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Do you believe in magic?

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* If you believe this about the Sun-Times’ newest EXCLUSIVE POLL

The survey also showed Quinn was hurting when it came to the women vote – with 38 percent of the women polled saying they’d vote for Quinn when compared to 55 percent of women backing Rauner.

And if you believe that Jim Oberweis is leading Dick Durbin among women 50-41

And if you believe this

The survey, conducted Wednesday in live telephone interviews by McKeon & Associates, shows Quinn and Rauner each with 45 percent of the Downstate vote – a segment of the state that’s traditionally loyal to Republicans.

[Actually, I think that’s supposed to be southern Illinois.]

And if you believe that Gov. Pat Quinn is leading among males 53-30

And if you believe that Tom Cross is taking 27 percent of the African-American vote and is leading Mike Frerichs among Latinos 40-37

Well, then it truly is silly season and I feel sorry for you.

* This is the same newspaper, you may recall, which published (on its front page, no less) the results of a 2006 poll showing Rod Blagojevich leading Judy Baar Topinka by 30 points, 56-26.

- Posted by Rich Miller   49 Comments      

Facebook plans Q&A with Quinn tonight, Rauner tomorrow

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* From Andy Stone at Facebook…

In the hotly contested Illinois governor’s race, both Governor Pat Quinn and challenger Bruce Rauner have agreed to hold Facebook Q&As and answer questions directly from the voters. Each Q&A will happen on WLS-TV/ABC7Chicago’s Facebook page at

    Gov. Quinn will hold his Facebook Q&A on Wednesday, October 29, at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET.

    Bruce Rauner will hold his Facebook Q&A on Thursday, October 30 at 8 p.m. CT / 9 p.m. ET.

Using Facebook’s Q&A tool, people from across Illinois will have the opportunity to ask a question of Governor Pat Quinn and challenger Bruce Rauner and watch the conversation play out in real time.

More information below:

* Meanwhile WTTW is planning to use social media to enhance its US Senate debate coverage tonight. From Jay Smith, Supervising Producer, Chicago Tonight…

Hi Rich,

I hope you are well. I wanted to let you know that our forum with Dick Durbin and Jim Oberweis will be live streamed on our web site [tonight.] It will also be aired on Public TV and Radio stations statewide, including:

TV: WQPT – Quad Cities, WSIU – Carbondale, WILL – Champaign/Urbana, WTVP – Peoria, WEIU- Charleston

Radio: WBEZ - Chicago, WVIK – Quad Cities, Tri States Public Radio – Macomb, WGLT- Normal, WSIU – Carbondale, WNIU – Dekalb/Rockford, WUIS – Springfield, WCBU – Peoria.

We also will have a twitter stream widget on our web site, pulling in selected live tweeted commentary. Let me know if you’re going to be live tweeting and we can pull you in to that tool. We are also experimenting with using some Twitter content during the program.

Take care,
Jay The debate begins at 7 o’clock.

* And, finally…

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Question of the day

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* A friend snapped this pic and sent it to me earlier today…

Apparently, it’s one of those “mixed marriages.”

For those of you who don’t know, freshman Rep. Marty Moylan (D-Des Plaines) is attempting to fend off hard-charging opponent Mel Thillens (R-Park Ridge) in the 55th House District.

* The Question: Caption?

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

Circling back on guns, gay marriage

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* When I first posted this ad, it was still just a YouTube video, but some of you thought it was one of the better ads of the season. Well, the Gun Violence Prevention IE PAC (G-PAC) says it raised $200,000 to get the spot on the air in Chicago. That ain’t much, particularly since the airwaves are absolutely packed right now with campaign commercials. But it might be striking enough to stand out

* Meanwhile, from Equality Illinois…

After the Illinois House failed to pass the marriage bill in May 2013, Equality Illinois announced its Fight Back for Marriage campaign, making the commitment to spend $500,000 by the November 2014 election in the face of threats from marriage opponents to defeat the bill and oust the legislators who supported it.

