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Campaign notebook

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Pritzker dipping into the trust fund to get around the spending caps

You gotta figure Elizabeth Rochford will get that as well.

* Speaking of contribution caps, DeVore busted his with a loan to himself, then has bitterly and repeatedly complained about a large contribution to his opponent…

* Speaking of DeVore…

A little background on Mr. Christos

Prosecutors charged the suspected gunman in the shooting rampage at a Fourth of July parade in this Chicago suburb with seven counts of first-degree murder Tuesday, hoping to put him behind bars for the rest of his life.

Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Rinehart said that, if convicted, Robert E. “Bobby'’ Crimo III faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. […]

Crimo can be seen in a widely circulated Chicago Tribune photo of a Trump rally. The man standing to Crimo’s right in the photo is Peter Christos, 18, according to Deerfield resident Natalie Reed, 18, who attended school with Christos at Glenbrook North.

“He’s very anti-mask, anti-vaccine,” Reed said of Christos. “He would kind of harass other students for wearing masks. He rallied up a bunch of people and did a lot of Trump rallies. He’s the one who got people together for most of them in Northbrook.”

Democratic oppo file on Christos is here. He was close to the Bailey campaign for a while and Bailey’s running mate was reportedly at that Republican Women of Park Ridge event.

* Speaking of the far right, here’s Politico

Rep. Mary Miller (IL-15) is the only member of the state’s Republican congressional delegation not to condemn last week’s violent attack on the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The silence from Miller shows how divided politics has become, especially since Jan. 6 when protesters stormed the Capitol calling out for Pelosi.

Others in the GOP spoke up: Congressmen Mike Bost (IL-12), Rodney Davis (IL-13), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16) and Darin LaHood (IL-18) all expressed outrage at the assault. They followed the lead of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former Vice President Mike Pence, who also condemned the attack.

* Illinois early vote totals…

* Chicago early vote totals…

The most up-to-date Early Vote and Vote By Mail totals in Chicago, night of Sunday, October 30, 2022.

The Early Vote total stands at 52,599 ballots cast.

Additionally, 61,643 Vote By Mail ballots have been returned to the Board – total VBM applications stands at 203,119.

The grand total is 114,242 ballots cast so far in Chicago for the November 8th General Election.

Chicago has about 21 percent of the state’s population, but turnout so far is only about 16 percent of the statewide total. That’s up from before, but not there yet.

…Adding… Ahead of 2018, but people are getting accustomed to the process…

* Isabel’s roundup…

    * Judge allows GOP AG candidate Thomas DeVore’s defamation lawsuit against girlfriend’s mom to proceed: In his decision, Christian County Associate Judge Kevin Parker wrote that he couldn’t properly evaluate whether DeVore’s lawsuit fell under the state law without first determining whether Craig wrote or helped publish the article in question. “At this pleading stage of the case, that material fact is in no way settled,” Parker wrote.

    * Vote no on the Workers’ Rights Amendment: As Crain’s business columnist Joe Cahill pointed out on Oct. 3, if the WRA passes, Illinois will stand out for giving broader constitutional protections to organized labor than any other state. The amendment bars any legislation that interferes with unions’ bargaining rights, and—going further than any of the handful of states that constitutionally protect collective bargaining—explicitly prohibits “right-to-work laws” like those recently adopted by neighboring states.

    * Tulsi Gabbard endorses Bailey for governor: “It’s time for new leadership, and I urge you to elect Darren Bailey as your next governor,” Gabbard said. “He is a farmer who knows what it means to put in an honest day’s work, puts people first and is not beholden to the political insiders who have corrupted the Illinois government.” Gabbard will speak at a Bailey campaign rally with Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy Monday night in Glen Ellyn. The downstate lawmaker said Gabbard understands that Illinois voters need to stand up to extremists, put people ahead of politics and do what’s right. Bailey said he can unite Illinoisans by focusing on tax relief, safer streets and improving schools.

    * RTMD offering free rides to the polls in southern Illinois: Rides Mass Transit District (RMTD) is offering free rides to the polls for the General Election on Tuesday, November 8. The transportation company says it is offering the free rides on their regular routes in southern Illinois.

