FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Freshman Reps. Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten, who flipped Republican districts in 2018, are out with new ads today that invoke President Donald Trump in wildly different ways just two weeks before early voting begins in Illinois.
Underwood, whose 14th Congressional District is one of just 31 districts nationwide that went for Trump in 2016 but are led by Democratic representatives, gives a subtle hat tip to the president in her 30-second spot.
The cable TV ad opens by highlighting how Underwood “is everywhere” in the district, which includes parts of Lake, McHenry, Kane, DeKalb, Kendall, DuPage and Will counties. She’s held 25 town halls and 135 community events since elected in 2018, according to the ad.
The ad also promotes Underwood getting “three pieces of legislation signed into law by President Trump.”
You got that right. An ad for a Democrat in a blue state uttered Trump’s name in a positive (or at least neutral) way. It’s a nod to conservatives in her district and sends a message that Underwood works in a bipartisan manner even in these deeply partisan times.
Casten, meanwhile, is out with a new ad featuring former Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady endorsing the first-term Democrat.
“I’m Pat Brady, a lifelong Republican, but I can’t support Jeanne Ives for Congress. Ives makes Trump look reasonable” Brady says in one ad.
Casten said he was “honored” to have Brady’s backing, according to the Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
In another ad, Casten uses self-deprecating humor, calling himself a nerd. “With all the chaos in Washington, we need our nerd,” the ad states in promoting Casten’s expertise as a businessman and focus on climate change.
Casten and Underwood are so far beating their Republican challengers in the money race. Casten, has $3 million cash on hand, compared to Ives’ $502,000, according to recent Federal Election Commission filings. Underwood, with $3.2 million cash on hand, faces state Sen. Jim Oberweis, who has $375,000, according to FEC filings.
The efforts to make Chicago a punching bag for President Donald Trump’s political gain continued Wednesday with Attorney General William Barr making an out-of-the-blue stop in the Loop to declare that the feds have solved Chicago’s decades-old crime problem.
“I am pleased to report that Operation Legend is working. Crime is down and order is being restored to this great American city,” he said at a Wednesday news conference.
“Operation Legend is a vivid illustration of what dedicated law enforcement officers at all levels of government can do to keep people safe. Unfortunately too many people in too many cities insist on denigrating, demonizing, defunding police. Just yesterday the police chief in Rochester, New York decided to retire rather than to stand by while the character of his police force was attacked,” Barr said, referring to La’Ron Singletary’s resignation after public outrage over the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man from Chicago who died during a confrontation with police while visiting family there.
It’s a brazen claim to believe agents and prosecutors brought in just five weeks ago to handle gun cases have put an end to crime. Just this past weekend alone, Chicago saw 51 people shot and 10 people killed —including an 8-year-old.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot didn’t attend Barr’s press event but told reporters later that his comments were “factually inaccurate.” Shootings and homicides were on the decline before the feds moved into Chicago, she said.
Northwestern University political scientist Wesley Skogan, another expert on crime and policing, told WBEZ that ramped up policing by Chicago Police Department also likely played a role in helping chip away at crime stats: Police “very effectively mobilized — big new strike forces formed for the summer, a lot of intensive focus on hotspots.”
University of Chicago Crime Lab Director Jens Ludwig told the Sun-Times: “There’s enough variability in the month-to-month crime numbers in Chicago that I think it’s maybe too early to think that we’ve turned the corner.”
The Tribune points out: Barr’s visit “highlighted the deep political divisions” between Chicago Democrats and the Trump administration, which has said Democrat-run cities like Chicago “have emboldened criminals and demoralized police departments with a soft-on-crime approach.”
It’s a campaign theme that’s likely to play out again (and again) in the coming 54 days to Election Day.
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At City Hall at 11:30 a.m. to announce Chicago’s lead service line replacement program.
At The Workforce Connection in Rockford at 10 a.m. to announce plans to help Illinoisans who have become unemployed due to Covid-19. Then at the Thompson Center in Chicago at 1 p.m. for a Covid-19 update. Watch live
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported seven deaths due to the coronavirus and 1,392 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 8,186 deaths and 252,353 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7 is 4.0 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 5.0 percent.
— Silent spreaders and long haulers. Aerosols and protocols: 10 things science has learned about Covid-19 in less than a year, by Tribune’s Hal Dardick.
