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Biss formally announces withdrawal

Monday, Nov 23, 2015

* From a campaign email…

Dear Friend,

I wanted to let you know that I’ve decided not to run for Comptroller in the 2016 special election.

Many many people put an extraordinary amount of effort into this campaign, and I’m more grateful than you can know. Thank you very, very much.

As you might imagine, this was a very hard decision for me. Let me explain how I arrived at it.

I began the campaign early last spring, convinced that the Comptroller’s office was the best place from which I could advocate for sane, sustainable, progressive fiscal policies and push back against Governor Rauner’s radical anti-worker agenda. I was honored that many of you agreed, and the campaign began to gain steam.

Not too long after, Susana Mendoza, Chicago’s City Clerk, joined the race. Susana and I come from very different political backgrounds, but I consider her a friend. We also have similar positions on many issues, and we have a lot of allies in common. Plenty of those allies supported me, and lots supported her. As time went on, Susana was able to secure the support of many of the most powerful entities in Illinois Democratic politics.

This left me frankly quite uncertain about our chances of success, but one thing was very clear to me: in order to win, I’d need to wage an extraordinarily expensive, very divisive campaign. It was a sure-fire recipe for all sides to squander resources and generate ill will.

As this situation developed, something else was happening. Illinois was locked in an unconscionable budget stalemate with cruel and tragic consequences for many of our citizens. In order to even discuss the budget, Governor Rauner continued to insist on radical policies that would reshape the economic fabric of Illinois, weakening workers precisely at the moment that the middle class is in a uniquely precarious position.

Given all that, it seemed like the last thing the state and the Democratic party needed was an expensive and divisive campaign for Comptroller. This is a moment when we need to be united, and we need to be focused on solving problems and winning the existential battles that the governor has created.

That’s why I’m withdrawing from this race and offering Susana Mendoza my full support in her campaign for Comptroller.

This is not only about dropping out in recognition of our need for unity. It’s also an acknowledgment that what’s happening in Springfield right now is critical for our state’s future. By stepping aside, I can now focus all my attention on what must always be the most important goal: enacting progressive and sustainable public policies, and breaking down the power structures that cause Springfield to work for economic and political elites rather than the people on behalf of whom government is supposed to exist in the first place.

The Comptroller’s race isn’t the place I’m going to do that work, but the work goes on. Thank you for your friendship, your support, and your commitment to this vital project. I’m lucky to count you as a friend, and our democracy is lucky to count you as a citizen.

Love,
Daniel

- Posted by Rich Miller        

57 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:03 am:

    Class letter, class act.

    Deferring to the realities is more political savvy then thinking a primary moves the discussion forward.

    Well done, well written, class.


  2. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:08 am:

    Well that stinks.


  3. - The Velour Nail - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:15 am:

    Senator Biss is a class act and the type of leader we need in Illinois 110% expect to see him jump into a future statewide race.


  4. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:19 am:

    Why fight for the nomination when you can have it handed to you in 2 years? Biss will have Madigan’s support when Suzi runs for SOS in 2018.


  5. - Dome Gnome - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:20 am:

    Now that’s how you win the hearts and minds of the people. Classy.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:22 am:

    ===Biss will have Madigan’s support when Suzi runs for SOS in 2018.===

    Nope. If Mendoza wins, she’ll have to run in 2018 to complete show her “want” of the office now was real.

    Won’t happen.


  7. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:23 am:

    I didn’t think Biss had a great chance in the beginning. I applaud him, I applaud his staff. You could see a transition in his speaking style and the way he engaged people. I know it may not mean something now, but you did a great job.


  8. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    Given that our two past Treasurers - Sexy Alexi and Dan Rutherford - jumped the gun and ran for office, my guess is that Frerichs will follow suit and thus open the possibility for Dan Biss to run for Treasurer.


  9. - Keyrock - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:24 am:

    But she doesn’t want the office. She’s just running because Madigan and Rahm told her to run. Then it’s on to SOS, if she can.


  10. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:25 am:

    == If Mendoza wins, she’ll have to run in 2018 to complete show her “want” of the office now was real.==

    Says who? How do you come up with this stuff? lol


  11. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:29 am:

    ===But she doesn’t want the office. She’s just running because Madigan and Rahm told her to run. Then it’s on to SOS, if she can.===

    Respectfully, what do you base that on?

    Further, moving up after only months statewide, yikes. Mendoza, I think, is much smarter than that. Plus, she and Frerichs are both young, why the rush?

