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Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Rep. Cabello to Gov. Rauner: Resign

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* You don’t see this every day

Republican State Rep. John Cabello tells 13 WREX he believes Gov. Bruce Rauner should resign during an interview following Wednesday’s State of the State address in Springfield.

Cabello points to the governor’s credibility as the main reason for his comments, saying the governor has broken his word, specifically on House Bill 40. Cabello says in meetings with the governor, Rauner told lawmakers he would not sign the bill related to abortion funding. House Bill 40 was eventually signed into law in late September.

“When you tell someone you are not going to do something, you should stick to your word,” Cabello said. “I can’t trust any words that he says from here on out.”

When asked about Rauner’s State of the State speech Wednesday, Cabello only responded by saying “I was raised that if you have nothing nice to say you shouldn’t say it at all.”

Cabello is one of a tiny number of legislative Republicans who supported President Trump in the 2016 GOP nomination battle.


Nothin’ but a G thang

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Eric Zorn’s column about Gov. Rauner’s 2017 State of the State address

Of the 136 words Rauner spoke from the podium that ended with the “-ing” syllable, he dropped the final “g” on 76 of those, (“We convened bipartisan workin’ groups, doin’ our best to find a way forward together,” for example) for a 56 percent score on the Folksy-Meter.

* This year’s address was very different. The speech seemed written to specifically avoid so many words that end with “-ing.” A legislator marked up her copy of the address and we went through it together after the speech. She found just 25 of those “-ing” words written into the speech and Rauner added one more. By her count, he dropped his “g” eight times while pronouncing the hard “g” 17 times.

I found 29 “-ing” words, but whatever. You get the idea. He said those “-ing” words much less often than before (undoubtedly by design), and massively improved his pronunciation rate.

I can’t say for sure, but I’m betting we can probably thank Patty Schuh for this small listening favor.


State of the State coverage roundup

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* SJ-R

Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday called for bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers to improve the state’s financial standing through economic growth.

In a 30-minute State of the State speech to a joint session of the General Assembly, Rauner said the place to start that effort is by restoring public trust.

“Where once we joined to address our problems, we now divide to conquer the other side, or worse, we legislate for expediency rather than effect,” Rauner said.

Rauner did not, however, lay out specific proposals for achieving that economic development.

* AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner wants to roll back income taxes but did not identify how in his State of the State address.

The Republican has previously said he wants to reverse the income tax increase the Legislature approved last summer. It went from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent. He said Wednesday that “we cannot tax and borrow our way into prosperity” and urged lawmakers to “curb spending” and boost job growth.

But he gave no specifics.

The budget address is in two weeks. No specifics on that were required today.

* Sun-Times

With the March primary just six weeks away, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday spoke calmly and optimistically about some of the state’s most dire faults, vowing once again to fight the state’s property tax system, while saying he’ll fight to make Illinois “the powerhouse job creator it should be.” […]

Of his accomplishments, which Democrats are quick to criticize, Rauner spoke of a school funding formula which passed last year: “We achieved historic parity in per-pupil funding for charter schools, and we created Invest in Kids, the state’s first-ever tuition tax credit scholarship program.” […]

He also spoke of criminal justice reforms, and his goal to reduce the prison population. Rauner, too, said, he’s helped to battle the state’s opioid epidemic by enacting a 24/7 helpline.

Rauner brought two residents of the Quincy veterans’ home, which came under fire after several deadly Legionnaires’ outbreaks. That issue had put the governor in the hot seat over how the state handled a 2016 outbreak. Rauner last month spent a week at the home, saying he wanted to get to know the residents and to learn best practices to ensure they were as safe as possible.

Rauner used the word “veterans” seven times today. He didn’t mention them in 2015 or 2017, but they did get a shoutout in 2016.