— Senate paralyzed on coronavirus relief: “With the coronavirus pandemic still battering the United States, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked his fellow senators on Wednesday whether they ‘want to do something? Or do you want to do nothing?’ The answer looks to be … nothing,” by POLITICO’s John Bresnahan, Marianne LeVine and Andrew Desiderio. "It took McConnell two months to round up at least 51 Republican senators to vote for a stimulus proposal because of policy disputes inside his own conference."
— IDPH publishes new Covid-19 cases among young people, data for ‘school determination’: “The weekly number of new cases among those less than 20 years old in each county is one of four metrics the Illinois Department of Public Health began publishing late last month to assist local schools and health departments in making decisions about in-person learning,” by NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.
— NPR Poll: Financial pain from coronavirus pandemic ‘much, much worse’ than expected: In America’s four largest cities, including Chicago, at least half of people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, according to a new poll published Wednesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. NPR reports.
— City Council will look at police funding: “Aldermen approved a plan to hold budget hearings for the Chicago Police Department every quarter over the next two years amid public pressure to cut police funding and shift spending to social services,” reports WBEZ’s Becky Vevea in her City Council roundup.
— Council ratifies firefighters contract: “Rank-and-file firefighters and paramedics will get a 10% pay raise over four years, all but 2.5% retroactive. In exchange, the city pays $95 million in back pay but gets higher health care contributions, saving $10 million,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Chicago bans sales of flavored vaping products: “Flavored vaping products favored by teens will be banned on shelves at Chicago stores, but flavored tobacco such as menthol cigarettes can still be sold under rules the City Council passed Wednesday. Southwest Side Ald. Matt O’Shea, 19th, had hoped to ban the sale of all flavored nicotine products, including flavored cigarettes and cigars,” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt.
— Measure approved to allow more nudity in Chicago bars: “Women will soon be allowed to bare more flesh in Chicago establishments that sell liquor, in a move aldermen approved Wednesday to settle a federal lawsuit by a transgender woman. The ordinance the City Council passed removes reference to gender from the liquor license statutes governing how much flesh can be shown by performers in various Chicago establishments,” writes Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Aldermen approve Obama Presidential Center affordable housing plan: “The ordinance sets out ways to help lower-income residents keep their homes in the Woodlawn neighborhood near the site of the proposed center by helping tenants organize themselves to try to purchase multi-unit buildings and setting aside funds for residents to repair their homes,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Chicago’s Halloween 2020 doesn’t look like much of a treat: “Obviously, it is a very different time. And I don’t expect to see mass crowds trick-or-treating like we have in years past. It’s not safe for the children. It’s not safe for the adults,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday. By Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Chicago spending $50M to get low-income students online. What if parents don’t trust a free deal?: “Chicago Public Schools started the school year remotely Tuesday, and district officials say they are stepping up efforts to reach families about a new $50 million initiative, ‘Chicago Connected,’ which aims to connect low-income students to the internet. But they have run into a “trust gap”: skepticism in some communities that they would get this service for free, no strings attached. The program has so far signed up a quarter of the 100,000 students that officials estimate can benefit from it,” by Chalkbeat Chicago’s Mila Koumpilova.
— REID SCHAR, the lead prosecutor in both corruption trials of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has been named co-chair of Jenner & Block’s Litigation Department. Schar has been a partner at the firm since leaving the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012. The Chicago attorney was also part of the prosecution team that convicted Blagojevich’s fundraiser Tony Rezko. And though he left for private practice, Schar’s expertise in cases of public corruption continued. While at Jenner, he was named as special counsel for the committee to investigate allegations that former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie caused the closure of lanes leading from Fort Lee to the George Washington Bridge for political reasons. In his new role, Schar will work with David Bradford, who previously served as the department’s sole chair. Jenner & Block has some 400 lawyers across its offices in the U.S. and London.
— World War II veteran and former Sen. Bob Dole will be awarded the Citizen Soldier Award during the Pritzker Military Museum & Library’s 2020 Liberty Gala on Oct 21. “We can think of no other person who most symbolizes the values and traits of the citizen soldier,” museum founder Col. Jennifer N. Pritzker said in a statement announcing the award and virtual event. Pritzker is a retired member of the Illinois Army National Guard.
