government doesn’t tell us what kind of movies we can see, where we can go out to eat, or what kind of band or orchestra music we can hear. It doesn’t say which communities can have bowling alleys and which can’t.

All these things are forms of entertainment, as is gambling. It should be the people’s choice. The current gambling laws are arbitrary. For instance, the state runs a lottery business that wastes Illinoisans’ time at gas station/convenience stores. Did you ever stand in line for 10 minutes to pay for gas, behind three people buying a combined total of 110 lottery tickets?

The state allows “charitable” bingo games and “charitable” casino nights. It allows 10 casinos to operate. It allows betting at horse racing tracks.

And now, the state is allowing bars, fraternal clubs and veterans’ groups to have legal gambling machines. (Many bars and clubs have gambling machines now, but any payoffs are made under the table.)

Why not just let the market decide how much and what kind of gambling Illinois should have? The market is efficient at sorting these things out. For instance, as Best Buy fumbles, but along comes h.h. gregg to take up the slack. K-mart slows, but Walmart grows. No politicians decided these things; shoppers did.

* Next, John Kass at the Tribune

“When government put casinos in to raise revenue, they’re betting on their people to lose. When a government bets on you to lose, what does that say about the government?”

Whom do you agree with and why?

* Meanwhile, subscribers already have my take on this

Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed a major gambling expansion Tuesday, setting up a post-election session in which new casinos could be tied to reforms of the state’s out-of-whack government worker retirement system.

Buried deep in his veto message to lawmakers, the Democratic governor said legislators should shift their focus from slot machines to what he called “the most pressing issue of our time” — pension reform.

“Illinois cannot gamble its way out of our fiscal challenges,” Quinn wrote. “Even a casino on every street corner cannot repair the state’s $83 billion unfunded pension liability.”

For Quinn, a long-in-the-works gambling expansion provides potential leverage when the General Assembly returns to the Capitol at the end of November. If enough lawmakers want casinos and the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars to spend, Quinn could try to strike a deal in exchange for comprehensive cost-cutting to the state’s struggling pension systems.

* And this

At least some horse racing officials are optimistic. In the past, Quinn has opposed slot machines at racetracks and indicated he’s not willing to compromise on it. That didn’t come up in his veto message Tuesday, and Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Michael Campbell doesn’t think the machines are off the table.

“The horsemen are grateful to the governor that he did not mention slots at tracks as something he finds objectionable in the gaming bill and that he has signaled he is comfortable with additional gaming at the tracks to help our industry,” Campbell said in a statement. “Based on private conversations that we have had with him, we believe that is the case.”

* And this

And Mayor Emanuel, you need to do more than lead cheers for a losing team. You need a new path to a Chicago casino.

* Quote of the week goes to Lou

[Quinn] said that the newer bill did not have strong enough ethical standards. “The most glaring deficiency of Senate Bill 1849 is the absence of strict ethical standards and comprehensive regulatory oversight. Illinois should never settle for a gaming bill that includes loopholes for mobsters,” he wrote.

“We don’t have any corruption in Illinois gaming. Where is his evidence that there is any mafia in Illinois gaming today? There isn’t any,” Lang said.

Ummm. Okay.

* And this is just plain silly talk

After the veto was announced, Mayor Emanuel expressed frustration about Quinn’s decision and vowed to keep fighting for a Chicago casino. And Rahm’s not alone; other officials are upset with Quinn’s decision, citing the revenue the bill would have generated for the state.

Still, the main event here is the pair of Democratic leaders going head-to-head. It could set the stage for a gubernatorial run by Rahm in 2014, something that has in no way been hinted at yet, but isn’t out of the question.

Rahm ain’t running for governor.

* Related…

* Reaction to gambling veto: ‘The south suburbs get the shaft again’: Ed Feigenbaum, editor of Indiana Gaming Insight, acknowledged: “Indiana certainly dodged a bullet on its western border.”

* Lawmakers react to Quinn’s casino veto: “A press release sent to them two minutes before you’re going to the media and that the media already had this. I think those are the kind of things that just infuriate the people that work in Springfield,” Link said.

