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Campaign notebook

Wednesday, Sep 14, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* I’ve received two blast emails from the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association asking for money to fund a TV ad in the governor’s race. Excerpt from one…

Our team is ALREADY working on a TV commercial that will EXPOSE Darren Bailey as the true danger to Illinois that he is, but we need to raise $10,000 by tomorrow night in order to get it up and running.

Can you please rush a donation of $5 before midnight tomorrow to help us fight like hell against Darren and his millionaire mega-donors? We need to counter any TV ads that this conservative group has planned, as well as any commercials that will come directly from Darren’s campaign.

Wait. The governor is a billionaire and has plenty of dough while down-ballot candidates could use some help, so what the heck? “The ILDCCA is gonna air TV ads in the governor’s race?,” I asked an official with the association. His emailed reply…

Depends on our fundraising

Seems… odd.

* From Mary Ann Ahern’s interview of Darren Bailey

Former President Trump endorsed Bailey before the primary, but would you welcome President Trump again back in Illinois before the November 8th election?

You know, President Trump is not on the ballot.

He wasn’t on the ballot in June when he campaigned for Bailey.


ProPublica first reported that Bailey received nearly $570,000 in PPP loans. The Chicago Tribune also notes there was another $280,000 from the USDA for farmers, and since 1995 his farming operation has received $2.1 million in federal subsidies.

“It is the federal government that’s pretty well in charge of export and import, demand, embargos. They control these prices,” he said.


States like Wisconsin and Georgia have recently removed hundreds of thousands of names off their voter lists, in what critics are calling “voter purges.” And in preparation for the 2020 election, the Ohio secretary of state removed nearly half a million names, thousands erroneously.

Election officials in those states say they are cleaning up their voter lists, deleting voters who are inactive, have moved or passed away. But voting rights groups say voter purges are often flawed and states should instead implement same-day voter registration.

So where does Illinois fall in all of this? According to Matt Dietrich with the Illinois Board of Elections, it’s very hard for eligible voters to get kicked off the lists here. Even if voters are removed, eligible Illinois voters still have many ways to ensure that their ballot is cast.

* SoS race…

Illinois Republican Dan Brady today announced that as the next Secretary of State he will reduce all Illinois motor vehicle license plate fees by $50 for one year to provide relief to economically hard-hit Illinois families.

“Illinois citizens have been sucker-punched by skyrocketing food, housing and medical care costs, and enough is enough,” Brady said. “That extra $50 per vehicle may help families to pay for groceries, gasoline, school books or their utility bills. Taxpayers have wondered for years where their money goes in Springfield, and it’s about time it went back to them.”

Brady cited the 8.3 percent increase over the past 12 months in the Consumer Price Index as evidence that costs are rising at a higher rate than many people can afford.

“How many Illinois residents get an 8.3 percent raise each year? How are they supposed to keep their heads above water?” Brady said. “Admittedly my plan is only a $50 reduction per vehicle, but $50 still means something today.”

Under the Brady Plan, standard license plate renewal fees for 2023 would be reduced from $151 to $101; personalized plate renewals would drop from $158 to $108; and vanity license plates, currently at $164, would be $114 next year. The current license plate renewal rates would return in 2024.

“The streamlining and efficiency measures I plan to make as Secretary of State will help to absorb the cost of this one-year reduction in license plate fees,” Brady said. “Illinois residents are tightening their belts during these tough times, and we should do the same in state government.”

Brady’s license plate fee reduction plan is in line with other inflation-fighting measures enacted by the Illinois General Assembly. The legislature has frozen the one percent grocery tax, postponed the state’s gasoline tax increase until January 2023, and is providing a $50 income tax rebate to Illinois taxpayers.

…Adding… Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign…

Alexi is committed to saving Illinoisans time and money as the next Secretary of State. However this proposal lacks significant details. Not by coincidence, Dan conveniently leaves out how he intends to make up for the revenue losses in the state budget or who will sponsor it. Furthermore, it’s interesting that as a career politician, Dan is just now coming up with this half-baked idea just 55 days before the election after having more than 20 years to push for it as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

* CD13 Republican Regan Deering’s first TV ad


America used to be stronger, safer and more prosperous. Not anymore. How do these career politicians keep getting away with this? I’m Regan Deering. I’m running for Congress to put people first and restore the American Dream. I’m a fighter who will cut wasteful spending and hold politicians accountable. I’ll fight to reduce the cost of gas and make America energy independent. And I will always defend the police. I’m Regan Deering, I approve this message. Together, we’ll fight the political insiders and put families first.


