Illinois State Police have investigated 11 violent threats against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker since the COVID-19 pandemic began, including an email from a man who vowed to “put a bullet through” the governor’s brain.
In another incident, a social media user asked in late May, “Anyone got a high powered sniper rifle I can have? The governor needs to die and I will gladly kill him.” Illinois State Police said they reached that person in the Chicago area, who said it was an attempt to “vent.” […]
Pritzker has been the target of so many threats over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic that the Illinois State Police needed a PowerPoint presentation to detail them all. […]
The most serious of them came from social media, and each was investigated by agents with the Illinois State Police. The threats led the governor to beef up his security details, from the usual two to occasionally as many as five agents accompanying him to his home and to news conferences. […]
The most violent threat came in late April when State police investigated an email and eight comments sent by the same person. In an April 25 message, the person wrote, “you will suffer death, via a bullet in your brain.”
Go read the rest. Somebody forwarded me one of the threats Tina wrote about and I sent it to the ISP out of an abundance of caution.
Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 142,461 cases, including 14 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years. Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 26,918 specimens for a total of 1,571,896. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from June 22 –June 28 is 2.7%.
According to this site, Illinois’ R0 factor is 0.89, which is a good thing. Wisconsin’s is 1.22, Indiana’s is 0.92.
According to IDPH, 43 percent of hospital beds are available and 50 percent of ICU beds are open.
* Weekend numbers…
For Sunday, June 28, 2020:
• 646 new cases for a total of 141,723 cases
• 15 additional deaths for a total of 6,888 deaths
• 23,789 new test results for a total of 1,544,978 tests
- Cook County: 2 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 female 90s
- DuPage County: 1 male 70s
- Kane County: 1 male 50s
- Kankakee County: 1 male 80s
- Lake County: 1 female 90s
- Peoria County: 1 female 70s
- Will County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 male 90s
- Winnebago County: 1 female 90s
For Saturday, June 27, 2020:
• 786 new cases for a total of 141,077 cases
• 26 additional deaths for a total of 6,873 deaths
• 30,237 new test results for a total of 1,521,189 tests
- Cook County: 1 male 40s, 1 female 50s, 1 male 50s, 2 females 60s, 1 male 60s, 2 females 70s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 90s
- DuPage County: 1 male 60s, 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s
- Kane County: 2 males 60s, 1 male 80s
- Kankakee County: 2 males 70s
- Lake County: 1 female 50s, 1 female 80s
- McHenry County: 1 male 90s
- Peoria County: 1 female 80s
- St. Clair County: 1 female 60s, 1 male 70s
- Union County: 1 female 70s
- Winnebago County: 1 male 80s
* As predicted, Gov. JB Pritzker is responding to those Illinois Rising Action ads I told you about last week. Statement from Quentin Fulks, Senior Political Advisor…
We won’t let Donald Trump’s allies at Illinois Rising get away with attacking JB Pritzker and lying about his record just because the Governor is standing up to the President. They know there is no legislator pay raise but they are lying about it anyways because that’s what they do – lie.
18 months ago JB Pritzker inherited a state government that had been hollowed out and destroyed by Bruce Rauner and his allies who cut workers and funding at the agency Illinois Rising is now criticizing.
In his first two years in office, JB Pritzker signed a bipartisan balanced budget into law, worked with Republicans to pass an infrastructure plan that is creating and supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs while repairing our crumbling roads and bridges, raised the minimum wage to a living wage for all Illinois workers, and expanded healthcare to 120,000 more Illinoisans. In the fight against the coronavirus, Governor Pritzker has followed the advice of medical experts helping make Illinois one of the states with the biggest decreases in infections and protecting our hospitals and first responders.
Illinois Rising should stop wasting their time falsely attacking a Governor who has stepped up to lead as Donald Trump hides in his underground bunker and spews his racist diatribes.
Both ads will beging running in the Chicago and Springfield media markets tomorrow.
Seen this ad? It’s paid for by the same Republican group who brought you Donald Trump.
