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Drury gets million-dollar contribution

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* This has been rumored all week…

Word is that Dury’s new TV ad ties fellow attorney general candidate Pat Quinn to Speaker Madigan. I’ll post it when I get it.

Weirdest year ever.

…Adding… This is an odd poll story because it’s so bereft of numbers, but at the very least it shows Drury believes he’s surging

DRURY INTERNAL POLL — Attorney General candidate Scott Drury released an internal poll Tuesday that showed big movement for Drury, and challengers Kwame Raoul and Pat Quinn in both directions. Drury’s support has jumped 5 percent, Raoul’s 9 percent. Quinn still leads the full slate of candidates although his support dropped about 20 percent. The poll was conducted by Deep Blue Strategies of Chicago. Thirty-three percent of respondents were undecided.

Jumped 5 percent or 5 points? Big difference. I’ll assume it means points. Also, he’s jumped 5 since when? And where’s he at now? 5? 10? I’ve asked the campaign for an explanation.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Strangest. Year. Ever.

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* From tonight

And don’t forget to check her mentions.

…Adding… From a buddy…

In conservative speak I think that means that they just don’t have any special rights

OK then.

- Posted by Rich Miller   30 Comments      

Question of the day

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* From ABC 7

Ives also took a swipe at the two big money Democrats vying for the Democratic nomination, comparing them to Rauner.

“We already tried the millionaire, billionaire, no-government experience, no-political experience and I don’t think J.B. Pritzker sells to anybody. Same thing with Mr. Kennedy. He’s the same ilk,” she said.

Hmm. So she favors Sen. Biss?

* Sen. Biss didn’t return the favor on Bill Cameron’s show

Cameron: And may the best man win.

Biss: And the next time perhaps, may the best woman win. Or even, how about this? Just the best person, who quite likely would be a woman.

Cameron: But that’s not to say you just endorsed Jeanne Ives.

Biss: I… have been planning to defeat Bruce Rauner in the general election, but I would be very committed to defeating Jeanne Ives in the general election as well.

* The Question: What would a fall campaign look like between Jeanne Ives and Daniel Biss?

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** Edgar County Watchdogs files OEIG complaint

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* The Edgar County Watchdogs ran another story the other day about campaign and messaging e-mails between Diana Rauner and others, including then communications director Diana Rickert. Click here to read it. They’ve been publishing other stories on this topic for a while now (Click here, here and here). Well, they’ve taken it to the next level

In light of the multi-part series we have published recently regarding the activities taking place in the Office of the Governor, specifically, Washington DC campaign figures driving policy with direct communications to state officials in the Governor’s Office, we looked closely at our Illinois State Ethics Act. […]

In this case, we have filed a formal complaint with the Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG).

* From the complaint

Based on included information and privileged sources, we believe Governor Bruce Rauner has given his campaign staff control over policy making decisions and communications from his gubernatorial, state government office and is, concurrently, forcing state government staff to work, against their will, on his re-election effort. […]

In conclusion, the activities and circumstances outlined above appear to be clear evidence of violation of the State Officials and Employees Ethics Act, 5 ILCS 430 5-15(a)-(c). They appear to reveal a governor who violated this law as he was gearing up for his re-election campaign, allowing that campaign and those who run it to direct policy and communications for the official governor’s office.

We request an immediate investigation and resolution of this matter and the recusal of Gov. Rauner from appointing the next Inspector General, as they will be investigating this very serious case. That person needs to be independent of the governor.

* This timeline is also in the complaint

• July 10, 2017 - Gov. Rauner hires new Chief of Staff, Kristina Rasmussen, new communications director, Diana Rickert and new campaign staff as well as new general consultancy, Coldspark, for his re-election campaign.

• July 27, 2017 -Amidst debate in Congress over repeal of Obamacare, Rauner Campaign Consultant Nachama Soloveichik and First Lady Diana Rauner discuss Gov. Rauner’s public position on the issue, including which groups “can be helpful” to his re-election if he publicly opposed Congressional Republicans. Top State Government Staff, Chief of Staff Kristina Rasmussen and Communications Director Diana Rickert, are cc’d on the email.

• Aug. 3, 2017 - Diana Rauner emails Rasmussen, Rickert, Soloveichik and her partner, campaign consultant Mark Harris, advising that Gov Rauner should agree to support a K- 12 School Funding measure he has long opposed “to rewrite the narrative of the past two and a half years.”

• Aug. 4, 2017 - Gov. Rauner leads a meeting of his new state govt. staff and his campaign staff to discuss their organization structure and reporting. General Counsel Dennis Murashko expresses concerns in the meeting regarding political staff directing official staff.

• Aug. 21, 2017 -Murashko delivers a memo on Rauner’s state government office and how it is ethically and legally required to govern itself with regard to campaign staff and the re-election team. Rauner resists the memo.

• Aug. 23, 2017 Murashko resigns, giving two weeks’ notice.

• Aug. 24, 2017 Rickert and her communications team resign. Rauner’s office publicly says it is about a communications flap; privately, sources say, their departure is actually over
issues related to the memo.

• Aug. 25, 2017 Murashko is escorted out of his state office; The reason given: an anonymous OEIG complaint against him.

• Aug. 30, 2017 Rauner officially sign the K-12 school funding bill, the subject of the Aug. 3 email.

• Sept. 5, 2017 - An anonymous source tells reporter Natasha Korecki of Politico that the Murashko OEIG complaint alleged “he had misused the powers of his office.”

• Sept. 7, 2017 -An anonymous source tells reporter Rich Miller of Capitol Fax that “there’s speculation from inside that the memo Murashko wrote about politics in the governor’s office might have been drafted to somehow protect himself from the OEIG beef.”

• Sept. 20, 2017 Rauner publicly announces his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill pending in Congress, the subject of the Jul. 27 email. The language he uses in his statement mirrors the language suggested in that email.

• Dec. 8, 2017 Murashko’s memo is leaked to Miller, who publishes it.

• Dec. 11, 2017 Korecki complains publicly that her Freedom of Information requests to the Governor’s office, asking for Murashko’s resignation letter and the memo, have been ignored. Rauner’s office responds by releasing the resignation letter, but not the memo, which is already public on account of the leak.

• Dec. 12, 2017 Rauner tells reporters that the Murashko memo was “created at my urging.”

• Jan 4, 2017 Murashko defends himself on Facebook, suggesting his “professional integrity” was tested in the governor’s office, but he chose to do the “right thing.”

• Mar. 9, 2017 The OEIG exonerates Murashko, who publicly slams the anonymous complaint as “baseless” and restates that the memo he wrote “was necessary.” He does not validate Rauner’s claim that he told Murashko to write it.

I’ve been trying to reach Rickert for weeks to no avail. But if she claims that she left over issues related to the Murashko memo and not because she was fired after all the chaos, things could get interesting.

…Adding… On background, a senior Rauner official said in no uncertain terms that Rickert was fired for releasing that now notorious “as a white male” press release without getting clearance. The official also claimed that Rickert was “clearly” the one leaking these e-mails to the Edgar County Watchdogs “in an effort to rehabilitate her reputation.”

*** UPDATE *** Governor’s office…


This is lazy and inaccurate conjecture quoting anonymous sources. This office follows all ethics laws. If there is an investigation, we will fully cooperate.

Rachel Bold
Press Secretary
Office of Governor Bruce Rauner

- Posted by Rich Miller   37 Comments      

Ives launches two new ads

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Jeanne Ives press release…

In one week, Illinois Republicans will weigh in on the direction they want to take the Illinois GOP and thereby Illinois.

Will they nominate a candidate– as FNC Host Tucker Carlson put it, a “Fake Republican Governor”—who doesn’t deserve to be re-elected and will not be re-elected regardless of the Democrat nominee.

Or will they act consistent with their stated desire for new, conservative reform government.

Are Illinois Republicans ready to revolt against the Ruling Class?

Jeanne Ives frames the choice for GOP primary voters in her closing argument TV and radio spots.

The buy is a 2,000-point statewide network buy.

2,000 points?

* Proud

* Real Conservative

…Adding… It’s not 2,000 points per market, I’m told by a Rauner source, it’s 2,000 points total.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

Rauner says he’s been an NRA member “for many years,” claims politics played no role in veto

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* The governor was asked this morning on WJPF: “Aren’t you a member of the NRA?” His response

I am. I am. I have been for many years.

I have been looking around Google for a while now and I don’t think he’s ever admitted to that before. Not saying he hasn’t said it. I just don’t remember it and can’t find it.

* Anyway, after he vetoed the gun dealer licensing bill, he talked to reporters

Addressing reporters at a campaign stop in Naperville, the governor insisted his decision had nothing to do with trying to shore up conservative support a week before the primary.

“Not at all,” Rauner said. “What we are focused on is winning in November against Pritzker and Madigan and our message is a unifying message. It’s the right policy that everybody wants.”

“It just took time to study it to determine the right answer was to veto that one.”

“The right thing is to do a package, and I’m still going to push a package. I’m tired of waiting. The General Assembly still hasn’t passed what I think is really going to make sense. That was the only bill that got to my desk. It really wasn’t going to improve anything. It was just going to create a bureaucracy that would be harmful.” […]

“Our team has been working feverishly, studying, talking, doing our due diligence on what other states have done, what’s the law here, and what it would do to our small shop owners,” the governor said after meeting with voters at Hugo’s Frog Bar in Naperville. “And we just decided it was going to create a big layer of burden and bureaucracy, and really not keep our communities safer. And so we decided let’s go ahead and veto the bill.”

* Background from the Tribune

Opponents had characterized the regulations as a government overreach, saying sellers are already licensed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which requires background checks.

They noted that the state agency that would have to oversee licensing opposed it. Officials have raised concerns about the cost of launching the new rules, saying it would require more staff. They also noted that the agency has limited experience in administering and enforcing this type of program, as it typically oversees barbers, dentists, nurses and other professions.

Supporters contend federal regulators are stretched too thin to regulate all the shops operating in Illinois, and cited data that showed a large percentage of weapons found at crime scenes come from a handful of sellers.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Rauner veto react

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* There’s more react here from before the governor actually vetoed the gun dealer licensing bill. But I’ll be updating this post with react from now on, so check back. First up, Sen. Harmon…

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act:

“The governor must be much more concerned about his immediate political prospects than we thought, because he decided to be a lap dog for the NRA today rather than listen to the people he represents.

“Eighty-five percent of Illinoisans support licensing gun dealers. Governor Rauner has decided to be the governor of the nine percent who don’t.

“Tomorrow, students across the country will stand up and beg elected officials to do their job and protect schools from gun violence. By issuing this veto on the eve of those demonstrations, the governor is telling them that he has no intention to live up to that responsibility.”

The bill passed with just 30 Senate votes and 64 House votes, so I kinda doubt it’ll be overriden. We’ll see.

* Speaking of the walkout…

Senator Melinda Bush will stand in solidarity with students across the country by leading a walkout against gun violence on Wednesday at the Capitol.

“We’re standing in solidarity to honor gun violence victims and let students across Illinois know that their voices matter and that we hear them,” said Bush (D-Grayslake). “The voices of these students have broken though partisan politics, and their actions have brought about commonsense conversations on gun safety.”

