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Musical chairs

Monday, Jan 25, 2021

* WGLT

A former Logan County clerk has been chosen to fill out the rest of state Sen. Bill Brady’s term.

Sally Turner of Beason was chosen over the weekend from a field of nine applicants, said McLean County Republican Party chair Connie Beard. The decision by county GOP chairs was unanimous, she said.

Turner served six terms as Logan County clerk and now works in government consulting.

Beard said Turner is a “solid conservative Republican” with “great interest in veterans affairs, election security and law, state budgets and spending controls.”

Brady was appointed to the Senate in 2002 when John Maitland retired.

Sen. Turner’s spouse is former Rep. John Turner, who was appointed to the Illinois Appellate Court in 2001 to fill the Rita Garman vacancy. Jonathan Wright was appointed to fill out the rest of Turner’s House term and then used that as a springboard to successfully run for Logan County State’s Attorney in 2002. He ran for US Senate two years later and finished fifth in the GOP primary.

* Sun-Times

Committeepeople in a North Side state senator’s district say they’re committed to an open and “transparent process” for picking a replacement, but some in that district say the plan for picking a successor leaves out voters.

Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, a co-coordinator of the Indivisible chapter, Indivisble IL-9, that encompasses Andersonville and Edgewater — part of Indivisible Illinois, which was founded in 2016 to push back on former President Donald Trump’s agenda — said the process of picking who will serve out the remaining two years in Sen. Heather Steans’ term shuts independent voices out.

“The process leaves behind the voters,” Manaa-Hoppenworth said. “It shuts out … people and independent voices. And who, instead, has the power to give that elected office to a person is a very select few people; they’re political insiders.” […]

Harry Osterman, who represents the 48th Ward as its alderman and committeeperson, said Sunday, while he respects the opinions of Indivisible 9, “The responsibility of the committee is to fill the Senate seat.”

“Given that the state has the challenges it does, I think it’s important that we find the right person who can take [Steans’] place,” Osterman said. “This is a year where redistricting is going to take place. I think having a strong voice representing our communities is going to be critical, and the reality also is that, in probably 10 months, there’ll be petitions on the street where candidates can run for the senate seat … I think residents who live in our communities are going to decide, now and in the future, that we get it right.”

Ald. Osterman was appointed to the House when then-Rep. Carol Ronen was appointed to the Senate.

* Politico

More candidates are staking claims for seats opening — or potentially opening up — in the General Assembly. State Sen. Heather Steans is stepping down from her 7th District seat, prompting Democratic Party leaders to seek applications. The due date is Jan. 31. Mike Simmons, a Black business owner in Uptown, is putting his name in the hat, joining Rep. Kelly Cassidy, who’s already signaled her interest. Simmons owns Blue Sky Strategies, a firm that develops anti-racist public policy, and he works full time at the Obama Foundation as deputy director of the youth program, My Brother’s Keeper.

… Should Cassidy win Steans’ seat, the 14th District House seat opens up. It’s already prompted a number of up and coming Democrats to prepare to apply. Also interested: Tom Elliott, who owns his own political consulting firm and previously served as comms director for Democrat Daniel Biss’ bid for governor. Elliott also has worked with state Senate Democrats in past political races. Like Simmons, Elliott also is part of the LGBTQ community, which is a large part of Steans’ and Cassidy’s districts… And Angela Inzano is talking to community members and Democratic committee people about the 14th District seat too. Inzano is director of Advocacy & Engagement at the Chicago Bar Foundation and was part of the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy in 2018.

Rep. Cassidy was appointed to the House when Harry Osterman was elected to the Chicago City Council.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

30 Comments
  1. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 9:55 am:

    The hand wringing over the replacement process is so overblown. It’s not clear to me how a special election with little turnout is preferable. Plus people pretend Committeemen aren’t also elected themselves (in elections that might very well have higher turnout than specials). People are more than welcome to run for committeeman or vote out appointed incumbents. Plenty of great legislators were first appointed through this process. Once again a “process” complaint rather than substantive. I suppose it would be better to change the process so people shut up about it. But then when those specials are dominated by connected people who can put an organization together quickly, where will the complaining turn?


  2. - Commisar Gritty - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:04 am:

    Jjjj I see your point, and I’m inclined to agreee. But didn’t I read the other day that this seat has been held exclusively by people who had these special appointments for the last 30 years? That sounds fishy, and Leni doesn’t usually pick up bogus causes.


  3. - Formerly Unemployed - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:13 am:

    She ran for re-election in November and resigned in January? She could have sat out the election and let other people run. Instead, she ran, got elected, and resigned so that her replacement could be appointed. That seems odd to me and to a lot of others, and Leni has great instincts about what her group does and does pursue.


  4. - Johnie B Goode - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:18 am:

    I see the Party Bots are out in full force already.

    “People are welcome to run for Committeeman” gimme a break. That’s insider nonsense.