    To - Team Sleep -

    Citizens Rutherford and Alexi should be enough of reminders to Frerichs to run and win again. Ambition should not cloud the realities of recent history.


  12. - Six Degrees of Separation - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:29 am:

    I am not proud that I had Hall & Oates’ song “Kiss on my List” going thru my head, with the words “The Biss is Off the List” this weekend.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    - NF -

    Conventional politics dictate running for full terms after half terms are by far the norm, and are expected and respected, as opposed to actually running a full blown campaign for a half term to run to just “move up”

    There’s one thing to be ambitious, which Mendoza is. It’s another to be oblivious to perception abd pitfalls of ambition, which I’m sure Mendoza is not.


  14. - Tom B. - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    Man, I have to believe that the donors who busted their asses for him are pretty upset right now. The only way they are going to view this sort of thing is backing off because of the Speaker and that’s a pretty significant sin in their minds.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the campaign is fielding quite a few angry calls for campaign donations to be returned and, given that Daley sent it all back after leaving, that’d be smart way to keep them happy for next run.


  15. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:33 am:

    Willy - correct, and what happened to Alexi should have had a forbearance on Dan the Man. But…nope. And from what I’ve heard and seen from Treasurer Frerichs, he doesn’t seem like one who will rest on his laurels.

    NOTFUNNY - dude/dudette, if Ms. Mendoza wins the Comptroller’s seat next November, then running for either reelection or a new office would mean running statewide in what could be a decent (if not big) GOP year in 2018. Why would she forfeit a statewide office - when she’s the incumbent, no less - to run for SOS in what could be a crowded field?


  16. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:35 am:

    ===NOTFUNNY - dude/dudette, if Ms. Mendoza wins the Comptroller’s seat ===

    That commenter’s sole expertise is defending Ken Dunkin.


  17. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:38 am:

    NOTFUNNY = KEN DUNKIN OR MAZE JACKSON.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:39 am:

    - Team Sleep -

    If Frerichs takes on SOS or goes after Rauner, it would be utter disaster. You’re on it.

    ===Why would she forfeit a statewide office - when she’s the incumbent, no less - to run for SOS in what could be a crowded field?===

    Another great point. There’s only 6 statewides, why move up too soon to lose your seat as one of them, and ignore the power of the incumbency. Well said.


  19. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:46 am:

    ==Conventional politics dictate running for full terms after half terms are by far the norm==

    There is nothing conventional about Illinois politics.


  20. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:48 am:

    ==correct, and what happened to Alexi should have had a forbearance on Dan the Man.==

    Alexia had some serious issues with a family owned business.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:48 am:

    I tried. My bad.

    Do not feed trolls.

    Apologies.


  22. - Snucka - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:49 am:

    If Mendoza wins, she would take office in January 2017. The primary for SoS will be 13 months away. Doesn’t seem to make sense that she would want to gear up for another campaign that fast.

    It’s fairly well known that Frerichs is targeting 2020 for a U.S Senate run if Durbin retires. So, there won’t be a primary for Treasurer in 2018.

    I think Biss would be a strong candidate to replace Jan Schakowsky when she retires.


  23. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:51 am:

    ==That commenter’s sole expertise is defending Ken Dunkin.==

    Cute :)


  24. - walker - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:52 am:

    Madigan is still clearly in charge at the state level. Supporting the wrong horse, in this case, based purely on quality.

    Unless Hillary carries Mendoza in, Munger now has a decent chance.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 9:58 am:

    - walker -

    With respect,

    The Comptroller race could, and possibly, boil down to a referendum on Bruce Rauner during the cycle of a heightened Democratic voting universe in Presidential years.

    I look at the Cross-Frerichs and Rauner-Quinn spreads, and turnout and plurality, and a Chicago, twice elected, citywide, Chicago Democratic Comptroller nominee has a far better shot than Biss had, also given the hurdles in the primary Biss faced.

    Biss would’ve been a gift to Munger.


  26. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:00 am:

    Snucka - agreed that Biss would make a good MOC, but he strikes me as someone who wants to put his mathematical and statistical acumen to better use.


  27. - Anonymouth - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:05 am:

    === Unless Hillary carries Mendoza in, Munger now has a decent chance. ===

    Walker, Illinois has two completely different turnout models - one for presidential years and one for non-presidential years. Presidential years are significantly more “blue”. Being a presidential year, this will be Mendoza’s to lose. I can’t remember the last Republican to win a statewide election during a presidential year.


