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Raoul out of the running

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* From a press release…

First, I want to convey my deep and lasting appreciation to the men and women, from communities throughout the state, who have expressed confidence in my ability to lead Illinois as its next chief executive. I am inspired by their determination to improve life for all our residents, and I am humbled by their desire to work with me to achieve that goal.

After careful consideration, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014.

I did not take lightly the calls for me to join this race and provide voters with another option. In making my decision, I talked with my family and considered the timing of this potential step. I evaluated my existing and pledged resources and considered whether they would be adequate to communicate not only my record of service, but my vision for this great state. I took into account my sincere desire not to create unnecessary divisions, given the commitments that have been made.

I also considered my current role as chair of the pension reform conference committee. The office of the governor is a key position of leadership. In deciding not to seek that position, I acknowledge the pivotal leadership role that is mine today and that I must carry out to best of my abilities until the job is done.

While I will not be a candidate for governor in 2014, I pledge to do my part in this pivotal election to ensure that all who seek to be Illinois’ next governor hear the voices of people and communities who have been ignored or marginalized. To be their advocate will be a high honor, a worthy calling and a responsibility sufficient for this day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      


Question of the day

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* Your advice for new House Republican Leader Jim Durkin?

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      


This just in…

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* 1:37 pm - I’m told that Rep. Jim Durkin was just elected House GOP Leader.

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      


Dillard’s not so secret secret

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* Pretty much everybody knows that Sen. Kirk Dillard will choose Rep. Jil Tracy as his running mate, so Sen. Dillard didn’t even try too hard to hide it this week

“Let me tell you without divulging secrets, the people of Southern Illinois will be extremely pleased with who my running mate is,” Dillard said. “It is rumored out there that it is somebody who grew up in deep Southern Illinois and might even be a double SIU Saluki graduate.”

Dillard also dropped a hint that it was a woman. […]

State Representative Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) has been widely rumored to be Dillard’s choice for Lt. Governor. She was born in Carbondale, Illinois and lived in Anna. She graduated from Southern Illinois University with both a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. She has been in the State House since 2006.

Tracy said earlier this week an announcement would be made next week and Dillard says he’ll make his official announcement in southern Illinois sometime after the holiday.

Thoughts on Tracy?

- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      


The importance of party backing, or lack thereof

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* Years ago, I asked House Speaker Michael Madigan how his precinct captains were able to get majorities for all of his ward’s Democratic candidates in 1984, when Ronald Reagan won the 13th Ward.

Madigan said his captains were ordered to not talk to people about the presidential race. Voters, he said, like to make up their own minds about top of the ticket contests, so it’s best not to ever argue with them.

The race for governor is pretty much the same. A captain who gets into a long discussion at the doors over the governor’s race is not gonna be able to convince those voters to go along with the ward’s choices for judge, or some other obscure elected office.

That being said, in some wards, townships and suburban and Downstate counties, party leaders can have an impact. The late John Gianulis of Rock Island County was one of those guys. There are a few others.

Mostly, though, the party structure just isn’t all that effective. I remember when Dan Reitz ran his first election for the House. Local county chairmen actually complained that Reitz was walking too many precincts. Clueless much?

* The bottom line here is that Gov. Quinn’s slating by the Cook County Democrats will have some impact, but only in certain wards and with certain types. Same goes for his support by the vast majority of Downstate and suburban chairmen and chairwomen.

In a close race, that backing might prove crucial. But slating for top offices is a bit overrated, so I tend to at least somewhat agree with Bill Daley here

While father Richard J. Daley perfected a political machine and controlled the slate-making process, the son opted to forgo seeking the endorsement of Cook County Democratic leaders this month and viewed it as a foregone conclusion that it would go to Quinn as the sitting governor.

Quinn’s strong reception at the annual downstate Democratic county chairmen’s State Fair breakfast two weeks ago also is viewed by Daley as a show of thanks from job-dependent political leaders.

“The path to victory is not on paper with committeemen. It’s getting out there,” Daley said.

“This race in January, February or March is going to get all the publicity in the world. This is the big race,” he said. “If I am able to raise the money I need to raise, they’ll see plenty of messaging from me. That’s where voters for the big races get their information. They don’t get it from the precinct captain ringing the doorbell in Eddie Burke’s ward.”

Again, in a close race, it might turn out to be crucial. Maybe. It just depends on the reaction the captains and committeemen get at the doors, if they even walk precincts.

Daley needs to figure out how to crush Quinn, and all the door-knocking in the world won’t turn those votes around. It’ll be all about the paid media.

And, by the way, I’m still not convinced that Daley can actually turn those votes around. The path just isn’t all that clear to me.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      


Attempting to define the beginning

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* For some reason, reporters lately have been trying to pinpoint when Campaign 2014 began for Gov. Quinn. From earlier this week

The busy chief executive of the nation’s fifth-largest state probably wouldn’t be expected to set aside time to attend an initial hearing in a lawsuit filed against him, but there was Gov. Pat Quinn on the 23rd floor of the Daley Center.

