* Commenter Southside Markie received a robocall from Newt Gingrich today asking him to vote for Gov. Rauner. It takes a few seconds to get started…
I suppose the idea here is to help shore up Rauner’s conservative base. But is anyone even answering their phones in this state right now? Is Team Rauner worried or just being careful not to miss a trick? I suppose we’ll find out tomorrow.
Hi. This is Newt Gingrich. Calling to remind you to vote on Tuesday, March 20th in the Republican primary.
Bruce Rauner is leading a revolution against the corruption in Springfield. Mike Madigan has been in power for far too long and Bruce Rauner is the only one who can win the fight against the Madigan machine. That’s why it’s so important you vote for Bruce Rauner on Tuesday, March 20th.
When asked to account for his own spending against Democratic candidates in the midst of his own primary, Rauner replied that “meddling ain’t the word for what the DGA is doing.”
“You haven’t heard me say, ‘hey, Biss is too liberal,’ you haven’t seen me say “vote Kennedy,” Rauner told reporters. “You hear the Democratic Governors Association coming in and supporting my opponent.”
In the course of the press conference, Rauner also accused Pritzker several times of hiding his wealth in offshore accounts to avoid property taxes — something Rauner may also be guilty of, according to the Chicago Tribune, pointing out that Rauner’s name had been posted as an investor in a pool registered in the Cayman Islands through his private equity firm GTCR.
“We have got to fight back against Madigan, and she has specifically said she wouldn’t push back on his income tax hike that they passed over my veto last summer,” Rauner said. “And she specifically has voted against property tax relief.”
Ives said Rauner is telling desperate lies: “It is Rauner and the DGA who share the same policy positions on abortion, sanctuary state, Chicago bailouts and the like.”
* “Voter shaming” letters were a big thing two years ago. They appear to be back and even more blatant. From a subscriber…
Lots of folks in the neighborhood [are upset] about this today — we’re getting a ton of calls and visits to the [redacted] about it. It’s a letter from an outfit called the “Illinois State Voter Program” that looks suspiciously like the earlier mail sent out by that Lipinski front group, United for Progress. (Although there are no “paid for” disclaimers on this piece.)
Looks like a curious effort to guilt folks into voting tomorrow by implying they’ll be exposed to their neighbors as a non-voter if they don’t. The addresses listed and redacted in the attached letter are the mail recipient’s neighbors.
We did some checking and it turns out the letter is only being sent to “Leaners” — we know of no Hard D’s or Hard R’s who had it mailed to them. Looks like an attempt to get middle-of-the-road voters to show up tomorrow — assuming they’ll pull a Dem ballot and vote for Lipinski.
Like the earlier United for Progress piece, the “Illinois State Voter Program” uses a Lockport P.O. Box as its return address.
Just heard from a guy from [redacted] who got the letter. In addition to listing the neighbors on his block, they listed two of his Facebook friends — one who lives in Oak Lawn and another who lives in Garfield Ridge. Pretty sophisticated data dive.
…Adding… The “group” even has a website. Click here. It was created March 9th. But check out what happens once you input your info…
They need a spell-checker.
* Moving right along…
I received this very ominous (and very unsolicited) text with a link to the attached anti-Rauner video from what I assume is a @JeanneIves text-banking campaign. Worth noting that I'm a strong Dem voter. pic.twitter.com/kaRR3EHV8h
[The DGA’s new TV ads are] hardly the kind of thing that would turn off conservatives ahead of a primary. In a statement, Rauner’s campaign said the Democratic Governors Association launched it because it feared the incumbent.
“That’s why they’ve decided to overtly attempt to influence the outcome of the Republican primary in favor of a candidate who is simply unelectable in Illinois,” said Rauner communications director Will Allison.
The Democratic Governors Association denies engaging in any such shenanigans.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin, D-Oak Park, has called on the Illinois Board of Elections to investigate several hundred phony campaign signs that popped up across his district over the weekend, just days before the primary election.