But why are they attacking Governor Pritzker? Because he’s calling out the President’s failed leadership.
Don’t believe their lies. State legislators will not be getting raises. It’s Governor Pritzker who worked to pass a bipartisan budget, finding common ground on issues like investing in infrastructure. And he’s worked night and day to help Illinois confront the pandemic.
Governor Pritzker has risen to this moment.
Not sure if much money will be spent on that ad in Trump country.
The truth is, state legislators will not be getting raises.
It’s Governor Pritzker who worked to pass a bipartisan budget, making education a priority, expanding access to health care and finding common ground with Republicans on issues like investing in our state’s infrastructure. And he’s working night and day to help Illinois confront the pandemic.
* Quality managers achieve quality results, is I think the best way to sum up Mark Brown’s profile of Liz Dozier, who turned around Fenger Academy High School…
Dozier inherited a bad situation at Fenger, which is located in Roseland, with daily brawls involving 50 to 60 students. In the second week of school, one of her students, Derrion Albert, was clubbed to death in a melee on his way home.
Police made 300 arrests at Fenger in her first year there.
What eventually turned around those problems, Dozier believes, was building relationships with students, not making arrests.
Dozier and her Fenger staff emphasized creating a school more attuned to the emotional needs of its students than to policing them. That required understanding why students were acting out.
Instead of relying on police to enforce discipline, they instituted restorative justice practices, which focus on repairing harm rather than applying punishment, and held peace circles to defuse conflicts. They provided grief counseling and anger-management training to students and created trauma groups to help deal with emotional baggage they brought to school from home.
It might sound like mumbo-jumbo, but these methods work well with young people.
By the time I visited Fenger a few years later, I encountered a warm, friendly atmosphere and a more relaxed student body.
After her first year at Fenger, Dozier moved to replace the police officers assigned to the school with new ones more attuned to her philosophy. She has only good things to say about the work of that second set of school resource officers.
But she thinks her students would have been better off with more counselors, social workers or therapists instead. Security guards from the neighborhood trained in de-escalation techniques are just as effective in providing school security in most situations, she says, and can call in police in extreme circumstances.
Go read the whole thing. Mark Brown proved once again why he’s the best newspaper columnist in Chicago by leaps and bounds.
Bars across Chicago reopened this weekend — and people in Wrigleyville lined up to celebrate.
On Saturday night, Clark Street felt and looked much like it did on a normal summer night before coronavirus upended the city, though social distancing and new guidelines are part of the new normal. As patrons bounced from bar to bar in packs, some donned face masks. Many did not.
Crowds waited in long lines with little to no adherence to the 6-feet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some people said they do have worries about the pandemic and are concerned they’re part of the problem as cases rise throughout the country — but others said they’re young and wanted to get out during the summer.
Judging by how full some of the bars were in downtown Springfield last night, I'd be surprised if we don't see more announcements like this in the coming weeks. https://t.co/fSIbfFa4Pm
* Illinois State Bowling Proprietors Association President Bill Brennan…
With the State of Illinois poised to enter Phase 4 of the Governor’s “Restore Illinois” plan, 270 bowling centers, most whom are members of the Illinois Bowling Proprietors’ Association, are extremely excited to open their doors for business. These mostly-independent small businesses have gone to great lengths during the 100 days of the stay-at-home order, preparing their staff and facilities to be the safest destinations for recreation throughout Illinois. Online education, in-person staff training, the purchase of PPE, installation of barriers, and the development of a comprehensive list of best practices and procedures are just a few of the steps centers have taken that make them confident in safeguarding everyone who comes to the lanes
Unfortunately, with the news that bowling centers would be restricted to the extremely limited number of 50 guests in our facilities, many centers are now determining if reopening is even an option. Small to larger centers all share the traits of having large areas to facilitate social distancing, and these facilities have never been better equipped to clean and sanitize high-traffic touch points. Even before the stay-at-home order, the ISBPA’s members had evolved their operations to prevent the transmission of the virus, including Limiting group size, voluntarily reducing capacity, discouraging spectators, and the thorough cleaning and sanitizing of all shared equipment and spaces.
