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The mad dash for AG

Monday, Sep 18, 2017

* Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) was first out of the gate to say he wanted to run for attorney general against Republican Erika Harold

Raoul said he doesn’t think Lisa Madigan is running from Harold.

“I think Lisa would have acquitted herself well against Miss America,” Raoul said. “I don’t know what’s behind the attorney general’s decision … but I doubt seriously it was any fear of Erika Harold.”

Harold was a Phi Beta Kappa at the U of I and a Harvard Law graduate. She also has some pretty strong campaign chops. So, condescension probably isn’t the best avenue here.

* Meanwhile

A retiring suburban lawmaker is the latest to express interest in becoming Illinois’ next attorney general.

Elaine Nekritz of Northbrook told the Daily Herald Sunday evening that she was surprised as anyone by news Friday that Chicago Democrat Lisa Madigan announced she would not be seeking re-election for a fifth term Friday.

“Who knew this was going to be an option?” said Nekritz, a Northbrook Democrat. A real estate attorney by trade, Nekritz said such a move would require her to reactivate her law license.

Actually, the state Constitution doesn’t require the attorney general to even be an attorney, let alone have an active law license.

* Jesse Ruiz’s Facebook page is filled with stories and posts about his run, including a claim that President Obama is his “biggest fan.”

But, man, the list is really long

Gery Chico — whose resume includes stints as chairman of the State Board of Education and president of the Chicago Board of Education, the Chicago Park District board and City Colleges board — said he, too, is considering a run for attorney general. […]

McHenry County Board Chairman and former state representative Jack Franks says he’s considering a run as well.

“Pretty much my entire public career comes forward to this,” Franks said. “Things that are consumer related and good government and going after the bad guy, fighting for the little guy.” […]

State Rep. Ann Williams, D-Chicago, who once worked for Madigan, said she hasn’t ruled out a run, while noting she’s spoken with many concerned there are few women mentioned as possible contenders for the seat. […]

Other names are also being talked about as possible contenders, including state Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, former U.S. Attorney Zach Fardon and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow. None responded to calls for comment.

Most of those names were mentioned in comments here last week.

* Tribune

Other names surfaced as well, including state Sen. Don Harmon of Oak Park and state Rep. Elgie Sims of Chicago. Their legislative seats are up for election next year, so a run for attorney general would mean risking their spots. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is not on the ballot in 2018. Even a former ambassador to the Czech Republic under former President Barack Obama, attorney Andrew Schapiro, is considering a bid, an aide said. […]

State finance disclosure reports show Harmon, a member of the Democratic Senate leadership team, with $662,000 in his campaign bank account, ahead of Dart’s $470,000 and Raoul’s $340,000. Harold so far has raised at least $40,000, mostly from the state Republican Party, which Rauner heavily subsidizes.

* NBC 5

Also considering a run from the Illinois legislature is state Sen. Michael Hastings, who was first elected in 2012 to represent a south suburban district that includes parts of Matteson, Frankfort, New Lenox and more.

Sources said Hastings, a former U.S. Army Captain who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, is making calls about a possible run for attorney general – and like Raoul, he would not have to give up his seat.

A third potential candidate from the upper chamber is state Sen. Ira Silverstein, who sources said is also interested in the position.

* Umm

Even former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett has been rumored to be considering a run.

* Other stuff…

* Republicans map out goals at annual Reagan BBQ: Having been harassed in high school, Ms. Harold said she knows what it’s like to feel powerless.

* As Lisa Madigan leaves office, few women ready to take her place

- Posted by Rich Miller        

43 Comments
  1. - Iggy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:48 am:

    Hastings would be fun. I say go for it big guy!


  2. - SAP - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    For the record, I am not running for AG.


  3. - Saluki - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:55 am:

    Kwame’s comments are humorous.


  4. - LakeviewJ - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:56 am:

    There’s no constitutional or explicit statutory requirement but there are plenty of statutory duties of the attorney general that’d seem to require an attorney in the position, lest you wind up with an AG being nailed for practicing law without a license.