Activists, nurses union demand $157M cut from sheriff’s budget: ‘Black life is a priority’: “About 20 backers of the proposal gathered at Stroger Hospital on the Near West Side to press Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and the Board of Commissioners to adopt their plan to divest from Cook County Jail and redirect that money into social services for Black and Latino communities in the 2021 budget,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— ‘Whatever it takes’: Trump says he’s willing to spend his own money as campaign’s cash advantage evaporates: “Meanwhile, Biden has seen his fundraising soar in the final weeks of the 2020 campaign,” writes POLITICO’s Quint Forgey.
— Political consultant Alaina Hampton has sent out her first fundraising email for Majority Justice Movement PAC, which she started to help elect candidates who want to end corruption. Hampton is a former Democratic Party worker who accused a top party aide of harassment.
Gun Violence Prevention PAC Illinois, a nonpartisan political action committee focused on ending gun violence, and Giffords PAC, the national anti-gun violence group founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, are endorsing 57 Illinois state House candidates and 14 state Senate candidates. The group says its priority candidates are Democratic Reps. Diane Pappas, Mary Edley-Allen, and Joyce Mason, and Democratic challengers Suzanne Ness (House, 66th District), Maura Hirschauer (Senate, 25th District), Martha Paschke (House, 65th District), Harry Benton (House, 97th District), and Janet Yang-Rohr (House, 41st District). Full list here
— Two ballot drop boxes planned for Springfield: “The county’s election oversight board approved the nearly $8,000 purchase from Vote Armor of the steel boxes on Tuesday night. The plan is to set them up in the next week,” by NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.
Tax revenue from weed sales approach $20M a month: “Just for the sake of comparison, Illinois collected $26.3 million in liquor taxes in August, so recreational cannabis is fast approaching the same revenue level,” writes One Illinois’ Ted Cox.
— UIS enrollment drop "better than expected": “After the first ten days of the fall semester, officials announced the number of students taking classes dropped three percent from a year ago,” reports NPR Illinois’ Sean Crawford.
Meanwhile … U. of I. enrollment climbs to record: “Despite the Covid-19 crisis the system — as well as the Urbana-Champaign and UIC campuses — reported new highs,” by Crain’s Lynne Marek.
— A law aims to improve mental health services at colleges, but there’s no money to make it happen: “Schools estimate it would take $17 to $20 million each year over the next three years to fully implement the law across all colleges and universities,” writes WBEZ’s Kate McGee.
THE FIFTY: Governors and mayors have never mattered more to the future of the nation, and The Fifty, a new series from POLITICO, takes you inside the role they’re playing in the pandemic and more.
— Trump’s participation in Woodward’s latest book is triggering a wave of unease inside the White House, by POLITICO’s Nancy Cook and Alex Thompson
— $2,933 for ‘Girl’s Night’: Medicaid chief’s consulting expenses revealed, by POLITICO’s Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn
— Cruz, Cotton, Hawley headline Trump’s additional 20 potential Supreme Court picks, by POLITICO’s Caitlin Oprysko and Josh Gerstein
— Emails show HHS official trying to muzzle Fauci, by POLITICO’s Sarah Owermohle
— FUN VIDEO: Barbers in the NBA bubble, by The Undefeated
Tonight: Obama campaign (and administration) alumni, many from Chicago, are hosting a fundraiser for the Biden campaign. Details here
WhirlyBall’s Chicago-area founder remembered for bringing joy, by Daily Herald’s Dave Oberhelman
WEDNESDAY’S GUESS: Political junkie Tim Thomas correctly answered that Earlean Collins was the first Black woman to serve in a Democratic leadership position in the Illinois General Assembly. Congrats!
TODAY’S QUESTION: How many members served in the Illinois House of Representatives before Pat Quinn inspired the Cutback Amendment? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in Friday’s Playbook. Send your best guess to [email protected].
Rick Bryant, senior adviser to Rep. Robin Kelly, 1833 Group’s Nick Daggers, attorney Gerald Fishman, defense attorney Joseph "The Shark" Lopez, On Point Consultants’ Tim Mapes, former Democratic state Rep. Brandon Phelps, and Durbin Legislative Correspondent Charles Rotering.
September 10, 2020 at 07:27AM