It’s really disheartening that the State of Illinois doesn’t believe that the bowling centers can reopen at a safe 50 percent of our granted capacity with the even heightened awareness and emphasis of safety and cleanliness. The fact that casinos, fitness clubs, gyms, indoor recreation facilities, and other similar location-based industries can open at this percentage of capacity bewilders the bowling community’s business owners. Expecting facilities that have tens of thousands of square feet to even pay their overhead with a maximum of 50 guests is preposterous. What’s worse is throughout the shutdown, numerous phone and camera calls were made in helping shape what Phase 4 looked like for bowling in Illinois. All in attendance knew our emphasis and expectations of safety and sanitation, and all regarded the granting of 50 percent capacity in our centers was a safe and business sound compromise.
* I asked about the viral load issue…
We have centers in membership that range in 4 lanes to 84 lanes. 50 people inside these facilities would look drastically different. Our centers are large enough that if we were granted 50 percent capacity we could responsibly distance groups of customers from each other. The fact that casinos and fitness centers, which have many more high traffic areas and touch points, and are allowed a 50 percent capacity and we are not isn’t logical.
He also sent the guidelines that were distributed to owners. Click here.
* The Question: Should bowling centers be granted the same 50 percent capacity limits as casinos? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please…
• School policies must be flexible and nimble in responding to new information, and administrators must be willing to refine approaches when specific policies are not working.
• It is critically important to develop strategies that can be revised and adapted depending on the level of viral transmission in the school and throughout the community and done with close communication with state and/or local public health authorities and recognizing the differences between school districts, including urban, suburban, and rural districts.
• Policies should be practical, feasible, and appropriate for child and adolescent’s developmental stage.
• Special considerations and accommodations to account for the diversity of youth should be made, especially for our vulnerable populations, including those who are medically fragile, live in poverty, have developmental challenges, or have special health care needs or disabilities, with the goal of safe return to school.
• No child or adolescent should be excluded from school unless required in order to adhere to local public health mandates or because of unique medical needs. Pediatricians, families, and schools should partner together to collaboratively identify and develop accommodations, when needed.
• School policies should be guided by supporting the overall health and well-being of all children, adolescents, their families, and their communities. These policies should be consistently communicated in languages other than English, if needed, based on the languages spoken in the community, to avoid marginalization of parents/guardians who are of limited English proficiency or do not speak English at all.
Cloth face coverings protect others if the wearer is infected with SARS CoV-2 and is not aware. Cloth masks may offer some level of protection for the wearer. Evidence continues to mount on the importance of universal face coverings in interrupting the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Although ideal, universal face covering use is not always possible in the school setting for many reasons. Some students, or staff, may be unable to safely wear a cloth face covering because of certain medical conditions (eg, developmental, respiratory, tactile aversion, or other conditions) or may be uncomfortable, making the consistent use of cloth face coverings throughout the day challenging. For individuals who have difficulty with wearing a cloth face covering and it is not medically contraindicated to wear a face covering, behavior techniques and social skills stories(see resource section)can be used to assist in adapting to wearing a face covering. When developing policy regarding the use of cloth face coverings by students or school staff, school districts and health advisors should consider whether the use of cloth face coverings is developmentally appropriate and feasible and whether the policy can be instituted safely. If not developmentally feasible, which may be the case for younger students, and cannot be done safely (eg, the face covering makes wearers touch their face more than they otherwise would), schools may choose to not require their use when physical distancing measures can be effectively implemented. School staff and older students (middle or high school) may be able to wear cloth face coverings safely and consistently and should be encouraged to do so. Children under 2 years and anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance should not wear cloth face coverings.
For certain populations, the use of cloth face coverings by teachers may impede the education process. These include students who are deaf or hard of hearing, students receiving speech/language services, young students in early education programs, and English-language learners. Although there are products (eg, face coverings with clear panels in the front) to facilitate their use among these populations, these may not be available in all settings.
