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On eve of campaign kick-off, Preckwinkle admits she fired her chief of staff for “inappropriate behavior”

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

* Shia Kapos this morning

John Keller, the chief of staff to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, has abruptly resigned “for personal reasons,” according to a memo sent out late by Preckwinkle. The short, foreboding announcement offered no praise or congratulatory farewell to Keller, who had been in the powerful supervisory position since January 2017. Keller oversaw the work of all the offices under Preckwinkle. He also served as a liaison of sorts with elected city, county and state officials. When he was hired, Preckwinkle lavished praise, saying, “I have known John for more than a decade and his breadth of experience equips him well for the chief of staff role. He has a demonstrated ability to work well across the county’s vast landscape of responsibilities.” Deputy Chief of Staff Lanetta Haynes Turner replaces Keller in the interim. His departure comes as Preckwinkle makes plans to announce she’ll run for mayor. That’s supposed to take place Thursday in Hyde Park.

Shia was right to be suspicious. I mean, Preckwinkle’s chief of staff quietly resigns the week she will announce for mayor and he’s not moving over to the campaign, even though he’s been one of Preckwinkle’s go-to campaign guys for years? Odd, to say the least. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen. The rumor mill was blazing hot all day.

* And now we get the explanation via press release…

As President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners and as a woman, it is important to me to foster a workplace that is respectful, where all people are treated with dignity. I have always had zero tolerance for inappropriate and disrespectful behavior. On Friday, I became aware of an allegation that my Chief of Staff, John Keller, had engaged in inappropriate behavior on his personal time. The allegation was corroborated. I confronted Mr. Keller; he did not deny the allegation. Yesterday, I demanded and received his immediate resignation.

She shoulda just come clean.

…Adding… I probably don’t have to say this, but anyone who tries to out the victim in comments will be banished for life. Don’t try.

…Adding… Press release…

Toni Preckwinkle to Make Announcement Regarding Mayoral Race

WHAT: Toni Preckwinkle will be holding a press conference to announce her decision regarding the mayoral race.

WHEN: Thursday, September 20 at 3:00 pm

WHERE: Chicago Lake Shore Hotel at 4900 South Lake Shore Drive

…Adding… Sneed

“Why did Preckwinkle wait this long to take action?” asked a top Dem political source.

Sneed is told the allegation stemmed from Keller’s time working for the campaign of Marie Newman, who lost a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., in the March Democratic primary.

The rumors of Keller’s behavior, which involved a woman working on Newman’s campaign, had been floating since then, according to another Dem source.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** House GOP Leadership, several conservative lawmakers call on Rep. Long to resign

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

* From Leader Durkin’s office…

Joint Statement from state Reps. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) and Dan Brady (R-Bloomington):

“After being briefed by the independent investigators on the credible harassment allegations regarding Representative Long, the House Republican Leadership team stands unified with Leader Durkin’s actions and encourages Representative Long to resign immediately.”

Please note due to Rep. Norine Hammond’s position on the Legislative Ethics Commission, she has refrained from participating in this joint statement.

…Adding… Aside from Demmer, Brady and Hammond, the HGOP leadership team includes Reps. Grant Wehrli, Mike McAuliffe, Bill Mitchell, David Reis, Mike Unes and Keith Wheeler.

* Meanwhile, Rep. Jerry Long shared this post on his Facebook page…

This should be the new cover photo for the ILGOP and The HRO

After the phony sexual harrassment allegations about Jerry Long.

Jim Durkin head of the Elite Establishment HRO. Lied when he put out a press release.
To undermine Jerry Long campaign,
because Jerry Long would not bend to their liberal demands.

The HRO has no credibility. They are the same ones who told Jacob Bramel to drop out if the race 3 years ago.

You can click here and scroll down to see the photo if you want.

* So, I reached out to Reps. Jeanne Ives, Grant Wehrli, Dave McSweeny, Allen Skillicorn, Mark Batinick, Peter Breen and Tom Morrison via text and/or e-mail with this question…

Jerry Long has a post on his Facebook page about how he “would not bend” to the “liberal demands” of the House Republican leadership and resign. As a conservative House member, do you believe that Rep. Long should resign and/or drop out of his reelection bid?

* Their answers in the order in which they were received (an ellipsis indicates two separate messages)…

Rep. Batinick: Both.

Rep. Wehrli: Yes.

Rep. Skillicorn: On one hand I trust Durkin did his due diligence with the 3rd party investigation. On the other only Jerry and the accuser know what really happened. … If he did it, yes.

Rep. McSweeney: Resign! … And drop out to be clear.

Rep. Breen: Yes, Rep. Long should resign & drop out.

I’ll update if Ives (who advocated for two women in their #metoo claims against Democrats) and Morrison respond.

* In other news, remember when Rep. Long chided Sen. Sue Rezin yesterday for deciding to toe the party line without knowing the facts and forming her own opinion? From Sen. Rezin

“After the allegations against Rep. Long were reported last Thursday, I reached out to Rep. Long Friday morning. He told me he couldn’t discuss them and instead, he would have his lawyer call me. After four days, that never occurred, and that still hasn’t occurred. Rep. Long’s own caucus conducted a third party investigation and determined by that investigation that his behavior warranted his resignation. I made my statement. This isn’t about me.”
- State Sen. Sue Rezin.

* Also

Long said he will speak with only the Ottawa paper about the harassment charges lodged against him. He claims he can provide “the truth.”

Perhaps no coincidence that the other local reporter he won’t speak to is a female?

