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Some upset, some not

Friday, Nov 8, 2013

* For months, the common belief was that Gov. Pat Quinn was going to pick a black running mate. That didn’t happen, of course, and now at least some African-American politicians are expressing frustration. The Sun-Times interviewed several, but here are two

“He just blew it,” [Ald. Carrie Austin ] said.

“Kwame Raoul, Will Burns, Stephanie Neely. What happened to those individuals on your short-list that you would erase them off the list completely and go totally to another individual. We should have had some kind of forewarning that this is another individual on the short list that I have been talking with. But, to say nothing?…I’m upset with my governor now. . . .I can speak for [Ward] 34 and it ain’t lookin’ good.”

Austin said it’s entirely possible that, without a Democratic challenger, Quinn is taking the African-American vote for granted and appealing to a broader constituency by choosing Vallas. […]

“All of us are scratching our heads from a political standpoint. We were under the impression he was pursuing a Stephanie Neely, a prominent black businesswoman, maybe a Jehon Gordon, someone who’s very current with people right now in general,” said [Rep. Ken Dunkin], head of the Joint Legislative Black Caucus.

“With Paul Vallas, the only people who remember him are people like you and myself,” Dunkin said in an interview with the Sun-Times. “I think it would have boded well for [Quinn] to have cut across generational lines and ethnic lines.

Dunkin said Quinn is highly regarded by black voters and that perhaps in Vallas, the governor was looking for someone who would bolster his showing in the collar counties. But Vallas’ disadvantage is having been absent from Illinois’ political landscape for so long, he said.

* But not all black politicos are upset. Ald. Walter Burnett

“Some elected African-American officials are going to be disappointed, but I think Paul Vallas was sensitive to our community when he was over at the Board of Education — making sure kids get eyeglasses, making sure they get a good education, building schools, making schools safer. He showed that he really cared. And he did not only here in Chicago, he did it all over the country. He predominantly worked for African American causes. . . . Overall I think it’s a plus.”

Burnett said he could understand the disappointment of many colleagues in Quinn’s failure to pick an African-American candidate.

“We were expecting it, and it was being entertained, so we thought it was going to happen,” Burnett said. “But Paul Vallas is not a bad choice. He comes out of left field, but Paul Vallas showed his commitment to the African-American community a long time ago. He worked for the schools. . . . His heart is in the right place. But I think it is smart of the governor to get somebody who has a fiscal management brain, like Paul Vallas. Paul Vallas balanced many budgets with the city of Chicago. So I think it’s a good choice.”

Burnett also suggested Vallas was picked as a way to counter Republican claims that Quinn was not up to the fiscal management of the state. “I think he just check-mated them on that, because I don’t think you can get anyone who is more of a fiscal manager than a Paul Vallas. So I think he just check-mated the Republicans.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    === Stephanie Neely ===

    Not with her background in banking. It would have undermined Quinn’s entire message.

    Raoul? Burns? Definitely would have helped.

    But that presupposes they would have said “yes” to running with Quinn. It also assumes that he never floated the idea to either of them.

    Some things are about more than race, Alderman Austin.

  2. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:12 pm:

    I don’t see any kind of “check-mate” here. The more I think about the choice, the less I understand it.

  3. - Statesman - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    How silly of Quinn. Didn’t he ‘know’ that was a Black- Lieutenant governor seat on the ticket?

  4. - Chi - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    Is there any indication Raoul or Burns would have said “yes”? Maybe Vallas wasn’t the first choice.

  5. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    Does anyone else get the impression that some members of the Black political class are more upset about Vallas getting picked for LtGov over Black candidates than they were about closing 50 schools in the Black community?

  6. - Statesman - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    Sure the only person that is surprised is Human Rights Commissioner Marty Castro who thought he had the Lite Guv spot sewn up! He probably already had the Vamos con Quinn y Castro signs printed in union shops! Jobs!

  7. - James the Intolerant - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    As we saw in last weeks Tribune article concerning Chicago budgets, they were balanced by using long term bonds to pay for day-to-day items and other smoke and mirror tricks. I also think the choice is a puzzler.

  8. - Carl Nyberg - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:21 pm:

    I hope Black politicians aren’t surprised that people don’t respect politicians who fail to fight for their constituents.

  9. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    Is this disappointing for some black politicos? Sure. However, I can’t imagine many were jumping for joy at the chance to hitch themselves to Pat Quinn, an extremely unpopular and erratic governor. If you already had some power and clout yourself, such as Kwame Raoul, even if it is small, you would not hitch yourself to Quinn. I just cannot see a lot of people being honestly upset by this since I’m sure Quinn got a lot of rejections by more prominent or upper tier black politicians.

  10. - Statesman - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    Two Candidates with North of I-80 pull (one who has been questionably out of the State for some time). No downstate game. Hope it is a Red November for Illinois in 2014!

  11. - Archiesmom - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:36 pm:

    I’m pretty sure Precinct Captain is on the money. I know more than one African American potential candidate who would not have accepted an offer. And I believe that it would have been hard for some in the Assembly to have joined that ticket after the legislative pay fiasco. I

  12. - Poor Miller - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    The real reason Black Politicos wanted an African-American picked is because there is a logjam of black elected officials staying in their office forever and they wanted an open seat so they can all push their individual proteges to fill it.