  5. - Chicago_Downstater - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:57 am:

    Has Senator Raoul never seen Legally Blonde? Here’s a hint: The intelligent woman who also happens to be attractive beats the chauvinists.

    But seriously, the “Miss America” ding was a weird way for a Dem who will need liberal women voters to start out his campaign. It reeks of condescension.


  6. - Fax Machine - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 10:58 am:

    Has anyone asked Pat Quinn if he’s interested.

    Perfect job for a gadfly.


  7. - hold on - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:00 am:

    LakeviewJ is correct. You can’t practice law without a license, and it would be hard to be the Attorney General without practicing law, which includes rendering legal opinions, providing legal advice, etc. But sure, a real estate attorney with an inactive license would be great.


  8. - Fax Machine - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:02 am:

    Question for the historians out there - in Illinois’ 199 year history, have we ever had a non-attorney serve as Attorney General?


  9. - Gooner - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:03 am:

    Ann Williams is playing the “the office needs a woman” card. I respect Ann, but that should be beneath her.

    We need a highly qualified AG. I don’t care what the person looks like. Male, female, ethnic group — none of that matters. Tell us what you are going to do in the office. The rest does not matter.

    Democrats tend to fall into that a bit too often and it gets a bit tiring.


  10. - Iggy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:07 am:

    Chicago_Downstater, very interesting point. It is actually even funnier if you have ever been in committee that he chairs, Lets just say Senator Raoul’s condescension is not solely aimed at women. I have always pondered the thought does Kwame have some sort of authority complex because of his speech impediment? Or is that getting a little too meta for the capfax fogies.


  11. - Norseman - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:14 am:

    Video of the IL AG election filing rush.


  12. - Rufh - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Rich, I think it’s time for a bit of snark around this chaos.


  13. - Langhorne - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Kwame–that condescension is very unbecoming.


  14. - A guy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:15 am:

    Kwame. Unforced error out the box. You’ve just given her something she can use effectively against you and your whole party. Silly dude. You’re so much smarter than this.


  15. - charles in charge - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    Reducing Nekritz to “a real estate attorney with an inactive license” significantly undersells her legal acumen and experience. She’s chaired the House Judiciary Civil Law committee and served on the Judiciary Criminal Law committee for many years. Most attorneys with active licenses are not even remotely as qualified as she to be Attorney General.


  16. - DuPage Saint - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:17 am:

    I hope a non Attorney goes for it Then they can give opinion that ARDC spent control Illinois constitution


  17. - hisgirlfriday - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:20 am:

    Surprised no Republican has thrown their name in to oppose Ms. Harold now that it is an open seat.


  18. - City Zen - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    “Would you like to be the Attorney General for Illinois?”

    “Sure, just give me a minute to reactivate my law license.”


  19. - Suburban Dem - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    Hutchinson, Hastings & Raoul would be a wild match up

    Hutchinson recently graduated from law school. Although not a practicing attorney, she has a very good following. Would the sponsoring of the tax increase and her NRA endorsement bring her down?

    Hastings would definitely bring an intensity to this race. He has a reputation of being a very hard worker and takes a no holds barred approach to politics. Does he have or can he get the money?

    Raoul takes on some very big issues in his tenure. Conceal and carry, workman’s compensation, criminal justice reform are not light lifts. However, the question is what kind of a campaigner is he & would he have the labor support?


  20. - Snucka - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:27 am:

    Ann Williams would be the perfect choice.


  21. - JoeMaddon - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:28 am:

    It will get very interesting when the oppo on Kwame starts to drop…


  22. - wordslinger - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:43 am:

    Whenever a high-profile elective office becomes open, Gerry Chico is more than willing to wage a losing race for it.


  23. - Amalia - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:44 am:

    there is no problem with Elaine Nekritz and the law license. How do we know? Kim Foxx did not have an active law license when she started the run for CCSAttorney, and that office actually has to do heavy duty day to day trials. Brush those criticisms off, Elaine.


