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Question of the day

Tuesday, Aug 13, 2019

* Press release

Today, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs endorsed Elizabeth Warren for President. Frerichs was elected Treasurer in 2014 and previously served in the Illinois Senate. Frerichs has spent his career as a leading downstate voice for Illinois consumers, against climate change, and making it easier for students to go to college.

“Senator Elizabeth Warren has dedicated her life to protecting everyday Americans from the powerful entities that have controlled Washington for too long,” said Treasurer Frerichs.

“While others paid lip service to reform while cashing lobbyist checks, Elizabeth challenged the status quo and refused to be bought. She is focused, tireless, and the right person to lead us in our fight against corruption.”

“I am grateful to have Treasurer Frerichs in this fight with me. Mike is a stalwart guardian for investments in Illinois and a fierce advocate for consumers,” Warren said. “Whether he’s taking on giant corporations on behalf of workers or fighting the Trump Administration to protect our environment, Michael has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to what our movement for big, structural change is all about.”

I’d heard yesterday that Frerichs was about to make this announcement and it got me to thinking about his future. I suppose the second-term treasurer could run for US Senate if Dick Durbin ever retires. But that could be a long way off and white Downstate males ain’t exactly the party’s base or its future. So, a White House job could be a good gig. But that would depend on Warren winning the primary and the general and I do not want to get into that discussion here.

* The Question: What are your thoughts about Treasurer Frerichs’ political future? Make sure to fully explain your musings, please. And stay on-topic. Thanks.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments »
  1. - Lake Effect - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    Raja has 5.8 million federal dollars AND GROWING. he’s replacing Durbin


  2. - Jibba - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    Been hoping he would oust Davis in C13, but that is unlikely. Smart money is on Governor eventually or Senate after next term.


  3. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:05 pm:

    He’s done a decent job and is doing his best to get as many friendly media hits in a pretty ministerial office, like his predecessors. I wouldn’t say the sky’s the limit as he doesn’t seem to be super well known and checks zero demographic boxes, but he could move up depending of course on who the competition is. No one will clear a field for him though.


  4. - Suburbs - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    Time has passed by the white male (except $$ guys) especially in the Dem party. Mike is sharp but another Statewide office does not look likely. Re-election for awhile or a Dem WH appointment…but the Dems might just nominate someone who can lose to Trump (but I digress).


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:09 pm:

    People, drive-bys are being deleted. Don’t do it.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:10 pm:

    While I think Treasurer Frerichs has his head in the clouds, it’s high time we talk about him. He’s head and shoulders above the rest, a real redwood in the forest. His ceiling is unlimited and his elevator goes to the tippy-top floor unlike others can. He can reach for the sky and touch it, unmatched by so many, and he can see above the fray, like others, well, they say his top shelf is unreachable for others too.

    My fear, however, is Treasurer Frerichs might be short on options.

    But, that’s how I measure it up.


  7. - Iggy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    Probably at his ceiling for Illinois.

    Just because he flies under the radar doesn’t mean he is the prime contender for a real fight.


  8. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:11 pm:

    “white Downstate males”

    Does he still live Downstate? I see him around Chicago neighborhoods much more lately.


  9. - OneMan - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:12 pm:

    Well looking at it in a literal way he is head, shoulders and part of the upper torso above the other statewides…

    I think however unless some federal thing comes around, he is at his terminal job as it were.


  10. - Are we ever truly anonymous? - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    Warren Administration gig certainly seems like a possibility. Likely a post in Treasury but not hard to imagine one in Commerce or even HUD.

    Winning a Dem primary for Senate doesn’t seem super likely as a downstate white guy, but who knows.

    After a super close first race he got a pass (or more accurately, a Dodge) in his reelection race (albeit in a wave year), so I could see him staying put for a couple more terms as well.


  11. - Bertrum Cates - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    The last state Treasurer to successfully run for higher office was Alan Dixon.


  12. - Former Quigley Supporter - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Saw this endorsement called-out in POLITICO Illinois Playbook this morning. Agree that Raja is the one preparing to backfill Durbin after Durbin’s 5th term (or his demise prior to 2026).

    Secretary of State is the more likely, winnable future for Frerichs.


  13. - DarkDante - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    ==Oswego Willy’s entire 2:10 post==

    We get it, Willy, he’s tall. (/snark)

    Frerichs always struck me as a Lite Gov candidate. I could see him using a WH post as a spring board to higher elected office though.


  14. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    To the actual post this time;

    Frerichs is land locked.

    Can’t take on Pritzker, can’t go after Duckworth.

    Raoul will probably make another go, Jesse White will leave at some point, but that primary will be crowded and expensive.

