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Question of the day

Thursday, Jan 16, 2020

* Center Square

Senators plan to return to Springfield on Sunday to pick the chamber’s next leader. Whoever is picked will only be allowed to serve in that capacity for a decade.

After the Senate adjourned on the final day of the fall legislative session, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, announced his retirement. Senators will pick his successor over the weekend.

* The Question: Which candidate do you support, Don Harmon or Kim Lightford? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…

bike tracks

…Adding… This is, by the way, our 3,000th Question of the Day.

…Adding… Argh! I forgot about this Maxwell post. They both defend the current district map…

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    Why did 16 voters skip the comments? Think we will pass for now

  2. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    I find Lightford more approachable.

  3. - 32nd warder - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Senator Lightford has demonstrated great legislative skill. she has the experience to lead the chamber through changing times, particularly when it comes to issues related to #metoo. the senate dems have the opportunity to make history by naming the first african american to this leadership position. she has earned this on her own merit, and she is the right person for this point in history. with the problems speaker madigan is having on the other side of the building, now is simply not the time to elect another white male to leadership.

  4. - Suzzz - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:43 pm:

    I voted for Leader Lightford.

    I’m done with white men. We seem to be doing pretty well with those in the leadership category.

  5. - BigLou - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    To 32nd’s post.
    I did not vote as I think they both have good qualities that make them capable. However I don’t think making history should be a factor, whose best for the state/people should be the overriding facor. I have had experiences with both of them by the way and do believe them to be good hearted, intelligent people.

  6. - Seriously? - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:49 pm:

    I understand the concept of white privilege, and I am not saying I would support Harmon anyway, but when did it become ok to bash people based on their race and gender? I am seeing a lot of white male bashing out there, and even in these comments. Do people really think that the best way to create a diverse, inclusive environment is to denigrate people like this?

  7. - So_Ill - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:51 pm:

    I voted for Harmon for his fundraising abilities.

  8. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    Picked Harmon out of Oak Park homerism and the thought that he might be better at fundraising and protecting members in swing districts. Both seem capable though.

  9. - Guv'nah Bond - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    Harmon because there will be way too much “was it Lightford or Lightfoot confusion”

  10. - Perrid - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    Picked Lightford. I’d be fairly happy with either, and frankly don’t think I know enough about either’s leadership skills to be a good judge, but since Lightford is already #2 it seems like Harmon would need to prove he brings a lot more to the table than her to “skip ahead”, and I just haven’t seen that.

  11. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:57 pm:

    It doesn’t matter which candidate I support, I’m not a Senator and I don’t have a vote.

    If I was a Senator, however, I’d be supporting Harmon. If I was a Senator from a suburban or downstate district, I would be loudly, enthusiastically, passionately supporting Harmon.

    The Senate is not the House. The President’s job is less about guiding complex legislation to passage and more about negotiating with the speaker and Governor on a host of issues. More importantly, the President’s job is about keeping the majority and that means running a smart and efficient campaign operation.

    Both of them are good legislators. Both can build coalitions. Both could be effective leaders. But I give the nod to Harmon because I trust his political campaigning and his ability to negotiate with the other leaders and the Governor.

    I’m afraid Lightford will be learning on the job as far as running 30+ campaigns, and I think she’s more likely to get rolled in negotiations with the Speaker and Governor.

  12. - midway gardens - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 2:58 pm:

    Not Harmon. Haven’t we seen enough of legislators who are attorney’s handling state clients.

  13. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    I picked Lightford. I like both of them, but it’s about time Democratic leadership has a woman, especially an African-American.

  14. - short staffer - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:03 pm:

    Lightford has a much more modern take on the direction the state needs to move in.

  15. - JS Mill - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:04 pm:

    My direct experience with Kim Lightford was not positive. During the development of SB 7 she was autocratic and self centered and incredibly rude. The only person that is more profane than her was Rahm Emmanuel. She was also the lead on SB 100 (student discipline) While many lauded it because of abuses in CPS, but for those of us that understand student discipline and practice it effectively, it added more red tape to a red tape filled day. I would be happy if she left the legislature, but I doubt that will happen.

  16. - welp ok - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:06 pm:

    3000 QODs? Which one had the most votes, Rich?

  17. - Da Lobsta - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:14 pm:

    Lightford seems truly better at managing expectations and limiting internal disputes. Harmon seems to upset everyone by trying to please everyone. He grovels and triangulates. She just leads. Sure, it’s great that she’s a woman. But she’s also just the stronger pick.

  18. - Peoples Republic of Oak Park - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    Ok look at my handle who do you think I voted for but when I voted it was 50-50.

  19. - Shytown - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:25 pm:

    Lightford. An unquestionable 20 year progressive record. It’s time.

  20. - Ok - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:27 pm:

    Somehow I don’t think there really have been almost 300 votes on this question. It has been freeped (exclamation).

    But at least freeped evenly.

  21. - Senator Clay Davis - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:30 pm:

    Harmon. Lightford has been far too close to ComEd to be trusted.