    * Kifowit, West square off in Illinois House 84th District race: If re-elected, Kifowit said she hopes to continue serving as the chair of Veterans Affairs and serve as a voice for veterans as the only female veteran in the House. She also looks to focus on ensuring mental health is on par with physical health for residents, working toward more ethics reforms and balancing the state’s budget, she said.

…Adding… From Dan Proft’s PAC…

Former Democrat, congresswoman, and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard appeared on Chicago’s Morning Answer with Dan Proft & Amy Jacobson Monday morning before scheduled appearances with Illinois GOP candidate Darren Bailey later in the day in both Palatine and Glen Ellyn.

The whole interview can be listened to here:

Gabbard: “I just came from being with [GOP gubernatorial candidate] Tudor Dixon over the weekend in Michigan, and I know a lot of the same challenges that people are frustrated with and feeling in Michigan are the same things that Darren is telling me folks are frustrated with here in Illinois. Things obviously, like incredibly-rising crime rates…heavily restricted controls by the government throughout the COVID pandemic…parents being told ‘Hey you don’t have a right to have a say in what your child is being taught in school.’ These are all things that aren’t Democrat or Republican, they are issues that are affecting every person and every family in this state, and that this governor, Governor Pritzker, has failed on.”

She went on to say: “My message to voters here in the state of Illinois:…Do you feel like our economy is working for you? Do you feel like you are being honored and empowered as parents with policies that actually strengthen families, rather than trying to tear us apart? And if the answer to any of those is NO then I urge you to really take a hard look and consider casting your vote for [DARREN BAILEY] because he is a man of the people.”

Dan Proft is president of People Who Play By The Rules PAC.


Folks in other states might see this as bad news, but it’s actually good news

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Man, I am having a day! Forgot to post my own syndicated weekly newspaper column

When Emerson College unveiled its latest Illinois poll last week, its press release included three “key takeaways.” At the very top of its list was this: “Fifty-two percent (52%) majority of voters think things in Illinois are on the wrong track, while 48% think things are headed in the right direction.”

The college is based in Massachusetts, a liberal state with a popular Republican governor. A recent poll taken in Massachusetts by Suffolk University found that 59% believed their state was on the right track, while 33% said it was on the wrong track.

So, while I can easily see why people in Massachusetts would highlight an inverse opinion in Illinois as bad news, that poll result was actually pretty darned good news.

Way back in 2008, when Rod Blagojevich was nearing his fateful end, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute found that 75% of Illinoisans believed Illinois was heading in the wrong direction, while 12.4% believed it was going in the right direction.

In 2010, the Simon Institute had the wrong/right track result at 81%-11%. In 2011, the Institute poll pegged the numbers at 75%-15% wrong/right, and it stayed there for a while. The Simon poll’s 2012 wrong/right results were 70%-20%. The 2013 Simon poll had it at 75%-16%.

In early 2015, shortly after Republican Bruce Rauner was sworn in as governor, Illinoisans’ mood improved a little.“Only” 63% said the state was headed in the wrong direction, while 22% said it was moving in the right direction.

By 2016, after all heck had broken loose in Springfield amid Rauner’s refusal to negotiate a budget until he won his war with organized labor, things got even worse. The Simon poll found a whopping 84% of the state’s voters believed Illinois was off on the wrong track, while only 10% thought it was following the right path. The Simon poll numbers were essentially unchanged two years later (84%-9%) as Rauner was finishing up his first and only term.

Illinoisans have overwhelmingly agreed on one thing over the years: Illinois sucks. It’s quite a remarkable consensus.

And it isn’t like people were totally wrong.

We have more than our share of crooked politicians. We had three governors in a row who made a complete mess of things. Our former House speaker had more concentrated power than anyone in our state’s history, and he often used his office to play other people and institutions for sport.

Issues were ignored, everything seemed to be in decay, there was never enough money to achieve basic goals.

Entire cottage industries sprang up to take advantage of Illinoisans’ collective hatred of their state by giving them often-massaged data to feed their rage. Everything is bad all the time to these groups. “Death spiral” was one of their favorite phrases to describe Illinois’ predicament. People have been paid quite well to live in nice homes and tell everyone else their lives were miserable because of state employee pensions, or whatever the current bogeyman was.