* Tribune

The speech was designed to set the stage for a re-election battle in which Rauner is defending his first three years in office while he asks voters to give him another four. To that aim, the address attempted to weave an optimistic tone while also speaking to voters’ frustrations about the state’s economic and political climate. […]

“To that end, I will submit a balanced budget proposal next month. It will offer a path to reduced spending, and it will show the way to surpluses going forward so we can reduce taxes and start to push back against the assault on middle-class bank accounts,” the governor said.

Democrats stood and offered mock applause, including one of his biggest critics, Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Democrats and some experts have long said Rauner has yet to submit a balanced budget, although Democrats have repeatedly advanced out-of-balanced budgets themselves.

Replied Rauner: “And I hope this year you guys will pass it instead of ignoring it.” He drew jeers from within the chamber.

* Reuters

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, who appeared on public television following the speech, said Rauner’s promise of a balanced spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1 was met with laughter.

“The reason why people couldn’t keep a straight face when he said he was going to introduce a balanced budget is because (Rauner) has never been even close to a balanced budget,” Cullerton said.

Rauner has said he wants to roll back the $5 billion income tax hike even as the state’s payment to its five pension systems is projected to grow to $8.5 billion in fiscal 2019 from $7.94 billion this year. Illinois also has a lingering $8.5 billion unpaid bill backlog that had ballooned to more than $16 billion during the impasse.


Governor Bruce Rauner delivered his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the General Assembly.

Rauner said the State of the State is one of readiness and he was hoping out loud that the Democrats in control would give him what they have refused to give him before, such as term limits.

“80% of Illinois’ voters want term limits. The other 20% it seems are seated in this chamber.”​


Caption contest!

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Not gonna happen. Wouldn’t be prudent…


*** UPDATED x1 - Mendoza, Senger respond *** Madigan: “Better the governor continue sitting on the sidelines and pretend he is ‘not in charge’”

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Madigan…

House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Wednesday:

“As he has done throughout his administration, Governor Rauner chooses to blame others for the challenges facing our state on his watch instead of being the leader he was elected to be. If the governor were as serious about addressing property taxes as he is about scoring cheap political points, he would have come to the table and worked with Democrats to support any of the multiple bills we have advanced to provide property tax relief for middle class families.

“For the good of our state, maybe it’s better the governor continue sitting on the sidelines and pretend he is ‘not in charge.’ That way, serious leaders can continue working to move our state forward, while the governor can continue to ignore his utterly dismal record without accomplishments, and avoid the real discussion about the damage he has inflicted on our state. While he remains on the sidelines, those of us in the Legislature will continue working together in a bipartisan way to ensure our state moves forward.”

I’ll post most other responses on our live coverage post.

*** UPDATE *** Comptroller Mendoza…

We just heard Governor Rauner’s re-election speech. Now he has 14 days to deliver a balanced budget that doesn’t involve pixie dust and magic beans.

I don’t know about ‘turning yesterday into tomorrow,’ but Governor Rauner turned the $5 billion backlog of bills he inherited into a $16.7 billion backlog. He deficit-spent more than any other governor in the history of Illinois - $5 billion a year.

You heard all the applause for his empty promise to propose a balanced budget. The Governor has had three chances to propose a balanced budget. All the objective fact-checkers, Politifact, the Better Government Association, all agree his budgets have been billions of dollars out of balance and his claims to the contrary flat-out lies.

I welcome his call for bipartisan governing. The good news is we do have bi-partisanship. Republican and Democratic legislators came together last year to override the governor’s vetoes on the budget and my Debt Transparency Act. Just before Governor Rauner entered the chamber to deliver his State of the State address, Legislators of both parties came together to override the Governor’s veto of education funding.