  24. - DarkHorse - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:48 am:

    There will be no opposition to Harold for the GOP nomination. She can actually win now, there’s no incentive for Rauner to drop her. Would make no sense for Rauner to replace her with a woman, and to replace her with a man would hurt his own re-election chances.


  25. - Texas Red - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:52 am:

    Being a lawyer is not all that it is cracked up to be. And the legal acumen of cook county voters is not that great; Judge Cynthia Brim, who was ruled legal insane, won retention in 2012.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    ===There will be no opposition to Harold for the GOP nomination…===

    It will be “interesting” if ALL these GOP types are just going to let Harold get this pass.

    She’s beatable in a primary. She lost a primary already.

    ===She can actually win now===

    … in a GOP White House midterm, with Trump, with her conservative-known positions, in a state that Clinton won by 17 points and a sitting Raunerite governor losing to a generic Dem candidate by Doyle digits?

    Ok. That’s fun.

    ===Would make no sense for Rauner to replace her with a woman, and to replace her with a man would hurt his own re-election chances.===

    Let’s unpack this…

    Rauner may not want, or choose, or even encourage anyone to challenge Harold, and maybe Rauner will want Harold.

    But if a more popular candidate did emerge, challenged Harold, won, and Rauner could glom onto that popularity, Rauner, like any pol, will take the extra help if it’s there.

    The Dems may want a failed GOP congressional candidate who couldn’t get out of her primary that could be deemed “too conservative” statewide, no matter the gender.

    Rauner is polling 63% disapproval, so Rauner may need her more than she needs him(?)


  27. - Gooner - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    Suburban Dem,

    Kwame didn’t really take on conceal carry. He did at the start, and then he sort of punted. I like Kwame, but his performance on that one was underwhelming to the point that I wonder if he has the backbone for A.G.

    Regarding Nekritz and her law license — going inactive makes a lot of sense. Why do the CLE and pay the annual fee if you are not going to use it?

    If I stopped practicing (took a corporate gig) I would go inactive in a minute.


  28. - Grand Avenue - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:04 pm:

    Scott Drury says he’s about to share some exciting news…

    https://twitter.com/Drury4IL/status/909820962652205056


  29. - Grand Avenue - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:07 pm:

    Rich - I think there’s the question of the day - What is Scott Drury’s “BIG NEWS” that he is tweeting about


  30. - DarkHorse - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    Hi Oswego,

    Here’s why I’m bullish on Harold’s chances:

    1. She got outspent by Davis like 8:1 in the IL-13 primary, and still got 41%.

    2. Rauner, for all his unpopularity, will probably keep the general election relatively close - and Harold can appeal to people that won’t vote for Rauner.

    3. She’s very conservative - but seems pretty “moderate/liberal” on criminal justice reform issues and the death penalty, all of which should be relevant in an AG campaign.

    4. Democrats, in my view, are very focused on “identity” politics. If she runs against a man in the general election, she’ll peel off some Democratic votes based on gender alone.

    I think her biggest, potential risk in a general election is that she gets painted into a right wing corner on immigration issues - but if Trump makes a deal on DACA, maybe that risk fades.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:18 pm:

    ===1. She got outspent by Davis like 8:1 in the IL-13 primary, and still got 41%===

    There were 59% of the voters in at primate (58.7%) that didn’t vote for her. When you do lose, you lose.

    ===Rauner, for all his unpopularity, will probably keep the general election relatively close===

    Speculation. Could be true, might not be true.

    What IS true is Rauner is under water, less than 40% approve of him, more than 60% disapprove of Rauner. That I do know.

    ===She’s very conservative - but seems pretty “moderate/liberal” on criminal justice reform issues and the death penalty, all of which should be relevant in an AG campaign===

    While Jim Ryan was conservative in the standards of the day, this off-year and Trump and the numbers Trump may drag, the dynamics seem different than when Jim Ryan ran and won… and when Birkett ran… and lost too.

