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Weekend campaign roundup

Monday, May 1, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Politico

Pritzker’s campaign last evening confirmed the coming endorsement but would not go much beyond the names of unions that POLITICO already knew of from sources, including: Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 881 United Association of Plumbers Local 130 and a local laborers group.

Trade unions in this state are historically allied with Speaker Madigan. Not saying, just saying. But word has been building on the street that Madigan allies are starting to more than just lean toward Pritzker because of his self-funding potential and his unexpected campaign abilities.

* And remember that 2012 remark from JB Pritzker about how he was waiting to see who the Republican nominee was before deciding whether to endorse President Obama’s reelection? It’s not going away

“He’s presenting himself now as a progressive Democrat,” [Sen. Daniel Biss] said. “I’ve never known him to be that in the past. His track record in the past doesn’t show how that would be the case. I think we need to hear from him what he was hoping to support.”

Biss again mocked Pritzker as a moderate pretending to be a progressive.

“Maybe he was hoping a Republican candidate running against President Obama in 2012 would be more progressive than President Obama,” he said dryly. “That’s not what I saw coming out of the Republican primary in 2012 and I’d be really curious to hear a detailed explanation from Mr. Pritzker.”

“I just want J.B. Pritzker to explain who he is. Let us know the story of J.B. Pritzker and all those pieces of history of not being sure if he wanted Barack Obama to be reelected president in 2012 to the support for a series of moderate candidates over the years. That’s nothing to be embarrassed about. He just needs to tell us and give a clear picture and not just try to become somebody else.”

A campaign spokesperson for Chris Kennedy said, “We’ll let the video speak for itself. The voters can be the judge.”

Um, OK. Biss was an early endorser of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. He crafted a pension reform plan when he was in the House that was opposed by unions. And he raised a bunch of money from Speaker Madigan types last year for his federal PAC.

* Meanwhile, from the Tribune

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy used a fundraising email over the weekend to compare rival J.B. Pritzker to Illinois’ Republican governor.

“Gov. Rauner has done some pretty awful things to our state. The worst thing he has done is fail to pass a budget but the second worst thing he has done is silence his own party. No elected official in the Republican Party has spoken out against him. Why would they? He spent millions in the last election cycle to elect his preferred candidates. He has used his money to intimidate them. He has used his finances to bully them,” Kennedy says in the email solicitation.

“We can’t let what’s happening in the Republican Party happen in the Democratic Party,” he said. “We are at a moment when we can strengthen the Democratic Party in Illinois. But we won’t become stronger by nominating someone to represent us who doesn’t need our money, who doesn’t need our ideas, and who isn’t influenced by our opinions. Big money talks, it doesn’t listen.”

I think Sen. Sam McCann would differ with Kennedy on the “No elected official in the Republican Party has spoken out against him” remark, but maybe that’s because Sam’s the exception which proves the rule.

Either way, that’s probably not a bad angle to use.

* Kennedy spoke to the Will and Grundy Counties Trades and Labor Council Dinner on Friday night

“This is not a stalemate,” Kennedy said. “This is a hostage taking. This governor isn’t interested in negotiating a budget. If he wanted to negotiate a budget he could get it done within a week and there would be Democratic and Republican support. He’s holding that budget hostage for his turnaround agenda.”

That agenda includes measures such as property tax freezes, lawsuit reform and “right to work” zones, which leaves the decision of whether to require workers to join a union up to voters in their own communities. Unions such as the Will and Grundy Counties Trades and Labor Council see right to work zones as an attempt to weaken the influence of unions statewide.

“We’re definitely not supporting Rauner,” said Council President Charlie Hanus. “We’re looking for somebody that can work with people instead of trying to dictate like Rauner.”

Kennedy also spoke about struggling communities across the state. He specifically mentioned communities downstate with fewer resources such as grocery stores and hospitals as readily accessible as they are in the Chicago area. He said those struggling have become angry with the wealthy, the elite and politicians, and that’s why they voted in Republicans like President Donald Trump. He argued Democrats need to start paying attention to those communities.