Our Debt Transparency Report we released last week showed he ran up $1 billion dollars in late payment interest penalties over the last 2 ½ years. That’s money that will never be spent on educating our children; rebuilding our state; or fixing the pipes at the Quincy Veterans Home where 13 people have died from Legionnaire’s Disease on his watch.
We need to see a balanced budget from him. We need for him to answer these five questions:

    1) How are you going to cover the cost of the $1 billion in late interest penalties you racked up by not paying the state’s bills on time?
    2) What is your plan to pay down the State’s $8.37 billion bill backlog?
    3) How will you account for the $2.3 billion in unappropriated spending by your agencies last year?
    4) How will you account for the $1.7 billion in unrealized revenues and savings from failed initiatives like the sale of the Thompson Center and the Tier III retirement plan?
    5) Can you, for the first time, introduce a balanced gimmick-free budget that doesn’t call for pixie dust and magic beans?

Mendoza’s Republican opponent Darlene Senger…

“I applaud the Governor’s call for common-sense, bipartisan solutions that can deliver real property tax relief for Illinois families starting with reforming the broken and corrupt property tax assessment system. For too long, this system has benefited the insiders and connected while punishing hard-working families who only lack clout.

“The time is now for those, like Speaker Madigan and Comptroller Mendoza, who continue to defend and benefit from this broken system to either support reform — or get out of the way.”


Question of the day

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ll be on Public Television and Public Radio before and after today’s State of the State. Check your local listings. Use this as an open thread on the address.


Illinois ranked 31st

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Politico Magazine

Nearly 100 years ago now, the legendary gadfly H.L. Mencken, in his capacity as editor of the American Mercury, teamed with co-editor Charles Angoff to produce a wholly unscientific—but anecdotally recognizable—ranking of the 50 states. They used census data, primarily, to produce an index that ordered the states by their achievements (or lack thereof) in wealth, health and public safety. In that spirit, POLITICO Magazine is continuing our tradition of combining 14 metrics, based on data from the Census Bureau, other government agencies and nonprofits, to produce our own power rankings of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Illinois ranked 31st, ahead of Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky. Wisconsin was 10th. Minnesota ranked 2nd.

* Meanwhile, Eric Zorn asked Gov. Rauner a blunt question this week “Are you an even more miserable failure on jobs than Pat Quinn?” Here’s his column

During a televised debate in October 2014, then-candidate Bruce Rauner said that his opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, was “a miserable failure on jobs. Illinois is one of the lowest job-creating states in America. He’s a failure, I’ll get results.”

Ah, but he did not get results. […]

Job growth in Illinois, which in the last three years of the Quinn administration was 3.57 percent — compared with a 5.31 percent national job-growth rate over the same time — has fallen in the first three years of the Rauner administration to 2.29 percent, about half the 4.82 percent national job-growth rate.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show job growth in Illinois under Rauner has been lower than job growth in the neighboring states of Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Illinois Working Together, a pro-labor coalition partial to Democrats, points out that if employment growth under Rauner had just continued at Quinn’s rate, we’d have 75,000 more jobs now in Illinois. And if we’d simply continued creating jobs at two-thirds the national rate, we’d have nearly 56,000 more jobs than we do now.

* Also…


Does Madigan & Getzendanner have a Palm Beach branch?

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Asking for some friends

In another indication that the world’s most powerful politician has few qualms about battling local public officials, President Donald Trump again has sued the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser over the valuation of his Trump National Golf Club.

The suit marks the fifth year in a row that Trump has disputed the property tax bill for the 131-acre course along Donald Ross Road. Even as he fights the county’s $19.7 million estimate, Trump’s financial disclosures in 2016 and 2017 list the value of Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter as “over $50 million.”

Based on the property appraiser’s valuation, the Palm Beach County Tax Collector sent Trump a bill for $398,315. Trump responded with a lawsuit — and a wire transfer for $296,595.01, which his Tampa-based attorney described as “a good faith estimate” of the sum Trump really owes.

While Trump’s three-page suit doesn’t say how much he thinks the course should be worth, Jupiter Golf Club pays property taxes at a rate of 2 percent. So by claiming he was overcharged by $101,720, Trump asserts that the property is worth $15 million, and that the appraiser overvalued the course by more than $5 million.