* Gov. Quinn vetoes casino bill; opponents vow override

* Quinn vetoes gambling expansion bill

* Our view: Quinn’s veto right move

* Danville mayor: ‘Frustrated, disappointed, but not surprised’

* VIDEO: Lou Lang: Gov. Pat Quinn’s Illinois Gaming Bill Veto is a “Big Disappointment”


Adventures in unsubtle Tweeting, and a caption contest

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* If you’re saying that you’re totally focused on the 2012 general election, then retweeting stuff like this probably isn’t advisable

* And speaking of Treasurer Rutherford, he and another likely Republican gubernatorial candidate had a friendly little chat yesterday. A good pal snapped a photo of Rutherford talking to Sen. Kirk Dillard and forwarded it to me…



Davis goes up with new TV ad

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Republican congressional candidate Rodney Davis has a new TV ad. From a press release…

The new ad, titled “For Them,” features Rodney Davis and players from a Junior Football League team in Taylorville that Davis coaches. In the ad, Davis emphasizes the importance of cutting wasteful Washington spending to reduce the $16 trillion national debt that is crushing the national economy. Davis emphasizes the need to get the debt crisis under control for the future generation that he coaches in football. The ad can be viewed here.

The ad begins Thursday.

Here is the full script of the ad:

    Davis: “I’ve been coaching these kids since they were five.
    At first, it was about spending more time with my twin boys.
    Now, it’s about helping all these boys become great men.
    I worry about the America we are going to leave them.
    Our sixteen trillion dollar debt leaves each of them on the hook for fifty grand.
    …and it’s killing our economy.
    I’m Rodney Davis and I approved this message because in Congress, I’ll fight the wasteful spending – for you, and for them.”

* Rate it

* By the way, I stumbled across the DCCC’s Rodney Davis video tracking site today. Have a look. At the beginning of this video, from the State Fair, Davis is seen ignoring a woman who has a question about Medicare. It’s not good TV for Davis, but later the woman begins haranguing the candidate, so she may have been a plant. Watch

Background on the DCCC’s Rodney Davis tracker is here.


Party chairman wants outside help to winnow field

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This will be a very dangerous game

(T)he multitude of potential candidates remains a cause of concern for some Republican leaders. Two years ago, the field at one time was a seven-way primary for governor. The GOP ended up with a fractured field largely from the Chicago suburbs. That allowed Brady, the lone Downstate candidate, to win with less than 21 percent of the vote.

Pat Brady, the state Republican chairman, said he is encouraging a plan in which the Republican Governors Association and other groups with an interest in the Illinois governorship would play a role in winnowing a primary field. The RGA spent $9.5 million on Sen. Brady’s losing effort to Quinn, and the belief among some is that a moneyed interest could provide the clout that Republican leaders lack in trying to get people out of a primary race.

“I am going to try to get leadership that supports governor candidates, like the RGA and others, to come into Illinois and sit down and figure out how would we handle this better than we did last time,” Pat Brady said.

“But it’s a fine dance because we promote open primaries and the base of our party likes open primaries,” he added. “We need to get some structure on this and some reality checks on this so we don’t have happen what happened last time.”

Labor unions often help winnow the Democratic gubernatorial field. An early endorsement by the Illinois AFL-CIO gave Rod Blagojevich’s chances a huge boost in 2001, for example.

But those are state and local organizations. Bringing in a national organization like the RGA would open the state party up to all sorts of criticism.

And, frankly, fighting the last war is never very effective. And not heeding the lessons of the last war isn’t all that effective either. The truth is, it’s highly doubtful that many of those candidates would’ve dropped out of the 2010 GOP primary if the big boys had mostly united behind one candidate. The egos were just too big and the prize too within reach to convince them to get out. The “establishment” was mostly (not completely, but mostly) behind Sen. Kirk Dillard. But that sure didn’t stop Bill Brady, who was trailing in the polls almost the whole way. And it didn’t prevent other DuPage County Republicans from running, either.

And does anybody think that a “consensus” candidate will stop people like Dan Proft from running again? Nope. He’ll do what he wants and he’s still sitting on a half million dollars.

Also, money does not guarantee success. If it did, a whole lot of big money Republicans would’ve won their gubernatorial primaries in the past decade.

So, while this looks good on paper, it may not work out so well for the GOP. But, I guess, they gotta try something different.