    Nothing wrong with doing your current job best, and waiting out a bit for good timing.


  15. - A Jack - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    If Jesse retires, Mike might try for SOS. That would increase his state-wide name recognition for higher office runs later.


  16. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:26 pm:

    Should Jesse White ever retire, I would envision that as the most likely step for Frerichs.


  17. - Streator Curmudgeon - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:27 pm:

    I saw a bit Frerichs did on WMBD TV news in Peoria several weeks ago about the “missing cash” program. This program has been around for years, but Frerichs hyped it in person, and had a bank of phone operators in the studio taking calls from people who wondered if they had any unknown money due them. It was pretty glitzy.

    Later I asked myself,”What was up with that?” Clearly a self-promoting spin on an old chestnut. Then I asked myself, “Frerichs has a lock on his job for as long as he wants it. What’s his goal with all this?”

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with an answer to my own question. Now it’s starting to come into focus.


  18. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:28 pm:

    Probably pretty good. I thought he maybe would throw his name around for Governor in 2018 or maybe jump in for a little bit and see if he could catch fire. I guess white men are not the Party’s future unless you are a billionaire, but Treasurer Frerichs is scandal free and running the Treasurer’s Office pretty well. He is well positioned to move up even if there is not a clear next step.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    Further to the SoS point;

    Frerichs could roll the dice, and right now the primary would be the toughest part as the Raunerites littering the GOP couldn’t find anyone last time to run for *any* office, including running after him.

    You could see, all hypothetically, Mendoza, Frerichs, Manar(?) types looking at SoS, no big money, but we don’t know how having a statewide office, arguably the gem outside governor, open for the first time since, seemingly, “1958” with White’s departure.

    It’s a gamble.

    Do you risk being knocked out in a primary?


  20. - A guy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    He’s young enough to wait around for a shot at Governor.
    Not sure at all how the Warren endorsement helps him though. I guess I’ll just assume he likes her.


  21. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:45 pm:

    ===…white Downstate males ain’t exactly the party’s base or its future.===

    To this point of the discussion with Frerichs in mind, does that maybe put LG Stratton *ahead* of Frerichs in a non-existing order?


  22. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    He can probably be the Treasurer as long as he wants. SoS would be picking a fight that is a coin flip scenario. Yeah, a Treasury post in the Warren administration is probably his best bet if she can go the distance. He probably would have endorsed Biden, but you know the typical GOP and Democratic way… if you didn’t work for Goldman Sachs, you can’t work for the Treasury.


  23. - Sayitaintso - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    Frerichs has done a fine job, and as a result, his height isn’t the first thing that comes to mind (usually. Ahem….OW). Backing Warren is a smart move in that his thinking may be that Biden will drop slowly but surely, Bernie will as well, and Warren has shown she has the chops for the grind, and will rise to the top. He can say he was an early backer (if that ever matters). Smart fellow who despite his white tallness, he has a future.


  24. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 2:57 pm:

    I think Frerichs has done a commendable job but his future is probably limited to state level politics.

    =Time has passed by the white male=

    I am one of those (it really shouldn’t be a pejorative) and think I am a decent person. I will double check but I am pretty sure I still have a right to a voice and representation as well as a role in government. The concept that time has passed by white males is backward and undermines the spirit of our diverse nation, some how one group does not deserve a role.


  25. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:02 pm:

    The endorsement gives him a clear stake in a Warren administration, should that come to pass. It also gives him a clear reason to join high voltage campaign events in a year when no other statewides are running. And even if Warren isn’t the nominee, Frerichs could join a different Dem administration assuming Warren stays civil.

    To the question specifically, SoS is the clearest 2022 potential opening. As OW points out, that’s a risky move, but if he’s getting antsy to move up or move on, he might be willing to fight Susana Mendoza after her underwhelming run for mayor. If he’s willing to be patient, he’ll sit tight and wait for an admin job or wait for the right opportunity to open up.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:03 pm:

    ===…his height isn’t the first thing that comes to mind===

    … and yet, Frerichs ran two statewide runs focusing on, you guessed it, “he’s tall”

    That sentence ruined 6 years of branding, LOL


  27. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    ===To this point of the discussion with Frerichs in mind, does that maybe put LG Stratton *ahead* of Frerichs in a non-existing order?===

    I think it puts them in a similar state of limbo. Too qualified to fill other spots, but with jobs people don’t really pay attention to and thus, can’t get excited for.


  28. - Flat Bed Ford - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:04 pm:

    Meh. Frerichs isn’t up to a job where he really has to do something. Leader he most certainly isn’t. His fine in current role but not really energizing in any way.


