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A polling lesson for the future

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From March 11th…

Interested parties:

I expect to release final polling results before the election. In advance of the inevitable wailing and gnashing of teeth from whichever candidates are behind in the poll, let’s cut to the chase.

I checked. There are other organizations that have compared my final polling numbers in previous elections against both those of other polling companies and against the actual election results. I think you will find that our numbers stack up very well against both other companies and final election results.

These comparisons are of the final polling numbers, not polls done weeks or months before the election, before millions of dollars of advertising and endless campaigning change the numbers.

As some of you know, I began in the polling business more than thirty years ago with the late, great Mike McKeon as my mentor. To many who know about polling, McKeon was the gold standard for a long time when it came to polling in Illinois elections. I learned from the best.

I have no polling client in the Governor’s race, and indeed have never even met any of the major candidates of either party. I have no polling client in the Attorney General race, or the Cook County Assessor race. When I have a polling client for a released poll, I am not shy about saying so. Please allow the historical facts in the attachments to guide your decision about whether to cover or not cover my final polling results, not irrelevant garbage strewn about by whichever candidate wishes they had done better in the poll.

And as always I’m available to answer any questions.

Rod McCulloch
Victory Research

* His poll was released on March 18th, two days ahead of the election. I didn’t post it, tweet it or anything. Others did and some folks I know asked me why I didn’t. I had my reasons, but mainly I just didn’t feel right about it. Plus, I was told some off the record numbers from various people I trust (and their numbers all turned out to be incredibly accurate), so I figured I’d wait. If he was right, I’d apologize for not posting the polls. If he was wrong, I’d post his results…

In the final Illinois poll before the March 20th primary, Governor candidate J.B. Pritzker remains the front-runner to win the Democratic nomination, according to the poll. Pritzker holds a nearly six point lead (32.0-26.1%) over nearest competitor Chris Kennedy. State Senator Daniel Biss is third with 21.7%. Three other candidates combined for 3.8%.

Pritzker ended up winning 45-27-24. Not even close. Biss placed second. He got Kennedy almost right, though.

Glad I didn’t write about it.

* There was also this

The race for Cook County board president is shaping up to be closer than expected, a new poll by Victory Research of 701 people from Cook County March 13-March 15 shows. The pollster is employed by candidate Bob Fioretti. Toni Preckwinkle: 42 percent. Bob Fioretti: 41 percent. Undecided: 17 percent

Preckwinkle won 61-39.

* Meanwhile, from March 19th…

I have no idea who those people are, so I didn’t share their “results” with you. And instead of losing by a small margin, Erika Harold won by 18 points.

Unless you totally trust the source, don’t fall for late polling results.


Pritzker’s victory speech, annotated

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From JB Pritzker’s election night speech

I want to thank Chris Kennedy, Daniel Biss, Tio Hardiman, Bob Daiber and Bob Marshall for running for governor and also Alderman Ameya Pawar who brought the voices of so many forgotten citizens to the table.

In stark contrast, Rauner never once mentioned Jeanne Ives by name.

* I’ve never seen someone do this before

After winning a primary, conventional politicians always attempt to offer to independent and Republican voters some watered-down mish mash of policies that neither offend nor enlighten but merely satisfy. As if platitudes can replace passion and cowardice can replace candor.

Instead, I want to take a page from the youth of this country tonight…and call BS on the same old playbook.

Rauner, of course, is expected to pivot to the center.

* Of all of his opponents, Pritzker seems most impressed with the issues discussed by Ameya Pawar (at least, that was my take-away from our conversation yesterday). Echoes of Pawar here..

Let’s talk about how this country, and this state, have made it a crime to be poor. It’s not right that government can destroy your credit and confiscate your car because you can’t afford a few parking tickets. Or to dangle the American Dream of building a small business in front of black and brown entrepreneurs but deny them the capital needed to get started. Or to take away your professional license when you’re struggling to make your student loan payments.

* He’s not gonna win Downstate, but Rauner opposes legalizing marijuana while 58 percent of Downstaters support it, so this might help. It will also help winning over some of Biss’ supporters

Let’s also remember that a conversation about economic justice cannot happen without a conversation about criminal justice reform.

And we can begin by immediately removing at least one area of racial injustice in our criminal justice system: Let’s legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.

