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*** UPDATED x1 *** Campaign roundup: Rodney Davis on governor’s race; DPI restructuring; No announcement at IDCCA brunch

Wednesday, Aug 18, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* US Rep. Rodney Davis talked to Mary Ann Ahern about the governor’s race

MAA: As new Illinois maps are redrawn after the 2020 Census. Census, Congressman Davis from downstate Taylorville, he wants to see what his district will look like. Already though he is more vocal in his criticism of Governor Pritzker.

RD: I’m excited about where 2022 is going to be for Republicans. … Once we see what the battlefield looks like. I’ve always been someone to help try to build the coalition’s that would lead us to victory.

[Pritzker TV ad excerpt]

RD: Well, he’s certainly going to need to run ads and he’s going to have to spend hundreds of millions more because he knows that he’s in terrible reelection shape. We’re going to have a Republican governor. […]

MAA: What will it take for a Republican to win in a blue state?

RD: I’m not a label person because, frankly. Somebody may think I’m too conservative and somebody might think I’m too moderate. I’m just me.

Davis said he’s been vaccinated, but opposes vax and mask mandates.

* Subscribers know the back story to this. From DPI…

In an overwhelming vote, members of the Democratic State Central Committee today affirmed Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) Chair Robin Kelly’s proposed leadership structure for the state party.

“My vision as chair of the Democratic Party of Illinois is to bring more voices into every aspect of the party, and today’s vote puts us on a path to doing just that,” Kelly said. “I’m excited we can fully move ahead in strengthening and broadening our party across the state and electing more Democrats up and down the ballot.”

Today, members of Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) voted to create the Building Leadership, Unity, and Equity (BLUE) Illinois Committee, open access to the party’s advisory committees to non-DSCC members, and degender the party’s bylaws.

“The votes taken today represent a new day for the Democratic Party of Illinois,” DPI Executive Director Abby Witt said. “Whether it’s the BLUE Committee, opening other committees to new and experienced voices outside of our official structure, or making sure our rules are as inclusive as possible, the message from our Chair and our members is aligned and clear: this is a party for everyone. Illinois Democrats, welcome home.”

The BLUE Committee, in compliance with the affirmative advisory opinion from the FEC last month, is made up entirely of non-federal office holders not appointed by the chair, and will be dedicated to managing the party’s non-federal account. Voting members of the BLUE Committee are State Central Committee members Bill Houlihan, Carol Ronen, and Ald. Silvana Tabares.

“The majorities we hold as Democrats are going to be tested this cycle, and I’m excited to join Carol and Silvana in this new effort to keep Illinois blue in 2022 and beyond,” Houlihan said. “The BLUE Committee has an important role to play in building an enthusiastic coalition of Democrats across Illinois.”

“2022 is a pivotal redistricting year, and all of our local candidates will run in newly drawn districts,” Ronen said. “Our goal is to grow our majorities in the general assembly and make sure Democrats win the Illinois Supreme Court races. The BLUE committee will help to bring the necessary resources to win these races and ensure Democratic values prevail. I’m honored to be part of this effort.”

“The best way to continue to grow our party, attract voters and win elections is by expanding our statewide coalition of Democrats,” Tabares said. “I’m proud to be a part of a new way the party will achieve that.”

Not one Black person is on that BLUE Committee.

* This did not happen today

Watch for the news this morning at the County Chairs’ Brunch on the Crowne Plaza grounds in Springfield. More than 800 Democrats will be in attendance and 400 more will view online, according to McHenry County Democratic Party Chair Kristina Zahorik.

Sen. Dick Durbin is expected to announce that Nikki Budzinski will challenge Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District.

Budzinski recently left the Biden administration last month, where she was chief of staff in the Office of Management & Budget. Before that she worked for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration. […]

Durbin talked about Budzinski’s move Tuesday during a private party in Springfield leading up to today’s festivities. […]

What’s curious: Durbin specifically said Budzinski would run against Davis in the 13th District, which suggests the veteran Republican congressman will be safe in the remap. If that’s true, then one of the four other Republican representatives would be edged out as lawmakers redraw congressional districts to align with the state’s population decline.

There was never any plan to make this announcement, I was told early this morning. Not to mention that we have no idea yet what Davis’ new district will look like. Also, nice job by Durbin of stepping on Nikki’s eventual announcement. /s

*** UPDATE *** The Tribune ran a story last year on Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride’s retention bid

Billionaire conservatives, state GOP leaders and a dark money group are blanketing voters’ mailboxes with full-color attack ads that portray the justice as a Madigan puppet, citing the speaker’s large campaign contributions to Kilbride’s election efforts dating back to 2000. […]

James Nowlan, a former GOP lawmaker who chairs the anti-Kilbride committee Citizens for Judicial Fairness, asks political audiences in towns such as Carthage, Monmouth and Utica if they ever wished they could vote against Madigan. […]

A $200,000 donation from a dark-money group called the Judicial Fairness Project gave the anti-Kilbride forces a jump-start. The group’s registered agent is attorney John Fogarty, the Chicago-based general counsel for the Illinois Republican Party. Fogarty declined to identify the donors.

Paperwork filed with the secretary of state showed the group’s board of directors includes two members of the Republican state central committee and the former head of the Illinois Republican County Chairmen’s Association. Listed as the incorporator was Nick Klitzing, a former state GOP executive director. [Emphasis added.]