Indignant joint Rauner/Kennedy press release and Tribune editorial in 3… 2… Oh, nevermind.


Democratic candidates talk Blagojevich, Trump voters

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller


From his jail cell in Englewood, Colorado, former Gov. Rod Blagojevich cast a huge shadow over Democratic front-runner J.B. Pritzker in the only primary debate to feature all six of the Democrats running for governor in 2018.

Pritzker says there was nothing sinister or illegal about the wiretapped phone call he made to Blagojevich about a job nine years ago.

The long-forgotten phone call, one of many recorded in late 2008 as federal agents closed in on Blagojevich, resurfaced with a sinister spin earlier this month as an attack ad aired by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign.

Pritzker argued, during a debate in Carbondale featuring all six of the Democratic candidates for governor, that he was just offering his financial expertise as a public service. But perennial candidate Robert Marshall argued that it makes Pritzker un-electable. Two other candidates, businessman Christopher Kennedy and State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), voiced agreement.

Given the chance to respond, Pritzker said Rauner has done nothing to improve schools or the state’s finances, and said if he wins the nomination, he will “take him out.”

* Tribune

Kennedy, an heir to the iconic Massachusetts political family, declared Pritzker “unelectable in the general election.”

“The truth is, just because you don’t break a law doesn’t mean you’re innocent, and we need to hold our elected officials to a higher standard,” the Kenilworth businessman said. Kennedy contended that Pritzker’s actions made him “the poster child, the data point” of a “Republican strategy” of voter suppression to dissuade general election voters from casting a ballot for a Democrat.

Biss, an Evanston state senator, warned that a potential “blue wave building across the country” in October would occur “except in Illinois” because Democrats would have to “play defense about Rod Blagojevich and FBI recordings.”

“Bruce Rauner is on the ropes. Bruce Rauner is in trouble. Bruce Rauner is a failure. The only way he can win is if he is able to make that kind of attack, of unpopular politicians like Rod Blagojevich and (House Speaker) Mike Madigan,” Biss said. “If J.B. Pritzker didn’t exist, Bruce Rauner would have to invent him. It’s too dangerous. We can’t afford to nominate J.B. Pritzker.”

* They did talk about other stuff, including President Trump’s supporters

“If we don’t restore the American Dream. If we don’t restore upward economic mobility, we’ll elect somebody worse than Donald Trump,” Kennedy said.

Rival candidate Daniel Biss was quick to defend Trump supporters, while saying there must be an end to the politics of division: “Donald Trump is a racist and a bigot,” Biss said. “That doesn’t mean that his supporters are.” […]

Pritzker didn’t back down from his earlier take on the president: “I don’t care what part of the state I’m in. Donald Trump is still a racist, and a xenophobe, and a misogynist and a homophobe. And I’m going to call him that. I don’t care,” he said to applause.

But he also blamed the Democratic Party for not focusing on issues that affect the middle class during the 2016 presidential race — despite being a strong backer of Hillary Clinton.

“They voted for him [Trump] because we Democrats in 2016 didn’t demonstrate that we were standing up for the kitchen table issues, the things that really matter to middle class families and those striving to get to the middle class,” Pritzker said.

The full debate, shaky camera and all, is here.


Today’s “TimesUp” rationale

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Colleen Smith yesterday…

Hey Rich

Meant to forward you this when I sent it around to LAs and legislators. It’s not really a statement but is our purpose for [Wednesday]. Also if you care to say anything more about it, you can tell your readers that myself, Stephanie Vojas Taylor, and Kim Janas will have black ribbons to distribute throughout the morning that people can pin on if they don’t have black.


* The forwarded message…

On Wednesday, January 31st, we ask that you join us in solidarity by wearing black at the Capitol.

