HAPPY ELECTION DAY, Illinois! The big day (week?) is finally here. Hard to say whether we’re more excited for the results or just an end to all the political ads. What we know: we’re doing our best to bring you fair and well-sourced news. This election has been a marathon and we know it won’t end today, so good luck to all of us.

Stay up to date with the latest election news through POLITICO’s election rig: You can track overall results and get real-time updates for the presidency, the Senate and the House. We’ve also used live data and our Election Forecast to allow users to predict how the electoral math could shake out.

After a long, chaotic, never-to-be-forgotten campaign, it’s Election Day! Polls opened at 6 a.m., close at 7 p.m. and will stay open as long as you’re in line (look up your polling place). There’s little doubt that the Land of Lincoln will vote for Joe Biden as president and re-elect Sen. Dick Durbin, but there are plenty of contests where the outcome is far from clear. Here are eight things to watch:

Battle of the billionaires: Instituting a progressive income tax in Illinois lies at the center of the state’s most expensive ballot contest. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has spent more than $58 million supporting the effort to ditch Illinois’ flat tax system, while hedge fund exec Ken Griffin has hurled nearly $54 million opposing it. The idea of raising taxes on the rich seems a slam dunk in this bluest of blue states. But wealthy Republican critics argue approving a graduated rate only opens the door for state lawmakers to raise taxes on lower incomes in the future. Note, the governor says taxes could be raised across the board, anyway. Estimated revenue in the first year if approved: $3.1 billion. WBEZ has more

Criminal justice on the ballot: The most hotly contested race in Cook County pits State’s Attorney Kim Foxx against Democrat-turned-Republican Pat O’Brien. The race has become an examination of Foxx’s tenure trying to steer the county toward a less punitive justice system and her office’s role in addressing escalating gun violence.

13th District cage match: Republican Rep. Rodney Davis’ rematch with Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan is expected to be close again. And the outcome could be an indicator of what happens across the country, says Democratic media consultant Scott Kennedy. “It has a lot of characteristics that mirror the dynamics we’re seeing in battleground states,” he told Playbook. “It has a mix of rural and midsize cities very similar to what we’re seeing in Wisconsin and Michigan, just outside of Milwaukee and Detroit.”

Drama in the 17th, too: Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos faces Republican newcomer Esther Joy King. POLITICO’s Election Forecast has the race leaning Democrat after the Democrats’ top super PAC spent $1 million to give Bustos a boost. The 17th voted for Donald Trump in 2016, but Bustos won handily in 2018.

General Assembly gyrations: House Speaker Michael Madigan, who also heads the state’s Democratic Party, has thrown a lot of money at House races hoping to beef up support as he heads into January when lawmakers vote on whether to keep him on as speaker. “Winning big also gives him the ability to reward those who stood with him when some representatives were calling for him to step down,” Susan Garrett, a former state senator and the founder of the Center for Illinois Politics, told Playbook. All 118 House seats are up for election.

— State House races to watch: Rep. Brad Stephens (R) v. Michelle Darbro (D) in the 20th, District; Rep. Mark Batinick (R) v. Harry Benton (D) in the 97th, Rep. Grant Wehrli (R) v. Janet Yang Rohr (D) in the 41st, Rep. Tom Morrison (R) v. Maggie Trevor (D) in the 54th. Also: Dem Rep. Diane Pappas v. GOP challenger Seth Lewis in the 45th; and Dem Rep. Joyce Mason v. GOP challenger Dan Yost in the 61st. And an open seat: Democrat Maura Hirschauer vs. Republican Laura Curtis in the 49th.

— State Senate races to watch: There are 22 seats up for grabs, and Senate President Don Harmon hopes to flip a few, including the 25th District seat held by Republican Sen. Jim Oberweis, who is running for Congress. Democratic state Rep. Karina Villa and Republican Jeanette Ward are vying for the seat. Trump lost the district in 2016 by just 3 points, but former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner won it in 2018. The district also has a growing Latino community that could give Villa a boost.

Only in Illinois: Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride, who’s been on the court for 20 years, faces fierce opposition in this year’s retention race because he’s a Democrat aligned with Madigan. Republican critics have spent millions urging voters to fill in “no” on their ballots… Similarly, Cook County Circuit Judge Michael Toomin, who’s also up for retention, is the target of County Democratic Party Leader Toni Preckwinkle, who doesn’t want him retained because he embarrassed State’s Attorney Kim Foxx by appointing a special prosecutor to reopen the Jussie Smollett case. The race has become a proxy fight of sorts between Preckwinkle and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, backs Toomin.

If you run into Anne Caprara today, you’ll notice she’s wearing her pink Go-Go’s T-shirt — a beauty she purchased from a Target in Ohio in 2006.