By the end of the 2014 election cycle, the organization will have spent over $610,000, including:

    Over $150,000 in direct contributions to candidates by the Equality Illinois Political Action Committee, the political arm of Equality Illinois,

    Nearly $100,000 in a sophisticated information campaign to educate the electorate, and

    An unprecedented targeted get-out-the-vote effort, with more than 400 Equality Illinois PAC volunteers making more than 60,000 persuasion, identification, or turn-out phone calls in support of Gov. Pat Quinn and other LGBT-supportive candidates


- Posted by Rich Miller   40 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 - Spokesman identified - Rauner campaign responds *** DCEO official asks: “Is that a crime?”

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* Joe Cahill on Gov. Pat Quinn’s month-long goodies tour

But lately Mr. Quinn has authorized some big-money discretionary grants to companies that agree to expand in Illinois. Like Amazon, many had strong business reasons to add staff here without state funding. This month alone, the governor gave a total of $22 million to four Illinois-based companies. We’re talking direct transfers of state money here, not loans or tax credits.

I know what you’re thinking, because I’m thinking the same thing: The governor is giving away our money to generate favorable headlines about new jobs in Illinois a month before voters decide whether or not to give him another term.

The commerce spokesman acknowledges a halo effect. “In most cases, I think the timing largely had to do with the companies and when they were able to go forward,” he says, but adds, “We have a good story to tell — and do I want to tell it before Nov. 4? Yes. Is that a crime?”

Joe doesn’t identify the spokesman and agrees with the spokesman that it’s not illegal.

I dunno about that. At minimum, an admission like this is bound to create an uproar over an inappropriate mixture of government and campaigning at DCEO.

And, really, what kind of a doofus admits to election day motivations for pushing state corporate subsidies out the door after the lousy year his governor has had with the 2010 NRI program? And less than a week before election day at that?

This ain’t good, campers.

*** UPDATE *** From the Rauner campaign…

“Pat Quinn is already under federal investigation for misusing millions in October of 2010, and now it looks like he’s pumped out half a billion dollars this month to boost his campaign once again. He’s throwing around taxpayer money in October in the hopes of raising your taxes in November. Throwing around more money in the last six days won’t change the harm Pat Quinn has caused Illinois over the last six years.” - Rauner spokesperson Mike Schrimpf

And adds…

As of today, Pat Quinn has doled out nearly $500 million in the last four weeks. In the last two days alone, he doled out $36 million.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Well, at least now we know who the doofus is. From an AP report posted yesterday

While Amazon’s Misener said the timing of his company’s announcement was “a complete coincidence,” a spokesman for the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity said that agency had been in regular contact with Cronus Chemicals hoping the announcement would happen before the election.

“We have some good news here, and, yes, we wanted everybody to know about that before the election,” DCEO spokesman David Roeder said. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.”

How brazen can he get?

- Posted by Rich Miller   124 Comments      

Rate JBT’s TV ad

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* This is her positive ad. She’s also running a “response ad,” but I don’t yet have that one. Anyway, here you go

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Stupidly illegal

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* This is just one more reason from the mountain of reasons why Gov. Pat Quinn should never have allowed Chicago aldermen to pick which groups would get anti-violence program money in 2010. Too many aldermen really are this goofy, or worse

A Chicago alderman may be in hot water after she offered people the chance to win prizes if they vote.

Fifth Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston has since pulled the post off her Facebook page, but not after it caught the attention of the Cook County State’s Attorney. […]

The post on the alderman’s Facebook page went up Monday telling residents they could win raffle prizes if they go to the polls.

Hairston’s instructions: “Vote–you’re eligible no matter the candidate, then put their name and contact information on the back of their voter receipt…. And stop by the Fifth Ward office and drop it off.”

Among the raffle prizes were gift cards from area businesses, including Walgreens, Potbelly’s and Starbucks. Plus, $100 visa gift cards.

* From the state election code

Sec. 29-1. Vote buying.