  22. - Anonish - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    I voted Harmon.
    He has consistently been able to help other members with their campaigns with both money and bodies.
    Based off my experiences with both of them I think he is better suited to lead the chamber, especially the remap

  23. - Maximus - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    Seems odd that the person’s gender plays a role in how effective a leader they are. Why does it matter if the person is male or female? It seems both of them would be a strong candidate regardless of gender. More important is both are properly vetted so if there IS some sort of history of abuse/molestation reports then that should be brought forth.

  24. - ugh - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:40 pm:

    Lightford’s negotiating style would set her up for success. She delegates what she doesn’t know, always picks really intelligent, hard-working people to do those tasks, and she has a gift for figuring out exactly what the sticking points are and a good gut for where she thinks it should go. She’s not scared to lean in, hard. I think it was 47th Ward who said above Lightford could get rolled by leadership and the Governor. I just can’t imagine Lightford getting rolled by anyone. She’s strong willed, smart, capable and any weaknesses she has, I think she’s aware of them. I think she will delegate where she needs to on those. I also think you just can’t deny the historic win this would be for the state. Representation matters.

  25. - Rutro - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:46 pm:

    I’d prefer neither, but I dislike Harmon a little less. Is there any chance for someone else?

  26. - Scott - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    I really do like both of them but I believe its time for an African American Woman to take on this role. Senator Lightfoot has demonstrated great leadership in her caucus and show have the opportunity to now lead the entire democratic senator field.

  27. - SAP - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    Harmon–Organizational skills, fundraising and campaigning ability, ability to build consensus.

  28. - Dozer - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    32nd Warder…Leader Lightford would not be the first African American elected Senate President. Perhaps first woman and first woman of color

  29. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 4:11 pm:

    Cecil Partee was the first African American Senate President Dozer.

  30. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 4:17 pm:

    voted outside of the box.

  31. - Nieva - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 4:38 pm:

    Harmon because he is the lesser of two liberals.

  32. - WH Mess - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    Harmon. Better listener.

  33. - Dybalaton - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 4:55 pm:

    I’m not a fan of either.

  34. - Elmer Keith - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:09 pm:

    Support Lightford because I don’t care for Harmon or granola people in general. Harmon is one of the prominent anti-2nd Amendment legislators, so I don’t like him on that score alone.

    There is already one Evanston in Cook County, we don’t need an Oak Parker leading one chamber: nuclear free zone, handgun bans, and filled with posing baby boomers who like to pretend they are still hip. Not a fan.

  35. - Token Conservative - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:17 pm:

    The answers to that question are not only disqualifying, they’re insulting to anyone who has the ability to look at shapes on paper.

  36. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:17 pm:


    I don’t think it’s possible for you to have given Harmon a better endorsement for the caucus.

  37. - Scout - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:20 pm:

    I support Sen. Lightford because it’s time to break away from the status quo in Springfield and change the culture and Harmon comes from that very same system and will be more of the same.

  38. - SK - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:24 pm:

    I’m voting for Lightford, she’s a proven leader in education reform and workforce development.

  39. - A Young Person - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:40 pm:

    Nothing wrong with Lightford, but I’d like Harmon. It’s nice to have a real liberal to balance out the Speaker’s more moderate instincts, and he understands the state’s fiscal problems.

  40. - ugh - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 5:47 pm:

    Birds on the Bat
    “Why? Stating she should get it because of her race is the very definition of racism.”

    I strongly disagree with that being the very definition of racism. That may be your definition of racism.

  41. - low level - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 7:11 pm:

    Im for Harmon but either would be outstanding. Democrats can be proud their caucus has such outstanding public servants.

    Fascinating that the vote is essentially tied.

  42. - farfrompuken - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 7:55 pm:


  43. - Helpwanted - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 10:05 pm:

    I voted for Harmon for many of the reasons those before me noted. Dealing with Lightford has been a challenge for Black Caucus members as there are way too many “I’s” and not enough “we’s.” While I like her as a person, with redistricting and other issues on the front burner. Harmon would be the better choice.

  44. - Me,Me,Me - Thursday, Jan 16, 20 @ 11:25 pm:

    While I understand that SP is a political and not a constituent service job, having lived in each of their districts, I am going to vote Harmon. Lightford is unresponsive and uncommunicative with her district. Harmon is all over the place and at everything. I think there is a parallel in this to how they would serve their member “constituents” be it campaigning, fundraising, negotiating with the House and Governor, or moving legislation. As a woman, I would like a female SP but I don’t think gender should be a qualification of the job. Being the best of the candidates for the job should be.

  45. - 32nd warder - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 7:01 am:

    harmon is definitely a better fundraiser. Ive been “fundraised” by him on many occasions.

  46. - Davos - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 8:29 am:

    I voted for Harmon, because he is the more capable candidate in my opinion. Not really a fan of his though, and have issues with his firm representing public entities.

  47. - First timer - Friday, Jan 17, 20 @ 9:17 am:

    I voted Lightford. While Harmon is whip smart, his transactional view of his office is disconcerting. I’d like to see both of them outline an ethics package, and I would trust Lightford to be the one to follow through.

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