Happy Tuesday, Illinois. We’re at the one-week countdown. Brace yourselves because this is going to be some ride.

We’re not hearing about Obama-level caravans from Chicago to D.C., as in 2008, but there is buzz that some Illinois political players could join a Joe Biden administration should he be elected.

Of course Biden isn’t new to government and would have his pick of former aides and relationships with politicos going back decades — not to mention whoever Kamala Harris might want to bring on board. Still, there are whispers that some Illinois Dems who have worked hard on the campaign or raised funds could be in line for positions.

No one from Team Biden will confirm such things — ”knock on wood” and “please don’t jinx us,” they say, wanting to focus on the election first.

Here’s what we know: While some members from Obama’s crew may be involved in the transition, they aren’t likely to take on White House gigs. Valerie Jarrett, for example, has been a surrogate for Biden on the campaign trail and is a wealth of information for a transition, but she’s not returning to the White House. Neither are Penny Pritzker, Arne Duncan or David Axelrod.

Wild card: Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff and mayor of Chicago, is someone who likes to keep busy and loves government. He’s been an unofficial adviser to Biden but we’re trying to imagine what role he would play in a new administration.

Yohannes Abraham, however, Jarrett’s former chief of staff, could join the White House. He’s a senior adviser at the Obama Foundation and is managing Biden’s transition team.

Also Sheila Nix, the Biden campaign’s Illinois chair and a special adviser to Harris, could have her pick of jobs. She was chief of staff to Jill Biden during the second term and was senior adviser to Joe Biden during the 2012 re-election campaign — it’s a similar role to the one she holds now for Harris on the campaign trail.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who was among those being considered for vice president, and has been a fierce advocate for Biden on the campaign trail, could be in line for a job in a Democratic administration.

There’s also buzz about Janice Jackson, the head of Chicago Public Schools, as a potential secretary of Education.

Chris Dunn, an early Biden supporter and Illinois whip of the Biden delegates for the convention, has relevant experience for any new administration: he served in the Clinton administration as White House liaison at NASA and the General Services Administration, the agency that helps manage and support federal agencies. Dunn just a few months ago launched his own government relations and public affairs firm, Chris Dunn and Associates, in Chicago, so it’s not likely we’ll see him move to Washington, D.C. But we’ve seen over the past 10 months that working remotely is doable if you get the job done, so don’t be surprised if Dunn remains a behind-the-scenes player in a Biden administration.

Other campaign folks in the mix: Claudia Chavez, the Biden Midwest deputy director and former aide in Emanuel’s office; Bill Doerrer, who runs delegate operations and convention planning for the Biden campaign and previously worked on Emanuel’s team. Kayla Joyce, who worked for Emanuel and Bill Conway’s campaigns, now heads Biden’s Minnesota operations. And Jake Braun, the Iowa state director for Biden who is also the executive director for the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy’s Cyber Policy Initiative. Braun also worked in the Obama White House as liaison to the Department of Homeland Security.

Among bundlers and donors who could be plucked for high-profile positions or appointments: Mellody Hobson, whose name has popped up as a possible U.S. Treasury secretary; Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts; SPAAN Tech CEO Smita Shah, who also worked in the Clinton administration; lobbyist John Kelly; C Strategies consulting founder Becky Carroll; civic leader and businesswoman Trisha Rooney; and business consultant Reyahd Kazmi.

Remember, there’s a lot of government to fill.

The swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court wasn’t much of a surprise last night. She was confirmed 52 to 48, which is about what court watchers expected the vote to go a month ago when she was first nominated. Only one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, voted against confirmation.

The real shock was that the swearing in ceremony was held on the White House lawn, much like the superspreader event just a few weeks ago suspected of leading to President Donald Trump and others contracting Covid-19.

It was the ultimate thumbing of the nose to Democrats, critics, and anyone concerned about the seriousness of the pandemic.

Democrats, including Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, couldn’t contain their disgust for the process that saw a Supreme Court justice confirmed just days before a presidential election and less than six weeks after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. Before the vote, Durbin called it “a disappointment” on multiple levels. He criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for rushing a vote on Barrett while the Covid relief package lays dormant. Durbin is also concerned about the ethics of Trump potentially challenging the outcome of the election and Barrett being on hand to rule. Duckworth’s statement on the vote was shorter: “Infuriating, awful and illegitimate.”

