Good Monday morning, Illinois. Let’s make the most of the last days of August.

Republican legislative candidates are coming forward “at a much higher rate” than they did for the 2018 election, a signal that the Illinois GOP is working to make good on a promise to fill every slot on the 2022 ballot.

“I attribute [the uptick] to people understanding the opportunity that we have this cycle and the issues that we’ll run against Democrats,” Jayme Odom, the executive director of the Illinois House Republicans, told Playbook. She says those issues include Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s “overreach” by not working with the legislature to enact Covid-19 mitigation rules, passage of police-reform legislation, and signing a law that decriminalizes possession of certain amounts of fentanyl and cocaine.

On the state Senate side, “More Republicans in the Cook County region are interested in running for state office than I’ve seen before,” says Senate GOP Political Director Nick McNeely.

There’s no litmus test for running, but the House Republican organization is asking whether candidates believe the 2020 election was stolen. “We’re looking for people who are interested in running and who fit the constituency of their district,” said Odom.

Recruiting on all fronts: Along with state House and Senate recruitment efforts, the conservative think tank Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is scouting for candidates. Even Jeanne Ives, a former GOP state representative who in 2018 lost a congressional race, is working to get candidates to run, according to two Republican Party sources.

“When you don’t have contested races, a lot of people don’t vote,” IPI’s Matt Paprocki told Playbook. He says IPI has sent out 65,000 mailers statewide to “free-market individuals, Democrats, Independents and Republicans” as part of an outreach effort to potential candidates. “We stop the engagement once they say they want to run.” (The organization, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, can’t be engaged in electioneering.)

Republicans aren’t coughing up names of candidates quite yet. “Everyone’s keeping their powder dry until they see the maps,” said McNeely, referring to the legislative map that Democrats will tweak Aug. 31 when they return to Springfield. (Republican leaders filed a federal lawsuit in June challenging boundaries that were drawn and approved by the Democratic-led General Assembly during the spring, saying the boundaries were based on unofficial census numbers. That suit is pending.)

Of course, candidate recruitment means nothing without cash. Republicans say they are working on two fronts: trying to ramp up fundraising down the ticket as well as checking in with major donors. Billionaires Ken Griffin and Dick Uihlein come to mind, though Republicans aren’t naming names.

“Leader [Jim] Durkin is in contact with potential donors from across the state every day,” said Odom, acknowledging it’s too early for donors to pitch in when they don’t even know who might be on the ballot.

For now, House Republicans have about $408,000 cash on hand to get Republicans elected to the General Assembly, and the Senate political committees have a combined $1 million.


GOP aims to ‘Fire Pritzker’ as party searches for contender who can win statewide: “Congressman [Darin] LaHood, who represents the second-most Republican district in the state, encouraged GOP voters to take hope in other blue states that have elected Republican governors. [He] left out some telling specifics. He didn’t tell the crowd how those governors — Phil Scott (R-VT), Larry Hogan (R-MD), and Charlie Baker (R-MA) — won their elections by appealing to Independents and Democrats, how cautiously they governed their states during the pandemic, or how fiercely and vocally they opposed the former president,” reports WCIA’s Mark Maxwell.

More than half of Kinzinger’s GOP primary challengers believe Trump won the 2020 election: “That’s despite clear evidence to the contrary,” writes Daily Herald’s Russell Lissau.

Breakthrough cases of Covid-19 continue to pop up. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, and his wife, Jacqueline, were under “doctors’ observation” Sunday at a Northwestern hospital and were “responding positively to treatments” for Covid-19, their son told The Associated Press.

The couple, married for nearly six decades, were admitted Saturday. Physicians were “carefully monitoring their condition” because of their ages, Jonathan Jackson, one of the couple’s five children, said in a statement. Rev. Jackson had been vaccinated earlier in the year.

And Illinois Senate GOP leader Dan McConchie said he tested positive with a breakthrough case of Covid-19, too. That news came a day after he attended Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair, which was outdoors, and an indoor meeting at a hotel for the Republican State Central Committee and county chairmen.

McConchie had been vaccinated earlier in the spring and has “very mild symptoms.”

As the Tribune’s Rick Pearson reports: “The pandemic and Republican reactions to responding to the virus became a major topic” of discussion at the fair and at the county chairs meeting.

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

At Anniversary Plaza at The Illini Union in Urbana at 10 a.m. to welcome back University Of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students and to announce a Rebuild Illinois investment. At 11:30 a.m., he’ll be in Champaign to announce the start of construction on a new Interstate 57/74 interchange, also part of Rebuild Illinois.

At Back of the Yards College Prep at 1:30 p.m. to announce the winners of the second round of Chicago’s INVEST South/West requests for proposals (RFP) program.

No official public events.

Health worker crunch pressures states battling Delta variant: “The alarming spread of new cases is draining the pool of available health workers in ways not seen since the pandemic’s winter peak,” by POLITICO’s Dan Goldberg and Alice Miranda Ollstein.