* I mention this because I just got an email from the Judicial Fairness Project…


You were recently emailed about a petition to clean up Illinois’ courts.

Will you take a moment to add your name to DEMAND that we clean up Illinois’s famously corrupt justice system?


We all know that Illinois has a reputation for corruption and crime. It goes all the way to the top, unfortunately – Illinois currently has a 4-3 partisan majority on the Supreme Court, and next year’s election threatens to shake up the balance of power in our state…

So the Legislature and Governor Pritzker jammed through a new, hand-drawn judicial map so they could protect themselves!!

That’s not all.

Last year, an incredible and shocking $10 million was spent on the retention race for the Supreme Court, and there’s much more coming next year with more judgeships on the ballot.

What will YOU chip in to bring fairness back to our courts – $10 million of your money??

    How about just $10?
    How about just $20?
    Other amount

Money. Hand-Drawn Judge Protection Maps. Corruption in the courts.

We deserve better. Will you join us?

…Adding… Also…

* Related…

* Democratic priorities benefiting working families to be highlighted at Governor’s Day rally

* Illinois State Fair 2021 set to kickoff political primary season: For Democrats, the big political race will be among the four declared candidates vying to replace Jesse White, who is not running for another term as Secretary of State.


Campaign roundup: Bustos; Underwood; MKO; ILGOP; Latino power

Monday, Aug 16, 2021 - Posted by Rich Miller

* New York Times

Message discipline. Focus on local issues. Find ways to work with Republicans. And show up. Everywhere.

That is some of the advice offered to swing-district Democrats for winning in conservative areas in a new report written by Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, a former leader of the House Democrats’ campaign arm. […]

Ms. Bustos interviewed 25 national and local Democratic lawmakers who won areas carried by former President Donald J. Trump in 2020. She had help from a longtime adviser — Robin Johnson, a political scientist at Monmouth College, which is in Ms. Bustos’s district.

Democrats who won districts where Mr. Trump got a majority of votes are a distinct minority in Congress: There are only seven in the House.

Bustos was one of those seven, but she just barely won reelection and is now leaving the House. She probably shoulda taken her own advice. One constant criticism last year was that she wasn’t spending enough time in her district. The report is here, by the way.

* A group called Patients for Affordable Drugs just dropped $50,000 on cable TV ads in US Rep. Lauren Underwood’s district. Click here to see the buy. Also at that link, Gov. Pritzker’s campaign has spent another $127K on cable.

* I told subscribers a little bit about this earlier today

Judge Mary K. O’Brien (who many know as “Mary Kay”) is launching her campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court’s 3rd District this week. And she’s already got her first big endorsement — from Sen. Dick Durbin. “I’ve watched Mary Kay O’Brien grow from a promising legislator to an accomplished jurist, and I know she will be a thoughtful Supreme Court judge,” he said in a statement. O’Brien will be campaigning at the State Fair festivities this week. The Third District comprises DuPage and Will counties as well as Bureau, Grundy, Iroquois, Kankakee, and LaSalle counties. O’Brien, who was a state legislator from 1996 to 2003, has served on the Illinois Appellate Court for nearly 18 years. She’s heard more than 4,500 cases, according to her campaign team.

* Journal & Topics

Char Foss-Eggemann, former Maine Township Republican committeeman and current 9th Congressional District Republican state central committeeman, will retain her position as a member of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee despite recently moving from Park Ridge to Munster, IN.

In an email to the Journal & Topics, Foss-Eggemann authorized Aaron Del Mar to speak on her behalf. Del Mar is the deputy chairman of, and spokesman for, the Cook County Republican Party. He is a member of the Illinois Executive Board of the Illinois Republican Party and Palatine Township Republican committeeman.

“I understand she did move, but she is still working in Illinois,” Del Mar said. He said when Foss-Eggemann informed him of the move, she offered her resignation. However, Del Mar said he would not accept the resignation. Foss-Eggemann’s term as the 9th Congressional District state central committeeman ends in 2022.

Del Mar said he understood Foss-Eggemann’s son attends college in Indiana. The family found a good opportunity to move and be near their son.

* Sun-Times

The rising Latino population across the state isn’t likely to change the face of City Hall or the governor’s mansion overnight — but some Hispanic leaders say it’s only a matter of time.

“I think before the decade is over there will be a Latina or Latino mayor in Chicago,” said U.S. Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who ran for mayor himself in 2015.

“And the possibility that Latinos can run statewide — as has been done already but with more frequency — certainly suggests that a Latino or Latina can be a state office holder, whether it’s secretary of state or treasurer or comptroller or governor.

“That is certainly a realistic expectation of what we will see without a doubt.”

Just remember what we discussed last week. A significant aspect to this change has to do with the new way the questions were asked and how the answers were coded.


* Isabel’s afternoon briefing
* Beyond the horse race
* Cannabis baron ridicules equity programs: "We’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff"
* IEPA says it won't do anything about polluting refineries
* Pritzker stands behind his messaging, claims support for candidates
* A quick Illinois history lesson
* Vallas gets out in front of attacks
* Following the money
* A massive failure
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Open thread
* Isabel’s morning briefing
* Live coverage
* Laurence Msall
* Yesterday's stories

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