The signs ask voters to “un-elect” Boykin and refer to the first-term commissioner as a Republican. Boykin’s 1st District covers much of Chicago’s West Side and the near western suburbs. […]
Boykin said he saw between 300 and 400 of the signs across the district over the weekend.
* Gov. Rauner was on KMOX Radio today and was asked if it wouldn’t be more productive to try to build a better relationship with Speaker Madigan and maybe try to work with the guy. His response...
Well, you know what, Mark, here’s, here’s the issue. Do you, is it good to be buddies, would we be safer and better off if somebody had been buddies with Al Capone? Is the mafia, I mean, the corruption, the self-dealing is, is out of control in Illinois. And you don’t beat that by friendship. You don’t beat that by talkin’. You do it through political pressure and getting more leigslators elected who aren’t loyal to Mike Madigan, they’re loyal to their local districts.
* And then the governor retold the story (which he said Madigan would deny, “but you know what, it’s the truth”) about how Madigan told him once many years ago that he had no goals for making Illinois better, he was just in politics to manage power and make money…
And you know what? You don’t befriend that. You don’t talk with that. You beat that through hard work and electing reformers and that’s what we’re gonna do.
Well, you know what, they broke down because of the pressure Mike Madigan. Mike Madigan wanted the three-year budget impasse, he wanted the pressure, he finally broke a few people. But, you know what, he’ll never break me. And we’ll get more strong-willed people in there and we’ll beat him. It’s just gonna take persistence.
* Greg Hinz: Is tomorrow the day of reckoning for Mike Madigan?: But no one’s political career is on the line more than the guy who, one way or another, has been in almost every TV ad on both sides of the aisle this year. That’s Illinois House Speaker and state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan, who has been the last man standing after political brawls for more decades than I care to remember but now is under unprecedented political assault.
Michael Ferro is retiring from the board of Tronc ahead of the newspaper chain’s $500 million sale of the Los Angeles Times and other California assets.
Ferro’s retirement is effective immediately, the company said. Justin Dearborn, chief executive officer of Tronc, was named to succeed Ferro as chairman of the company that also owns the Chicago Tribune, New York Daily News and other major daily newspapers. […]
In recent weeks, Ferro has discussed with his fellow board members and the management team his desire to retire as chairman in connection with the closing of the Times transaction, the company said in the news release.
Kathryn Minshew finally felt like a weight had lifted. It was September of 2013, and after months of back-and-forth, Michael Ferro, then-chairman of investment firm Wrapports, had at last signed a term sheet promising her career-advice startup, The Muse, the $750,000 infusion of capital it needed to make it past the end of the year. Now, at Ferro’s suggestion, the two were headed to his company’s corporate apartment in downtown Chicago for an evening of takeout and discussion of how The Muse might go on to a land a much bigger round of funding.
But once they stepped into the apartment, Ferro seemed to forget about their plans to strategize. He poured two glasses of bourbon and, giving one to Minshew, put his hand on the back of her head and pulled her face in for a kiss, she says. Although the move was forceful enough that she couldn’t pull away, she says she was able to turn her head so that Ferro’s lips landed on her cheek. […]
Less than three years later in Las Vegas during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, Hagan Kappler says she found herself in a similar position—at a private dinner in Ferro’s Aria hotel suite under the pretense of doing business. Kappler, then an executive at manufacturing giant Ingersoll Rand, thought she was there to talk thermostats with Ferro, who had recently sold his healthcare startup to IBM. Instead, Kappler says he repeatedly wrapped his arms around her from behind. She told him he was in her space and that she didn’t like it. Then he did it again, this time groping her breast. […]
On Monday, Ferro announced that he was retiring from the board of directors of Tronc, and that CEO Justin Dearborn would succeed him as chairman. Ferro will still be paid $5 million-per-year by Tronc through Dec. 31, 2020, to serve as a consultant. […]
Fortune reached out to Ferro last week with the details of both women’s accounts. Through a spokesman, he declined to be interviewed and did not address or dispute any of the specific allegations made by Minshew and Kappler or others in this story.
