Good Monday morning, Illinois. I’ve been poring over the just-released 1950 census documents. It took a while because census takers misspelled my family’s last name. Email if you find anything interesting in your history. h/t Sun-Times
NEW | OBAMA IN THE (WHITE) HOUSE: Former President Barack Obama will deliver remarks at a White House event tomorrow celebrating the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, according to the Biden administration. He’ll join President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. It’s the first time Obama will appear publicly at the White House since leaving office.
In 2018, with three months to go before the primary, the top Democratic candidates for governor had taken the stage together as many as 30 times to field questions from the public and journalists.
During those forums and debates, now-Gov. JB Pritzker was scrutinized about his vast wealth and his use of offshore companies. And opponents even called him a “liar” and a “fraud.”
Fast-forward to today, and most of the Republican candidates for governor have participated in fewer than 10 forums. Part of that is Covid but missing from every event so far has been Richard Irvin, the mayor of Aurora and hand-picked candidate of billionaire Ken Griffin.
“People want to hear what he has to say. The general consensus of people I talk to in central Illinois is that there’s a trust issue,” Jim Rule, chairman of the Tazewell County Republicans, told Playbook. “He comes from what some people view as a Chicago machine or may think that. He has in fact voted Democrat a number of times in the past. That doesn’t resonate well with people.”
The Tazewell GOP is organizing a candidate forum April 25 and state Sen. Darren Bailey, former state Sen. Paul Schimpf, businessmen Gary Rabine and Jesse Sullivan, and attorney Max Solomon have committed to attend.
Irvin hasn’t responded to repeated requests to participate, Rule said.
Irvin’s absence from live political discourse seems to reflect a national trend among GOP candidates this election season. Across the country, Republicans are ducking primary debates and trying to have greater control of how their messaging gets out, according to POLITICO’s David Siders.
Former football star Herschel Walker, the frontrunner in Georgia’s Republican Senate primary, has refused to debate his primary opponents. Nebraska Republican governor candidate Jim Pillen and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine have also refused to debate in their contests.
The debate dodge is a political tactic to avoid going on the record on issues that may play differently in the primary than the general election. More conservative voters come out for the primary, so answers to questions about views on the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol or whether President Joe Biden won the presidency fair and square would differentiate conservative and mainstream GOP candidates.
Political consultant Thom Serafin, who’s advised Republicans and Democrats alike, says he’d tell Irvin to stay the course. “If I’m the candidate and spending all my resources focusing on a disciplined messaging effort creating content and energetically populating all my election/voter channels, then why would I risk it all in a free for all, undisciplined, let’s-play gotcha-I-shamed-you debate forum?”
Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss, who was among those seeking the Democratic nomination for governor four years ago, says the debates and forums held across the state seemed endless — but necessary.
“Illinois is a big, complicated state. So if you run a campaign that doesn’t obligate you to hear from different constituencies and answer questions that are important to them, I don’t know why anyone should believe you’re qualified to be governor,” he told Playbook.
Biss continued: “JB believed, correctly, that he could tell the truth about his positions in the Democratic primary and win, and then continue to tell the truth about his positions in the general election and win.”
Schimpf sees debates as “vital” to show voters the “different temperament” of candidates and how they’d approach issues. “They also highlight which candidates propose solutions, as opposed to spouting rhetoric.”
Irvin’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment, but so far seems more comfortable packaging his message in TV ads.
Rule, the Tazewell GOP chairman, says central Illinois Republicans want more. “A lot of people think Illinois is in trouble. There’s a problem with outmigration and there are a lot of tax issues we’re plagued with in this state. People want candidates to get in front of everyone and talk about their vision.”
THAT WAS FAST: Days after the Democratic Governors Association came out with an ad attacking Irvin, the Republican candidate is out with a counterattack ad accusing Pritzker of trying to “hijack the Republican primary.” The 30-second TV spot titled “Best Chance” also focuses on Irvin’s work as a soldier and prosecutor to counter the DGA ad that criticized his work as defense attorney (after being a prosecutor).
FIVE DAYS TO GO in the General Assembly’s legislative session and there are two big issues at play: public safety and the state’s budget.
With a Democratic majority, it would seem both could be easily wrapped up by Friday. But as the session has so far shown, Democrats aren’t always in lockstep these days. Consider the ejection of the governor’s Prisoner Review Board appointment. Some Democrats, especially from more conservative parts of the state, worry Republicans will use such board appointments or criminal justice reform legislation to fight them at the ballot box in November.
Tensions between progressive and moderate Democrats are growing as they consider how to tackle bills focused on crime.
The Tribune addresses that in a comprehensive story about the legislative session and where it’s headed in the next five days. Some takeaways:
Police reform: A group of Democrats introduced measures Friday that would see police officers and social workers work together “to address mental health emergencies, provide counseling for crime victims, and expand the state’s unfunded witness protection program, for which Pritzker has already proposed $20 million.”