Then something happened that upset a lot of people at the time but turned everything around. A super-majority of Republicans and Democrats overrode Rauner’s veto of an income tax hike. Oh, there was such blinding, white-hot rage from the well-paid doomsayers at the time. But I think they knew the gig was up.

It took some years to pay off the crushing short-term debts incurred under Rauner and his predecessors, but the state started to right itself again thanks to that extra revenue. After some decent governance, the “death spiral” people have mostly moved on to opposing COVID-19 mitigations, or complaining about “Critical Race Theory” or whatever.

Because of that increased tax revenue, our pension debt, while high, has become far more manageable. Businesses and nonprofit organizations that do much of the actual physical work of government don’t have to worry about not being paid in a timely manner. Subsequent tax hikes on motor fuel and gaming expansion and legalizing cannabis have provided needed funds to fix our decrepit roads and bridges, repair our dilapidated public buildings and invest in neglected communities.

Again, I don’t strongly disagree with popular sentiment over the years. Illinois has often been a basket case, even without the deliberately provocative exaggerations from the doom-and-gloom types. And I also agree with what appears to be current sentiment that Illinois is slightly more negative than positive. We still have a ways to go. But, at least now, the destination might possibly be in sight.

It sure would be nice to live in a more “normal” state.


No, fentanyl is not in your child’s Halloween candy

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller


In August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration alerted the public to the existence of bright-colored fentanyl pills that resemble candy — now dubbed “rainbow fentanyl.” The DEA warned that the pills were a deliberate scheme by drug cartels to sell addictive fentanyl to children and young people.

Although the agency didn’t mention Halloween specifically, people remain alarmed this holiday following the DEA’s warning.

Drug experts, however, say that there is no new fentanyl threat to kids this Halloween. […]

Dr. Ryan Marino, medical toxicologist, emergency physician and addiction medicine specialist at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, also points to the upcoming midterm elections.

“It also seems to have become heavily politicized because this is a very tense election year with very intense partisan politics,” he said. “It also seems as if people are using fentanyl for political purposes.”

* Today, Fox News published an opinion piece online titled “Halloween fentanyl from Biden’s border crisis the latest horror from this administration” but with no examples. Rep. Mary Miller is also guilty of this Halloween hoax…

* The Tribune reported on a bill earlier this month that would increase penalties for dealing “rainbow fentanyl”

DuPage County Sheriff James Mendrick was looking over bulletins from other law enforcement agencies when he saw something that chilled him — an alert about a new kind of fentanyl that he said, “looks exactly like SweeTarts candy.” […]

He relayed his concerns to state Rep. Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) and recently she and some Republican colleagues introduced a bill that would add five years to the prison sentence of anyone convicted of selling fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, in that guise. […]

Laura Fry, of Live4Lali, an overdose prevention group that serves the northern suburbs, was even more skeptical.

“Because of the work we do I know a lot of dealers, and no, they’re not going to be bagging it up and giving it out at Halloween,” she said. “It’s just scaremongering at its best.”

* Earlier this month Danville PD posted on Facebook that parents should be aware of traffic, using sidewalks and fentanyl

Halloween is right around the corner and our community enjoys being involved in the festivities and giving or receiving “Tricks or Treats”. The Danville Police Department wants to help keep everyone safe. Trick-or-Treating will be permitted in Danville from 5 pm – 8 pm on Monday, October 31st.

Our primary concern is pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the roadways and other risks to our children’s safety. We must also remain concerned with Covid-19 for those who are most vulnerable to it. Parents and guardians must remain vigilant again this year. The choice of allowing your children to trick or treat and responsibility will, as it should, fall on the individual parents, guardians and families. As with any contagious illness, if a parent, guardian or child is not feeling well, please consider not taking the risk. […]

Unfortunately, we always have to keep our guard up for additional risks that could jeopardize the community’s safety. There has been attention given to “rainbow colored” Fentanyl. We have not seen this variation of the deadly drug in Danville or Vermilion County but we want to warn that all candy collected by our children should be inspected by an adult prior to its consumption. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) this variation of the street version of Fentanyl has been located and seized in 18 states and the distributors are targeting the younger population. There is no indication of a threat in our area but we know that the question will be asked based on the coverage by national media. Anything suspicious should be reported to local police. Any unsealed candy should be discarded. Use your best discretion as you would for anything involving our most precious commodity, our kids.