Republican Rep. Darin LaHood echoed his fellow Republicans. In a statement, he said, “I applaud the Senate for acting swiftly to confirm her….Judge Barrett’s Midwestern common-sense, family values, and record on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit will serve our nation well on the Supreme Court.”

The coming weeks will be telling as the court could be asked to weigh in on a potentially chaotic election, including voting restriction cases in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and an Obamacare case comes up for discussion.


How the Senate GOP’s right turn paved the way for Barrett, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine

What’s the future of abortion rights in Illinois? By WTTW’s Amanda Vinicky

Ruth Bader Ginsburg mural goes up on Michigan Avenue, via CBS/2.

Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]

No official public events.

At Eden Park in Champaign at 11:30 a.m. to announce manufacturing training opportunities. Then to Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest at 2:30 p.m. for the daily Covid-19 briefing. Watch live

On Central Avenue in Matteson at 11:30 a.m. along with Rep. Robin Kelly and other officials for a groundbreaking for the South Suburban Humane Society. Watch live

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 17 new deaths and 4,729 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease on Monday. That’s a total of 9,522 deaths and 378,985 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Oct. 19 through Oct. 25 is 6.3 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 7.4 percent.

Covid-19 surge spurs restrictions on bars, restaurants in suburban Cook County: “Starting Wednesday, the state is suspending indoor dining and drinking, ending outside bar service at 11:00 p.m., eliminating the use of party buses, putting a curfew of 11:00 p.m. on casinos and capping all social gatherings at 25 people,” by WBEZ’s Tony Arnold.

— ‘Blindsided and heartbroken.’ Mood of restaurant, bar owners dismal as COVID rules are rolled back in suburban Cook: “Suburban Cook County has had eight consecutive days of test positivity rate increases and seven days of increased hospital admissions. It is the first region to surpass the state-set thresholds for those two metrics at the same time,” by a Tribune team of seven reporters.

… Also from the story: Gene & Georgetti’s in Rosemont is closing.

Medicare and Medicaid to cover early Covid vaccine: “The new regulations would allow beneficiaries to receive a vaccine under ‘emergency authorization’ at no cost,” by POLITICO’s Dan Diamond and Adam Cancryn.

Eli Lilly ends antibody trial in hospitalized Covid-19 patients, other trials go on, by NPR’s Vanessa Romo

Rep. Darren Bailey discusses his suit against Gov. Pritzker with Illinois Newsroom’s Jim Meadows.

— ICYMI: Grenades, bread and body bags: How Illinois has spent $1.6B in response to Covid-19 so far: “In the first comprehensive analysis of the state’s Covid-19 spending, ProPublica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune found that the vast majority of purchases were linked to the pandemic, but that some spending has been questionable. The Illinois State Police, for example, submitted tear gas grenades and other crowd-control equipment as Covid-19 expenses. … Employees needed computers and security software to work remotely and protective equipment to work in person. Temporary meal sites had to be set up throughout Illinois to provide food for children who weren’t getting fed at school. Agencies spent at least $287 million on cleaning supplies and protective gear,” by ProPublica’s Ash Ngu and Jodi S. Cohen and Tribune’s Jennifer Smith Richards.

Sangamon County region ‘strikingly close’ to more Covid-19 restrictions: “They attributed the spike to ‘Covid-fatigue’ — people tiring of the social isolation of quarantine and not washing hands, wearing masks or watching their distance. The county recorded its highest one-day total of new cases last week, at 105,” reports NPR Illinois’ Mary Hansen.

WeatherTech, maker of car floor mats, switches gears to make Covid-19 face shields: “WeatherTech owner and Trump megadonor David MacNeil is pushing a new product line — plastic face shields to protect against Covid-19. Eight months into the resurgent pandemic, the southwest suburban car floor mat manufacturer is getting into the personal protection equipment business in a big way, despite ongoing politicization over face masks,” by Tribune’s Robert Channick.

