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Campaign notebook

Monday, Jan 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Cassandra Tanner Miller kicked off her congressional campaign with a powerful video

Miller is running as a Republican in the 11th CD, which is currently represented by Democrat Bill Foster.

* The dude will literally say anything…

* A.D. Quig

As Ken Griffin prepares to underwrite an all-out effort to unseat Illinois governor and fellow billionaire J.B. Pritzker this year, he’s finding time—and money—to extend his influence far beyond his home state.

A review of the hedge fund mogul’s campaign donations shows he’s emerged as a go-to money man for Republican candidates across the country. Griffin has ramped up his political spending sharply in recent years, doling out $170 million in federal, state and local races since 2018, and bringing his total since 2000 to a quarter of a billion dollars. Nearly all of Griffin’s recent donations went to Republican candidates and causes.

* DGA…

It’s been two weeks since Richard Irvin entered the GOP primary for governor of Illinois, and Radio Silent Richard is still running from reporters — literally.

Irvin “hasn’t taken questions since he announced his run,” wrote Politico last week.

Asked why some label him a Democrat, Irvin started “inching toward the stairs to his office,” “wrapped up the conversation,” and “turned on his heel and climbed the steps to the third floor, saying he looks forward to talking to all of us reporters when the time comes.”

In his first TV ad released last week, Irvin answered no questions but did take credit for his “great friend” Gov. J.B. Pritzker sending the National Guard to protect the city of Aurora.

“Did Irvin vote for Trump? Where does he stand on abortion? Or the Texas law greatly restricting abortion that’s now before the Supreme Court? It seems no one knows,” said former Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady.

Maybe we should ask likely big donor Ken Griffin what Irvin thinks. After being slammed by his Republican opponents for flip-flopping, Irvin will have to cram to learn Griffin’s talking points before embarrassing himself in an interview. The DGA is patiently waiting for Radio Silent Richard to answer for his Rauner Reboot agenda at this new site.

“Radio Silent Richard has gone two weeks without speaking to Illinoisans,” said DGA Senior Communications Advisor Christina Amestoy. “Irvin has already proven he can’t stick to his word, let alone a platform, but he can’t run from voters forever.”

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I haven’t yet been contacted about doing an interview.

* This is a newly created open seat district that generally leans Democratic in Democratic years. But Mark Kirk and Leslie Munger both won it in 2016. Kirk won just 37 of 118 House districts that year. Munger won 57. Both ran against women of color. From WGLT

Normal Town Council member Scott Preston said Wednesday he plans to run for the Illinois House in the redrawn 91st House District.

Preston, a Republican, is one among the first candidates to announce a run in the 91st District that includes much of Bloomington-Normal and stretches west along Interstate 74 to Peoria. The seat was held by a Republican before redistricting, but it’s expected to be competitive for a Democrat now.

Former Bloomington mayor Tari Renner talked about running for the seat last summer, but has no active campaign committee. Democrat Karla Bailey-Smith and Republican Scott Preston are running.

* When they don’t even bother to tell you which party the candidate is, who they’re running against, or don’t know the back stories, you gotta figure they’re just ticking boxes

— Arin Thrower, a former producer of the Golf Channel in Florida, has launched her campaign for state representative in the 66th District, which encompasses portions of Kane and McHenry counties. […]

— Ashley Hunsaker launched her campaign for state representative in the 113th District, encompassing portions of Madison and St. Clair counties. Hunsaker is CEO of HTS Coatings LLC, a thermal spray, machining, and grinding company she has run alongside her husband since 2015.

— State Rep. Keith Wheeler announced he is running for reelection to the Illinois House’s 83rd District. Wheeler is serving his fourth term.

Thrower is the Republican Dundee Township Supervisor and is running against freshman Rep. Suzanne Ness (D-Crystal Lake). Hunsaker is also a Republican and is up against Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) in a very Democratic district. Subscribers know more, but both of those candidates were recruited by the HGOP.