Your thoughts?


Schock pounds Quinn, fellow Republicans, Madigan

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* If you read today’s Sun-Times, you saw that Congressman Aaron Schock went off on Gov. Pat Quinn yesterday

The Peoria Republican stopped short of saying he intends to run, insisting that decision won’t come until after the November elections. But, significantly, Schock also did not rule out the possibility of running for the state’s top political job. […]

And in going after Quinn, Schock certainly was sounding like a candidate.

“He’s been in state government for 30 years. He’s been at the helm of the state for what will be six-plus years. He’s proven incapable of turning the ship around,” Schock said of Quinn.

Schock described Quinn as lacking focus.

“I think part of it is I don’t think he has the personality that’s engaging, that instills confidence,” from his party, Schock said. “I think he doesn’t have the capacity perhaps to put it all together.”

* But some of what he said didn’t make the cut in the dead tree edition. It was included in the paper’s political blog, which is all over the Republican National Convention

Schock said he has been approached by business leaders to consider running for governor in 2014, but he said he’s delivered a sharp message to them about not spreading fundraising dollars around multiple GOP candidates who will make for a bloody primary battle.

“If you want a strong candidate and you want party unity and you want people to whittle down the candidates before the primary, then you as a businessman must stand up and say you know what, this is insanity, this is who we collectively believe is the strongest candidate, and we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and fund them,” he said.

Schock also delivered a subtle jab at some of those who have tested the waters for a 2014 gubernatorial run, saying those with election losses in their background demonstrate “weakness” that can be exploited in a general election.

State Sen. Kirk Dillard (R-Hinsdale) lost by 193 votes to state Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) in the 2010 GOP primary. Brady went on to lose to Quinn in the fall elections. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, before winning his current office in 2010, lost a bid to unseat Secretary of State Jesse White.

“If you are a candidate who’s lost, the natural question is what’s different, what’s going to change? Clearly, there’s a sense of weakness there,” Schock said, insisting he isn’t meaning to single out any particular candidate with the criticism.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t win, but I do think it makes your argument in the primary that you’re the strongest candidate in the general election a little bit tougher,” Schock said.

* And he also took an obligatory shot at the Republican Party’s chief demon

Schock also didn’t mince words for Madigan (D-Chicago) and said he isn’t intimidated by the House speaker, who has been the GOP’s favorite pin cushion leading up to the fall elections with “Fire Madigan” messaging that is getting slapped on coffee mugs, golf polos and dog t-shirts.

“I maybe don’t buy into the reality of Mike Madigan,” Schock said.

“For anyone to suggest that well, gee, we should play nice, or you shouldn’t take him on, or you shouldn’t try to beat him because you might have to work with him, that’s politics,” he said. “To me, if you’re serious about changing the direction of the state, if you’re serious about wanting to be governor or whatever it is people want to be, if they don’t want to take him on, then they’re not going to be serious players once they’re elected.

“You can’t fix the state if you don’t deal with pensions, and clearly, Madigan, who’s been there for 30 years, has shown no willingness to do that,” said Schock, who served two terms in the Illinois House under Madigan’s rule.

He’s looking more like a candidate every day. But I’m told he probably won’t run if kabillionaire Bruce Rauner jumps in. Rauner is expected to attend the convention this week.

* Related…

* Republican 2014 governor hopefuls jockey in Tampa: “They’re the unannounced announced, if you will,” said Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, an unsuccessful Republican governor nominee in 2006 but not a future contender for the job. “They’re trying to take the pulse on what everybody is saying and trying to get support and to lock in donors. You have the beginnings of a full-fledged gubernatorial campaign going on two years ahead of time.”


*** LIVE *** Republican National Convention coverage

Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* BlackBerry users click here, everyone else can just sit back and watch…


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Wednesday, Aug 29, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Adventures in video tracking

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Thanks to a commenter, here’s a video of Democratic state House candidate Stephanie Kifowit who was approached by a person identified on his/her YouTube account as “JT Lee.”