* Some of his toughest lines of the night

I’m not a perfect person. I’m not going to pretend to be. Frankly, I’ve had enough of politicians like Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner, who can never acknowledge a flaw, never offer an apology and never take responsibility for anything or anyone under their care.

I won’t put on a costume, jump on a Harley and pretend to be someone I’m not. I won’t blame everyone else for my inability to compromise or get anything done. I won’t insult you by doing everything in my power to destroy the economy of this state and then look into a camera and tell you ‘I’m not in charge.’ […]

I won’t let Donald Trump have an inch of Illinois.

And I will take every inch of Illinois back from Bruce Rauner.

* The problem rich people have is showing that they can relate to everyone else. They’ve never had real money problems, but everyone has had their own personal struggles. Rauner has never really talked about his own life struggles. Instead, he tries to relate to everyone else by wearing costumes and droppin’ his g’s. Pritzker is different

My mother struggled with alcoholism. In the end, that struggle took her life. Anyone who has lost a parent at a young age, knows that you live all the days that person is gone, working to realize the potential of their life.

It’s a hard responsibility to live with…but I believe it makes me strong…my will infused with hers. And it reminds me to be kind – because our time here is precious. And as another woman I greatly admired liked to say…we should do all the good we can for all the people we can for as long as we can.

* Closing line

Thank you, Illinois, for choosing me to take your fights to the general election in November. Together we will be fearless, brave and kind.

Speeches are just words. But that was still a pretty darned good speech. There’s much more, so the transcript is here, and the video is here.


Does McCarthy even have a path to victory?

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I just don’t see this guy’s path

Calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to save “a great American city,” former police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Wednesday he will run against Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fix an economy that fosters inequity, tamp down ever-rising taxes and reverse rampant gun violence that has sullied Chicago’s national reputation.

Publicly discussing his mayoral bid for the first time in an exclusive Chicago Tribune interview, McCarthy described himself as a “conservative Democrat.” That’s cutting against the grain in a city with an increasingly progressive political bend, but the former top cop said his call-it-how-I-see-it style and a dedication to coming up with real solutions over playing politics will win over voters in the February 2019 election.

“Between the taxes, our economy, the schools and the crime rate here, we’re a laughingstock in America,” McCarthy said. “The prevailing thought about Chicago is we’re on our way down in all those areas, and they all infect each other, and nobody seems to get that. It’s almost like a ‘Wake up, Chicago’ moment.” […]

He has little in the way of campaign cash, loathes the idea of fundraising and, unlike other high-profile Illinois Democrats of late, does not have his own money to pour into a run. He also lacks experience working on issues outside of crime and will have to address the Laquan McDonald police shooting scandal that occurred on his watch. Plus, his entree into politics will be for one of the toughest public jobs in America against one of the country’s most seasoned politicians.

A conservative Democrat in Chicago who “loathes” raising money? He’s gonna run to the right of campaign cash-loving neo-liberal Rahm Emanuel in that liberal city without loads of dough? Good luck with that, dude. Two Chicago-based members of the Cook County Board lost their re-elections Tuesday after fighting hard against the pop tax. And he wants to run as a law and order guy, but a legalizing marijuana referendum just got 73 percent in the city.

* Press release…

The Chicago For Rahm Emanuel campaign launched a web ad today highlighting one of Garry McCarthy’s biggest fans: President Donald Trump.

While McCarthy neglected to feature Trump in his own announcement, it’s clear that the New Yorkers share much of the same worldview, and Chicagoans deserve to know more about their mutual admiration society.

“When Garry McCarthy says he’s a conservative Democrat, the only part we question is the word Democrat,” said Pete Giangreco, spokesman for the Emanuel campaign. “Donald Trump thinks McCarthy is ‘a phenomenal guy’ because they’re both cut from the same New York cloth and embrace the same bitter, divisive rhetoric and policies. But personal bitterness isn’t a way to build a bright future for Chicago.”