Today Ferro’s spokesman provided this statement to Fortune: “Over more than 20 years of leading public companies and other enterprises, Michael Ferro has never had a claim filed against him nor a settlement made on his behalf. Your on-the-record allegations appear to involve private conduct with private individuals who were not employees of tronc or any other company he ran. As recently announced, Mr. Ferro has retired back to private life after leading a financial turnaround of tronc as the non-executive chairman. There will, therefore, be no other comment.”
* More layoffs hit Chicago Tribune newsroom: Thursday’s layoffs and the uncertainty surrounding them may help fortify an effort to unionize Tribune editorial employees. Last week a group of staffers met with representatives of the Chicago News Guild, longtime bargaining agent for the Sun-Times and numerous suburban papers. The meeting was described as preliminary to a full-scale organizing effort.
Tomorrow is Primary Day and a crucial day for the pro-family movement in Illinois.
We must elect Jeanne Ives to be the GOP candidate for Governor and defeat the modern day King Herod, Bruce Rauner, who has broken every promise he has made to the voters. […]
Thanks to David Smith, Illinois Family Action, Ralph Rivera, Illinois Citizens for Life Pac, Reverend Bob whose radio ads you have been hearing, and all the other pro-life and pro-family leaders. Family-Pac has been proud to fight by your side in this important campaign.
Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus.
And that radio ad mentioned above is a truly despicable move. I’m not gonna post it. Period. It’s not a shenanigan, it’s reprehensible.
* Meanwhile, the governor is still focusing attention on those devious DGA TV ads…
Today, at a campaign event in Hanover Park, Governor Rauner addressed the Democratic Governors Association running TV ads in support of his primary opponent. At the event, Governor Rauner made the following statement in response to Washington Democrats throwing their support behind an unelectable candidate like Jeanne Ives:
“The Democratic Governors Association, supported by JB Pritzker, are running ads trying to boost Ives in our primary. They know they can beat Ives and they want Ives to win. We need everybody to know it, and we need everybody to get to the polls. Don’t let the Democratic Governors Association and Washington Democrats influence the outcome of the Republican primary in the state of Illinois. Republicans: get to the polls and vote for Rauner and Sanguinetti.” – Governor Bruce Rauner
Ordering voters around in the third person is an interesting tactic.
* Speaking of that presser, the Pritzker campaign says the governor had a melt-down today. I’m not kidding…
Manic Monday: Rauner Melts Down Before Election Day
Chicago, IL – In a bizarre press conference this morning, Rauner stumbled and laughed through questions as he closed out his flailing primary campaign with desperate attacks on Democrats.
After conservative media outlets have fueled Jeanne Ives’ rise, Rauner begged Republican primary voters not to support his insurgent challenger at the last-ditch presser. Rauner hypocritically railed on Democrats for running ads in another party’s primary, while dodging questions on his qualifications and accomplishments, nervously laughing nearly half a dozen times during Q&A.
“While Jeanne Ives continues to surge just hours ahead of Election Day, Bruce Rauner is manically melting down,” said Pritzker communications director Galia Slayen. “Rauner is sounding the alarm on his own sinking campaign as Illinoisans are preparing to vote in the primary he once took for granted.”
* A couple of people have sent me pics like this today. Dan Proft is mailing out the latest edition of one of his papers…
I received one, too, by the way. It’s basically just “Ives, Ives, Ives” for several pages.
* Democratic House candidate David Bonner has been getting big bucks from Statehouse interest types, but he’s also being hit in the mailboxes…
Debbie Meyers-Martin has only reported having about $21K in cash, so I’m not sure where she’s getting money for a 4-5 piece mail program unless it’s a limited list and/or she’s getting a bunch of small-dollar contributions.
