Happy Tuesday, Illinois. The president hasn’t conceded, but he’s apparently looking ahead (to form a PAC), according to the NYT.
Rep. Lauren Underwood, the youngest Black woman to serve in Congress and a rising star in the Democratic Party, could lose to Republican Jim Oberweis, a 74-year-old ice cream magnate.
A week after the election, their race for the 14th Congressional District seat is still too close to call. Underwood, who trailed the state rep on election night by 895 votes, has since pulled ahead with a margin of about 1,100 votes.
“She’s an up-and-coming star in Congress,” veteran Rep. Jan Schakowsky said of Underwood, who as a freshman serves as vice chair of the Homeland Security Committee and chairs the panel’s cybersecurity subcommittee. Schakowsky, like many Dems, was surprised the race was so tight, but told Playbook: “It may not be so close at the end of the day when all those mail-in ballots are counted.”
Underwood is one of just two Illinois Democrats holding a congressional seat where Donald Trump won in 2016 and the party is already spooked after it sustained at least seven other House losses this cycle rather than expanding their majority. House Democratic campaign chair Cheri Bustos, the party’s other Illinois rep in Trump country and whose own race dragged on before she ultimately won, announced she won’t seek to run the operation again.
All eyes are now on the seven counties that make up the 14th District. A few have released mail-in results piecemeal, and Lake and McHenry counties are expected to release more today. McHenry officials say they expect to release between 2,000 and 5,000 ballot results. The remaining tally will be announced Nov. 17.
The race is so close that both campaigns are making plans to contest the election if the other one wins.
“Lauren Underwood is young, super smart, down to earth and has an infectious personality. That’s a prescription for rising political stardom anywhere,” said Ken Snyder, a Democratic strategist who’s worked on campaigns nationwide, including on John Hickenlooper’s short-lived presidential run. “The fact is her district is purple. It’s not a district that can be taken for granted.”
That’s especially so in a year where Trump supporters tended to vote all the way down the ballot and lots of new Biden voters may have voted for him and skipped the rest of the folks, Snyder said. “This one-sided drop-off phenomenon caused races all across the country to be closer than expected, and actually cost Democrats a lot of races at every level.”
Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday suggested Democrats had a false assumption that big turnout would happen in their favor, a factor due to “polls that were way off,” he said when asked about the tight IL-14 race.
Money also did not preordain the victor.
Though Underwood outraised Oberweis — she had $2.3 million cash on hand at the end of the third quarter to his $875,841 — last-minute endorsements by Trump may have helped him.
Covid-19 also played a role in the close race. While Underwood’s team focused on a mostly virtual campaign, Oberweis’ team masked up and knocked on doors.
“That kind of personal contact is invaluable,” Oberweis spokesman Travis Akin told POLITICO. “Yeah, we were outspent. But we made up a lot of ground going door to door.”
AOC v. RAHM: “Ever since President Trump won the White House in 2016, a shocked Democratic Party had been united behind the mission of defeating him. Four years later, with the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr., the divides that have long simmered among Democrats are now beginning to burst into the open,” reports the New York Times.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, a leading voice of the Democratic Party’s left wing, told the Times that progressives don’t want to see former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet. “Someone like Rahm Emanuel would be a pretty divisive pick,” she said, citing his record as mayor on racial justice and his opposition to teachers’ unions. “And it would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grass-roots and the progressive wing of the party.”
Emanuel’s name has popped up as possible secretary of transportation in a Biden administration.
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At the Thompson Center for the 2:30 p.m. Covid-19 briefing. Watch live
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The Illinois Department of Public Health on Monday reported 14 additional deaths and 10,573 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus disease. That’s a total of 10,210 deaths and 498,560 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from Nov. 2 through 8 is 11.4 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 13 percent. Eek.
— U.S. coronavirus cases top 10M: “The milestone, based on a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University, comes as the U.S. over the weekend set new records for daily number of cases and more than 1,000 deaths. The 10 millionth case comes less than two weeks after the country logged its 9 millionth positive test,” by POLITICO’s Brianna Ehley.
