* Gov. Jim Edgar and Chris Kennedy spoke at an event in Springfield yesterday. Edgar said this is the first year he won’t be voting for the GOP presidential nominee, but wouldn’t say who he’s casting his ballot for.
“I am not sure all that money that’s being poured in to defeat some of these Democrats Downstate will be successful,” Edgar told a crowd gathered Tuesday in Springfield for a fundraising lunch to benefit the Better Government Association, noting many Downstate lawmakers are well known for building relationships with their constituents. […]
Edgar noted Rauner’s strategy to link Democratic lawmakers to the powerful Madigan, but said years of trying to target the speaker have proved unsuccessful and are unlikely to sway voters who believe that ultimately how well state government functions falls to the governor.
“We’ve made Madigan an issue for years. I mean, when I was running for governor re-election, I had quadruple bypass surgery. I credited one of the bypasses to Mike Madigan. Most voters, they aren’t voting on him. The governor is a much more visible thing,” Edgar said.
“I will say, I think the Madigan name has been tarnished the last two years,” Edgar said. “But I don’t think that’s going to affect legislative races as much as the governor.”
The Republicans have been trying to pick off suburban Democrats for years. They never made a real push against some Downstaters (particularly in the House) because they couldn’t find decent (or any) candidates. Many (not all) of these Downstate districts lean Republican even during presidential years. So, I think he could be wrong there. But nobody knows for sure. Most of these folks remain popular locally.
And, regarding Madigan, a little anti-MJM website, smallish press pops and t-shirts four years ago is literally nothing compared to the millions the governor’s operation is spending to tie Democrats to the hugely unpopular House Speaker. I don’t know if it’ll work as planned, but they have a much better shot this year than at any time in the past because it’s far more coordinated (including with dark money groups) and way more well-funded.
* Kennedy’s turn…
Kennedy was president of Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. from 2000 to 2011, and part of his role there was to manage the Merchandise Mart in Chicago, which he said dealt with more than 5,000 tenants and exhibitors annually. Among his current ventures, he chairs Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises, Inc., which is the investment firm of the Kennedy family. In that role, he is responsible for development of the Kennedy family’s real estate holdings in Chicago known as Wolf Point.
Dealing with companies involved at the Merchandise Mart, he said, “Not one of them ever asked me about redistricting reform or term limits or tort reform or workers’ comp,” which are among things Rauner has wanted to get as part of his turnaround agenda.
But in dealing with the “billion-dollar” Wolf Point development, he said, investors from all over the world are asking, “Why should we invest in the only state that doesn’t have a budget? It’s rattling people. It’s taking a state budget problem … and turning into a statewide economic crisis, and it’s scaring people away. It’s creating uncertainty, and that’s bad for the economy.”
Hard to argue with that last paragraph.
* Edgar: Trump candidacy, Rauner money make 2016 unpredictable