* More Politico

— ENDORSEMENT: Plumbers Local Union 130 UA announced it’s endorsing Judge Elizabeth Rochford in her campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court’s 2nd District. Plumbers Local Union 130 UA has over 6,100 members in Chicago and Northeastern Illinois.

— ENDORSEMENT: Anna Valencia, who’s running for secretary of state, has added several collar county elected leaders to her “Women for Valencia” roster, including: Libertyville Mayor Donna Johnson, state Reps. Michelle Mussman, Maura Hirschauer, Janet Yang Rohr and Kathy Willis, DuPage County Board members Paula Deacon Garcia, Mary Ozog and Sheila Rutledge, and Lake County Board members Sandy Hart and Gina Roberts.

* More…

* Ken Griffin’s huge donation to the GOP: The Chicago billionaire and CEO of the giant hedge fund Citadel, “has cut a $10 million check to the Congressional Leadership Fund. Griffin wants to support female, minority and veteran candidates for the House in 2022. CLF, of course, is the House Republican super PAC, which raised $65.5 million in 2021,” reports Punchbowl.

* Springfield activist expected to join candidates seeking 13th Congressional seat


  1. - thechampaignlife - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 2:44 pm:

    At what point is Griffin losing more money playing politics than he would have paid in taxes?

    ===Will…Mary Miller return the contribution?===

    I never understood this logic. If you think Cheney is so terrible, why are you advocating giving her money to do more terrible things? At least say it should be donated to Red Cross or something.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 2:46 pm:

    Rodney Davis… will literally say anything… to whomever helps him at any moment.


  3. - New Day - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 2:47 pm:

    I was at JB’s announcement event. He went from giving a speech to an immediate media scrum. No ducking. No hiding. Nothing says “I’m my own person” like running away from press until you get your Griffin-operation talking points down pat.

    Surprised team Pritzker hasn’t yet put up a counter showing the number of hours and days he’s been ducking the press.

  4. - New Day - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 2:48 pm:

    Oh, and Rodney? Oh my. What happened to the mild-mannered moderate? Oh, right. That guy sold his soul to Donald Trump.

  5. - Pundent - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:00 pm:

    Wait until someone asks Miller and Davis how they feel about pardoning those involved in the January 6th insurrection.

  6. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:21 pm:

    Re: the Springfield activist joining the 13th’s race, John Keating. He ran as a Green aginst Scherer and McGorry (sp) in the 96th House in the 2020 general. Since then he was arrested for arson to a vendor tent at the State Fair last year.

    That gives me a couple ideas for Keating campaign slogans for the fall:

    “Keating ‘22: Burning Down the House.”

    “John Keating: Solving the 13th District’s Abandoned Building Problem. One Arson at a Time.”

  7. - NonAFSCMEStateEmployeeFromChatham - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==“Keating ‘22: Burning Down the House.”==

    With the Talking Heads song as his official campaign anthem.

  8. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:23 pm:

    Miller’s story is tragic and I’m sorry for her loss, but electing her as a GOP member of congress would be the worst thing people can do to avoid tragedies like she experienced. One article discussed missed flags in her case. Thanks to the GOP’s worship of guns red flags preventing dangerous mentally ill persons from obtaining or retaining guns have been continually blocked.

  9. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:35 pm:

    Cassandra Tanner Miller’s story is very moving, she may well be an attractive candidate. Foster is a very bright and nice man, but like most Congress folks his achievements may not be known. Miller may have a path at the primary as Lauf will get the Trumpy votes and she will attract the majority of GOP votes.

