Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. We’re in the countdown now — three weeks to Election Day and our lineup today proves it. So much news!
Senate Democrats seemed resigned to the fact on Monday that Amy Coney Barrett will be named the next U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Nonetheless, they are taking advantage of their time before the American public during confirmation hearings to focus on a key issue in the 2020 campaign: the Affordable Care Act and protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
President Donald Trump “made it clear that he wants his Supreme Court and this nominee to join him in eliminating the Affordable Care Act. This is his litmus test,” Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said during the first day of the hearings.
Like other Democrats on the panel, Durbin used his 10-minute opening statement to showcase a constituent who benefited from Obamacare. America heard the story of 6-year-old Kenny Murray from Tinley Park who is battling a heart defect. The Tribune details the Murray family’s ACA history here.
Republicans, meanwhile, savored Barrett’s presence before the Judiciary Committee, hoping her appointment might rally the GOP base come election time.
In Illinois, state Senate President Bill Brady was among GOP statehouse leaders from across the country signing a letter to the Judiciary panel urging Barrett’s confirmation. House Minority Leader Jim Durkin wasn’t listed but only because he missed the deadline to be included on the letter. “Leader Durkin spoke to the White House this morning and expressed his support for Justice Barrett for SCOTUS,” Durkin’s spokeswoman told Playbook on Monday.
Barrett’s appointment is “about the only thing holding the Republican Party together right now,” write POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and John Bresnahan. They point to Trump’s sinking poll numbers, the threat of Democrats flipping the U.S. Senate and potentially losing more GOP seats in the House.
Barrett herself sought to stay above the political fray. “The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by and accountable to the People," she said in her opening statement. "The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”
MORE ON THE BARRETT HEARINGS
‘A consolation prize’: Losing hope for Trump, allies focus on a final victory, by POLITICO’s Gabby Orr
Old grudges hang over first day of Barrett hearings, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and Marianne LeVine
Republicans are teetering on an election bubble. Democratic House Rep. Karina Villa and Republican Jeanette Ward are in a tight race for the 25th District Senate seat now held by Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis, who’s not seeking re-election (he’s running for Congress instead). A Villa victory would be huge in the predominantly GOP district.
And Democratic Sen. David Koehler is also in a close race with Mary Burress, who could flip the 46th District Republican.
Republican victories won’t change the political dynamics of the Illinois Senate. Democrats hold 40 seats to the Republicans’ 19. But the GOP would relish a few wins in a year when they’re bracing for the worst as President Donald Trump’s poll numbers continue to fall. Other Senate contests:
Democratic Rep. John Connor is favored over Republican Ben Bierly in the 43rd District seat now held by outgoing Democratic Sen. Pat McGuire.
Democrat Meg Loughran Cappel faces Republican Thomas McCullagh in the 49th District seat now held by Democratic state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, who is not seeking re-election (she’s running for Will County executive instead).
Republican Win Stoller will move into the 37th District seat now held by GOP Sen. Chuck Weaver. Weaver is retiring and Democrats didn’t offer up a candidate.
Republican Rep. Terri Bryant will move right into the position now held by GOP Sen. Paul Schimpf in the 58th District. Schimpf did not seek re-election and Democrats didn’t put up a candidate.
Republican Darren Bailey faces Democrat Cynthia Given in the 55th District seat now held by GOP Sen. Dale Righter.
Democratic incumbents Melinda Bush, Rob Martwick, Steve Stadelman, Patrick Joyce, and Scott Bennett are expected to defeat their Republican challengers. Bush faces Republican Christopher Kasperski in the 31st District. Martwick faces Republican Anthony Beckman in the 10th. Stadelman faces Republican Paul Hoffman in the 34th. Joyce faces Republican Eric Wallace in the 40th. And Bennett faces Republican Alexander Ruggieri in the 52nd District.
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
In City Hall at 12:45 p.m. to announce "Teach Chicago Tomorrow," a new initiative to bring additional “talented, diverse teachers to CPS classrooms.”
No official public events.
No official public events.
— The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 13 new deaths to the coronavirus Monday and 2,742 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 8,997 deaths and 321,892 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Oct. 5 through Oct. 11 is 4.3 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.2 percent.