McCarthy and Trump have known each other for years, with Trump calling McCarthy “a phenomenal guy.” McCarthy continues to refuse to say whether he voted for Trump or Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

    Trump on McCarthy, who he “said he personally knows”: “he’s a phenomenal guy… he could stop [gang violence in Chicago] if we allowed him to stop it… believe me.” [Washington Post, 8/29/15; Video (7:25):]

    McCarthy admitted that he “knew Trump from his days as a New York cop, when he worked the precinct in which Trump’s building was located.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/27/16]

    Sun-Times Columnist Mark Brown wrote that in a City Club speech McCarthy “decried the ‘lawlessness in America,’” “sounding almost Donald-Trump-like at times.” [Sun-Times (Brown), 9/20/16]

    McCarthy refused to tell reporters if he would be voting for Clinton or Trump, telling reporters, “None of your business. Great journalism.” [Chicago Tribune, 9/27/16]

    McCarthy on whether he voted for Trump: “I don’t think I should answer that question, but the bottom line is – I don’t think it’s anybody’s business who I voted for.” [NBC5, 12/15/17]

    McCarthy on Trump: “I think he does really care about what’s happening [in Chicago].” [New York Times, 3/29/17]

* Video

That Trump stuff alone may be enough to knock McCarthy on his back.


Question of the day - Part 2

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Text from a Downstate legislator last night at 7:50 pm…

I’ve seen three Pat Quinn commercials tonight.

He just won’t. go. away.

* Tribune

Soon after it was clear he’d lost the Democratic attorney general race, former Gov. Pat Quinn didn’t say he would run for office again.

Quinn also didn’t say he won’t run for office again.

“I’m never going to quit,” he told reporters Tuesday night. “I believe in petition passing. I believe in passing referendums.

“I really like the idea of having more referendums on issues that involve jobs and ethics in government and advancing workers’ rights and so on,” said Quinn, 69. “So, I’ll probably focus a little more on petition and referendum. I’ve been doing that for quite a while, and I plan to keep on doing that until I don’t have any breath.”

Quinn’s unsuccessful attorney general bid means the only statewide office he hasn’t sought is state comptroller.

Watch out, Susana!

* The Question: What do you think Quinn will run for next? Don’t forget to explain and snark is allowed.


Berrios county party chairmanship in peril

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Clem Balanoff of Our Revolution Illinois told me yesterday they’re going after Berrios’ party chairmanship next. Here’s the Tribune’s take

In the wake of his primary election loss, Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ days as county Democratic Party chairman could be numbered.

Berrios is “undecided” on whether he’ll run for the post when the party meets next month to pick its leaders for the next two years, party spokesman Jacob Kaplan said Wednesday.

“I think he calls it a career right here,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, the 6th Ward committeeman who endorsed Berrios for re-election but left him off his recommended list of candidates on election day. Sawyer’s change of heart came after a county-commissioned study confirmed that assessments under Berrios caused “a wealth transfer from owners of lower-value homes to those of higher-value homes.” […]

Just who might replace Berrios in a post that has become a lightning rod for critics of the Democratic establishment was unclear Wednesday.

He ought to just realize how toxic he is and step aside. Notice how Sawyer left Berrios off his palm cards. But, he can be a stubborn man. He may have to be pushed out.

The list of Chicago and Cook County ward and township committeemen is here. Your thoughts on who should get the nod?


Rauner dodges tax return question, pivots instead to Pritzker’s tax dodging and tax hikes

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Check out the long pause and pivot to Pritzker when the governor was asked if he’d release his full tax returns…

* And then a follow-up question that he also dodges by pivoting to Pritzker…

Props for asking Rauner the question, but I’d bet that neither he nor Pritzker will ever divulge their full tax information.


*** UPDATED x2 - Madigan responds *** Hampton sues Madigan organization

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

The campaign worker who disrupted House Speaker Michael Madigan’s political operations with sexual harassment allegations against a top lieutenant filed a federal lawsuit late Wednesday afternoon, saying her decision to report the behavior cost her a chance to advance in his organization.

Alaina Hampton, who first told the Tribune last month of receiving inappropriate texts from Madigan aide Kevin Quinn, contends in the lawsuit that her effort to stop his unwanted advances effectively prevented her from getting further work on Democratic campaigns.

Hampton sued the Democratic Party of Illinois, which Madigan chairs, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for “asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment by failing to hire her to work as a political consultant for the 2018 campaign cycle.”

The lawsuit seeks $350,000, in addition to attorney’s fees.

* From the lawsuit

The Madigan Defendants retaliated against Ms. Hampton for asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment by, among other ways, failing to hire her to work as a political consultant for the 2018 campaign cycle.