* Related…

* ADDED: Democrat doubleheader: Kennedy bashes Rauner, Bernal takes on Long: “Gov. Rauner is using it because he wants to run for president of the United States,” Kennedy said, “He’s adopted a phony Southern accent so he can appeal to the right wing of the Republican Party, largely located in the South. His platform is going to be he’s the guy who beat the unions and destroyed the fundamental tenant of our country, which is the rule of law, and he’s broken the pension contract that workers have. That’s what he wants to do. If he’s going to hold our state budget hostage for something that’s more about his personal ambitions than something that’s good for the rest of the state, that needs to end. He wears a Carhartt jacket around like he’s some sort of pipe fitter that’s just walked off a construction job on a 20 degree day in a 30 knot wind, and he’s using that as a disguise to go right after the people he’s screwing that he’s dressing like, and that shouldn’t be allowed. A guy who wears phony clothes and has that phony accent doesn’t deserve our respect and he sure doesn’t deserve to be re-elected in the state of Illinois.”

* ILGOP Press release: Will Democrats Change Tune This Small Business Week? Dem Candidates for Gov. Race Towards Madigan on Tax-and-Spend Agenda

* Alderman, Ameya Pawar answers the questions, ‘Who is Ameya Pawar and why should he be the next Governor of Illinois?”

* Rodney Davis main target of barbs at Democrat luncheon: “Did you get the same email I did from Congressman Davis this week?” Bennett asked the audience. “He’s finally getting back to us on issues that he knows you care about, on airline customer service. The disconnect is unbelievable. But it’s hard to know what your constituents want when you won’t meet with them and you won’t hear any conflicting views.”


  1. - lake county democrat - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:29 am:

    I’m not a big fan of Biss, but in his defense, there’s a big difference between endorsing Hillary Clinton over Bernie Saunders than in 2012 saying “I might vote for the Republican and hand complete control of the government to the GOP - gotta wait to see who they nominate.” A real progressive would never have said that, especially given the front runners (a Romney running on Hugh Hewitt’s platform, Gingrich, a Santorum, and Cain(!)). Well, maybe a “Bernie or Bust” type who found Obama too conservative, but that’s not what Pritzker was communicating.

  2. - Rocky Rosi - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:31 am:

    Dems need to sit back and take a deep breath. They need to make sure the golden man is the right person that will connect with the people before they clear the field for him. Hillary 2.0.

  3. - Suburban Dem - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:41 am:

    Pritzker/Frerichs were also at suburban event with ~150 democratic power brokers & labor unions hosted by Sen. Hastings. Very good delivery by both candidates and well received, could be problematic if suburbs start aligning around JB.

  4. - Downstate Dem - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    I think some of these unions need to take a deep breath and let the campaigns progress. Someone should call La Salle County Democratic Party Chair Rocky Raikes. He’ll tell you what happened Saturday night in Utica. Chairman for 20 years, he does an annual spring event. Two nights ago the attendance doubled what it usually does - from 300 to 600. He’ll tell you that lots of people bought tickets after they heard Chris Kennedy was the keynote speaker. He’ll tell you that Kennedy delivered one of the best speeches of this early campaign season and that more than 100 people lined up afterward to get their picture taken with Kennedy.

  5. - DuPage - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 10:51 am:

    It will take a billionaire to effectively fight the billionaire incumbent. Rauner is trying to buy re-election with ongoing endless campaign ads that have never stopped. It is going to take a LOT of money to buy ads for the Democratic candidate.

  6. - Anonymous - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 11:11 am:

    Downstate Dem and Rocky Rosi, I’ve noticed over time you tend to say the same thing. Are you the same person or do you just keep using the same talking points?

    “Dems need to sit back and take a deep breath…”

    “I think some of these unions need to take a deep breath…”

  7. - AlfondoGonz - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 11:46 am:

    I would imagine Pritzker’s 2012 comment would be irrelevant in the general election, if not helpful. I don’t see Rauner receiving votes from any informed D. Or very many in the African American community.

  8. - Grandson of Man - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 12:06 pm:

    So far I really like Pawar, Pritzker and Biss. Kennedy isn’t there yet, because he doesn’t yet support legalizing marijuana.