  28. - wayward - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    I’ve been generally impressed by Biss and thought it would be cool to have a comptroller with a Ph.D. in math from MIT. That said, I have no problem with Mendoza, and it’s probably a good thing there won’t be an expensive and potentially nasty primary.


  29. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    I actually think Biss would’ve been a tougher out for Munger. He’s a great fundraiser, a super-smart person and a much better orator and debater than when he was elected to the IL House.

    So will MJM be willing to put up the cheddar necessary to help out Ms. Mendoza - especially since the assumption is that Governor Rauner will back Comptroller Munger to the hilt?!


  30. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    ===…this will be Mendoza’s to lose.===

    Nope.

    Mendoza will be outspent, including being hammered and shook constantly as the “Chicago Democrat” in Ad after Ad, and the Rauner statewide plus list will be squeezed so hard, both ends will touch each other.

    The stand-alone Comptroller race has to be the most important “referendum” on the ballot… to Gov. Rauner, and all, all the stops will be pulled out.

    Not thinking Mendoza is an underdog is a fatal mistske.


  31. - Keyrock - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    “===But she doesn’t want the office. She’s just running because Madigan and Rahm told her to run. Then it’s on to SOS, if she can.===
    Respectfully, what do you base that on?”

    I based it on someone who talked to Mendoza. And look at her record. She’s a fine fit for SOS. She has no particular qualifications for Comptroller.


  32. - LincolnLounger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    Curious that Mendoza left the legislature because of her young children, but now she is running for statewide office.

    Too bad that Biss didn’t run for Treasurer. He is much more suited for it than that hack Frerichs.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:14 am:

    Respectfully,

    What… ARE… the qualifications for Comptroller?

    Ambition is one thing, looking at this 13 month stint at Comptroller to run for SOS would be a tin ear listening tour as to what running now clukd lead later down the road.

    - Snucka -,

    Well said.


  34. - Georg Sande - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    Madigan wins, pure and simple. This is about him and his power, nothing else. Biss kinda wimped out though because he had the money to make that primary competitive. Had he won, Madigan and all Dems would have been there for him in the general. But it seems Biss thought only about if he lost. Madigan would not have forgiven him. Thus, Madigan bullied Biss out. And Biss, like all Dems, allowed it.


  35. - Nickname - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:15 am:

    I would be hesitant to donate money again to a guy who drops out of a race because he thinks he might lose


  36. - Anonymouth - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    === I based it on someone who talked to Mendoza. And look at her record. She’s a fine fit for SOS. She has no particular qualifications for Comptroller. ===

    There has been a lot of rumors of Mendoza running for SOS. I don’t think its going to happen now. Unless Speaker Madigan is all in for her, she has no shot. Its going to be a very crowded field.


  37. - Anonymouth - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:16 am:

    === Curious that Mendoza left the legislature because of her young children, but now she is running for statewide office. ===

    I’m not sure you have the right candidate. At the time that Mendoza ran for City Clerk, she had no children.


  38. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Lounger - this isn’t gospel and Rich and others could certainly speak better to it, but maybe Ms. Mendoza is thinking she only needs to hit a few key downstate events/parades and stay almost entirely in Cook County and the suburbs?! Since it’s a presidential year, maybe she’s thinking horrible downstate numbers (i.e. Quinn) won’t torpedo her chances.


  39. - From the 'Dale to HP - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    Still sorting this one out. Bummer for Biss. Mendoza… not sure, not a very exciting candidate, but not a disaster by any means.


  40. - Justacitizen - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    Biss could have saved his words and said Mike Madigan wouldn’t let me run.


  41. - Facts are Stubborn Things - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:26 am:

    Sen. Biss voted for and was a key figure in crafting and passing SB1, the unconstitutional pension bill. I will not forget or forgive (for that vote) anyone who voted for that illegal and immoral bill. It was a travesty that our legislature and Gov. Quinn would vote to renege on a constitutional promise and use legal and mental gymnastics to try and justify it.


  42. - Mama - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:28 am:

    Do you know who is in the running to replace Jesse White, SOS?


  43. - Team Sleep - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Mama - perhaps the better question is who is NOT in the running to replace Jesse White. :)


  44. - 360 Degree TurnAround - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    I think a lot of people are missing a key in the SOS race in 2018. Jesse White is the only African American state constitutional office holder. There will be significant pressure for an African American to hold onto that office.


