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Bustos staffer resigns after racist recording surfaces

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* As I told you earlier this afternoon, Bobby Schilling’s campaign released a recording of what it claimed were racist remarks by a staff member in Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ Rock Island district office.

From Bustos herself…

“These comments are unacceptable on every front. I heard them for the first time this afternoon on my drive from Peoria to Rockford. The staff member on the recording offered her resignation and I accepted effective immediately. She is no longer employed in my office. I have begun sitting down with the African American leadership in our communities to express my outrage and disappointment over these comments.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

“Stealing the election” meme strikes again

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Several people have sent me this mailer from the IL GOP…

* As a commenter pointed out earlier today, this “stealing” claim not only sets up a “We was robbed!” battle cry after the election, but will also help fire up the base and get them to the polls before those Chicago thieves do their dirty work.

The funniest part for me, though, was that several Democrats received that mailer and then sent it to me. And one guy in a black precinct on the South Side told me over the weekend that several people in his building received the GOP flier.

Seems odd to me.

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

Poll: All ballot proposals have strong support

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Before we begin, here are the requirements for passing a constitutional amendment come November…

A proposed amendment shall become effective as the amendment provides if approved by either three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election.

The math is a bit tricky because people tend to skip over those questions. But anything with over 60 percent support right now is looking good, and both proposals have that.

I’ve pulled out all of the language about registered voters on this Paul Simon Public Policy Institute poll memo because I think they’re meaningless. We want to look at likely voters, so I rewrote it a bit. Also, keep in mind that this poll is ancient: September 23 through October 15. However, since there is no well-funded and active opposition to any of these questions, the responses are probably in line with current thought…

• Right to vote. Reflecting the current national debate over voting rights, respondents were asked if they favored or opposed the following provision: “No person shall be denied the right to register to vote or to cast a ballot in an election based on race, color, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, national origin, region, sex, sexual orientation, or income.”

Among likely voters, the results were 69.3 percent favored/strongly favored and 21.3 percent opposed/strongly opposed.

• Rights of crime victims. Respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose a constitutional amendment that would strengthen the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights by increasing victims’ access to proceedings and increasing protections against harassment?”

Among the likely voters the results were 69.6 percent favored/strongly favored and 15.6 percent opposed/strongly opposed.

* The ballot questions are merely advisory, so any result over 50 will help it in the GA…

• Higher minimum wage. This question asked if voters would favor or oppose a proposal to raise the minimum wage in Illinois from $8.25 per hour to $10 per hour.

Among likely voters, 68.6 percent favored or strongly favored the proposed increase while 26.8 percent opposed or strongly opposed.

Partisan differences appeared: 89.9 percent of the Democrats favored or strongly favored while 67.0 percent of the Independents favored or strongly favored. Among likely Republican voters, 55.2 percent opposed or strongly opposed.

• Birth control: Tapping one of the most contentious political conflicts in the nation today, the respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose an advisory proposal to require all health insurance plans in Illinois to cover prescription birth control?”

Among likely voters, 59.3 percent strongly favored or favored while 32.6 percent opposed or strongly opposed. The most likely Democratic voters favored the measure by an 81.4 percent favor to 11.7 percent margin. The Republicans were nearly the opposite with 64.3 percent opposed or strongly opposed versus 28.1 percent who favored or strongly favored. The Independents were closer to the Democrats with 61.2 percent favorable and 33.0 percent opposed.

• Millionaire tax increase. In an attempt to measure support for the so-called “Millionaire’s Tax,” respondents were asked, “Would you favor or oppose an advisory proposal to add a 3 percent tax on all income above $1 million a year to provide additional funding to public schools?”

Among likely voters, 65 percent who favored or strongly favored and 30.2 percent opposed or strongly opposed.

83.3 percent of the Democrats favored or strongly favored the millionaire’s tax, with only 13.2 percent opposing. Two-thirds [66 percent] of the Independents favored or strongly favored, and 27.2 percent opposed. A strong majority [58.6 percent] of the Republicans opposed or strongly opposed this measure while only 36.2 percent of the Republicans most likely to vote favored or strongly favored.)

691 interviews with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

- Posted by Rich Miller   9 Comments      

General, you made this mess, now clarify it

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* From a press release…

The Illinois Republican Party sent a critical “voter fraud alert” robocall this afternoon to Republican voters and election judges, asking for heightened vigilance following a rash of questionable issues at polling locations, including Republican voters watching in shock as their voting machines changed their votes from “Republican” to “Democrat.”