In Wisconsin decision, Supreme Court foreshadows election night cliffhanger: “As a divided Supreme Court on Monday resolved a fight over absentee voting rules in Wisconsin, the justices exchanged warnings about a troublesome scenario: the possibility that next week’s presidential election leads to days or even weeks of legal maneuvering and uncertainty about the winner,” by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein.

… At Issue: Supreme Court won’t extend Wisconsin ballot deadline, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Zach Montellaro.

— Jennifer Pritzker commentary: “I’m a social liberal, fiscal conservative — and politically homeless in our two-party system,” she writes in the Tribune. “Although I’m still a registered Republican, I no longer support or identify with the party. Its current leader has failed both his party and our country, as made clear, just to start, by the more than 222,000 deaths from Covid-19 — a disease that our top scientists agree didn’t have to cause so much human misery and economic pain.”

Will these suburban congressional districts stay blue in 2020?: “The outcome of these congressional races — and many others in suburban districts across the country — will determine who controls Congress in 2021. Collectively, these four candidates have raked almost $20 million in contributions this election cycle, cash that has heavily favored the incumbents,” reports WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel and Becky Vevea.

The Feed Store, politics and PPP: Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, Democratic congressional candidate, is doubling down on ads that accuse Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, and his family of “shoehorning their way to a PPP feeding trough….It is true that Davis’ father and brother, who own several McDonald’s franchises in Illinois, received PPP funds. There also is no proof that the congressman’s family was treated any differently than anyone else when applying for federal funds, which St. Louis television station KMOV recently made clear in a report debunking the challenger’s attack ads,” by Illinois Times’ Bruce Rushton.

TALKING ABOUT GEN Z VOTERS: POLITICO’s Laura Barrón-López and Rishika Dugyala moderate this POLITICO Live virtual panel discussion today at 12 p.m. CT. Confirmed guests: Gabrielle Harris of College Democrats of America, Mike Brodo of Gen Z GOP, and Chelsea Miller of the Freedom March NYC. Watch live

— LOOKS LIKE TV AD MONEY: The Illinois Democratic Party has given $158,000 to Harry Benton in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Mark Batinick in the 97th state House seat, and Democratic donors Michael Sacks and Cari Sacks each donated $5,800.

— Rep. Rodney Davis has received $33,500 from major commodity PACS representing pork, dairy, corn, soybeans, wheat, beef, cotton and chicken interests. The groups strategically funneled funds to some of the most vulnerable farm state lawmakers in both parties, reports POLITICO’s Liz Crampton. Davis is in a fierce race with Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan — a rematch of 2018.

Former congressional candidate Marty Ozinga III just gave $75,000 to his son, Tim Ozinga’s campaign for the 37th House District.

ELECTIONLAND: POLITICO is partnering with Electionland, a ProPublica project that works with newsrooms to track voting issues around the country. The Electionland project covers problems that prevent eligible voters from casting their ballots during the 2020 elections. We’re part of a coalition of newsrooms around the country that are investigating issues related to voter registration, pandemic-related changes to voting, the shift to vote-by-mail, cybersecurity, voter education, misinformation, and more. Tell us here if you’re having trouble voting.

Aldermen pressure Lightfoot to find alternative to $94 million property tax increase: “On opening day of City Council budget hearings, Ald. Harry Osterman noted the city’s increase will be “on top of” a citywide reassessment certain to wallop homeowners and business owners with increases up to 70 percent,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

‘Horrendously vandalized’ CPS school — shuttered in 2013 — transforming into housing, health center: “‘This isn’t only a matter of restoring a building, but it’s also a process of reclaiming the dignity of these communities,’ one community leader involved in redeveloping the former Woods academy said,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.

CPS reports most weekly COVID-19 cases since pandemic began, but the numbers remain low. Can they stay that way if schools reopen next quarter? Asks Tribune’s Hannah Leone

Opening of Navy Pier hotel is postponed, the latest blow to city’s reeling hotel market: “in the latest blow to the Chicago area’s reeling hotel market, the opening of the 223-room hotel has been put off until March “because of the relentless nature of Covid and the market is in the doldrums," Robert Habeeb, CEO of Maverick Hotels, Restaurants said Monday, by Tribune’s Blair Kamin.