The issues of sexism and harassment are rampant across our country, and the statehouse is no stranger to these stories. Women still remain the minority in leadership positions in the General Assembly, across lobbying firms, agencies, and a variety of associations. Times up on working in an environment that fails to provide women with the opportunity to let their voices be heard equally. Times up on harassment, assault, inappropriate behaviors, and being told to work around this.

Certainly, there is more that needs to be done to address systemic challenges to general inequality. Those participating in the taskforces and womens’ caucus are among those leading the charge for change. We must continue to work towards greater equality by tearing down barriers and addressing the challenges that women, and especially women of color, face.

I hope that you will join us.

Thank you,
Colleen Smith

Some commenters saw this the other day as some sort of protest against Gov. Rauner or his State of the State. It’s nothing of the kind.

* From Rep. Williams…

There’s no cheering allowed in the press box, so I’ve been leaning against wearing black today. Your thoughts?


*** UPDATED x6 - Garber resigns - Mendoza, Raoul, Ives, Clayborne, McSweeney demand removal *** Rauner appointee/supporter in hot water over social media comments

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Bernie and I apparently got the same info from an anonymous source yesterday

The chairman of the Illinois Lottery Control Board used a disparaging term to describe East St. Louis following the recent controversy over allegations that President Donald Trump used profanity when talking about African nations.

Blair Garber of Evanston, who is also a member of the Republican State Central Committee, tweeted on Jan. 17 about the issue that arose from a White House meeting on Jan. 11. […]

The Lottery Control Board advises the lottery superintendent regarding operations, conducts hearings concerning complaints or violations and establishes advertising policy. Garber was appointed to the board in May 2016 by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and the Senate confirmed the appointment unanimously that month. The appointment letter said the post pays expenses, but comptroller’s records don’t show any payments to Garber for his service.

Garber represents the 9th Congressional District on the GOP State Central Committee. That district includes Rauner’s Winnetka home.

* The tweet in question, edited slightly by me…

* The governor’s office gave Bernie and me the same response…

There is no place for this kind of language in our political discourse.

* Ah, but there’s more, and I shared it with the Rauner administration as well. This one has since been deleted

* And from his Facebook page, with a slight edit by me…

* Garber was also bragging about how well he knows the governor on Facebook this week during an online spat

* Indeed, Garber’s Evanston Township GOP recently endorsed Rauner in the Republican primary and sent out this press release…

In advance of the March 20th Republican Primary, the Evanston Township Republican Organization announced its endorsements across the ticket. “We’re proud to support such an outstanding slate of Republican candidates who will push hard for conservative principles on behalf of Illinoisans,” said Evanston Township GOP Committeeman Blair Garber.

Committeeman Garber added, “Illinoisans agree that Mike Madigan’s reign of terror must come to an end. We need candidates who will stand up to the Madigan Machine and politics as usual. These men and women will be effective and tough citizen legislators. It’s high time we had some leaders with a backbone in Springfield.”

* From today’s Daily Northwestern

Rauner passed HB40, which ensured access to legal and safe abortions in Illinois should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its ruling in Roe v. Wade. It also repealed provisions that limit health care options for women who receive coverage under Medicaid and in-state worker health plans. […]

Garber said he feels the bill created a lot of turmoil because Madigan designed it to do so. He added that Madigan chose to put forth the bill at a time that would “manipulate pro-life voters in Illinois.” […]

“If Bruce is not (reelected), then the state will be in complete Democratic control,” he said. “We will lose all the donors. We will lose all the financing. … That’ll be the end of it. Illinois will be a one-party state run by Democrats.”

* From one of Dan Proft’s newspapers

Garber is a staunch ally of Governor Bruce Rauner of Winnetka. He is one of a handful of township committeemen who has endorsed Rauner in the March 20 GOP primary, in which he is squaring off with State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton).

Rauner appointed Garber to the Illinois Lottery Control Board in May 2016.