The Madigan Defendants had no legitimate reason for failing to hire and/or allow Ms. Hampton to work as a political staffer and/or campaign manager and the stated reasons for their employment actions were pretexts to hide unlawful employment actions as alleged below. […]

As a result of the Madigan Defendants’ discriminatory and retaliatory conduct, Ms. Hampton has suffered injury to her career as well as other injuries for which she is entitled to actual, compensatory and punitive damages, as well as equitable relief pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1964

* Some tweets from today’s presser…

* More

Madigan’s attorney said last month there was an internal investigation. Kulwin said he wants proof.

“Let’s see it,” [Hampton’s attorney Shelly Kulwin] said. “What was this internal investigation that led you to conclude that everything was OK or not OK? What was your response to the investigation? Who participated in this investigation? Who was interviewed in this investigation? Because to our knowledge the investigation was a 40-minute chat in a Starbucks.”

While it’s not part of the lawsuit yet, Kulwin said the legal team is aware of people trying to dig up dirt on Hampton.

“There were questions raised about phone calls being made trying to dig up dirt on Alaina,” Kulwin said. “They were calling her male colleagues and asking what type of bars she goes to, who does she know, who does she have a relationship with. Outrageous stuff.”

The attorney said he plans to investigate those issues further.

“I can’t say it was directed by anybody yet,” Kulwin said. “I can’t say it was sponsored by anybody yet. We don’t know that at this time and I’m not saying that. We just know it happened and we know who did it, we believe, and we’re going to look into that during our case.”

*** UPDATE 1 *** ILGOP…

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune reported that former Madigan campaign worker Alaina Hampton filed a federal lawsuit against the Democratic Party of Illinois and Friends of Michael J. Madigan, political committees chaired by House Speaker Mike Madigan.

Hampton is suing for damages because she was prevented from doing future political work for Madigan after she blew the whistle on sexual harassment within Madigan’s political organizations.

J.B. Pritzker, Mike Madigan’s candidate for governor, has said he “believes” women when it comes to telling their stories on being victims of sexual harassment and abuse, but he doesn’t really mean it.

Now that Hampton has filed suit against Madigan, Pritzker faces yet another stark choice between his political patron and the people of Illinois. Will Pritzker side with the plaintiff, Alaina Hampton, or the defendant, Mike Madigan.

Make no mistake - J.B. Pritzker is part and parcel of Mike Madigan’s political machine, and his continued silence makes him complicit in Madigan’s corruption. Pritzker has already made his position known.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Madigan’s office…

“The pleading is being reviewed by counsel. However, I can assure you that the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Friends of MJM have not retaliated against Ms. Hampton in any way,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.

* Related…

* Contractors that want city work would need to have sexual harassment policies in place, under new Chicago plan


The Proft scorecard

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Tribune

Four out of the five Republican state lawmakers targeted for defeat by conservative radio talk show host Dan Proft survived their primary election challenges on Tuesday, with House GOP leader Jim Durkin saying he doesn’t “think the voters are necessarily supportive of extremes.”

Proft’s chosen candidates, though, did win primaries in several districts where sitting lawmakers didn’t run for re-election, and his political action committee scored a victory by defeating state Rep. David Reis of Downstate Willow Hill. Reis was one of several Republican lawmakers who sided with Democrats to initially vote in favor of last summer’s income tax hike. […]

A Proft bid to defeat Durkin also came up short. The Western Springs Republican overcame a rare primary challenge, which stemmed from last year’s showdown over the tax and budget package. Durkin voted against the measures, but Proft questioned his leadership after the party didn’t remain united against the tax hike in a chamber controlled by powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan, who is also head of the Democratic Party of Illinois. […]

Among Proft’s successes on Tuesday: Former state Rep. Dwight Kay won his primary after receiving more than $173,000 [ADDED: Liberty Principles PAC only spent $33,955 on this race] from Liberty Principles. He’s seeking to reclaim the seat he lost in 2016 to Rep. Katie Stuart, a Democrat from Edwardsville. The committee also helped DuPage County Board member Tonia Khouri to victory, and Schaumburg Township Library District Trustee Jillian Rose Bernas was assisted by at least $186,000.

Bernas faced Charlotte Kegarise, who was backed by Durkin’s House Republican Organization. Bernas will now face Democratic state Rep. Michelle Mussman in the November election. Republicans sought to play down the loss on Wednesday, saying it’ll be a difficult seat for the GOP to win.