“This election is far too important for anything less than 100 percent transparency and 100 percent fairness. Not a single exception will be tolerated,” said Tim Schneider, Chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. “The people of Illinois are demanding a change from the failures of Pat Quinn and the Democrats in charge; we deserve nothing less than a clean and fair election.”

Voters are asked to immediately report any suspicious activity by calling or emailing

The ILGOP takes every report seriously, and is pursuing legal action where required.

Issues in the first week of early voting have included:

    Schaumburg, IL: On Monday, Jim Moynihan, GOP candidate for State House, tried to vote for himself and saw the voting machine try to record his vote for his opponent instead. Election officials blamed a mysterious “calibration error.” Several similar errors were reported around the state.

    Rockford, IL: On Tuesday, early voting in Rockford was suddenly shut down for hours because of two separate ballot issues.

    Rock Island, IL: Congressional Candidate Bobby Schilling reported as many as 20 instances of voting machines changing Republican votes to Democrat, prompting a complaint to the Board of Elections. In the same county, Republicans were forced to take legal action to ensure full transparency and openness for poll watchers.

    Danville, IL: Officials illegally began processing absentee votes last week, contrary to election law and a specific advisory from Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Robocall text:

“Hello this is Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party. I’m calling Republicans today with an important voter fraud alert. Across Illinois, we are getting daily reports of Democrats trying to help Pat Quinn steal the vote so he can stay in office. In some places, when you try to vote Republican, your vote automatically switches to Democrat. It’s outrageous. And I need your help to stop it. When you go to vote — during early voting this week or on Election Day next Tuesday, November 4th — keep an eye out for possible voter fraud. If you see something, say something. Call our voter fraud hotline at 312-201-9000. Again, that’s 312-201-9000. Thank you and this call was paid for by the Illinois Republican Party.”

Man, talk about over-blown. It looks like they’re setting up a “Fraud at Polls!” argument if Rauner loses a close one.

* We’ve talked about the one-off problem in Schaumburg already. It’s really a non-issue. No votes were actually tabulated the wrong way. We discussed Rockford as well. It was a ballot printing error that caused the delay in early voting.

The Rock Island situation is different because Bobby Schilling is claiming 20 complaints. He’s known for being a bit of an exaggerator, however, so I’m wondering if any of those complaints have been officially filed with the proper authorities. RICO obviously needs to get its calibrations in order, but, again, I seriously doubt that any votes were actually cast the wrong way.

* And that brings us to the Danville case

Danville election officials opened and processed a number of absentee ballots more than a week before the election, which local Republicans are calling a violation of state law and a threat to the fairness of the process.

Barbara Dreher, director of the Danville Election Commission, said this morning that her office has already put some absentee ballots through the tabulator, an electronic machine that processes the paper ballots. She said she knew it was a violation of a state statute, but absentee ballots were piling up in auxiliary bins in her office, in the Vermilion County Courthouse Annex in downtown Danville.

Putting them through the tabulator opened up space, she said.

Let’s be clear here: This is the way just about all county clerks did things for years. It’s not some new, nefarious plot. Only now that Attorney General Lisa Madigan decided that putting absentee ballots into the tabulator before an election somehow violates a state law passed nine years ago has this become an issue.

Yes, the county clerk election commission was stupid. And, yes, the Republicans will likely try to get those votes thrown out - and since the Democrats have sunk millions into their early voting effort, the GOP knows who will be hurt more.

* I’ve been trying to get some clarification out of Madigan’s office for days about this topic

Election results in DuPage County could take a day longer than usual for the Election Commission to tabulate after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s recent opinion on the counting process.

Madigan’s statement, issued Oct. 15, said that ballots collected through early voting and absentee balloting cannot be counted before election polls close at 7 p.m. Nov. 4.

Specifically, the opinion said that running the ballots through tabulating equipment is a form of counting.

Joseph Sobecki, the DuPage commission’s assistant executive director, said waiting until 7 p.m. on election day will definitely impede how quickly they can report results.

“Most likely it would be pushed back about a day,” Sobecki said.

* More

Madigan, a Democrat, issued an opinion last week in response to some “procedural issues” about vote tabulation, spokeswoman Natalie Bauer said. The opinion says state law is clear that no vote-counting should start until 7 p.m. That includes running mail-in and early votes through equipment to prepare them for vote-recording, a process which, Madigan said, “clearly constitutes ‘counting’ as that term is ordinarily understood.”

James Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, which oversees nearly 1.4 million voters, said prohibiting any activity until close of polls would mean the state’s three-largest jurisdictions – Chicago, suburban Cook County, and suburban DuPage County – “would be delayed by multiple, multiple hours before reporting even one vote.”

