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Chris Kennedy was on fire last night

Thursday, Mar 15, 2018

* From a commenter earlier today

Kennedy came off as the alpha male last night, he straight up emasculated Biss.

Pritzker just looked like he did not want to be there and said his rehearsed lines running out the clock (on the debate & the election).


* Tribune

Pritzker interjected, “These two went on the attack.”

The prompted Kennedy to respond: “Lie, lie, lie, lie, lie.”

Kennedy also lashed out at Biss, who is seeking support from backers of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unsuccessful presidential campaign. Biss sponsored 2013 legislation to cut benefits for public pensioners — a law later ruled unconstitutional. Biss has acknowledged the move was a mistake.

But Kennedy said Biss “fell” under Springfield’s spell as a state lawmaker in pushing the legislation.

“There’s nothing that a Democrat can do that’s worse than what you did,” said Kennedy, calling Biss’ move “disqualifying” for governor.

* AP

“You do not want a liar as the governor of the state of Illinois,” Kennedy said. […]

Kennedy added Biss was “part of a failed system” in Springfield and said it was time to bring change to Illinois.


Kennedy likened the primary process to interviewing candidates for a job.

“You should never hire someone who lies to you during a job interview,” Kennedy said. “If they’ll lie to you to get the job, they’ll lie to you to keep the job.” […]

Biss said that he supports a tax on financial transactions, like the ones that occur on the trading floors of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange. But Kennedy said the idea was pie in the sky.

“This is the worst form of political pandering,” Kennedy said. “To say that nobody has to worry about a thing because we’re going to tax financial transactions, it gives everyone false hope. We ought to bring people into the complexities and subtleties of government policy and not offer a solution that can’t be had.”

* Patch

Ponce later asked whether the candidates supported Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, whose office has been found to operate a regressive tax system favoring wealthier and well-connected property owners at the expensive of poorer homeowners.

Pritzker took issue with the question before the other candidates had a chance to answer.

“I’m not revealing who I voted for or who I’m supporting in that race because I don’t think we should be getting involved in Democratic primaries – we’re running one ourselves,” he said.

“Oh my Gosh, if you can’t take a position on whether Joe Berrios should be reelected…if you can’t take the courage to take a position on that race you shouldn’t be the governor of the state of Illinois,” said Kennedy, who has focused on the property tax appeals system in the campaign. He called Pritzker a “property tax cheat.”

* NBC 5

The debate winner was Chris Kennedy, but with only five days to go, the question is: will it make a difference?

That’s the question, alright.

* I took this pic of my TV last night. It’s the moment after Sen. Biss said he was proud of his legislative record…


* And the Pritzker campaign put together some highlights of Kennedy whacking Biss. It didn’t include the Kennedy attacks on Pritzker, of course. But it’s still worth a watch

* Related…

* Chris Kennedy, who’s not that into politics, is carrying his family’s legacy into governor’s race

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Thomas Zane Stepp - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:00 am:

    I think Kennedy will pull an upset.

  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:02 am:

    I agree that Kennedy was by far the winner. He did a good job against both Biss and Pritzker.

  3. - Smalls - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:03 am:

    Ummm, shouldn’t the Pritzker campaign have released a video of their candidate whacking Biss? That doesn’t seem too bright.

  4. - Thomas Zane Stepp - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:04 am:

    === Ummm, shouldn’t the Pritzker campaign have released a video of their candidate whacking Biss? That doesn’t seem too bright.===
    As has been the JB campaign.

  5. - Whatever - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:06 am:

    Where’s was this Kennedy during the last few months? Great performance, but maybe too little, too late? And honestly, who really watches WTTW other than a small elite group of the donor and chattering classes who probably have already made up their minds.

  6. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:06 am:

    –Ummm, shouldn’t the Pritzker campaign have released a video of their candidate whacking Biss? That doesn’t seem too bright.–

    Disagree. When your opponents are tearing each other apart, let them.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:08 am:

    I didn’t watch the debate last night, but Kennedy is my guy now, after having voted for him. Too bad he started doing well so late, with the ads and all. Maybe he can do well with undecideds.

  8. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:09 am:

    Pure Biss Bliss: when he corrected Kennedy for calling two separate things “the worst a Democrat can do” because one of them must only be the 2nd worse. I thought I heard Biss pause for a response from the audience. I did appreciate Biss’ pointing out that Pritzker’s position on Obama in 2012 reveals him either as an utter fake Democrat or an utter you-know-what.

