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Cosgrove defends Pritzker nod: “Beware of those who refuse to learn from history”

Friday, Jan 26, 2018

* Yesterday, we discussed some of the objections to Personal PAC’s endorsement of JB Pritzker for governor, even though he isn’t the only pro-choice candidate. Here’s Terry Cosgrove’s full explanation about why his organization is backing Pritzker…

Who Will Defeat Governor Rauner?

The Personal PAC Board voted to endorse JB Pritzker after fully considering the qualifications of all of the candidates and conducting in-depth interviews of Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy and JB Pritzker. Despite claims by their supporters to the contrary, none of these candidates is without flaws. That is to be expected from loyal partisans, passionate supporters and close friends of each candidate.

Governor Rauner lacks the capacity to tell the truth and does not hesitate to take inconsistent positions on the same issue at any given time. The only way to fully protect the reproductive rights of all women in Illinois for the next decade is to defeat Bruce Rauner on November 6, 2018. Within hours of the polls closing on March 20, the Rauner team will unleash a non-stop torrent of television, radio, direct mail and social media ads that will cost upwards of $250 million on a 7+ month nonstop assault on the winner of the Democratic primary.

Because Rauner has accomplished little to nothing over the past 4 years, his ads will be negative, untruthful and predictable: Biss voted for Speaker Madigan and ran his Super PAC; Kennedy sought Speaker Madigan’s endorsement at some point; Pritzker is secretly Speaker Madigan’s candidate; and all three have ties to the evil Cook County Democratic party. Wash. Rinse. Spin. Repeat.

Beware of those who refuse to learn from history. After the 2006 primary election, then severely wounded and endangered incumbent Governor Rod Blagojevich found himself facing Judy Baar Topinka, one of the most popular and admired officials from one end of Illinois to the other among Independents, Democrats and Republicans. The Blagojevich campaign was smartly flush with money and Topinka was broke after the primary, leaving the Blagojevich campaign to immediately launch a brilliant non-stop campaign of “Judy Baar Topinka: What’s She Thinking?” ads. With no money, Topinka never had a chance to recover from or respond to those ads and this highly respected candidate was trounced by Blagovich’s team in the November election.

The Rauner campaign will be the 2006 Blagojevich campaign on steroids, regardless of who wins the 2018 Democratic primary on March 20. Given the near unanimous agreement among Democrats and progressive independents that Rauner must be defeated and the few significant policy differences among the Democratic nominees, including support for reproductive rights, the critical question is which Democrat is in the best position to defeat Bruce Rauner.

I completely reject the most common arguments about this race, which are 1) Rauner can’t possibly win (think Donald Trump); 2) Democrats won’t be united around any one candidate (see none are without flaws above); 3) Money shouldn’t matter and is evil (think Rauner’s $250 million, Citizen’s United is the law of the land in 2018 no matter how much anyone hates it). It is quite possible that, despite being incredibly unpopular, Governor Rauner could win a second term. Democrats must be united behind their nominee and money does matter a great deal.

As I frequently tell people, don’t expect me to show-up to a proverbial knife fight against anti-choice activists with my left leg in a cast, my right arm tied behind my back, holding a toothpick, and expect me to win for pro-choice candidates. It’s-not-happening! We have to show up on a level playing field and play by the rules, whether we like the rules or not. Complaining about the rules in the middle of an election is like showing up for a rugby game and complaining about the rules and the players on your team, saying “if only the players and rules were different, I could win this match.” The same is true in politics. If you are going to sign-up to compete as a candidate or supporter of a candidate, know the rules and accept them. It’s called reality. Think passing HB 40, thank you.

I firmly believe JB Pritzker is the very last person Rauner wants to face in November, as only JB can go toe-to-toe with Rauner hours after the polls close on March 20 through the November 6 general election. Why would Rauner spend millions and millions of dollars before the Democratic primary attacking Pritzker instead of his Republican challenger? Rauner will immediately bury Biss or Kennedy in an avalanche of social media, radio and tv ads starting at 5 a.m. on Wed. March 21, from which they will never recover a la Blago/Topinka 2006. Instead, at that same time on March 21, Pritzker’s team will be up with their onslaught of ads against Rauner that will never cease until November 6, even as Rauner spends $250 million to survive. Pritzker will not be outdone, outsmarted, outspent or intimidated by Rauner. Pritzker is building the deepest statewide campaign apparatus I have ever seen by a gubernatorial candidate whose organizers are embedding themselves in local communities in 25+ field offices with over 100 full-time staff from Rockford to Carbondale, in Cook County and the Collar counties. Pritzker social media platforms are diverse and massive. His paid television and radio is superb with high rotation statewide, along with his direct mail campaign, making a huge impact in every corner of the state. And it is only January. No other candidate has travelled to and spent more time in as many counties as Pritzker has in this campaign. Pritzker is the only candidate in the Democratic primary that is doing more to unite the Democrats than divide them. That demonstrates strong leadership.