  13. - Up and Adam - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    Jehan Gordon-Booth would’ve been a great choice! Nobody gets excited about a couple of white guys…and I’m a white guy!

  14. - ChicagoModerate - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:41 pm:

    I think it is a total checkmate. If Quinn would have had a primary opponent no doubt this would have been African American running mate. He very wisely (I was more surprised that he made such a wise decision)chose someone who is not controversial, appealing to moderates, and with a great reputation. In a general African Americans are with the party, especially with other races going on that make voting Democratic necessary in their communities. Latinos and upset white lean Dem(s) is what this choice is about. Vallas will bring Gery Chico and other Latino electeds into the mix. Not sure if he is but his name sounds Latino as well. The republicans already begun to zero in on these groups,Quinn just one upped them.

  15. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:45 pm:

    –Vallas will bring Gery Chico and other Latino electeds into the mix.–

    LOL, well, anything that brings in Gerry Chico is a checkmate. Real electoral juggernaut there. Was he ever elected to anything?

    Vallas is of Greek extraction, I believe.

  16. - Chad - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:54 pm:

    Having an African American would have been respectful, but the black political voters in this state are so uniformly blue that it would have brought very little politically. Better to play for white ethnic swing voters.

  17. - Norseman - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 3:56 pm:

    Either Burnett was briefed on what to say or he put a little more thought in his response rather than knee-jerking it like others.

  18. - Eastbound and down - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    Brilliant choice vet,blue collar,self made,smart,fair,understands finances and approachable. His word is good not afraid to take on tough challenges New Orleans, Philadelphia . What’s race have to do with it it is 2013 you are either a Democrat or your not end of story. Out of the box love it.

  19. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:04 pm:

    –Having an African American would have been respectful, but the black political voters in this state are so uniformly blue that it would have brought very little politically.–

    The idea that black Illinoisians vote by race has no basis in reality.

    Ask Carol Mosely Braun, former state rep., county official, U.S. Senator and ambassador. She got beat by the Jewish dude from Wilmette and DC. She did not win one Chicago precinct, not even her own.

    Ask Gov. Burris, too.

  20. - Rod - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:05 pm:

    Currently Mr. Chico is chair of the Illinois State Board of Education an non-elected position. Mr. Chico is by the way only half Hispanic, he is not a power house player in the Latino community electoral politics and he has never claimed to be. He does have significant influence in relation to many things inside the Chicago Democratic party and I assume he and Mr Vallas are friends.

  21. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:08 pm:

    Did everyone forget that Kwame admitted he wanted the nod? It was reported here, such short memories.

  22. - jake - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    Quinn did not know until this week that Vallas would be available. There was a minority faction on the Bridgeport, CT school board that wanted to get rid of him and a majority who wanted to keep him. Whether or not to fire him became the major issue in the School Board elections on Tuesday. Tuesday night it was clear. The new school board (5 out of 9) will have a majority on the board. If you put Vallas’ name into there are several detailed accounts of the situation. So from Vallas’ point of view, the main issue was, that he would soon be out of a job. From Quinn’s point of view, I think he was desperate to find somebody who would run with him.

  23. - jake - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    I meant to say, “The new school board (5 out of 9) will have a majority on the board who want to fire Vallas.”

  24. - Outandproud - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    Chico is half Lithuanian.

    Wordslinger-refresh my memory. Who was the Jewish guy from Wilmette that you reference beating CMB?

  25. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:14 pm:

    –Did everyone forget that Kwame admitted he wanted the nod?–

    He did. Which makes the Vallas’ pick that much more confusing.

    Maybe I’ll see PQ tomorrow night at Elmhurst College when Fenwick takes on Hersey. It’s a double-dip, with OPRF taking on Maine South at home in the afternoon.

  26. - ChicagoModerate - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:25 pm:

    Wordslinger- Believe it or not but Latinos have a short supply of known and/or popular elected officials . And though Chico has never won any office. I would argue after his mayoral bid his name recognition is up there with Luis G. among Latinos. That being said i didn’t mean it as Chico being the end all but just acknowledging that he has popularity among Latinos. I already saw him being quoted in the trib article about Vallas.

  27. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    CM, Vallas is Greek. What does Chico have to do with anything?

  28. - wordslinger - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:31 pm:

    –Who was the Jewish guy from Wilmette that you reference beating CMB?–

    Emanuel. The point was that Emanuel smoked CMB among black voters.

  29. - Juvenal - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    I would have liked to see Kwame.

    That said, where were all of the aforementioned possible running mates when it looked like Daley or even Madigan might be in the race? Even after Quinn was running unopposed, I didnt hear too many “I love Pat Quinns.”

    Heck, Kwame was outright critical until Daley dropped out. wouldnt those quotes have been in a campaign ad?

  30. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:44 pm:

    ===I think he was desperate to find somebody who would run with him. ===

    Don’t kid yourself. Lots of people wanted that job. With Lisa and Daley out, it started looking good again.

