Happy October, Illinois! And happy 5-year anniversary to us! That’s right. Illinois Playbook launched five years ago today with Natasha Korecki, who’s now covering the presidential race for POLITICO, at the helm.
Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit will hold a press conference today to announce she’s going to run against Rep. Michael Madigan for Illinois speaker. Kifowit called for Madigan’s resignation in July, after the ComEd bribery scandal came to light.
After a combative meeting with Republican rival Patrick O’Brien, Democratic Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is done with debating, accusing her challenger of “Trump-like name-calling and fear-mongering.”
Foxx has declined an invitation to take part in a debate that would have been conducted by WLS ABC/Channel 7, the League of Women Voters of Cook County, and Univision. A spokeswoman for Channel 7 said the station has instead invited Foxx, O’Brien and Libertarian candidate Brian Dennehy for separate one-on-one interviews.
It all stems from Foxx being put off by face-to-face meetings with O’Brien, a former judge, during recent editorial board interviews.
“Voters deserve to hear Mr. O’Brien’s platform. However, we learned during the recent ed board interviews… that he will instead use the time for Trump-like name calling and fear-mongering,” Foxx’s spokeswoman, Alex Sims, told Playbook. “The State’s Attorney will always participate in interviews, as she will with WLS. But during this nationwide crisis, she will not sit across the stage from a Republican that exploits tragedy to win a campaign.”
In a statement, O’Brien said not debating is “a disservice to the people of Cook County… Voters deserve to know the substantial differences between the candidates.” He pointed to Tuesday night’s “chaotic presidential debate” as an example, saying voters “deserve nothing less than a real debate on the issues.”
The Herald interview was heated. O’Brien called Foxx out for her handling of the Jussie Smollett case, accused her of making victims in Cook County “less safe.” and described her as “a cheerleader for criminals.” Foxx in turn accused O’Brien of “parroting the rhetoric” of Donald Trump.
It’s not unusual for a candidate to refuse to debate, especially if they’re ahead in the race, as Foxx appears to be. In a recent poll, she led O’Brien, 48.1 percent to 33.8 percent, with 18.1 percent undecided.
The Illinois Republican Party has candidates up and down the ballot, but it’s zeroing in on two big races for the November election: the graduated income tax referendum and the retention race of state Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride.
“They’re our two biggest priorities because they determine the future of the state,” Republican Party executive director Derek Murphy told Playbook.
Republicans say the graduated income tax plan, which would increase taxes on those who earn more than $250,000 a year, threatens to push wealthy Illinoisans out of the state. And the Kilbride race could have an impact on redistricting that will begin after the November election.
The possibility of a Republican running and winning if Kilbride isn’t retained “could impact term-limit reforms and fair maps,” Murphy said.
Both the tax referendum and retention race have become among the most expensive races in the upcoming election, garnering the support of high-profile donors — including billionaire Ken Griffin, who gave $20 million to the effort trying to stop the tax referendum.
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At a 9:15 a.m. ribbon-cutting for a development project that’s part of the City’s INVEST South/West initiative.
No official public events.
At the Cook County Emergency Operations Center in Oak Forest at 11: 45 a.m. to announce the distribution of half a million masks throughout suburban Cook County as part of the county’s #MaskUp awareness campaign. Watch live
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 35 additional confirmed deaths and 2,273 new cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 8,672 deaths and 293,274 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Sept. 23 through 29 is 3.6 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.3 percent.
— Mnuchin coronavirus relief plan includes more state, local funds: “Proposal would renew federal unemployment benefit at $400 a week; has more money for COVID-19 testing, schools.” Talks with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continue today.
— Pritzker tests negative for Covid: “Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Wednesday he has tested negative for the Covid-19 virus since a staffer became ill this week and forced the governor and others into quarantine,” by State Journal-Register’s Doug Finke.
— What it’s like to be a contact tracer. ProPublica spoke with 3 to find out: “We wanted to know what life is like for the public health workers charged with limiting the spread of the coronavirus in Illinois. “A lot of people are initially in shock,” one said about making calls,” by Logan Jaffe.
— Cook County Board commissioner tests positive for Covid-19: “A Cook County commissioner who appeared in a news conference with board President Toni Preckwinkle last week announced on Wednesday he tested positive for the coronavirus. Commissioner Kevin Morrison, D-15th, released a statement that he will self-isolate for 14 days and not resume activities until he tests negative. He said he is mostly without symptoms,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— Champaign region could see stricter coronavirus rules as positivity rate rises: “The massive saliva-based testing program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign can account for roughly 20 percent of all tests conducted statewide in a given day, giving the 21-county region a deceptively low positivity rate, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— How to deal with Covid-19 anxiety: “The Covid-19 pandemic brings with it a host of related mental health issues for many people, such as increased stress, anxiety and depression. With the weather already starting to cool down, seasonal depression could be another problem facing Chicagoans,” by WTTW’s Blair Paddock.