* The AP

Advocates warn that some of the alarms being sounded by politicians and officials are wrong and potentially dangerous. Among those ideas: that tightening control of the U.S.-Mexico border would stop the flow of the drugs, though experts say the key to reining in the crisis is reducing drug demand; that fentanyl might turn up in kids’ trick-or-treat baskets this Halloween; and that merely touching the drug briefly can be fatal — something that researchers found untrue and that advocates worry can make first responders hesitate about giving lifesaving treatment.

All three ideas were brought up this month in an online video billed as a pre-Halloween public service announcement from a dozen Republican U.S. senators.[…]

Jon DeLena, the agency’s associate special agent in charge, said at the National Crime Prevention Council summit on fentanyl in Washington this month that there’s “no direct information that Halloween is specifically being targeted or young people are being targeted for Halloween,” but that hasn’t kept that idea from spreading.

Joel Best, an emeritus sociology professor at the University of Delaware, said that idea falls in with a long line of Halloween-related scares. He has examined cases since 1958 and has not found a single instance of a child dying because of something foreign put into Halloween candy — and few instances of that being done at all.


The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is giving out tips to keep your children safe on Halloween.

Officials say it is rare for Halloween candy to be poisoned but IPC manages cases each year involving dry ice, glow sticks, and more.

“It is very rare to get poisoned from Halloween candy, but parents should still check their child’s candy as a safety precaution, especially with the recent increase in the use of candy-like products that contain THC or fentanyl,” said IPC Medical Director Michael Wahl, MD. “While IPC doesn’t typically see poison incidents involving candy during this time of year, we do get calls about glow sticks, dry ice, and other potentially harmful items children eat.”


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Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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AP: Despite admitting to covering up inmate’s beating death, six IDOC employees “have flourished”

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. From the Associated Press

Three former Illinois prison guards face life behind bars after the 2018 fatal beating of a 65-year-old inmate in a case marked by the unpunished lies of other correctional officers who continue to get pay raises, records obtained and court documents show.

Juries convicted Department of Corrections Officer Alex Banta in April and Lt. Todd Sheffler in August of federal civil rights violations owing largely to the cooperation of the third, Sgt. Willie Hedden. Hedden hopes for a reduced sentence — even though he admitted lying about his involvement until entering a guilty plea 18 months ago.

But Hedden’s account of what happened to Western Illinois Correctional Center inmate Larry Earvin on May 17, 2018, is not unique. Similar testimony was offered by six other correctional officers who still work at the lockup in Mount Sterling, 249 miles southwest of Chicago.

Like Hedden, all admitted under oath that initially, they lied to authorities investigating Earvin’s death, including to the Illinois State Police and the FBI. They covered up the brutal beatings that took place and led to Earvin’s death six weeks later from blunt-force trauma to the chest and abdomen, according to an autopsy reports.

Documents obtained under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act indicate that none of the guards has been punished for the coverup. Despite admitting their indiscretions, Lts. Matthew Lindsey and Blake Haubrich, Sgts. Derek Hasten, Brett Hendricks and Shawn Volk and Officer Richard Waterstraat have flourished — three have been promoted, one has been on paid leave, and on average, they’ve seen salary hikes of nearly 30% and increases in pension benefits.

* The John Howard Association helped push Illinois into compliance with federal and state disclosure laws…


A trans conspiracy theory, broken windows, false claims, big money and Tulsi Gabbard - Just another day in Illinois politics

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Background is here if you need it. From the American Principles Project, which is a federal PAC that has so far disclosed two expenditures in Illinois

From Natalie Edelstein at the Pritzker campaign…

Mailers like this perpetuate dangerous stereotypes and put the lives of our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors at risk. These unhinged conspiracies have led to legitimate threats on doctors, nurses, and hospitals and fuel the acts of violence that have become all too common in our political discourse.

* From the Richard Uihlein-funded Fair Courts America, another federal PAC which has so far disclosed seven expenditures in Illinois

* From the Ken Griffin-funded Citizens for Judicial Fairness

Debunked here and here.