House Deputy Majority Leader Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said Saturday a false mailer written by Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) means he can no longer remain neutral in the 8th District Democratic senate primary. Lang said the campaign brochure claimed that he had endorsed Silverstein when he had not. In response, he endorsed Ram Villivalam. […]
Silverstein told Patch Lang had not previously indicated that he would remain neutral:
1) It never crossed my mind that after 18 plus years of my constant support for Rep Lang that he would not assist and support me. In fact, we passed his nominating petitions.
2) He mentioned a conversation with me. In terms of that conversation, I heard that Rep Lang must be neutral until my matter before his committee was adjudicated. I respected that need for objectivity and ability to consider the matter fully. In that matter he showed great integrity. But once I was cleared by the Inspector General of the charges, and his committee’s responsibilities correctly discharged and the matter no longer before him, I thought our relationship would revert to the usual. Mutual support.
* Steve Rhodes has written some last-minute deep dives about the various campaigns. From his profile of Sen. Daniel Biss…
First, what was Carlos Ramirez-Rosa all about? Really? And I don’t mean that because he’s socialist, I mean that because he’s a 29-year-old first-term Chicago alderman. […]
Biss has a legitimate shot at winning the nomination Tuesday.
That’s a far cry from when Chicago magazine asked a few months ago if he had considered dropping out due to low polling numbers. (At that point, Pritzker had spent $7 million; he’s now spent $70 million and he’s in the exact same place in the polls. Maybe he should’ve been the one to drop out!) […]
Just say it. Own your choice. “Right now, getting Bruce Rauner out of office is more important than policy differences, expertise or any of the other traditional arguments we’d make when offering an endorsement. We can’t afford to take any chances, and Pritzker’s money offers us the most security in reaching our top goal: denying Rauner a second term.” Just say it. It’s not necessarily an unjust position. But don’t cloak it in [expletive deleted]. […]
I just know that Biss’s head-exploding exasperation during that last WTTW debate as two plutocrats who have refused to release their tax returns accused him of being the cynical poser we don’t really know seemed awfully genuine to me.
Pritzker is the Establishment’s candidate, and I must say I’ve been wrong in asserting that was only because of his checkbook. It’s also because he can be counted on not to rock the boat.
When you refuse to criticize Joe Berrios, much less endorse a challenger, you are truly Mike Madigan’s and Ed Burke’s guy.
“I’m not revealing who I voted for or who I’m supporting in that race,” Pritzker said, in the campaign’s final debate. […]
“Oh my gosh,” Chris Kennedy exclaimed in a truly genuine moment. ” If you can’t take a position on whether Joe Berrios should be re-elected . . . you shouldn’t be the governor of the state of Illinois.”
Perhaps Rauner’s biggest Pants on Fire lie? Pretending to not know what “pants on fire” means (Reporter: “It means that it’s not only false, it’s ludicrous . . . “) - or, more like, evading with dismissive scorn what fact-checkers tend to find when verifying his many truth-challenged statements. That alone shows the same dismissiveness to Illinoisans whose lives have been absolutely mangled by his single-minded pursuit of Moby Mike. […]
[The Democratic Governors Association is] playing with fire. Do you really want to further activate whatever Trump forces exist in Illinois (a state that has thus far not been fertile to Trump, just as it was not fertile for the Tea Party)?
As much as Democrats would also relish an Ives primary victory - based on the unproven notion that she’d be an easier opponent (certainly a less-moneyed one) than Rauner - it’s worth asking if working to make that happen is a good moral choice. None of this is good for democracy - especially one that seems like it’s crumbling. Pulling another thread from our already frayed civic life only hastens its demise.
[In reference to Kennedy’s freakout on an elevator during the 2016 Democratic National Convenion] Kennedy wasn’t wrong about the behavior of media packs, but boy was he wrong about how to handle it. Can you imagine him as governor? Can you really? […]
Back to Jacobin:
Along with the rest of his family, Kennedy has also continued to benefit from a piece of accounting wizardry that has inoculated his family’s wealth from taxes. As Carol O’Donnell of Forbes outlined, the Kennedys have long used “dynasty trusts” to both protect their wealth from the greed of individual family members, as well as shield it from the government’s busy hands.