Mary K. O’Brien’s and Elizabeth Rochford’s candidacies for the Illinois Supreme Court reflect the latest iteration of one of Illinois’ oldest and saddest political axioms. For decades, there has been one constant catalyst in the election of justices: the Madigan Machine promotes its own.

Case-in-point, the careers of outgoing Chief Justice Anne Burke and former Justice Tom Kilbride, who lost his retention race in a historic judicial election in 2020. Both Burke and Kilbride were backed by the Madigan Machine.

For decades, the most reliable way of being appointed judge was Mike Madigan and Ed Burke’s stamp of approval. According to a Chicago Tribune article from April 17th, 2011 “Madigan’s List”:

“…Many of those full circuit judges were publicly elected with the help of the Democratic Party that Madigan controls — and the judicial slating committee run by Ald. Edward Burke, 14th. While the party wields overt power in those elections, the process of picking associate judges is touted as a way for talented lawyers to make the bench without bowing to political bosses or wooing uninformed and uninterested voters. But politicking for the coveted associate judgeships is rampant in Chicago’s legal community, and the Tribune found one of the best ways to win a spot is to be on what is widely referred to as ‘Madigan’s list.’”

Now, two more machine judges - Mary K. O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford - are rising through the ranks of the Madigan Machine, seeking spots on the State’s highest court.

O’Brien was appointed as an Appellate Court Justice during her final year in the Illinois General Assembly after voting with Madigan 93.6% of the time. O’Brien also “Helped Madigan Regain The Speakership,” according to the State-Journal Register article “Wishing for some goodies for public officials in 1998” from December 28th, 1997. O’Brien also received over $200,000 in political contributions from political groups led by Madigan over the course of her career.

Rochford was also appointed, not elected, to her judgeship. Rochford served for over two decades on the Illinois Court of Claims, which has long been noted as a proving ground of political patronage. Rochford has given over $15,000 to indicted machine boss and Alderman Ed Burke since 1999. She also gave Burke $1,500 just a month after Burke was charged with 14 counts of corruption. When asked about the contribution, Rochford justified it, calling Burke “a longtime friend of the family”.

“Mary K. O’Brien and Elizabeth Rochford are the latest chapter in Illinois’ sad history of Madigan Machine-backed judges rising through the ranks of Illinois’ judicial system. Illinois voters can’t afford any more Madigan-backed judges who block anti-corruption reforms. We must elect justices to our state’s highest court who are loyal to the rule of law and the people of Illinois, not to indicted party bosses like Mike Madigan and Ed Burke,” said Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Shaun McCabe.


Since the allegations against State Senator Michael Hastings first came to light, one thing has been consistent throughout the entire saga, crickets from the Governor, Senate President, and Hastings’ Democrat colleagues in the Illinois State Legislature.

According to WBEZ, “For more than two years, lawyers for the state of Illinois fought against a lawsuit filed by the former chief of staff to powerful Sen. Michael Hastings. But earlier this year, the state paid $100,000 to the ex-chief of staff to Hastings and her lawyer to settle the case, which included accusations of racial and gender discrimination against the Democratic lawmaker.”

To date, Hastings’ scandals have left Illinois taxpayers on the hook for nearly $150,000 in legal bills and settlements. In addition to using taxpayer money to settle his harassment claims, Hastings faces very serious allegations of domestic abuse from his wife.

According to the police report obtained by the Edgar County Watchdogs earlier this year, “Hastings treated his wife poorly for the past 8 months being emotionally and verbally abusive” and “That he battered her, by placing her in a choke hold/neck restraint, and slammed her body into a door multiple times”.

Meanwhile, Hastings’ spokesperson lashed-out at the longtime Director of the Illinois Environmental Council who accused Hastings of having “had serious issues with anger management that aren’t appropriate for the workplace where we are making laws for the state of Illinois”. Hastings’ spokesperson called her a “bully” and accused her of lying.