Allen said the board is seeking clarification from the attorney general on whether its traditional system will suffice. A machine processes and sorts the ballots and puts the results in an encrypted file that can only be ready when linked to accompanying software – something the office doesn’t do until after polls close.

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Bustos promises “action” after alleged racist staff audio surfaces

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

*** UPDATE *** The Bustos staffer has resigned. Click here for more info.

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* From the Bobby Schilling campaign…

A constituent visiting Congresswoman Bustos’ official office in Rock Island last winter received a shocking response to a question about how the Congresswoman’s position on an issue reflect the views of constituents in new areas of the district, particularly Rockford.

The constituent recorded the conversation to reflect on it later. He asked a question on an issue and never expected such derogatory comments about the people of Rockford. He was so disturbed by the callous, cynical response he ended up giving a copy of it to the Schilling campaign. In the audio, which is attached, the constituent is told that Rockford is “very, very urban, very poor, very underprivileged,” and “Not people that spend a lot of time in church—more in jail than church.”

Here is a transcript of the dialogue from the audio clip:

    Constituent: But the other areas, like Rockford or Peoria or those areas?”

    Bustos’ Office: “You know, I don’t spend a lot of time in those areas. I don’t think–I’ve never heard anything in Rockford. You’ve gotta understand, the part of Rockford we have, though–”

    Constituent: “Is pretty rural? Or, pretty, no, urban, isn’t it?”

    Bustos’ Office: “Very, very urban, very poor, very underprivileged. Not people that, um, spend a lot of time in church [laughter]. More in jail [laughter] than church.”

Not good at all.

* Audio

* From Congresswoman Bustos…

“The comments on this audio tape are outrageous and do not reflect my values. In every office and on the desks of every one of my staff members, there is a sign that states: ‘We pledge to provide exceptional service, treat ALL people with dignity and respect, and work every day to improve our community.’ That mission statement is what I expect of all my staff. If someone ever fails to meet that expectation, I will take appropriate action.

“Our office is in receipt of the same audio that was released to the press today, but at present have not been able to validate the audio itself, the parties involved, or where and when it may have been recorded. Once this review is complete, and if it is determined that one of my staff members made these statements, action will be taken.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Kelsey Grammer pushes constitutional amendment

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Big, big bucks are being spent to urge a “Yes” vote on the Crime Victims Bill of Rights constitutional amendment next month. Proponents have now lined up a celebrity spokesman. From a press release…

Kelsey Grammer may be best known for the roles he’s played in the television series Cheers and Frasier; but starting today, you’ll see him on airwaves with a more somber tone encouraging Illinois voters to vote ‘yes’ for the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. Grammer’s passionate involvement with this issue stems from the most horrific tragedies of his life. Grammer’s father, Frank Grammer, was murdered in 1968. Seven years later, his sister, Karen Grammer, was raped by four men and murdered in Colorado. […]

Grammer was not paid for his participation in this ad.

* The ad

* Script…

“I’m Kelsey Grammer. Nearly 40 years ago, my sister Karen was murdered. Since that time, I have done my best to keep the man responsible for her death behind bars. In Illinois, victims and their families don’t always have that right. With the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, victims and their families will be informed and heard before criminals can be paroled. I urge you to vote ‘yes’ on the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights. These people have suffered immeasurable loss. It seems doubly criminal that they might lose their voice as well.”


- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

He’s stronger than you may think

Monday, Oct 27, 2014


Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is mulling whether or not to take on Rahm Emanuel and run for mayor, according to sources within the Democratic party, and within Chicago’s Latino and progressive communities.

“He’s certainly getting a lot of calls on it,” said one Latino elected official.

Garcia, considered a progressive, has served in City Council, the Illinois General Assembly, and most recently, as Commissioner of Cook County’s 7th District, encompassing largely Latino neighborhoods on the city’s southwest side and parts of Cicero. He was elected to City Council in 1986 as alderman of the 22nd ward and was a top ally of then-Mayor Harold Washington. In 1992, he was elected to the Illinois State Senate and touts himself as the first Mexican-American to hold that office. […]

One top Democratic party official said Garcia could quickly build name recognition if he got the support of Latinos, progressives, and labor unions – a coalition that the mayor is struggling with.

First, I just want to say that Chuy is one of my all-time favorite politicians. Love the guy.

* But I’d like to take this opportunity to point out something to the “progressives” who are so upset at the mayor, particularly over his refusal to support a $15 minimum wage. So, they’re bashing Emanuel for backing a $13 minimum while dumping millions to support Gov. Pat Quinn - who supports a $10 minimum wage?