JB Pritzker’s commitment to progressive values and reproductive freedom is lifelong. He marched with us in the 1993 Washington, D.C. National March for Abortion Rights and was one of the earliest allies of LGBTQ rights in Chicago decades ago, long before it was “mainstream” and comfortable for most other people to do so openly.

In addition to Personal PAC believing JB Pritzker is the best candidate to defeat Rauner, a broad range of diverse organizations and individuals across Illinois have endorsed only his candidacy, including nearly every labor union that has made an endorsement to date, Citizen Action, Democratic County Chairs’ Association, Illinois Education Association (IEA), Illinois AFL-CIO, Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), United Mine Workers, United Steelworkers District 7, U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, U.S. Reps. Mike Quigley. Cheri Bustos and Luis Gutierrez, State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, Comptroller Susana Mendoza, Secretary of State Jess White, HB 40 Senate sponsor Heather Steans, HB 40 House sponsor Sara Feigenholtz, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle City Clerk Anna Valencia along with dozens of other State Senators and State Representatives, Alderpeople and Cook County elected officials. All of us united behind JB Pritzker to defeat Bruce Rauner.

We cannot allow Rauner to be re-elected. I firmly believe JB Pritzker is the best candidate to prevent that from happening on November 6, 2018.

Terry could very well be right about Rod and JBT and how that could repeat itself in the spring. But I’d rise to make a point of historical order here: Cosgrove helped Blagojevich by repeatedly attacking Topinka for not being pro-choice, even though she was. She just wasn’t pro-choice enough for Personal PAC.

Anyway, your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:04 pm:


    I am Pro-life and with vote against Rauner

    She is very offensive

  2. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:05 pm:

    Will not with

  3. - Fixer - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:09 pm:

    I think that’s probably one of the better endorsement speeches from the primary round this year.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===Who Will Defeat Governor Rauner?===

    That’s the whole ball game. Defeating Rauner in the end.

    Rauner also says he is a supporter of pro-life candidates.

    Remo said it best…

    “Why take a chance?”

    Because… Who Will Defeat Governor Rauner?

  5. - Moe Berg - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    An extremely pragmatic distillation of the case for Pritzker. Biss’ extraordinary vanity (which he sort of tries to cover up with a phony earnest “I’m just a math guy” shtick) and Kennedy’s massive sense of entitlement keep them from accepting that Cosgrove has it right. A Biss or Kennedy victory would be a Pyrrhic one for the Democratic Party.

  6. - Real - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    I agree 100% with Cosgrove.

  7. - Frankly - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:26 pm:

    This business of using parade attendance to show sufficient commitment to a cause to merit the governor’s office is just bizarre.

  8. - PJ - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:27 pm:

    I’ve worked with Terry. I like Terry a lot. But it’s extremely disingenuous to pretend this is just like 2006. You know what else JBT had going against her? Running as a Republican in a solidly Democratic state.

    This is shaping up to be a Democratic wave election in a state that the President lost by 17 points. That fact alone makes Republican Rauner more vulnerable than Democrat Rod ever was.

    And speaking of Rod, only one of the candidates in this election is on tape with Rod talking political favors. Money can paper over a lot of holes, but the dual notions that 1. only JB can beat Rauner and 2. his money will fix everything are deeply flawed. They also ignore the fact that young Illinois Democrats were pretty heavily pro-Bernie in 2016. The Democratic wave might make it irrelevant, but good luck building an energetic cadre of progressives willing to volunteer for a billionaire businessman in the year where everyone wants to vote against our billionaire businessman in the White House.

  9. - Lunchbox - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:37 pm:

    PJ hit the nail on the head.

  10. - Dude Abides - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    I pretty much agree. Rauner will saturate the airwaves with negative ads. He will do that because they work with the inattentive voter of which there are many. Pritzger has the money to match Rauner blow for blow and has already shown that he can put together the statewide apparatus to win. Rauner is already attacking Pritzker because he knows it too.

  11. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:45 pm:

    Cosgrove makes his own rules. And then prepares his own answers for candidates who either refuse to answer his loaded questions or partially answer them. And then claims he is principled.