  9. - 44th - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:10 am:

    JB’s repetition that he started nothing offshore and everything goes to charity seemed evasive. Of course he uses off shore entities, he should have said of course, all the structures were legal, blessed by attorneys, and not set up to evade lawful taxes. Something like that.

    Kennedy did pretty well, and Biss… sounds like an adjunct professor with an ego lecturing how he is so moral compared to everyone else… irritating, anybody but him. Ugh to all this talk that he will take over Durbin’s senate seat. Please no.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:11 am:

    I wrote this yesterday, the debate really crystallized it too…

    The Pritzker Crew…

    ===They have really been awful at two things;

    1) Knowing their own oppo backwards and forwards.

    2) knowing how to respond timely and effectively against their oppo.

    If those are the measures, they either better learn to be far better, or expect Rauner to own the daily news cycles, while leading in the polls as Rauner is so under water as the incumbent.

    Why they let themselves get so badly under water… it’s bizarre.===

    What we saw last night was Kennedy take full advantages in things while the front-runner, by any and every measure, still can’t handle his oppo, doesn’t understand how to respond to the oppo and comes off ill-prepared for things that they all shoulda had buttoned down with messsging and with counter punches.

    It’s such a bizarre campaign that they have no handle on redirecting, while Rauner faced similar issues, but Rauner’s Crew in 2014 understood their oppo, went after Quinn 24/7, ave controlled the “CareerFellas” and the daily cycles.

    Kennedy last night showed that Pritzker looking weak made Kennedy seem twice as strong in very strong moments.

  11. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:12 am:

    With less than a week to go Kennedy finally hits his stride. He should have done this weeks ago as it was a clear path. He could have easily painted Biss as a progressive wannabe and Pritzker as a guy who will do and say anything to buy the job. Unfortunately early voting started a week ago for me and this comes way too late. He should have been out front with this a month ago. Might have made a difference.

  12. - Honeybadger - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:13 am:

    I have been a JB supporter, but was disappointed with his performance last night. Kennedy was my original first choice, but he seemed to stumble way too much in the beginning, but now he seems to be picking up some steam. Biss, fugedaboutit, never on my radar.

    I am going to vote later today and I think I might be switching my support and vote to Kennedy.

  13. - wordslinger - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:16 am:

    If Pritzker wins the primary, I’m guessing his Billionaire Money Problems won’t be a huge issue.

    Blind Trust Rauner has some of his own, and I’m betting some we don’t know about.

    But a dude like Pritzker would know where to find them.

  14. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    Umm, Whatever, the debate was carried on other PBS stations, WILL for instance. If that makes me part of the “chattering classes”, I gladly embrace watching PBS. It beats the heck out of network or cable programming most nights.

  15. - Hiawatha - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:17 am:

    Kennedy’s momentum is coming at just the right time.

  16. - lakeside - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:23 am:

    re: JB and his oppo. The fact that JB and his team didn’t prepare a *second* answer to the trust question was so embarrassing. You know you’re going to be asked about it repeatedly. Even having something to cycle in and out would have been better. He was just terrible.

    Kennedy’s placement between the two other candidates also helped - kept him in the shot and the game as Biss and Pritzker answered.

  17. - Hamlet's Ghost - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:26 am:

    If Bruce Rauner can convince casual GOP voters that Jeanne Ives is a Madigan flunky, he can convince people any of Kennedy, Biss or JB are Madigan flunkies.

    Why? Rauner has money for advertising.

    Chris Kennedy [may] or [may not] be the more attractive choice, but when Kennedy gets out spent 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 in October, Bruce Rauner’s false advertising will drown everything else out.

  18. - BigLou - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:28 am:

    Not a fan of Biss. He’s been annoying with his money is bad but these past few weeks I’ve noticed he seems to try and Emulate Obama with his speech patterns and pauses but he’s no Obama. Last night though the meeting his wife story really tipped it for me against him. That speech sounded just like an Obama style story. Be yourself.

  19. - doofusguy - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:31 am:

    Agree with Hamlet on Rauner money for ads - which is why I’m still leaning to the guy who’s got more money for ads

  20. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:32 am:

    I guess Kennedy has gone from the tempest in the teapot for Rauner into the tempest in the teapot for Pritzker. He is still just servicing richer men though.