*** UPDATE *** Rep. Tom Morrison just called. “All I know about this situation is what I’ve read on your blog,” he said. “I really want to reserve comment until I see an official report.” He said while the leaders have seen the report, he hasn’t. “I’ve asked when that report will come out and I was told ‘later.’ It’s just not appropriate for me to comment until I’ve seen what others have seen.”

Back in June, Morrison joined with Rep. Jeanne Ives and others to call on Speaker Madigan to resign over the House’s #MeToo problems

The GOPers tied their call for resignation to accusations of Speaker Madigan allowing a culture of corruption, abuse of power, bullying and sexual harassment as well as discrimination among his House members and staff.

Rep. Ives, of course, appeared at a press conference with Rep. Lou Lang’s accuser. Lang was later cleared by the Inspector General.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Candidates debate their TV ads

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

* Tina Sfondeles on the Sun-Times editorial board meeting with the AG candidates

State Sen. Kwame Raoul, the Democratic candidate for Illinois Attorney General, on Tuesday tried to paint his Republican challenger as an inexperienced litigator with shifty views on same-sex marriage and adoption — while Erika Harold offered rebukes of the Democrat’s accusations and vowed not to use the post to “punish political opponents.” […]

Both Raoul and Harold took issue with their opponent’s critical ads on constant rotation on TV right now. Raoul has run three ads which claim Harold said at age 19 that she’d prefer a child be placed in a foster home with abusive straight parents over being placed in a home with a “loving gay couple.” The comments were allegedly made during a closed-door interview with Harold, who was a Miss Illinois contestant, according to a story on NBC5 that cited three unnamed sources.

Harold’s campaign initially said she did not recall making those comments and says she now supports same-sex couples being able to adopt and being able to be foster parents. She noted the ads had been rated “false” by Politifact. […]

For his part, Raoul accused Harold of changing her mind on same-sex marriage in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding marriage equality. […]

Sun-Times Editorial Board editor Tom McNamee asked Harold if her views about same-sex marriage and adoption would change should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn marriage equality.

“Of course not,” Harold said.

…Adding…. She kinda gave a different answer to WGN TV

After the debate, Harold said same-sex marriage is the “law of the land,” and she wouldn’t do anything to undo it, but didn’t comment on her personal feelings on the matter.

* Tribune

In a Harold ad, she calls the real estate tax system a “scheme” and alleges “Mike Madigan and Kwame Raoul team up to raise property taxes.” It’s a reference to a bill Raoul and Madigan co-sponsored that originally contained language allowing the City Council to up its levy for pensions as part of a comprehensive deal with unions. The tax hike language was ultimately struck from the final bill. […]

“I stand by the fact that Sen. Raoul, instead of actually trying to do something to change that system, (serving as) the chief co-sponsor with Madigan, that would have only exacerbated this problem,” she said.

Raoul countered that the legislation offered the “tools” to help the city with its pension burden.

“I’ve never worked on a property tax appeals case in my life. I’ve never been at a firm that did any such work. But the insinuation in these commercials is that I’d engaged in that type of activity,” he said.

* ABC 7

Both candidates stood by their ads, and there was no indication they won’t keep running them, which just points out the nature of political ads and what we can expect this political season.

My view: I think there are significant flaws with Politifact’s ratings on both ads in question (in one case they ignored the actual history of the property tax bill and in the other case they took a dispute over an opinion and turned it into hard facts). However, since both candidates have publicly touted Politifact’s false ratings of their opponents’ ads, they ought to both abide by the ruling and pull them. Either that, or stop playing that game.

* NBC 5

Meanwhile, Libertarian candidate Harsy joined Raoul and Harold in saying they support the legalization of marijuana.

“We have bigger problems in Illinois going on right now than whether or not somebody smoke a plant that’s never killed anybody,” Harsy said.

* Watch the session yourself if you’d like…

- Posted by Rich Miller   5 Comments      

Sanguinetti: “Bruce Rauner has been the only one to stand up to Mike Madigan”

Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

* This is a digital ad…

Today, the Rauner campaign is launching a new ad featuring Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti titled “Spring Chicken.”

In the ad, the Lt. Governor says that she was only three months old when Mike Madigan was sworn into power, and she’s no “spring chicken.” It’s why Governor Rauner is the right choice in November, because he is the only person who has stood up to the culture of corruption that Mike Madigan has cultivated for decades, and he will continue to work for reform throughout his second term.

* The ad

* Transcript

Lt. Governor Sanguinetti: “When Mike Madigan was sworn into power, I was three months old. I am no spring chicken, but this has been a lot of time for him to drive the state down. And now, he has JB Pritzker who he’s annointed. Bruce Rauner has been the only one to stand up to Mike Madigan, to stand up to the status quo, and that’s why this election is so important. It’s about our families and keeping our families here.”

…Adding… Two people have sent me this screenshot this morning. Notice the typos…

- Posted by Rich Miller   55 Comments      


Wednesday, Sep 19, 2018

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   1 Comment      

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Rauner vetoes second bill to address gender wage gap
* Munger moves to DCEO
* Preckwinkle mayoral announcement roundup
* Follow the money
* Empty threat? Or does somebody know something we don't?
* A couple of quick debate clips
* Supremes side with hospitals on property taxes
* Report: IEPA stonewalls AG until HGOP leader steps in
* A TIF primer
* Raoul's new ad blasts Harold over abortion rights
* Debate coverage roundup
* Question of the day
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* Yesterday's stories

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