Happy Monday, Illinois. In this most unusual of elections, I guess it’s no surprise that we have to remind everyone that votes are always counted after Election Day.
Joe Biden’s campaign released a list of more than 817 bundlers — and 35 Illinois residents are on it.
These are the folks who donate big and also tap into their personal networks to raise at least $100,000. It’s helped Biden shatter fundraising records. Last month, he collected $383 million for his campaign and allied committees. Illinois bundlers include…
Political surrogates: Sens. Tammy Duckworth and Dick Durbin, and Reps. Bill Foster and Brad Schneider.
CEOs: Walton Street Capital’s Neil Bluhm and his daughter, Leslie Bluhm, PSP Partners Chairman and former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, Discover’s Roger Hochschild, Black Opal cosmetics CEO Desiree Rogers, Ariel Investments Chairman and co-CEO John Rogers Jr., Rosenberg Advisory CEO Lee Rosenberg, Grosvenor Capital Chairman and CEO Michael Sacks, and Livongo Health Executive Chairman Glen Tullman.
Longtime friends: Bill Brodsky, Biden’s pal from Syracuse University, is on the list. He raised and donated nearly $2 million. And so is Star Jones, the former “The View” co-host who has known Harris since they were college sorority sisters at neighboring schools in D.C. Jones, a fundraiser for Obama and Biden in 2008 and 2012, lives in Chicago with attorney husband Ricardo Lugo.
Attorney fundraisers: Robert Clifford, Mike Cherry, Richard A. Chesley, Joseph Power, John Simmons, William Singer, Todd A. Smith, and Ryan Vangrack.
Power couples: former Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman and Vicki Heyman; and investment banker Brent Gledhill and Catherine Gledhill.
Also on the list: Valerie Alexander, the former Durbin chief of staff who has supported Harris since her primary run for president; Jake Braun, the Iowa state director for Biden who also is executive director for the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy’s Cyber Policy Initiative; Joint Action Committee executive director Marcia Balonick and JAC founder Linda Rae Sher; veteran and Dem organizer Michael Donatelli; renewable energy exec Atticus Francken; Vivid Seats exec and former White House aide Michael O’Neil, and political activist Dania Leemputte.
Bonus bundler: Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of nearby South Bend, Ind., who established a campaign HQ in Chicago, is also on the list.
Top individual political donors: The Center for Responsive Politics lists the top political donors to federal candidates. From Illinois, Richard and Liz Uihlein ranked fourth in the country, donating $65.6 million. Others on the list: Fred Eychaner, Ken Griffin, Craig and Janet Duchossois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker, Michael and Cari Sacks, and Mellody Hobson.
Pritzker emerges as major donor in Wisconsin and Michigan: “Pritzker gave $250,000 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee and $2,525,000 to the Democratic Party of Wisconsin Federal Account,” reports Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.
THE VIRTUAL ELECTION NIGHT: Coronavirus is changing everything — including election night. We asked some of Illinois’ biggest political campaigns what they plan to do Tuesday evening and learned everyone’s in a scramble since the new coronavirus restrictions kick in.
A few folks plan to hold live events, including Republican Pat O’Brien, who’s running for Cook County State’s Attorney. His campaign says it will adhere to Covid restrictions at the White Eagle Events & Convention Center in Niles. Incumbent Kim Foxx is also holding a live event — a press conference at the Kinzie Hotel in Chicago.
Rep. Sean Casten, in the 6th Congressional District, will host his election night watch party at the Chicago Drive-In Theater in Hoffman Estates.
Congressman Mike Quigley, state Rep. Robyn Gabel, Cam Davis of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, and other Democratic electeds will be on a zoom with supporters. “BYO cold or hot drink(s), of course,” they say on the invite.
Supporters and opponents of the ballot measure to change the constitution from a flat tax to a graduated income tax are taking their election night parties virtual for two reasons: They’re following Covid-19 restrictions and because they don’t expect to know the results of the ballot initiative until after election night.
Sen. Dick Durbin will be Zooming from Springfield with supporters. Mark Curran, his Republican challenger, is planning a host a Zoom event from Libertyville. And third-party Senate candidate Willie Wilson’s campaign switched from a swanky event at the Palm Restaurant in the Swiss Hotel to a small gathering of senior staff at his penthouse on East Wacker Drive. Supporters will be able to Zoom in.
In the 14th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood’s campaign will go virtual that night. Republican Jim Oberweis’ campaign will hold a small gathering at Hampton Inn & Suites in Aurora.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger’s Democratic challenger in the 16th Congressional District, Dani Brzozowski, will be at the Laborers 393 Hall in Marseilles for a socially distant press briefing, and she’ll Zoom with volunteers while she’s there.