“I was working on a primary there and I ran out of clothes and had no time to do laundry,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s chief of staff told Playbook. “Bought the T-shirt, wore it for Election Day, won… And I’ve worn it every single Election Day since.”

Covid-19 may have robbed us of victory parties, with their tiny passed appetizers and warm beer, but it can’t take away the spirit.

… I asked Twitter followers what they’ll be up to tonight, and the universal theme is to stay preoccupied. Or, as former state Sen. Daniel Biss put it: “Just trying to manage my anxiety. 😊”

Char Annen, who follows Illinois politics closely, said: “Will be watching a channel that Doesn’t cover the election. Checking Twitter from time to time. Will only tune in to CNN if there’s an early Blue Wave,”

Cathy Carmody, a community volunteer, tweeted: “I’m suggesting people order dinner out to support their community, whichever way this goes.” Bobby Blue Bird‘s response: “Except not the ones flouting the Governor’s covid orders.”

Media strategists Eileen Boyce and Maura Possley say they’ll be “enjoying a shared Spotify playlist to keep us calm, fired up and ready to go!” Artists include Alabama Shakes, Alicia Keys, Aretha Franklin, the Boss, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, The Who “and whoever will keep us distracted!”

And John Korfmacher, an associate professor of child development, seemed only half-kidding when he said: “I’ll be making a fort out of our couch cushions and hiding in there with a bottle of Malört.”

It’s a tradition worth keeping.

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

No official public events, but she’s expected to pop up with other political leaders at polling spots on the South Side this morning.

He’s expected to join Democratic political leaders at polling spots on the South Side this morning. Then at the Thompson Center for the daily 2:30 p.m. Covid-19 briefing. Watch live

No official public events, but she’s expected to pop up with other political leaders at polling spots on the South Side this morning.

The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reported 20 additional deaths and 6,222 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 9,810 deaths and 423,502 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 is 8.1 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 9.5 percent. Hmmm.

231 candles lit outside North Side church — each representing 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in U.S.: “We’re prepared to add more, we don’t want to, but if we need to we have some more,” a parishioner said of the vigil, which is slated to last until Nov. 9,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

Despite record case counts, Pritzker says he’s not considering another statewide stay-at-home order, at the moment: “If we believe these tiered mitigations ultimately are ineffective, if people choose not to wear masks and if the spread of the virus continues to go unabated, in a kind of community spread, we would obviously have to consider, you know, more significant mitigations.” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton and Mitch Dudek.

Park Ridge restaurants fined for defying Pritzker’s order and continuing indoor dining: “Between Thursday and Sunday, the city issued three restaurants a total of $1,750 in fines for continued non-compliance with the governor’s order, said Jim Brown, director of community preservation and development,” by Pioneer Press’ Jennifer Johnson.

THE 8 STATES WHERE THE WHITE HOUSE WILL BE WON: “No one can say with any certainty whether Joe Biden will win in a landslide or Donald Trump will eke out a reelection victory,” via POLITICO’s preelection guide.

— PRITZKER: BEWARE OF FAKE NEWS: Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged patience in waiting for election results, saying it could take days for Illinois and presidential races in some states to be decided. And he called on voters to be wary about where they get their facts: “It’s extremely important that you not get your election news over social media. We know that there are foreign actors, specifically Russia, Iran and others, who intend to promote misinformation throughout Election Day, and in the days after,” Pritzker said during his daily briefing. “If you want accurate information about the vote count, go to your local election authority web site or POLITICO’s web site or New York Times’ web site where they track all the races nationwide.” The Associated Press is the industry gold standard on calling races and you read this to get a sense of they’re preparing.

Everything you need to know about voting today, by WTTW’s Patty Wetli

In Chicago, most results should be in by 10 p.m., election official says: “We have historically had 90% of the results in by 10 p.m. and we’re hoping to do the same for this election,” says Chicago Board of Elections Chairwoman Marisel Hernandez, by Tribune’s Kelli Smith.

In collar counties, some clerks expect election night to proceed as usual and some winners to be quickly identified, by Aurora Beacon-News’ Sarah Freishtat.

Governor says Illinois National Guard ‘in a state of readiness’ in event of unrest, by Tribune’s Jamie Munks

Voters in line at suburban Cook County polls told to go home at 7 p.m. cutoff: by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, Alice Yin and Kelli Smith.

Illinois races that could help determine control of U.S. Senate, House: “The Democratic push to win back the Senate is counting on veteran Dick Durbin to maintain his seat representing Illinois, despite the aggressive challenges from Republican Mark Curran and wealthy Chicago businessman Willie Wilson. And both national parties will be watching closely to see if Democratic U.S. Reps. Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten can hold onto the seats they won in traditional Republican strongholds outside Chicago two years ago,” by WBEZ’s Becky Vevea, Mariah Woelfel and Dan Mihalopoulos.

