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*** UPDATED x1 - Burns to drop out *** Zuccarelli backing Trotter for Jackson seat

Thursday, Nov 29, 2012

*** UPDATE *** This will happen tomorrow, not today, but it’s happening

The huge field of candidates running for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s former seat in Congress is about to get slightly less huge.

A source who would know says that Ald. Will Burns, 4th, will announce this afternoon that he’s changed his mind and won’t be running. Mr. Burns didn’t do very well in a poll recently commissioned by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and, given the short nature of the special-election campaign, decided to hold his fire for now. But don’t be surprised to see the former staffer for then-state Sen. Barack Obama pitch himself for statewide office down the road, perhaps comptroller or treasurer.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* As subscribers already know, Cook County Democrats will meet in December to see if they can slate a candidate for resigned Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr.’s old seat. Thornton Township Supervisor and Democratic Committeeman Frank Zuccarelli will be chairing the slatemaking committee and he already has a preferred candidate

While Zuccarelli is encouraging candidates to contact him to be part of the December slating session so they can make their pitch, he’s not exactly walking in to this with an open mind. He said he already knows that if state Sen. Donne Trotter (D-Chicago), who has expressed interest in the job, is running, that’s who he’s backing. Trotter’s legislative district, which stretches from the South Side to the suburbs, covers some of the same territory as the 2nd Congressional District, helping him understand the issues facing residents there, Zuccarelli said.

“Even though some people who’ve been mentioned (as candidates) might do a decent job — nobody comes close” to Trotter, Zuccarelli said. “I’m going to conduct inteviews and I’ll listen to what people say — but the only way my mind would change is if Donne dropped out.”

Sen. Trotter appears to be in the race to stay, and that endorsement by Zuccarelli is huge. He’s already lined up other wards and townships, but Zuccarelli has just about the best organization in all of Cook County, and an absolute ton of the weighted vote.

* Ted McClelland interviewed Trotter back when Trotter ran for Congress against Bobby Rush and Barack Obama...

Trotter, who has thrown his hat into the ring for Jesse Jackson Jr.’s congressional seat, is a member of one of the biggest, oldest clans on the South Side, a family that beat everyone else to Chicago by a generation or two. Trotter’s roots in this town go all the way back to 1900, when his great-grandfather, a Choctaw Indian named Granville Trotter, arrived here from Oklahoma. The senator says Granville and his wife had “13 kids who begat another 13 kids who begat another 13 kids.”

Trotter’s grandfather, Walter Trotter, was a prominent minister in Hyde Park, and his cousin Larry was a bishop at Sweet Holy Spirit Full Gospel Baptist Church. Combing through the voter rolls, the senator’s staff decided to invite all the Trotters they found to a fund-raiser. (Another time, he held a “Trottin’ with Trotter” event at the harness races at Hawthorne Race Course.)

Trotter lives in South Shore, at 84th and Yates, but he grew up in Grand Crossing, around the corner from Ralph Metcalfe, the Olympic sprinter who represented the First District for many years. He was a Boy Scout with Metcalfe’s son, Ralph Jr., who later ran for alderman. He remembers when the Palm Tavern was the hangout for “Billy Eckstine and all the jazz greats,” and when the Rosenwald Building, now a flophouse, was home to the black middle class. His campaign was “Chicago’s Native Son” — as opposed to Rush, who’d grown up in Georgia, and Obama, who was from Hawaii.

Trotter, who was and still is the best-dressed man in Illinois, embodied South Side urbanity, with tailored suits, bow ties, soul food lunches, and smooth jazz oozing from the speakers of his Jeep. He held his campaign kick-off luncheon at Army and Lou’s. When we sat down for an interview, he took me to a vegetarian soul food restaurant on 87th Street.

If he can raise the money, Trotter could very well be the one to beat.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

51 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    Sam Adam Jr., the writing is on the wall …Run as a Republican!


  2. - Third Reading - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    Q: What do we now call the Second District race?

    A: A Donne-brook.

    I’m outta here.


  3. - Rahm's Parking Meter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    May I suggest the committeemen back someone a lot younger, like Robin Kelly, Toi Hutchinson or Will Burns, who will have a longer staying power and also have proven track records.


  4. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:41 am:

    It is not a given that the Chicago Democrats should by default, run this District. The borders include many voters who do not live in Chicago. Zuccarelli is misinformed. This District should be represented by a Non-Chicagoan who recognizes the community issues of the South Cook County towns, villages, and cities. This is not a Chicago Congressional District anymore, since the remap.

    There is a sense of disconnect between the City and South Cook. It has been the dumping ground for City garbage for years. Chicago Congressmen have used the District as an opportunity to enhance their Chicago political opportunities, and have ignored the South Cook suburbs.

    The 2nd doesn’t need another Chicagoan. It needs a Representative who will look out for the South Cook communities struggling for survival against bad Chicago politics.