  21. - Anon221 - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:34 am:

    Kennedy may have won the debate last night, but I just don’t believe he can stand up to Rauner in a General debate and election run. And, no, it’s not all about the money that can be thrown around. It’s more about wilting under pressure, stumbling through answers, and flipping on issues. Rauner will smirk and roll his eyes and sneer at Kennedy, and I just don’t see Kennedy being fast enough in a debate or campaign to react accordingly to Rauner. Pritzker has baggage, but he also has shown that Rauner really doesn’t want to deal with him in a General campaign. However, if Pritzker does lose the Primary, I hope he will use his considerable resources to get behind the Primary winner and support him all the way to the General. It’s going to take a very united and forceful Dem Party to oust Rauner. And there is a lot to work with there folks- Quincy, for instance, is just one of the items that should bring Rauner down. And, remember, the Janus case is still Rauner’s main interest in the long run. Illinois is just a convenient tool in his “spotless” toolshed alongside the duct tape and Carhartt jacket. In the meantime, Rauner is just a retired hobbyist enjoyin’ the “fight”.

  22. - Angel's Sword - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:36 am:

    Kennedy was great. Glad he finally took a strong stand on pension theft, though his waffling on that and other issues throughout the campaign still has me in Pritzker’s camp.

  23. - Real - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    I have been a JB supporter, but was disappointed with his performance last night. Kennedy was my original first choice, but he seemed to stumble way too much in the beginning, but now he seems to be picking up some steam. Biss, fugedaboutit, never on my radar.

    I am going to vote later today and I think I might be switching my support and vote to Kennedy.

    -You vote based on debate performance and not policy or platform?

  24. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    My takeaway: Pritzker’s key argument is that he is the most effective candidate to take on Rauner. But seeing him blandly staying on pre-approved talking points without going out on a ledge with any controversial positions gives me pause. Rauner may stick with talking points, but his debates against Quinn showed that he (or his campaign) knew how to challenge the opponent with questions that the script won’t address.

    Kennedy v. Rauner is a real competition and would throw the Governor off his game.

  25. - Nacho - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:40 am:

    ==Chris Kennedy [may] or [may not] be the more attractive choice, but when Kennedy gets out spent 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 in October, Bruce Rauner’s false advertising will drown everything else out.==

    The thing about that kind of spending is that it has diminishing returns. Rauner is still going to have to contend with an electorate that disapproves of him by a wide margin and is angry about Trump.

  26. - Thomas Zane Stepp - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    === I am going to vote later today and I think I might be switching my support and vote to Kennedy.===
    Vote your conscience. Who do you think will be the best equipped to govern?

  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:44 am:

    Kennedys performance was better than pritzker and biss

  28. - huh - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    “I think Kennedy will pull an upset.”

    If we had all seen that version of Chris Kennedy for the last 6 months - and we had seen that guy in the TV ads - perhaps. But no, nobody saw that debate - it won’t be enough. But I do agree he has gotten better and he is finishing strong.

  29. - dbk - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:49 am:

    Think I’ll stick with what I said about CK in a thread last week, not that anybody noticed or anything:

    I don’t mind the awkwardness - shyness, I like the truth-telling, rough-cut confrontational stance, and boy, would I love to be inducted into the nuances of policy/government - wouldn’t that be something if an Illinois governor spoke the truth to his constituents and didn’t dumb down the conversation? People actually might feel like part of the process if their governor treated them as equal partners in the enterprise of state governance.

    Also, I noted that I suspected he might be a man who could show (moral) courage in a leadership position.

    That’s a critical characteristic for me.

  30. - blankster - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:52 am:

    Kennedy got my vote last Saturday.. His debate performance last night reinforced that I made the right decision!

  31. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 10:57 am:

    I have said this before. Among my Democratic friends, I have never seen so many undecided this late in a campaign but the common theme is whoever can beat Rauner. A lot seem to be leaning Kennedy as am I.

    I was disappointed with much of Kennedy’s campaign but he seems to have finally found his footing. It is yet to be seen if it is enough to carry him to victory.

  32. - 47 - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:02 am:

    Biss just lit his future prospects on fire with this race. Between the Ramirez-Rosa debacle and how he has pandered/handled himself since, this is the end of the road for him. Used to be the heir to Jan’s seat, now I’m not so sure.

  33. - City Zen - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:06 am:

    ==but when Kennedy gets out spent 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 in October, Bruce Rauner’s false advertising will drown everything else out.==

    Union money will be pouring in by then for any non-JB Dem candidate.

  34. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:09 am:

    ===calling two separate things “the worst a Democrat can do”===

    That was a fun point, but Kennedy actually said it about three things. lol

  35. - Anon324 - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:22 am:

    ==Chris Kennedy [may] or [may not] be the more attractive choice, but when Kennedy gets out spent 5 to 1 or 10 to 1 in October, Bruce Rauner’s false advertising will drown everything else out.==

    This has been the Pritzker playbook, too. If Kennedy manages to get through the primary, that seems to put a question mark on that strategy.