I told subscribers after Rauner signed HB40 that Dwight Kay was probably gonna win, and one of his campaign people called me Tuesday night to explicitly say that Proft should not get credit for the victory. Take that for whatever you will. Kegarise was outspent 2-1. Khouri ran a real campaign outside of the money she received and had run for Congress in 2016, so she had some name ID.

* There was also this big race in retiring GOP Rep. David Harris’ district

Eddie Corrigan defeated 53rd state House District opponent Katie Miller Tuesday in what became a bitter Northwest suburban Republican primary contest.

With 73 of 75 precincts reporting, Corrigan had 5,612 votes and Miller had 3,489, according to unofficial totals. […]

Corrigan, an Arlington Heights resident and outreach coordinator for U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam, was backed by the House Republican Organization, while Miller, a registered nurse from Mount Prospect, was endorsed by conservative talk show host Dan Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC. Proft’s group sent pro-Miller campaign mailers featuring photos of Corrigan in college doing keg stands and labeling him a “punk party boy.”

* In retiring GOP Rep. Bill Mitchell’s district

Dan Caulkins of Decatur held a solid lead late Tuesday night in the three-way race for the Republican nomination in the 101st House District. […]

With 97 percent of the vote in, Caulkins had 5,937 votes to 5,205 for Randy Keith of rural Monticello and 2,470 for Todd Henricks of Cerro Gordo. It amounted to about a 5-percentage-point lead. […]

Caulkins raised more than $100,000 for his campaign fund, including $35,000 in loans he made to the campaign in the week before the election.

But the biggest boost for the 71-year-old Decatur businessman was the more than $135,000 in uncoordinated assistance he got from Chicago radio host and political consultant Dan Proft. Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC provided more than $25,000 in television advertising for Caulkins in the last week of the campaign.

* He was even involved in a Dem primary

State Representative Robert Martwick (D-19) was one of the big winners in the March 20 primary election […]

Martwick faced a challenge from Chicago police officer Jeff La Porte. Martwick received about 66 percent of the vote in the district’s 78 Chicago precincts and about 71 percent in the eight suburban precincts compared to 34 percent and 29 percent, respectively, for La Porte. […]

Martwick’s campaign, including mailers, focused on claims that La Porte was being backed by Republicans. Records show that La Porte received an $11,000 donation from the Illinois Opportunity Project, a conservative advocacy group that counts amongst its senior fellows Dan Proft, who chairs Liberty Principles PAC.

La Porte sent out a whole lot of mailers and only reported $11K in contributions. I’m thinking there’s probably more out there.

* Proft’s own scorecard…

…Adding… Click here for a handy spreadsheet. It looks like 65 percent of his spending was on races that he lost, not counting Ives.

* Related…

* The biggest Republican megadonor you’ve never heard of - Richard Uihlein is spending tens of millions to reshape the GOP, including almost single-handedly funding Bruce Rauner’s primary challenger in Illinois

* Hammond wins in expensive 93rd District race


AFSCME wins, SEIU may be dealt setback

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* AFSCME Council 31

AFSCME has won another round in the battle for payment of step increases that Gov. Rauner has illegally frozen since July 1, 2015.

When bargaining for a new state contract got underway in 2015, the law required that current conditions of employment remain in place—including movement through the state’s pay plan schedule. But Rauner ignored that requirement and acted unilaterally to impose a freeze on employee step increases.

AFSCME challenged that action in appellate court—and we won. Last November the 5th District Appellate Court ruled that the Rauner Administration violated the law when it refused to continue paying step increases after the expiration date of the union contract. The court found that employees are owed step increases and remanded the case back to the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) for a remedy.

That ruling was put on hold when the Rauner Administration filed a petition for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Yesterday the Supreme Court denied the Rauner Administration’s petition for leave to appeal. So the decision of the 5th District Appellate Court that the steps are owed stands and no further appeal is possible.

Now, pursuant to the appellate court’s order, the case will be remanded to the Labor Board to devise a remedy. Rauner has claimed that the state cannot afford to pay the step increases and it is all too likely he will try to influence the Labor Board’s final order in that regard.

AFSCME will urge the Board to act swiftly and to ensure that all state employees receive the step increases they are owed and deserve.

* Sun-Times story on an SEIU Healthcare Illinois back pay dispute

The pay raises and backpay that a judge ordered the administration of Governor Bruce Rauner to begin paying by March 21 to thousands of home caregivers employed by the state are again in limbo.