— 10-person limits in the burbs, and Pritzker raises possibility of another stay-at-home order as Covid surge continues unabated: “With the coronavirus continuing to surge largely unabated, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Monday that he would impose a 10-person limit on gatherings in parts of suburban Chicago and much of southern Illinois and suggested a statewide stay-at-home order is back on the table as a possible step to bring COVID-19 under control,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Gregory Pratt.
— What we know — and don’t — about Pfizer’s promising vaccine results: “The better-than-expected result is the first Phase III data from any of the four candidates now in the final stage of testing in the U.S.,” by POLITICO’s Lauren Morello.
… Illinois vaccine RFPs: The state of Illinois announced Monday it’s requesting proposals to help distribute the Covid-19 vaccine. The Illinois Department of Public Health “is seeking a vendor to assist with planning, logistical operations and quality improvement services for Statewide Covid-19 mass vaccination activities,” it said in a statement. “The immunization of state residents with a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine is a critical component of the United States’ strategy to reduce Covid-19 related illness, hospitalizations, and deaths and to help restore societal functioning.” Full announcement
— Mah tests positive for Covid-19: State Rep. Theresa Mah is quarantining at her Chicago home after learning over the weekend she tested positive for Covid-19. “The symptoms I experienced began with dry, intermittent coughing, then developed into fatigue, muscle aches, chills and possible fever. I did my best to hydrate, rest and immediately made arrangements for testing Friday morning. I also began isolating and awaited my results. Upon learning that I had tested positive for Covid-19, I immediately notified anyone with whom I knowingly came into contact and encouraged them to quarantine or get tested as well,” she wrote in a Facebook post.
— Kane County restaurant loses appeal over Covid-19 restrictions: “The 2nd District Appellate Court overruled a Kane County judge’s decision to temporarily block Pritzker’s indoor dining ban from taking effect at the FoxFire Restaurant in Geneva. The state court on Friday decided that Pritzker has the power under state law to issue successive disaster proclamations,” by Capitol News’ Peter Hancock.
— Miller on Dems: ‘A club of kooks’: Republican Mary Miller, who defeated Democrat Erika Weaver in the 15th Congressional District race for the seat held by retiring Rep. John Shimkus, had choice words for Democrats. Asked by Fox News about the new crop of GOP women who have been elected to Congress, she said: “President Trump has inspired me and the other women about what we can get done if we ignore the establishment and work for the people.” Miller, a mom of seven and grandmother of 17, credits her win on running a campaign that didn’t go negative. When asked what message she has for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, Miller said: “I call them a club of kooks. Their ideas are bad. They’re going to diminish our freedoms and our economic opportunities.”
— WHO VOTED FOR FOXX: Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx saw the bulk of her support — 64 percent — come from Chicago in last week’s election, compared to 30 percent for Republican candidate Pat O’Brien. Libertarian Brian Dennehy also took some votes. O’Brien edged out Foxx in the suburbs, 50 percent to her 44 percent. Political consultant Frank Calabrese mapped out the results, which show Foxx dominated Black communities on Chicago’s South and West sides and in the south suburbs, as well as in liberal pockets of Evanston, Oak Park and parts of Chicago’s North Side. O’Brien also fared well in the city’s River North neighborhood, on the Northwest Side of the city, and in the Southwest Side communities of Mount Greenwood and Garfield Ridge, where police and firefighters live. Map here
— Column: Second-guessing the campaign for the ‘fair tax’ that went so foul: Last week’s defeat of the referendum calling for a state constitutional amendment to allow for graduated income tax rates “was so resounding that it’s doubtful any one change or even a raft of changes in the effort by proponents would have altered the result,” writes Tribune’s Eric Zorn. He offers “a few things they could have done that might have made the result a little closer.”
— GOP newcomer Mike Buehler holds big lead for McHenry County board chairman over incumbent Jack Franks: “Franks often butted heads with the local GOP establishment in a county where Republicans traditionally hold most countywide offices, and he faced allegations of a scandal,” by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.
