Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » “Surging” Kennedy hauls in cash while Biss gets Bushed on CTA question
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“Surging” Kennedy hauls in cash while Biss gets Bushed on CTA question

Friday, Mar 2, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

[Bumped up to Friday for visibility.]

* This is interesting…

“Our surging poll numbers have been helpful,” texted a Kennedy type. “Look out, JB.”

The Biss campaign has pulled in $104,582 since Sunday.

* Meanwhile, WBEZ’s Dave McKinney asked each of the Democratic candidates a question at tonight’s debate about the price of various things. “This campaign has been framed as a battle for the heart of middle and low-income voters,” McKinney said. “We’re going to do a simple test to see how connected each of you is to average Illinoisans.”

That immediately brought me back to the 1992 debate when President George HW Bush couldn’t cite a price for a gallon of milk. That haunted him the rest of the campaign.

I’m not much of a fan of these questions, but, hey, it wasn’t my debate. Free country.

Chris Kennedy was asked about the price of a haircut. He said he pays $40, which for downtown Chicago and/or his home town of Kenilworth is not out of line.

* But then Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Middle Class) was asked about the price of a monthly CTA pass. Biss said $35. It’s actually $105. Oops.

The CTA has Purple Line service to Sen. Biss’ hometown of Evanston, so I suppose the question was fair, if you think this line of questioning is fair, that is. Either way, this was a made for Twitter moment for the candidate who says he lives like everyday people…

And, etc.

* Biss seemed to be thinking out loud while he was trying to come up with an answer to McKinney’s question. He said his monthly Metra pass “comes pretty close to $50 a month” and then appeared to kinda guess at the CTA monthly price from there. But Metra’s website lists monthly pass prices as $116 all the way up to $319.

Oops again.

* The Sun-Times’ story has a classic headline: “Biss throws himself under the bus answering gov debate question on expenses”

State Sen. Daniel Biss – who promises to be the “Middle Class Governor” in ads running throughout the state — endured a “The Price is Right” question Wednesday night at a gubernatorial forum in Chicago.

And he didn’t quite pass the test. […]

Biss’ campaign later said the Evanston senator “mixed up” the weekly and monthly pass prices, and was referring to the weekly Metra pass at $55, and the weekly CTA pass at $35.

Still, the answer – heard on public radio — and livestreamed online, had some scratching their heads.

Not to quibble, but according to the CTA’s website, a 7-day CTA pass is actually $28.

* But, hey, Biss had a sense of humor about it…

* Meanwhile, JB Pritzker was asked about childcare costs. He said it was $150 per week on the low end to “probably $400″ on the upper end. That riled Mary Ann Ahern and Kennedy…

* But the Prizker campaign says that range is pretty close for Cook County…

* The Illinois Action for Children report has these annual costs


  1. - My button is broke... - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:45 pm:

    Maybe an interesting question would have been when was the last time you rode public transit.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:46 pm:

    Good on Biss for owning that he missed the CTA question.

    I always like the public transportation question. Governors, mayors, the public transportation question is at the heart of Executive governing.

    Not knowing the cost to ride, and not knowing the cost of running that infrastructure… big misses for me… but here’s the rub, Biss admitted he wiffed, and does ride Metra…

    Glad the question was asked.

  3. - Almost the Weekend - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:46 pm:

    I don’t think this is a fair question.

    He lives and represents Evanston and works in Springfield. You can take the Metra to Chicago too. Making a mountain out of mole hole.

    Kennedy should use this for downstate or make an ad bashing Pritzker for his property tax exemption in Chicago. But then again this just might be paying his consultants. I still can’t believe his expenditures.

  4. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:48 pm:

    - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:46 pm

    Tis I.


  5. - Arsenal - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:52 pm:

    ==He lives and represents Evanston and works in Springfield.==

    Eh, the CTA has a big presence in Evanston, it must be a factor for his constituents. Plus, the whole “middle class Governor” thing.

    ==Good on Biss for owning that he missed the CTA question.==

    Biss sure does have to admit a lot of mistakes.

  6. - Arsenal - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:55 pm:

    BTW, what’s Kennedy’s “surging” poll numbers? From third to maybe tied for second? I bet it’s the Trib endorsement helping some folks open their wallets.