Existing school immunization requirements should be maintained and not deferred because of the current pandemic. In addition, although influenza vaccination is generally not required for school attendance, in the coming academic year, it should be highly encouraged for all students. School districts should consider requiring influenza vaccination for all staff members. Pediatricians should work with schools and local public health authorities to promote childhood vaccination messaging well before the start of the school year. It is vital that all children receive recommend vaccinations on time and get caught up if they are behind as a result of the pandemic.
There’s a lot more, so click here if this topic applies to you or a loved one.
Southern Illinois school officials got their first glimpse of rules for in-person learning for the next school year on Tuesday and began planning to implement them before the mid-August start of the school year.
Some school districts posted on social media new guidelines and information about how they are developing their plans for in-person learning.
Century School District 100 posted a message on Facebook that included: “We know that everyone is anxiously waiting to see what school will look like for us in the fall. Over the coming weeks, our staff and other stakeholders will be working to develop Century’s back to school plan. Once we have a plan in place, we will disseminate it accordingly.”
They asked that parents have patience and included a link to the new guidelines from the state. School officials also asked that parents not overreact to the guidelines because there are six weeks until the start of school, and things may change before that date.
With new cases of COVID-19 continuing and no vaccine, many parents have questions about what a return to school might look like.
Will young children be able to concentrate with face masks required? Will schools close over and over again if outbreaks occur, disrupting kids’ ability to learn? What if kids contract the disease and spread it to vulnerable family members?
Some parents are considering home-schooling their children.
Kids all over the world are wearing face coverings.
To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Civilian Employees of the Illinois National Guard and Department of Military Affairs:
Diversity brings strength. We want to draw as much as we can from the talents of all our service members and civilians. Inclusiveness and the act of including others into the team, no matter their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation strengthens our organization and the nation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pride and 10 years since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Dedicated LGBTQ+ Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians have long served in the military and in the Illinois National Guard, but both policy and prejudice robbed them of the dignity and respect we all deserve no matter how we identify.
Pride means different things to different people. For those of us in uniform, we often talk about pride in our service, pride in the accomplishments of our organizations and pride in those on our right and left. For the Illinois National Guard’s LGBTQ+ Soldiers, Airmen and civilians, Pride carries an extra meaning: it is a celebration of progress, and progress still to come.
It was almost 100 years ago that the first gay rights organization was formed. Henry Gerber, an Army veteran who served in France during World War I, returned to Illinois and founded the Society for Human Rights in Chicago, in 1924, laying the groundwork for future organizations within the community. This mission of this organization was:
“[T]o promote and protect the interests of people who … are abused and hindered in the legal pursuit of happiness which is guaranteed them by the Declaration of Independence and to combat the public prejudices against them by dissemination of factors according to modern science among intellectuals of mature age.”
Gerber’s organization was short-lived, but it served as an anchor for the modern movement that Pride celebrates this month.
Pride comes in June to mark the anniversary of one event, the spark in the fire that still burns today. The “Stonewall Inn,” a hangout for members of the LGBTQ+ community, was raided by New York Police on June 28, 1969. Simply existing as an LGBTQ+ person was not legal at the time and protests and violence ensued. Hot on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement, the LGBTQ+ Rights Movement gained steam. The first Pride Parade was held in Chicago, the very next year in 1970, and has been held all over the world ever since.
We acknowledge the hard-fought battles for civil rights, those already won and those ongoing. Treating every member of our organization with dignity and respect starts with listening and compassion.
* The national media had slowly begun to take interest in US Sen. Tammy Duckworth as a possible vice presidential choice for Joe Biden. Duckworth was then put on the vetted list and a recent New York Times profile elevated her profile even further…
Dan Milberg is a retired Army helicopter pilot who voted for Donald J. Trump in 2016, and does not wish to vote for him again. But before he can consider pulling the lever for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., he needs to know who his running mate will be.