  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    That’s a big win for Trotter.


  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:53 am:

    VMan, presumably the Thornton Township Supervisor understands that the district includes suburban areas.

    What exactly is he “misinformed” about?


  7. - friend of a friend - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:58 am:

    That’s a nice piece Rich, but we all know that Sen. Trotter is one of your BEST buddies! Lol He’d also do a fine job if he could raise the money. Objectivity to the side. You know the guy much better than alot of us. Tell us what YOU really think. We can handle the truth!


  8. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:00 pm:

    ===Tell us what YOU really think.===

    I always do.

    If he raises the cash, he’s the one to beat. But that’s a big if.


  9. - siriusly - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    I think that Trotter can definitely raise the money, clearly we know from history that some of the others cannot.

    Anyone remember the photo of Emil with all the preachers laying their hands on him? I think that was from the last 2nd CD special election? Please post that. I love that picture.


  10. - The Captain - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:08 pm:

    Even if the slating fails because no candidate can secure enough of the weighted vote the Zuccarelli endorsement alone is still significant. However I would still only put Trotter among the group of candidates with a possible path and still don’t see anyone as a clear favorite. Also I would think that the best path for Sen. Trotter would be to adopt a mindset of humility and hard work and getting slated would make it easier to mentally let up a bit.


  11. - ChicagoR - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    How can you have beat everyone else to Chicago by a generation or two if you didn’t arrive until 1900? Was the Great Chicago Fire just a forest fire?


  12. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    Zuccarelli’s endorsement is huge.Sen. Trotter will be a strong canditate. Much better than Jackson ever was.He will be good for his district.

    We’d love to have him in 2.


  13. - Hammer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:20 pm:

    Zuccarelli’s independence is an interesting thing.


  14. - Lobo y Olla - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    For me, the fact that he didn’t vote to expel Rep. Smith puts a blemish on this puff piece.


  15. - anon for a reason - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    Trotter is thick with Danny Davis and the rest of the West side crowd. I bet he get the $$$ and the nod.


  16. - Suburbanite - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    So does Napoleon Harris still run? He ran against Zuccarelli’s endorsed candidate (Pat Mahon) and was victorious this past March.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:40 pm:

    Lobo, interesting point. Tell us, which senators voted to expel Rep. Smith?


  18. - Irishpirate - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    - ChicagoR - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:09 pm:

    How can you have beat everyone else to Chicago by a generation or two if you didn’t arrive until 1900? Was the Great Chicago Fire just a forest fire?

    I think Trotter was speaking of black Chicagoans. The first large wave of black immigration to the city occurred around the end of World War 1. Those folks made up the “black belt” around Bronzeville and their descendants largely make up the remaining black middle class on the south side and south suburbs.


  19. - Who else - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    Wordslinger– LOL


  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    ===He ran against Zuccarelli’s endorsed candidate===

    Zuc stopped short of endorsing her.


  21. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:49 pm:

    Lobo y Olla, perhaps you need a break from this blog.


  22. - ChicagoR - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    Thanks, IrishPirate. I didn’t realize the context of “everyone else”. Very informative.


  23. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:52 pm:

    – The first large wave of black immigration to the city occurred around the end of World War 1.–

    And was accelerated exponentially after The Great Flood.

    Check out when you can “Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America” by John Barry. An amazing yarn.


  24. - DoubleDown - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:54 pm:

    @VanillaMan

    Peotone and Kankakee area seems forgotten by the majority of people.


  25. - Suburbanite - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:59 pm:

    Well, it makes me think if Harris does run for the congressional seat but then loses, does he still remain senatar of the 15th district?


  26. - bongofurry - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    Senator Trotter is well known in every State office building as a competent and gracious man. He treats everybody regardless of rank with dignity and respect. He is a class act. Do not see how the second could do any better.


  27. - Chucky Jay - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    Since when is Zuccarelli’s backing a HUGE win for Trotter? Zuccarelli’s organization is losing the strength it used to be known for, and a lot of people are starting to think of the “godfather” as somewhat of a joke.

    And OF COURSE Zuccarelli was going to back Trotter no matter what. He’s backed Trotter’s candidates in Thornton Township for how long?

    Sen. Trotter was a great candidate before this announcement, and still is. But it’s not like anyone didn’t expect Zuccarelli to back Trotter.


  28. - bourbonrich - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:12 pm:

    Don’t think Will or Kankakee Counties will ever have a huge voice in the 2nd District and my first choice would be Sen. Hutchinson but Sen. Trotter is way ahead of anyone else on the list.


  29. - DoubleDown - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    @bourbonrich Thank you for that answer, So why are we put in a district that are voice will not matter?


  30. - Chucky Jay - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:17 pm:

    @DoubleDown for exactly that reason. It’s a power grab by Chicago. To grab as much land area of the state as possible but drawing the districts so that it’s a fairly safe bet that the Rep will be elected out of Chicago. Look at some of those State Rep and Senate Districts.