    You can argue they are all good people, that a bad process got a good result. But Jeesh let’s not defend the process.

    Raise your hand if you honestly believe that Steans’ resignation has not been months in the making, and that she didn’t wait to resign so as to avoid a special election.

    Raise your hand if you think Kelly Cassidy read about this political opportunity in the newspaper like the rest of us, and had no inside information.

    Or that Steans former chief of staff is being slated for Cassidy’s replacement.

    The whole thing is a farce, from people who promised us they would be different.

    It’s also not a great move for the party or for the community. You have historic opportunities to appoint a person of color to both seats, which would help shield the districts from being carved up during the redistricting process. That in turn impacts neighboring legislative districts and could have a ripple effect on redistricting all the way up to Lake County.


  5. - Chicago J - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:21 am:

    My gripe is not with the committee filling the vacancy, but with the elected who runs for re-election and then resigns almost immediately. To me that is unethical.


  6. - Just Me 2 - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    Voters just get in the way. Appointments are far superior.


  7. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:24 am:

    Best fields to go in if you’re young and don’t know what you want to do?

    Either politics or coaching.

    It seems like you’ll never be un-employed for long.


  8. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    - JJJJJJJJJJ - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 9:55 am:

    Oregon has high special election turnouts because they mail every registered voter a ballot.


  9. - Ok - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:44 am:

    Don’t be fooled into thinking some of the folks griping about a lack of process really truly care about process, and not about other horse-trading.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:54 am:

    The discussion, the overall discussion, is far greater than political insiders or influence peddlers and process.

    The idea of having a special election to fill vacancies is the “only way” to change the culture of appointment.

    I have been in record, I have no beef with appointment. I also see no reason to abolish it and have a special election.

    The reality is an appointment faces the voters next election and there’s plenty of time for a challenger to muster at least a healthy challenge to take down the appointee, and ample time for the appointee to defuse possible challenges.

    If there can be a way to pass a special election filling of seats, that’s also process too…


  11. - Johnie B. Goode - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:55 am:

    === Once again a “process” complaint rather than substantive. ===

    The result is that political insiders who were appointed by political insiders who were appointed by political insiders, are appointing political insiders who are appointing political insiders.

    The result is that Rogers Park, which is only 42 percent White, and Uptown, which is only 52 percent White, have never been represented by a person of color in the Illinois General Assembly. The White Kingmakers in Edgewater — which is only 55 percent White BTW - have only ever picked White people to fill these opening which they, themselves, control the timing of.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 10:58 am:

    === The result is that Rogers Park, which is only 42 percent White, and Uptown, which is only 52 percent White, have never been represented by a person of color in the Illinois General Assembly.===

    Organize, recruit, execute a plan to win.

    If *I* learned anything from the Georgia runoffs it was it takes a long time to organize and commit to winning against the challenges facing voters, but the payoff can be sweet for those willing to work to get it.

    Nothing should be handed, nothing should be hampering either when it comes to fairness, but in this case, organize, recruit, execute a plan… citing demographics is none of that.

    With respect.


  13. - Ok - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:04 am:

    Michael Harrington couldn’t be Joe “No” Moore in two different elections a decade ago. This is a viable candidate? No.

    And the irony of Maggie O’Keefe, a white woman who campaigned strongly against a person of color for Alderman that she lost to (and wants to replace), complaining about not having a person of color representing the community, is notable.


  14. - Nuke The Whales - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:13 am:

    Insider nonsense! Being appointed makes an incumbent impossible to unseat! Just ask recently reelected Representatives Kalish and Pizer. Incumbency is certainly an advantage, but stop pretending it makes it impossible to defeat an appointee.


  15. - Pekin Pundit - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:29 am:

    Major snub to Tazewell County Board Chairman Dave Zimmerman with the 44th appointment.


  16. - Johnie B. Goode - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:53 am:

    === Just ask recently reelected Representatives Kalish and Pizer. ===

    One group of political insiders replacing someone else’s political insider with their own political insider is not a shining example of Democracy.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 11:55 am:

    === One group of political insiders replacing…===

    Elections have consequences.


  18. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 12:00 pm:

    === It’s not clear to me how a special election with little turnout is preferable.===

    ===I also see no reason to abolish it and have a special election.===

    I like to think it is better to let voters decide who they are served by in state and local office and as we have transitioned significantly away from the graft oriented and public sector jobs fueled political machines that we should reconsider the practice of making party officials responsible for filling vacancies as the role of the chair person has been greatly diminished.

    OW is right in that the appointee does eventually face the voters at the ballot, but they also do so with the power of incumbency which we traditionally consider to be an advantage. They also have the advantage of using their time in office to consolidate their standing and if they’re competent, utilizing their office to improve their name recognition, etc, to make themselves a more formidable primary opponent.

    Changing our practices so that there is a special election may also prevent the tendency for an incumbent to run for the office and then resign shortly after the beginning of their new term allowing for the successor to be appointed which does seem to happen quite a bit. I think a politician should decide to retire — before — putting their name on the ballot, not after they’ve one re-election.