And in the highly contested 20th state House district, GOP Rep. Brad Stephens plans to be in his campaign office in Rosemont, and Democratic challenger, Michelle Darbro will be watching returns from home after working with her campaign team all day.
It’s not clear how prepared candidates really are to give victory speeches — or emotional concession addresses — over Zoom.
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No official public events.
At the Thompson Center at 2:30 p.m. for the Covid-19 daily briefing. Watch live
No official public events.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Sunday reported 35 new deaths to the coronavirus and 6,980 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 9,792 deaths and 417,280 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Oct. 25 through Oct. 31 is 8.0 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 9.1 percent.
— Illinois is nearing its contact tracing hiring goal. Is it too late? “As Illinois finally nears its goal of employing 3,800 people to track down and warn the contacts of people infected with COVID-19, experts say that number may no longer be sufficient to help control the virus. That’s because contact tracing — which aims to reduce disease spread by identifying and isolating people who could be infectious — works best when infection rates are relatively low. The state is seeing record numbers of daily confirmed cases,” by Tribune’s Hal Dardick.
— All 11 regions in Illinois will soon be under tighter restrictions as coronavirus cases climb: “The final region to avoid the more restrictive measures — a chunk of north-central Illinois — will be under stricter rules starting Wednesday, officials announced Sunday. The region, stretching from Kendall and McLean counties to the Iowa border, hit a rolling seven-day positivity rate of 8.5 percent last week. The region has had an average rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, triggering the additional measures, Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office announced Sunday,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
…East Peoria will not enforce new Covid restrictions, mayor says: “In a post circulated widely on social media, [Mayor John] Kahl asked citizens to continue to support the business community. ‘We will continue to support the rights of all members of the business community to remain open,’ Kahl said,” by WCBU’s Tim Shelley.
— A tale of 2 states’ battles against spikes in Covid in Orthodox communities: “Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio are confronting political fallout from their haphazard crackdown to restrict gatherings in the city’s Orthodox Jewish communities to stem a resurgence of Covid-19. Across the Hudson River, amid severe outbreaks in the Orthodox enclave of Lakewood, N.J., Gov. Phil Murphy’s decision to focus the state’s response to community outreach, testing and contact tracing — rather than forcefully stopping gatherings — allowed his administration to emerge from a politically thorny health crisis relatively unscathed,” by POLITICO’s Sam Sutton.
— With one day to go, campaigns are making their final sprint. The Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton and Tom Schuba note that Democrats and Republicans use different rhetoric, but they are united in urging residents to get out and vote… And Tribune’s Rick Pearson warns against “instant gratification” on Election Day: “Don’t expect the winners in some of the election’s most anticipated races to be known the night of Nov. 3 — and in some cases for days after that.”
… POLITICO’s final election forecast has Biden in command, Senate up for grabs, by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard.
… HOUSE DEMS are poised to pick up between five and 10 seats, and POLITICO’s Steve Shepard has moved DCCC Chair Cheri Bustos’ congressional seat to lean Democratic from likely. Our Election Forecast site
— Under siege and unpopular, Madigan may gain biggest House majority yet: “House Speaker Michael Madigan could be on the verge of seeing the largest Democratic majority in the Illinois House in recent memory. His campaign team has more than five times as much money for House races as their Republican counterparts, and, fueled by anti-Trump sentiment, are looking to expand their foothold in traditional GOP territory in the suburbs. It would be a remarkable accomplishment for Madigan, who conservatives regularly pillory on the campaign trail and who – although the speaker himself has not been charged with any crimes – appears to be the focus of a federal corruption investigation into ComEd and Madigan’s close associates,” by Caniel Vock for Center for Illinois Politics.
— Durbin faces long-shot bid from ‘truly independent’ GOP challenger Curran, Wilson and two others: “Durbin, the Senate’s No. 2 Democratic leader, entered the home stretch of a mostly virtual campaign season with weeks of national exposure as one of the loudest voices against the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.
— ‘Fair tax’ rally gets sidetracked by Preckwinkle’s pitch for Foxx: “‘Kim is in a tough race and really needs our support,’ Preckwinkle said of the first-term state’s attorney, who has faced controversy over her handling of the office, most notably over her handling of the case of former ‘Empire’ actor Jussie Smollett, who allegedly faked a hate crime attack against himself in early 2019,” by Tribune’s Rick Pearson.