    Nonsense. I know there are folks here who adore him, but I’m not one.

    If he didn’t/doesn’t like Rauner’s donations, he should refund them. If he doesn’t trust Rauner, he should refund all of his and Diana’s donations.

    That’s how principled individuals act.

  12. - Shytown - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    If there’s anything Terry is known for, it’s winning. He takes the long view and is pragmatic. He’s just being honest here. The truth might hurt for some.

  13. - Some Anonymous Dude (S.A.D.) - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:46 pm:

    no much for signing HB 40.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    ===If he didn’t/doesn’t like Rauner’s donations, he should refund them. If he doesn’t trust Rauner, he should refund all of his and Diana’s donations.

    That’s how principled individuals act===

    Are you claiming Rauner bought the endorsement but got double crossed?

    ===Cosgrove makes his own rules. And then prepares his own answers for candidates who either refuse to answer his loaded questions or partially answer them. And then claims he is principled.===

    That’s what it sounds like. You think Rauner got double crossed…

    “We answered as you wanted, Bruce signed HB40, Diana donated so much money… “

    Just say Diana and Bruce thought they bought an endorsement but…

    Use your words, Counselor.

  15. - dbk - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:50 pm:

    Not a lot of idealism in her statement, but then, it’s Illinois politics, where idealism isn’t exactly overflowing.

    You don’t get the politicians you dream of, you get the politicians you get.

    Bernie’s not running for guv, and JB has an excellent media team, statewide organization, plenty of policy people, and the money to beat BVR. Which as she said, should be the Dems’ goal.

    That’s just how it is.

  16. - Soapbox Derby - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:51 pm:

    Terry Cosgrove is just another sellout to JB’s money.

    He’s not principled, he’s bought and paid for.

  17. - Cosgrove - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    Rich, I never claimed that Personal PAC supported Topinka and you are right that she was not pro-choice enough as she voted pro-choice about ½ the time, so you could say she was ½ anti-choice. I was just trying to point out, despite my views on her choice record, the fact is that she was wildly popular among all partisans and nonpartisans, admired, a great retail politician and she went down in flames against the money and brilliance of the 2006 Blagojevich campaign. And it is a great history lesson that should not be forgotten.

  18. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 1:59 pm:

    If this is 2006, then Biss is the smart pick. Biss has no real opposition research against him (math papers that no one understands aside). Pritzker, not so much. Let Rauner plow his millions into trashing Biss, and see the ROI on that.

  19. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:00 pm:

    @Oswego Willy, take a deep breath. Principled individuals and organizations refund money all the time.

    “She just wasn’t pro-choice enough for Personal PAC.”

    Truth to power to that statement.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    “Diana says she wants her money back”

    Is that his it goes - Louis G Atsaves -

    You’d think if Diana and Bruce are such staunch supporters, the money wouldn’t matter.

    But, you brought up that money.

    So, you feel they bought an endorsement and got double crossed. Bruce fill out our a questionnaire and signed HB40 and got double crossed…

    … and you’re worried about the money and no endorsement…

    That doesn’t sound too principled, LOL

  21. - West Wing - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:06 pm:

    Cosgrove is a sell out. He’s right - it’s all about defeating Rauner. But his entire narrative is flawed. He’s a sell out to the billionaire who’s on FBI recordings with Blagoejvich which sinks Pritzker in the Fall. Period. End. of. Story.

  22. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:10 pm:

    ===He’s a sell out to the billionaire who’s on FBI recordings with Blagoejvich which sinks Pritzker in the Fall. Period===

    … running against a sitting Republican governor, considered the worst Republican governor in America, polling at 30/55 approval-disapproval, in Trump’s midterm.

    Lots of story to be told.

    Rod had tailwinds… Rauner will not.

  23. - Urban Girl - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:11 pm:

    If this is about Pritzker’s ability to match or out spend Rauner on money, then will Personal PAC not spend any of its money to support the Pritzker campaign? More importantly, will they spend money to help Pritzker in a primary against 100% pro choice candidates that they have supported in the past?

  24. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    === I never claimed that Personal PAC supported Topinka===

    I never said you did. I just wanted to point something out.

  25. - Lucky Pierre - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:12 pm:

    Like a stopped watch, I probably agree with Eric Zorn twice a day

    “Terry Cosgove’s tactics are misleading and disreputable.”

  26. - Skeptic - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:16 pm:

    How many of you ragging on Pritzker held your nose and voted for Trump?

