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Edgar, Kennedy take turns whacking Rauner, Trump

Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016

* 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.

* Related…

* Edgar: Trump candidacy, Rauner money make 2016 unpredictable

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Belle - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 9:54 am:

    WE all know we cannot do anything about Madigan. If you like your legislator and feel the person is doing a good job, I doubt that you’d vote against the person?
    I can believe that last paragraph to be true. It is strange to not have a budget, not even one that has been under discussion. Particularity, for a Gov whose previous incarnation was money-business.
    But then, he knows that. He’s just trying to take down Madigan and it seems will do anything.

  2. - Not It - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 9:55 am:

    I agree with Rich a lot on this issue. In the past the Speaker just wasn’t well known to the voters, so tying him to candidates just didn’t work. Now that state government is a mess people are paying more attention, and Rauner has also greatly increased his name ID, and not for the better.

    If this strategy ever works, this will be the year.

  3. - illinoised - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:00 am:

    The last paragraph is indeed true. The negative impacts of holding our state budget hostage due to a personal vendetta will be Rauner’s legacy. It will be a lasting example of how an oligarchy can destroy a state.

  4. - Trapped in the 'burbs - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    This election is so unpredictable because of Trump. If Trump looses and the GOP doesn’t pick up a fair number of seats in Illinois, Rauner is going to need to reach some accommodations with Madigan or run again in 2018 without any accomplishments. If Trump wins and the GOP posts some gains in Illinois, Rauner will feel empowered to continue to refuse anything unless he gets his agenda implemented. Hold on tightly.

  5. - 37B - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:02 am:

    Although the second paragraph is anecdotal, I think it also has the ring of truth to it.

  6. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:03 am:

    By any measure, Illinois is worse off since Rauner has become governor. I paraphrase from that commie rag otherwise known as Crains Chicago Business.

  7. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:04 am:

    It’s really not known how well a campaign theme does until real resources are put behind it. If the Madigan association is not effective this time, I’ll be willing to believe that it isn’t an effective strategy. There’s a lot of resources behind it, and it’s being cohesively broadcasted all over the place. I believe it will have an effect, but the proof won’t be available until election day.

    I’m not sure Edgar has been doing himself any favors for a while now. His endorsement has meant very little for a lot of people, especially in the Chicago metro region. I’m not sure what his relevance is to anything these days.

  8. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:06 am:

    Was Kennedy dealing directly with tenants and exhibitors or did he manage entirely from his office and through subordinates? The former style will help him campaign, the latter won’t.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:08 am:

    ===I’m not sure Edgar has been doing himself any favors for a while now.===

    Like what? Pointing out Rauner is a complete disaster as a Governor. No, that’s called being reasonable. By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse off since Rauner became governor. Exactly right.

    ===His endorsement has meant very little for a lot of people, especially in the Chicago metro region. I’m not sure what his relevance is to anything these days===

    … and yet, Rauner tripped all over himself to travel with Edgar touting that endorsement.


  10. - vibes - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:18 am:

    The flip side is that companies are actually making big investments in the state, despite the gloom and doom from the Governor.

  11. - A guy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:21 am:

    Precisely Willy. The Edgar brand may still have some cachet downstate, I’m in no position to really know. Up in the Chicago Region, it just doesn’t.

    Former Govs aren’t doing many people many favors these days.

  12. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:23 am:

    I would also add toward the anti-madigan campaign that it is not only better coordinated and actually real this time, it’s a multi-year plan. This is a strategy being built to 2018 when it will be a Republican year. 2016 is going to be weird and unpredictable while 2018 is probably going to be more predictable election, although one never knows.

    I kind of think 2016 is more for practice though.

  13. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:25 am:

    Speaking of dark money groups, can we get something on today’s politico story on the group the Ricketts family has set up for Trump to let bigwigs donate anonymously.

    Would be curious whether usual suspects in Ricketts orbit like Griffin/uihlein are involved or even rich guys publicly hostile to Trump like Rauner are donating.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:26 am:

    ===The Edgar brand may still have some cachet downstate, I’m in no position to really know.===

    Then your comment makes even less sense, given this was in Speibgfield. Ugh

    To the Post,

    Edgar is giving ridiculous cache to Kennedy, sharing a stage with Kennedy…

    … exactly as Edgar shared a stage with Rauner.

    You share a stage with a former governor as you field questions, that’s a powerful message, and instant credibility.

    It’s not up for discussion. Edgar sharing a stage gave Kennedy a boost.

  15. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:27 am:

    Aside from the Gov, has Edgar endorsed a winner lately? He seems to go against the GOP on numerous elections lately only to be beat.

  16. - Jocko - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:35 am:

    As much as I dislike the “Edgar Ramp”, at least Jim did SOMETHING while in office. Bruce acts like a temp who has yet to put the “Penske File” in an accordion folder.