Rauner administration attorneys plan to appeal the order and on Friday — five days before the March 21 deadline — they filed paperwork seeking to postpone payments during the appeal process.

Cook County Judge David Atkins this week granted a temporary stay on the payments while he considers whether or not to allow the stay to remain in place during the entire appeals process.


Rauner dinged with another “False” ruling by Politifact

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Kinda small ball, but here’s Politifact

Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner struck a number of familiar notes in his speech Tuesday night as he claimed a narrow primary victory over insurgent Republican challenger Jeanne Ives, talking about tax cuts, job growth and term limits for elected leaders.

But the multi-millionaire Rauner also sought to frame his coming general election battle against Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker as one pitting the interests of the little guy against entrenched political insiders allied with the billionaire Pritzker.

Then Rauner threw in a new wrinkle to his standard line of attack. “Newspapers have framed this election as my fight against the Illinois mafia,” he told the applauding crowd. “But it’s really the people versus the Illinois mafia.” […]

Incendiary rhetoric has been a staple of Rauner speeches for years, but in upping the ante even more in his fight against Pritzker it appears the governor is also projecting his own words onto the thoughts of others. Newspapers, or more precisely one column in the Wall Street Journal [which quotes him as saying of Madigan’s dual roles “It’s a mafia protection racket”], did not frame Rauner’s re-election fight in terms of a struggle with a mafia-like force.

That is Rauner’s own characterization and he is simply quoting himself while seeking to attribute the observation to others.

This dizzying feedback loop earns Rauner’s primary night claim a False.

* Rauner’s Politifact scorecard so far


Ives’ latest demand: A million-dollar apology ad

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

For now, Ives is promising to deliver only one vote.

“I’m a Republican. I’ll vote for him, but I will not endorse him,” she said. “I will not campaign for him. … Maybe if he takes out a million-dollar ad buy and admits he lied about me, maybe we’ll talk.”

Yeah, Rauner blatantly lied about her supposed love of Speaker Madigan. But practically everybody in the media took Ives’ side on that one, including me, and she still lost. She didn’t have the money to counter him. If not for those late and well-produced DGA ads, she may never have gotten so close.

* But Ives’ own ads weren’t exactly truthful, either. Remember this from her first TV ad?

Thank you Bruce Rauner for opposing law enforcement and making Illinois a sanctuary state for illegal immigrant criminals.

Thank you for signing legislation that lets me use the girl’s bathroom.

Not only were those claims false, they were so repulsive that the ad prevented a whole lot of people from contributing to her campaign and voting for her. That ad was the beginning of her end.

Politics ain’t beanbag. There are no rules and no hands were clean here. You play how you play and you live by the consequences. Ives lost.

It’s bad enough that Rauner constantly plays the entitled victim card without Rep. Ives doing the same thing. Victory is not a right, it’s earned.


*** UPDATED x1 *** Question of the day

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I was tearing my hair out Tuesday night when my site went down. Hopefully, the problem has now been fixed. From my Springfield-based hosting service, which also helps with site maintenance…

[Tuesday], the biggest bottleneck was MySQL using CPU. It is due to the way your old version of WordPress works. It has to search through every post you have ever made to query what to display on the front page. Since your server is very large this works fine for medium levels of traffic. When you see a spike, it would get behind. At around 10:20pm [Tuesday] night, we were able to optimize the MySQL cache to greatly alleviate this issue. We saw the MySQL process go from using 90% of your CPU resources to no longer even being the number 1 user and let your Apache processes complete on time.

I know that is a bit technical but we used the onset of high utilization to find issues that are hidden at regular loads and correct them for better performance. This along with assigning more resources ahead of time should keep your site working well for November.

However, because they optimized the MySQL cache, you may have to refresh your page when you visit. Something’s gotta change.

All I know is, I can’t go through yet another early Tuesday night ever again. Too much stress. The ol’ blog is in dire need of an update. Yeah, I know, the last redo was a disaster. But something has to be done.

* The Question: Your suggestions for a newly revamped

*** UPDATE *** Some of you have reported problems with commenting. That should now be fixed, unless, of course, you’re in automated moderation.


Pritzker and the black vote

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Yesterday

[Pritzker] was asked about regaining the trust of the African-American community following an FBI wiretap of an unfiltered conversation Pritzker had about racial politics with former governor Rod Blagojevich.