Kinda screwy if you ask me. [Also, Rahm has given the progressive darling Quinn $225K since March - more than any other Illinois politician.]

The city, like just abut all major US cities these days, has moved far to the Left of where it was 10 years ago. Emanuel belatedly found that out the hard way and is now clearly recalibrating.

* Also, as far as the unions are concerned, Emanuel has considerable union support. AFSCME just got a new contract, and hizzoner is supporting AFSCME’s attempt to unionize taxi drivers. SEIU is backing the mayor on the minimum wage and other issues, and the trades are pretty much universally on board.

That leaves the CTU and some smaller unions on the outs with Emanuel.

* Racially speaking, to oversimplify things, you need two out of the three predominant racial demographics to win Chicago - whites, blacks or Latinos, or a combination of major subgroups within those blocs. I can see a path for Emanuel (as long as he continues the leftward recalibration) more than I can for Garcia (who will likely scare the big money types into ignoring Emanuel’s lurch away from them).

Chuy is one heckuva stump speaker, and I’d love to see him save the city from the cringe-inducing thumping that 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti will likely receive from Emanuel. I mean, who the heck hires a campaign manager fresh off his humiliating management of the failed remap amendment, for crying out loud?

But Garcia has never impressed me as much of a fundraiser. So, let’s see what kind of team he puts together before anointing him as the Second Coming.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner wants Ebola travel ban

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Rauner one-upped Quinn on the Ebola scare today. From the twitters…

Rauner also said that the governor’s plan to require a 21-day home quarantine should’ve been done sooner.

The governor’s office says Gov. Quinn does not favor a travel ban.

* Meanwhile

Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck said Monday the state’s approach strikes the “right balance” by enforcing a home quarantine only for the highest-risk cases.

The Illinois 21-day mandatory home quarantine won’t be used for medical workers if they wore personal protective equipment correctly while treating Ebola patients in West Africa.

Hasbrouck says Illinois wasn’t directly influenced by a New York doctor who went bowling before testing positive for Ebola. But he says that New York case “played into the urgency” for a public announcement.

Illinois has no confirmed Ebola cases and nobody is in quarantine.

*** UPDATE *** Rauner campaign statement…

Gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner today expressed serious concerns over Governor Quinn’s refusal to support a travel ban applied to countries affected by Ebola.

“I support Senator Kirk’s call on the State Department to issue a visa and travel ban on those attempting to travel from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” Rauner said. “It is troubling that Governor Quinn would not support a travel ban particularly given that O’Hare is one of the world’s busiest airports. Pat Quinn has failed Illinois on jobs, on education, on taxes, and on crime; we can’t afford another failure on a potentially very serious public health hazard.”

Senator Kirk’s proposal is common sense and supported by the vast majority of people in Illinois and America. It has won bi-partisan support.

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Hopefully, our problems are behind us

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* We had so many site outages last week, mainly from crushing traffic, that my hosting company recommended some changes. Here’s what they did…

We installed a front-end proxy server called Varnish. It should help with your database load by caching static pages, lowering the amount of database queries your SQL server has to process.

Whatever that is, I hope it works.

Just thought you’d like to know.

- Posted by Rich Miller   16 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* From a press release…

Chicago, IL – Billionaire gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner is opposed to raising the minimum wage “depending on what day you ask him about it,” wrote Gapers Block this morning. Despite Rauner’s clear advocacy for lowering or outright eliminating the minimum wage, Rauner has falsely denied such a position and said he was misunderstood.

On Friday, after having months to reflect on his minimum wage position, Rauner made it clear that he remains strongly opposed to raising the minimum wage. Below is an excerpt of Rauner’s interview with the State Journal Register Editorial Board:

    SJR: “You’ve said you were ‘adamantly adamantly’ against raising the minimum wage. You’ve said it here many times.”

    Rauner: “Yes. Yes. Exactly because Illinois is not competitive. One of the reasons we have a higher unemployment rate than the states around us is because we have a higher minimum wage than the states around us.”

“Rauner has once again shown his true colors. If he gets his way, he’ll slash taxes for big corporations, defund education, and lower the state’s minimum wage,” said Neal Waltmire, Communications Director for Illinois Freedom PAC. “Rauner’s Wall Street agenda has been tried before and it led to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Make no mistake, Rauner’s heart is with Wall Street, not the hard-working families of Illinois.”