  31. - Skeeter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    If Will Burns runs it will make things interesting.

    I don’t see him doing it without Toni’s support.

    What’s more valuable — Toni or Zuccarelli?


  32. - Estubborn - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    Trotter’s run for US Congress is a great opportunity to grab some of the awesome swag Senator Trotter gives out. Swag consists of Trotter beanies and very fancy Trotter baseball hats. I wear the beanie on rainy days.


  33. - Hammer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    Toi formally announced on her Facebook. Get those engines running guys, 3 weeks to get your organization together, 1 week for xmas then a full on sprint to Feb 26


  34. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 1:56 pm:

    Trotter is a class act in many ways, with a lot of local support. Burns is smart, more youthful, and just might have some national juice.

    We are lucky to have these candidates.


  35. - ZC - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:12 pm:

    Someone is going to say it during the primary, so I’ll broach it here - without endorsing the substance. Jesse Jackson Jr ran in part for this seat promising he’d amass seniority on the Hill, which obviously did not pan out. I admire Trotter and I think I’d vote for him if he ran, but expect to see the “congressional seniority card” played against him if, say, Will Burns jumps into this contest. And Burns should be able to raise the cash; guy is networked.


  36. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:33 pm:

    I endorse Trotter. He may have grown up in Chicago, but we’ll claim him too as he was born in Cairo. Besides, he’s been known to ride a motorcycle to work, and wear a bow tie. Now that’s style.


  37. - Agricola - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:41 pm:

    ==Lobo, interesting point. Tell us, which senators voted to expel Rep. Smith?==

    The answer would be: none of them.

    For the expulsion of members of the General Assembly, the Constitution provides that “each house shall determine the rules of its proceedings” and that the vote to expel a member of the House of Representatives requires a vote “of the members elected to that house” (Ill. Const. Art. IV, Sec. 6(d)), meaning that only members of the House of Representatives could vote on Rep. Smith’s expulsion.


  38. - ChicagoModerate - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 2:50 pm:

    I don’t get where the math puts any AA candidate ahead of the fray…Napolean has $$$, Toi has the women vote, alot of South of Crete and Rich Township support (Rich carries major weight), Robin Kelly has better name ID than people are saying and ran well state wide not to mention she too is a woman, Tony Beale has a decent organization and is well respected more as a local leader but still good enough to grab ward support, Will Burns is an Obama-ite, and is a young up and comer. So Zuch supports Donnie, I think that means close to nothing. Unlike the City mayoral, this race has alot of highly qualified African Americans who ultimately carry name id and promise so much so that it seems impossible that any one name will stand out more than the other. Even with organizations pumping out a single message African American voters are definitely not monolithic when it comes deciding between African America candidates especially not when there are around 8 candidates.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:04 pm:

    - Agricola -,

    I think - wordslinger - was being rhetorical, but I appreciated the information.


  40. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:16 pm:

    Having chatted with Ald. Burns, I can say the Dems could do a lot worse.


  41. - Hammer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    I agree with cincinnatus here. Will is going places. I’m really interested to see where.


  42. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:43 pm:

    Will Burns will be mayor one day. You read it here.


  43. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:53 pm:

    I don’t think Will wanted the specter of his recent, messy divorce to be part of what is going to be a very dirty campaign. You can check the record, this is not a “rumor”.


  44. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:54 pm:

    Donne is too old. We need a young man who will be able to serve long enough to earn seniority and a committee chairman ship.


  45. - Casey - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    So with Beale, Donne, Toi, Napoleon running, this clears the way for Debbie Halvorson to win - sort of like Chicago Mayor’s race of 1983, in reverse.


  46. - Brendan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 4:53 pm:

    I can’t wait to watch Robin or Toi wipe the floor with Trotter. The 2nd district deserves to be represented by someone from the suburbs.


  47. - onevoter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:47 pm:

    If Zuc and the Dems, don’t come to a consensus on a Black candidate, they may in fact give it to Debbie Halvorson, who in my opinion ran a very lackluster race, in the primary, against a wounded opponent.

    Halvorson has her detractor. More on that later.


  48. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 6:12 pm:

    @Casey: Thanks for spreading the dirt on someone not running.


  49. - Chucky Jay - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 6:23 pm:

    Even with Zuccarelli backing Trotter, Napoleon Harris and David Miller will still both get their fair share of votes in Thornton Township. Votes are going to be split up all over the place. You Will and Kankakee folks might just have a say in what happens in this race…


  50. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 8:29 pm:

    I’m predicting two things:
    1) Donne will raise the money.
    2) “Casey” will get the Banhammer before Christmas.


  51. - Just Me - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 10:35 pm:

    Can U.S. Congressmen smoke cigars in their offices like Illinois State Senators can?


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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