Tax relief: Senate Democrats upped rolled out a $1.8 billion relief package that included measures “such as direct payments to more than 97 percent of state income tax filers, with individuals earning more than $250,000 and joint filers earning more than $500,000 not eligible. The rebates would be $100 per taxpayer, plus $50 per child for up to three children.” More details on the relief plan
The kitchen sink: “Aside from the marquee issues of a state budget and taxes, lawmakers also are expected to push through legislation tackling a slew of issues, from pandemic fallout to the state’s response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
Have a tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? Get in touch: [email protected]
No official public events.
At Chicago Tabernacle at 1:30 p.m. with Police Superintendent David Brown to provide an update on public safety.
No official public events.
— One-on-one with U.S. Attorney Greg Harris: “The first African-American to serve as the U.S. attorney for the Central District of Illinois took the oath of office Friday,” by State Journal-Register’s Tiffani Jackson.
— Illinois to use $17M in federal Covid-19 aid to fund Freedom Schools, by Karen Ann Cullotta
— Inside the plan to create an abortion refuge for a post-Roe era: “Abortion providers in blue-state Illinois are laying the groundwork for an influx of patients from states poised to ban abortion if the Supreme Court overturns its landmark precedent,” by Washington Post’s Caroline Kitchener.
— Feds no longer paying for Covid-19 tests for uninsured people: “For now, many major Chicago-area providers say they’re continuing to give people without health insurance free COVID-19 tests and vaccines, including Walgreens, CVS Health, Northwestern Medicine, Duly Health and Care and Sinai Chicago, among others. But some smaller providers, in areas that serve vulnerable populations, are already planning fewer vaccination and testing clinics,” by Tribune’s Lisa Schencker.
— POSITIVE CRIME STATS: Shootings, homicides down so far this year compared with 2021, but experts and violence-reduction workers are wary: “The overall declines, which came during the traditionally less violent months, offer little in the way of knowing yet whether Chicago is reversing the deadly two-year 60% gun-violence spike that happened in the wake of the pandemic and a national reckoning on policing in America, experts said,” by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney.
— Emails show Cardinal Cupich helped Lightfoot shape Covid message: “You might want to rethink this sentence,” the Catholic leader tells the mayor at one point, according to their pandemic correspondence, obtained by the Sun-Times. By Robert Herguth
— Chicago Park District wants to seal from public lawsuit against Mayor Lori Lightfoot over obscene comments, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt
— A Chicago Bears stadium in Arlington Heights could get public help, village’s mayor says, but resources are limited, by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin
— LGBTQ community speaks out after deaths of two Chicago-area Black trans women, by WTTW’s Brandis Friedman and Aida Mogos
— Frida Kahlo’s personal photo collection is on display in a new exhibit in Pilsen, by WBEZ’s Nereida Moreno and Bianca Cseke
— Ricketts family won’t own controlling stake in Chelsea FC or shortchange Cubs if bid succeeds, spokesman says. Tribune’s John Keilman reports
… Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert joins Cubs-Griffin bid for U.K. soccer club, via Crain’s Detroit
— Heard on the radio: Bally’s Casino is crowdfunding for its Chicago casino project, according to broadcaster Maze Jackson. The goal is to build generational growth from within the Black community, he said Friday on his WBGX morning show.
— Architecture criticism returns | U.S. government shouldn’t wreck two Loop skyscrapers in the name of safety, writes Lee Bey in his first (new) column in the Sun-Times.
— Cook County official hasn’t fired her cousin, despite a ruling that he must lose his job due to nepotism: Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Tammy Wendt’s cousin, Todd Thielmann, “said in a Thursday phone interview that he was still in the job. The comments came one day after he emailed the Tribune defending his hiring,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
— After 30 years of cleanup, Waukegan Harbor will soon be off EPA’s ‘concern’ list, by Daily Herald’s Doug T. Graham
— Longtime Fenwick High School teacher on leave following complaint from former student, by Tribune’s Karen Ann Cullotta
— New Trier boys lacrosse team put on probation after hazing report, by Pioneer Press’ Daniel I. Dorfman
— Federal judge dismisses case that alleged Michael Madigan and Ald. Marty Quinn violated opponent’s civil rights: “David Krupa alleged Quinn and Madigan, also the 13th Ward Democratic Organization’s committeeman since 1969, conspired to sabotage the college student’s campaign with a series of edgy tactics, including sending ‘political heavies’ to harass Krupa while the college student went door to door campaigning,” by Tribune’s Ray Long and Jason Meisner.
— Chicago officials join Merrick Garland in Washington to announce gun conspiracy charges: “A new indictment alleges that Chicago native Brandon Miller, a soldier at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, conspired with soldiers Jarius Brunson and Demarcus Adams to buy guns in Kentucky and Tennessee and supply Miller’s associates here,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— Attorney for Madigan says ‘millions and millions’ of documents to be reviewed over next few months: “The comment came during a brief status hearing before U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey, the first since Madigan and his longtime confidant, Michael McClain, were charged in an indictment with a yearslong corruption scheme that allegedly leveraged Madigan’s elected office and political power for personal gain,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Ray Long.