Who: Senators, staff, lobbyists, advocates and anyone who wishes to participate. Speakers will include Senator Bush, Senator Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) and Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago)

What: A 20-minute Capitol walkout and short program: 17 minutes for the Parkland victims, one minute for Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer and two minutes for all victims of gun violence

Where: Participants will walk from east Capitol doors to the Abraham Lincoln statue for the program

When: 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 14

Why: To stand in solidarity with students across the country and in our districts who are calling for honest, bipartisan conversations about gun safety and to honor the victims in Parkland, Commander Paul Bauer and all victims of gun violence

* Gov. Pat Quinn…

Gov. Rauner’s veto of common-sense regulation of Illinois firearms dealers is appalling but not a surprise. Coming one week before our state’s primary election, it’s a reminder of the governor’s abdication of leadership, regardless of the harm done to all Illinois citizens.

I have worked tirelessly, in and out of office, to make our communities safe from gun violence. As Attorney General, I will challenge efforts by the Trump administration to weaken state regulations of firearms. There is no higher or more urgent calling for an office that must be the lawyer for everyday people and the guardian of their well-being.

* According to published reports, the NRA has contributed to Democratic Rep. Sam Yingling in the past and he’s been given an “A” rating. Here’s his statement…

I’m disappointed in Bruce Rauner’s veto of the common-sense gun safety reform measures outlined in SB1657. In a press release following his veto, the governor tried to offer “starting points” for having “serious conversations,” leading me to question whether the governor has been paying attention to the urgent national and local dialogues following the tragedy in Florida.

The conversations I have had with students, mothers, law enforcement officials, and community members in my district over the last few weeks have brought one fact into focus for me: reasonable gun safety measures promote responsible gun ownership and keep our schools and communities safe.

I will continue working with my colleagues in the legislature to send the governor common-sense gun safety bills. I hope he learns to listen to the people in my district and across Illinois who are demanding that we do better when it comes to protecting our children.

* Kathleen Sances, President and CEO of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention PAC (GPAC)…

“This veto is a punch in the gut to victims of gun violence and their families who dedicated years of their lives to get this bill passed. The Gun Dealer Licensing Act had the potential to save thousands of lives and instead of following suit with cities like the Village of Lyons, which passed its own version of this legislation catching 51 guns in the first year and a half alone, the governor instead decided to stand shoulder to shoulder with the NRA. And now, thousands more lives might be lost because of his inaction.”

* Rep. Scott Drury…

“It is a sad day for Illinois when a governor puts his political interests ahead of the public interest. Yet, in vetoing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, Governor Rauner did just that. Illinois is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic. The NRA constantly says that criminals – not guns – kill others. The Gun Dealer Licensing Act will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. As a co-sponsor of the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, I know this legislation could save lives. Governor Rauner failed Illinois today.”

* Jesse Ruiz…

Governor Rauner’s veto of the gun measure that would have required the state of Illinois to license gun dealers shows his complete lack of courage and failed leadership. With the number of mass shootings affecting our country, this measure was a step in the right direction by requiring dealers and employees to be trained to conduct background checks, stop thefts, properly store guns and prevent straw purchasing - all urgently needed reforms in Illinois. With the primary election upon us, let’s hope this frustration turns into action at the polls.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Rauner quickly pulls the trigger on gun bill veto

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Press release…

Rauner vetoes onerous gun store regulation

Governor Bruce Rauner today vetoed Senate Bill 1657 saying that the bill created onerous, duplicative bureaucracy that does little to improve public safety. He noted that Illinois gun dealers are already licensed by the federal government and that 2,700 small businesses in the state would be jeopardized by the unnecessary new layer of state regulations.

As part of his veto message, Rauner was clear that the state is in desperate need of thoughtful, bipartisan public safety solutions to the larger more pervasive problems of crime prevention, school safety and mental health.

“The core issue is not which guns to legally ban or regulate,” he said. “We have ample proof that such narrowly focused legislative responses make for good political cover, but they do little to stop the illegal flow of guns into Illinois or prevent people from committing thousands of crimes in our state each year with illegal guns.”

The Governor said that to focus solely on guns exaggerates the divide in society over constitutional rights, when there is actually substantial common ground on which to build comprehensive solutions. He cited two common universal concerns: guns in the hands of criminals; and guns in the hands of the mentally ill.

“These are starting points that ought to bring us together for serious conversations about how to secure our schools, combat crime, and make everyone in Illinois safer,” Rauner said.

Since the tragedy in Parkland last month, Rauner insisted that bipartisan collaboration is the best hope of finding common sense solutions to gun violence.

He acted on that hope this afternoon by calling on the leaders of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate to each appoint four members of their caucuses to a Legislative Public Safety Group. The Group would work with the administration to develop legislative proposals to support the following initiatives already underway in various agencies and units of the administration:

    School Safety – The Illinois Terrorism Task Force has convened a working group of officials from schools, police and fire agencies and they are developing strategies to protect against mass shootings. The Public Safety Group ought to be ready to suggest legislative actions to implement their recommendations.

    Mental Health – The Illinois Terrorism Task Force is also working to learn more about the complex intersection of mental health and gun violence, so parents, teachers, professionals and others can more effectively assess, detect, and report threats. The Public Safety Group will be valuable in ensuring the mental health community is fully engaged and legislation is sensitive to the complexities of dealing with diagnosis and treatment.

    Interstate Crime Prevention Network – A wide ranging law enforcement partnership with surrounding states is being explored to clamp down on illegal cross border trafficking and straw purchases, provide enhanced data collection and sharing, and establish protocols for threat detection, surveillance, and criminal apprehension. The Group should be in position to evaluate the arrangements as necessary.

    Repeat Gun Offenders – We must closely examine sentencing and bonding practices that allow repeat offenders to be released rather than incarcerated. Legislative remedies ought to be part of the Public Safety Group’s effort.

    Concentrated Crime Force Deployments – The state needs to expand its program of deploying law enforcement resources in high crime areas so that they can mobilize for all-out attacks on the crime industry. The Public Safety Group ought to be ready to endorse funding requirements for a larger force of state police officers.

    Economic Revitalization – The state’s most violent neighborhoods are also commercial deserts where the only discernible “business” is crime. As expanded force deployments push crime out of these neighborhoods, the state can direct focused business development resources on legitimate enterprise and job creation. The Group can accelerate the adoption of incentives to attract needed economic development programs.

“We have to work together to develop public safety solutions that truly make a difference,” Rauner said.

“Safety is not a partisan issue. It is an obligation, and we owe it to our citizens to come together to ensure their protection. I urge our legislators to join with me so we can get to work on this critical mission.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   32 Comments      

Ives claims she’s within 10 points of Rauner

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* ABC 7

Ives expressed confidence in her chances.

“Well, we’re not going to reveal the specifics, but I will tell you that we believe we’re within 10 points of Gov. Rauner, which is phenomenal considering where we started,” [Rep. Jeanne Ives] said.

Rauner’s campaign declined to comment about Ives’ claims about polling.

That might explain some things (including maybe the gun bill veto threat) if it’s true, but I’ve called around and can’t confirm it. We’ll see if this smokes anyone out.

- Posted by Rich Miller   50 Comments      

Pritzker unleashes the hounds on Kennedy with new ad

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Lots of chatter this week that undecideds are leaning Chris Kennedy’s way

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker in a new TV ad continues to hound rival Chris Kennedy for once praising Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner — as Kennedy in his own ad highlights his father and his “ideals.” […]

Kennedy, in January, opined that Rauner “should be applauded” for running attack ads against Pritzker before the Democratic primary. But then he took a step further in his praise for the embattled governor. […]

“We are running a positive campaign while J.B. Pritzker continues to run a negative campaign,” Kennedy spokeswoman Rebecca Evans said on Tuesday. “Chris has said repeatedly that Bruce Rauner threw a million people out of social services. That means he is inhumane. He went two years without a budget. That means he’s incompetent. He is running to defeat Bruce Rauner and his awful leadership.”

* And here it is

* Script…

Narrator: Listen to what Chris Kennedy recently had to say about Bruce Rauner:

Chris Kennedy: Bruce Rauner is trying to do what he thinks is best for the state of Illinois.

Narrator: What?

Chris Kennedy: His willingness to speak truth to power to take on the powers that have been strangling our economy for decades in the state, is something that I think he should be applauded for.

Narrator: Don’t we need a Democrat who can stand up to Bruce Rauner?

Chris Kennedy: That I think he should be applauded for.

- Posted by Rich Miller   34 Comments      

Protected: SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Afternoon roundup: Voting; Silverstein; Breen; Sente; Soto; Currie

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

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- Posted by Rich Miller   Comments Off      

Rauner on Pritzker: “We are gonna blow him up and take him down”

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* From Gov. Bruce Rauner’s interview on WJPF Radio this morning

I’m the one person who can beat JB Pritzker and Madigan and I will beat JB Pritzker and Madigan.

Pritzker, I know him. He’s a tax dodger, he hides his money in the Cayman Islands, he rips toilets out of mansions he buys, so he doesn’t have to pay the full property taxes on them. He tried to buy a Senate seat from Blagojevich. We are gonna blow him up and take him down. We are gonna beat him. He’s Madigan’s handpicked candidate.

If Pritzker were to win, it would turn out the lights in Illinois. And I’m gonna pound him, we’re gonna beat him. And I’m excited to do it.

And there’s your fall campaign preview, campers. Somebody better get some smelling salts for a certain Tribune columnist.

- Posted by Rich Miller   95 Comments      

Traffic stop data is an important tool for police and the public

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

[The following is a paid advertisement.]

- Posted by Advertising Department   Comments Off      

Not a good look

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* I could do caption contests on all of these pics. Here’s one of Pritzker that Mark Maxwell recently tweeted

* From a JB Pritzker press release…

* And here’s a screen grab of mine from a Biss campaign video

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

More Kennedy nuance, this time on pensions

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* WCIA’s Mark Maxwell

Kennedy said “we can’t afford to allow” a portion of the Biss pension bill that he said would “negatively affect” faculty at the University of Illinois. Kennedy chaired the Board of Trustees at the time, and posted a video to YouTube with a message crafted to ease concerns among tenured faculty who had grown worried they would see their pension benefits significantly downgraded.

An error in the legislation would have forced 4,000 university faculty into a difficult corner: either abruptly retire or see their monthly pension benefits slashed by up to 30 percent. As board chairman, Kennedy apologized to faculty for allowing it to reach that point, then promised to engage with the legislature and resolve the issue. The error was corrected soon after, preventing the threat of what he called a “brain drain” — a mass exodus of tenured professors whose exits would have cost the university federal grant dollars too.

At the start of that video message, Kennedy also said that “pension reform was needed.”

Does that mean Kennedy supported the Biss pension bill before he opposed it?

“No way,” the campaign responded. In the same video, Kennedy says “The bill had lots of parts, not all of which were fully vetted.”

In response to our inquiry, Kennedy’s campaign produced emails he sent to colleagues in 2014 where he analyzed the pension changes as destructive to the working poor, an affront to a safety net that people had earned during their careers, and he criticized the state legislature for historically failing to pay the pension obligation, a move he said effectively stripped public schools of state funding and resulted in higher property taxes.

* Pritzker campaign…

As a candidate for governor, Chris Kennedy is attacking Dan Biss for his unconstitutional pension theft bill, but when he was the chair of the University of Illinois’ board of trustees, Kennedy supported that same legislation.

In a 2014 clip, Kennedy said “pension reform was needed,” in context of Biss’ recently-passed bill in Springfield. Pension benefits for 467,000 state workers, including teachers and nurses, would have been cut under the unconstitutional bill that Dan Biss wrote and Chris Kennedy supported.

“Chris Kennedy was all in for a pension bill that slashed retirement for hundreds of thousands of working families,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “But now that Kennedy is running for office, he can’t pretend to be a friend to working families when it’s clear where he stood when it really mattered.”

Quite a bit over the top there, but it’s a week before election day.

