A key part of placing 2020 in the rear view mirror – a desire of pretty much everyone I know – is to be done with this election.
As of Nov. 3, the voting will come to a close. Hopefully, results will be known quickly.
The barrage of horrible TV ads and inboxes and mailboxes full of unwanted and sometimes gross calls to action, should come to an end.
I would say the sniping on the 24/7 cable TV channels should stop also, but, sorry to say, that will continue.
Meanwhile, it has come time for me, in the tradition of this column, to make pre-election predictions, which are not endorsements.
Four years ago, I joined pretty much the whole world guessing that Democrat Hillary Clinton would be president. President Donald Trump has a way of confounding guesses, and he took something off my average.
Well, let’s try again. This year, Trump has a record. He can still get crowds riled up, but people watching from afar may wonder why he’s drawing crowds together if that can lead to people getting sick. Hillary-haters were a big part of the equation in 2016, and this year, Trump and his supporters have tried to create a similar vibe about former Vice President Joe Biden. But Biden is not Clinton, and those suburbanites who thought they could take a chance on Trump and he would quit tweeting so much and fall into being “presidential,” have found a different reality. Biden may not make people burst with enthusiasm, but he isn’t Trump, and I think that will be enough.
Illinois, of course, is in solid Democratic territory in recent presidential races – Hillary Clinton won here by 17 points as she lost nationally – and the Trump factor helped put a couple of northern Illinois congressional districts that had been solidly Republican into the Democratic column in 2018. While the GOP may do well in central and southern Illinois, overwhelming Trump fatigue in the suburbs, I think, will see Democrats continue to do well.
Sangamon County went for Trump by more than nine points in 2016, and he could well win the district again. But this time, in Sangamon and some other nearby counties, Biden could have a better showing as folks in the middle also opt for a less chaotic administration.
How this all translates into the hottest race in central Illinois – for the U.S. House seat from the 13th Congressional District — is anyone’s guess. Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan came within a point of U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, in 2018. Londrigan is back, and Davis, who said in 2016 he couldn’t vote for Trump because what the real estate mogul said about women was a bad example for his children, is now a co-chair of Trump’s Illinois re-election effort.
Over four races Davis has had including when he was first elected in 2012, I’ve noted how hard-edged his campaign can be. This year, he’s done his best to tie Londrigan to the super-disliked chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois – Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. A radio ad he ran just in the last week talks of the “Madigan dirty money” she’s used (which is really from the Democratic Party), and she’s a “Madigan Machine politician.”
A far more severe ad run by an outside group – the Congressional Leadership Fund, which has gotten millions from GOP donors such as Sheldon Adelson, Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin, and American Action Network, which gets millions from the pharmaceutical industry, is running completely unflattering pictures of Londrigan along with images of Madigan, all superimposed on pictures of a landfill, with a garbage truck dumping trash, a fly crawling on a dead fish head, a rat and a pig rooting around.
“Betsy Londrigan’s campaign is rotten to the core,” it says.
Londrigan, who has been a lot less public than Davis this campaign, has not been shy on the rebound this time around. There’s no indication that Davis’ brother and father did anything wrong in getting more than $1 million in potentially forgivable Payment Protection Act loans for their McDonald’s restaurants employing more than 300 people – just as businesses across the country got that COVID-19 lifeline. But Londrigan’s campaign, and backers including the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which takes corporate PAC money, have hammered home the idea that something shady happened.
Londrigan makes a lot of not taking direct corporate PAC money – something that has bothered Davis and his campaign so much that back in July of 2019, Davis’ campaign manager asked a former executive director of the state GOP to pretend to be a college reporter in Edwardsville, crash a Londrigan press call, and ask about corporate donations and her husband. WCIA-TV revealed the dirty trick, which Davis said he didn’t condone, but said he’d use as a “teachable moment” for his campaign.
As I did two years ago, I’ll predict Davis hangs on with the caveat that if Londrigan wins, it won’t be a shock.
The other giant race this election is for voter approval of the constitutional amendment to allow a progressive income tax in Illinois. It may just be the media landscape in central Illinois that is coloring my view, but though millions have been spent on both sides of this issue, I think the “no” advocates did a better job of getting out early and defining the issue. It may not be fair, but the pandemic and troubles of state Democratic Party chairman, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, have not helped. Gov. JB Pritzker will be disappointed that his effort to allow the “fair tax” didn’t make it.
There have been Republican members of the U.S. Senate from Illinois in recent history, but that’s not happening again this year. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, has been lucky to have an underfunded GOP opponent in former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who says charming things like Gov. Pritzker and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are “domestic enemies” of the country. Durbin sails to his sixth six-year term.
One wonders why, with his 18th Congressional District so GOP-red in hue, that U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, R-Peoria, had to dive so far in the Trump tank this year. But he did.
“The Left is fighting to implement a radical, dangerous, socialist vision for America,” one of his fundraising emails, featuring pictures of Biden, Pelosi and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y..
And he tweeted in September about his “great visit” with Trump (who was about six feet away, but not a mask in sight) and how proud he was of their work together.
“We’re working hard to send him back to the White House for four more years!” LaHood tweeted.
His Democratic opponent, attorney George Petrilli, has hardly made a blip. LaHood wins.
Sangamon County has what turned into a reasonable race for state’s attorney, with incumbent Republican Dan Wright challenged by Democrat Mike Drake, long in private practice but a former prosecutor and state inspector general. It’s a Republican county, Wright works well with people and has a passel of endorsements, and keeps the job.
Former prosecutor Miller signs pro-Biden letter
Jan Paul Miller, a former Springfield-based U.S. attorney for the central district of Illinois, is among 20 former top federal prosecutors now supporting Joe Biden for president, though they were named to their posts by Republicans.
Miller served the 46-county central district as its top federal prosecutor from 2002-2005, after being nominated by President George W. Bush. He’s now a partner in a St. Louis law firm.
The prosecutors signed a letter saying Trump’s leadership is “a threat to the rule of law in our country.”
“He has politicized the Justice Department, dictating its priorities along political lines and breaking down the barrier that prior administrations had maintained between political and prosecutorial decision making,” the letter states. It also states he has “undermined the Department’s ability to unify and lead our nation’s law enforcement by picking political fights with state and local officials, in a naked effort to demonize and blame them for the disturbances in our cities over the past several months.”
“No one should be surprised establishment elitists are supporting Joe Biden,” Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley responded, according to The Washington Post.
Contact Bernard Schoenburg: Bernard.email@example.com, 788-1540, twitter.com/bschoenburg
Region: Springfield,Feeds,Local,Region: Central,City: Springfield
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October 30, 2020 at 10:48AM