* Um, Tuesday went a long way toward showing that Pritzker has mended plenty of fences. People should look at the numbers…

* By my count, Pritzker won every African-American ward in Chicago by an average of 60.3 percent. He got 66 percent in three wards, 65 percent in one and 64 in two. His only plurality was in the 5th, where he scored 49 percent to Biss’ 26. He did just as well in African-American suburban townships and received 76 percent in East St. Louis.

Also, I gotta say that his running mate Juliana Stratton gave one of the most intense speeches I have seen in a while Tuesday night. She is a major asset to that ticket and not just with the black community. Click here to watch it. Very, very impressive.

* Breakdowns by TV markets and regions…

That Scott Kennedy is a state treasure.


A very rough road ahead for Rauner

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Two prognosticating outfits moved their ratings since Tuesday night. Roll Call

It’s clear that Rauner has problems within the Republican base, a dynamic that no statewide GOP candidate can afford. When Republican Sen. Mark Kirk ran for re-election in 2016, he got sideways with grass-roots Republicans by opposing Trump and lost to Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, 55 percent to 40 percent. Pritzker, who has ties to infamous Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, certainly isn’t a perfect candidate. But he’s still a Democrat in a Democratic state in a Democratic year. The biggest winner in the race might be local television stations, as two mega-rich nominees battle in what could be the most expensive gubernatorial race in history.

We’re changing our rating from Tilts Democratic to Leans Democratic.

And don’t forget that national blue wave which is still building out there.

* Sabato’s Crystal Ball

Gov. Bruce Rauner (R-IL) endured a difficult night on Tuesday. Although he won his party’s primary to earn a reelection shot in November, the contest in some ways confirmed his overall weakness as the most endangered incumbent Republican governor facing the voters in 2018. As such, the Crystal Ball is moving the Illinois gubernatorial contest from Toss-up to Leans Democratic, the first time in the 2018 cycle that we have rated an incumbent U.S. senator, U.S. House member, or governor as an underdog for reelection. Rauner’s vulnerabilities are two-fold: his party base is not solidly behind him — the GOP primary made this abundantly clear — and he faces an energized Democratic Party in what is typically a blue state.

* Related…

* Democrats giddy after Illinois primary showing : More than 1.2 million people voted in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, a record number in more than a decade of midterms. Billionaire J.B. Pritzker won the primary for governor with almost 575,000 votes, defeating his closest rival by 20 points. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner received about 360,000 votes in a GOP primary where he eked out a win over a conservative state lawmaker. Pritzker said Wednesday the results are an indication of how motivated Democrats are. He says the enthusiasm means he stands a good chance of beating Rauner.

* Is Bruce Rauner toast? In the span of one day, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s fortunes went from bad to worse. He was already widely considered to be the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country. Then came Tuesday’s Illinois primary, where he spent $17 million in TV ads but barely squeaked out a victory against a nearly unknown state legislator. With Democrats already uniting behind the free-spending billionaire who will lead their ticket in the fall, Illinois Republicans are wondering: After Tuesday’s weak showing, does Rauner even have a prayer of winning reelection in November? … “The governor clearly has a lot of work to do but what he cannot do is focus on the past,” Trover said. “He’s going to have to look to what unites the party and for Bruce, that’ll be [Democratic Party Chairman and state House Speaker] Mike Madigan…you’ve already seen it today, Bruce’s message to voters will be: ‘I am the only thing standing between you and Mike Madigan.‘”


Rauner campaign warns on Pritzker tax hike

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* From Will Allison at the Rauner campaign…

Hey, everyone-

Yesterday, JB Pritzker spoke to Crain’s to reaffirm his call for higher taxes. But while he’s talked glowingly about a “graduated income tax,” he’s not waiting for a constitutional amendment. Instead, he’s ready to hit every single Illinoisan with yet another tax hike.

    Crain’s: “Pritzker said he has a short-term remedy: raise the overall rate, but then effectively lower it for most taxpayers by adding and expanding deductions for those with low and moderate incomes.”

So Pritzker is firm in his stance for higher tax rates, but incredibly vague on possible deductions to spare low-income taxpayers and the middle class. That means millions of Illinoisans will have to hope and pray that they’ll be lucky to qualify for one of Pritzker’s hypothetical deductions while knowing for sure that their tax rate will go up.

Is anyone really willing to take that bet?