    I like the Kennedy line of attack, the hostage angle for radical right wing policies. That would be complemented very well with the squeeze the beast angle, which is the objective. An ad with both of these could be powerful.

    Kennedy will need to be a yes on marijuana legalization for me. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate could be in position to pick up a head of steam if legalization passes in the GA or is close to passing.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    === Someone should call La Salle County Democratic Party Chair Rocky Raikes.===


    Kennedy made clear; political back deals and endorsements aren’t what will win this.

    So, why would I waste breath talking to someone Kennedy must dismiss as not only irrelevant, but ruining the state with back room politics and endorsements.

    The more I hear the faux cheerleading here, the more it seems Kennedy really is lacking significant fundamentals, and the cheerleaders here really have little clue how the cheerleading seems to run counter to even what Kennedy says, lol.


  10. - Chicagonk - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 1:22 pm:

    It’s not exactly a secret that the Cook County Dems have unofficially slated Pritzker. Honestly this is a huge hurdle for any of the other candidates to overcome. Perhaps someone can refresh my memory, but has their been another Democratic gubernatorial candidate that wasn’t “slated” (unofficially or officially) by the machine?

  11. - Downstate Dem - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 3:43 pm:

    OW - You missed my message. The Democratic Party of Illinois and legislative leaders want a candidate who can energize grassroots gems throughout downstate and the rest of the state. Largest turnout in Lasalle County Dem history occurred Saturday night for Kennedy. My point all along is that he has the potential to generate grassroots turnout in every region. I wasn’t making a county chairs / leadership political elite case.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===You missed my message===

    No I didn’t. “Ask the political official”.

    Kennedy thinks very little about political officials, and elected officials. The Kennedy Crew told me so.

    You citing that Chair, that’s just comedy, lol

    ===The Democratic Party of Illinois and legislative leaders want a candidate who can energize grassroots gems throughout downstate and the rest of the state===

    Again, do you want me to actually pull the quote where the Kennedy Crew dismisses… back room leaders and politicos.

    How is what you say in agreement? Kennedy dismisses their support so much, he wants to impress them by being what they want?

    Please. Stop. This is getting ridiculous.

  13. - Downstate Dem - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 4:11 pm:

    I cited Raikes because he is an independent source for the crowd of 600. The message is 600. The message is grassroots. Raikes is the source. Glad i can provide you so much comedy on a Monday - I’m not trying, really.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 4:16 pm:

    ===Raikes is the source===

    … someone is a position that Kennedy’s Crew dismisses.

    Now Kennedy’s Crew thinks those of that “ilk” are now credible? That’s fun.

    I do find your blinded loyalty… amusing.

    It’s not helping, but it is… amusing.

    I hope Kennedy doesn’t get the any more Chairmen to endorse him. Then Kennedy will just be with the smoked filled, back room politicos that his crew dismissed.

    Your gymnastics for that will probably make me laugh too.

  15. - Anon0091 - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 5:09 pm:

    Downstate, I really think you’re confusing curiosity with sustained enthusiasm. OF COURSE people are curious about a Kennedy. Show me the crowds when he comes back. Everything I’ve heard so far is that he’s way more exciting in theory than in person.

  16. - @TomPaine - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 5:19 pm:

    Yes, 600 people showed up for the Jackson Day dinner in Uttica.

    Did Chris Kennedy rail against the Democratic Party chairmen while he was there?

    Kennedy and now Biss railing against “Democratic insiders” is hilarious.

    Kennedy also maxed out to Hillary in the 2016 primary.

    Now he and Biss want to carry the Sanders banner?

    It would be laughable if they were not so serious.

    All these two can hope to achieve is poisoning the well for Pritzker.

  17. - Veil of Ignorance - Monday, May 1, 17 @ 6:14 pm:

    Unless folks here accurately predicted Trump would be POTUS, I think it’s safe to say nobody can really know how this plays out. That being said, I think it’s fair for Biss to ask where Pritzker stands given he has very little for the public to go on. I have to admit the Pritzker quote definitely has me wondering what he actually meant…let’s have a real primary and test candidates.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
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