  29. - club for growth - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:06 pm:

    As very tall men go, I’d put his future in national politics ahead of Bill de Blasio, behind Bill Bradley, and with a ceiling about that of Arne Duncan. Meaning, I think this diligent public servant has a good bet to be remembered for a job he was appointed to rather than elected.


  30. - Hamlet's Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    == Time has passed by the white male ==

    Eh, not really.

    White males constitute about 35% of the US population (as do white females). I predict white males will continue hold more than 35% of all elected offices for a significant length of time going forward.

    That said, scaling back to 35% of all elected offices from current percentages does leave many fewer opportunities for white males than previously.

    As for the question at hand I think all of the following are plausible -

    - White House appointment
    - SoS (after Jesse White retires)
    - Governor no sooner than 2026
    - US Congress after the new map is drawn
    - IL Treasurer for life


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    ==What’s his goal with all this?==

    It’s his job.


  32. - Birds on the bat - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    Frerichs is gonna have to wait for some dominos to fall if he’s gonna run for something other than Treasurer. SOS a definite possibility if Jesse bows out. I firmly believe Durbin will resign a year or two into his next term and Stratton gets that gig.

    Perhaps Frerichs can beef up and be the post man the Illini desparately need.


  33. - Boone's is Back - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    Doesn’t look like all of the drive by comments have been deleted. I’d love to see the IP addresses on some of the above. Lots of competitive staffers and pol trolls out there.

    As for Frerichs I think he’s done a nice job and is trying to position himself for the future. Lots can change quickly. Anybody anticipate Lisa Madigan not running again?


  34. - Henry Francis - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 3:59 pm:

    As Treasurers go, he has done a fine job. But as has been mentioned above, Treasurers haven’t moved up in quite awhile. His future opportunities will be based not necessarily on the strength of his candidacy, but moreso on whether any of the handful of state Dems that are currently ahead of him decide not to run for that position.


  35. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    I vote for Illinois Treasurer for life. He’s done a good job and it seems like a very good fit. I think he seems too decent for national politics - in fact too decent for much of Illinois politics.


  36. - OurMagician - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:10 pm:

    =The last state Treasurer to successfully run for higher office was Alan Dixon=

    The Pat Quinn era is easily forgotten.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:18 pm:

    ===The Pat Quinn era is easily forgotten.===

    Pat Quinn, running for Secretary of State, lost. Pat Quinn was the sitting state Treasurer when he lost. That was 1994

    In 2002, eight years later, Quinn emerges as the winner of the Lt. Governor primary.

    The rest… is that history.


  38. - Herzog - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:36 pm:

    A few thoughts:

    1. Secretary of State has not been a viable path to Governor since 1998. That line of thinking is four decades old.

    2. “When I grow up, I want to be undersecretary of the Treasury” said no child, ever, in the history of the world.

    3. Frerichs has over a million in his campaign account. He has fortified his current position, he is ahead of everyone else in state money, and it suggests he has both strong fundraising skills and a fundraising base for federal office.

    4. A run for Governor or US Senate seem likely down the road. Frerichs would be a front runner, and well positioned assuming he is the only candidate from outside Chicagoland.


  39. - JP Altgeld - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:41 pm:

    The ABLE Act was really quite a special thing. Frerichs did more for people with disabilities in Illinois than basically any other state or local elected.

    US Senate will be tough. Bustos, Stratton, others, seem to be lining up for that and are strong.

    SOS is hard, too. Hastings clearly wants it, I assume at least 2 Chicago aldermen would go for that.

    He would be a great US Ambassador to Germany or Secretary of Ag.


  40. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:44 pm:

    ===Secretary of State has not been a viable path to Governor since 1998. That line of thinking is four decades old.===

    In 2002, Congressman Blagojevich won. The sitting Governor then won in 2006, the sitting governor in 2010 won too. Defeating a sitting governor is incredibly difficult.

    It took a multi-millionaire in 2014 to beat a sitting governor, a billionaire in 2018 to, you guessed it, beat a sitting governor.

    Thompson moves on, Secretary of State Edgar runs, wins.

    Edgar moves on, Secretary of State Ryan runs, wins.

    The lone anomaly is… Blago.

    ===Governor or US Senate seem likely down the road===

    No one is going to clear the field for the sitting state Treasurer.


  41. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 5:58 pm:

    This too…

    ===Secretary of State has not been a viable path to Governor since 1998. That line of thinking is four decades old.===

    Ryan, leaving the office in January 1999, was succeeded by Jesse White.