  17. - Ramp up - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:38 am:

    Jim why don’t we ramp up the pension system again . Great idea, push the can down the road and make.yourself look good. No supporting other Republicans has been a pattern with Jim. He hated Gov. THOMPSONS people. The last Govonors electon, he supported his pick Dillard and nobody else. Jim if you do not like a candidate of.your own party, don’t stand on a soap box and yell.

  18. - GA Watcher - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:40 am:

    Governor Edgar has been making the rounds lately. Spoke to a packed house at the IML conference at the Chicago Hilton. Could it be he’s thinking about a comeback? Granted, this is far fetched, but I don’t recall him being this visible or opinionated since he left office. The common sense approach he offers could be appealing to voters fed up with the entrenched Springfield Democrats and the always campaignin’, but never governin’ Rauner Ruling Class f/k/a the Republicans.

  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    ===If this strategy ever works, this will be the year. ===

    I think it’ll have a much better shot in two years if HRC wins.

  20. - Piece of Work - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:50 am:

    Edgar won’t run again, he is 70. And Kennedy will need to answer for his attempt to run the Board of Trustees at the U of I. Dismal performance across the board.

  21. - GA Watcher - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    Piece of Work: Hillary is 69 and Donald is 70.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:54 am:

    - Piece of Work -

    As Rauner will answer for funding state universities at zero… and maybe closing a state university.

  23. - Publius - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    I agree with rich that 2018 will be a tough year for Dems if Hillary wins which is why Ryan and McConnell are not pushing the trump ticket and state GOP should start telling usual GOP voters to stay home. Play the long game.

    Hillary will have no coat tails so they will for sure keep the house and state legislatures and possibly keep the senate. Then in 2018 explode their majorities from senate to dog catcher.

    Dems need to wake up focusing all effort on the presidency and not the message is not working.

    But if trump wins and Dems wake the hell up then the 2018 election will swing hard left

  24. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:02 am:

    Kennedy is so full of it. Those ARE NOT the reasons his Wolf Point property is still underdeveloped, and anyone with the slightest hint of real estate knowledge knows it. What they have developed there to date is crowded, uber expensive, and gaudy. And Edgar? He should just go away on a camping trip with Quinn and stay there.

  25. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:05 am:

    I used to think highly of Gov. Edgar. Voted for him multiple times. Now I think he is very similar to Pat Quinn, can’t be missed until he goes away.

  26. - Chicagonk - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:09 am:

    I wonder if there is an opportunity for Edgar to arbitrate a deal between Madigan and Rauner on a budget. He could potentially bring Rauner to the table by threatening to endorse some of the more moderate Democrats in tough elections and potentially bring Madigan to the table by threatening to endorse the Republicans running against those Democrats. Obviously the problem with my fantasy scenario is that all of his leverage would be lost post election and there is no way a budget gets passed prior to the election, but I do think that there is some room for Edgar to be a mediator.

  27. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:11 am:

    Edgar’s background is government. He was elected many times, beginning in the GA and finishing in the Mansion. Now he teaches government. He has experienced it. He did this as a conservative Republican.

    So how could he possibly enjoy what Rauner and Trump has been doing? While the governor and the presidential candidate dislike one another on a very basic level, both men has declared government as broken. They are anti-government political leaders. This would drive someone like Jim Edgar crazy.

    Edgar believes in governing, Rauner doesn’t. Edgar governed, Rauner doesn’t. Edgar values government, Rauner doesn’t. Watching Rauner turn Illinois into a joke is hard for anyone who cares about Illinois and wants to protect it from difficulties.

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:27 am:

    Ryan the Saint, can you name a few of those several?

  29. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    Vanillaman—2016 ain’t 1991-1999. I voted for Edgar but clearly he is pary of the pension mess Rauner is trying to address.

    GA Watcher—Yes, I know the ages of the 2 people running for president. Edgar was asked many times to run for office after his guv terms. He didn’t, why would you think he would at age 70?

  30. - Formerpol - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:35 am:

    The Republican Party has lost all those Suburban Legislative seats because they purged their own successful (and mostly women) incumbents there for being too ‘liberal’!

  31. - FAIRNESS AND FAIRNESS ONLY - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 11:58 am:

    Speaking from downstate, the negative campaigning regarding Madigan has been effective. More people know the name and associate him with years of mismanagement than they did before Rauner launched his multi-year attack. However, most people I know are very aware of the lack of a budget and blame that on Rauner.

  32. - Crime Is Down - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 12:18 pm:

    For Edgar apologists like Oswego Willy, it’s like the MSI trial never happened.