* Paul Vallas said today that Rauner “doesn’t get it”

“Bruce Rauner opposes the minimum wage because it cuts into profits,” Vallas said at a news conference outside the state Capitol. “He said a higher minimum wage is bad for the economy. How absurd.”

Vallas said 13 states that raised their minimum wage have seen better economic performance than the country as a whole.

…Adding… More of what Rauner said…

I want an answer, how do we grow, who do we increase our competitiveness? I’ve got the answers, and they’re two darned good answers, that’s what I do, come up with answers. Increase the national minimum wage so it’s above IL. Then we don’t hurt our competitiveness which is the reason I’ve been commenting on the minimum wage. I would support that. Great, then IL companies are now competitive and we can grow our economy. And we can help our working families. Or increase IL’s minimum wage but combine it with pro growth strategy - workers comp, tort, tax, so then businesses aren’t causing more unemployment, shedding workers, and leaving the state, we’re more competitive and then we can raise the minimum wage and have it better for everybody. So there’s answers, there’s solutions, bipartisan, I can get that done. Pat Quinn’s had six years to fix the minimum wage and he hasn’t.

* The Question: Do you believe Illinois’ higher minimum wage has damaged our economic competitiveness? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

surveys & polls

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

Possibly flawed poll results

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* As you know, I’m not a fan of polls conducted via online means. But since the New York Times and CBS News are putting their names on these YouGov polls, I figure we’d better cover them. This poll, like the last one, was taken over an extended period of time - 8 days in this instance, 10/16 - 10/23.

And, like Rasmussen Results, the YouGov poll only asked about “other” candidates, rather than list the Libertarian’s name. That’s not good at all.

With all that being said, the YouGov poll has Gov. Pat Quinn leading Bruce Rauner 45-41. That’s a bit wider spread than last month, when YouGov had Quinn up 46-43.

* Let’s look at some models. HuffPo poll tracker...


* Real Clear Politics

- Posted by Rich Miller   35 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Quinn orders 21-day Ebola quarantines

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* From a press release issued late Friday night…

Governor Pat Quinn today ordered the Illinois Department of Public Health to require a mandatory 21-day home quarantine for high-risk individuals who have had direct contact with an individual infected with the Ebola virus while in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea.

The mandatory quarantine order includes any high-risk medical personnel who have performed medical services to individuals infected with the Ebola virus. The order will be implemented by local health departments across the state.

Previously these high-risk individuals were subject to a voluntary quarantine.
“This protective measure is too important to be voluntary,” Governor Quinn said. “We must take every step necessary to ensure the people of Illinois are protected from potential exposure to the Ebola virus. While we have no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Illinois, we will continue to take every safeguard necessary to protect first responders, healthcare workers and the people of Illinois.”

This directive was issued to every local health department in Illinois earlier today.

* But a similar (although non-home) quarantine didn’t hold up in New Jersey

An American nurse who has tested negative for Ebola is being released after days in quarantine in New Jersey.

Kaci Hickox, who told CNN the quarantine was violating her rights, is being discharged, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s office said Monday.

New York and New Jersey both followed Illinois’ lead over the weekend and are now allowing for home confinement during the quarantine.

* More

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has approved an executive order mandating twice-daily 21-day health monitoring for people returning from Ebola-affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The order, signed Saturday, gives Florida Department of Health authorities the go-ahead to work alongside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify people who have recently returned to Florida from those areas so they can be monitored, the governor’s office said in a news release.

Virginia is following suit. The state is implementing an “active monitoring program” for all returning passengers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, “with a special emphasis on returning health care workers,” Virginia governor’s spokesman Brian Coy has said.

* There’s a new federal policy in place, and DC officials think it’s better than the state policy for one big reason

A top federal health official publicly criticized Christie and Cuomo on Sunday, saying the two states’ quarantine rule could discourage health workers from helping fight Ebola in Africa, which would ultimately endanger the United States.

“I’m concerned of the disincentive for the health care workers,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

A federal policy starting Monday requires all travelers coming to the United States from Ebola-affected areas to be actively monitored for 21 days.

Your thoughts?

*** UPDATE *** The governor was asked about the new policy today…

“We definitely, definitely honor all of those heroes, men and women who go forward to help the health of others,” Quinn said. “At the same time, upon their return if they have been directly exposed, it’s just common sense that there be this 21-day period in someone’s home, where they are comfortable, in order to make sure everyone is not affected.”

Quinn emphasized that the home quarantine would allow visitors and is different from keeping someone in a designated site as in New Jersey, which he said was “very wrong.”

The governor said no one was in quarantine as of Monday morning.