— Illinois’ seven-day average of new coronavirus cases sets new high, topping numbers from early May, reports the Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks
— Confidential coronavirus outbreak data shows thousands of undisclosed incidents across Illinois, according to an collaborative reporting project published in USA Today
— Teen gave Covid-19 to 11 relatives across 4 states, including Illinois, during a family vacation: “The case highlights that kids and teens can contract and spread the virus, public health experts say. It also serves as a cautionary tale before the holiday season, a traditional time for many large family get-togethers,” by Tribune’s Angie Leventis Lourgos.
— BOST UPDATE: Rep. Mike Bost is feeling fine but still in isolation through at least Oct. 17 after testing positive for Covid-19. The Illinois Republican told Playbook he has “no idea” where he contracted the virus and that he and his staff follow clear protocols. Bost acknowledged attending the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association prayer event Sept. 26 with tens of thousands of participants on the Mall in Washington, D.C, but that was more than 10 days before he felt any symptoms, Bost said. Though he was in D.C. at that time, Bost did not take part in the White House Rose Garden event where Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination was announced that is suspected to have infected numerous people, including President Donald Trump, with the coronavirus.
… Bost, whose district covers southern Illinois, tested positive Thursday after discovering the previous evening that he had lost all taste, a key symptom of the disease. Bost’s wife, Tracy, also contracted the virus and diagnosed with pneumonia. She was treated briefly at a hospital for that and is home now too with her husband. “We’re both doing fine and we just have to go through this process,” Bost told Playbook. Some members of Bost’s congressional and campaign staffs who were in close contact with their boss in the days preceding Oct. 7 also are being tested and in quarantine (though no one is experiencing any symptoms of Covid-19). “We’re just doing everything we can by computer,” Bost said.
— GRIFFIN’S BIG DONATIONS: Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin is opening his wallet as Nov. 3 gets closer. He donated $200,000 to Republican Rep. Mark Batinick, who’s in a close race with Democrat Harry Benton, a Plainfield village trustee who’s been well-funded by the Democratic Party. Last week, Griffin gave $2 million to Citizens for Judicial Fairness, the group trying to stop Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride from being retained.
— Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg will sit down for a virtual discussion sponsored by Chicago Humanities Festival o Friday. Details here
— Mayors pitch for Biden: Lightfoot wears aviator glasses, a Joe Biden signature style move, in an ad featuring 14 Black mayors from across the country voicing support for the Democrat’s White House run. The 60-second "Mayors" ad is airing on TV, radio and digital outlets across the country, according to the Biden campaign.
— Sen. Dick Durbin, who’s up for re-election, is out with a new ad that calls President Donald Trump “a big bully.”
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is out with a 2-minute-34-second digital ad targeting Republican Pat O’Brien’s handling of a 1986 wrongful conviction case. The men who were teenagers when they were falsely accused of the rape and murder of medical student Lori Roscetti speak to the camera about why O’Brien, who prosecuted the case, shouldn’t be elected state’s attorney.
— New polling in IL-13: An internal poll from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan leading Republican Rep. Rodney Davis, 48 percent to 43 percent, according to the National Journal’s Kirk Bado. The poll of 400 likely voters was conducted Oct. 1 through 6 by Tulchin Research. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent. The same poll found Joe Biden leading President Donald Trump, 53 percent to 40 percent.
— Fact-Check: No, Underwood did not call riots ‘beautiful’: “Rep. Lauren Underwood’s GOP challenger is out with an ad that uses a clip of the congresswoman talking about protests for racial justice to inaccurately suggest she supports violence,” by Better Government Association’s Kiannah Sepeda-Miller.
— From the Sun-Times editorial board: Before voting to retain Judge Kenneth J. Wadas, consider his troubling record: “Decisions by Wadas have been reversed 25 times by the Illinois Appellate Court in the past six years, nearly twice as often as the combined total of the other five criminal judges running for retention.”
— The ABC’s of Pritzker’s graduated-rate income tax proposal, by Tribune’s Verity Sturm.