Any person who knowingly gives, lends or promises to give or lend any money or other valuable consideration to any other person to influence such other person to vote or to register to vote or to influence such other person to vote for or against any candidate or public question to be voted upon at any election shall be guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Pretty darned clear.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

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Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

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Keep calm and comment on

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* The morning videos have mostly worked as intended - giving most of us something to agree on before proceeding with the divisive events of the day.

Even so, things are starting to get a little tense in comments as election day draws ever nearer.

* I’ve enjoyed covering and watching this campaign season more than any in my lifetime. I wasn’t sure why until this morning, when I was hanging out with Oscar the Puppy. He’s kept me calm, he’s allowed me to laugh at the absurdities without getting overly worked up.

So, here’s a pic I took not long after I had that little revelation…

Feel any better?

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

A big Wednesday oppo dump

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* Uh-oh

A campaign committee formed last week to support the Libertarian Party candidate for governor is headed by a convicted felon.

The Liberty for Illinois committee has sent out direct mail pieces in support of gubernatorial candidate Chad Grimm’s third party bid against Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

The committee, which has received all of its $200,000 in funding from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, is headed by Michael Bonivel, of Chicago, who spent at least two years in prison on two separate drug-related convictions.

Bonivel’s involvement in the race for governor is the latest twist in a push by the Operating Engineers to dilute support for Rauner among conservative voters. The Joliet-based labor organization already gave Grimm $30,000 to help tilt a hotly contested race in Quinn’s favor.

* Yikes

Court documents reveal that Bruce Rauner personally authorized a transaction which appears to have involved the flushing away of state pension money as part of a plan designed to allow Rauner and his fellow GTCR principals to escape liability in nursing home lawsuits.

* Hmm

I recently briefly examined GTCR’s SEC filings. Below are my observations about the industry generally and Rauner’s firm specifically. […]

The litany of permissible conflict of interest scenarios (many of which are commonplace throughout private equity) detailed in Bruce Rauner’s firm SEC filings, should be disturbing to any so-called sophisticated investor. Unfortunately, public pensions routinely consent to such potentially harmful conflicts either because they don’t read, don’t fully comprehend the oblique disclosures, or simply don’t care that politically-connected insiders may be profiting at the expense of stakeholders.

…Adding… One more

But this story of how someone appeared to get a job with political pull and then ended up on the payroll of the state’s Executive Ethics Commission does have a certain only-in-Illinois quality to it.

The story involves a woman named Gretchen Tucka. She was referenced several times as “Employee 218″ in a report by Illinois Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza that absolutely excoriated IDOT, charging that hundreds of people had been improperly hired by the department under Govs. Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn.

…Adding… I know I said “one more,” but here’s another one

Before entrusting anti-crime program funds in North Lawndale, the Quinn administration acted on the advice of then-Ald. Sharon Denise Dixon (24th), picking the non-profit Better Boys Foundation as the “lead agency” for NRI in North Lawndale.

In February, the Illinois auditor general’s office reviewed about $388,000 that the Better Boys Foundation oversaw and concluded that 46 percent of the money went for what “appeared to be unallowable” expenses or there was no documentation to back up what was done with those dollars.

On Tuesday — more than eight months since the auditor general’s report was completed — a state spokeswoman said the foundation provided it with documentation and “we are in the process of reviewing it to determine if any funds will need to be recovered.”

In any case, two top foundation executives are no longer in their jobs. That’s because both former executive director John Holton and LaTonya Lumpkin — whose resume notes that she directed NRI in North Lawndale for the Better Boys Foundation — have landed jobs in Quinn’s administration. They were put in positions exempt from merit-hiring, anti-patronage rules, state records show.

- Posted by Rich Miller   24 Comments      

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Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

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Will it help or will it backfire?

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* The National Journal on Bruce Rauner’s persistent outreach to African-American voters

Democrats are perplexed by Rauner’s strategy, assuming it’s as much a play to win over moderate suburban white voters as it is to actually win over black votes. Even one in-state Republican operative wondered why Rauner was spending valuable October campaign time in overwhelmingly Democratic precincts, given that he needs to win over undecided suburbanites in more politically-competitive territory.