Kifowit was asked what she thought about the state income tax hike, and she quickly backed away, mumbling something about how the event was private, or something. She didn’t actually answer the question, but she didn’t look great, either. The video has gone viral, with over 10,000 views as of post time. Watch

* This one may not go viral, but Republican congressional candidate Jason Plummer’s DCCC video tracker posted a series of videos from the DuQuoin State Fair parade. At about two and a half minutes in, a Plummer person begins to politely and jovially mess with the guy. At one point, though, a person is heard to say “Well, you get scum everywhere, ya know,” and then another person says to the tracker, “They don’t pay you enough.” Have a look

* Near the end of Part 5 (of 6), the tracker can be heard saying “Good job today, Mr. Plummer. I’m out of here.” He’s then asked by a campaign volunteer if he wants a ride. He politely declines


All of the DCCC’s Plummer tracker videos can be found here. Let me know if you find anything. I have a life and can’t watch any more of them today.


Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a press release…

In the spirit of election season, the National Motorists Association (NMA) has conducted its own public polling to identify the worst speed trap locations across the United States and Canada.

Speed traps typically combine arbitrarily low speed limits with heavy traffic enforcement designed to generate ticket revenue. While the intent may be to modify driver behavior long-term, that is rarely the result. Speed traps keep springing up in the same locations, the issuance of tickets flows unabated, and there is no material effect on traffic safety. That is why the NMA advocates for increased speed limits in chronic speed trap areas supported by traffic studies and proven engineering principles.

The Methodology

The NMA analyzed the most recent five years of data from its website The National Speed Trap Exchange, which lists tens of thousands of chronic speed traps in the United States and Canada and includes descriptive commentary about each listing. Since postings are generated by the public, and users vote on which locations qualify as speed traps, the rankings reflect the consensus of thousands of drivers throughout North America.

To develop the rankings, the NMA calculated the total number of affirmative votes across speed traps in a given community and then indexed the total to the community’s population size. A preliminary screening process ensured that only speed traps with high levels of consensus were factored into the rankings.

Illinois ranked 22nd in the US and Canada for speed traps.

* The Question: Are there any notorious speed traps near you? Tell us where they are and a story to go along with it.


Quinn a no-show for DuQuoin State Fair Democrat Day

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Is this really a surprise?

The state’s highest ranking Democrat didn’t show up for Democrat Day at the Du Quoin State Fair on Saturday.

State Representative John Bradley tells WSIL-TV he’s not surprised that Governor Quinn didn’t come. He says Quinn has been pushing several policy issues that are unpopular with downstate people. Those issues include gun bans, facility closures, and a pension proposal that could put more of a financial burden on southern school districts.

More Bradley

It’s the second day of the fair and Governor Pat Quinn has yet to make an appearance. Officials at his tent say they’re not sure whether he’ll be at the fair at all. Democratic State Representative John Bradley says he’s not surprised.

“When you engage in that kind of policies which many people feel are anti to southern Illinois I don’t expect coming down here and having a funnel cake would make any difference,” explained Democratic State Representative John Bradley.

* Meanwhile, a trip to the fair didn’t end well for a few people

A field organizer for state Sen. Gary Forby’s campaign was cited for driving under the influence early Friday morning; passengers in the car he was driving included Forby and state Rep. Brandon Phelps.

Mitchell J. Schaben, 24, was ticketed for DUI and speeding after he was pulled over by state police on Illinois 37 at Marcum Branch Road at 12:28 a.m. Friday.

Schaben was driving a 2009 red Cadillac, registration number 59SN, and had three passengers in the car including Forby, D-Benton, and Phelps, D-Harrisburg. The third passenger was not identified.

The four had been at dinner and meetings at the Rend Lake Resort. The gathering included out-of-town visitors in the area for the Du Quoin State Fair.

“It’s unfortunate,” Phelps said. “I didn’t think (Schaben) was impaired, and I know Mitch didn’t think so either or he wouldn’t have driven. He’s a great guy.”

I can’t remember the last time that I saw a DUI police report which included the names of the car’s occupants. Not sure that’s very cool. And not to diminish what Schaben did, but he blew a .09, which isn’t far above the legal limit of .08. Even so, Forby probably should’ve just well enough alone

“He was only one-tenth of a .09. Probably if he’d done another test, it might have shown up he wasn’t, he didn’t have enough. So the boy, he was right there on the limit. He wasn’t really what I call drunk,” Forby explains. […]

Forby says, “Mitch drives for me all the time. You know, I’m 67 years old, it’s nice to have a young guy drive me around. I didn’t see a problem. I didn’t see a problem with Mitch. If I’d seen a problem, I would not have let him drive.”