But upon selling Merchandise Mart to Vornado Realty in 1998, the family also potentially avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale by entering into an “operating partnership unit” with the company, giving the Kennedys an ownership stake in Vornado. This also means that individual Kennedys have been reaping millions of dollars in dividends for years. Given that Chris Kennedy was the Vornado Realty Trust’s executive officer from 2000 to 2011, it’s likely he did, too. […]
It’s quite likely we’d know for sure if he released his tax returns. […]
Look, the guy is Not Ready For Prime Time.
* Other stuff…
* Our antiweed governor better take note: downstate is also going to pot: “I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana. I think it’s a big experiment on young people’s brains and development. We should study what’s going on in Colorado and California,” Rauner said. “Even [Colorado governor John] Hickenlooper says, ‘Bruce, you guys in Illinois, you ought to wait awhile and study what’s going on here. ‘Cause it ain’t all good.’” OK, first of all—no one’s rushing to do anything. If anything, they’re taking too [expletive deleted] long.
* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back: Late Chicago political analyst Paul Green coined the phrase “Downstate holds the key to victory,” in which he meant statewide contests were ultimately decided by the votes from the small farming communities, university towns and former centers of industry that dot the area outside of Chicago and its suburbs. But, mirroring national trends, many traditional Democratic constituencies downstate have for one reason or another moved away from the party.
Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’ll fight for Illinoisans. But only if he wins re-election.
If he loses, Rauner’s wife, Diana, says she and Bruce are out of here.
“Bruce and I are moving to Italy,” a source says she flippantly told a group of “mostly Democrat” women from DuPage County last Thursday.
* The DGA then used the Proft paper story to troll the Rauners in its latest press release, which ends…
The Rauners would fit right in – they’re already wine connoisseurs of the highest degree.
Diana Rauner’s response came from a question about Illinois’ out-migration problem. Under Bruce Rauner, the problem has only gotten worse.
Is Bruce next?
“Given his rock-bottom approval ratings, it’s not surprising that Bruce Rauner is already planning his escape,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “And frankly, Italy’s a great choice. Illinois is worse under Bruce Rauner, so it’s no wonder he’d want to escape the mess he created. This year, Illinois voters are going to be saying – Ciao, Bruce!”
And they helpfully included this pic…
*** UPDATE *** The governor was actually asked about the story today and he dodged the question…
Rauner was asked whether he would stick around Illinois should he lose. He laughed, then said, "That's a whole 'nother subject. Let me be clear. We aren't going to lose. I'm a fighter. I never give up and I have fought hard for six years. I've lost 20 pounds, most of my hair."
* She got the congressman’s name wrong (Ray is the father), but it’s Twitter and we’re all tired, so no big deal…
Ives campaign says Cong Ray Lahood told them he was at a public event of elected officials and not endorsing @GovRauner even tho Rauner spox said Gov & Lahood were campaigning together today in Peoria #ILGov@JeanneIves
* Pics of the alleged act (which could very well be someone throwing away a sign planted in the public way, making this a Tarver campaign shenanigan)…
They sent a third pic of the guy behind the wheel showing his license plate that I’m not going to post. But the plate of the alleged perp was a variation on the word “enchanting.” I told you that so you could understand the joke they texted: “Well, we’re definitely enchanted.”
“I’ve done 25 or 30 races over the years, and I’ve never seen a party turn away from a lawmaker like this,” said Thom Serafin, a former Democratic consultant who is now an independent political analyst in Chicago.
Thom and I are old pals, but he may have forgotten about his friend US Sen. Alan Dixon, an old-style conservative Democrat who got outflanked on his left by Carol Moseley Braun.
Blue Dog Democats expressed anger earlier this winter that the DCCC hadn’t come through with an endorsement for the incumbent. But Lipinski has since told the Washington Examiner he’s getting the committee’s support.