One prominent Democrat has spoken out. State Senator Napoleon Harris actually came to Hastings’ defense saying that he has “known Mike Hastings to be one of the most upstanding, professional, and honest legislators in the Illinois Senate.”

“Since Senator Hastings won’t address the allegations against himself by other means than lawsuits and name-calling tantamount to victim-blaming, Governor Pritzker, Senate President Harmon, along with Senator Hastings’ colleagues in the legislature have some explaining to do. They must be called to answer questions about where they stand on Senator Hastings’ domestic abuse allegations, history of inappropriate workplace behavior, taxpayer-funded legal settlement, and if they feel he is still fit to serve in the Illinois Senate,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy. “Their silence in the name of political expediency is deafening.”


For the last two years, Illinois voters have continually been denied clear answers from Mike Frerichs on a host of issues, led by his comments supporting taxing retirement income. Frerichs’ continual ducking and hiding from any challenge to his policies and statements have been made clear by ignoring Treasurer Candidate Tom Demmer’s invitation for a series of public debates between the two candidates.

Returning back to October of 2020, nearly four months after commenting in support of a retirement tax, Treasurer Frerichs announced and then proceeded to abruptly cancel a press conference on the topic. Unfortunately, his record of impeding voters’ request for more transparency doesn’t end there.

Fast forward to 2022 and Treasurer Frerichs continues to ignore an invitation from State Representative Tom Demmer to participate in a series of public debates to discuss the retirement tax and other issues pertinent to state fiscal policy.

The people of Illinois deserve a leader who will stand up for Illinois families, protect their hard-earned savings, and refuse to run away when challenged to produce facts on their record. Treasurer Frerichs owes nothing less to every resident of Illinois than the opportunity to hear an open and honest exchange of ideas before the November 8 election.

“While Frerichs ducks, deflects, and dodges, Tom Demmer has been fully transparent about his agenda to safeguard taxpayer dollars and serve as a fiscal watchdog, not a tax-and-spend Pritzker lapdog. Meanwhile, Treasurer Frerichs has repeatedly ignored opportunities to face the voters and explain his past support for taxing retirement income. Voters of Illinois deserve the opportunity to hear open, honest, and transparent debates,” said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy.

* More…

* GOP candidate for governor Darren Bailey in another controversy with the Jewish community

* State senate race in 1st District to be uncontested

* Danville and Chicago’s South Side squeezed into gerrymandered congressional district


  1. - Cook County - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:21 pm:

    Our daughter has been married and registered at a separate address for over 10 years but is also still registered at our house although she has not voted here (despite the fact that we live in Cook County) for over a decade. The voter rolls need a clean up!

  2. - MisterJayEm - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:21 pm:

    “According to Matt Dietrich with the Illinois Board of Elections, it’s very hard for eligible voters to get kicked off the lists here.”


    Nevertheless, you can look-up your voter registration status here:

    – MrJM

  3. - Michelle Flaherty - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:31 pm:

    I’m sorry but wasn’t Don Tracy found to have violated the state employees ethics act and in response lashed out at the investigation as a conspiratorial hit job?
    And yet here he is.

  4. - Dotnonymous - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:51 pm:

    “President Trump is not on the ballot, I am focused on Illinois,” he evaded.”

    Thanks for the voter registration link, MrJM.

  5. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 2:54 pm:

    “it’s very hard for eligible voters to get kicked off the lists here”

    Thankfully HB1920 never went anywhere.

  6. - JT11505 - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:02 pm:

    Eleven Madigan mentions in one 8-graph press release. Someday the ILGOP is going to find a new bogeyman. I’m guessing by 2030, maybe.

  7. - Big Dipper - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    ==I’m sorry but wasn’t Don Tracy found to have violated the state employees ethics act and in response lashed out at the investigation as a conspiratorial hit job?==

    Rules are for thee.

  8. - vern - Wednesday, Sep 14, 22 @ 4:22 pm:

    Tracy as messenger aside, the hit is a fair one. Hastings is having a complete meltdown and won’t do the right thing, so it’s reasonable to ask other leaders where they stand. Especially Harmon, whose last comment on the matter was “I just saw the article” over 24 hours ago. It’s past time for Harmon to share his thinking on Hastings.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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