* Center for Illinois Politics

When a federal court threw out two Illinois laws that barred both out-of-state contributions to judicial races, and donations from groups that don’t disclose their donors, the chief legislative sponsor of the laws wasn’t particularly surprised. […]

In his decision, U.S. District Court Judge John Tharp Jr. ruled in favor of Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center saying the state “does not and cannot explain why money is more corrupting simply because its source is from outside the state.”

‍The campaign finance laws were pushed by Democrats as part of an effort to preserve their 4 to 3 majority on the state high court. The Illinois Supreme Court has had a Democratic majority since the state adopted a new constitution in 1970. But the 2020 defeat of Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, the first member to the high court to lose a retention bid, sent shockwaves through the Democrats political establishment and set up the possibility that Democrats might lose control of the high court in the 2022 elections.

* Pritzker campaign…

In a final move of desperation, Darren Bailey announced he will campaign with noted Russia sympathizer and conspiracy theorist, former Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Gabbard, who is most famous for polling at only 1% in the early days of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, has a long history of apologizing for Vladimir Putin’s brutal regime and spreading conspiracy theories.

In the early days of the Ukraine war, Gabbard spread decidedly pro-Russia propaganda, saying, “This war and suffering could have easily been avoided if Biden Admin/NATO had simply acknowledged Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding Ukraine’s becoming a member of NATO.” Gabbard has made repeated appearances on Fox News to parrot false Russian propaganda.

Gabbard has been widely criticized for pushing a Russian-backed conspiracy about U.S.-backed biological labs in Ukraine. Experts have warned that the baseless conspiracy theory “could serve as justification for Russia to use biological and chemical weapons against Ukraine.”

Gabbard, who like Bailey is virulently anti-LGBTQ, once worked for an anti-gay organization that supported conversion therapy. After apologizing for past anti-LGBTQ views before running for president, Gabbard introduced an anti-trans bill in the U.S. House of Representatives just two years later that would prevent trans women and girls from participating in sports. Like Bailey, Gabbard will say or do anything to get elected, but has no real values or moral compass other than hatred. 

“It is no surprise Darren Bailey has to scrape the bottom of the barrel to find campaign surrogates in the final days of this election,” said JB for Governor spokeswoman Eliza Glezer. “Disliked by Republicans and Democrats alike, Tulsi Gabbard has repeatedly shown that her loyalties lie with foreign adversaries. Darren Bailey should answer for why he is so proud to campaign with a Trump-aligned, Russian apologist.”


Fun with semantics

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller


We can verify the passing of Amendment 1 does not guarantee a property tax increase. There is no language in the amendment regarding property taxes. […]

You may have seen the [Illinois Policy Institute’s] campaign claiming property tax could increase by $2,100 for the typical Illinois homeowner.

The IPI reached that number by taking the average property tax increase since 2010 and projected future annual property tax increases for 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026. Those four years of increases were combined and equal around $2,100.

Bryce Hill came up with the formula.

The Verify team asked Hill why the future tax numbers wouldn’t still apply if Amendment 1 fails. The formula is based on tax averages since 2010 when Amendment 1 protections were not in place.

Hill answered, “Not necessarily…You could get a reform-minded candidate in there who wants to lower property taxes or freeze them.”

He added, “We have a much more likely scenario for property tax reform and cost of government coming down if Amendment 1 does not pass.”

Yeah, they always have a magical solution at the ready if only everyone would just do what they say.

* Technically, though, they do cover themselves. From IPI’s article entitled “Amendment 1 would guarantee $2,100 property tax hike for typical Illinois family”

It’s election season in Illinois, and politicians are running on the promise of property tax relief as usual, including every major candidate for governor.

Illinois’ property taxes are already the second-highest in the nation and a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states. That problem could be made worse on Nov. 8 when voters will be asked to decide the fate of Amendment 1, a tax hike disguised as a “workers rights amendment.”

The change would prevent commonsense reforms to reduce homeowners’ tax burdens while giving government union leaders virtually limitless new ways to demand higher costs from taxpayers. If it passes, Illinois’ trend of large annual property tax increases will likely grow faster than ever. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has failed to deliver on property tax relief during his term – the average family paid $1,913 more during his administration.