— Head-turner: Republican Marc Curran nabbed the Trib’s endorsement for U.S. Senate over incumbent Sen. Dick Durbin. The paper writes: “[W]e think the dysfunctional Prairie State could benefit from a change to a senator who is Illinois-centric, not Washington-centric, and who would be eager to shake up the status quo here.”
— Quad-City Times endorses Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride, urging a “Yes” vote to retain him to another term on the state’s highest court. The paper praised Kilbride for championing transparency and access, including leading efforts to place cameras in courtrooms across the state.
— Sun-Times says a vote for Judge Michael Toomin is a vote for integrity: “Toomin is in hot water with the powers that be because he appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the handling of the case of former ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett.”
— Iris Martinez is endorsed by the Tribune for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk. The paper’s editorial board praises her “willingness to take on her party’s elite in the name of transparency and public trust” and encourages her to hire Jacob Meister, who opposed her in the primary, to help the clerk’s office run properly.
— Pekin Mayor Mark Luft has been endorsed by AFL-CIO, Teamsters Council 25, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Illinois Retired Teachers Association, Associated Firefighters of Illinois, Fire Fighters Local 525, Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, and Peoria Police Benevolent Unit 27 in his bid for the 91st House District seat now held by Republican state Rep. Mike Unes, who isn’t seeking re-election. Luft, a Republican, faces Democrat Josh Grys.
FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: A group of Democratic south suburban mayors and elected officials have filed suit against the Democratic Bloom Township committeeman, Lori Wilcox, because of her plan to hold an in-person, candidate slating caucus in December rather than an open, spring primary for the 2021 municipal and township elections. Given the caucus typically draws 300 to 400 people in the same room, such a meeting would violate the governor’s executive order on large gatherings. The mayors group is concerned about a “super spreader event” if Wilcox’s planned candidate slating caucus moves forward. The emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed by the Del Galdo Law Group will be heard Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court. Wilcox told Playbook she had not yet seen the lawsuit and declined to comment.
— Alderman wants to review city’s ad contracts with JC Decaux: “Ald. Brendan Reilly said one reason for hearings on all deals with the French advertising giant is it’s ‘virtually impossible to move’ bus shelters and ad panels installed by the firm without paying a “relocation fee” of up to $100,000 — terms he called ‘insane,’” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Who owes millions in property taxes? “With business clobbered by Covid-19, hotels and shopping malls lead the list of those who haven’t paid their Cook County property taxes, even though the extended deadline for penalty-fee payment passed on Oct. 1,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.
— More Than 70% of CPS bilingual programs fall short: “There are 67,000 students learning English in Chicago Public Schools. CPS’ own evaluation said most schools educating them don’t measure up,” reports WBEZ’s Adriana Cardona-Maguigad.
— How to end a police standoff: ‘I’m trying to watch the Lakers game — come out’: “That’s what Donnell Gardner, an outreach worker with the Chicago CRED anti-violence program, told a man holed up inside a home after allegedly firing his gun at a retired sheriff’s officer. Cops praised Gardner’s work,” by Sun-Times’ Frank Main.
— Southwest turns up heat on United, American at O’Hare: “The discount carrier is taking the fight to United strongholds in Chicago and Houston. The $9 billion O’Hare expansion project could come out a winner,” by Crain’s John Pletz.
— What would a graduated income tax mean for Chicago? “The potential for extra revenues at the state level doesn’t make a significant dent in the city deficit, and isn’t a silver bullet for fully funding items Lightfoot campaigned on last year,” writes Hannah Meisel for the Daily Line.
— Column: The White Sox fired Rick Renteria for what exactly? writes Tribune’s Paul Sullivan
— One city, two celebrations: While some call for the preservation of Columbus Day, others want the holiday to honor Indigenous people, by Tribune’s Laura Rodriguez Presa.
— Doctors deliver baby of gunshot victim who was 8 months pregnant, police say, by Tribune’s Paige Fry
Gov. J.B. Pritzker had some fun at President Donald Trump’s expense Monday after Trump tweeted: “Illinois has nowhere to go. Sad, isn’t it? Vote Trump!” The president took similar swipes at California, saying the state "is going to hell" while New York is already there. Pritzker tweeted a response from his political account: “While I’m surprised to see someone who slapped his name on a Chicago skyscraper say ‘Illinois has no place to go,’ I want to offer @realDonaldTrump five exciting places to go in the great state of Illinois.” Top of the list, The Wieners Circle in Chicago, where employees yell insults at customers (and owners insult the president on the restaurant’s outdoor sign).