  45. - Just Observing - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    All this talk of Mendoza using Comptroller as a jumping off point to SOS? Yea, I know the SOS controls a lot more jobs and a bit more high profile, but is SOS really that much better than Comptroller? Your essentially trading one statewide administrative position for another.


  46. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:23 am:

    This off-cycle Comptroller race is like a Thursday Night NFL game.

    Take a Jaguars/Titans game that would get no attention mixed in with a full slate at noon on a Sunday and put it out there on it’s own and suddenly it gets lots of attention.

    Comptroller is still Jags/Titans even as a Rauner/Madigan proxy fight.

    We are just watching it because we are fans of the game and it happens to be the game that’s on.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:28 am:

    - LizPhairTax -,

    Great points.

    Instead of a Thursday Night Football game, this stand-alone matchup could also be seen (by Unions, Democratic Operatves, Social Service Advicates and Groups, very specifically) as a…

    …Wild Card Game before the playoffs?

    A constitutional office is a big deal, no?

    With respect, and I like your take too, btw.


  48. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:45 am:

    OW,

    It’s a big deal to us on this blog and to the groups that you mentioned because of what it portends for 2018. I don’t think it’s stirring the hearts of the electorate.

    Had JBT not passed away and chosen not to seek reelection in 2018 the open Comptroller position would be at best third in interest behind GOV and SOS. Possibly last if the GOP put up a strong candidate for Treasurer and whatever AG decides to do.

    As it stands, Comptroller gets a lot of blog posts and comments since it’s the only statewide game.


  49. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 12:01 pm:

    - LizPhairTax -,

    But won’t Democrats, and Unions, and Social Service Groups, and their Advocates, want to make this race important?

    Those three constituencies can drive turnout and put a bright spotlight to what they want to frame.

    Munger’s Crew’s response?

    Spending for a Conptroller’s race never seen before. Rauner absolutely can NOT lose this race, even just for appearances.

    That’s what so fascinating. It has my attention because come the first Ads from Munger and the proxy fight Munger’s Crew will try to avoid, it’s going to be highlighted because of its uniqueness, it’s significance, and maybe most importantly, that this race could be a formula of cobbling the necessary grpuo’s to defeat Gov. Rauner, or it could show the macro “cake” Rauner’s Crew baked can bake and bake and bake.

    We’re at the beginning here. Who knows how heavy this will go, but one of 6 statewide office not normally at stake at play, with the undercurrent, man, we’ll hear loads, because losing for both sides can’t be an option.

    I like your take, - LizPhairTax -, it’s a strong argument.


  50. - State worker - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 1:04 pm:

    Very disappointing. Biss is a bright and thoughtful leader. Mendoza takes no risks, offers little and is always way too proud of herself considering how little she’s ever done.

    Oh wait, she did halt a major threat to security–she made sure the winning vehicle sticker designed by an elementary school kid (and embedded with secret gang-signs) never got to see to see the light of day!


  51. - Just Me - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 1:31 pm:

    I like Biss a lot. He is one of those few legislators who isn’t afraid to get into a policy discussion, something that is sadly lacking. It just wasn’t his time, but if he’s patient his time will come up. At a minimum the party owes him a favor for saving them from a primary.


  52. - Soccermom - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    I am a huge Biss fan, and I am disappointed. But I don’t think he’s wrong in reading the tea leaves and figuring that a bloody primary for Comptroller does no one any good.


  53. - Commander Norton - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    They don’t come more intelligent, competent or genuine than Daniel Biss. And sure, it’s easy to blame him for bending to Madigan’s pressure, but that’s the usual tactic of blaming the victim for the bullying. Donors get angry when their guy drops out; they also get angry when their guy takes their money and goes on a suicide mission. And Biss also has a family (he and his wife have two young children) to consider. I find it irksome that there are those who want to bring Mendoza’s kids into this discussion but don’t consider family a factor in a male candidate’s decision. I find this outcome frustrating in the extreme, but I understand why he’s doing it and have no doubt he will persevere in Illinois politics. Can’t keep that one down.

    And who else could get away with signing a campaign letter “Love, Daniel” - and really, truly mean it?


  54. - State worker - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    Only one person brought up her children. Sheesh.


  55. - Amalia - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 4:30 pm:

    wow, Schakowsky organization supporters in overdrive here today!


  56. - Betsy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 5:17 pm:

    === I can’t remember the last Republican to win a statewide election during a presidential year. ===

    Neither could I, Anonymouth.