  7. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:56 pm:

    ===I bet it’s the Trib endorsement helping some folks open their wallets. ===

    Um, no.


  8. - Arsenal - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:57 pm:

    ==Um, no.==

    Fair enough, I stand corrected.


    Unlike Kennedy now, I ain’t got the scratch. :)

  9. - Concerned Dem - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 9:58 pm:

    Umm… Mary Ann, I paid $155 per week here in Springfield when my oldest reached her last year before kindergarten, that is the low end (daycare is often on a sliding scale, the higher rate the younger the child is).

  10. - Anonish - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 10:30 pm:

    $8103/52=$155.83 a week
    $260 a week for the bottom bar
    That is some pretty impressive knowledge and recall to have that piece of datum right at finger tips. I still have kids in daycare and would struggle for a couple minutes to figure out the per week rate.

  11. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 1, 18 @ 11:25 pm:

    This debate was kenndedy vs pritzker and biss on sidelines. Very different than last time

  12. - Lil Lebowski Urban Achiever - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 1:12 am:

    This race is becoming fun. Kennedy is light years ahead of where he started this race and is improving every single day on the campaign trail.

    It’s pretty clear that Biss peaked too soon and was too vulnerable to attack (”ummmm… I didn’t really mean pension reform”). If Kennedy keeps raising money he’s in a good place. His ads are by far the most impactful and have been moving numbers, even without a lot of points behind them. And voters are clearly looking for an alternative to JB, and it’s not that hard to see why. It’s pathetic that JB has spent $50 million and has blown this wide open. His is totally unrelateable. (BTW, does JB’s commercials of him in a hard hat remind anyone else of Rauner in Carhartt?).

  13. - Centennial - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 8:16 am:

    We pay $195 a week for daycare. I think JB was pretty spot on.

  14. - LXB - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 8:26 am:

    These are really dumb questions as a category. Why not just ask them all how much they pay for a haircut? That would still be dumb, but would at least be consistent and comparable.

  15. - Cool Papa Bell - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 8:48 am:

    I understand the premise but don’t like the question. I feel your picking out some arbitrary numbers to throw at people. If you don’t ride the CTA, even in Chicago why would you know what a monthly pass costs, if you have a stay at home mom or dad how would you know the cost of childcare.

    About Mary Ann’s response… I sure where Mary Ann lives on a Chicago’s reporters salary her child care costs are in a much different stratosphere than in Blue Island or Cicero.

  16. - The Snowman - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 9:12 am:

    You’re not going to see me defend Pritzker very often…but today I will. Depending on the town you live, you can get 5 days of daycare, where you drop your child off before 8AM and pick them up after 4:30, for $150 a week. Yes, that’s the low end, but it can be found in many places across Illinois.

  17. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 9:57 am:

    Maybe Biss still has a student discount.

  18. - Steve Rogers - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:21 am:

    I kind of agree with Rich. These questions don’t really mean anything, and it’s just an attempt at “gotcha.” Pritzker and Kennedy are so wealthy, the cost of average items to them is probably meaningless. I’m not going to change my vote simply because someone knows or doesn’t know the cost of a gallon of milk. That said, there’s a part of me that would like to hear Rauner’s answer because I’d wager big dollars that Madigan gets the blame for the high cost of fill-in-the-blank.

  19. - Ok - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:25 am:

    $150/week would be less than a $4/hr wage…

    And the math major fails the math test by doing what they always do (missing a decimal point or something …)

  20. - Rich Miller - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:27 am:

    ===$150/week would be less than a $4/hr wage===

    Oh, for crying out loud.

    Not everyone has a personal nanny.

    There are things called group daycare centers. Sheesh.

  21. - Nortorious RBG - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:29 am:

    Maybe the question itself is arbitrary in that it puts people on the spot who currently aren’t paying for childcare, but it’s important to know whether or not the candidates recognize the struggle that middle class families face in finding quality, affordable care for their children.

    Infant care for a child under 15-18 months in a licensed daycare facility in Chicago was $525/week. For a two year old, it was $400/week. There was a 10% discount for the oldest child only — not a 10% discount for both kids. We switched to a nanny at $17/hour because that was cheaper for 2 kids - and we thought we were lucky to find someone for such a low hourly rate. Now in the burbs, our kids are both preschool aged so the prices are lower, and we pay $700/week in a licensed daycare. We found that nannies were even more expensive here than in Chicago.

