* As I told you earlier, Senate President John Cullerton visited Quincy this week, which is in Sen. John Sullivan’s district…
Sullivan and Cullerton described the differences between their Senate districts to the QU students. Sullivan has the largest geographic district in the state Senate with about 6,000 square miles in it. Cullerton’s district is one of the smallest, with about eight square miles, including Wrigley Field.
Both men have about 220,000 residents in their districts.
Sullivan’s district is larger than three US States - Connecticut (5,543 square miles), Delaware (2,489 square miles) and Rhode Island (1,545 square miles).
Bruce Rauner’s proposed term limit constitutional amendment would also reduce the number of state Senate districts, so Sullivan’s turf would get much larger.
* Speaking of Bruce Rauner, Jack Craver at The Capital Times up in Madison, Wisconsin has some interesting thoughts on how Rauner’s campaign looks a lot like a familiar one to cheeseheads…
(T)he frontrunner for the Illinois Republican gubernatorial nomination is trying his best to mimic the regular guy persona that [Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker] used in his first campaign for governor in 2010. Remember the brown bag lunch, the old Saturn and the Harley?
Here’s an excerpt from candidate Bruce Rauner’s official campaign bio: “He still drives a 20-year-old camper van, wears an $18 watch, and stays in the cheapest hotel room he can find when he’s on the road. He is the proud father of six children — two boys and four girls — and his wife Diana is the love of his life. He hunts birds, hikes, loves riding his Harley, and jumps at every opportunity to fish.” […]
Rauner’s campaign manager is Chip Englander, who was in charge of former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann’s unsuccessful bid for Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2010. Neumann, the multimillionaire who touted his executive business experience and his master’s degree, lost to Walker, the college dropout who claimed to pack two ham-and-cheese sandwiches (with mayo on wheat) in a brown bag for lunch every day.
Englander may have learned the hard way that the regular-guy persona works.
In addition, Rauner’s communications director is Mike Schrimpf, the twin brother of Chris Schrimpf, a former Walker flack. Until recently, Mike was a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association, a group that poured millions of dollars into boosting both of Walker’s gubernatorial campaigns.
* And Maria Konnikova has an interesting story in the New Yorker about how the way politicians look can correlate into the votes they get. A smallish excerpt here, so go read the whole thing because there is a lot more to this…
In 2003, the Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov began to suspect that, except for those people who have hard-core political beliefs, the reasons we vote for particular candidates could have less to do with politics and more to do with basic cognitive processes—in particular, perception. When people are asked about their ideal leader, one of the single most important characteristics that they say they look for is competence—how qualified and capable a candidate is. Todorov wondered whether that judgment was made on the basis of intuitive responses to basic facial features rather than on any deep, rational calculus. It would make sense: in the past, extensive research has shown just how quickly we form impressions of people’s character traits, even before we’ve had a conversation with them. That impression then colors whatever else we learn about them, from their hobbies to, presumably, their political abilities. In other words, when we think that we are making rational political judgments, we could be, in fact, judging someone at least partly based on a fleeting impression of his or her face.
Starting that fall, and through the following spring, Todorov showed pairs of portraits to roughly a thousand people, and asked them to rate the competence of each person. Unbeknownst to the test subjects, they were looking at candidates for the House and Senate in 2000, 2002, and 2004. In study after study, participants’ responses to the question of whether someone looked competent predicted actual election outcomes at a rate much higher than chance—from sixty-six to seventy-three per cent of the time. Even looking at the faces for as little as one second, Todorov found, yielded the exact same result: a snap judgment that generally identified the winners and losers. Todorov concluded that when we make what we think of as well-reasoned voting decisions, we are actually driven in part by our initial, instinctive reactions to candidates.
Again, go read the whole thing.