“What Rauner is trying to do is taking a 90-10 electorate, and making it 88-12,” said a former adviser to Rahm Emanuel about the Republican’s focus on black voters. “That’s a waste of your time when there’s a 60-40 [suburban] electorate that you can make 50-50.” […]

Even Republicans working for Rauner privately acknowledged that despite their candidate’s optimism, they’re not going to reshape long-standing voting patterns that have consigned Republicans to a sliver of the black vote. His campaign has set a goal of winning 20 percent of the vote in Chicago, something that can be accomplished with only small inroads among minority voters. But they also hope that by highlighting Rauner’s minority outreach, he’ll improve his showing among softer Republican voters—like married women in the suburbs and moderates. The Chicago Tribune poll, which showed Rauner narrowly ahead, reported that his gains had “been driven primarily by white suburban women, a voting bloc considered socially moderate but fiscally conservative.”

Indeed, Rauner is part of a leading wave of candidates who are beginning to engage in minority outreach, even if it doesn’t render immediate political dividends. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has prioritized minority outreach in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, and has opened field offices meant to reach African-American voters in Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, and Florida.

* If it was all just a made-for-TV show to convince suburban women that he’s an open-minded moderate, then I might agree. But Rauner’s campaign and the IL GOP are also doing quite a bit of other outreach that suburban women won’t ever hear about, including significant amounts of direct mail, black and Latino radio/TV ads, etc.

He is, in other words, forcefully and repeatedly reminding the Democratic Party’s base that there’s an election going on. It would be akin to Democrats blanketing Wheaton with a high-dollar, shotgun-style GOTV program.

Not to mention that African-American preachers - as a class - aren’t exactly beloved by the hardcore Republican “base.” There’s some downside for Rauner here.

But, hey, maybe it’ll work. I give him credit for the outreach, at least. He has, without a doubt, forcefully expressed more high-profile concerns about the economic and social justice plights of minorities than most any other Republican we’ve seen in this state. Props for that.

- Posted by Rich Miller   41 Comments      

Quinn’s “You know me” ad reappears

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* Gov. Quinn used this same type of ad in the 2010 primary and general elections with success. He’s certainly a man of habit…

As early voting continues this week, Governor Pat Quinn talks about his lifelong fight for everyday Illinois residents and the choice that voters face in the closing ad of his campaign for re-election.

* The new ad

* The 2010 primary ad

* The 2010 general election ad

Which do you like the best?

…Adding… The Rauner campaign anticipated this closer ad with a couple of their own Web ads earlier this month…

* Do you know Pat Quinn?

* NRI Blues

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

Stop living in denial and do some regular checking, for crying out loud

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* From the Weekly Standard

Two Illinois voters say their attempts to vote early for Republicans on an electronic voting machine were registered as votes for Democrats—and they say have the video evidence to prove it.

* The video is starting to go viral

But scroll down through the hype and you get to this

Eventually, both voters were able to vote for the Republican candidates, as they say they preferred. They said the screen appeared to be poorly calibrated, so that while pressing anywhere in the box for a Democrat registered a vote for the Democrat, only pressing the bottom half of the Republican box did so for the Republican. The only way to make the correct vote, they said, was to press the incorrectly checked box to “uncheck” it, then press low in the Republican’s box. The voters say they were able to figure this out without calling over an election judge for help.

If you watch the video again, you can see that the person pressed right on the line dividing the two candidates. And they figured it out without assistance.

* More

Jon Schweppe, a spokesman for the Schilling campaign, says he called an official on the Illinois state board of elections on Friday afternoon about the voters’ complaints.

“I spoke with Bruce Brown at the Illinois State Board of Elections,” Schweppe says. “He called me back about an hour later after speaking with the Rock Island County Clerk’s office. He told me he suggested a full recalibration to fix the problem. He said it was a common problem and easy to fix.”

This really needs to be addressed by the State Board of Elections. Calibrations errors are easily overcome, but why are the machines going out of calibration in the first place? Shouldn’t there be regular testing throughout each day of voting if this is a problem?