- Posted by Rich Miller   43 Comments      

*** UPDATED x1 *** POLL: 57 percent of Chicagoans say city is on wrong track, will vote to replace underwater Emanuel

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Melissa Harris…

On Tuesday through Thursday of last week, Max Temkin and I fielded our second Temkin/Harris Poll.

Much has stayed the same with this poll:

We hired veteran pollster Jill Normington of Normington Petts in Washington, D.C., to conduct the survey. (Jill is Tammy Duckworth’s pollster.) The sample size is 500 (includes cell phones); the error rate is +/- 4.4%.

We polled registered voters versus likely voters. This gives us a sample that is slightly younger, more Hispanic and less African American than people who typically vote. However, we’re also able to say, using this methodology, that the results represent the views of a broader swath of Chicagoans. So please view this as a public opinion poll, and do not use it to predict election winners.

The top-line results are attached to this email; below is a summary of the headlines.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s favorability and re-elect numbers “are still terrible but a little better than before,” Jill said.

The Police Department’s favorability has gone up due to significant improvement among African Americans. In fact, favorability is now net positive among this group (50/29).

Not surprisingly, J.B. Pritzker’s name recognition has shot up to three-quarters of Chicagoans from two-thirds since September. Somewhat surprisingly, his favorability among African Americans and Chicagoans overall has increased since September.

And finally, several new, exciting topics in this poll: the express train to O’Hare; tax breaks for Amazon; legalizing the use of recreational marijuana; and an elected school board.

Chicagoans support an express train to O’Hare, no matter what part of the city they live in, whether they have a college degree or not, or whether they’re conservative or liberal. And note the high intensity of the positive: Nearly half of Chicago registered voters polled are strongly in favor of this idea.

And finally, the answer that most surprised us: Strong support for tax breaks for Amazon (59% in favor; 25% opposed). “There is a little bit of an age pattern with people over 60 more likely to be opposed, but there is no partisan bent. Democrats and Republicans are within six points of each other, and it is rare for them to be that close on anything,” Jill told us.

You can read my full analysis at and Max’s at, which hilariously chronicles a cease-and-desist letter we received after the last poll. We will conduct our next poll in the fall just prior to the general election.

The poll is here.

* Not great news for Mayor Emanuel

Would you say things in Chicago are generally headed in the RIGHT DIRECTION or would you say things are pretty seriously off on the WRONG TRACK?

    (DON’T KNOW) 15%

If the 2019 general election for Mayor of Chicago were held today, would you vote to RE-ELECT Rahm Emanuel to another term as Mayor or would you vote to REPLACE him with someone else?

    (DON’T KNOW) 16


President Trump was at 12% favorable, 82% unfavorable. Gov. Rauner was at 17% favorable, 62% unfavorable. Mayor Emanuel was at 36% favorable, 42% unfavorable. And JB Pritzker was at 35% favorable, 24% unfavorable. Lots of undecideds on that last one, which is what we’re seeing in other polls.

Meanwhile, 59% supported “The tax breaks and incentives offered by Chicago to
bring in an Amazon headquarters,” while 25% opposed. Another 66% supported “Making recreational marijuana legal in Chicago,” while 27% were opposed. And 83% supported “Having the Chicago School Board be elected instead of being appointed by the mayor,” while just 10% were opposed.

*** UPDATE *** Text message from a Rahm campaign guy…

Hey Rich, read your post on the Chicago poll. I do not think this poll is grounded in reality. Important to point out that a November GE electorate is fundamentally different than a 2019 municipal electorate. If you look at the demographic makeup of this poll it skews much younger than a typical November electorate let alone a municipal electorate. The racial makeup is also significantly off. Beyond these points, this poll does not reflect what we are seeing with our own internal numbers or numbers that have been reported from other campaigns.

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

Martin Sheen narrates newly voiced Kennedy ad

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Press release…

Chris Kennedy’s campaign for Governor released the following ad today, narrated by Martin Sheen. The ad highlights Chris Kennedy’s values and family history. The ad will run statewide, across multiple markets.

…Adding… This is the same ad as last week’s “Ideals” ad with a new narrator, so the headline was changed.

* The ad

* Script…

RFK: “Few will have the greatness to bend history …. generation.”

Narrator: Chris Kennedy’s father fought for civil rights, equality and fairness

RFK: of all those acts will be written the history of this generation…

Narrator: Today, the fight lives on in Chris’s campaign for Governor. To take on a broken political system. Endorsed by Newspapers across the State as Authentic and Independent… Kennedy will be an Anti-establishment Governor with a progressive agenda. And the vision to reshape Illinois.

- Posted by Rich Miller   22 Comments      

Rate the new anti-Quinn ad

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* As I told you yesterday, the Fight Back for a Better Tomorrow PAC, which is administered by top officials at Operating Engineers Local 150, filed a B-1 for $675,000 in spending on a TV ad attacking Pat Quinn. As subscribers know, there was a bit of a glitch with the spot, but it’s fixed now. Have a look

My own opinion is that this ad isn’t tough enough to move numbers. But, hey, I could be wrong. Let us know what you think.

- Posted by Rich Miller   25 Comments      

Rauner, ILGOP attack Pritzker on Berrios, Blagojevich

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Rauner campaign…

Berrios’ record of cheating taxpayers in favor of the wealthy and politically-connected is catching up with him. On Monday, the Chicago Tribune and Crain’s reported that Illinois Democrats are fleeing from the Cook County Assessor.

Most Democratic candidates for statewide office — including Chris Kennedy, Daniel Biss, and the Attorney General candidates with the exception of Kwame Raoul, Berrios’ co-chair of the Cook County Democrats — have openly criticized Berrios for his corrupt practices.

But JB Pritzker remains silent. He claims that he won’t ‘foment a war between Democrats,’ and he has refused to criticize Berrios just as he has avoided almost any critique of Madigan.

In the face of outright corruption, Pritzker chooses to remain silent and defend the politicians who have thrown their support behind him in his run for governor.

We talked about the Crain’s story yesterday. The Tribune story, about an attorney general forum, is here.


It is undeniable that J.B. Pritzker and disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich have been “bosom buddies” for decades.

Pritzker fundraised for Blagojevich’s run for Congress in 1996 and Blagojevich helped Pritzker in his failed run in 1998. Pritzker joined Blagojevich’s $25,000 Club with a large campaign check, and Blagojevich later appointed Pritzker to head Illinois’ Human Rights Commission. Then there’s the infamous FBI wiretaps between Pritzker and Blagojevich published by the Chicago Tribune, and that only scratches the surface.

Blagojevich and Pritzker were so close, Blagojevich swooned over Pritzker as early as 1998, talking of his “tremendous future” in politics and comparing him to President Abraham Lincoln.

From yesterday’s profile in the Chicago Tribune:

    …He finished third with 20 percent of the vote in a 1998 primary won by Jan Schakowsky, who still holds the seat. Pritzker got campaign help from workers allied with former 33rd Ward Ald. Richard Mell, the father-in-law of future Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Two years earlier, Pritzker had helped Blagojevich win his congressional seat.

    “This was a good first start and I think J.B. has a tremendous future,” Blagojevich said in a May 1998 Tribune profile of Pritzker. “Remember, Abraham Lincoln didn’t win his first election, and Mario Cuomo lost several races before he got elected. For J.B., this is only the beginning.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

Union-backed Pritzker criticized for not supporting grad student unions

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Sen. Daniel Biss has been issuing statements of support for graduate student unionization efforts throughout his campaign. JB Pritzker showed up to a picket line at UIUC the other day. WCIA TV’s Mark Maxwell’s report

Billionaire philanthropist J.B. Pritzker who inherited much of his wealth gave a record $100 million donation to Northwestern University in 2015. A graduate student who teaches there says that gift should have come with conditions that the administration acknowledges the graduate student union.

“I live paycheck to paycheck because graduate stipends are barely sufficient to pay my rent, living expenses, and my student loans,” says Jessica Creery, a Ph.D., candidate who says her medical research on epilepsy and Alzheimer’s yielded five million dollars in grant money for the school.

When an accounting error interrupted her paycheck last fall, she says her life nearly went into a tailspin. […]

Creery, who is supporting Daniel Biss in the Democratic primary race, criticized Pritzker for not publicly supporting the efforts of the Northwestern Union Graduate Workers — a union group the school does not yet recognize in collective bargaining.

* Maxwell caught up to Pritzker

Reporter: Your name adorns the campuses at Northwestern and University of Chicago, you’re a donor there. How would you describe your clout on those campuses and how have you used that to support unions, because unionization efforts have been resisted on those two campuses? What would you say about those efforts?

Pritzker: Well, I don’t know about the University of Chicago because I have not been involved at all there. At Northwestern, I’m an alumnus of Northwestern Law School, I’m proud of my own work there and also of the work they do to train lawyers and much of the program that I supported at Northwestern was really aimed at the Center on Wrongful Convictions, at the um… and the organizations that are standing up for our immigrants…

Reporter: But on unionization there?

Pritzker: I have not at all been involved in that.

It goes on for a while longer. Have a look.

…Adding… Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Galia Slayen…

J.B. stands firmly on the side of graduate students in their fight to unionize and has put forward real plans in this campaign to put Springfield back on the side of working families. That’s why J.B. is the only candidate endorsed by the IFT, IEA, statewide Illinois AFL-CIO, and over 30 individual unions and he looks forward to standing with them as governor to defend our labor movement and help workers in Illinois thrive.

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

*** LIVE *** Session coverage

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* The House isn’t in this week. Senate committees started at 9 and the chamber convenes at noon. The House’s Human Services Appropriations Committee meets this afternoon in Chicago. Watch it all in real time with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   Comment      

Biss wants to back insurgent state central committee candidates

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* Tribune

Democratic governor candidate Daniel Biss is exploring ways to help insurgent candidates for the state party’s leadership committee and challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan’s chairmanship.

A Biss aide said the state senator from Evanston has talked with campaign attorneys about what fundraising mechanism could be used to assist challengers to about a dozen members the Democratic State Central Committee.

The 36-member panel elects the party chairman. It’s made up of one man and one woman from each of Illinois’ 18 congressional districts, and the seats are on the primary ballot.

There were no details yet on whether any arrangement had been made. Madigan has been actively backing current committee members seeking re-election.

Many of these candidates haven’t even set up campaign committees. Speaker Madigan just disclosed spending more money against Rockford-area candidates Art Bardsley and Elizabeth Lindquist, but neither have committees. You can’t contribute to candidates if they don’t have official bank accounts. So, either they’ll have to set up committees ASAP, or Biss will have to establish an independent expenditure committee and then do all the work of sending out mailers, or radio ads or whatever else he plans to do.

Anyone else have any ideas what he could do (besides spend any money he raises on himself, of course)?

- Posted by Rich Miller   23 Comments      

*** UPDATED x4 - DGA, Cullerton, Biss, Kennedy blast Rauner - Prizker says Rauner “cares more about winning his primary than doing his job” - Emanuel: Veto is “slap in the face to crime victims, faith leaders and police” *** Rauner now says he’ll veto gun dealer licensing bill

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

* So, he goes through that long, dodging dance yesterday and refuses to answer Chicago reporter questions about whether he’ll sign the gun dealer licensing bill, then goes on a southern Illinois radio station early this morning to say he’ll veto it. Here’s Tina Sfondeles

Despite Democratic pressure from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and gubernatorial rivals just days before the primary election, Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday said he plans to veto a gun measure that would have required the state to license gun dealers.