— Covid rules for Halloween, via CBS/2
— Lightfoot declares impasse, goes her own way on civilian police review: “Desmon Yancy of the Grassroots Alliance for Police Accountability accused the mayor of reneging on a pivotal campaign promise: ‘Here’s a mayor who ran on transformation, ran on doing things different. And this looks like more of the same,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Aldermen to consider rolling back part of city’s elected official lobbying ban: “Chicago aldermen now appear likely to consider a proposal introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that would roll back part of the tougher rules they passed to prevent elected officials from lobbying City Hall. West Side Ald. Jason Ervin used a parliamentary rule to threaten an up-or-down City Council floor vote next month on Lightfoot’s ordinance that would again let elected officials from outside Chicago lobby aldermen, the mayor’s office and other city government departments,” by Tribune’s John Byrne.
— Vic Mensa: Bring ‘mass employment’ to South and West sides to curb gun violence: “During ‘The Heal America Tour’ stop in Chicago on Wednesday, the rapper said people often use his hometown as a ‘scapegoat example of extreme criminals,’” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.
— Baseball Rarity: Cubs and White Sox in playoffs, but Chicago fans can’t go to games: “It’s just the third time that the North Side Cubs and the South Side White Sox reached the playoffs in the same year. In a normal year, fans on both sides of town would be pouring into the streets or packing into sports bars to celebrate. But this is 2020, a year of mask-wearing and social distancing, and limits on drinking and dining establishments in the city is putting a damper on what could turn out to be the best year for baseball in Chicago in more than a century,” by NPR’s David Schaper.
— Early voting kicks off Thursday in Chicago, suburban Cook County later in October, by Tribune’s John Byrne and Rick Pearson
— A backyard putting green in Bridgeport? ‘Windy City Rehab’ home met with mixed emotions in working class neighborhood: “Concerns about gentrification and an incongruous backyard putting green are part of the conversation in Bridgeport following the pricey sale of a home featured on the HGTV show ‘Windy City Rehab,’” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
— Condition of horse ridden on Dan Ryan by ‘Dreadhead Cowboy’ said to be improving, by WTTW’s Matt Masterson.
— Commentary: CPS paid legal fees for 3 employees involved in a federal probe — but won’t say who they are, reports Patch’s Mark Konkol.
— No. 3 CHICAGO COP retiring after making history as highest-ranking Black woman in department: “Barbara West, deputy superintendent of the Office of Constitutional Policing and Reforms, was promoted in January. On Wednesday night, Police Supt. David Brown announced her retirement but didn’t say why she’s leaving,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Summer protests fuel ‘critical hiring’ of veteran attorney as Illinois Supreme Court’s first diversity officer: “Vernadean ‘Deanie’ Brown was named the court’s chief diversity and inclusion officer and will work with leaders throughout the justice system toward the court’s “strategic goals related to diversity, equity and inclusion,” according to a written statement from Marcia Meis, the director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts,” by Tribune’s Rosemary Sobol.
— $2.5M NOW OFF THE TABLE for embattled video gambling owner: Tinley Park officials have been “secretly negotiating a real estate deal” that would provide video gambling operator Rick Heidner “a $2.5 million windfall on land he purchased less than a year ago as a possible alternate casino site…. The deal came to an abrupt halt last week when Heidner sent a short email to village officials saying the land was no longer for sale. That email came a day after the Tribune began asking questions about Heidner’s ownership of the land,” by Tribune’s Dave Heinzmann.
— Allstate cutting 3,800 jobs: “The Northbrook-based insurance giant is eliminating 8 percent of its workforce in a move that CEO Tom Wilson said is necessary to become more price-competitive,” by Crain’s Steve Daniels.
Pritzker says Madigan should testify in bribery inquiry: “A House panel is investigating Madigan in the wake of ComEd’s admission it gave jobs and contracts to associates of the speaker to curry favor with him,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.
— Municipal bond investors have to share the burden in state bailouts: “When Greece had its government debt crisis a decade ago, it received several rounds for bailout funding from the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Key to the negotiations were not only the extent to which Greece would reform its public finances, but also how much the existing owners of its debt would have to suffer losses before the country received the bailout funding,” according to the Hill in a story that suggests that might be a discussion in the United States, too.