- Posted by Rich Miller   65 Comments      

Protected: *** UPDATED x1 *** SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Political events calendar

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

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*** UPDATED x1 *** Another four-point margin

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* A second poll has Tom Cross leading Mike Frerichs by four points in the state treasurer’s race. This one’s from the Tribune

* But there’s some good news for Frerichs in the xtabs

The poll found Frerichs with 59 percent to 11 percent for Cross in Democratic-dominated Chicago, with 23 percent undecided. Cross, meanwhile, held the advantage in suburban Cook County, the traditional GOP-leaning collar counties and in the 96 counties outside the Chicago metropolitan area.

The large percentage of undecided voters in the city was reflected in Frerichs getting only 64 percent support from Democratic voters while 75 percent of Republicans backed Cross. Among independents, Cross held a 42 percent to 17 percent edge over Frerichs with 27 percent undecided.

If and/or when Chicagoans and Democrats come home, that’ll definitely boost Frerichs.

But that indpendent split is not good news for Frerichs.

* Meanwhile, the Illinois State Board of Elections voted 7-1 last week that the Frerichs campaign’s complaint against the Cross campaign “was not filed on justifiable grounds.” Frerichs alleged that Cross, “failed to file required A-1 reports, exceeded contribution limitations, and the political candidate of the committee maintained and established more than one candidate political committee for the office sought by the candidate.” The vote overturned a hearing officer’s recommendation.

* In other news, the Frerichs campaign wants you to know that Treasurer Dan Rutherford has endorsed Tom Cross. They want you to know this because Cross hasn’t yet put the endorsement on his campaign page.

*** UPDATE *** The hearing officer’s report is here


For the reasons set forth above, it is the Recommendation of the Hearing Examiner that the Board find as follows:

1) The Complaint has been filed on justifiable grounds as to the 7 expenditures listed above that Respondent indicated should have been attributed to Cross for Treasurer rather than Citizens to elect Tom Cross State Representative.

    Strategic Media Services $ 7,095.58
    Scientific Flight 2,594.82
    Nevins 2,461.15
    Quick Signs 340.00
    Sheraton 1,120.00
    Sheraton 206.65
    Enterprise 198.00

    TOTAL: $ 14,016.62

- Posted by Rich Miller   19 Comments      

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Monday, Oct 27, 2014

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Rockford endorsement just a drop in the bucket

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Gov. Pat Quinn finally received a “real” newspaper endorsement over the weekend when the Rockford Register Star weighed in

Northern Illinois might have reverted to cornfields if not for unprecedented investment by the state under the guidance of Gov. Pat Quinn.

— At one point, fewer than 200 workers were employed at Chrysler’s assembly plant in Belvidere. The factory was on the verge of closing, but it has bounced back with Quinn’s help and now has three shifts running with 4,500 employees.

— Woodward Inc. could have built its $300 million manufacturing campus on the other side of the state line. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tried hard to lure Woodward, but Quinn and his team helped the company expand in Loves Park. If Woodward had decided to build elsewhere, we wouldn’t have the Transform Rockford movement, which was created by Woodward CEO Tom Gendron and aims to make this one of the best places to live in the country in the next decade.

— AAR Corp. is building a 200,000-square-foot jet maintenance, repair and overhaul hub at Chicago Rockford International Airport. The MRO is expected to create at least 500 jobs, jobs that pay well. Quinn and his team, along with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, helped make that happen.

— Infrastructure projects like the Morgan Street bridge, South Main Street, passenger rail, and the widening of the Jane Addams Tollway are four examples of what Quinn’s done. Nippon Sharyo in Rochelle and his support of community health centers, such as Crusader Community Health, underscore his commitment to northern Illinois.

* But that’s as far as Quinn got. The State Journal-Register actually endorsed Rauner on Sunday

This brings us back to the idea of vision. In light of the state’s persistent fiscal challenges, which governor is best suited to jumpstart the economy and has a plan to do so?

We believe Rauner’s ambitious, growth-minded reforms may be the medicine this state needs to revive itself.

But our advice, should he be elected: forget about working the floor of the legislature or being in committee meetings, as he has vowed to do. Instead, he should surround himself with principled, highly regarded aides who know Illinois government and can convey his vision to lawmakers on his behalf.