  27. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:17 pm:

    - Lucky Pierre -

    Why would it matter?

    Rauner wanted the endorsement?

    Rauner himself boldly claimed he has donated and supports pro-life candidates…

    If that’s true, that’s really against the whole “I’m pro-choice” thinking.

  28. - ILDemVoter - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:19 pm:

    –Because Rauner has accomplished little to nothing over the past 4 years, his ads will be negative, untruthful and predictable: Biss voted for Speaker Madigan and ran his Super PAC; Kennedy sought Speaker Madigan’s endorsement at some point; Pritzker is secretly Speaker Madigan’s candidate; and all three have ties to the evil Cook County Democratic party. Wash. Rinse. Spin. Repeat.—

    Since its so predictable, why not prepare for these attacks in advance, by following the lead of Planned Parenthood and endorsing all the pro-choice candidates to be prepared for whoever wins? Also @dbk…if competent staff, money and endorsements is all if took to win, wouldn’t HRC be President right now?

  29. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    vote Rauner out in March during primary. if he looses he is lame duck governor till after the November elections

  30. - jake - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:35 pm:

    I have nothing substantive to add to the conversation, but count me as a vote of disgust for Cosgrove. He is just taking us farther down the road of being an oligarchy. I am totally pro-choice and my wife and I have been supportive of PersonalPac in the past, but we won’t be again for a long time.

  31. - AndyIllini - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:45 pm:

    I understand that you can’t take anything for granted, still have to do the work, play the game, etc. But there’s no way Rauner wins reelection. This would have to be a Republican wave year nationally for it to be close and obviously it’s not going to be that. He’ll certainly make a big spectacle of the whole thing, but he’s not going to win and it doesn’t matter who he’s running against.

  32. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:46 pm:

    ===and it doesn’t matter who he’s running against===


  33. - Sniffles - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:48 pm:

    My Danny wants to win by whining about billionaires. I think Cosgrove makes the case for why we need someone who can match the Rauner/Griffen money train.

  34. - Thomas Stepp - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 2:55 pm:

    I honestly think JB would fare the worst against Rauner. His cheap responses to the recent Rauner ad campaign really demonstrates that.

  35. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 3:00 pm:

    Long game vs short game, Terry seems to be one of the few to actually say it out loud.

  36. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 3:15 pm:

    ==How many of you ragging on Pritzker held your nose and voted for Trump?==

    Skeptic, probably not many. Most of this is coming from the regular Kennedy supporters, like west wing (who I suspect is the same person that used to post under the handle prairiestatedem) and a couple of Biss regulars.

    ==If this is about Pritzker’s ability to match or out spend Rauner on money, then will Personal PAC not spend any of its money to support the Pritzker campaign? ==

    UrbanGirl, they won’t have to - they’ll be able to use that money instead on state/federal legislative candidates. That’s the whole point. Same with the IL Dem party, heck even the same for the DGA - they can spend money in other states where dems are at their usual financial disadvantage.

  37. - Precinct Captain - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    For anyone interested, the “Friends of Blagojevich” YouTube is full of negative gems

  38. - E Pluribus Unum - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 3:35 pm:

    “Cosgrove helped Blagojevich by repeatedly attacking Topinka for not being pro-choice, even though she was. She just wasn’t pro-choice enough for Personal PAC.”

    Cosgrove’s record is clear and the Personal PAC Board should fire him for the damage he does to the pro-choice movement. He makes up an argument as to why he went with one candidate over the other and then he just does it. It’s really that simple. Funny because candidates have to be 100% on his questionnaire or they get “Cosgroved” unless he needs to find another way to get around the 100% rule. It’s all relative with him. Like Trump, Cosgrove justifies his actions relative to his own ever shifting moral compass.

  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 3:45 pm:

    ===Personal PAC Board should fire him for the damage he does to the pro-choice movement===


    Say what you want about the guy, but he runs a hugely successful political action committee. He wins races.

  40. - DuPage Bard - Friday, Jan 26, 18 @ 4:16 pm:

    Fire him?
    Maybe you don’t understand politics

  41. - EPatt - Monday, Jan 29, 18 @ 9:00 am:

    Great call by Terry Cosgrove. The endorsement confirms JB Pritzker is aligned with Personal PAC’s consistent position that there be no restrictions on a woman’s right to choose abortion anytime during a pregnancy from the 1st through the 3rd trimester. It also indicates you have JB’s assurance his public health care insurance option will cover 100% of abortion costs.

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