In an interview with WJPF radio station in southern Illinois, Rauner said he’ll veto the measure, while also calling on the four legislative leaders to appoint members to a public safety commission to talk about mental health and school safety, according to the governor’s office.

The governor’s office said Rauner will veto the bill later Tuesday.

Asked what he’d do about the bill on Monday, Rauner repeatedly said he favored a “comprehensive solution,” without answering what he’d do with it.

The full interview is here.

*** UPDATE 1 *** Press release…

Statement from Mayor Emanuel on Governor Rauner Plan to Veto Gun Dealer Licensing Act

With one week left in his campaign, Governor Rauner just put his primary election ahead of his primary responsibility to protect the safety of the people of Chicago and Illinois. The governor’s decision was cruel, it was cold and it was calculated to benefit his own politics at the expense of public safety. This veto is a slap in the face to crime victims, faith leaders and police who have pleaded with Governor Rauner to protect public safety by signing the Gun Dealer Licensing Act. This failure will be his legacy.

*** UPDATE 2 *** Pritzker campaign…

“With daily gun violence ravaging our communities and tragic mass shootings plaguing our country, Bruce Rauner has decided to veto a commonsense bill that will keep children and families safe from gun violence,” said JB Pritzker. “High schoolers are leading a nationwide movement and parents in our state are demanding change, but Bruce Rauner has provided nothing but empty rhetoric and absent leadership. This is a governor who is telling children across the state that he cares more about winning his primary than doing his job to protect them. Illinoisans deserve a governor who will treat gun violence like a public health epidemic and take charge to stop these countless tragedies, and that’s the governor I’ll be.”

*** UPDATE 3 *** Sen. Daniel Biss…

“After weeks of waffling on this critical issue, carefully weighing political consequences in the absence of any moral conviction, Bruce Rauner has announced he’ll veto a bill I cosponsored to stem the flow of illegal guns in our communities. After decades of school shootings across the country and decades more of gun violence ravaging the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, people are coming together to demand change. Except Bruce Rauner, apparently. Instead of standing up to do what’s right, he’s putting his fealty to the NRA first, once again proving himself a coward incapable of governing.”

* Chris Kennedy…

Governor Rauner has again put his own political survival above the safety and security of our schools, our communities and our families. This disgusting veto represents everything that is wrong with Springfield where political preservation comes before the citizens our elected leaders are supposed to serve. Governor Rauner made this decision to win a primary but the consequences of it will cost him in November. Students across Illinois will walk out of class tomorrow to protest this decision and urge our elected leaders to take action to prevent the next shooting. I stand with those students. Springfield has abandoned its leadership role in our state and it’s the students who are showing us the way forward.

*** UPDATE 4 *** Senate President Cullerton…

“I urge Governor Rauner to reconsider his actions. It’s not too late. He’s regretted hasty vetoes in the past. Don’t add to that unfortunate collection. He knows this is a good law, one needed to increase safety in Illinois. I would urge Governor Rauner to think this through and do what’s responsible as opposed to what’s political. At the very least, take the time to do another poll before such drastic action.”

* DGA…

“Bruce Rauner failed as a leader, today,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “Families from all over the state have had enough with gun violence and called on Rauner to take a leadership role in protecting them. Instead, they got a stream of empty rhetoric and platitudes, and the confirmation that Rauner will never stand up to the NRA.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   67 Comments      

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Tuesday, Mar 13, 2018

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Dark money super PAC to spend $675K opposing Pat Quinn

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* I told subscribers this was likely to happen earlier today, but that dark money super PAC administered by top officials of Operating Engineers Union Local 150 (Fight Back for a Better Tomorrow PAC) just filed an independent expenditure report for $675,000

So, Quinn is going in the barrel. It’s awful late, so we’ll see how this goes.

I’ll post the TV ad as soon as I get it.

This is the same super PAC that spent $600K opposing Rep. Scott Drury’s attorney general bid.

- Posted by Rich Miller   51 Comments      

Rauner mailer says he’s “tall enough to stand up to Madigan”

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* This very “tall” mailer hit the boxes in the last day or so…

…Adding… MrJM in comments…

Seriously. Just gaze upon the list of Rauner’s accomplishments on that mailer:

    •”calls for”
    •”calls for”
    •”promises to” and
    •”aims to.”

After a term in office, his sole non-aspirational accomplishment was a veto that lasted two days before being overridden with the help of his own party.

- Posted by Rich Miller   70 Comments      

Report: Berrios’ name being left off sample ballots

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* If you put a toxic name on a ward or township palm card, there’s a chance you could hurt the rest of your candidates. Something to keep in mind when reading this Greg Hinz story

Joe Berrios is chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party, and he has its official endorsement in his race for a new term as county assessor. But dozens of the party’s ward and township committeemen appear to be abandoning him—or even working for competitor Fritz Kaegi.

In calls and emails, officials throughout the county confirm that regardless of the party organization’s action, they’re leaving Berrios off of sample ballots and palm cards that precinct captains are distributing to voters in advance of the March 20 primary. And though Berrios retains the support of some of the county’s biggest-hitting committeemen, the exodus is occurring everywhere, in both Chicago proper and the suburbs, and among whites, Latinos and African-Americans. […]

Other predominantly African-American wards that either are leaving Berrios off their ballots or actively working for Kaegi include the 2nd, [3rd] 9th, 29th and 37th. […]

In the 30 suburban townships, the defection list is considerable—and growing. According to Kaegi, sample ballots in Niles, Evanston, Oak Park, New Trier, Northfield and Elk Grove Townships are with him or have taken a pass on the race.

There’s more, so click here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Dueling press releases

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* Treasurer Frerichs…

Crooked businesses would be able to keep taxpayer money without fear of punishment if legislation pushed by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and supported by Gov. Bruce Rauner becomes law, Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

SB2901 would outlaw the use of auditors to ensure that businesses are properly reporting unclaimed property to the state of Illinois. Examples of unclaimed property include unpaid life insurance benefits, forgotten bank accounts, and unclaimed rebate checks. If enacted into law, not only would hundreds of millions of dollars be kept by dishonest businesses instead of paid to the rightful owners, honest businesses would be at a competitive disadvantage simply by following the rules.

Illinois holds more than $2 billion in unclaimed property. Of that, more than one-fourth, or $612 million, is a direct result of audits. Illinois’ current system of audits began under then-treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican the chamber of commerce previously supported and a person Rauner called one of the state’s “all-time greats”.

“On what planet does keeping something that you know does not belong to you deserve to be protected by special legislation,” Frerichs said. “Honest mistakes happen. That is why every industry in America uses audits. If this legislation comes to pass, it would be impossible to identify which companies were following the rules, regardless of their intent.”

Audit success stories inside the Illinois Treasurer’s Office include:

    Between 2011 and 2015, audits identified more than $550 million in unpaid life insurance death benefits that should have been paid. In some cases, the insured had been deceased for decades.

    In 2016, Sprint agreed to surrender $2.3 million owed to 32,000 Illinois residents who did not cash rebate checks. In that same year, Radio Shack agreed to surrender uncashed rebates worth $140,000 owed to 5,000 Illinois residents. Audits identified these rebates still owed to Illinois residents.

    In 2018, Chicago-based Kemper Corp. reversed course and dropped a lawsuit to block audits after previously indicating in federal filings that their position “creates a risk of reputational damage.”

In 2017, Rauner tried to kill the Life Insurance Reform Act by issuing an amendatory veto that effectively prohibited the use of outside auditors. Lawmakers wisely rejected that proposal because it would have gutted Illinois’ unclaimed property law. SB 2901 again attempts to eliminate the use of audits.

* Illinois Chamber…

Treasurer Frerichs’ press conference held earlier today inaccurately depicted the contents of SB 2901. Firstly, the legislation does not take away the treasurer’s ability to use auditors and saying so is simply inaccurate.

Chamber initiative, SB 2901, allows all types of audits except for those funded on a contingency basis. That is those audits conducted by an outside firm where the firm is compensated based on how much revenue they can extract from businesses. Contingency firms typically are only compensated by the amount of revenue they identify creating a tremendous incentive that puts businesses at a disadvantage.

Secondly, the problems the Illinois Chamber is seeking to address were included as part of the massive tax increase pushed through the Legislature and vetoed by the governor in 2017. The purpose of the tax increase was a massive revenue grab and the provisions the treasurer defends are part of that grab.

When it comes to auditing businesses, the treasurer has options. He should use its office’s existing resources more efficiently; hire outside auditors who are paid on a regular fee basis, not by how much revenue they can extract; or the Treasurer’s Office could return the unclaimed property program to the successful administration of the Illinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation.

More here.

- Posted by Rich Miller   10 Comments      

Today’s dodge word: “Comprehensive”

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* Some additional background for this post is here. Gov. Rauner was asked several times today about his stance on a gun dealer licensing bill that’s sitting on his desk. He stayed mum. From the Sun-Times

“I’ve been clear on this issue,” Rauner said after being accused of stalling on the politically sensitive legislation in the midst of an election.

“No, governor, you’re not clear. It’s clear as mud,” a reporter said. “Are you going to sign it or are you not?”

Rauner responded: “A comprehensive solution, that’s what I support.”

Asked if his ambiguous answer could be interpreted as a plan to wait for several in-the-works gun control bills to reach his desk before taking any action, Rauner again dodged.

“A comprehensive solution is what I’m advocating for,” he said.

By my count, Rauner said “comprehensive” five times in two minutes. Check out the video

* Crain’s

“Comprehensive,” said Rauner, includes a ban on bump stock devices that effectively turn semiautomatic firearms into machine guns. It also includes improved school safety, improved efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of convicted criminals and the mentally ill, and more help for police.

But the GOP incumbent wouldn’t say whether that means teachers should be trained to carry firearms in the classroom. Nor would he say whether he’ll block the licensing measure; in previous appearances, he seemed to suggest it would be excessive.

“What I will do is work with the General Assembly to come up with real solutions,” Rauner added, denying that he’s engaged in his own version of a basketball four-corners stall in an effort to offend no one before the primary vote.

* Tribune

Emanuel on Monday again hammered Rauner on the licensing bill, as the mayor has done often since the House passed it. This time, he joined Johnson, gun control advocates and the families of gun violence victims at a news conference at police headquarters to try to pressure the governor to act.

Emanuel nodded to the political pressure facing Rauner, but said the governor has a greater responsibility to look past that and protect Illinois residents.

“When is the right time? Only one person can answer that,” Emanuel said.

“So I would just say the governor may be thinking of his primary election, but we are thinking of the primary responsibility he has for helping us keep our streets safe, whether that’s Downstate, suburban or in the city of Chicago,” he said.

Raw audio of today’s presser is here.

…Adding… The Pritzker campaign says he dodged a total of seven times…

With his primary eight days away, Bruce Rauner is refusing to take action to prevent gun violence, leaving the Gun Dealer Licensing Bill sitting untouched on his desk.

When reporters repeatedly asked about his position on the legislation, Rauner dodged, ducked and dived seven times. After recycling his favorite talking point that he has been “clear on this issue,” a reporter fired back: “clear as mud.”

“Instead of signing the Gun Dealer Licensing Bill immediately, Bruce Rauner is playing politics and putting lives at risk,” said Pritzker campaign spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh. “Illinoisans deserve better than a leader who would rather wait out his primary than act swiftly to keep families safe.”

…Adding… DGA transcript…

Question: Governor, as we meet here, the Mayor, the Police Superintendent and a bunch of other people are holding a press conference to urge you to sign SB1657, the gun shop bill, and the other legislation the General Assembly passed. As you know there’s been some action in Florida. The Governor there signed a bill that a lot of people thought a few years ago or a few months ago he would never sign. What are you going to do with this legislation?