Garber also serves as the representative from the 9th U.S. Congressional District to the Illinois Republican State Central Committee. Rauner lives in the 9th Congressional District.

Durbin graduated from East St. Louis Assumption High School in 1962.

East St. Louis then had more than 80,000 population and was 55 percent white and 45 percent black. In 2016, the U.S. Census reported it had just under 27,000 population, 98 percent black currently.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Rep. Dave McSweeney, who is supporting Rep. Jeanne Ives’ candidacy…

Governor Rauner should immediately fire Blair Garber, his handpicked Chairman of the Lottery Control Board. Garber is also a top Rauner political operative. In addition to firing Garber, the Governor should immediately apologize to the citizens of East St. Louis and all Illinois citizens for the disgusting comments made by his political appointee.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Sen. Clayborne…

The Chair of the Illinois Lottery Control Board is under fire for comments he made about East St. Louis earlier this month. Evanston resident Blair Garber used the same disgusting remarks used by President Trump to describe third world countries to describe East St. Louis in a tweet.

Garber was appointed by Governor Bruce Rauner to the board that oversees the state lottery in May of 2016.

State Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr. (D-Belleville) represents East St. Louis in the Illinois Senate and is calling on the governor to ask for Garber’s resignation from the board.

“For someone who claims to love the entire state, Governor Rauner seems to surround himself with people who care little for communities besides their own,” the Senate’s Majority Leader said. “If the governor does not ask for Mr. Garber’s resignation then I think it is obvious how the governor feels about places like East St. Louis.”

Clayborne says the comments made by Garber are insulting to the many East St. Louisans who have made great contributions to Illinois and the United States.

“When you make comments like that, you disparage the legacies and accomplishments of people like jazz legend Miles Davis, Senator Dick Durbin, Congressman Jerry Costello, Poet Laureate Eugene Redmond, Major General Marcia Anderson, Olympic gold medalists Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Al Joyner, United Nations Ambassador Donald McHenry, United States Ambassador to Morocco Dwight L. Bush and the thousands of unsung heroes who have called East St. Louis home.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** Rep. Jeanne Ives…

“It’s a disgusting remark. Those kinds of statements from a person in a position of service to the State of Illinois cannot be tolerated. There are a lot of families and a lot of communities struggling in Illinois because of terrible public policy choices made by ruling class politicians in both parties, including Gov. Rauner. The people suffering under the rule of craven, career politicians don’t deserve to be ridiculed, the craven, career politicians do.

“Rauner will have to decide if his loyalties lie with people supporting him politically or the people he was elected to serve.

“Rauner should immediately remove Blair Garber from the Lottery Control Board.”

*** UPDATE 4 *** Sen. Kwame Raoul’s campaign…

Sen. Raoul is calling for the resignation of the chairman of the Illinois Lottery Control Board after he called the city of East St. Louis “the sh*thole of the universe.”

“Today, I’m calling on Blair Garber to resign since Gov. Rauner refuses to publicly do so. Whether hateful comments come from President Trump or Gov. Rauner’s handpicked lottery chief, Governor Rauner continues to describe the tone of hateful rhetoric instead of declaring that these individuals are unfit to serve.

Last night, I was in Washington D.C. for the State of the Union Address to stand up on behalf of those who often don’t have a voice. As Attorney General, I’ll be right here in the trenches and will be the voice of the voiceless. To the people of East St. Louis: I’ve got your back,” Raoul said.

Democrats from across the Metro East are formally endorsing State Senator Kwame Raoul’s candidacy for Attorney General.

“We’re pleased to offer our support for Sen. Kwame Raoul’s campaign to be this state’s next Attorney General. Kwame has taken the time to listen to voters from across the Metro East and downstate Illinois. He knows we need a fighter and we know we can depend on him,” said St. Clair County Democratic Central Committee Chair Bob Sprague.