— Springfield police reforms get support from City Council, skepticism from police: “Springfield Police Chief Kenny Winslow said he supported much of the ordinance because it outlines practices that are already in place at the department. But he and Ward 8 Ald. Erin Conley said they’ve heard concerns from police officers who feel the reforms show a lack of support and appreciation for their work,” by NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.
— Itching to vote? More than 57,000 Illinois voters have already weighed in as requests for mail ballots top 2M: “Chicago has reported 440,893 voters requesting mail ballots as of 6 p.m. Tuesday, while Cook County’s election officials recorded 354,032 ballot requests in the suburbs — the most for a county election agency in the state,” reports Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
— Rape kit tracker website now available for victims, Illinois State Police say: “The system, named CheckPoint, promises to add transparency to a state testing system notorious for a backlog that, in 2016, delayed results by a whole year,” writes Sun-Times’ David Struett.
— Mating season means more deer in the headlights, officials warn: “Deer caused more than 16,000 crashes statewide last year,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
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. This week’s feature: The 6 key races you haven’t heard of that may help decide how we secure our elections, by POLITICO’s Eric Geller.
— ILLINOIS BILLIONAIRES PONY UP FOR BIDEN. “Beginning with the richest, 34-year-old Walmart heir Lukas Walton made his first ever donation to a presidential candidate, handing at least $5,600 to Joe Biden’s camp, records show,” according to Forbes. Walton splits his time between Chicago and Wyoming. His mother, fellow billionaire Christy Walton, was the first billionaire to donate to the anti-Trump super-PAC, The Lincoln Project, earlier this year, according to Forbes. George Lucas made his first contribution to the Biden campaign, too. He splits his time between Chicago, where his wife, Mellody Hobson is co-CEO of Ariel Investments, and California. Lucas has already given over $300,000 to committees supporting Biden. Computer Discount Warehouse founder Michael Krasny, a billionaire from Highland Park who keeps a low profile, has donated to Biden, too. As we reported last week, one-time Trump donor Jennifer Pritzker made her first contribution to Biden. Her cousin, billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker, donated to Biden in July.
— Masks invade political ads: “Both parties are featuring mask-wearing in their pandemic-era TV ads, especially in the suburbs, even though Trump has largely gone without,” by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider
— A new ad from Rep. Rodney Davis’ campaign features a nurse talking about opposing “a government-run insurance plan.”
— Commentary: A new spin on the old campaign bus tour: “The infamous 1992 Clinton-Gore Bus Tour that travelled through the heartland may be a creative tactic worth emulating in 2020. Team Biden might consider a virtual bus tour that combines the old and new digital politics to visit the precincts of social media in the heartland,” by political consultant Porter McNeil.
— Mellody Hobson addresses whether corporate diversity should be focused on “targets” or “quotas,” in Fortune.
— Smithsonian’s African American museum names poet Kevin Young as its new director: “Young succeeds Lonnie Bunch III, the former Chicago Historical Society leader who founded the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the D.C. institution,” by Sun-Times’ Evan F. Moore,
— How Trump torpedoed the presidential debates, by POLITICO’s Marc Caputo
— Analysis: Trump is not the man he used to be, by POLITICO’s Tim Alberta
— Opinion: Americans Increasingly Believe Violence is Justified if the Other Side Wins, via POLITICO
— This NBA Finals comes with a horrible asterisk, by The Undefeated’s Justin Tinsley
TODAY: POLITICO Live hosts an editorial panel at 10 a.m. ET to discuss drug prescription costs and what each party is promising to do on the issue going into Election Day. Adriel Bettelheim and Sarah Owermohle are co-moderating. Guests from PhRMA, Program on Medicare Policy at Kaiser Family Foundation, and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Watch live
FRIDAY: “Black Chicago for Trump” is holding a fish-fry fundraiser. Headliners are with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and radio personality Stephanie Trussell. Details here
WEDNESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Clem Balanoff, the national political director of the Amalgamated Transit Union, for being the first (of many) to answer correctly that the Village of Skokie was the center of a landmark first amendment decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the mid-1970s and continues to be used as a "classic free speech case" in Constitutional law classes.
TODAY’S QUESTION: Who was the first American Gospel performer interviewed by Studs Terkel on WFMT? The first person to correctly guess gets a mention in the next Playbook. Send your best guess to [email protected].
State Rep. Dave McSweeney (52nd), Arise Chicago development director (and Senate Dems alum) Sophia Olazaba, and National Rifle Association lobbyist Todd Vandermyde.
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October 1, 2020 at 07:14AM