Rauner: What I will do, and continue to do for many days, is to work with our members of the General Assembly on a bipartisan basis to come up with real solutions together, on a bipartisan basis. And I’m advocating that we try to accomplish four things. One is to ban bump stocks. Number two is to find ways to keep our schools safer - there are many things we can do in that regard. Third we should find ways, better ways, more thoughtful ways, to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. Mental illness, unfortunately I believe, has played a major role in a number of these horrible, horrible tragedies. And I believe we should find ways to work together to better support our police officers, our law enforcement officers who put their safety at risk to keep our families safe. I believe we can work together to do those four things.

Question: Since its NCAA time, have you gone to the four-corner offense here? Are you playing stall ball, trying to take the air out of the ball until after the March 20th primary on this issue?

Rauner: I’ve been clear on this issue –

Question: Governor, you’re not clear. As clear as mud. I mean what does that have to do with the bill that’s on your desk. Are you going to sign it or are you not?

Rauner: Comprehensive solution, that’s what I support. A comprehensive solution.

Question: So are you saying you’re waiting for all the legislation to pass through the legislature. All the pending gun bills before you consider any of them.

Rauner: Comprehensive solution is what I’m advocating for.

Question: Governor, you did say the other night apparently that you felt that the feds already sort of handle this gun dealer licensing. Is that where you stand?

Rauner: Well it is true that gun dealers are already federally licensed. That is true.

Question: So that doesn’t need any state intervention as well.

Rauner: Again, I’m going to look at a comprehensive solution.

“Question: Governor, this one seems pretty much like a stand-alone bill that makes a lot of common sense to a lot of people. Why not just sign this one now and work out the details with the other later?

Rauner: Again, comprehensive solution is what I’m advocating.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Trover looks back and warns: A big lead can evaporate quickly

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* Lance Trover’s recent Sun-Times op-ed “The craziness inside a campaign bubble” was so well-written that I told him he should do a piece for me when he got the chance. Here it is…

The names may have changed, but for many voters, the 2018 Primary Election for governor probably looks a lot like 2014, but with a flip of party identification.

In 2014, Republicans had a true throw-down between two state senators, the state treasurer and political novice Bruce Rauner. Rauner had a lead by early January thanks to an outsider campaign message and a significant advantage in resources. He recognized voters were looking for change and appealed to primary voters with his “shake up Springfield” mantra plastered on televisions across the state.

Today, Rauner, like then-Governor Pat Quinn, is a relatively unpopular incumbent being challenged in a primary.

Meanwhile Democrats have a crowded primary with political novice JB Pritzker leading the pack. Pritzker, like Rauner, has a significant advantage in resources. Unlike Rauner in 2014 though, Pritzker decided to cede the outsider mantle in exchange for institutional support, which is far more valuable on the Democrat side, given their superior political infrastructure combined with the power of labor union muscle.

The other similarity? In 2014, Democrat-leaning unions banded together to run ads attacking Rauner. Ironically, this year, it’s Rauner who made a play in the Democrat primary by attacking Pritzker.

Based on the public polls, including one released over the weekend by Capitol Fax, it appears that Pritzker has withstood Rauner’s early barrage, perhaps aided by the fact that Rauner had to turn his focus to his primary opponent, Jeanne Ives.

But primaries can change in an instant, and months of good campaigning can quickly unravel. My experience on the Rauner campaign is a lesson in why you should assume nothing in a primary election.

In 2014, as part of the Rauner operation, we went into Primary Day confident of the outcome. All internal and external data pointed to a resounding win. Public polls showed Rauner with a lead in the mid-teens and our own data showed similar numbers. Our prospects looked so promising that our final TV ad shifted from attacking the competition to a more positive spot. Rest assured, a competent campaign will only stop their negative advertising close to an election if they feel confident of victory.

As the numbers began to pour in on election night, it quickly became evident that winning by double-digits wasn’t going to happen. Political operatives know all-too-well the distinct feeling of nervousness that comes as the votes are being counted no matter how far ahead or behind the polling shows their candidate.

As the margin between Rauner and Kirk Dillard kept shrinking, our modeling still showed we would narrowly prevail, but no one could exhale until the Associated Press finally called the race. Rauner had slipped through by a margin of 3 points - a far cry from the double digits our polling predicted.

To their credit, the Pritzker campaign appears to be taking nothing for granted. The poll released by Capitol Fax shows Pritzker is comfortably leading by 19 points. Just as important, he is attacking any candidate who gets within striking distance of that coveted first place spot, and he doesn’t seem to be relenting. Nor should he, because as the Rauner 2014 primary campaign showed a big lead can evaporate in the flurry of the closing week of a campaign.

The one thing I know for sure about this year’s primary night is that it will be a whole lot less stressful watching from the sidelines.

I think the kid may have a future in this business. /s

- Posted by Rich Miller   33 Comments      

Kennedy’s “Florida tax” idea

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* From Chris Kennedy’s appearance on Rick Pearson’s WGN Radio show yesterday

When we look at revenue options, let’s look at the tax cheats that are operating in Illinois. Let’s look at the people who say they live in another state and continue to have their jobs here and take income in Illnois and don’t pay income tax here.

The state of New York, the state of California started taxing those people. I talked to the fellow who helps collects those taxes in New York just last week and he said it’s billions of dollars in tax revenue that they get in New York from people who visit there and work, take meetings and work. And we should tax those people here.

If you look at Kennedy’s infrastructure plan, he says Illinois should pass a “Florida Tax to tax people who live out of state but earn income in Illinois.”

* Greg Hinz explains

According to Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois President Carol Portman, the current tax code is pretty good at collecting money from professional athletes when they play in town—that provision sometimes is called the “Michael Jordan” clause, after the former Bulls star—but largely lets visiting accountants, lawyers, consultants and others off the hook unless they exclusively work here or their business is based here.

“States like New York are more aggressive and tax nonresidents spending just a few workdays there,” Portman says.

In fact, some businesspeople abuse the loophole, intentionally maintaining their official residence in a low-tax state while working here most of the time, says the sponsor of the Senate bill, Chicago Democrat Kwame Raoul. Still, “This is a complicated subject. We have to do it the right way,” he says.

The Civic Federation’s Laurence Msall agrees with Portman that Illinois should consider following the lead of New York, which “taxes you on your first day of working there.” Potentially, the state could net tens of millions of dollars a year in revenue by fully collecting such a tax, he adds.

But both Msall and Portman say there would have to be either reciprocity with other states—we’ll exempt your road warriors if you exempt ours—or a provision creating an Illinois tax credit for taxes paid to other states. That would cut down on the income.


…Adding… Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) introduced a bill on this topic last May

Amends the Illinois Income Tax Act. Provides that compensation paid to individuals whose service is performed both within and without this State, but is not otherwise treated as paid in this State under the Act, is paid in this State to the extent that compensation is paid for services performed within this State.

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

Because… Madigan!

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* From the Rauner campaign…

March Madigan-ness

With March Madness upon us, the Rauner campaign made its own bracket featuring Mike Madigan’s “top” headlines of the year. Which one will win the title of “Best Madigan Headline of 2017-2018?”

Click here for the bracket and the rest of the release.

* Rauner campaign…

In a weekend editorial, The Wall Street Journal made clear how high the stakes are in 2018. If JB Pritzker and Mike Madigan take total control of Illinois, they’ll raise taxes yet again on Illinois families, and that means more people leaving the state and fewer jobs. It’s why Governor Bruce Rauner is fighting to win re-election so he can block Madigan’s plan to take more money out of the pockets of hardworking taxpayers, and provide tax and regulatory relief to unlock the potential of the Illinois economy.

The editorial includes this tidbit

One difficulty for Democrats is that they need a supermajority of both legislative chambers to place an amendment [for a graduated tax] on the ballot. While they have the votes in the Senate, four Republicans are needed in the House. Mr. Madigan twisted some GOP arms last summer to override Mr. Rauner’s veto, and the patronage king may now try to buy off Republicans who aren’t running for re-election.

I’m not saying they’re wrong about the future, but that’s some interesting revisionism about what happened last July.

* As we all know by now, Chris Kennedy has called on House Speaker Michael Madigan to step down as state party chairman. He’s been silent on Madigan’s role as speaker, however. Kennedy explained it this way the other day

* If you can’t watch videos at work, here’s what Kennedy said

In the speaker role, it’s complicated because he’s done a good job of standing up to Gov. Rauner.

More Kennedy nuance. If he wins the primary, Rauner will whack him with this for months on end. I can just see it now: “Kennedy said his puppet-master Madigan has done a good job!!!”

* Related…

* Attack ads draw rebukes in 17th: Mike Madigan’s favored candidate in the 17th District Illinois House race, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz, has launched attacks on one of her opponents that are giving leaders of the New Trier Township Democratic Organization second thoughts about having endorsed Gong-Gershowitz. The target of the attacks is Candance Chow, who currently serves on the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 board. One of the attack fliers claims Chow is giving Republicans Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner “plenty to celebrate.” … The president of the NTDO, Judy Mandel, in a newsletter to members Wednesday, said she’s received a string of complaints about the over-the-top, negative and especially nasty mailing pieces from Gong-Gershowitz, a Glenview resident.

* Tribune Editorial: Michael Madigan, the #MeToo mansplainer: If Madigan’s rope-a-dope works, it says more about his ability to intimidate challengers than about the importance of this issue in his realm. Hollywood, the news media and Silicon Valley continue to confront these deep-rooted issues. The same should be true for government and politics.

* Madigan’s Panel Meets With Former Staffer Who Alleged Sexual Harassment: Alaina Hampton, a former staffer for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, met Sunday with the three-woman panel appointed by Madigan to lead a statewide discussion on sexual harassment. … Of the meeting Sunday, Hampton told NBC 5 that she “had a frank and productive conversation” with the panel. “They listened to my story and took in my recommendations on how to ensure justice for victims and how to begin to change the pervasive culture of sexism in Illinois politics,” Hampton said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   11 Comments      

The Circular Firing Squad sometimes encircles itself

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* From one of Dan Proft’s papers

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s own local Republican organization will not endorse him for re-election.

The New Trier Township Republican Organization (NTRO) includes Rauner’s north suburban hometown of Winnetka as well as Wilmette, Glencoe and Kenilworth. It officially declined to endorse after voting during a meeting on Saturday morning, just blocks from Rauner’s home.

“It is extraordinarily rare for a regular Republican organization to fail to endorse an incumbent governor, let alone the incumbent’s local organization,” said Wilmette resident Jasmine Hauser, who attended the meeting. […]

Blair Garber, Evanston Township Republican Committeeman and a Rauner-appointee to the Illinois Lottery Control Board, spoke in support of Rauner.

He said NTRO should back Rauner because “his money” can help Republicans re-claim control of the Illinois House from Democrats and House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago).

That’s a little embarrassing for the governor.

Also, I confirmed yesterday that Blair Garber gave the Rauner pitch. You may recall Mr. Garber. From February 1st

Illinois Lottery Control Board chairman Blair Garber resigned and apologized after describing East St. Louis, Illinois, as the “sh*thole of the universe” on Twitter.

Garber, an Evanston resident and representative on the Republican State Central Committee, used language reportedly invoked recently by President Donald Trump to describe the city in southwest Illinois.

I asked the Rauner campaign yesterday if Garber was authorized to speak for Rauner. “No,” was the response.