— Ex-Crestwood mayor ‘lied to save himself,’ deserves prison in red light-camera bribery probe, prosecutors say, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Alexi Giannoulias, a Democratic candidate for Illinois secretary of state, has raised $600,000 during the first quarter of 2022, which ended March 31. That puts him at having $4.3 million cash on hand.
… Some of the campaign’s biggest donations came from organized labor, including Teamsters, IBEW, South Central Illinois Laborers, North Central Illinois Laborers and Roofers among others. Individual donors kicked in, too, including The Habitat Company’s Dan Levin, businesswoman Desiree Rogers, and real estate exec Jason Friedman.
— Delia Ramirez’s campaign for Congress in the newly drawn 3rd District says it raised more than $303,000 in the fist quarter.
— Jesse Sullivan, a GOP governor candidate, received a $1 million donation form Asurion CEO Kevin Taweel, and $50,000 from DRW Trading Group’s Don Wilson.
— Illinois candidates face scramble to stay on the ballot amid paperwork objections: “About 140 objections were filed. State hearing officers are handling 75 of them, including statewide races. … In the governor’s race, Republican hopeful Gary Rabine challenged the petitions of fellow candidate Jesse Sullivan, lodging allegations about numerous petition circulators. Sullivan’s campaign called the objection a “political sideshow,’” by Eric Krol for Center for Illinois Politics.
— SCOOP: Madigan planning election strategy: Former House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democratic committeeman who has been indicted by the feds, met with some 30 precinct captains “to plan strategy for June Primary. He asked them to identify early absentee and Election Day voters,” reports NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern.
— Pat Dowell, who’s running in the 1st Congressional District, has been endorsed by Pastor Michael Eaddy of the People’s Church of the Harvest.
We asked for your best tips on traveling light: Attorney Graham Grady recommends picking your travel bag first. “Otherwise, if you stack up all of your clothes and stuff first you will invariably require a larger suitcase.” … Ed Mazur recommends packing your toothbrush and meds and buying everything else wherever you’re traveling. … Patricia Watson backs that up, saying, “buy clothing, shoes, toiletries at your destination.” … Robert Christie likes “packing cubes that allow you to compartmentalize your travel bag.”… And John Straus suggests packing everything in a backpack.
Are you swayed more by political ads or debates? Email [email protected]
The final stretch: “The White House and Senate Democrats expect Biden’s Supreme Court nominee, Ketanji Brown Jackson, to be confirmed by the end of this week. The final two Republicans still in play, Sens. Mitt Romney (Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), could announce how they plan to vote as soon as today,” via POLITICO’s national Playbook.
— Ukraine accuses Russia of massacre, city strewn with bodies: “A slew of European leaders condemned the atrocities and called for tougher sanctions against Moscow,” by The Associated Press.
— Ukrainian couple finds refuge in St. Charles, confident they will return home to Kyiv, by Daily Herald’s Alicia Fabbre
— ‘Warrior’ Mike Ditka proud of his roots: “No Ukrainian is going to take crap from the Russians,” he tells Sun-Times’ Michael Sneed.
States are ready to live with Covid. Congress’ funding fight is making that hard: “Health officials from Alabama to Washington state say that congressional gridlock over providing billions in new money has undermined efforts to transition to a steady, long-term approach to Covid-19,” by POLITICO’s Megan Messerly
— Dems plot spring sprint for party-line spending deal with Manchin, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Palin enters House race, to the surprise of Alaska R’s, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Sen. Tammy Duckworth addresses Ukraine, capping cost of insulin, investigating Jan. 6 with WCIA’s Mark Maxwell
— Wisconsin Democrats built a winning machine. Now comes its greatest test, by POLITICO’s Elena Schneider
Skillicorn running for office again: Former suburban Republican state Rep. Allen Skillicorn is running for city council — in the Arizona town of Fountain Hills. “President Ronald Reagan once referred to America as ‘a shining city on a hill.’ Well, that also perfectly describes Fountain Hills,” Skillicorn said in the Fountain Hill Times announcing his campaign. Skillicorn served two terms in Springfield through January 2021.
A farewell to the A.V. Club: "The Chicago-based pop culture site moves to Los Angeles, leaving many worried about its fate,” writes Kelly Garcia in Chicago Reader.
Dan Schneider is staff attorney at Legal Action Chicago, where he’ll work on anti-poverty measures and public interest class action litigation. He most recently was an attorney at Legal Aid Chicago, and before that was an associate at Edelson PC.
Gloria Craven, a former state VP of the League of Women Voters, has died. Craven lobbied for the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois, according to her obituary.
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Thresholds COO Mark Furlong for correctly answering that the group of vigilantes that chased the Mason Gang based in Cave-in-Rock out of Illinois was nicknamed “the Exterminators.”
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the Chicago alderman who at age 12 bought a newsstand at the corner of Madison and Dearborn? Email [email protected]
State Supreme Court candidate Mark Curran and Illinois Policy Institute president Matt Paprocki. And belated birthday wishes to Daniel Goldwin, who heads public affairs for the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago, and his mom, Margie Goldwin, who both celebrated Sunday.
April 4, 2022 at 07:45AM