  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:46 pm:

    - ChicagoModerate -,

    Gery Chico is outstanding at winning … appointed positions …When Gery Chico wins something, then you can claim all this popularity.

    Gery Chico was asked and quoted due to their working relationship, not ethnicity. Chico’s race … is not a mitigating factor, just a fact of who he is.

    Just saying.

  32. - ZC - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:47 pm:

    Kwame Raoul just posted his thoughts on his Facebook feed. He said he supports it. Also pretty clear he wanted the position.

  33. - ZC - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 4:50 pm:

    Also, we can see now that Russ Stewart - who’s increasingly verging into cranky-old-man-land - really blew his latest column:

  34. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 5:01 pm:

    The Sun-Times reported Raoul would take it. But Rich, as usual, did a good job of fleshing out
    the story behind the story.

    === The Sun-Times has a story called “Kwame Raoul would run for lt. gov., but Quinn’s not asking.” I asked Sen. Raoul about the rumors I’d been hearing last week, and I came away with a different impression than the Sun-Times… ===

    And from Senator Raoul’s response to Rich: “A lot of people suggesting me, but he has not approached me. Don’t know if I would take the job as it currently exists.”

    Perhaps they didn’t see eye-to-eye during negotiations. Perhaps Raoul felt the timing wasn’t right. Or maybe he privately didn’t want to run with Quinn but wanted to be respectful in public. Perhaps Quinn felt Vallas was simply a better choice. Who knows?

    There are any number of reasons two talented human beings may not decide to work together other than color of skin.

  35. - Henry Clay - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    Vallas was a good choice as far as having a well-respected running mate to woo the collar-counties independent voters. Vallas also was (and is) well-respected by most Republicans in the collar-counties as well.
    Quinn knows that he has the Chicago African-American vote already locked up. That is like saying the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. It is “a given”. Who would Chicago African- American voters vote for otherwise? A Republican candidate? Yeah, right. I don’t think so. That will never happen (at least not in this decade).
    The irony is that the Illinois Democrat Party and the state of Illinois would have been far better off having Paul Vallas run for Governor and Pat Quinn for Lt. Governor. That would have made a Democrat Governor being elected in 2014 a slam-dunk. Choosing Valas was definitely a smart political move by Quinn. As to whether it will prove to be enough to overcome Quinn’s own record and his leadership inadequacies come the November election— ahhh, that part I am not so sure about.

  36. - us436 - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 5:18 pm:

    Maybe I’m just overestimating how well people remember Paul Vallas, but I really think Quinn made a politically smart choice. Choosing a minority candidate primarily to boost turnout of that candidate’s ethnic group doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. Obama may be the exception but he should hardly be used as a model for any other candidate. Picking a black LG candidate may have made sense if Quinn was facing a primary, but under the circumstances he needs to look to the general election. And I think most black and Hispanic voters retain some good will toward Vallas, if only by contrast to the current CPS regime.

    The reality is that most Illinois statewide races are won or lost in the suburbs. And, while it’s been a long time-politically speaking-since Vallas ran for governor, I think people in the collar counties still remember him. In 2002, Blago got absolutely crushed in the burbs, particularly in Lake and DuPage. Vallas got huge numbers there and probably would have won the nomination if not for his underperformance downstate and the African American support he lost to Burris. A lot of suburban folks lamented for awhie what might have been if Vallas had spared us Rod. There’s a reason the Cook GOP wanted him to run for Board President — desperation yes, but certainly the best they could find. Vallas certainly won’t help Quinn WIN the suburbs, but he may help contain the bleeding of enough Independents and disaffected Dems to make a difference.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 5:25 pm:

    - Henry Clay -,

    You are missing the whole point.

    Pat Quinn is better off having the AA Community energized and voting. Turnout is the key, Plurality is the key. The percentage may or may not change, but an extra 1,000 voters motivated to vote for Pat Quinn is better than 1,000 less voters motivated to stay home.

    Plurality and total votes, raw votes is the discussion, not the percentage of a given groups support of Quinn over another.

    Biggest mistake when understanding why a Community, (AA, Latino, etc.,) needs to be motivated; increase the pluratily of raw vote totals.

  38. - MrJM - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 6:00 pm:

    “Plurality and total votes, raw votes is the discussion, not the percentage of a given groups support of Quinn over another.”

    Willy’s right.

    100% of not enough ain’t enough.

    – MrJM

  39. - Anonymous - Friday, Nov 8, 13 @ 11:37 pm:

    Look at the upside: At least Dean Vallas will be back posting on this blog every time his brother is mentioned.

  40. - Political Neophyte - Saturday, Nov 9, 13 @ 1:21 am:

    “That said, where were all of the aforementioned possible running mates when it looked like Daley or even Madigan might be in the race? Even after Quinn was running unopposed, I didnt hear too many ‘I love Pat Quinns.’” - Juvenal

    Juvenal, at the last Democratic Chairman’s event a while back, they were overwhelmingly for PQ, and that was before Daley and Madigan dropped out. There is more love for the Gov than most people think.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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