* This next one requires a detailed road map, so stay with me. As you know, Denise Rotheimer has appeared in a few TV ads on behalf of Dan Proft’s House GOP candidates. But she recently announced on Facebook that she wouldn’t be supporting Kenny Idstein, who is supported by Proft’s Liberty Principles PAC. Adam Solano, who is running against Idstein, then shared Rotheimer’s post, which links to a very positive story in another Dan Proft paper about… Idstein…

Got all that?

- Posted by Rich Miller   14 Comments      

Kennedy again goes after Pritzker’s family upbringing

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* Background on this post is here. From Chris Kennedy’s press conference today…

* Pritzker campaign…

Yesterday, Chris Kennedy took his campaign to a new low, with disgusting attacks on JB Pritzker’s family. When asked about his support for taxing retirement income in a WGN interview Kennedy said, “Our parents, particularly my mother, you know she taught us this lesson, it’s better to win than to lose, but she also made it clear, it’s better to lose than to cheat. I think that’s a lesson the Kennedy family learned that apparently they don’t teach in the Pritzker family.”

Kennedy’s attack leaves out the fact that he does in fact support taxing retirement income. Kennedy laid out how he would implement the tax at a meet in greet last year and Kennedy was recently asked if a retirement tax could be part of a progressive income tax system and said, “I think it could.”

“Even in the nastiest of political campaigns, things like family should be off limits,” said Pritzker campaign manager Anne Caprara. “Trying to imply that Chris Kennedy’s family is more virtuous than JB’s family is out of line, and lying about his own record on supporting a tax on retirement income is disingenuous. This is a low-blow from a candidate on the wrong side of this issue and desperate to resurrect his flailing campaign.”

* In the video clip linked above, Kennedy says this about what he could do with the retirement income tax if elected governor

But I might means test it. I think, you know, I’ll probably have retirement income plus investment income. You ought to be able to go after my retirement income.

* From Pritzker’s TV ad

Chris Kennedy and Dan Biss both support taxing retirement income.

Is it really Pritzker’s job to explain the nuance?

- Posted by Rich Miller   31 Comments      

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Rauner expresses support for Erika Harold, but dodges most questions

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

…Adding… If you couldn’t access the video link because you don’t subscriber to (you really should subscribe), then click here for raw audio.

* Gov. Rauner was asked today about the Erika Harold controversy. You’ll recall that three sources told Mary Ann Ahern that Harold said this during a Miss Illinois pageant interview

One of the questions to Harold that year was: If she, like her mother, was responsible to place a child in foster care and had to choose between a.) A loving gay couple or b.) A heterosexual couple who were known child abusers, which would she chose?

All three sources told NBC 5 she chose the child abusers.

* Rauner today

I’ve known Erika Harold for about five years. I’ve found her to be a person of great talent and integrity and good will. And I can’t comment beyond that.

* The governor, who made it clear that he fully supports gay adoption, was then asked if Harold should drop out of the attorney general’s race

I’ve told you about my view of Erika Harold. I think she’s an outstanding person of great talent and integrity and good will.

* He was also asked if this NBC 5 report disqualifies her..

I think rumor, or political hit jobs or whatever. I don’t know the background of that circumstance. I can’t really comment.

* Meanwhile, from Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago)

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

Politics ain’t beanbag

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* The Tribune’s Mary Schmich

Several political flyers have arrived in my mailbox recently that have been very effective in helping me decide how to vote for the next governor of Illinois.

According to the return address, they’re paid for by JB FOR GOVERNOR and they’ve almost convinced me — not to vote for J.B. Pritzker.

Until the flyers started arriving, I had an open mind. I don’t assume all billionaires are bad or that rich people can’t care about the poor, and in Pritzker’s ubiquitous Facebook ads — the man advertises more on Facebook than Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop — he talks the right talk, in the manner of an affable, feisty uncle.

But I believe the flyers. Not what they say, but what they reveal. And what they reveal is a man too ready to play nasty.

Unless you’re running a race on the North Shore, I always say that when you start seeing columns and editorials like this one, your message is getting through.

And if you think it’s harsh now, you’d better leave the state before October.

- Posted by Rich Miller   27 Comments      

Question of the day

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* From a Mark Weyermuller photo taken at Friday’s Northwest Suburban Republican Lincoln Day Dinner…

* The Question: Rep. Jeanne Ives is to Abe Lincoln what Gov. Bruce Rauner is to ____?

- Posted by Rich Miller   44 Comments      

In remap fight, you’ve got to know when to go “all in”

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column

House Speaker Michael Madigan cares most about three House votes: The votes every two years for both the next Speaker and the House rules; and the vote every ten years on the new state legislative district maps.

But, prying control of those maps away from Speaker Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton is next to impossible, as proponents of a constitutional amendment to do so have found. Drawing the new map is the ultimate way to reward your friends and punish your enemies. (Keep in mind here that I am NOT talking about congressional maps. That should be part of a national solution.)

Anyway, when I watched video of JB Pritzker pressed by reporters in Chicago about how much he really supported a truly independent remap process, it didn’t seem to me that he was willing to go to the wall for his beliefs.

We’ve seen this movie before. Former Gov. Pat Quinn talked a good game about reforming the state legislative map-making process and then signed the remap legislation drafted by Madigan and Cullerton.

I decided to test Pritzker’s resolve by asking him, and the rest of the gubernatorial candidates, whether they’d veto any legislative redistricting legislation that wasn’t truly independent. Pritzker pledged his veto while Chris Kennedy and Sen. Daniel Biss both said they wouldn’t take such a pledge. (Gov. Bruce Rauner and Rep. Jeanne Ives also said they’d veto.)

Kennedy and Biss are just flat-out wrong here.

A governor cannot cajole the House Speaker and the Senate President into giving up control of “their” maps to people they don’t know and trust. Quinn tried that and totally failed. The only way the leaders will take this step is if they believe there is a credible chance that the Republicans could draw the new maps.

How could that happen? If a governor vetoes the remap bill and he’s not overridden and the resulting process winds up deadlocked (as it always has before), that’ll force a drawing out of Abe Lincoln’s hat to decide which party gets control.

The map-making powers aren’t completely about the leaders maintaining numerical control of their respective chambers — although building in lots of extra partisan cushion with gerrymandering is most certainly right at the top.

This is also about their own districts, particularly for Madigan. Let somebody else draw the map and he might wind up in a district with few precincts in his beloved 13th Ward. He lives close to Chicago’s southwestern border, so his new district could wind up being heavily suburban and more anti-Madigan. Who really knows? And that unanswerable question is the whole point of Madigan making sure anything independent is kept as far away as possible from drawing the next map.

Sen. Biss dismissed my question by claiming that the Illinois Constitution puts legislators, their staffs and their allies into the map-making process. Actually, the Constitution just says the General Assembly has to pass a new redistricting bill every ten years. The legislature can always pass a bill to set up an independent remap system, free from involvement by the powers that be.

Illinois doesn’t need a constitutional amendment to have an independent map-drawing process.

“Instead of pledging to veto,” Biss wrote, “as governor, I would advocate for a true independent redistricting process.” Right. Just like Pat Quinn. You’ll get what you’ll get, and you’ll eat it and you’ll like it.

Chris Kennedy came up with the surprisingly lame excuse that taking a pledge to veto a district map which isn’t independently drawn “fails to take into account the situation which may exist at a time of passage.”

Um, huh? What “situation” might that be? If you believe that voters should choose their legislators and not the other way around, you gotta be willing to go to bat for them. This isn’t like holding the budget hostage, which can actually get people killed. This is about recognizing when you’ve got the upper hand in a purely political battle.

It just seems weird to me that the two guys who are currently strutting around the state loudly demanding that Madigan step down as party chairman are so loathe to upset the Velvet Hammer on this topic.

At the same time, a candidate who seems afraid to even utter Madigan’s name is willing to say he’ll back up his words with deeds in order to challenge one of Speaker Madigan’s most powerful weapons. Hey, you may not trust Pritzker to actually follow through, but at least we have him on record, unlike those other two guys.

- Posted by Rich Miller   20 Comments      

Today’s mail: Fritchey hit on ketchup, polluters, pirates

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* A couple of recent Bridget Degnen mailers slamming Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey. As a reminder, Fritchey sent out a mailer during his losing 2009 congressional special election bid announcing that he liked ketchup on hot dogs, and the much-hated Lincoln Park Towing company could have its license taken away by the state soon…

Those could be the most Chicago mailers ever.

* Meanwhile, Fritchey has a new cable TV ad

…Adding… Fritchey’s campaign sent me one of his pieces. According to the Ledger, she was a “Senior Public Service Administrator” from 12/2016 through 1/2018…

- Posted by Rich Miller   26 Comments      

The price of my vote

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* The first gubernatorial candidate to promise to get Illinois out of Daylight Savings Time will receive my vote on March 20th. And I don’t care if it’s Bob “Three State Solution” Marshall.

I mean, c’mon, we all lose an hour’s sleep every night right before a primary? It’s inhumane. Think of the children, for crying out loud.

The government needs to stop messing with peoples’ biological clocks. If Arizona can do it, so can we.

…Adding… Rep. Steve Andersson’s HB 404

Amends the Time Standardization Act. Provides that daylight saving time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire State. Makes other changes. Effective July 1, 2017.

That would have to be amended, of course, unless Andersson also can pass a trailer bill rolling back time to last July 1, and I wish he wouldn’t.

- Posted by Rich Miller   54 Comments      

Rauner’s mansion utility bills story turns out to be true

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* From Gov. Rauner’s February budget address

When my wife and I moved into the Governor’s Mansion in 2015, we noticed that every light was turned on. I don’t know about you, but I was raised that if you left a room and didn’t shut out the lights, you’d be in trouble.

Of course, this led us to ask what the utility bill was for the mansion. It took two weeks to track down who actually got the bill in the government bureaucracy, and to discover that it cost the state almost $100,000 a year. Outrageous. We immediately put in good energy management practices to cut the bill substantially.

* Finke fact-checked him and Rauner actually understated the problem for a change

Figures provided by the administration show total utility costs in the 2014 fiscal year were $108,341. That included $63,723 for electricity, $32,608 for natural gas and $12,010 for water. […]

[Rauner spokeswoman Rachel Bold] said steps have been taken to reduce costs, from simple things like turning off lights that aren’t needed and lowering the heat when the building isn’t occupied to installation of energy saving LED lights. […]

Bold, though, provided records for utility bills — for electricity, water, natural gas and sewer charges — from March 2014 and March of 2017. In March of 2014, utility bills ran $7,590. In 2017, those charges were $5,798.

- Posted by Rich Miller   36 Comments      

Rauner may have tipped his hand on gun bill

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* I told subscribers about this on Friday. From a media advisory…

Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), will join members of the Illinois Gun Violence Prevention Coalition, gun violence victims and their families, and Chicago’s top police official to call on Gov. Bruce Rauner to the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, a bill that will stem the flow of illegal guns into communities in Chicago and across Illinois.

The Gun Dealer Licensing Act would allow Illinois to license gun dealers and encourage better business practices while holding corrupt dealers accountable as authorities try to get a handle on the violence epidemic prevalent in Chicago neighborhoods and across the state.

* Gov. Rauner may have given his answer Friday while in Moline

So, the federal government already regulates, um, these, um, gun dealers. Uh, so, and, we’ve gotta be careful about putting too much, uh, redundant regulation that won’t really change or improve anything, but it may actually hurt small businesses in the state of Illinois. So, we’ve got to evaluate the issues and we’re in the process of doing it.

The governor went on to say that he’s believed “for years and years” that “the most effective way of dealing with gun issues is at the federal level.” Rauner explained that, because of interstate commerce, “what we do should really be done at the federal level. But, he said he would take a look at “what we can do at the state level in Illinois.”

