Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x1 *** Cabonargi claims Harmon mistakenly listed as an endorser
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*** UPDATED x1 *** Cabonargi claims Harmon mistakenly listed as an endorser

Tuesday, Jan 14, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* This press release caused quite a stir within the Senate Democratic caucus…

Progressive Leaders Endorse Michael Cabonargi for Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court
Progressives at multiple levels of government rally behind the only candidate with a vision to bring progressive reform to the Clerk’s office

Michael Cabonargi, candidate for Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court, announced today that he received endorsements from an ever-growing list of progressive leaders who represent the people of Cook County at various levels of government, including the following:

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago)
State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park)

Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) is also running for circuit court clerk. The Senate President election is this coming Sunday, so endorsing against Sen. Martinez wouldn’t have gone down too well in the caucus, no matter which side Martinez is on. Harmon has said he endorsed Sen. Dan Biss in the Democratic gubernatorial primary because Biss was a colleague and he endorses colleagues.

* Harmon’s people say he did not endorse Cabonargi, even though he has been a contributor over the years and passed petitions for him. Sen. Martinez told me Harmon also assured her this morning that he did not endorse Cabonargi.

* Cabonargi spokesperson Rebecca Evans…

Mike has appreciated the support and friendship of Don Harmon for a number of years, but his name was mistakenly listed on a large list of endorsements that was announced today. It’s since been corrected.


…Adding… From an email sent by Democratic Party of Oak Park Committeeman Don Harmon ( in November of last year…


*** UPDATE *** Sen. Iris Martinez just called.

“I’m f—ing pissed,” Sen. Martinez said. “He lied to me early this morning,” she claimed of Harmon’s call to tell her that he hadn’t endorsed Cabonargi.

Martinez pointed to the home page of the Democratic Party of Oak Park that Harmon chairs. It lists the county party’s slate of candidates, which includes Cabonargi. I explained to Martinez that this was the county party list not the township party list, but she was unmoved.

“It doesn’t matter,” Martinez said. “I know the games that are being played behind the scenes.”

Martinez was furious when Speaker Madigan wouldn’t back her bid for countywide office and claimed that Harmon was making “a Madigan move, making sure that I’m not the endorsed candidate.”

“I’m just really disgusted right now about this,” she said, saying it was “typical of some of these committeemen.”


  1. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    Potential Senate presidents can’t just endorse anybody

  2. - Roman - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 1:50 pm:

    Seems to be a trend developing. Lipinski did the same thing with an endorsement list. Campaign pro tip: pick up the phone and confirm everyone before you click send.

  3. - Games - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:06 pm:

    All the insiders know Don is with Mike. He has to pretend he is not for now.

    Don supported Biss against great odds. If he “endorses colleagues” he would not hesitate to endorse a colleague who he has known for a long time to become the only county-wide Latino/a. Games, as usual.

  4. - Altgelds Ghost - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    The combine sticks together.

  5. - The Games He Plays - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    You don’t pass petitions for someone you aren’t supporting. Don can’t fib his way out of this one.

  6. - Oak Parker - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    Don Harmon’s recent history of endorsing Senate colleagues rather than the slated Democratic candidate is why representatives of a “big guy” are making calls on behalf of Kim Lightford for Senate President

  7. - King Louis XVI - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:27 pm:

    Harmon’s transactional, situational operating style is what will have doomed his bid if he loses to Lightford.

  8. - Emily - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Harmon voted to endorse Martinez at the slating meeting of the Cook County Democratic Party. Cabonargi made a mistake.

  9. - Altgelds Ghost - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    Don Harmon is a creation of Mike Madigan.
    If you like the results Madigan has delivered for the state over the last 25 years, you will love Don Harmon.
    He’s just like Madigan but without the good-natured sense of humor.

  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:35 pm:

    === Don Harmon is a creation of Mike Madigan===

    Do a solid for me.

    Who is *NOT* a creation of Mike Madigan?

    I’ll let your hyperventilating subside, then answer, please.

  11. - TopHatMonocle - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    Everyone seems like a genius when they’re unopposed. The true measure is when they run into real opposition, and that’s when inadequacies are laid bare for all to see. Both Cabonargi and Harmon look bad in this situation, and it seems like they both might have reached past their limits. Can’t hack it anymore I guess.

  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    Both Cabonargi and Harmon are “climbers”.

    Climbers reach and do things to, well, climb.

    The ends of what they both want, the means to get them there are head scratchers, like with all climbers.

    Climbers also plan on two things; winning and short memories until they can mend fences.

    Other times, things like this happen. Now it’s more like climbing out of the hole these two dug for themselves.

    We’ll see

  13. - Altgelds Ghost - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    OW — According to Don’s own bio on the website of the law firm where he is a partner
    “Prior to his election to the Illinois Senate, he served as Deputy Legal Counsel to then-House Democratic Leader Michael J. Madigan.”
    Dohn is still advertising it. He also worked for MJM protege Roger Kiley at Mayer Brown before heading to the ultimate MJM inside law form Burke Burns and Pinelli, where Don has been a partner since 2005.
    I’ll tell you who is not a creation of MJM — Kim Lightford.
    I could give you a list. It includes lots of people of color, and a few others whop dare to challenge the little tyrant.
    How’s that for solid? On this subject, your knowledge is soft or intentionally m, misleading.

  14. - Games - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    ==Harmon voted to endorse Martinez at the slating meeting of the Cook County Democratic Party. Cabonargi made a mistake.==

    Games. The update speaks volumes. He knew when in November that Iris was still running.

    Every senator he is courting should wonder whether to trust what he tells them.