    After the 1976 general election, statewide constitutional offices have not been not up for election during presidential election years, so Republicans haven’t had many opportunities during presidential election years.

    Former Gov. Jim Thompson, I believe, was the last Republican to win statewide in 1976 (not including any Republican University of Illinois Board of Trustees elected before the 1994 election that was the last time U of I trustees were elected).

    Since 1980, Republicans have lost every U.S. Senate election that was held during a presidential election year (1980 Alan Dixon beat Dave O’Neal; 1984 Paul Simon beat Charles Percy; 1992 Carol Moseley Braun beat Rich Williamson; 1996 Dick Durbin beat Al Salvi; 2004 Barack Obama beat Alan Keyes; and 2008 Dick Durbin beat Steve Sauerberg). Wow, that last one in 2008 would be a good pub trivia question.

    Good luck next year, Comptroller Munger and Senator Kirk.

    If history is any indicator, it looks like you will need it. Charles Percy was the last Republican to win a seat in the U.S. Senate from Illinois during a presidential election year in 1972.


  57. - anon - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 8:19 pm:

    I agree with State Worker…..Mendoza offers little. The long lines and her customer service is still atrocious at the end of each month when folks are buying City Stickers. Biss would have been the stronger candidate. The commercials of Mendoza being a pawn for Madigan and Emanuel will be appalling. The Mendoza name won’t do well in the burbs and collar counties, forget it downstate. It will be close, but Munger wins this.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Justin McCray closing in on Packers right guard job

* Like father, like son: A conversation with...
* New Info on Feinstein's Chinese Spy — ...
* Where Do Guns Used to Commit Shootings in ...
* Latinos Could Be Chicago's New Nexus o...
* Another bloody Chicago weekend: gun violen...
* Optimism for Student Voter Turnout
* Democrat to FBI: Did White House, Jeff Ses...
* FBI fires Peter Strzok, agent who sent ant...
* Latinos Could Be Chicago's New Nexus o...
* The golden age of democracy finally shows ...

* Fisher Asset Management Has Raised By $242......
* Biden to Visit Springfield...
* Senator Dick Durbin Using Lies to P......
* The Kavanaugh Document Fight...
* Pritzker, Durbin to speak with Decatur sup......

* Sen. Harris, Colleagues Call on DHS Sec Ni......
* 'Disability Rights Are Civil Rights......
* Who backs who in Florida governor race?...
* Yes, Bob Casey is boring. In 2018, that......
* Heating up in the Windy City: The Tipline ......

* Arne Duncan’s failures.
* Breaking: EEOC files suit against the Urbana school district for age discrimination. It’s all about the Illinois teacher salary cap.
* Judge Raul Vega named Acting Presiding Judge of Domestic Violence Division
* Brass Heart Lives Up To Its Name
* Think Confederate Monuments Are Racist? Consider Pioneer Monuments
* The [Tuesday] Papers
* A most disgusting act by those in charge of a city that makes it hard to be any more disgusted.
* A letter to send to your Illinois legislators supporting the repeal of the teacher salary cap.
* "Troy For Chicago" Holding People's Assembly Tonight
* The scrappy pre-Code years of William A. Wellman — FilmStruck's director of the week


* Governor announces $1 million Rauner family contribution to begin restoration of Coliseum; takes action on package of agriculture legislation
* Governor signs tollway transparency bill
* 2018 Adams County Tentative Multiplier Announced
* Gov. Rauner signs legislation aimed at keeping at-risk families together
* IDOA, Illinois Bicentennial to Host Inaugural Prairie Heritage Ride

  
* Project Fi offering a $200 discount on the Pixel 2 XL, heavy discounts on LG phones
* [Deal] Grab a cheap Honor 7X with a back to school promotion!
* We talked to Overwatch League’s franchise director about the future of esports
* Sprint and LG announce 5G phone for 2019
* Moviepass losses jumped from less than $3 million to $126.6 million in a year
* Microsoft quietly makes 'Your Phone' Android app available to mainstream Windows 10 users
* Verizon’s 5G home internet launch will come with free YouTube TV or Apple TV 4K

* LaMarre hits first MLB homer in home state
* Shields shows durability nearing 400-start mark
* White Sox Minor League Update: August 13, 2018
* Flashback: August 14, 2008
* Six Pack of Stats: Tigers 9, White Sox 5
* White Sox Rookie-level team throws no-hitter
* Engel's bat starting to catch up to stellar glove


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