Amendment 1 would guarantee that family pays at least $2,149 in higher property tax bills over the next four years, no matter which politicians win this November or how well they try to follow through on their promises.

This is a conservative estimate, assuming the rapid growth of Illinois’ property tax burden holds steady. It’s likely property taxes would grow at an even faster rate, because Amendment 1 would give Illinois government unions unprecedented bargaining powers that don’t exist in any other state. Exactly how much faster is an open question.

You have to read it closely, but, aside from the headline, they’re not saying the Workers’ Rights Amendment would in itself guarantee property tax hikes. They’re claiming it would be next to impossible to lower the historical rate of increase if Amendment 1 passes.

So, essentially, they cover themselves with the full explanation. A more honest pitch would be: “If you vote No on this thing then your property taxes might possibly if everything works out the way we hope not go up as fast,” but that probably wouldn’t be effective, or even believable. So, they stick to the shorthand with a long explanation that few will likely read.

* This is one of their recent text ads…

It’s portrayed as cause and effect.


New Pritzker ad pushes back on SAFE-T Act claims

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Reinhart makes the pitch

The video was recorded by my phone.

* Script

Darren Bailey’s not telling you the truth. He’s just trying to scare you. You deserve to know the facts about the Illinois SAFE-T Act. There is no such thing as a purge law in Illinois. We will be able to keep violent offenders behind bars, where they belong. And convicted criminals will not be released. I’m tired of politicians trying to fool you. Darren Bailey is all lies and no solutions. It’s JB Pritzker I trust to keep Illinois safe. Go to JB’s website to see the facts for yourself.

The Pritzker campaign points to a Bailey Facebook ad that claims Pritzker “passed laws to let criminals out of prison. Darren Bailey will repeal Pritzker’s pro-crime laws.”

…Adding… John Oliver had a long segment on cash bail reform last night. Click here.


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Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Morning stuff

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* A quick roundup to start your day…

    * Pritzker’s ex-tollway chairman accused in lawsuit of trying to steer contracts, hire pals at agency: Not long after taking office in 2019, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that restructured the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority, promising “transparency and accountability” and declaring: “Our new leadership will uphold the highest ethical standards, deliver the value to taxpayers and serve Illinoisans in every corner of our state.”A new lawsuit filed by two former high-ranking tollway officials paints a different picture of the state agency under Pritzker’s chosen team, accusing now-former board chairman Will Evans of trying to steer contracts to favored firms and engaging in patronage hiring.

    * House candidates in south, southwest suburbs differ on benefits, drawbacks of SAFE-T law: Several candidates responded to questions about the law sent by the Daily Southtown. Not all candidates returned completed questionnaires. Republican candidate Patricia Bonk said the law in its current form “makes law enforcement less effective and jeopardizes our safety.” Democrat Fran Hurley, whose 35th District is home to many Chicago police officers, said she voted against the legislation. She said she had spoken with officials throughout law enforcement who raised concerns.

    * Tom Cullen, longtime brain in Madigan political operation, provided testimony for feds: Now, the Tribune has learned that Cullen, a lobbyist who played political point man for years on Madigan’s government staff, has testified before the ongoing federal grand jury looking into broad aspects of Madigan’s political world, which prosecutors allege included a criminal enterprise aimed at providing personal financial rewards for Madigan and his associates. Any details Cullen offered in his testimony about Madigan and his former associates are still secret, but the blanks he could have filled in as part of Madigan’s famously tight inner circle are manifold.

    * After a tumultuous first term, Gov. J.B. Pritzker spends big and plays it safe in reelection bid: The governor is all but assured to lose the Nov. 8 balloting in surrounding Franklin County. In the June Democratic primary, he garnered just 777 votes, compared with the 3,230 ballots cast for the Republican primary winner, conservative southern Illinois state Sen. Darren Bailey. No Democratic candidate for governor has won the county in the general election since Rod Blagojevich in 2006, a trend that holds across much of southern Illinois. But as he seeks a second term, Pritzker, who’s spent much of his adult life nursing political ambitions, is casting a wide net for support, an effort aided by a personal fortune that can underwrite months’ worth of TV ads and a robust campaign operation.