* Luckily for Forby, his Republican opponent doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it

With ten weeks left until the election, Forby recognizes Schaben’s DUI could affect his campaign. But his Republican challenger Mark Minor says he doesn’t want to get into it.

“I’m a pastor, a school board member, a counselor. I deal with a lot of issues in peoples’ lives. So I know it’s important to keep personal issues on a personal level. I want to keep this campaign clean,” says Minor.

We’ll see what happens when SGOP staff gets involved, however. Minor’s campaign is more than a little clueless, and it reportedly doesn’t take direction from Springfield.

* Schaben’s official statement…

“I exercised poor judgment and got behind the wheel of a car to drive despite consuming multiple alcoholic beverages unbeknownst to the passengers accompanying me in that automobile.

“Shortly thereafter, I was pulled over by the Illinois State Police on Illinois Highway 37 for a possible speeding violation. During that traffic stop, I was asked and agreed to participate in a breathalyzer test that would show that my blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for an individual operating a vehicle.

“Today, I am deeply sorry for this occurrence, not because I was caught but instead because of the potential danger I could have posed to the residents of the 59th Legislative District, the passengers of the vehicle and myself.

“I would like to apologize publicly to not only the Forby for Senate Campaign but to the constituents of the 59th Legislative District for any distraction this incident will provide from a robust debate on the issues important to them in the coming months. I’m fully prepared to be held accountable for my regrettable actions and any shame I may have brought to myself, my family, coworkers and peers.”

* And speaking of Forby and Bradley

The president of the Illinois Senate, John Cullerton, said he would work to overturn Gov. Pat Quinn’s closure plan when the General Assembly meets in a veto session in November.

Cullerton, speaking Monday in Benton, also said he supported a bill from state Sen. Gary Forby, D-Benton, to limit the governor’s ability to close facilities against the recommendation of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability.

“(Forby) sponsored a bill that would have said it’s up to the legislature to decide whether or not you can close these facilities,” Cullerton said. “Take it away from the governor’s hands, up to the legislature after you have those (COGFA) hearings. That bill failed by one vote.”

Cullerton’s support came on the same day Quinn’s office acknowledged it would not meet an Aug. 31 closure date for Tamms Correctional Center and other state facilities. The state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union are in arbitration to resolve the closure issue after the union filed a lawsuit in Alexander County to stop closures.

* Bradley was pretty harsh in his comments, including a threat to go after funding for recycling programs

“We made tough choices, and this is a cowardice act… And we’re going to start going after things the governor cares about. How about green grants? If he doesn’t think he’s got enough money to keep the prison systems open, then why are we giving him discretionary money for recycling programs? Let’s start going after that things he cares about and tell him that what he’s doing is killing our area.”

* During his own speech, Rep. Brandon Phelps claimed that the Department of Corrections transferred an inmate out of Tamms to Pontiac and then quickly transferred the prisoner back to Tamms.

* Raw video


Schock says he supports federal marriage proposal, then backs off

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Congressman Aaron Schock talks about social issues, and shows a serious lack of study on a particular state vs. federal issue, gay marriage

Summing up, he said, “I think those debates are healthy, and I think America, certainly on immigration, on other issues, is changing its positions. On the issue of the marriage, though, that will be hammered out primarily in the states.”

Asked, then, if he opposed a federal marriage amendment, support for which was included in the draft party platform hammered out this past week, Schock replied, “No, I support that.”

When it was explained to him that a federal marriage amendment that would prohibit states from allowing same-sex couples to marry under their state’s law, he then hedged, saying, “I haven’t really thought too much about it.”

He then asked if the amendment had been voted on in Congress in the past four years. When told that it hadn’t and that he had not taken a position on it yet, he replied, laughing, “I’ll have to read it.”

* And for someone who has allowed his name to be floated for governor, he’s also apparently not keeping up on Illinois news about the topic

Asked about ongoing lawsuits brought in Illinois by the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal seeking marriage equality in his state, Schock replied he was unaware of their existence, saying, “That’s all news to me.”