    I think the question ultimately comes down to this: Do we think that the make up of the general assembly would involve different people serving as legislators if we had special elections instead of appointments?

    If the answer is yes, then we should have special elections.

    I think the answer is yes. There are people serving in the legislature that otherwise would not be serving in the legislature if they were not appointed by local party officials with sized influence, and several of those people did survive re-election, but that does not address the question of whether they would have been elected at all without the advantage of incumbency.

    Legislators do not own their seat. Their constituents do. Placing more authority on the replacement with their constituents the better.

    If the special election has lower turn out, that just means that in a contested race the candidates and campaigns just have to work harder.


  19. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 12:15 pm:

    ===is not a shining example of Democracy===

    The cry of the loser.


  20. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 12:19 pm:

    === they also do so with the power of incumbency which we traditionally consider to be an advantage. They also have the advantage of using their time in office to consolidate their standing and if they’re competent, utilizing their office to improve their name recognition, etc, to make themselves a more formidable primary opponent.===

    The only fair thing in a campaign is how you can take advantage of your advantages.

    Not everything in life or politics is of equal footing.


  21. - SAP - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 1:09 pm:

    It’s not “who you know “. It’s “who I know”.


  22. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 1:48 pm:

    ===The only fair thing in a campaign is how you can take advantage of your advantages.===

    If I did not make myself clear enough, I apologize. The crux of my position is that the power of determining who receives that advantage should be placed with the ballot, not with an individual or cadre of local party officials.


  23. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 1:51 pm:

    === the power of determining who receives that advantage should be placed with the ballot, not with an individual or cadre of local party officials.===

    So I’m clear to my thought;

    The only fair thing in a campaign is how you can take advantage of your advantages.

    Not everything in life or politics is of equal footing.

    You again are presupposing fairness and equity.

    Even in an immediate special election that won’t be possible, politics doesn’t work on the equity to the campaigns, just a fair and free election within those advantages.


  24. - JJJJJJJJJJ - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 4:29 pm:

    While I’m playing the role of “Party bot,” (I’m not a bot… although I do like to party) I will throw in here that I also bristle at the definition of “political insider.” Evidently anyone who has any experience working in government is the same as Paddy Bauler appointing a friend from the saloon. Give me a break.


  25. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 5:18 pm:

    ===You again are presupposing fairness and equity.===

    I don’t think I am presupposing fairness or equity, or demanding equal footing. I would prefer a special election to fill a position over an appointment made by one or a small group of party officials because I prefer people who are advantaged or can create advantages during an election.

    Let county chairs make endorsements of their preferred candidates, not appoint them to office. Though I recognize the heavy lifting to change this involves earning the support of a lot of people who would have to support a change that disadvantages their own political clout.


  26. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 5:24 pm:

    === I would prefer a special election to fill a position over an appointment made by one or a small group of party officials because I prefer people who are advantaged or can create advantages during an election.===

    Gonna stop endorsements too? How about a party choosing a preferred candidate? Maybe organizations donating money?

    Aren’t *all* those things found in *every* election, and don’t those things give advantages?

    Who is going to help circulate petitions? Going to deny party officials from picking who they can help?

    === Though I recognize the heavy lifting to change this involves earning the support of a lot of people who would have to support a change that disadvantages their own political clout.===

    I’d think they’d say, “odds are you are making everyone work twice as hard, spend needless monies, and have fringe candidates when odds are the party officials can come up with a consensus appointee, or the leader who can appoint by weighted vote now has the unenviable position to muscle others in a district likely going to be won or lost by how one goes in a country, township or ward?”


  27. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 5:27 pm:

    Also, as I’ve said, I’m not opposed to a special election, not in the slightest.

    That said too, organize, recruit, build, an appointed member doesn’t mean an automatic win come their first election.


  28. - Anonanonsir - Monday, Jan 25, 21 @ 8:10 pm:

    ==The whole thing is a farce, from people who promised us they would be different.==

    I’d say it’s the latter part that is noteworthy.


  29. - 97problemsbutyourvoteisntone - Tuesday, Jan 26, 21 @ 6:28 am:

    This would be Kelly Cassidy’s third appointment - appointed to the State House, appointed to the committeeman seat, and now she wants to use that appointment to appoint herself to the State Senate. Campaigning is hard, expensive work, but that’s just not right, or fair to the diverse voters and residents of the district. Disappointing it’s coming from one of the supposed “good guys.”


  30. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Jan 26, 21 @ 9:07 am:

    McLean County Republican Chair Connie Beard notes in the WGLT interview that Brady’s replacement has a “great interest” in election security. Beard has as late as a January 10 interview alleged that the presidential election was rigged against Trump. I hope that Turner’s interest is that as a former county clerk who was tasked with overseeing the vote process and not as a devotee of the discredited allegations still held by the former president’s hardcore devotees.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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