“It might be someone too progressive,” said Mr. Milberg, who lives in Robertsville, Mo.
The one person who would put him at ease, Mr. Milberg said, is the pilot whose seemingly lifeless body he lifted from a helicopter in 2004, her legs blown off by a rocket-propelled grenade not far from Baghdad: Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.
It is not so much the event that indelibly marked both of their lives and earned Ms. Duckworth a purple heart that draws him to her, Mr. Milberg said. Rather, he continued, she “is moderate enough that I think she can be appealing.”
* The idea of appealing to the center took hold with NYT columnist Frank Bruni…
But mightn’t Warren also give moderate voters pause? What about her age? She’s 71. Biden’s 77. Can the party of change and modernity, whose last two presidents were both under 50 when first elected, go with an all-septuagenarian ticket?
Governing partners don’t matter if you don’t get to govern. The certain catastrophe of four more years of Trump demands that Biden choose his running mate with November at the front, the back, the top and the bottom of his mind.
Harris also ably prosecutes the case against Trump. But many progressives have issues with her, and the idea that she’d drive high turnout among black voters isn’t supported by her failed bid for the Democratic nomination. She lacked support across the board, including among African-Americans. And in a recent national poll conducted by The Times and Siena College, more than four in five voters — including three in four black voters — said that race shouldn’t be a factor in Biden’s vice-presidential pick.
Duckworth is neither progressive idol nor progressive enemy. That partly reflects a low policy profile that’s among her flaws as a running mate but could actually work to her advantage, making her difficult to pigeonhole and open to interpretation. Trump-weary voters can read into her what they want. And in recent congressional elections, Democrats have had success among swing voters with candidates who are veterans.
She’s received high marks on legislative effectiveness.
As a freshman senator, Duckworth passed three proposed bills into law, earning her the rank of “Exceeds Expectations” as a freshman senator from the Center for Effective Lawmaking, alongside Republican John Kennedy, for the 115th Congress, 2017-2018.
10. Tammy Duckworth: The senator from Illinois, Iraq War veteran and double-amputee made her case as Biden’s running mate in a New York Times story Thursday: “I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t,” Duckworth said. She added: “I can say, ‘Listen, that American flag is the same flag that would drape my father’s coffin, my coffin, my husband’s coffin and my brother’s.’ It has draped them for generations. No one respects that flag more than I have. But I will respect the right to protest it, too.” (Previous ranking: 9)
An emerging consensus is that Biden should select a woman of color. University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball ranks all five of Biden’s top vice presidential choices as women of color, with Harris, Demings, and Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth leading the way.
•Has kept a low profile in the Senate
•Biden won’t need help carrying IL
…Adding… I was talking with a pal who brought up a potential issue. Duckworth was a Blagojevich appointee (Veterans Affairs). Blagojevich now describes himself as a Trump supporter. Could be problems there.
I write to you today to call your attention to and urge action on the devastating violence in Chicago. While I have been heartened to see crime reductions nationally the last few years, I have been horrified by the continued violence in this great American city.
I recently read an article from the Chicago Sun-Times on June 8, 2020, “18 murders in 24 hours: Inside the most violent day in 60 years in Chicago,” which discussed the severe crime and lack of law and order in our Nation’s third largest city. The article details how “85 people were shot and 24 killed the previous weekend, the most in modern history in Chicago.” Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement. The article recounts the following horrors:
A hardworking father killed.
A West Side high school student murdered.
A college freshman who hoped to become a correctional officer, gunned down.
18 people killed Sunday, May 31, the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades.
The weekend of May 29, 25 people were killed and another 85 wounded by gunfire.
The most violent weekend in Chicago’s modern history, stretching police resources that were already thin because of protests and looting.
Violence and death, which are disproportionately harming young African Americans, are tragic and unacceptable, particularly on such a shocking scale. According to the Chicago Sun Times, “shootings across the City increased by 71 percent last month,” and just this past weekend 102 people were shot in the city’s most violent weekend of the year. A 3-year old toddler was killed. More Americans have been killed in Chicago than in combat zones of Afghanistan and Iraq combined since September 11, 2001, a deadly trend that has continued under your tenure.