The Decatur Herald & Review, the Bloomington Pantagraph and the Quad City Times all endorsed Rauner as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller   52 Comments      

Death threats for pastor and a break-in at his church

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* I was hearing from some folks last week that a detectable backlash was growing on the South Side against African-American pastors who are supporting Republican Bruce Rauner for governor. But some idiot or idiots got way out of hand, threatening Rev. Corey Brooks

“The death threats seem to be related to Bruce Rauner,” Brooks said at the church Saturday. “They say his name as well as mine and most of the references were in response to me in support of him. So it’s really derogatory, real racial, a lot of homophobic words. It’s real life threatening.”

Brooks said he received the five phone calls on Friday. He recorded one of them, and provided it to police. In that call, which was played for the Sun-Times, a man’s voice is disguised via a high-pitched filter. He is heard calling Brooks a “token n—–.”

“We on you boy, we on you. And you ain’t got nobody that can stop us, nobody. Who you go [to] the deacons? They can’t stop us. We going to beat your fat a– in front of your mama congregation Sunday. Yeah we going to steal the sheep of the hypocrite. You’s a hypocrite we going to beat your fat a– in front of your own congregation. Who you got that…f— we going to beat their a– too. They can’t protect you. You sell out you Uncle Tom a– n—–. You token. You a puppet for Bruce Rauner you puppet n—– a–. P—- a– n—–,” the voice says on the recording.

Brooks said he believes his family is in danger, which prompted him to move to a temporary home until the threats are investigated.

* And Brooks’ church was broken into Friday night

“I don’t know who did it,” Brooks said. He did, however, say it was quite a “coincidence” that a burglar smashed a glass charity box in his church and stole $8,000 at some point overnight Friday into Saturday, just hours after he received the threatening phone calls.

A maintenance worker found the church’s back doors shattered Saturday morning. The money was being collected to build a community center across from the church. Police said they were notified of the burglary.

Brooks said the burglary isn’t going to stop church services or the fundraising needed to build the community center.

* There will, however, be no more politicians at Brooks’ church for the remainder of the campaign

Brooks offered prayers for both Rauner and Quinn, but said that after Rauner’s appearance Sunday, politicians will no longer be invited to address his members — declaring that the nasty nature of the campaign has distracted from the church’s main mission.

* Rauner would only answer “We don’t know,” when asked by reporters if he thought the Quinn campaign was involved, but did say this

“I’m very concerned,” Rauner said. “It seems like right at the time of his involvement and support of our campaign, some very bad things are happening. It’s very upsetting.”

* Gov. Quinn had this to say

“I don’t believe at any time any threats or intimidation are proper in any election. I’ve said that before,” Quinn said. “I also think it isn’t right for any candidate to go around Illinois trying to cut the minimum wage and take thousands of dollars out of the pockets of people who live from paycheck to paycheck earning $8.25 an hour.”

* Jim Oberweis react

“No person in America should be threatened for exercising their constitutional right of free expression. I am extremely distressed that courageous pastor Corey Brooks and his family received multiple vile racist threats and their church burglarized for expressing a political viewpoint he believes would best improve his community. I have the privilege of being friends with Pastor Brooks and believe there is no one in Chicago who has done more to stop violence in his community and courageously tell the truth about inner city problems. We all need to stand with him against these unacceptable threats. In addition, we need the Department of Justice to immediately investigate and hold accountable the persons responsible.”

* Dick Durbin react

“I think it ought to be investigated at every level. There’s no room for intimidation in political campaigns, left, right or center. There’s no room for violence, including property violence. I believe there should be a complete investigation.”

“It’s worthy of taking up with the U.S. Attorney’s office so that they look into it.”

* Related…

* VIDEO: Bruce Rauner and Pastor Brooks talk politics and crime

* VIDEO: $8,000 Stolen from New Beginnings Church

* VIDEO: Pastor Stands With Rauner After Death Threats And Burglary Of His Church

* VIDEO: Rauner vs Quinn per the Preacher

- Posted by Rich Miller   85 Comments      

Appearances do not equal reality

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* My weekly, syndicated newspaper column

Perhaps the worst thing to happen to journalism over the years is its simplistic over-reliance on the mere “appearance of impropriety” to justify big, splashy stories.

No actual wrongdoing need ever be found, just something that might look a bit fishy to a reporter’s overly suspicious eyes.

It’s one of the nation’s most antidemocratic trends because it’s solely based on the foundation that everybody is corrupt. There’s no need to “prove” anything, just one or two distant connections is enough to justify destroying somebody’s reputation - which didn’t deserve protection anyway because everybody is so evil.

The most extreme local examples of this troublesome mindset appeared in the Chicago Tribune over the summer. The paper ran two front-page stories about alleged political interference in the teacher certification process.