* Also, a judge ruled against the GOP about another issue in the county

Rock Island County Clerk Karen Kinney addressed concerns about her handling of absentee ballots after a judge ruled in her favor Monday.

Kinney’s office has been the target of a Republican Party attack that not only is she opening ballots early and counting them but that her voting machines are calibrated in such a way that switches votes from Republican to Democrat.

Rock Island County Circuit Judge Lori Lefstein denied the GOP’s emergency injunction on the counting of absentee ballots.

“There is nothing wrong in this office,” Kinney, a Democrat, said afterward.

Keep in mind that the county clerk is facing reelection, and the unions have been pushing early voting very hard in RICO, so a bit of misdirection and over-playing of relatively minor problems is to be expected, like this press release from the IL GOP…

ILGOP Demands Action After Vote-Switching Video Surfaces

In wake of shocking vote-switching video in Rock Island County, ILGOP demands clerk stop pretending voting machines are calibrated correctly

Schneider: “The Illinois Republican Party will take any and all necessary legal action to ensure that every single voter’s voice is heard.”

Rock Island, IL – The Illinois Republican Party expressed shock and outrage over a video that surfaced today showing voting machines in Rock Island County calibrated to switch votes from Republican to Democrat.

The Rock Island County Clerk had previously dismissed multiple complaints of vote-switching as false and has yet to address a plan to fix her voting machines following the incident captured in the video.

“Earlier this week, we expressed deep concerns over reports of early voting machines in Rock Island County calibrated in a way that switches people’s votes from Republican to Democrat – similar to recent reports out of Cook County,” ILGOP Chairman Tim Schneider said. “The Rock Island Clerk ignored our concerns and claimed no problem existed. Following today’s shocking video, we renew our call on the Rock Island Clerk to immediately investigate the calibration of voting machines in the county. The Illinois Republican Party will take any and all necessary legal action to ensure that every single voter’s voice is heard.”

Despite the over-heated rhetoric, it can’t be said enough that if these machines have screen calibration problems then local officials need to make sure they’re tested throughout the day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Rauner explains why Quinn has put Illinois at “significant risk” from “foreigners”

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* Bruce Rauner was asked yesterday what risk Illinois was placed in by Gov. Pat Quinn’s refusal to support an Ebola-related travel ban. His response

“I think its’ a very significant risk. Why should we allow foreigners coming from the three countries where the Ebola virus is widespread? It’s a massive problem. Why should we allow them to get visas and come to the United States? We should do everything we can to protect American citizens, Illinois citizens from this virus.”

* Kinda harsh language, which I then used in a question posed to Rauner’s press secretary…

Since Quinn can’t legally stop foreigners from coming to Illinois, how is his non-support of a travel ban imperiling Illinoisans?

* His response…

The citizens of Illinois expect their governor to advocate on their behalf with the federal government to improve quality of life and defend their safety. Just as he advocates for an Ebola travel ban, Bruce will advocate for many federal actions that benefit Illinois, including comprehensive immigration reform, federal disaster assistance and funding for the Army Corps of Engineers. Governor Quinn should reconsider his opposition to an Ebola travel ban.

Your thoughts on this? Would it make much difference if Quinn broke with the administration and called for a travel ban?

* Meanwhile, the Tribune editorialized for a travel ban

But if we’re going to err, let’s err on the side of caution. Given the lethality of Ebola and the virus’ 21-day incubation period, a quarantine rule for medical professionals and others who have had contact with the disease in those high-risk countries seems reasonable.

- Posted by Rich Miller   111 Comments      

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Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

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Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

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Good morning!

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014

* I hope you’re ready for a rock ‘n soul morning jolt here, kids, because you just gotta crank it higher

Feeling that should make you move
Sounds that should help you groove

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

* How Jason Van Dyke's projected 96-year sentence wound up being 81 months
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* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - This just in...
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* Because... Chicago!
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Update to this morning's edition
* What's up with this lawsuit threat?
* It's Time To Put Our Progressive Values Into Action
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* Lock up your guns and vaccinate your kids!
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