  10. - Lincoln Lad - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 3:42 pm:

    I live in the district Tanner Miller is running in… and her story will win her more votes and support than Irvin calling out the national guard. Two approaches, one with the capacity to get votes, and one not fully understanding that what sells downstate doesn’t have the same audience in numbers in the collar counties. My opinion…

  11. - Jaded - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 4:26 pm:

    Looks to my like Rodney’s campaign just did a nice job of tying the conservative darling to someone the conservatives love to hate. Probably figured he was going to get tied to Cheney, so why not beat the opposition to the punch. Sounds like good politics to me. He didn’t say one negative thing about Liz Cheney in this email. He just let the wing nuts know Miller is a hypocrite (calls her a rino but takes her dough). So what if he left out the part about being Cheney’s friend and saying he’d nominate her for president. That’s Millers job to point that out. Politics ain’t beanbag…

  12. - Frank talks - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 4:40 pm:

    It’s a good video, touching and moving. I don’t get though how losing your son to a murder suicide by his father is a GOP issue. If there were mental health issues the GOP nationally has tried to repeal the ACA and has stood against universal healthcare. If it was easy access to guns, that’s a core issue for the party to have an unrestricted 2nd Amendment.

    The story is tragic. The video is compelling. The voices she wants to stand up for can use help in both those areas and the party she’s running for does not believe in addressing either of those things.

    If she was running as a Dem I would get it- restricting access to guns, more money for mental health care services, that’s a Dem candidacy. Guess we’ll have to see the long game after this intro video.

  13. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 4:41 pm:

    ===Cassandra Tanner Miller kicked off her congressional campaign with a powerful video===

    By running for congress as a Republican she has effectively limited the usefulness of the single issue she is known for and produced a 225 second video around. This is a moving and powerful video to remind voters about who she is, but it cannot be an effective centerpiece for her campaign and it naturally sparks the conversation about gun control. Especially since law enforcement failed to take any action to take firearms away from a person with a revoked FOID.

    Especially running to be the nominee for a political party that has had unwavering support for a man who has been repeatedly credibly accused of sexual assault. The same political party that has repeatedly attempted to fail to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act — a hallmark of President Biden’s time in the United States Senate.

    Cassandra Tanner Miller endured a horrific event, but I hope she is prepared to talk about domestic and international policy because he campaign website suggests that she has no meaningful contribution to the conversation other than to embrace every bad faith attempt at governing the GOP has made in the last 15 years.

    Illinois can do better than Cassandra for Congress. Illinoisans deserve better than Cassandra for Congress. No amount of personal tragedy excuses an effort to try to make the world more unjust for others. The issues page of her website is just as extreme right wing as Congresswoman Miller is.

    Cassandra is likely very unprepared for the scrutiny she has invited on herself and has yet to find out that running for congress on “parental rights” in 2022 is thinly veiled racism.

  14. - Pungent - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 4:59 pm:

    Mary, please take ALL of Liz’s money. We understand. As long as you don’t endorse her or extol her.

    Rodney gives flip-flops a bad name. They are sturdy compared to him¡

  15. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 5:03 pm:

    I also just think it’s fun how Cassandra for Congress left the Democratic super majorities and the Democratic Governor off from getting any credit for a massive package of legislation.

    I’m sure that’s going over real well.

  16. - sal-says - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 5:03 pm:

    == ken griffen ==

    S-Can Citizens United.

    Restore individual/corporate/dark money campaign donation limits; help try to save democracy.

  17. - Frumpy White Guy - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 5:55 pm:

    Citadel is his achilles’ heel. Democratic powerbrokers need to go after his business.

  18. - Grandson of Man - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 6:08 pm:

    “running away from press until you get your Griffin-operation talking points down pat”

    Raunerization may take longer than some would like, the complete transformation into Griffin’s candidate and fully tied to the Rauner-Griffin legacy.

  19. - Fivegreenleaves - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 6:21 pm:

    Ken Griffin is one of the reasons why state and national elections need to be publicly financed.

  20. - Moral Minority - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 9:30 pm:

    And I thought that Liz Cheney was one of the few real GOP members still in office. I even sent her a small contribution because of her stand against Mary Miller and the rest of the Trumpublicans who are trying to sweep the January 6th insurrection under the carpet. I guess it might be a strategy to give Davis a campaign opening though…and if so, a good one. Glad Mary bit on it and glad Mary will no longer be my US Rep this time next year.

  21. - Robbie Gould Fan - Monday, Jan 31, 22 @ 9:45 pm:

    Maybe Irvin is going to live in Biden’s basement for the entire campaign? After all, they are both Democrats.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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