  15. - Altgelds Ghost - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:47 pm:


    Some articles from the past. Nothing like independent journalism to shed light on the situation.


  16. - Opening - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    Too many members of the Senate don’t trust Harmon. He’s been running for this office since forever yet he’s struggling. This type of thing over the years is exactly why.

  17. - Da Lobsta - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    Ha, Harmon keeps promising everything to everyone. It’s crashing in on him, and he’s still clinging to it. Reality will set in soon. If he’s lucky, it will be before the caucus vote when he loses all leverage.

  18. - Zack - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Is it too early to call this “pulling a Lipinski” ?

  19. - The Most Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:17 pm:

    @Zack not too early, just incorrect. Two different situations. This is called “pulling a Harmon.”

  20. - Donnie Elgin - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:21 pm:

    Harmon not displaying profiles in courage with this debacle. He is best when articulating his Oak Park friendly “sensible Gun Control” messaging

  21. - TNR - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:28 pm:

    Who is Martinez backing in the senate president race? All the speculation I’ve heard is she’s with Lightford.

  22. - Zack - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:29 pm:

    @The Most Anonymous - I respectfully disagree. Both candidates put a name that did not belong on an endorsement press release after assuming their support without calling the endorser directly to confirm.

  23. - Bored Chairman - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    Iris Marinez - she seems stable.

  24. - Clever Child - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:36 pm:

    Senator Harmon helped Sen. Nybo in his re-election against Sen. Glowiak. Everyone knows it. He went against Sen. Castro in her primary supporting the male candidate instead and now claims not to have had a hand in that. More of the same from him now with Senator Martinez, another female Senator.

  25. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:42 pm:

    “All the speculation I’ve heard is she’s with Lightford.”

    If she wasn’t before, she is now.

  26. - Shytown - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    == Iris Martinez - she seems stable. ==

    It’s comments like this that scream for changing the culture in Springfield by moving more women to the top of the leadership chain. More of the same will breed more neanderthal comments like this one (no offense to the neanderthals).

  27. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:48 pm:

    ===Harmon voted to endorse Martinez at the slating meeting of the Cook County Democratic Party.===

    If that’s true, Martinez should’ve known that. And since she is not the slated candidate, she ought to know that, as Committeeman, Harmon has to carry the slate regardless of personal preference (although all of us know that rule is often ignored and rarely enforced).

    It’s also quite possible that Harmon knew Cabonargi had the slating vote locked up and so Harmon could vote for Martinez without damaging Cabonargi. That’s been known to happen too.

    The crazy thing is that I don’t think either Martinez or Harmon or anyone else thought John Cullerton was going to step down the way he did. That made Harmon’s delicate dance (assuming that’s what this was) a heck of a lot more difficult and fraught with peril.

    Regardless, Martinez now has someone for which she can exact a bit of revenge. It doesn’t matter if it’s true that Harmon voted to slate Martinez. It sure looks like Harmon is going to need to find 29 Senate Democrats not named Martinez to put him in the big chair.

    I hope he enjoys gazpacho.

  28. - Lincoln Lad - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 3:58 pm:

    This alone demonstrates why Harmon should not be the choice for Senate Prez. If the onion got peeled, there are a multitude of examples where similar disqualifying actions have occurred.

  29. - Boomerang - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:07 pm:

    === I hope he enjoys gazpacho. ===
    Good one!
    (No soup for you!!)

  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    - Altgelds Ghost -

    Good stuff. Appreciate the thoughtfulness to counter your drive bys.

    The clarity you give now separates… from the defaulting “Madigan” silliness that a drive by tries to drop.


  31. - Stan with the plan - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:20 pm:

    eekk Harmon’s law firm pulled in 9 million in state contracts… I wonder if that amount will grow if he’s elected senate prez… ok donnie, we sniffed out the real reason you want the top spot. Sheesh. It’s only progressive the your pockets are progressing

  32. - sammiches - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:25 pm:

    so i’m going to move senator martinez from neutral to leaning lightford…

  33. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:25 pm:

    sammiches, I legit laughed out loud.

  34. - Spfldoutsider - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    Just more evidence the Senate needs to vote for Kim Lightford to be the next Senate President. It’s time for a woman to lead at least one chamber in the General Assembly. The old boy’s network in Illinois politics that contributes to the toxic culture needs broken up for good.

  35. - Rachel - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 4:51 pm:

    An interesting takeaway from this post is that many want Harmon’s endorsement.

  36. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    Those saying this is Harmon playing games haven’t been paying attention. Harmon has consistently supported his Senate colleagues over even old friends. This was just a mistake by Team Cabonargi that people are trying to turn into something it’s not.

    And while so many comments here are complete nonsense, this one takes the cake:

    “Senator Harmon helped Sen. Nybo in his re-election against Sen. Glowiak.”

    That will come as a surprise to Senator Glowiak who knows Harmon helped her. I know the closer we get to the vote the more people will be inclined to peddle nonsense, but cmon people. Try to keep it together.

  37. - Amalia - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 5:55 pm:

    @Bored Chairman….are you having a bad day? or a bad life?

  38. - NotBecky - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 6:42 pm:

    “The old boy’s network in Illinois politics that contributes to the toxic culture needs broken up for good”

    LOL - Team Lightford has been explicitly threatening retribution to anyone that won’t get behind Lightford. So please do tell how Cabonargi’s mistake is the example of the toxic culture.

  39. - NOW - Tuesday, Jan 14, 20 @ 8:31 pm:

    NotBecky, no one on Lightford’s team has been threatening any retribution, but sounds like Harmon is nervous about Carbonargi’s “mistake”.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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