    The only people I know of in the city that find daycare for $150 week are (1) getting part-time care, (2) using an unlicensed caregiver, or (3) are getting subsidized care. I know nobody in suburban Cook paying such a low amount.

    I know at least 5 of my contemporaries who left their careers - women with advanced degrees, rapidly accelerating at their companies, one who was even promoted while on maternity leave - because the cost of daycare was so significant that they could not financially justify continuing to work, despite their desire to do so.

  22. - City Zen - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:47 am:

    They should’ve asked what’s the cost of one CTA trip. Then we could see if they were aware the rate went up 25 cents this year.

  23. - Anon - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    Sorry, this does matter. Biss’ whole campaign is how he can relate to people because he is middle class.

    For someone who makes such a big deal about how little he makes, how much his house costs, how much a $50 donation is to his campaign, etc., the $120-150 cost of public transportation is a big deal (depending on the type of pass and rail line). If money is so tight, as he constantly alleges, he should know the cost of transit.

    But he doesn’t.

    Meanwhile, the billionaire, who is so out of touch supposedly, knows what everyone in the state is paying for childcare. That means he’s done his homework. He’s researched it and talked to people about it.

    It’s not just a talking point or campaign slogan, like Biss. Jb cares about this stuff and can demonstrate it.

    It’s Biss who is out of touch.

  24. - Techie - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:05 am:

    @Anon at 10:45am

    Biss’ whole campaign, like the others in the race, is that he’s best-suited to be governor. He emphasizes that he is middle-class so that voters know he and his family will end up facing many of the same consequences as other middle-class people. And it’s true - last year his income was only $35,000.

    He is still the only major candidate with experience in government. His track record is actually pretty good, despite the hypocritical JB ads attacking him. The pension deal - JB funded a PAC which supported it. Charter schools? JB has supported them in the past, too.

    Whether or not Biss knows the cost of a CTA pass is beside the point. If he wins the governorship, his time in the state legislature will be a great boon. He has friends, he knows where people stand, and he has passed legislation with Republican support. He understands Madigan needs to go, whereas JB seems to love the guy.

  25. - Ron - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:18 am:

    Depending on the town you live, you can get 5 days of daycare, where you drop your child off before 8AM and pick them up after 4:30, for $150 a week. Yes, that’s the low end, but it can be found in many places across Illinois.”

    Maybe, but not many people live in those places.

  26. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:27 am:

    =The only people I know of in the city that find daycare for $150 week are =

    Chicago isn’t the whole state and, based on what is presented on the blog, the question wasn’t Chicago specific.

    Child care outside of metro Chicago can be found for $150-$400 from home-based daycare providers.

    I like Mary Ann but she needs to realize that what things cost in Chicago are not even reflective of suburban costs much less downstate.

    Chris Kennedy is talking about someone being out of touch? That is precious.

  27. - Anon - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:32 am:

    Techie - what campaign have you been watching? Biss isn’t running on his experience. His ads, his messaging, hisnpolling is all “middle class” and “anti-billionaire.

    He barely mentions his experience because he doesn’t want to highlight his pension bill, fracking, charter schools, ebut c.

    And speaking of record, Biss has more of a record with madigan than any other candidate. Yes, madigan is supporting Pritzker, but Biss took madigan money and staff during his second campaign, voted for him for speaker and took over $500k from madigan for his super pac.

    Biss is no Bernie guy, even though he tries to be. He supported Hilary.

    Biss is trying to fool voters into his conpetence, but he is completely out of touch.

  28. - Ron - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    Child care outside of metro Chicago

    Sure, but metro Chicago is over 70% of the state.

  29. - Ron - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:58 am:

    “I like Mary Ann but she needs to realize that what things cost in Chicago are not even reflective of suburban costs much less downstate.”

    Chicago is cheaper than most suburbs.

  30. - Ron - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    “Biss is no Bernie guy, even though he tries to be. He supported Hilary.”

    That’s great! +1 Biss

  31. - JS Mill - Friday, Mar 2, 18 @ 5:04 pm:

    =Chicago is cheaper than most suburbs=

    Most? That is just a silly thing to say.

    =Metro Chicago is 70% of the population-=

    And that means what? I think you are trying to make a point but you aren’t.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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