  33. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 12:29 pm:

    - Crime Is Down -

    Usually it’s the Madigan Apologist, or Status Quo Apologist. At times even the Labor Apologist…

    … but I’m with Edgar. All day, every day, twice on Sunday.

    I musta missed that MSI drive by… Was it fun or…

  34. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    OW said…
    “Like what? Pointing out Rauner is a complete disaster as a Governor. No, that’s called being reasonable. By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse off since Rauner became governor. Exactly right.”

    I fixed it to say…
    Like what? Pointing out Madigan is a complete disaster as a Speaker. No, that’s called being reasonable. By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse off since Madigan became Speaker. Exactly right.

  35. - Steve Schnorf - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 12:58 pm:

    Hey,down on crime, my recollection is 2 fairly low level state employees were convicted, their supervisor was acquitted at trial. That’s a heck of a scandal.

  36. - Brian Cranston - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 1:16 pm:

    Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner endorsed Donald Trump. If, and or when, he publicly discloses he has changed that he personally supports the racism, sexism, and xenophobia of Donald Trump. The same thing with Paul Ryan, 3rd in line for the Presidency. And Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader.

    What a disgrace to my country, and to the great State of Illinois.

  37. - downstater - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 1:22 pm:

    Ask Dan Beiser if he thinks the Madigan ties have any effect on his race?

    Edgar is a has-been, and no one in downstate and southern Illinois pays attention to anything he says anymore.

  38. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 1:32 pm:

    - Big Muddy -

    When you get Crain’s to say …

    “By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse off since Madigan became Speaker.”

    … you get back to me, LOL

  39. - Ron - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    Lol, the same ridiculous comments from one of our many awful governors. Edgar should keep quiet. He’s one of the primary reasons Illinois is imploding.

  40. - Big Muddy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 2:09 pm:

    Hey Rich,
    Can you do ole’ Big Muddy a solid favor and in your next Crain’s article include “By nearly every measure, Illinois is worse off since Madigan became Speaker.” please? In return I’l have my friends at IPI improve your likeness quality in the next cartoon. :)

  41. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 2:14 pm:

    - Big Muddy -

    Your resourcefulness is exemplary! lol

    Well played, very well played.

  42. - Jeff Jackson - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    I’m a Republican. I never, ever doubted that Barrack Obama was a United States citizen.

    I am looking for anyone in the leadership of my property to step up and say something. Its been years.

    Until someone does, this party is a failure. Complete…total…abject failure and has no business ever holding office again, anywhere.

    Its. That. Simple.

  43. - LeadingInDecatur - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    I understand that many think that if Hilary is elected there will be a huge tide of Republican Seats gained in 2018.
    Personally, I’ll be leery of a Republican Majority in Illinois while a Republican Governor reigns.
    Is there any “balance of power” or “split government” argument to be made that having Bruce Rauner as Governor will encourage voters to Elect Democrats to keep some balance?

  44. - Veil of Ignorance - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 4:10 pm:

    Most studies have suggested that TV ads, signs, mailers, etc. make minimal impact, but door-to-door face-to-face stuff makes a noticeable impact. That being said, I’m guessing that larger factors (e.g. Trump vs. Clinton) make a much larger impact on races. Is there a point of serious diminishing returns on Rauner’s millions for state house races?

  45. - peon - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 8:05 pm:

    The Speaker is very unpopular but so is the Governor. The “all Madigan all the time” strategy has been used for almost 2 years now in extreme form. So far no traction in legislative TA results or the primaries. I don’t see why Nov. will be any different.

    Jeb Bush spent $130M in the GOP primaries but it wasn’t enough money to push an unpopular message.

  46. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 8:29 pm:

    I doubt if either Rauner (who isn’t on the ballot) or Madigan (who is only on the ballot in his district) are going to have an impact on legislative races when Clinton vs. Trump are at the top of the card.

    There’s a wee bit of interest in that presidential race: 84 million watched the debate just on TV. That doesn’t measure millions more watching on social media or at debate-watch parties.

    By comparison, last year’s Super Bowl attracted 114 million viewers. The deciding Game 5 of the World Series, 17.2 million viewers.

    I don’t see a Rauner/Madigan proxy tilt generating all that much excitement, except in their own minds.

  47. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:42 pm:

    let’s take a little step back from the fire.

    Let’s assume for a moment that Bruce Rauner makes good on his promise to pick up 8 seats in the House this election, even though Trump, Kirk, and Munger are all gonna lose.

    Then what?

    Madigan’s caucus moves further to the left, not closer to the middle. None of those eight southern Democrats is voting for Rauner’s tax hike in the lame duck, and neither are their replacements.

    That means that Rauner and Durkin will have to go back to their current roster to find not just 32, but 40 GOP votes for a tax hike.

    How do you think that is gonna go over in the 2018 midterms?

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