Expect to hear plenty more attacks like this in the coming days, weeks and months. You can basically sum up the Republican attacks as: Madigan, corruption (toilets, offshore accounts, etc.) and tax hikes.


Rauner had weakest primary showing by a GOP governor since 1928

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* By Dr. Eric Ostermeier, Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota

With votes yet to be counted from just a few dozen precincts, the well-funded Rauner managed to eke out a 2.76-point renomination victory over Ives with more than half of his winning margin coming from the heavily-populated Cook County. […]

Overall, Rauner’s 2.76-point win was the fourth weakest performance by a Democratic or Republican incumbent out of the 23 Illinois primaries with a sitting governor on the ballot since the first primary in the state in 1908 – with no elected governor enduring a closer call in a primary win than Rauner.

The other three weakest primary showings for a governor in Illinois electoral history were turned in by:

    * 1928: Two-term Republican Governor Len Small lost the GOP primary by 26.0 points to three-term Illinois Secretary of State Louis Emerson. Small would launch two more failed gubernatorial campaigns, losing the 1932 general election to judge Henry Horner and the 1936 primary to attorney C. Wayland Brooks.
    * 1976: One-term Democratic Governor Dan Walker was defeated in the primary by Illinois Secretary of State Michael Howlett by 7.6 points.
    * 2010: Democratic Governor Pat Quinn (who became governor after succeeding Rod Blagojevich who had been removed from office) nipped three-term Comptroller Dan Hynes by 1- point in the primary.

In addition to Small, Walker, and Quinn, the only other sitting Illinois governor to receive a smaller share of the primary vote than Rauner was two-term incumbent Charles Deneen in 1912.

Deneen won 34.8 percent of the vote that cycle, but in an eight-candidate field – winning the contest by 14.6 points over Small in what was his first of six gubernatorial bids. Rauner’s only opponent on Tuesday was Representative Ives.

Rauner’s 51.38 percent vote share and 2.76-point win are the weakest primary showings by a GOP governor in the state out of the 10 such candidacies since Governor Small’s loss in 1928.


Oh, please

Thursday, Mar 22, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This is going to be an excruciatingly long campaign if both sides are gonna do this to each other. From the RGA…

J.B. Pritzker Already Being Called A “Damaged” Candidate By Progressives
Illinois Democrat gubernatorial candidate and heir to the Hyatt Hotel fortune J.B. Pritzker is already facing resistance from progressive voters following a brutal primary during which Democrats correctly labeled Pritzker a crooked, establishment insider.

In the weeks leading up to this week’s primary, Pritzker was called “the poster child for pay-to-play” politics by Chris Kennedy, who also accused Pritzker of using “the language of racists” on FBI wiretapped calls with Rod Blagojevich. Daniel Biss, the far-left candidate, even went to far as to say that “electing J.B. Pritzker governor is literally the worst thing we could possibly do.”

Now, left-wing news sites are voicing resistance to J.B. Pritzker, calling him a “damaged” candidate who has no qualifications for office but his bank account.

The left-wing news site Mic writes, “In the end Kennedy and Biss spit the anti-Pritzker vote handing the billionaire an easy victory.”

“Now, Illinois Democrats will be facing off against an incumbent Republican governor with a damaged establishment candidate in Pritzker, whose only major selling point thus far has been his ability to self-finance his own campaign.”

Liberals and conservatives alike know that J.B. Pritzker is a member of the crooked establishment in Illinois that can’t be trusted to hold power any longer.

They’ve based this breathless press release on an obscure website with a story written by somebody who may have never been to Illinois and includes this line in his “analysis”

Outside Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District, progressive victories were also nowhere to be found

Oh, yeah? Tell that to Chuy Garcia and Clem Balanoff.

And, yes, I’m a little grumpy today.


* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* Yes on operations and capital spending, No on revenues to pay for it
* Giannoulias on House floor while bill goes down
* Some budget react
* Governor rebuffs Rep. Crespo’s worries of future fiscal cliff
* Coverage roundup: House sends $53.1 billion FY25 budget to the governor
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Live coverage
* Welch: 'No one's ever said the House is boring'
* House passes budget 65-45 - BIMP passes 62-46 - Grocery tax elimination sails 86-20 - Revenue omnibus put on postponed consideration - Motion to reconsider passes - But big problem and Dems will have to suspend the rules - Concurrence motion finally passes as GOP gives up
* Yesterday's stories

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