The American people (hardworking taxpayers) send you millions of dollars in Federal funding each year to support public safety in Chicago. In 2018 and 2019, the City of Chicago benefited from $136 million in funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, and another $68 million was recently announced for Chicago from this important program. The Department of Justice awarded and is in the process of awarding nearly $20 million to support law enforcement and law-enforcement related entities in the City of Chicago and Cook County across 2019 and 2020, including resources for combating opioid abuse and recidivism reduction. The Department of Labor has also awarded funding to programs targeting prisoner re-entry and recidivism reduction in the Chicago area. My Administration allocated $898.6 million to the City of Chicago and Cook County from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which helps support your first responders on the front lines. In the absence of any modicum of leadership, however, these substantial sums of taxpayer money are not being turned into results, and the safety of your most vulnerable communities continues to deteriorate. These funds are in addition to those collected through your combined insatiable appetite to tax the people of Illinois and Chicago.
I will continue to lead the way to support historically disadvantaged communities and would welcome your help in these endeavors. In December 2018, I signed into law the First Step Act, marking the first major reforms to our criminal justice system in over a decade. This brings historic reforms to make our justice system fairer and to help inmates successfully transition back into society by providing prisoners with a second chance through rehabilitative programs and fair sentencing. Additionally, when I signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, we created Opportunity Zones. Nationwide, nearly 9,000 communities have designated Opportunity Zones, including over 130 in Chicago, which are incentivizing investments in areas that have been forgotten for far too long. My Administration has also provided robust, unprecedented support to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Recently, on June 16, I signed an Executive Order advancing important reforms to elevate a noble profession and strengthen the essential bond of trust between police officers and the communities in which they serve. My Administration continues to work closely with Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina and others across the political spectrum to advance further policy improvements and meaningful reforms.
Unlike previous Administrations of both parties, I am willing to tackle unsolved challenges. If you are willing to put partisanship aside, we can revitalize distressed neighborhoods in Chicago, together. But to succeed, you must establish law and order. The combination of crime, high State and local taxes, and onerous State and local government regulations have caused thousands of Illinoisans to flee to other States. Between 2010 and 2019, Illinois lost more of its population than any other state in the Nation. If you are interested, I am willing to ask members of my Cabinet to meet with you and help devise a plan to make Chicago safe, since a successful formula has escaped both you and your predecessors. My Administration would also welcome the opportunity to engage with you and your colleagues as you develop bipartisan policy recommendations to improve policing and make our great cities safer for all.
Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.
Lightfoot replied: “I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump. As our police officers, street outreach workers and residents continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, he’s using the victims of gun violence in our city to score cheap political points, spew racist rhetoric, and ignore the impact of COVID across this country. It is despicable, disgusting and all too typical. Same old tired playbook. How about some leadership not steeped in the divide and conquer tactics?
“I stand with the Governor in providing for the safety and well-being of our residents.” […]
Trump has focused on Chicago crime since his 2016 presidential campaign, accusing city leaders and then Mayor Rahm Emanuel of thwarting police and at one point pledging to “send in the Feds.”
One of Trump’s oft-cited claims, which has never been proved, is that he talked to a “top police officer in Chicago” who told him he could stop crime in the city “within one week.”
* Pritzker press secretary Jordan Abudayyeh…
President Trump is a failure who has once again resorted to a press stunt in an attempt to distract from his long list of failures, especially his response to the deadly coronavirus and nationwide calls for racial justice. The people of this state and this nation have unfortunately come to expect his unhinged attempts to politicize tragedy with his predictable and worn-out strategy to distract, distract, distract. The Governor stands with the Mayor in working to accomplish meaningful change.