“And I would hope so,” Blue Dog Kurt Schrader said in the Speaker’s Lobby on Wednesday. “Why would members pay dues to the DCCC if they don’t have your back at the end of the day?”
The party apparatus itself hasn’t turned against the congressman. The DCCC is with him. The Cook County regular organization is with him. The Illinois AFL-CIO is with him. Some fellow party members have, however, turned against him.
In interviews with nearly a dozen Democrats, most said they are glad to have a real debate on issues in a district that has been virtually unchallenged for decades, including those who support Lipinski.
“We have not had a choice, a real choice, in at least 14 years,” said Newman supporter Mary Anne Quinlian. “Not having a choice makes everyone feel limited. That isn’t healthy.”
But Lipinski says progressive pressure may drive centrists like him away from the Democrats for good.
“I have seen the Democratic Party, unfortunately, push pro-life voters out of the party,” Lipinski said. “I have people come up to me and say, ‘I used to be a Democrat and because of the life issue, I can’t be a Democrat anymore.’ ”
“We interviewed nearly a dozen Democrats and the first person we quoted is a Newman supporter and the second is the congressman himself! Hooray!” Also, Ms. Quinlan is a gun control activist. And there are no quotes in that piece from any people who aren’t identified as supporters of one candidate or the other.
• Of all the reasons challenger Marie Newman has mustered to defeat Rep. Dan Lipinski in their Democratic primary contest, calling him a “Trump Democrat” is potent political shorthand for turning out her vote.
• In pro-Lipinski direct mail pieces secretly financed by a donor or donors hiding under the name Americans Committed for Progress — it’s a phony organization — Lipinski is portrayed as anti-Trump, even though he hasn’t carved out a niche as standing up to an anti-Trump agenda Democrat.
Lipinski’s own direct mail pieces sets him up as “fighting” Trump health care cuts. That’s to gloss and try to mitigate Lipinski’s opposition to the creation of Obamacare.
• It’s almost a given in this Illinois Democratic primary. Strategists tell me hitting Trump tests well. That’s why so many Illinois Democrats are using Trump.
Lipinski’s American Conservatives Union lifetime rating is just 19.12 out of 100. That’s the highest of all Illinois Democrats, but Peter Roskam’s is 82.77.
Lipinski has come under fire for moderate views that have often put him at odds with others in his party. Lipinski is one of the last pro-life Democrats in the House, and he voted against Obamacare. He did not publicly endorse President Obama in his 2012 reelection bid
Sometimes, time passes you by. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I’d bet good money if he wins they’ll come after him again in 2020.
Lipinski, allies say, was caught a bit flat-footed by the challenge. He told TPM a few weeks ago that he wasn’t sure “why anyone believes this is going to be a close race to begin with.” He was slow to launch TV ads slamming Newman, allowing her and her allies weeks to themselves to define the race. That allowed Newman to raise her once-nonexistent name ID and drill him for his regular breaks with his party, not an easy feat in Chicago’s expensive media market especially since it’s been saturated with heavy campaign spending from the billionaires running for Illinois governor.
A Lipinski poll taken early in the race found him with a 30-point lead; a recent survey from NARAL found Newman within two points.
* From Citizens For A Better Illinois, a coalition of NARAL, the Human Rights Campaign, SEIU, MoveOn, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and EMILY’s List…
By Election Day, CBI will have spent more than $1.6 million to expose Dan Lipinski’s record.
After Rauner said he’d be moving back to the mansion in May, a reporter asked about a discrepancy in fundraising efforts. Money was raised to repair the mansion, but efforts to raise private money to repair buildings on the state fairgrounds haven’t been as successful since Rauner created a fair foundation in 2016.
“What we have found is that because Madigan and his legislators have resisted it and have fought against a fair foundation, there’s some reluctance among some donors to fund it, because they’re worried Madigan will somehow end-run it or block it in the future,” Rauner said. “His resistance to a fair foundation has inhibited donors and it’s frankly terrible.”
Yeah, that’s the only possible explanation.