    ===Democrats, in my view, are very focused on “identity” politics. If she runs against a man in the general election, she’ll peel off some Democratic votes based on gender alone===

    Ask Hillary Clinton how that worked out, in reverse. Suburban/collar women voters can decide statewide elections, so can the conservative Harold, with Trump and Rauner, turn suburban women for her? Dunno.


  32. - Pure Speculation - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:20 pm:

    Surprised Rep. Kelly Burke’s name hasn’t been out there yet. She would be a great A.G.


  33. - ThumbsUp - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Hastings - all day.


  34. - You could say that, I couldn't - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:22 pm:

    Echoing earlier comments:

    –Actually, the state Constitution doesn’t require the attorney general to even be an attorney, let alone have an active law license. –

    True, but the Constitution also describes the office as “legal officer.” I don’t really see it as a big stretch for the Supreme Court to determine that a qualification to be the chief legal officer of the state requires a law license. I would point out that in compilations of which states require bar membership to be AG, Illinois is listed as requiring one with a cross reference to the Constitutional provision that the AG is a “legal officer” and the statutory requirement that the AG appear in court to represent the State.

    So, yeah, on its face it can look like you don’t have to be a licensed attorney. However, I see plenty of other ways the requirement is actually in law.


  35. - DuPage Dave - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:29 pm:

    If it’s not in the state constitution then being an attorney is not a requirement to be attorney general.


  36. - State worker - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 12:50 pm:

    Charles in Charge, you said it.

    Nekritz has shown a greater legal grasp on issues ranging from criminal justice to pensions to real estate than most legislators I’ve seen.

    Nekritz stands on her own record as being willing to listen to the needs and problems of ordinary people, and solve entrenched and complex problems.


  37. - 47th Ward - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 1:46 pm:

    It may not be a constitutional or legal requirement, but you better believe being an experienced attorney is a practical political requirement of the job.

    Heck, half of these people will run as tough-on-crime prosecutors because too many people believe AG is some kind of crime-fighting job. It’s not, it’s more of a consumer/taxpayer advocate job than anything else.

    Of course you don’t need to be a lawyer, but good luck convincing voters of that little detail.


  38. - Ron Burgundy - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 2:07 pm:

    The idea of a non-lawyer AG raises interesting questions as noted above, like the interpretation of “legal officer” in the Constitution and could the ARDC/Supreme Court (Judicial Branch) discipline such a person in the Executive Branch for Unauthorized Practice of Law. I find it hard to imagine some of the duties of the AG not being considered practicing law by any reasonable definition.


  39. - Anonymous - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 2:08 pm:

    I would put Nekritz up there with anyone in the General Assembly when it comes to understanding both criminal justice and civil law matters. I don’t think there is a more qualified candidate in that body.


  40. - City Zen - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    ==It’s not, it’s more of a consumer/taxpayer advocate job than anything else.==

    Don’t forget MethNet.


  41. - The Muse - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 2:46 pm:

    It is interesting to see so many people throwing their hats in the ring.

    Raoul not doing himself any favors by making that comment out of the gate… oof.

    Nektriz is an incredibly thorough, intelligent person.

    Hastings has made a name for himself as of late fighting back against the Rauner admin in committee.

    Harmon would be a great AG too, but does he want to give up his safe seat?

    Either way, this makes for an interesting primary season.


  42. - Fax Machine - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 3:06 pm:

    Harmon won’t run not just because he’d give up the Senate seat but because he’s a strong contender for next Senate Prez. In fact if Kwame is elected AG he’ll have it wrapped up.


  43. - JoanP - Monday, Sep 18, 17 @ 8:15 pm:

    Being a lawyer may not be a legal requirement for serving as AG, but it sure is a practical one.

    You don’t have to be a lawyer to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, either, but just try to get a non-lawyer past the Judiciary Committee.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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