[Comments now open on this post.]
* Campaign and lobbying powerhouses Victor Reyes and Mike Noonan were interviewed on The Daily Line’s “Aldercast” podcast the other day. The whole thing is most definitely worth a listen, partly because those two guys rarely consent to interviews, but also because there’s a reason why they’re respected insiders. They’re highly accomplished and very smart.
Here’s Noonan on why he believes the Democrats absolutely need a self-funding gubernatorial candidate in 2018…
We [himself and Reyes] focus on “how do we win?” Everything else doesn’t really matter… winning is critical. So when you look at the gubernatorial race, the Republicans have one major advantage right now, and that’s that Gov. Rauner has unlimited resources and he has proven that he is willing to use them.
The Democrats have all the rest of the structural advantages. Hillary Clinton just carried the state by 16 points. We have a super majority in the Senate and a near super majority in the House.
To me, the formula is fairly straight-forward. First thing you do is you eliminate the advantage that the Republicans have. And the way to do that is by getting a candidate who can match or surpass the financial resources that Rauner brings to the table.
The Speaker and President Cullerton did a masterful job of raising the resources to be able to negate the Republican financial advantage at the legislative level in 2016. They’re going to need to do that same job to match those same legislative expenditures [in 2018]. There’s a finite amount of money, right? Can the unions and the trial lawyers and the other main, traditional givers find the $40 million that’s needed on the legislative side and then find another $90 million for governor? Unlikely. […]
It is unfortunate, but it’s the reality that until we do something about the way the campaigns are financed, yeah, that’s the era that we are entering into. […]
When you look from a Democratic perspective at what’s at risk in the 2018 election. The [2018 election] is going to determine who controls the legislative [district] map until 2030. The fight that we have here in Illinois is the most critical one I’ve seen in my 25 years of working. And I think that, while we may not be crazy about the fact that we have to limit our choices to self-funders, that’s I think the reality we need to come to if we want to be serious about defeating Gov. Rauner.
Make no mistake, [Rauner] and his team are incredibly formidable. The notion that they won because of Gov. Quinn is folly to me. They won, and they made advances in 2016, because they’re good at what they do. And they are fearless and they are willing to push the envelope in ways that we haven’t seen before. And so if we don’t take that challenge seriously, I think that we are going to face a bad outcome.
* Now, with that insider perspective in mind…
For a sitting, massively rich Republican governor who just added $50 million in personal cash to his re-election campaign, a sitting Chicago alderman with a measly $50,000 probably doesn’t seem much of a threat.
And perhaps pro-business, union-critic Governor Bruce Rauner has nothing to worry about from 47th Ward Alderman Ameya Pawar, a liberal (progressive, if you prefer) who has decided to take him on.
Pawar, 36, in an exclusive interview with NBC Chicago’s Ward Room, made it official as of Tuesday.
“I am running because we’ve gotten to a point in this country where wealth worship is the only qualifier for public office, trumping public policy. Chopping benefits or declaring strategic bankruptcy or selling companies off in pieces for profit is somehow seen as the secret ingredient for an Illinois utopia,” said Pawar.
The case he plans to make? In his words, “Government should be aspirational. People like to tell us how terrible government is but it was the federal government after the Great Depression that created the middle class. And sent a man to the moon.”
Pawar, an Indian-American, who holds three graduate degrees in urban planning, disaster management and social policy, is accustomed to being discounted.
I’ll open comments on this post tomorrow.
*** UPDATE *** From the ILGOP…
Ameya Pawar – A Tax-Hiking Politician Just Like Mike Madigan
“I don’t believe we’re overtaxed in Illinois…I think we’re under taxed.”
“Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is the very definition of an out-of-touch, tax-hiking politician just like Mike Madigan. While job-crushing tax increases without reform has caused an exodus from Illinois, Pawar doubled down on the Madigan Chicago agenda, supporting higher income taxes, higher property taxes, and even a tax on our drinking water.” - Illinois Republican Party Spokesman Steven Yaffe
This morning, Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar announced a longshot bid for Governor. His signature issue? Raising your taxes, taking a page out of the Mike Madigan playbook.
In August, an out-of-touch Pawar stated, “I don’t believe we’re overtaxed in Illinois…I think we’re under taxed.”
Pawar doesn’t just talk about raising our taxes. He’s done it repeatedly.
Pawar said that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget containing a $598 million property tax increase was, “the right thing to do”.
Pawar even defended a 28 percent tax on water and argued for a tax on Chicago businesses, which would drive even more jobs out of the state.
*** UPDATE 2 *** Pawar responded to the Republicans about the state being under-taxed…
But the Chicago alderman argued that’s not the case, noting that he and his wife are members of the middle class and “pay more than our fair share” of taxes.
“When I say undertaxed I mean the wealthy are undertaxed,” he told NBC 5. “We have a very aggressive tax structure, we’re really talking about reform. Let’s talk about equitable public education funding by making sure the wealthy pay their fair share.”
What’s that old adage about “When you’re explaining…”?
* He also responded to the ILGOP blast about city tax hikes…
Still, the Illinois GOP claimed Pawar said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s budget, including a $598 million property tax increase was, “the right thing to do.”
“I understand their response, because $50 million buys a lot of negativity and you know that’s OK,” Pawar said. “The upper middle class all the way down to the working middle class to the poor are all in the same boat, we pay more than our fair share [of taxes].”
The harsh reality is it’s gonna be tough to be a Chicago alderman and run statewide.
* Pawar Officially Announces Run For Governor, Calls Rauner ‘Original Trump’: “On my end, having $50,000 in the bank is nothing to be ashamed of. It doesn’t mean I’m not supported in other ways,” he said. “I’m going to run the ‘Every Man’ campaign.” … “Government doesn’t just report to a small group of shareholders,” said Pawar. “It reports to all people.”