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Burris: “There’s no one better qualified than me”

Wednesday, Dec 1, 2010

* Roland Burris

“I’ve always said there’s no one better qualified than me to be mayor,” he said.


* This story just gets
weirder and weirder

A notary public says her signature was forged on 400-plus nominating petition sheets filed by Chicago mayoral hopefuls Rob Halpin and James Meeks — a development that raises new questions for the supposedly rival candidates.

A signature and notary seal for Maricela Rodriguez appear on more than 25 percent of Halpin’s 1,185 petitions, including 266 circulated by a homeless sex offender, Arthur J. Hardy Jr.

Hardy also circulated 316 petitions for Meeks. Rodriguez isn’t listed as notarizing any of those sheets, but she does appear as the notary for 97 of the 4,691 petitions Meeks submitted to Chicago elections officials.

Despite that, Rodriguez, a district manager for a currency-exchange company, says she didn’t notarize any petitions for Halpin or Meeks.

So, to sum up, the implied allegation here is that Meeks and Halpin hired a homeless sex offender to gather petitions, who then allegedly forged a notary’s seal on the petitions he gathered for Halpin, but not for Meeks. However, somebody else allegedly forged that same notary’s seal on some other Meeks petitions.

If that’s true, then Meeks’ denials aren’t looking so great right now

Mr. Meeks says he believes the gatherer, Arthur Hardy Jr., effectively worked as a subcontractor for someone else whom his campaign had hired at the end of his petition drive to collect signatures on his nominating petitions.

Mr. Meeks says he does not know the name of that person but adds, “There was no coordination at all with Halpin. I don’t know him. I never met him.”

This may be the fault of the person who was hired by the campaign who also hired Hardy. It would be helpful if we knew who that was.

* As I’ve said before, Rahm Emanuel may or may not have a solid residency case, but this might all come down to the judge he draws

‘Rahm Emanuel may be the 800-pound gorilla in the mayor’s race,” said a savvy politico who phoned the other day, “but remember that Ed Burke is the 800-pound gorilla when it comes who gets to be a judge in this town. Keep your eye on the Daley Center.” […]

What my politico caller was asking was whether a judge blessed by Burke would be brave enough to rule strictly on the merits of the case, wherever that ruling might go.

Everybody knows Burke cannot stand Rahm Emanuel and is instead backing former schools and City Colleges chairman Gery Chico.

But another politico I called, one equally well steeped in Chicago politics, laughed at the notion that a ruling on Rahm Emanuel’s residency might depend on whether a judge felt beholden.

“Once a judge gets to the bench,” he told me somewhat ruefully, “they forget everybody.” It wasn’t a compliment.

Despite the politics involved in picking our judges, there are some excellent people on the bench in Cook County.

Then again, there are some utterly incompetent ones as well.

* Related…

* Sandi Jackson runs for re-election as alderman, not city clerk

* Deadline brings objections in mayor’s race

* Ballot shenanigans

* More than half mayoral hopefuls face petition challenges

* Rahm Emanuel pledges to end revolving door at Chicago’s city hall

* Rahm Emanuel on “Chicago Tonight”

* Stroger administration spent nearly $79,000 on zoo picnic for flood victims

- Posted by Rich Miller   28 Comments      

Kirk “undecided” on DREAM Act, and other US Senate campaign news

Monday, Sep 20, 2010

* The Daily Herald tried and failed to get Mark Kirk to talk about a possible upcoming vote on the “DREAM Act”

In the days before a major immigration vote, the Democrat running for U.S. Senate is touting his support for the proposed law, while his Republican opponent has not yet made a decision.

While Democrat Alexi Giannoulias says he supports the DREAM Act, Congressman Mark Kirk is undecided.

The proposal - aimed at helping children who are in the United States illegally become citizens - is one of the flash points in the contentious debate over illegal immigration. While Democrats have generally pushed for ways to increase paths to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Republicans and other conservative groups have pushed for tighter controls on who comes into the country and a crackdown on those who come here illegally.