*** UPDATE *** With a hat tip to a commenter, if you go to the Illinois State Fairgrounds Foundation’s website, you’ll see this…
Governor Bruce Rauner’s veto of a gun-dealer licensing bill last week took a lot of folks by surprise. It probably shouldn’t have.
We’ll get to the politics in a second, but as with HB40, the governor was acting on his beliefs. Rauner is a strong abortion-rights supporter, so he signed HB40 last year to provide public funding for abortions and protect women’s right to choose if Roe v. Wade is reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Governor Rauner also says he’s an NRA member. And he’s been railing against government regulations of business his entire adult life. This licensing bill checked both of those ideological boxes.
Okay, on to the politics.
After the disastrous two-plus-year state-budget impasse, HB40 gave him an opening with suburban women last year – and you can’t win statewide without that demographic.
Last week’s licensing-bill veto allowed him to throw some red meat at his GOP base a few days before the primary.
Getting on the front page of every newspaper in the state and leading the local TV news coverage and inserting himself into conservative talk radio shows would tend to help the governor with Republican primary voters.
And the more the Democrats scream about that veto, the more Rauner’s base is shored up at an important moment. That may sound cynical, and it most definitely is, but it’s difficult to deny. He upset a lot of conservatives by signing HB40. He needed to make it up to them.
Then, the Friday before the election, the Democratic Governors Association dropped almost half a million dollars on two TV ads designed to both help Rauner’s GOP primary opponent Representative Jeanne Ives court conservative, pro-Trump, pro-gun Republican primary voters and hurt the governor with that same Republican base.
As Rauner knows from his own personal experience, primaries often tighten up at the end. His polling had him leading by double digits four years ago at this time. Back then, he pulled down all his negative ads and switched to a fully positive campaign, only to barely squeak by on primary night. He wouldn’t want to make the same mistake twice.
Rauner probably suspected the DGA was about to do something, so his gun-bill veto earlier in the week was perfectly (accidentally, but still perfectly) timed.
It sure seems as I write this that the governor believed the race was tightening by looking at his behavior last week.
He vetoed that bill to regulate gun sellers, then held a hastily arranged press conference at the now-infamous Quincy veterans’ home to announce some “options” for the future, pulled down his negative TV ad attacking JB Pritzker, reportedly added $350,000 to his already huge $1.5 million buy for the final week, launched a new and more powerful negative ad against Representative Ives that ludicrously tried to connect her to Speaker Madigan, and quickly put together a new TV spot defending himself against the DGA’s onslaught.
With Republican turnout appearing to tank compared to four years ago (which might give the far-right base an advantage), along with the possibility that at least some Cook County Republicans might be taking Democratic ballots to vote against Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios (a possibility that Rauner himself encouraged with his constant attacks on the Madigan-Berrios combine), and the fact that the governor cannot campaign effectively on a record of accomplishments (his positive advertising just says what he will do in the future, although he does take full credit for proposing a $1 billion tax cut that has no chance of passage), plus the intense national political weirdness, it all adds up to a situation where the governor could not afford to take any chances at all.
But wait. What about the gun-bill veto’s impact on the fall campaign? After all, those crucial suburban women are not known for being pro-gun. Just the opposite.
Well, you gotta win the primary before you can get to the general. Plus, the governor is likely betting that the Democrats will send him more gun-related bills and he can sign some or even all of them once the primary is behind him, so he can balance things out for the fall.
The bottom line is: I don’t think this is the end for gun-control legislation this spring. In fact, it could wind up as just the beginning once we get to April. But that will rely on the Democratic leadership wanting to pass laws, not just bills. And I’m not sure yet which path they’ll take.
* I told you Sunday that Speaker Madigan’s 13th Ward Organization reported receiving $55,400 from the Teamsters’ DRIVE committee on Saturday. The 13th Ward got $55,400 from the pipe trades earlier this year. He’s apparently spending some of that money to convince voters that this guy will be an independent judge…
Hilarious. “He’s independent!” says the 13th Ward. Independent of… what?