    Since 2002, Jesse White, choosing re-election in…

    2006
    2010
    2014
    2018

    … has stopped the path by… running for re-election 5 consecutive times while sitting governors won twice, a multi-millionaire defeating one incumbent governor, and a billionaire defeating another sitting governor.

    Secretary White choosing to stand still shouldn’t be ignored.


  42. - filmmaker prof - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 6:32 pm:

    Governor. It’s always been Governor.


  43. - Former Quigley Supporter - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 7:24 pm:

    Herzong, Michael Frerichs could be the next Dan Hynes, after Hynes’ winning re-election to comptroller in 2002, he and Frerichs seemed to have a lot in common, then Hynes tried to run for U.S. Senate in 2004, which was his 3rd statewide candidacy.

    And then came State Senator Barack Obama and the rest was history. So was Hynes back in 2006.

    Frerichs could be the next Hynes when he tries to move-up. And as was said earlier, Congressman Raja has over $5 million in *federal* dollars in his federal campaign account. That can’t be ignored.

    And even if SoS White, who’s in his 80s, should leave office early, I do not see a white guy being appointed SoS over a racial/ethnic minority and/or a woman, and Lt. Gov. Stratton would be an obvious choice for a mid-term appointment.


  44. - OurMagician - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 9:37 pm:

    =Pat Quinn, running for Secretary of State, lost. Pat Quinn was the sitting state Treasurer when he lost. That was 1994

    In 2002, eight years later, Quinn emerges as the winner of the Lt. Governor primary.

    The rest… is that history.+

    I just meant Quinn is the only Treasurer since Dixon to seek and win higher office after being treasurer. JBT tried for Governor and lost to Blago 2.0 (what were we thinking?) Alexi lost to Mark Kirk for Senate and Rutherford sought to turn the 1 term in Treasurer’s office into Governor as well and failed miserably. Between Dixon and Quinn we had Constantino twice who turned it into a brief stint in the Illinois wing of the federal pen and James Donnewald along with the appointed Donald Smith (was anyone ever charged in his murder?). Quinn was the only one to be elected higher up since Dixon after a stint in that office. It’s certainly not an office that leads anywhere. It’s all about the money right now and Frerichs is a long, long ways from being to compete in the Rauner/Pritzker world.


  45. - Play the long game - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 10:11 pm:

    Frerichs has a quality I admire: he knows how to achieve good policy and good politics in the same single move. He really stuck it to Rauner several times, moving good bills that not only helped regular folks, but put Rauner back on his heels and made him look (more) ineffective and foolish for opposing Frerichs.

    He’d make a good SOS, I’m sure. A Durbin replacement? He’s thoughtful and articulate and experienced. But it’s a crowded field.
    Frerichs would have been a viable gubernatorial candidate before the billionaires took it over.


  46. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 10:59 pm:

    === Raja has 5.8 million federal dollars AND GROWING ===

    The Chris Kennedy campaign just called, they want their campaign plan back. BTW, that was Rod’s campaign plan back in 2002, for anyone who is not old enough to remember. I’m not knocking Raja, its just not a good argument.

    I’m actually not dismissing anyone’s prospects who has been seriously mentioned. 2022 is a long way off. So is Senator Durbin’s retirement. For right now, the future of every Illinois Democrat rests with the success of Governor Pritzker, the defeat of Donald Trump, and the passage of the Fair Tax Amendment. That’s what my spare time is focused on.


  47. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Aug 13, 19 @ 11:19 pm:

    OurMagician -
    “(what were we thinking?)” It was Year 6 of a GOP Presidency (yeah, I know, this is a Illinois-centric blog), it was a 3 way race, and Blago still got less than 50%. Head to Head with JBT when it is NOT Year 6 of a GOP Presidency, Blago loses.


  48. - Former Quigley Supporter - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 12:04 am:

    Yellow Dog Democrat, It is a good argument because Raja’s $5.8 million has already been raised under federal rules, while a governor’s campaign fund has far fewer rules than an FEC-administered race, especially back in ‘02.


  49. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 7:13 am:

    ===Quinn was the only one to be elected higher up since Dixon after a stint in that office.===

    You forgot JBT… she was elected Comptroller


  50. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 14, 19 @ 7:29 am:

    ===It’s all about the money right now and Frerichs is a long, long ways from being to compete in the Rauner/Pritzker world.===

    Except it’s not.

    Both Rauner and Pritzker defeated failing governors

    It took nine-figures both times to defeat the sitting governors

    Quinn and Rauner were so bad… it took over $100 million to defeat the incumbent.

    Nothing changed. It’s difficult to defeat incumbent governors… unless they are Quinn or Rauner.


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