Few complaints as Chicagoans required to mask up — again: “Cook County also will be requiring masks, starting Monday,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek.

Companies prepare for a test of faith: “Covid vaccine mandates are expected to trigger a wave of religious exemption claims,” by Crain’s Stephanie Goldberg.

State agency apologizes for asking for school board member’s stance on school mask mandate, by News-Gazette’s Debra Pressey

Biden to nominate Rahm Emanuel as ambassador to Japan: After months of waiting, the former Chicago mayor and chief of staff to President Barack Obama, was named as the White House pick to serve as ambassador to Japan. The announcement was made late Friday after a week of news focusing on Afghanistan. There was immediate pushback from Democrats on the left side of the party who have been outspoken in their criticism of how he handled the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager killed by a white police officer. “When elected officials use their power against Black lives, they should not receive this honor,” tweeted New York Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

The strange summer land rush in Peoria’s dying south end: “Buyers from all over America — some of whom had never heard of the Illinois town — came searching for wealth amid the Rust Belt ruins,” via the Washington Post.

Pritzker says new sex education law ‘will help keep our children safe’ — but GOP rivals blast it as ‘obscene’ and ‘misguided’: “The new law ignited fireworks in the Illinois Senate when it was up for debate in May. One North Side senator demanded the remarks of a Republican colleague from southern Illinois be stricken from the record. And the fireworks exploded all over again on Friday,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.

Marijuana drug tests at work would follow same standard as DUI, under proposed change in state law: “State Rep. Bob Morgan is trying to change state law to give some wiggle room for workers being tested for pot. His proposal would prohibit workers in Illinois from getting fired solely for a low-level positive result on a marijuana test,” reports Tribune’s Robert McCoppin.

Car insurers’ pandemic windfall could have paid Illinois drivers $99 more per car in ‘coronavirus relief’ refunds: “State Farm touted Covid-19 relief payouts and rate cuts. But business was so good it still gave its CEO an $18 million bonus last year — on top of his $2.1 million salary,” by Sun-Times’ Stephanie Zimmermann.

First-ever discovery: A fossilized horseshoe crab brain dating back 310 million years is unearthed from the Mazon Creek deposit in northeastern Illinois, the New York Times reports.

‘Cornerstone of the North End’: Rockford’s Olympic Tavern celebrates 75 years in business: “It’s something that has lasted this long and has stood the test of time.” Rockford Register Star’s Ken DeCoster.

— Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs doubled as auctioneer Saturday at a live unclaimed property auction held at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield. More than 15,000 items, divided into 250 lots, were auctioned. Pic!

22 aldermen urge mayor and CPS to implement new Covid-safe policies for reopening: “In a petition to Mayor Lightfoot, CPS Interim CEO Jose Torres and Chicago Board of Education President Migeul del Valle, local and state lawmakers demand hybrid-learning options, better COVID precautions,” by Sun-Times’ Cheyanne M. Daniels.

At least 41 shot, 7 fatally, 2 mass shootings in Chicago since Friday night: “Six people were shot, one fatally, Saturday in the 1600 block of East 87th Place,” reports the Sun-Times.

Justice Barrett refuses to block construction of Obama Presidential Center, via POLITICO:Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied a bid to block the construction of the proposed Obama Presidential Center in Chicago’s Jackson Park on Friday, acting alone and without releasing an explanation of her decision. The suit requested that a writ of injunction be issued to prevent any further groundbreaking for the center, as well as stopping tree cutting in Jackson Park for the Obama Center.” On Aug. 13, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied another last-minute legal maneuver by Protect Our Parks to stop the Obama Presidential Foundation from taking possession of part of Jackson Park where the center will be located.

Fascinating development on South Side lakefront:Census figures suggest Bronzeville and other mostly Black areas are starting to follow in the path of affluent North Side neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and Lakeview,” reports Crain’s Greg Hinz.

4 generations of Black women run Chicago’s oldest hot dog stand. “That’s how you create generational wealth in the Black community.” Tribune’s Louisa Chu reports

Historic Edgewater church for sale; neighbors worry about what will come next:Unable to afford upkeep, Epworth United Methodist is looking for a new owner for its 130-year-old building, which also is home to a homeless shelter,” by Sun-Times’ Mark Brown.

State Police installing license plate reader cameras on Chicago expressways:More than 200 license plate cameras will be installed on area expressways over the next year, according to state police,” via NBC/5.

Who’s supervising overtime at CPD? “Last year Superintendent David Brown ordered deputy chiefs to approve all overtime. Internal records don’t show that it’s happening,” by South Side Weekly’s Jim Daley and Kiran Misra.

New Black-owned coffeeshop looks to end ‘whitewashing’ of coffee industry:Monday Coffee Company has set up residency in Washington Park through a Rebuild Foundation program. Their mission is to foster community while supporting other Black-owned businesses,” by Sun-Times’ Cheyanne M. Daniels.