It’s a line that puts Kirk, a Highland Park Republican who bills himself as a moderate, in a bind.

That’s putting it mildly. A brief message from the Giannoulias campaign…

Kirk panders to Hispanics last week [with a Spanish language TV ad] touting Abuelita program and then “can’t decide” on the DREAM Act?

He’ll probably have to “decide” soon enough if he’s faced with a floor vote. Should be interesting.

* Nobody has even seen the “Karl Rove TV ad” yet, but the Giannoulias campaign is already trying to get its spin out there

The Illinois Senate race is about to get nasty, and one candidate says Karl Rove is behind new attack ads that are scheduled to air this week.

Democratic Senate Candidate Alexi Giannoulias tried to strike pre-emptively by saying Illinois voters should know that a third party has produced television ads to support his opponent, Congressman Mark Kirk. […]

American Crossroads is affiliated with Karl Rove, the former strategist and chief of staff to President George W. Bush.

“I’m not surprised that Karl Rove, the architect of the same policies that drove our economy to the brink of collapse, is now bringing special interest money to bail out Mark Kirk,” Giannoulias said.

I really can’t wait to see that new ad. My expectations are now sky-high. Hold tight.

…Adding… Check out AC’s recent TV ads on their YouTube site.

* The Green Party’s US Senate nominee LeAlan Jones scored 9 percent in recent Rasmussen and PPP polls and 6 percent in the Chicago Tribune’s poll, but that hasn’t translated into an invitation from NBC’s Meet the Press program to an upcoming debate between Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias.

Jones says he has tried to reach NBC without success. So, he sent the network’s news president Steve Capus a letter and made it public

Dear Mr Capus,

I am writing you in regards to your October 10th debate between Illinois U.S. Senate candidates Mark Kirk and Alexi Giannoulias on your program “Meet The Press.” Despite repeated attempts by my campaign staff to contact someone from the program, we have been ignored. […]

Most importantly, NBC must fulfill its public obligation to include voices beyond the corporate mainstream. The public own the airwaves and we can take them back. I encourage you to include me in the October 10th debate in the name of real democracy and freedom.

Jones is black, and that means the Democrat Giannoulias probably wouldn’t want to appear with him on a national TV program. Giannoulias’ spokesperson said today that Meet the Press “sets the rules.” I’ve asked the Kirk campaign for comment and I’ll let you know what they say if they ever respond.

* This AP hed ain’t great for Mark Kirk: Kirk calls for halting financial bailout he backed

Senate candidate Mark Kirk wants to halt the financial bailout, which he originally supported.

The Republican is scheduled to deliver a speech on government spending Monday in Springfield. Aides say he’ll propose canceling any unspent money from the $700 billion fund known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

That story plays right into the Giannoulias theme that Kirk’s word can’t be trusted. He’d better deliver a very strong speech today. The Giannoulias campaign responds…

Kirk comes out for stopping TARP spending when it is set to expire in 3 weeks. Real brave, Mark.

I’ll let you know how this goes today.

* Related…

* Giannoulias: TV ads a ’smear campaign’

* Kirk talks trade, immigration in Woodstock visit: Kirk recommended that people have the opportunity to upgrade their Social Security cards with photos and bar codes, similar to military IDs. People would have the option to upgrade their card for $10. The cards would be hard to counterfeit. “We would see a tremendous drop in the ability of the immigration fraud ID criminal organizations, many who operate in the Chicago area,” Kirk said.

* In B-N, Kirk says 60-day Senate term vital

* Immigrant groups push lawmakers to vote for Dream Act
Legislation would let students who came to U.S. illegally go to college or join the military

* Gloria Steinem, Biden headline fund-raisers for Giannoulias

* Is Illinois turning purple?

* Governor, voters respond to Burris election case

* Burris talks about what’s he’s accomplished, life after the Senate

- Posted by Rich Miller   21 Comments      

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