— Blago headlines pro-Trump ralley in Mount Greenwood: “’This is why I am a Trump-ocrat. He is remaking the Republican party,’ [former Gov. Rod] Blagojevich said. The rally also focused on local and state Republican candidates. All the speakers talked about reopening Illinois despite the rise in Covid-19 cases,” by ABC/7’s Alexis McAdams.
— Thirty-three women of color are running for Congress as Republicans: Meet Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee, “the daughter of a Slovenian mother and a Mexican father, and the wife of a first-generation Indian American, said her name and ‘triracial household’ have opened up an opportunity to reach voters who normally wouldn’t give a Republican the time of day.” She’s running against Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider in Illinois’ 10th District. The Lily reports.
— How mask mandates became a defining issue in Iowa: “The White House passed the decision to states, Iowa’s governor passed it to municipalities, and now neighbors are fighting over it,” by POLITICO’s Dan Diamond.
— How Hindu nationalism could shape the election: “Some activists and donors are trying to use the Hindutva ideology as a wedge issue to attract Indian American voters to the GOP — and to pressure Indian American politicians,” by Sonia Paul for POLITICO.
— Kanye takes out 2 pages in NYT to tout his campaign: “Kanye West took out two full pages of The New York Times for a campaign ad ahead of [this] week’s presidential election,” by The Hill.
— 93rd state House district candidates discuss Covid-19, income tax: “Rep. Norine Hammond, R-Macomb, who is seeking her sixth term in the Illinois House, said more can be done for the hospitality industry and that it’s not fair that bars and restaurants are being singled out in the mitigation strategies to reduce the spread of Covid-19…. Democrat Scott Stoll said there always has to be a balance between make sure the state can keep the economy up and running and keeping citizens safe. He added that addressing the pandemic regionally is important,” by Herald-Whig’s Drew Zimmerman.
— BALLOT BONANZA: Gov. J.B. Pritzker put in another $1.5 million to support the graduated income tax ballot measure… The governor’s cousin, Jennifer Pritzker, has donated an additional $50,000 to oppose it… And the Government Accountability Alliance headed by conservative activist John Tillman also donated $500,000 to the opposition. (Tillman is also CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute, a right-leaning think tank that sued to try to stop the ballot measure.)
— The Illinois Opportunity Project, another conservative think tank founded by John Tillman, has donated $100,000 to Citizens for Judicial Fairness, the group that opposes retaining Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride.
— Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has received down-to-the-wire donations from businessmen Fred Eychaner, who gave $200,000, and Michael Sacks, who gave $100,000.
— Lightfoot unveils security plan for potential election week unrest: “With extra police and potentially hundreds of salt trucks set up to protect neighborhood and business corridors, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city is ready for Election Day, come what may,” by WBEZ’s Claudia Morell.
— Chicago gun violence still up 50% through end of October as other crime falls: “Meanwhile, 67 Chicago police officers have been shot at — 10 of them struck by bullets — so far this year. That’s nearly a four-fold increase from last year,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett.
— Frustrated aldermen demand more street paving money amid budget crisis: “Aldermen urged city transportation officials on Friday to help them repave more Chicago streets, spotlighting a perennial gripe about potholes and rough rides during a budget season like no other. Every Chicago alderman gets $1.3 million every year to spend as they see fit to fix up roads, sidewalks or other projects designed to spruce up their wards. Some aldermen spend that money after a vote by ward residents, while others use it all for street repaving,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— A faithful caretaker of the ‘faithful departed,’ Plainfield woman’s acts show she will never forget them: “‘Just because they’re not here, they’re still in my heart,’ says Sandra Bartusiak, 79, who regularly pays tribute to the many she loved, still loves,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.
— One big-box store or 120 small vendors: What’s better for a neighborhood? By WBEZ’s Linda Lutton
— Feds to city: Give us back Chicago Harbor Lighthouse: “The city of Chicago has been unable to do anything with the deteriorating lighthouse in a decade of ownership,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.
— In North Lawndale, concerns over proposal to consolidate 3 CPS elementary schools: North Lawndale officials say: “This is a community led initiative to provide greater educational opportunities, options and enrichment activities for the students in North Lawndale.” But others in the community say the plan is a hurtful reminder of the 2013 closure of 50 “underutilized” Chicago Public Schools and the 2019 closure of Frazier Preparatory Academy, a CPS charter school in the area, reports WTTW’s Grace Del Vecchio.
— Plans for Clarendon Park Community Center are chugging along as railroad club hopes for return: “The Clarendon Park Community Center, for years caught in a back-and-forth between community members who wanted to see the ailing Chicago Park District building renovated and others who hoped for brand-new construction, will remain on the North Side just off the lake,” by Tribune’s Morgan Greene.