The Democratic governor had made what lawmakers contended was a constitutionally dubious move to take away their paychecks until they send him a pension reform bill. While not much was decided in court that day, the scene allowed a confident Quinn to flick the switch on his populist persona as the glare from a phalanx of TV camera lights shone on him.

“You don’t get paid if you don’t do your job,” the governor declared as though he already had won the lawsuit.

The moment this month marked the unofficial launch of Quinn’s re-election effort.

That was the moment? Really? How about when he vetoed the salaries in the first place? Or how about his splashy press conference accompanying his amendatory veto of the concealed carry bill?

* The AP tries to define the start as being today

The 2014 race for Illinois governor has entered a new phase with Gov. Pat Quinn taking time out of a work day to accept a union endorsement.

The Chicago Democrat has kept campaigning low-key so far with events such as speeches at churches and small fundraisers.

But on Thursday he stopped by the Chicago International Produce Market to pick up a re-election nod from Teamsters Joint Council 25.

The labor union endorsed him four years ago around the same time. Quinn was a member during college from 1969 to 1971.

He’s kept his campaigning low key?

This is a silly news hook.

No matter what they say, incumbents who want to run for reelection are always, in one way or another, in campaign mode.

…Adding… A good point from a commenter…

Don’t blame the reporters. Trust me, these stories are the concoction of thumb-sucking editors trying to prove they’re worth their considerable salaries.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      


Get it together, man

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* Last fiscal year, the Quinn administration approved more than $135 million in no-bid emergency purchases. That’s a new record.

Some of it is understandable

Sometimes, however, an unexpected need arises. Recently, for example, the Illinois State Police and other agencies had to scramble to purchase goods and services to help implement the state’s new concealed weapons law. They also may have to declare an emergency if, for example, a tornado damages the roof of a prison.

But some of it clearly ain’t

The Illinois Department of Corrections, for example, recently had to make a no-bid emergency purchase of $15,000 for hot dog seasoning to be used at the Menard Correctional Center meat shop.

The reason: The prior contract for wiener spices had expired and a new contract wasn’t yet in place.

This is a laughable explanation

Matt Brown, the state’s chief procurement officer, acknowledged a lack of manpower in some agencies might be playing a role. But, he said ensuring that contracts don’t expire without a new contract in place is a matter of good planning.

Oh, c’mon.

A “matter of good planning” would be to make sure that basic state contracts don’t have to be let on an emergency, no-bid basis.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      


Defining the party down the drain

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* The Tribune editorializes against electing Rep. Raymond Poe as House Republican Leader

In recent years, Poe has voted against several signature cost-cutting initiatives that would reduce the size of state government and the demands on taxpayers. He voted against every pension reform bill that came to the House floor this year — there were at least four. He voted against closing half-empty state buildings. He voted to protect free health insurance coverage for state retirees, an enormous cost. He voted against giving public school children in Chicago the freedom to choose their schools.

If you want to know where he stands on issues, ask the lobbyists for teacher and state employee unions. Poe has accepted more than $100,000 in union money for his campaigns during his tenure in Springfield. Sure, he represents a district with many public employees. But based on his fiscal voting record, he might as well move his desk to the Democrats’ side of the chamber.

* The paper’s political cartoonist piles on…

Poe represents his district and he does it well. To suggest that somehow makes him a Democrat is as ludicrous as calling his chief rival Rep. Jim Durkin a Democrat because he has voted with the trial lawyers in the past.

* On the other hand, as mentioned yesterday, the social conservatives believe that Rep. Jim Durkin is far too liberal to be the GOP Leader

Illinois is in desperate need of leadership that is both principled and courageous. Every day/week/month/year that passes without such leadership results in the degrading progression of conditions that we’ve seen over the past many years. Without moral and enlightened leaders our state’s continued decline is guaranteed. Rep. Jim Durkin possesses neither the wisdom nor skills necessary to provide the kind of bold political leadership families across our state are demanding. […]

As with anyone who has held public office as long as Durkin has there are many questionable, even disappointing, votes. For example, Durkin has voted for tax increases and a massive expansion of gambling and against virtual schools.

The problem with the Republican Party is that too many of its factions believe they possess the sole authority to declare who is and who is not a “true” party member. That wrong-headed thinking has resulted in a long string of losses in this state.

Ray Poe is a Republican.

Jim Durkin is a Republican.

That should go without saying.

Sheesh.

- Posted by Rich Miller   99 Comments      


Caption contest!

Thursday, Aug 29, 2013

* From the Du Quoin Evening Call

Jason Plummer (left), who says he has no interest in running for office again, is pictured at left with DuPage County auditor Bob Grogan in downtown Du Quoin during their visit on Thursday.

So, he’s moving into a kingmaker role?

Um, I don’t think Plummer will have much more success with Grogan than he did with his own campaigns. Just sayin’.

The photo…

- Posted by Rich Miller   88 Comments      


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