That doesn’t sound like he’s thrilled with this bill. But, hey, he said he’d veto HB40 and then he signed it.

* Related…

* Mayor Rahm Emanuel: Hold gun shops to same level of licensing as barber shops: “Any Illinois business that wants to sell liquor or tobacco, eggs or wholesale aquatic life, or to cut and braid hair, must be licensed by the state. Why should gun dealers be any exception?” Emanuel said. “This isn’t difficult: if we can license barber shops, we can license gun dealers.”

* Decatur-area gun stores stick with current age limits: Independent gun store owners in the area say they’re not joining large retail chains like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods in placing greater age restrictions on gun sales than current state law requires. “Others can join the mass hysteria if they like, but we value the Second Amendment down here, and we’ll lean towards that,” said Dan Cooley, owner of Bullet Trap in Macon. … “They’re doing if for publicity, the mainstream media’s going crazy over this stuff and they’re just on the bandwagon,” [Lana Niemeyer, who sells firearms at Decatur Jewelry and Pawn] said of the major retail chains.

* Mother who lost son to gun violence has message for Gov. Rauner: But Rock Island native Othea Stevenson says we need action now. “I don’t think [the proposed bill] would hurt. I think we need any resources we possibly can have to get these guns off the street, or at least take control of what’s going on,” says Stevenson. Stevenson lost her 24-year-old son to gun violence in 2016. She’s been fighting against gun violence ever since and says the governor isn’t doing enough.

* Rauner outlines gun control, rail efforts in visit to KONE Inc.: Gun control is an issue that deserves a “comprehensive, bipartisan solution developed on safety from guns,” he said. “We need to do four things. We should ban bump stocks, No. 1,” he said. “No. 2, we should be more thoughtful and effective in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill. We are not doing a good enough job of that.” No. 3, he said, “we need to do a better job of keeping our schools safer, and our public buildings safer,” he said … Lastly, he said, “we have got to find ways to be more supportive of our police officers and first responders,” he said. “But have them be even more effective in responding to the threats and the risks from gun violence.”

* Rauner pledges support for Q-C rail project: Ives, who has accused Rauner of betraying conservatives, voted against the legislation. During her Quad-Cities visit, she said the March 20 primary might pass before Rauner made a commitment. Proponents say that even with federal oversight of gun dealers, they aren’t effective at stopping weapons from being brought into Chicago and used in crimes.

- Posted by Rich Miller   13 Comments      

Kwame Raoul resurrects Dan Hynes’ “Harold Washington ad” against Quinn

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* I told subscribers about this earlier today. Press release…

The Raoul for Illinois campaign is debuting a new ad featuring the words of the late Mayor Harold Washington which can be seen here:

Ad transcript:

    Harold Washington: I must have been blind or staggering. I would never appoint Pat Quinn to do anything. Pat Quinn is a totally and completely undisciplined individual.
    He was dismissed. My only regret is that we hired him and kept him too long.

    Narrator: Harold Washington knew Pat Quinn’s staggering incompetence…the incompetence that led to illegal hiring and endless investigations…and gave us Bruce Rauner.
    Narrator: Quinn failed Harold Washington then…and failed us as Governor. We can’t trust him as our Attorney General.

The ad features footage of a WGN-TV interview with Mayor Washington where he lambasts Quinn’s leadership. In the interview Quinn goes on to say: “Pat Quinn is a totally and completely undisciplined individual who thinks this government is nothing but a large easel on which to do his PR work.”

Now more than ever, it’s clear that Mayor Washington’s words were true.

“Illegal hiring”

    “Jim Dey: Investigation into illegal hiring under Quinn expanded,” Jim Dey, The News-Gazette, 5/4/2017.
    Last week, a court-appointed outside monitor released a voluminous report that laid bare all the gory details surrounding five years of illegal patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation. But that report didn’t close the book on the wide-ranging conspiracy to violate state hiring rules by top officials in former Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. Indeed, there could be more much forthcoming.

“Jobs for friends and family”

    “Watchdog details how top Democrats under ex-Gov. Quinn got state jobs for friends, family,” Monique Garcia, Ray Long, Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune, 4/25/2017.
    A new report issued Monday by a court-appointed watchdog charged with looking into patronage hiring at the Illinois Department of Transportation details how top Democrats clouted relatives and friends into positions under former Gov. Pat Quinn, even as many of those hired had little or no experience. “

“Endless investigations”

    “Quinn and his administration under yet another FBI investigation!” Kirk Allen, Edgar County Watchdogs, 10/27/2014

“And gave us Bruce Rauner”

    “Audit draft shows more mismanagement in Quinn’s anti-violence program,” Joe Mahr, Ray Long, Chicago Tribune, 4/5/2016.
    Republican Bruce Rauner went on to beat Democrat Quinn in 2014 after relentlessly charging that Quinn used the grants as a political slush fund to help win votes in Democratic strongholds. Rauner’s administration declined to comment on the draft audit, citing the confidentiality of the process before an audit is released. But in the administration’s response to auditors, also obtained by the Tribune, the agency’s new leaders blame the Quinn administration for the debacle.

Dan Hynes tried using this footage and it backfired. Bruce Rauner tried it as well to no avail. The key difference here is Sen. Raoul is an African-American.

* Have a look

- Posted by Rich Miller   17 Comments      

Poll: Pritzker up by 19, Quinn leads by 8

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* I told subscribers about the new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll on Friday evening. Here it is, with results ranging from best to worst

* If the Democratic Primary Election for Governor were held today, for whom would you vote?

    JB Pritzker 35%
    Chris Kennedy 16%
    Daniel Biss 15%
    Bob Daiber 1%
    Tio Hardiman <1%
    Robert Marshall <1%

    Undecided 31%

* If the Democratic Primary Election for Attorney General were held today, for whom would you vote?

    Pat Quinn 23%
    Kwame Raoul 15%
    Nancy Rotering 6%
    Sharon Fairly 3.5%
    Renato Mariotti 3%
    Jesse Ruiz 3%
    Scott Drury 2.5%
    Aaron Goldstein 2%

    Undecided 43%

Numbers have been rounded by me. I did a long analysis for subscribers the other day, but notice how Kennedy’s recent “surge” has been reversed, presumably by Pritzker’s U of I TV ad. Tapping the brakes apparently worked for now.

Also it’s impossible not to notice that the “undecided” category is in second place in the governor’s race despite $60 million in spending by JB Pritzker. The category has a huge “lead” in the AG’s race, where the frontrunner is not beloved and the others are not very well known. Lots and lots of unknowns are still out there.

The poll of 1,029 likely voters was conducted March 7-9. 512 of the responses came from mobile phone users and the margin of error was ±3.06 percent.

* The crosstabs are here. Before we go on, let’s take a quick look at a Tribune story about the Downstate vote

Christopher Mooney, a political scientist at the University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs, said there is a risk factor for candidates who fail to devote time and resources Downstate in favor of the more heavily populated city and suburbs. […]

By the numbers, the ballots cast in the 96 counties outside Chicago and the suburban collar counties make up a small percentage of the Democratic primary vote. Only 23 percent of the nearly 2.1 million ballots cast in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary came from Downstate.

Numbers alone can be misleading, however, particularly in a six-candidate contest where the winner only needs the most votes, not a majority. […]

Pritzker has had the money to air TV ads statewide for months, and his deep pockets already have assisted local county organizations with contributions. That organizational starting point “is maybe a secret weapon,” Mooney said.

* The Downstate numbers

Democratic Choice for Governor

    JB Pritzker 38%
    Chris Kennedy 14%
    Daniel Biss 12%
    Bob Daiber 1%
    Tio Hardiman <1%
    Robert Marshall <1%

    Undecided 33%

Democratic Choice for Attorney General

    Pat Quinn 27%
    Nancy Rotering 7%
    Kwame Raoul 5%
    Sharon Fairly 2%
    Renato Mariotti 3%
    Jesse Ruiz 2%
    Aaron Goldstein 2%
    Scott Drury 1%

    Undecided 52%

* And here are the results for African-American women…

* Democratic Choice for Governor

    Daniel Biss 7%
    Bob Daiber 2%
    Tio Hardiman 1.5%
    Chris Kennedy 10%
    Robert Marshall <1%
    JB Pritzker 44%
    Undecided 35%

* Democratic Choice for Attorney General

    Raoul 27%
    Quinn 20%
    Drury 2%
    Fairly 2%
    Mariotti 2%
    Rotering 2%
    Goldstein 1.5%
    Ruiz 1.5%

    Undecided 41%

- Posted by Rich Miller   47 Comments      

A Kennedy/Biss retirement tax problem: Voters don’t do nuance

Monday, Mar 12, 2018

* As you already know, JB Pritzker is airing a TV ad which claims that Chris Kennedy and Sen. Daniel Biss support taxing retirement income, “one of the few things Illinois doesn’t tax right now. The ad goes on to claim that Pritzker is against doing such a thing.

So, Rick Pearson asked Chris Kennedy on his radio show yesterday morning about taxing retirement income

Chris Kennedy: I wouldn’t do that. The average retiree pension is like $18,000 a year. We’re going to go tax people making 18,000 a year? That’s the group we’re going to attack? I don’t think so. I don’t have the heart for that… There’s nothing about me that would lead me to believe that that’s the right thing to do. That’s not where the money is. Those people need that for their basic income and I think that’s a real bad suggestion and I’ve thought so since the beginning of the campaign, despite the lies that JB Pritzker is telling about me in his new ads…

Rick Pearson: I want you to address that issue.

Chris Kennedy: It’s interesting. I came from a family, we’re very competitive, the Kennedy family, particularly my mother who taught us this lesson: It’s better to win than to lose. But she also made it clear it’s better to lose than to cheat. And I think that’s a lesson that the Kennedy family learned that apparently they don’t teach in the Pritzker family. Because Pritzker, when he couldn’t spend his way to victory, that is, tell the truth about himself, he then had to pick an alternative course, which is to lie about others. And that’s what he’s doing now with his television ads and his radio ads. And it’s unfortunate that he’s in that desperate spot.

Going after the guy’s family now, eh? That’ll help.

…Adding… Pritzker’s campaign manager…

* The Pritzker ad in question references a January 26th WMAY interview with Kennedy

LEACH: If we move to a graduated income tax at some point would that be on the table then? Retirement income?

KENNEDY: I mean, I don’t know what that looks like. I mean, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a merry Christmas, so I don’t know, what…

LEACH: But you want to move to a progressive income tax?

KENNEDY: Absolutely, absolutely.

LEACH: If we do that, under your plan…

KENNEDY: If we means tested, if we means tested, um, retirement income. If you could say OK, people who have more than $250,000 a year household income and have retirement income, could that be part of progressive income tax? I think it could.

So, Kennedy said he’d consider a retirement income tax. The Pritzker ad is not a “lie.” And if Kennedy manages to win the primary, Rauner will undoubtedly blast him with the same sort of ad because 74 percent of Illinoisans oppose such a tax. It’s our state’s political “third rail.” And the same goes for Sen. Daniel Biss, who qualified his own support in a similar manner.

Wait, you say, 60 percent told the Simon poll folks that they’d go for taxing retirement income above $100,000.

But the problem for both Kennedy and Biss is that voters just don’t do nuance very well.

And it’s light-years worse when you’re being heavily outspent on TV and you can’t fight back in kind.