Bustos won’t run for DCCC chief after House Dem losses: “Heading into election night, Democratic leaders confidently predicted they would grow the House majority they won in the midterms. But they have so far lost seven incumbents and more are likely to follow in California and New York, and shell-shocked Democrats have demanded to know what went wrong. The Illinois Democrats’ own reelection battle was far more competitive than expected. Sensing opportunity, national Republicans dumped money into the race in the final days and ultimately Bustos beat Republican Esther Joy King by about 4 points,” by POLITICO’s Heather Caygle, Sarah Ferris and Ally Mutnick.
LOU LANG REMEMBERS ALEX TREBEK: Former state Rep. Lou Lang is among trivia lovers worldwide mourning the death of Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, who died over the weekend after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Lang wasn’t just an admirer of the show. He competed on it in 1985 — winning two rounds on the TV game show. Lang says he doesn’t recall what questions he answered (with a question) but he does remember Trebek. “He was very professional and all business about the production values of the broadcast,” Lang told Playbook. “Timing was a big thing for him. And he tried to make contestants feel at home… It’s a sad day and a big loss for tens of thousands of people who felt at home with him each and every day as he came into their living rooms.” Pic!
… More winners with Chicago ties talk about appearing on Jeopardy! By Tribune’s Tracy Swartz
— Biden win makes fed help for Chicago more likely, top mayoral aides say: “With President Biden, it will be more likely that we see increased pressure for funding for states and municipalities,” Chief Financial Officer Jennie Huang Bennett told the City Club of Chicago. Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman reports.
— Residents oppose return to in-person learning until pandemic is under control, CTU says: “The Chicago Teachers Union, which paid for the survey, is calling for an independent mediator to be brought in to help resolve differences with Chicago Public Schools,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.
— Biden’s expected environmental policies a breath of fresh air for Chicago area Trump critics: “The president-elect has vowed to promote climate change and reverse Trump’s actions. Chicago’s EPA union official predicts a crackdown on polluters,” by Sun-Times’ Brett Chase.
— Oh, Chicago: Ethics Board investigating Ald. Brookins’ decision to represent former Ald. Moreno: “Former 1st Ward Ald. Proco Joe Moreno, facing felony charges of obstruction of justice and insurance fraud, has a new lawyer — 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins, who is now under investigation himself,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.
— Parents, teachers resist more school closures in North Lawndale: “The proposed North Lawndale STEAM Partnership Academy would merge three schools into a newly renovated building,” by Sun-Times’ Manny Ramos.
— ESPN: Tony La Russa was charged with DUI a day before White Sox hired him as manager: “La Russa was charged with driving under the influence after he allegedly ran his car into a curb in February, leaving it smoking on the side of a Phoenix-area road, according to court records obtained by ESPN.”
— Kyle Rittenhouse’s mother didn’t know what he was doing on night of fatal Kenosha protest shootings: “Since the shootings made international headlines, many have wondered what influence the 17-year-old’s parents had on his decision-making and access to a gun. In an interview with the Tribune, Wendy Rittenhouse, a single mother of three, conceded her son shouldn’t have been there but declined to talk about the weapon he used,” by Dan Hinkel and Stacy St. Clair.
— Elkhart Woman accused of supporting ISIS sentenced to 6.5 years: “Samantha Marie Elhassani has been in federal custody since July 2018, when a military cargo transport plane brought her and her children to Gary from Syria. The children were placed with the Department of Child Services. Last year, Elhassani affirmed that when her husband, Moussa Elhassani, and his brother intended to join ISIS,” by Tribune’s Meredith Colias-Pete.
— CTA hopes to start next phase of Red Line extension planning ‘very soon’: “For decades, Chicagoans on the Far South Side have been waiting for the CTA’s Red Line to come to their neighborhoods. Plans to extend the heavily used train line south of its current endpoint at 95th Street have been discussed as far back as the 1950s, but the project has been steadily moving from idea to reality in recent years, and the CTA says it hopes to start a key development phase of the project very soon,” by WTTW’s. Nick Blumberg.