“I’ve been in the trenches with Kwame and I can tell you that he’s tough and has what it takes to be the people’s attorney. He’s the only candidate in this race who has stood toe to toe with Bruce Rauner and won. He’s been my partner in protecting Illinois workers from Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda and now I want him to be the Metro East’s partner in the attorney general’s office,” Rep. Jay Hoffman added.

Raoul has previously been endorsed by Sen. Bill Haine of Alton and Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill along with the Madison County Democrats.

*** UPDATE 5 *** Comptroller Mendoza…

East St. Louis struggles with many challenges, including neglect from the Governor’s office. Governor Rauner should stand up for the people of East St. Louis by immediately rescinding the appointment of his Lottery Control Board Chairman, Republican State Committeeman Blair Garber. Governor Rauner and his hand-picked appointee should both apologize to the people of East St. Louis and the victims of Garber’s other racist and bigoted statements. How about a plan from the Governor to jump-start East St. Louis’ economy?

*** UPDATE 6 *** From the governor’s press office…

Mr. Garber has apologized for his comments and is resigning from the Illinois Lottery Control Board effective immediately.


Rauner, interrupting

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Gov. Rauner asked Rep. Ives several times to not interrupt him during the Tribune editorial board forum this week. For instance…

“Please, Representative, you’re interrupting. Thank you. I’m respectful of you, I’d appreciate some respect in return.”

* But as this fun little video shows, the governor also constantly interrupted Ives


* And speaking of the Tribune forum, Pritzker has a new digital ad…

Today, the JB Pritzker campaign released a new, statewide digital ad slamming Bruce Rauner in the words of his primary opponent, Jeanne Ives.

Ives “crushed” Rauner’s failed record at a meeting with the Chicago Tribune editorial board, demonstrating exactly why this failed governor refuses to take responsibility for his mismanagement of the state. The significant digital buy will target voters who need to hear about Rauner’s real record and make sure they see a member of Rauner’s own party calling out his failures.

“Bruce Rauner’s disastrous performance in front of the Chicago Tribune demonstrates exactly why this failed governor is running scared: even by his own metrics he has failed this state,” said Pritzker communications director Galia Slayen. “Rauner can’t defend his record, can’t present any accomplishments, and is getting taken to task by his own party for refusing to take charge as Illinois families pay the price.”

* The spot

…Adding… Oof…


*** UPDATED x1 - Biss responds *** Poll: Biss climbs into second place, Pritzker loses ground, Kennedy drops to third

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

A new We Ask America poll shows Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Daniel Biss climbing into second place past Chris Kennedy in a crowded field of governor hopefuls. At the same time, frontrunner J.B. Pritzker’s lead has diminished to a level where this may soon turn into a much more interesting race.

Here are the latest results from our poll conducted Jan. 29-30, 2018 (811 responses; Margin of Error ±3.44%

I’ve already gone over this poll with subscribers today, so we’ll stick mainly to WAA’s release…

* Back to the pollster…

Biss’ improvement puts him within striking distance in the Democrat-rich environments of Chicago and Suburban Cook. He falters elsewhere–especially downstate:

Click the pics for larger images…

* Pollster…

Kennedy’s inherent name recognition is keeping him in the game, but Biss’ rise seems to put the State Senator from Evanston into a solid second position. Pritkzer’s superior resources still make him the favorite, but the race is tightening up and may prove to ultimately be closer than once believed.

Click HERE to download the poll.

* Some early react…

I’ll post other responses as they come in.

*** UPDATE *** Biss campaign…

“The We Ask America poll confirms what we already knew,” said Abby Witt, Campaign Manager, Biss for Illinois. “Voters understand the choice in this primary: a middle-class candidate with a progressive record and bold vision for Illinois’ future, or a billionaire businessman who’s now promising to fix the same broken systems he’s benefited from. We’re excited to continue growing Team Biss, and to build a state that works for the rest of us.”