- Posted by Rich Miller   29 Comments      

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Kennedy blasts Pritzker for “buying off” black politicians

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* Remember when I told you Friday about how JB Pritzker was spreading around a ton of cash to local political organizations? Well, the Kennedy campaign was working on the same idea at the time and it kind of exploded later in the day

Democratic governor candidate Chris Kennedy on Friday accused rival J.B. Pritzker of “buying off” elected officials, including local African-American leaders as part of an “apology tour” over 2008 remarks about potential black successors to Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat. […]

Kennedy said Pritzker gave the money “in hopes they will help voters forget who he is really is — someone who was caught on FBI wiretap tapes with Rod Blagojevich, asking for political favors and ingratiating himself with the disgraced governor by making comments disrespectful of the African-American leadership in our state.”

“He’s taken pay-to-play politics and amplified the system from pay to play, to fund to forgive and fee to forget. He’s buying off the leadership,” Kennedy said outside the Loop headquarters of the state Democratic Party. […]

Among Kennedy’s major supporters is U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush. The Kennedy campaign has paid $26,354 to the congressman’s brother, Marlon Rush, and $17,120 to a son of the congressman, Jeffrey Rush, state election records showed.

* From a Sun-Times video clip of the Kennedy presser

“He’s buying off the leadership. He’d rather have the ward organizations than the “Indivisible” groups. It’s clear he’d rather hang out with Cook County committeemen than with the People’s Choice Coalition. He’d rather side with the leaders than with the people. This type of leadership has no place in the new Illinois. The reality is voters want people-powered leadership not crammed-down politics that’s survived for too long. That needs to change. And I’m running to change it. We want to be with the people interested in social justice, not people interested in pinstripe patronage and government contracts. We want servant leaders not leaders of servants. Our Democratic Party, many of its incumbents have become stifling forces in our state.”

* Um, just a couple of weeks ago, Kennedy criticized Pritzker during a debate for not contributing to black candidates…


Not sure if you’re following this debate or not, but Chris mentioned JB’s low percentage of contributions to African-American candidates.

When JB Pritzker was caught on tape making disparaging comments about African-American leadership, his only line of defense was that, “I’ve supported a lot of candidates over the years who are people of color…”

The fact is, before JB Pritzker launched his campaign for governor, less than 1/4 of 1 percent of JB’s $2.1 million in political contributions was given to African-American candidates running for statewide and local office in Illinois.

Kennedy’s campaign tried to gin up that topic for several days without success. So, now the Kennedy campaign has changed course.

* The push back was rough

Ald. Rod Sawyer, chairman of the City Council Black caucus and a Pritzker supporter, confirms his 6th ward got money from Pritzker, and he hinted he might not campaign hard for Kennedy if he wins the primary, “Now if that Democratic nominee happens to be Kennedy and he’s disparaging us, how’s that gonna work for him? How’s that work?”

Apparently, Kennedy thinks they’ll either forgive and forget by November or he doesn’t need them. He’d be wrong about the second part, so if he does manage to win he’s going to have to embark on his own apology tour after March 20th.

* Sun-Times

Pritzker’s parade of contributions includes $29,500 to Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), chairman of the City Council’s Budget Committee, $27,500 to Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), $16,000 to Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) and $15,000 to Ald. Walter Burnett (27th). […]

The always outspoken [Ald. Carrie Austin] was furious when told of Kennedy’s charge.

“I’ve sat quiet long enough. And I’m not gonna sit and die and let Chris Kennedy slander me. The hell with Chris Kennedy. I’m more than insulted by this so and so. Nobody can buy Carrie. Nobody! J.B. didn’t give me a dime when I endorsed him. Not one dime,” Austin said, her voice rising.

“I hope he don’t get nobody’s vote except for Sen. Emil Jones, Bobby Rush and Danny Davis. If they don’t see that they’re trying to divide the black community, they are fools.” […]

Like Austin, Scott said the $16,000 from Pritzker had nothing to do with his endorsement. But it will help “build an organization” in Scott’s West Side ward that has not existed for decades, the alderman said.

* NBC 5

“The way it works now is in order for committemen to operate, and just to open our doors on Election Day, it costs $10,000,” Alderman Walter Burnett said. “We all need help in order to run elections.”

* Three aldermen, including Ald. Burnett, held a press conference to blast Kennedy and defend Pritzker

* Here’s part of what Ald. Burnett said..

“They can try to pull all the desperate BS stuff that they’re trying to pull up, trying to play the race card, trying to play the Blago thing. It’s all BS. It’s a sign of desperation because they know that they are going to lose. And they know that JB got the right guys working for them and we’re gonna kick their butts. That’s what it’s all about.”

* Ald. Michael Scott Jr. made some harsh accusations about Kennedy’s non-involvement with his ward

“I went through a process of trying to figure out who was going to be the best person for my community and by far that has been JB. JB has been out to my community at least four or five times. I reached out to other candidates to come out and see if they would broach the issues that affect North Lawndale, broach the issues that affect East and West Garfield and I have yet to receive a phone call back from any one of those.”

Scott said he reached out to Kennedy “several times myself,” but Kennedy has “yet to call me back.

“He may call me back now, but now I don’t want the call,” Scott said. “When you’re desperate and things aren’t going your way, you start throwing and slinging mud and see what sticks.”

* Sen. Biss gets the last word

While Kennedy criticized Pritzker for his spending, candidate Daniel Biss attempted to distance himself from the other two candidates.

“There’s the Madigan-Pritzker wing of the Democratic Party, and the progressive-independent wing, which I’m a part of,” he said.

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

Sunday Jeanne Ives roundup

Sunday, Mar 11, 2018

[Comments are now open on this post.]

* From a letter to the editor of the Champaign News-Gazette

I do not believe in, nor trust, Ives to become our next governor when she supports and backs people like Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. Can’t she see that the state of lllinois is in the financial mess it is because of Madigan and his followers? We’ve had enough of that type leadership in Illinois. So no, I will not support nor will I back Ives.

I had my traditional pre-primary discussion with a family member who doesn’t follow politics and gets most of his information on campaigns from TV news and advertising. He is a lifelong Republican who despises Gov. Bruce Rauner (retired AFSCME), but he said he can’t vote for Ives because she’s controlled by Madigan.

And he’s not the only one. I’m getting reports from the doors of average voters saying the same thing. That “Who’s really behind Jeanne Ives?” ad of Rauner’s is doing its job. Ives doesn’t have the cash to effectively counter it, so she’s getting buried by it.

* Meanwhile, the Rockford Register-Star endorsed Ives

Passion, energy and an “I’m-mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore” attitude make Jeanne Ives our choice in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Ives has legislative experience, unlike Gov. Bruce Rauner, and knows how to get things done in Springfield.

Um, of all the bills she herself introduced since January of 2017, precisely one has become the law of the land

Amends the Public Water District Act. Provides that a general manager of a public water district may be discharged at a meeting of the board of trustees upon a majority vote of the members

The only other Ives bill to get a floor vote in that same time period lost on 3rd Reading by a vote of 43-70.

* Back to the editorial board endorsement

Many newspapers across the state back Rauner because of school financing and criminal justice reforms and because their editorial boards were disgusted by Ives’ television commercial playing off stereotypes of immigrants, the LGBTQ community, union workers and people on public assistance.

We were disgusted by the ad as well, but it was not enough for us to withdraw our support for Ives.

* Related…

* Gov. Rauner debates his ads about Jeanne Ives w/Berkowitz: Truthful or gross distortions?: Ives said, to the Crain’s editorial board on Jan. 22, 2018 she’d start by working to repeal the income tax hike that was approved over Rauner’s veto. But “I wouldn’t do that immediately,” she said. “I suspect that, within two years, we could set that out as a goal.” The Citizens for Rauner mailer states: “Jeanne Ives wants to keep Mike Madigan’s 32% income tax hike,” and it refers to Jeanne Ives as “Mike Madigan’s favorite candidate.” … Ives said she couldn’t get the $5 billion tax bill repealed NOW—but Rauner couldn’t even sustain his 2017 veto of that bill, w many Republicans jumping ship.

* Jeanne Ives’ GOP insurgency: “People keep asking, ‘Can I win?’ I like to ask, ‘Should I win?” Ives said. Jim Nowlan, a Republican and retired political science researcher for the University of Illinois, is dismissive of Ives’ chance. “Bruce Rauner is an unpopular governor. I think Jeanne Ives has the potential to embarrass the governor by doing well in the primary,” he said. “I could see her getting 40 percent of the vote. But I can’t see her winning. Bruce Rauner is an incumbent and he has far more resources.”

* Gun Confiscation Begins in Illinois: Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeanne Ives voted no on the measure, and expressed her concern about the issue earlier this week when Illinois Review asked her about raising the age buying a gun to age 21. “What other rights are we going to raise to age 21?” Ives answered. “The age is arbitrary. The average age of a mass shooter is somewhere in the 30s.”

* Five Republican Incumbents Facing Challengers From the Far Right: In fact, Governor Rauner is leading her by about 20 points in primary polling. Which makes a person wonder — if Rauner is already so unpopular and he’s still trouncing Ives, how bad must she really be?

* The John Williams Show: Gubernatorial Candidate Jeanne Ives joins the conversation to explain her belief that the CityKey allows undocumented immigrants to vote

* Illinois Governor Candidates at Odds on Marijuana Use: Gov. Bruce Rauner implemented the pilot program in 2015, but he has recently fought in court attempts to expand the list of qualifying conditions. He is against legalization for recreational purposes. His primary competitor, Rep. Jeanne Ives, has consistently railed against any type of legalization.

* Rauner pledges support for Q-C rail project: Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged support Friday for passenger rail service in the Quad-Cities, providing a counter to primary rival, state Rep. Jeanne Ives, who last week voiced her opposition during a visit to the area. Rauner toured Kone in Moline and, during remarks to employees, pointed to his support for rail service, along with getting the new Interstate-74 bridge over the Mississippi River built. “I’m all about investing in infrastructure,” Rauner said. “I want to get the Amtrak high-speed train coming over here. I want to invest more in the highway system. We’re going to get the bridge built over here.”

* Illinois lieutenant gubernatorial candidate ‘dubious’ of Amtrak project: Meanwhile, Lieutenant Gubernatorial Candidate and Rock Island County Board Member Rich Morthland has many questions about the project. “Of course I want Amtrak to come to the Quad Cities…but purely for nostalgic reasons,” Morthland said. “That doesn’t mean it’s the right reason.” Morthland recently called the project a ‘boondoggle,’ and he says his running mate, State Representative Jeanne Ives, is not a big fan of the project either. “We are dubious of the situation with Amtrak,” Morthland said. “A private company, publicly funded…that just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.”

- Posted by Rich Miller   8 Comments      

* Quinn's Obama ad shenanigan prompts rebuke: "Black voters won’t be bamboozled by him again"
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* *** UPDATED x3 *** Late shenanigans!
* Gov. Rauner compares Speaker Madigan to Al Capone
* Bombshell: Scandal rocks tronc
* Because... Madigan!
* Can't buy me love, everybody tells me so
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Early afternoon shenanigans!
* Final pre-election roundup
* Caption contest!
* *** UPDATED x1 - Rauner dodges *** Monday morning shenanigans roundup
* Lipinski roundup
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Rauner mailers predict "showdown" with Madigan, who will be sent "packing"
* The politics behind Rauner's veto and the future of gun bills
* Sometimes, you just gotta laugh at this stuff or you'll cry
* Question of the day
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY: Early voting roundup
* Still more shenanigans!
* Sunday campaign money roundup
* Even more shenanigans!
* More shenanigans!
* Saturday campaign money report
* *** UPDATED x2 *** Shenanigans!
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* Yesterday's stories

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