  36. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:25 am:

    Kennedy did very well. The tendency is to call it “great” because compared to most of his campaign speeches, etc., it was outstanding. Not sure that’s a huge complement- very impressive though, and should he stay on fire til Election Day, he has a chance.

  37. - A guy - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:31 am:

    Chris had a full bowl of Wheaties before this one. While we may not have seen much of Bill Daley to date. It sure does appear he had a hand in the prep for this one.

  38. - Taco - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    The debate didn’t change the dynamics of the race. Everything comes down to Turnout.

  39. - Amalia - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    Kennedy campaign should take the video from that debate, link, email and facebook, send around with a message. “Watch This. A fighter for Illinois.”

  40. - Anon and on - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:12 pm:

    “Where was this Chris Kennedy 6 months ago?” Everyone was focused on his stance on cannabis 6 months ago. He was there, pulling no punches, but inconsistently and without the cameras on him. He doesn’t seem like a different candidate than the one I first saw in September, just slightly less awkward version.

  41. - WizzardOfOzzie - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:25 pm:

    Anon 221 (are you 0091 older relative? or just their other handle?)-
    “It’s more about wilting under pressure, stumbling through answers,…”

    How could you have watched the debate and say that? One week left in a campaign is pressure time… and JB is wilting while Kennedy is surging. What are you even talking about?
    I get you support JB, but that narrative got blown up last night.

    JB has had weeks to prepare for it. They knew it was coming. And he was still objectively awful at answering it. He’s simply not ready for Prime Time.

    Kennedy- wow! Who knew that was possible? Kudos to him for putting in the hard work. Congratulations to his team for doing an excellent job prepping him.

    JB’s team- How about “The Worst that Money Can Buy”?

  42. - A Jack - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:26 pm:

    If you are basing your vote on a poorly written Tribune article then you are doing exactly what Rauner wants.

    Instead of worrying about off-shore accounts, voters should be concerned about the good things Pritzker has done with that money.

    Who doesn’t avoid taxes when they can? I take the property tax credit off of my state taxes and I buy federal bonds because the interest is not state taxable.

  43. - Lil Lebowski Urban Achiever - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:27 pm:

    The narrative that Kennedy will be outspent by Rauner is ridiculous. Pat Quinn raised $50 million as the Democratic nominee… look at his fundraising now. The money will be there.

    But the whole reason for JB’s campaign is that the money Kennedy would get would come at the expense of the Speaker’s candidates. And we couldn’t have that could we? So the Speaker tried to force an awful candidate down everyone’s throat… and he we are.

  44. - Pundent - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:29 pm:

    Turnout and organization. Campaigns are won in the waning minutes when everyone is watching. They’re won by grinding it out in the trenches, building an organization, and then mobilizing on election day. There will always be some element of voter anger that might swing things at the margins but rarely is it enough to change the trajectory of things.

  45. - Anonymous - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 12:43 pm:

    =But the whole reason for JB’s campaign is that the money Kennedy would get would come at the expense of the Speaker’s candidates.=

    So what you’re suggesting is that Kennedy allows himself to become the candidate who’s “bought and paid for by Madigan”? The Rauner ads almost write themselves.

  46. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 1:15 pm:

    ===that narrative got blown up last night===

    If this was a presidential debate, watched by half the state, you’d be right. It’s not. Nowhere near that.

  47. - Centennial - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 1:34 pm:

    If Kennedy was this guy a year ago, we would have a completely different primary on our hands.

  48. - Lil Lebowski Urban Achiever - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 4:48 pm:


    No doubt. I was pointing out that someone who said they watched the debate made that argument.

  49. - Anon - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 5:15 pm:

    I stumbled on the debate by accident and didn’t know much about CK. He clearly won the debate and my only concern is “Will he tax retirement income and Social Security”. My mother can barely live on SS now, if she has to pay tax on it, not sure how she will afford her medication.

  50. - Blue sky - Friday, Mar 16, 18 @ 5:10 am:

    Kennedy’s bad temper has been on display too many times in this campaign. He was already out for me because of his lack of experience, but he doesn’t have the temperament to go up against Rauner or to govern.

  51. - Peoria Citizen - Friday, Mar 16, 18 @ 2:51 pm:

    Welp, Kennedy got my vote. He was indeed on fire. Truthfully, he’s probably the best one qualified to run the governor’s office. If he can run the University of Illinois as well as he did, dang right he can run the state of Illinois better than all the rest vying for that duty.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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