*** UPDATED x1 - Small buy *** Rate Londrigan’s first TV ad

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Press release…

Today, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Democratic candidate for Illinois’ 13th Congressional District released her first television message to voters. Focusing on her family’s experience of nearly losing her son to a rare illness, the spot, titled “Jack,” highlights the importance of fighting to protect health care from President Trump’s and Rep. [Rodney] Davis’ misguided plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“The contrast between my priorities and the Trump/Davis agenda could not be more stark. I believe that health care is a right, not a privilege. No family should risk losing a loved one, or everything they’ve worked towards because of one medical emergency. I know firsthand how critical it is to have access to quality, affordable health care. I look forward to being a representative that stands up to President Trump and for the middle class here in central Illinois,” stated Dirksen Londrigan.

Betsy and her family have been a part of the fabric of the community for generations and her candidacy has been endorsed by Sen. Dick Durbin, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, EMILY’s List amongst others.

* The ad

* Transcript…

When our son Jack was 12, a rare infection almost took his life. After intensive care for 21 days and receiving last rites twice, Jack pulled through. Donald Trump’s health care plan would’ve bankrupted us, because it allows insurance companies to cut off families with sick kids. That’s not right. Donald Trump is dangerous. And it’s time we had a Congress that will stand up to him. I’m Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and I approve this message, because middle class families can’t afford Donald Trump.

*** UPDATE *** Small buy…


Rauner expected to call for bipartisanship, slam Madigan in State of the State address

Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Sun-Times: “Rauner to call for end to ‘partisan sniping’ in State of State speech”

Gov. Bruce Rauner plans to talk of “bringing Illinois back” by focusing on economic development — while also chiding “partisan sniping” Wednesday in his State of the State address.

The governor’s final speech of what he hopes to be a first of two terms will center on reforming the state, which the Republican governor believes can be done with bipartisan effort, according to a source familiar with the speech.

Rauner will ask legislators to “roll up their sleeves” and work together to focus on economic development, while cutting the regulatory red tape and improving the job climate in Illinois. He’ll also talk of the need to cut state spending and roll back taxes. With less spending, the state’s capital can grow and produce more jobs, he’s expected to say.

He’ll also likely focus on an issue he’s blasted for some time, corruption in the state’s property tax assessment system. That issue has come to the forefront of his re-election campaign, as he seeks to target Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker and continue his efforts against Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan.

* Tribune: “Rauner to issue bipartisan call in Wednesday speech after ripping Madigan”

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday plans to issue a bipartisan call to lawmakers to work together to cut spending, roll back a tax hike and bring in more jobs, two days after calling Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan “a crook” during a campaign forum.

The theme of the governor’s noon State of the State speech is “Bringing Illinois Back,” a source familiar with his remarks said. It’s a recycled concept he’s long championed on the campaign trail and is resurrecting as he asks voters for four more years in office.

Rauner will advocate for “rolling up our sleeves and working together” to spur economic development, the source said. The governor also will argue that cutting regulations, spending and taxes will help businesses grow and lead to an “in-migration of talented people into our economy.” […]

While he will call for bipartisanship, Rauner also will take aim at Madigan, his chief nemesis at the Capitol who is chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois.

* Greg Hinz: “One guess who Rauner is blaming for the state of the state”

According to a source familiar with the speech, which will be delivered at noon tomorrow in Springfield, the biggest news will be a call to pass legislation to prevent lawmakers from working on the side as property tax appeals lawyers. That’s aimed both at Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton, who are principals in law firms that do such work.

Rauner’s call will echo that of one of the Democrats running against him, Chris Kennedy. Rauner previously has strongly criticized the side work, saying it leads to a “corrupt” system in which top lawmakers are more interested in taking care of their business than helping the public by reducing property taxes.

The governor also reportedly again will call for legislative term limits, a concept he frequently has pushed over the past four years but one which has made no progress, with Democrats saying Republicans are just trying to win seats they can’t capture at the ballot box.


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Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

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