One of the more egregious examples the reporters used to justify their hype was a legislative constituent who had contributed just a few hundred dollars over the years and then came up with a pretty darned good idea, pitched it to his state Representative, who passed it along to a fellow member. The bill was overwhelmingly approved and signed into law. Only someone who’d never been close to a legislative process for the past 200 years would deem that sequence of events corrupt, but deliberate ignorance is what drives this entire appearance of impropriety movement.

And that brings us to Dave McKinney, who resigned last week as the Statehouse Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

McKinney married political consultant Ann Liston in April. Months before, however, McKinney, Liston and her business partner Eric Adelstein constructed a super-strong “firewall” between Liston and Illinois politics. Adelstein formed a new company to handle all Illinois accounts and Liston would not participate in those campaigns nor receive any compensation. The Sun-Times signed off in January.

By all rights, that should’ve been the end of it. The Rauner campaign knew about McKinney’s marriage and never once complained, especially when McKinney was repeatedly and thoroughly gutting Gov. Pat Quinn over his botched 2010 anti-violence initiative.

Rauner’s campaign waited until October to play the “appearance of impropriety” card against McKinney when the Sun-Times ran a big story about how two people swore in affidavits that Rauner had issued threats against a top female executive at one of his investment firm’s companies.

After failing to derail the piece, the Rauner campaign launched an attack on McKinney, who was just one of the story’s three authors.

Rauner’s campaign falsely charged that Liston was directly involved with, and directly profiting from, anti-Rauner efforts in Illinois. McKinney should never have been put on the story, they claimed, even though two other reporters were involved, both from the local NBC TV affiliate, and the paper’s editors had thoroughly vetted and approved the piece.

Instead of just telling the Rauner people to go suck an egg, McKinney’s bosses sidelined the reporter for the better part of the week. Rauner had successfully used the “appearance of impropriety” attack against one of the state’s top political reporters just three weeks before an election. McKinney hired famed former federal prosecutor Patrick Collins, and was quickly taken off his informal suspension.

But the paper balked at putting McKinney back on his own beat. He was offered other positions at the paper, which he considered demotions. And then his editors initially refused to put his byline on a follow-up piece to the Rauner threat story. Appearances, ‘ya know. McKinney quit.

But the Sun-Times has its own “appearance of impropriety” problems. Rauner owned ten percent of the paper until last year. A published report claims Rauner purchased 900,000 shares of a once struggling business controlled by the chairman of the Sun-Times’ parent company.

Even worse, the paper’s publisher called the Rauner campaign’s allegations against McKinney, “spurious,” as well as “inaccurate and defamatory.” Yet that same publisher reversed his almost three year-old policy of never endorsing candidates and approved an enthusiastic endorsement of Rauner around the very same time, leading many to ask why he would back someone for the state’s top job after the candidate had “defamed” the guy who would be covering Rauner in Springfield if he’s elected.

One would hope that journalists and their editors would learn from this debacle. The appearance of impropriety is always in the eye of the beholder. It’s absolutely impossible to defend against if someone is willing to suspend all disbelief and push that angle hard enough.

But this mindset is just too deeply embedded to be abandoned so easily, even after it unjustly derailed a good man’s career.

* Related…

* Carol Marin: The job of reporters is to report: Though the Rauner campaign claimed the court found Christine Kirk’s lawsuit frivolous and unfounded, that’s simply not true. The judge dismissed the case on technical legal grounds and never weighed in — pro or con — on the truthfulness of the threat allegations. However, in a ferociously close election, a “scorched earth” philosophy is not unusual inside a campaign. And so the Rauner team went over our heads to our bosses at NBC5 and the Sun-Times and, in a last-ditch effort to kill the story, claimed that Dave’s wife, Democratic political strategist Ann Liston, was actively engaged in anti-Rauner efforts. It wasn’t true. Sun-Times management knew it. And so did NBC5. And together they published our joint report on television and in print.

* Rauner Denies Newspaper Accusations: Calling the matter an “internal” issue at the newspaper, Rauner said he had nothing to do with any of it other than routine complaints and comments which he characterized as part of the give-and-take of any campaign and media organization. “I don’t want to get in the middle of that,” he said Thursday in Bloomington. “I’ve had nothing to do with it.”

* Editorial: The Rauner, Sun-Times dust-up

* Editorial: Campaign takes a strange twist

Opinion: Sun-Times Squanders Trust Right When City, State Need it Most

- Posted by Rich Miller   79 Comments      

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Monday, Oct 27, 2014

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Good morning!

Monday, Oct 27, 2014

* Waylon

Tell me one more time just so I’ll understand

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Tonight's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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