In West Garfield Park, activists hope community involvement leads to safety and revitalization, by Tribune’s Zach Harris

— Column: The ‘whole-of-government’ tack for the pandemic found success. Will it work against Chicago violence? “If Chicago’s whole-of-government approach to vaccinations was no simple feat, then imagine what it may take to address the economic, educational, health and social factors that contribute to the current surge in violent crime,” writes Better Government Association’s David Greising.

Ed Burke’s lawyers say feds spent four years investigating him before tapping phones: “They also told a judge that comments Burke allegedly made about Jewish people are too prejudicial, and any relevance is outweighed by ‘the risk that the jury will infer from the statement that Ald. Burke is anti-Semitic,’” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

McHenry County Board considering pay hike for members: “The county board sets pay every 10 years to go along with the redrawing of county board districts following the Census. This year’s budget for board member salaries and benefits comes with an extra twist: Beginning with the November 2022 election, the board will be reduced from 24 members to 18 members,” by Shaw Media’s Ben Szalinski.

After decades of allegations, one of R. Kelly’s accusers finally testified against him in a criminal courtroom — and more are on deck: “At least a half-dozen more alleged victims of Kelly are expected to follow over the coming weeks, including a man who prosecutors say will testify that the singer repeatedly sexually abused him at his West Side music studio after meeting him at a Chicago McDonald’s and a woman who alleges Kelly “violently spanked, hit and kicked” her as recently as 2017 for failing to follow his “rules,” court records show,” by Tribune’s Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.

How did R. Kelly get here? The Undefeated’s David Dennis Jr. reports

Because they earn less—Women make fewer political donations and risk being ignored by elected officials:Men give more money than women to candidates in high-level statewide elections. Money can equal political influence, so that may lead candidates to be less interested in women’s issues once elected,” Kira Sanbonmatsu and Claire Gothreau write in Governing magazine.

Deadlines burn Biden: “The White House’s withdrawal date for troops in Afghanistan is the second high-profile deadline the administration has missed this summer,” by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Natasha Korecki.

Kinzinger on Biden’s Afghan pullout: ‘I think the execution has been extremely disastrous’: “The Biden White House is under pressure to speed up issuing visas to Afghans who put their lives at risk to assist the U.S. military — and now may be trapped in the Taliban-controlled country,” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet.

Safe at last for Afghan interpreter who aided Marine Corps major from Chicago, saved U.S. troops’ lives:Marine Maj. Thomas Schueman had been trying for months to get the interpreter to the United States. Over the past few days, he’s made it to safety in another country,” by Sun-Times’ Stefano Esposito.

A suburban group has helped Afghan girls get an education. Now their future is uncertain, by Daily Herald’s Madhu Krishnamurthy.

A former Afghan judge on what the future holds for women in Afghanistan, by your Playbook host in POLITICO’s Women Rule newsletter

McCarthy faces speakership test on infrastructure vote, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers

Democrats spotlight abortion in bid to save Newsom, by Alice Miranda Ollstein and Victoria Colliver

9 of 10 fastest growing districts repped by Republicans, Census data shows, by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard, Patterson Clark, Ming Li and Sean McMinn

William Recktenwald, journalist who went undercover for Sun-Times’ Mirage Tavern series, dies at 79: “He was a natural at going undercover,” said reporter Pam Zekman, one of Recktenwald’s longtime investigative cohorts. “He had an ability to adapt to any kind of situation. He had a low-key way of dealing with people to win their confidence.” Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout reports.

Remembering Justice James D. Heiple: The Illinois Supreme Court will host a memorial service Sept. 22 in honor of the late Justice James D. Heiple, who served on the Illinois Supreme Court from 1990 to 2000.

Bronzeville mourns longtime community organizer Johnnie Owens, killed at 65: “Everything he did was about bringing people together.” Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova reports

Today at 10 a.m.: State Rep. Rep. La Shawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, leads a joint hearing of the House Appropriations-Higher Education Committee and House Higher Education Committee to address trade school investment in Illinois. The event is virtual and in person at the Bilandic Building in Chicago.

FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congratulations to union leader Clem Balanoff for correctly answering that the first U.S. treaty to take Indigenous land in Chicago was the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, which took 6 square miles of land at the mouth of the Chicago River.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the economics professor who ran unsuccessfully in the special election for Congress to fill the seat vacated by Rahm Emanuel after he became Obama’s chief of staff? Email to

State Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth (92nd), state Rep. Barbara Hernandez (83rd), city Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Maywood Village Manager Chasity Wells-Armstrong, former state Sen. Dale Righter, former White House Legislative Affairs Associate Director Richard Chalkey, Illinois Department of Human Resources Chief of Staff Ryan Croke, Brunswick Group Partner Patti Solis Doyle, civic leader Carol Prins, PR and media consultant Shawn Taylor, and comms consultant and YWCA Metro Chicago Board President Joyce Winnecke.



August 23, 2021 at 06:59AM

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