Pritzker and Lightfoot should call him on it. Schedule a meeting with Justice Department officials. Draw up a wish list. Federal dollars and law enforcement assistance are valuable. Maybe it means more manpower, more imaginative approaches, more technology. There are existing, effective social service programs in Chicago, ranging from gang conflict mediation to teen mentoring, that would benefit from a targeted infusion of federal dollars.
Illinois Rising Action, a dark money super PAC, is running a TV ad against Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The group reportedly is putting $1 million behind the spot on both cable and broadcast over two weeks.
Called “Failed,” the ad heaps criticism on the governor for the “toilet scandal,” increased gas taxes, increased taxes on cars and allegedly giving a “huge” pay raise “to his politician buddies.” It also goes after his administration’s response to massive unemployment. The ad is appearing on broadcast and cable TV in Chicago, Champaign/Springfield and in Paducah, Kentucky.
A million bucks isn’t a lot of money in the TV world, but it’s not nothing, either. And since he began running for governor, Pritzker has never allowed an attack ad to go unchallenged and never allowed himself to be outspent.
As I write this, no response ads are airing, but I think it’s safe to say the governor will respond, and will also up the ante in the process. How much is anyone’s guess, but it’ll likely be substantial.
Illinois Rising Action has issued numerous press releases since early March. The group’s hits on the governor have rarely been mentioned by the media, perhaps because some of the attacks have been a bit of a stretch.
For instance, the organization, which does not have to reveal its funding sources, has pointed out that an investment group the governor founded with his brother backed a company that won a $13 million federal contract to develop a test for COVID-19. The story was covered by Fox News, but didn’t gain much traction beyond anti-testing social media paranoids.
Pritzker has put all of his investments into a blind trust. Besides that, the company has no state contracts and, frankly, developing a new federally funded test isn’t exactly the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard.
The organization also attempted to connect the dots between Pritzker’s “toilet” scandal and the massive federal effort to convert McCormick Place into an acute alternate care facility.
The contractor, Bulley & Andrews, was the master contractor for Pritzker’s spare mansion rehab, which blew up in his face when it was discovered that toilets were removed in order to reduce the property taxes on his vacant house. The McCormick Place contract, however, was let by the United States Department of Defense, not the State of Illinois. According to the Department of Defense, 18 firms bid on the $9 million contract.
Nonetheless, “A pattern is beginning to emerge of vendors with close ties to Governor Pritzker being awarded coronavirus related contracts,” the group recently claimed.
Bulley & Andrews is one of the oldest contracting firms in Chicago.
The governor has blamed the group for privately dishing to reporters that his wife and daughter were in Florida and that his family had visited their Wisconsin horse farm. Pritzker has said his wife and kid were in Florida before the first stay-at-home order was issued and that he owns a “working” farm in Wisconsin, so travel to it would be covered by his order.
Both stories visibly angered the governor — a guy who rarely shows that side of himself in public (or in private, for that matter). He claimed at one point that the “GOP super PAC” was “putting my family and my children in danger.”
Illinois Rising is run by a former Mark Kirk/Bruce Rauner operative who also consults for the firm running the opposition to the governor’s “Fair Tax” (some of whom also worked for Rauner before “the purge”). The idea, apparently, is to rough up the governor, and then the group working against the “Fair Tax” will build on that work to try and prevent it from passing. To succeed, the constitutional amendment needs the votes of either 60 percent plus one of those who cast ballots for or against the amendment, or over half of all votes cast in the entire election. The opposition doesn’t have to necessarily win in order to prevail.
A response ad is therefore a bit tricky. If this were only about Pritzker, his advertising team would just kneecap the Republican Party, a not-so-popular entity in this state. But this fight is ultimately about the progressive income tax proposal. So, in order to succeed, Fair Tax proponents will likely need some Republican or GOP-leaning votes.
All we can do now is sit back and wait to see how the Pritzker people thread that needle and track how much they spend.
Hey, at least it’s something to occupy ourselves with while the world burns.
*** UPDATE *** And here it comes…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has placed new TV ad spending in Illinois cable zones. Start date is tomorrow, 6/30