In ‘Fair Tax’ fight, echoes from failed attempts at tax reform in Illinois: “The players have changed and the policy proposals are different, but what remains constant are both Illinois’ underlying structural revenue imbalance and the element of mistrust of Springfield politicians,” reports Hannah Meisel for NPR. WITH AUDIO

Cementing himself to Trump’s coattails, Oberweis joins Trump at Kenosha rally: “Trump called Oberweis a ‘wonderful candidate,’ adding, ‘I heard you are doing very well, good, very good’ and predicted he was going to win,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

Black business owners call for customers, colleagues to hit the polls on Election Day: “Perdure Carter, owner of Dream Spots Real Estate in South Shore, noted, ‘Voting is the most powerful nonviolent protest that you can ever do. So, get out and vote,’” by Sun-Times’ Sam Charles.

Businesses board up windows, brace for possible Election Day unrest: “Between the civil unrest this summer, the coronavirus pandemic and a divisive election whose outcome may not be known Tuesday, business owners are weighing the prospect of further unrest in a way they haven’t during past elections, said Eric White, executive vice president at security firm Brosnan Risk Consultants. ‘It’s clearly a potential triggering event,’ he said,” by Tribune’s Lauren Zumbach and Ryan Ori

Chicago shut down a 600-person Halloween party — and it wasn’t the only huge bash: “Partygoers allegedly didn’t wear masks or practice social distancing. Chicago is in the midst of a second surge of coronavirus,” by Block Club’s Kelly Bauer.

General Iron to pay $18K to settle citations for explosion, pollution; will admit no wrongdoing: “The company also fixed equipment after two explosions and added some dust control measures at its Lincoln Park metal-shredding operation,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.

Partying during a pandemic: Court clerk Dorothy Brown’s last hurrah: “For the first time in 20 years, Dorothy Brown’s name will not be on the ballot on Election Day after the controversial Cook County Court Clerk decided not to seek re-election. But she’s not leaving without a party. On the eve of an indoor dining ban in Chicago last week, Brown got in one last hurrah,” by WGN/9’s Ben Bradley.

Evanston mayor asks Northwestern to pay bill for protests as student groups push school to defund campus police: “[B]ecause many of the protests have occurred off campus, the Evanston Police Department with assistance from other suburban agencies has largely been left to handle the response. NU police do not respond to events outside of campus grounds,” by Tribune’s Genevieve Bookwalter and Elyssa Cherney.

Federal judge tosses Trump rule curbing public assistance for immigrants: “A federal judge in Illinois on Monday struck down the Trump administration’s sweeping crackdown on legal immigration through public assistance programs, a blunt check on President Donald Trump’s agenda just one day before the election….U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman declared the rule to be illegal and told the administration it can no longer be enforced anywhere in the country. Under the rule, legal immigrants who use government benefits like Medicaid or food stamps for more than 12 months within any three-year period will jeopardize their ability to get a green card,” by POLITICO’s Susannah Luthi.

Firearm sales increase drastically amid pandemic, civil unrest: “In Illinois, gun sales were up an estimated 59 percent in October 2020 compared to October 2019. Mass tragedies and elections typically prompt an increase in firearm sales in the U.S. This year, the pandemic is also at play,” by WTTW’s Marissa Nelson.

— State Treasurer Michael Fererichs is among 17 state treasurers to sign a letter calling on public officials across the country to count every ballot cast. The treasurers reiterate that the electoral process is safe and valid in a letter here

Democrats haunted by the ghosts of Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, by POLITICO’s John F. Harris

Also on the ballot: The future of Trump’s family political dynasty, by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw and Nancy Cook

Republicans publicly silent, privately disgusted by Trump’s election threats, by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza and Daniel Lippman

Longtime Cook County Judge Diane Gordon Cannon dies after extended medical leave: “Cannon is perhaps most known for acquitting then-Chicago Police Cmdr. Glenn Evans of charges he shoved a gun in a suspect’s mouth and threatened to kill him,” by Sun-Times’ Madeline Kenney.

MONDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Chicago entrepreneur Ashvin Lad and Chicago State University government relations director Monica Gordon for correctly guessing that Old Shawneetown is the abandoned town that was home to the first Illinois bank, pictured here (photo by Frank Calabrase).

TODAY’S QUESTION: Which of Chicago’s 50 wards was forever linked to election fraud in a presidential race? Email your answer to [email protected].

Quentin Fulks, chairman and executive director of the Vote Yes For Fairness campaign, political consultant Kathy Posner, and Rabbi Emeritus Paul Caplan.



November 3, 2020 at 07:47AM

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