* Other congressional stuff…

* The Thomson prison standoff - A Virginia congressman’s grudge puts his Illinois colleagues on the spot: We’ve asked several Republican incumbents to explain to voters why Illinois ought to lower the price on its state-of-the art prison when the feds have agreed to buy it for $165 million. The question has elicited a lot of stammering. How does lowering the price overcome the need for Wolf’s signature? They don’t seem to know. Why don’t they lobby their stubborn Republican colleague instead of asking Quinn — and Illinois taxpayers — to give up another $100 million or so? They’re pretty sure Schilling already tried that. Have they seen the state budget lately? Did they notice that the General Assembly cut education spending by $210 million this year?

* DCCC desperately tries to tie Dold to Akin in robo-calls

* Joe Walsh Endorsed by Fastener Business, Small Biz Group

* Press Release: National Federation of Independent Business endorses Joe Walsh

* Duckworth, Walsh to debate on the radio


79 percent of Illinoisans say corporations should have the same free speech rights as individuals

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’m not sure yet whether I buy into Crain’s new online polling results or not, but the publication has a new online poll of Illinoisans which has some interesting results. For example, respondents were asked if corporations have the same free speech rights as individuals

A whopping 79 percent of those surveyed agreed that businesses “have (the) same free speech rights as individuals.” Forty-one percent said they “strongly” hold that view. A total of 22 percent strongly or somewhat agreed.

* But, as always, there are mixed messages coming from the poll

Asked if owners of large businesses “should keep (their) political views private,” 64 percent indicated they should. Barely over a third, 35 percent, disagreed with that statement.

* And this overwhelmingly liberal response is somewhat surprising

65 percent said employers should be required to offer employee benefits such as health care for unmarried domestic partners. Of the total sample, 2 percent said that should apply to same-sex partners only, and 8 percent would offer benefits to opposite-sex partners only.

Just over a quarter, 26 percent, said they oppose requiring corporate health insurance benefits for unmarried partners

* Methodology of the poll of 600 Illinois adults…

The Crain’s/Ipsos Illinois Poll is a representative survey of voting-age Illinois residents conducted over the Internet. Ipsos validates the sample against offline data sources such as telephone surveys to ensure the accuracy of its weighting. The overall survey has an accuracy rate of plus/minus 4.7 percent, with higher margins for geographic subgroups such as Chicago or the suburbs.

I’m still not quite sure how they actually “ensure the accuracy” of their weighting, so please beware these numbers. Also, take note that these respondents are just adults, not likely voters.


Poll: Brady leads among actual Republican voters

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The state’s delegates to the Republican National Convention may overwhelmingly favor Treasurer Dan Rutherford, but, heck, he put together the delegate slate. So, the We Ask America folks decided to do a poll of likely Republican voters to see who they favored.

The poll of 1,245 likely GOP primary voters was conducted yesterday and has a margin of error of ± 2.9 percent…

1. Which of the following possible candidates would you most like to see become the Republican challenger for governor?

Bill Brady 24.05%
Kirk Dillard 8.66%
Matt Murphy 3.79%
Christine Radogno 2.20%
Bruce Rauner 2.61%
Dan Rutherford 10.62%
Aaron Schock 7.35%
Other (Someone else) 4.40%
Uncertain 36.31%

Yeah, it’s early. Way early. But the folks down in Tampa are talking about 2014 like it’s right around the corner, so a poll was in order.

Name recognition from 2010 alone is almost definitely keeping Sen. Brady at the top of the heap. The same probably goes for Treasurer Rutherford and Sen. Dillard.

* Here are the xtabs by gender. Click the pic for a larger image…

Lots more undecided women than men. Dillard, kabillionaire Bruce Rauner, Rutherford and “Other” all do significantly better with men than women. But, again, it’s way early. We’re only running this poll because the Daily Herald decided to poll convention delegates and thereby created a minor stir down in Tampa.

* And by location. Again, click the pic for a larger image…

Brady does best Downstate, but he still has some significant residual impact in the suburbs, particularly in Cook. Dillard is essentially tied with Brady in the collars, which is probably residual from 2010 and the fact that he’s from DuPage. Rutherford does best against Brady in Chicago, where they’re tied, but slightly trails Congressman Aaron Schock for a distant third place in Downstate.