— Final score: Saints 26, Bears 23 as game of wild swings goes to overtime: “The Bears lost their second consecutive game, missing an opportunity to overtake the Packers in the NFC North,” by Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser.
… How time flies: The Cubs won the World Series four years ago.
‘A lawsuit waiting to happen’: Illinois Appellate Court Justice Aurelia Pucinski says the public defender’s offices and the state appellate defender’s office are not adequately funded and it’s “delaying justice.” In an interview on the The Crisis Cast with Lissa Druss and Thom Serafin, Pucinski called it a “crisis,” saying cases are taking as long as “four years” to see a resolution. “So, some guy who is innocent might be still sitting in the slammer because there aren’t enough public defenders to get his case ready for us to take it. And that to me A, is a lawsuit waiting to happen, but B is a real indictment against the legislative system …When we’re getting these motions to delay delay, delay, delay because they don’t have attorneys to do these cases there’s something wrong with the system. It’s not the defendants’ fault and it’s not the staff attorneys’ fault, They’re doing the best they can. They’re working overtime. But there aren’t enough of them so you’ve got the legislature, the county boards not spending enough money on this critical issue making sure the defendants get representation so they can bring their case to court or to appeal and be done with it.”
— Evanston protest turned ‘destructive,’ say police: “Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty penned a stern warning letter to the Northwestern University president Sunday after an officer suffered an eye injury, protesters were pepper-sprayed and more than a dozen incidents of property damage were reported during a Halloween night protest, officials said,” by Tribune’s Paige Fry, Jessica Villagomez and Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas.
— Dolton mayor: Officer bodycam captured police shooting, wounding gun suspect: “According to the mayor, a caller gave police dispatchers a detailed description of a person with a gun near Irving Avenue. Police arriving quickly saw a suspect matching the description and immediately demanded he show his hands, [Mayor Riley] Rogers said. The suspect, believed to be 19 or 20 years old, ran from the officers and again refused repeated orders to show his hands. Rogers said the man then pulled a firearm from his waistband and was shot as he pointed it toward the officers, who both have about two years’ police experience,” via Tribune.
— Lake Forest’s real estate market was dead. Then came COVID: “The very things holding the suburb back—big traditional homes far from the city—are now attractive during the pandemic,” by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin.
— Critics call Next News YouTube channel a hive of conspiracy theories. So how has it survived the platform’s conspiracy crackdown? “The Next News Network is a YouTube channel produced in Chicago’s western suburbs that pumps out a dozen or so aggressively partisan videos each day. They usually stick to praising President Donald Trump or attacking his critics, but every so often they wade into the dark waters of conspiracy theory,” reports Tribune’s John Keilman.
— Fact-check: Is Illinois ‘Nation-Leading’ in Funding Census Outreach?: “Gov. Pritzker on Twitter said Illinois led other states in its 2020 Census effort. It ranks third in per-capita spending,” by Better Government Association’s Deborah Wilber.
— In the fight over reopening schools amid the pandemic, race and class divisions are stark: “As parents in more affluent communities like Elmhurst, Lincolnshire and Libertyville organize rallies in support of open schools, fears that in-person classes will increase the risks of coronavirus exposure to students and staff — and, by extension, to their families — are only growing, especially in lower-income and more racially diverse communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta.
— Trump threatens Senate GOP — now and in the future, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Biden camp quietly raises money for post-election court brawl, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider and Natasha Korecki
— Liz Cheney making her move to become the new face of the GOP… and Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger is part of “a new generation of hawks” who would support her, by POLITICO’s Alex Thompson.
— Out of jail and back in school, Grace finds her voice, an exclusive interview with the Michigan teen who sparked nationwide outrage when she was put in detention for not finishing her online homework, by ProPublica’s Jodi S. Cohen.
Up-close encounters with crocs and tornados bring prizes to two local photographers, by WBEZ’s Jerome McDonnell
FRIDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Ald. Jason Ervin, state Senate President Don Harmon, and political consultants Frank Calabrese and Nick Jaggers, for correctly guessing that David Ellis, a former attorney to House Speaker Michael Madigan, has co-authored novels with James Patterson. And a HT to Harmon, who also supplied a book cover photo.
Political consultant Isabelle Dienstag, Capital J. Productions owner JoAnn Fakhouri, and Eli Okun, who helps write national Playbook (and had a stint with Illinois Playbook, too).
November 2, 2020 at 07:31AM