— Metra tests out new car for bike commuters: “The car carries 16 bicycles instead of the five typically allowed on Metra cars. By the end of the year, a second bike car will be added through a pilot program expected to last until spring. Depending on the program’s success, bike cars may be added to other lines,” by Sun-Times’ Adam Mahoney.
On reforming the bail system in Illinois: State Sen. Robert Peters has filed a bill that would reform the cash bail system in Illinois by ending the use of money bonds as a way to prevent a suspect’s release. The proposal, called the Pretrial Fairness Act, has been on Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s agenda for criminal justice reform. Capitol News recently wrote about the measure.
— Moline offers $5,000 to bars and restaurants that comply with new mitigation efforts: “The city says they want to financially help those businesses that are sacrificing for the health and safety of the community,” by WQAD’s Shelby Kluver and Brody Wooddell.
— Keicher talks preserving MAP grants as higher-ed braces for cuts: “Those MAP grants are our hand up as a state to those students where we can create generational impact in their family dynamics by getting them through a university system. We need to cherish and lift up MAP grants, and that should be a prime focus of what we do,” said Keicher. By WNIJ’s Peter Medlin.
Commentary: Fixing Illinois’ fiscal mess is possible, but we might need Michael Madigan to do it: “The supreme irony of our plight is that the one, singularly powerful politician who could muscle the votes together for comprehensive budget reform is embattled Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan,” writes Jim Nowlan, former president of the Taxpayers’ Federation of Illinois (and a leader in opposing the retention of Madigan ally Supreme Court Justice Thomas Kilbride).
Monthly pot sales in Illinois top $100M for first time: “In the first 10 months since cannabis was fully legalized, dispensaries sold over $500 million worth of recreational weed and more than $300 million in medical pot,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.
— Biden coalition built on broad but unstable foundation, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Barr’s OK for election-fraud investigations roils Justice Department, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein
— McConnell-led Republicans hold steady against Trump concession, by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio and Marianne LeVine
Linda Rae Sher, Democratic fundraiser who founded Jewish women’s PAC, dead at 73: “The Gold Coast resident founded JACPAC, the nation’s first Jewish women’s political action committee, was a major fundraiser for President-elect Joe Biden, other Democrats,” by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell and Lynn Sweet.... Sher was among Biden’s top bundlers
— Today at 7 p.m. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot sits down with Chicago Ideas founder Brad Keywell for a virtual discussion titled: “Life’s big questions: A conversation with Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot.” The event is free but registration is required. Details here
— Today at 7 p.m.: Jill Long Thompson discusses her book, “The Character of American Democracy” with Richard Painter, former chief ethics lawyer in George W. Bush’s White House. Moderator is Delmarie Cobb. Sponsored by Midland Authors. Details here
— Thursday: "Mpower the Night," Metropolitan Family Services’ annual gala, is going virtual for 2020 with a discussion “exploring the realities of violence prevention and the reasons to feel hopeful about peace in Chicago.” Details here
MONDAY’s GUESS: Four-way tie! Trivia buffs (and political nerds) Clem Balanoff, Jaylin McClinton, John Fritchey, and Donovan Pepper correctly named the eight state senator, all Democrats, who were dubbed the “Crazy Eights” back in the 1970s for rebelling against the establishment. They were: Terry Bruce (Olney), Kenneth W. Buzbee (Carbondale), Vincent Demuzio (Carlinville), Vivian Hickey (Rockford), Jerome Joyce (Reddick), William Morris (Waukegan), Dawn Clark Netsch (Chicago), and Don Wooten (Rock Island).
TODAY’S QUESTION: Who were the “porcupines” in Chicago aldermanic politics? Email your answer to [email protected].
Cresco Labs Chief comms officer Jason Erkes; Crain’s reporter Ally Marotti, media guru Eve Rodriguez Montoya, and Highland Park City Manager Ghida Neukirch.
November 10, 2020 at 07:37AM