*** LIVE *** Republican National Convention coverage

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* BlackBerry users click here, everyone else can just sit back and watch…

  1 Comment      

*** UPDATED x3 - Mayor Emanuel Responds *** Quinn vetoes gaming bill

Tuesday, Aug 28, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From a press release…

Governor Quinn Takes Bill Action
**Tuesday, August 28, 2012**

CHICAGO –August 28, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today took action on the following bill:

Bill No.: SB 1849
An Act Concerning: Gaming
Creates the Chicago Casino Development Authority and amends several other statutes to expand gaming in Illinois.
Action: Vetoed

An outright veto. No funny stuff with an AV rewrite. So, it’ll be a straight up or down override vote with no decisions about whether an amendatory veto was constitutional or not

For months, Quinn has warned about what he views as shortcomings in the bill, saying the measure would not provide enough oversight of casino operators and other gambling interests. The Democratic governor also has said that any gambling expansion should set aside a proper amount of money for education.

The deadline to act on the proposal was today, or it would have become law automatically.

The bill lawmakers approved this spring calls for new casinos in Chicago, southern Cook County, Lake County, Rockford and Danville. It also would allow slot machines at horse racing tracks, which was a deal-breaker for the governor when lawmakers approved a similar measure last year. That bill never made it to Quinn’s desk after he threatened to veto it.

…Adding… Sneed

The deal breaker: After thoroughly reviewing the bill, which would have created five new casinos and permitted slot machines at horse-racing tracks, Quinn “was more convinced than ever the absence of a ban on campaign contributions from gaming licences and casino managers was a deal breaker,” a top source tells Sneed.

The source added: “With two governors in jail [George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich], ethics is something Gov. Quinn is not willing to risk.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** From a press release…


“We missed an opportunity today to add 20,000 new jobs and generate more than $1 billion in one-time licensing fees and more than $200 million in new annual revenue. Despite efforts that would have satisfied the Governor’s call for tighter restrictions and additional oversight, fiscal relief for the state has now been further delayed. Our leaders in Springfield are committed to getting us back onto steady financial footing and providing more economic opportunity to Illinois residents. We’re confident that they will do what is necessary so the state can benefit from sorely needed jobs and revenue.”

- Former State Representative Bill Black, Chairman, The Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance

*** UPDATE 2 *** A statement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel…

“A Chicago casino would create thousands of crucial jobs for Chicagoans and provide resources that would be used to rehabilitate neighborhood schools. Chicago loses $20 million a month and countless jobs to casinos in Indiana. Those jobs should be here in Chicago, supporting the families of our tradespeople and helping the entire city’s economic future. It is the responsibility of the Governor and all leaders in Illinois to stop this outflow of dollars and jobs.

“I spoke with the Governor this morning and we agreed, it cannot take another 20 years of discussion to draft and pass a bill that will be signed into law. I will continue to work relentlessly with all parties to pass a bill that will allow a Chicago casino to be built and implemented responsibly.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Coverage roundup as of 1:30 this afternoon…

* Gov. Quinn vetoes casino bill; opponents vow override

* Mayor Clearly Upset With Quinn’s Gambling Veto

* Quinn confident gambling expansion veto will stand

* Joliet officials praise Quinn veto of gambling expansion

* Chicago Crime Commission Applauds Quinn’s Gambling Bill Veto

* Rockford casino vetoed by Pat Quinn

* Rockford area leaders disappointed in gambling veto

* Denied: Quinn Vetoes Chicago Gaming Expansio


* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally abruptly aborts reelection bid without explanation
* Question of the day
* It’s just a bill
* Protect Illinois Hospitality – Vote No On House Bill 5345
* You gotta be kidding me
* Showcasing The Retailers Who Make Illinois Work
* Moody’s revises Illinois outlook from stable to positive (Updated)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* *** UPDATED x1 - Equality Illinois 'alarmed' over possible Harris appointment *** Personal PAC warns Democratic committeepersons about Sen. Napoleon Harris
* Yesterday's stories

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