Efforts underway to remove hazardous dams: “Dozens of boaters, anglers, children and would-be rescuers have drowned in recent decades at …’low head’ dams or weirs, which let water spill over the top and create a dangerous trap. Now, after years of such tragedies, authorities are acting to remove the hazards and promising benefits for the environment and fishing as well,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin and Alicia Fabbre.
CHICAGO-AREA FIRM IN THE SWAMP: The New York Times reports President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to "drain the swamp" was all talk and that his family business has benefited from people who want something from the president. One of those companies is AAR Corp, a worldwide supplier of aviation parts based in suburban Wood Dale. What the Times found: “AAR quadrupled its annual lobbying expenditures, hiring two firms with close Trump ties.” And it made a less traditional “play for influence, according to a lobbyist involved in the efforts: In 2017, AAR held an executive retreat at the Trump National Doral golf resort. The company returned again in June 2018, during the hot and rainy slow season, paying $120,746, records show. The following year, AAR held an event at Mr. Trump’s Chicago hotel. All were intended, the lobbyist said, to encourage the president to view the company favorably.” The story features a photo of Trump and David Storch, AAR’s former CEO and now chairman, golfing. In an interview and statement, Storch, “acknowledged that his company had booked Trump properties. Like most companies and executives contacted by The Times, he said the selections had been based on price, amenities and availability.”
— Princeton to name residential college after Mellody Hobson: “It will be built where a college once bore Woodrow Wilson’s name. Princeton in June said the former president was a racist who segregated the Civil Service,” via the New York Times.
— Q&A: Penny Pritzker talks America’s R&D problem, taxes, and the country’s economic outlook: Asked whether jobs are coming back, Pritzker, the former U.S. Commerce secretary, said: “Some may not. Others will, for sure. Remember, 25 percent of the jobs created after the Great Recession were in leisure and hospitality. People are itching to travel. But people are going to need to be more digitally astute and better trained. If we’re going to continue to create jobs, we have to make sure that our people are prepared for them.” via Fortune’s Q4 Investment Guide.
— Jasculca has a podcast: In his Perception Reception podcast, Rick Jasculca, chairman of Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications, talks to Mike McCurry, former press secretary to President Bill Clinton and former member of the Presidential Debate Commission, about how White House press briefings used to work. That discussion starts at about 36 minutes.
— With 21 days until the election, it’s time to inch a little farther out on a limb, writes POLITICO’s Tim Alberta
— Biden’s son-in-law advises campaign on pandemic while investing in Covid-19 startups, by POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger
— For some Black youth, it’s time to question Democratic loyalties, by POLITICO’s Maya King
— LeBron James continues to expand our concept of excellence, by The Undefeated’s Kiese Laymon
— Kyle Sauers has been named CFO of Rush Street Interactive LP, the online casino and sports betting gaming company. He is expected to start Oct. 23 and will be based in Chicago.
— Pete Rogers is now CFO of Chicago-based Echo Global Logistics. He most recently was SVP for finance at the company.
— Today: Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin headlines a virtual event sponsored by the City Club today at 11 a.m. Register here
— Thursday: DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and DSCC Chair Catherine Cortez Masto headline a fundraiser to benefit Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership Training Academy. The 6 p.m. event is virtual. Details here.
FRIDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Chicago Association of Realtors’ Kristopher Anderson and journalist Edward McClelland for correctly answering that in 1966, Charles Percy upset his former professor at University of Chicago — Democratic Sen. Paul Douglas — with 56 percent of the vote.
TODAY’S QUESTION: What was the first public office Abraham Lincoln held, and where? Send to [email protected].
Today: Matteson Village Trustee Adam Shorter III
Monday: David Clarkin, deputy chief of staff of Public Affairs to the state Treasurer’s Office, and Windy City Live co-host Ryan Chiaverini.
October 13, 2020 at 07:44AM