    * What drives Pritzker, Bailey on transportation issues?: Transportation has taken a back seat in the gubernatorial election to hot-button topics like abortion and crime. Not in this column, however. If elected, Bailey would consider tolled lanes that run parallel to untolled roads to “create new transportation options and help pay for the maintenance of existing roads. There were previous proposals to create dynamic-priced lanes that would run parallel to I-55 going southwest from Chicago,” he said in answering questions from the Daily Herald. […] Pritzker is promising more capital improvements with the $45 billion Rebuild Illinois program, funded by raising gas taxes and other fees in 2019.

    * Right-wing “zombie” papers attack Illinois Democrats ahead of elections: That erosion of local news has created an opening for these newer publications, which lie dormant and then spring up at election time. They look a lot like hometown newspapers — nothing flashy, just long, printed broadsheet pages, with color photos and graphics — but without any real interest in local news.

    * Highland Park parade shooting suspect returning to court Tuesday for pretrial hearing: The man accused of killing seven people at the Highland Park Fourth of July parade is due back in court Tuesday, his first appearance there since he was indicted on more than 100 felony counts. Robert Crimo, 22, of Highland Park, is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court in front of Judge Victoria Rossetti. Crimo’s case is scheduled for case management, which is often a routine appearance intended to ensure that evidence is being shared and attorneys are working through any pretrial issues.

    * Court Ruling Opens Crucial State Supreme Court Races to Fundraising Free-for-All: When a federal court threw out two Illinois laws that barred both out-of-state contributions to judicial races, and donations from groups that don’t disclose their donors, the chief legislative sponsor of the laws wasn’t particularly surprised. “I was disappointed but not exactly shocked,” Illinois Senate President Don Harmon told Center for Illinois Politics. “The U.S. Supreme Court with its Citizens United decision really threw the doors wide open into the Wild West of campaign finance.”

    * Six candidates from three parties fighting for two offices voters know little about — but probably should: Illinois is on a path of financial recovery. Or is it hurtling downward in a fiscal free fall? Depends on whom you ask: the Democrats seeking to maintain their long hold on the state comptroller’s and treasurer’s offices — or the Republicans looking to replace them. In a little over a week, voters will get to decide which narrative they believe — and who sits in the two relatively obscure fiscal offices.

    * Incumbent Kifowit faces challenge from West in 84th Illinois House District: Kifowit said the state’s prospects are brighter with new legislative leadership in Springfield and a balanced budget that is resulting in credit-rating upgrades for the state. The incumbent likes to point out that she was the first to challenge former Speaker Michael Madigan, leading other lawmakers to denounce Madigan and paving the way for a new speaker.

    * Rockford man challenges Stadelman’s bid for 4th term in Senate: Stadelman, 61, is a former TV news anchor first elected to the state senate representing the Rockford region in 2012. He supported legislation that expanded gaming in Illinois and gave Rockford a casino license, a bill that incentivizes the growth of the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing industry in Illinois and secured $275 million to restore passenger rail service in Rockford. He also supported legislation that provided River’s Edge redevelopment funding that was instrumental in the redevelopment of properties in downtown Rockford. But Reyes, 50, says Stadelman “skipped the vote” on the controversial SAFE-T Act, the criminal justice reform bill that made body cameras mandatory for police, standardizes use-of-force training and seeks to end the cash bail system in Illinois.

    * Newcomers from Bloomington, Normal face in 91st Illinois House District: A newly drawn district is giving two newcomers a chance for a statehouse seat this November. Democrat Sharon Chung and Republican Scott Preston each secured commanding leads in their respective primary races. To win the new 91st District of the Illinois House, however, they’ve had to reach outside their home base.

More to come!


Open thread

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Happy Halloween!

Have you seen any more Illinois politicians in costume?


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Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

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Live coverage

Monday, Oct 31, 2022 - Posted by Isabel Miller

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

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* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Man arrested for threatening Rep. Keicher (Updated)
* Isabel’s afternoon roundup
* Caption contest!
* Uber Partners With Cities To Expand Urban Transportation
* US Reps. Sean Casten, Chuy Garcia call on President Biden to drop out of race (Updated)
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