DoorDash is using ghost kitchens to help Chicago restaurants reopen: “Krazy Hog BBQ, which closed its south suburban spot in April, will be the first to try the food delivery company’s new model.” The initiative helps restaurants reopen using low-cost kitchens to grow their business and reach new customers without the same overhead costs, by Crain’s Ally Marotti.

Chance the Rapper is part of a short film about Krazy Hog BBQ, too.

— Opinion: If only Richard Nixon had listened to Jackie Robinson — the GOP might be doing better than Trump today: “Sixty years ago this month, the celebrated baseball player and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. found themselves at a crossroads with the Republican Party,” by Paul Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick.

Cook County to give direct payments to suburban residents hurt by COVID-19 pandemic: ‘What they need is cash.’ “To be eligible, residents must have made no more than 250% of the federal poverty level before March 1, or $65,500 for a family of four. They need to show documents proving they suffered unpaid leave, cared for sick or vulnerable relatives or lost wages from closures during the pandemic,” reports Tribune’s Alice Yin.

Shut out of DACA protections, immigrant youth in Chicago area face uncertain future: “Many immigration advocates initially thought the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld the program for immigrants brought to the U.S. as children would mean first-time applicants would be accepted,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.

Cook County reports first 2 cold exposure-related deaths of the season: “Last season, the medical examiner’s office recorded 37 cold-related deaths between Nov. 1, 2019 and Feb. 26, 2020,” by the Sun-Times.

Teachers Retirement System paid lawyers six figures to probe brass: “The state pension system for Illinois teachers spent nearly $700,000 on lawyers to investigate two top officials at Teachers’ Retirement System, one who was fired in June and the other who resigned in August after being placed on administrative leave. The figure comes from TRS’s response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Illinois Times, which asked for billing records, personnel records and a copy of reports outlining any allegations of wrongdoing by Richard Ingram, former TRS executive director who resigned in August, and Jana Bergschneider, the pension system’s chief financial officer, who was terminated by Ingram in July,” by Illinois Times’ Bruce Rushton.

Does Illinois’ pot law pass the smell test? Scent of weed can still prompt cops to search vehicles: “For many folks, the fragrance of cannabis is unmistakable. For police officers, it can still help establish probable cause for a search,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Tim Alberta has one last funny feeling about 2020, via POLITICO Magazine

Twitter labels Trump post about mail ballots as ‘disputed’ and ‘misleading,’ by POLITICO’s Myah Ward

Worst place, worst time: Trump faces virus spike in Midwest, by the AP

New poll shows Black Americans see a racist health care system setting the stage for pandemic’s impact, by The Undefeated’s Michael A. Fletcher

— Today at 1 p.m.: State lawmakers will discuss police reform in hearing called by the Black Caucus. Watch live

— Today: Rev. Al Sharpton will be in town to discuss the cases of Tafara Williams and Jacob Blake, both victims of high-profile shootings by police. Sharpton will join a prayer service at 5 p.m. at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, where Williams is hospitalized. Earlier, Sharpton will sign copies of his book “Rise up.” Details here

— Today at 1:30: Brad Henderson, founding CEO of P33, is guest speaker for a webinar with the Chicago Central Area Committee and Alliance for Regional Development. Details here

— Wednesday at noon: A discussion on how the presidential election is viewed from abroad. Panelists include María Ramírez, director of strategy and foreign affairs editor of eldiario.es, and Rick Dunham, co-director of the Global Business Journalism Program at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Moderator is Joyce Winnecke, veteran journalist and consultant. International Women’s Forum is sponsoring the event. Details here

MONDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Aurelius Public Affairs managing partner Brian Bernardoni, for correctly answering that longtime Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn ordered the sirens to go off after the White Sox won the pennant in 1959. But Quinn failed to let anyone know why, so Chicagoans who feared Soviet threats on the U.S. thought they were about to go up in a nuclear cloud.

TODAY’S QUESTION: Sticking with baseball: Which member of the Baseball Hall of Fame ran for Chicago alderman? Email your answer to [email protected].

State Sen. Sue Rezin; teacher, political strategist Rosemaria DiBenedetto; former congressional candidate Anthony Clark; and political consultant and fundraiser Liz Nicholson.



October 27, 2020 at 07:42AM

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