Happy Thursday, Illinois. Sometimes the days just run together.
Gov. JB Pritzker is pulling out all the stops to get state Rep. Lisa Hernandez elected chair of the Illinois Democratic Party, but some Democrats say he’s crossed the line by enlisting an abortion-rights advocacy organization to endorse her over the current chair, Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller issued a statement Wednesday rejecting Personal PAC’s “implication that [Kelly’s] leadership jeopardizes the pro-choice movement here in Illinois.”
Racial politics. “As a Black woman, I am mindful of the dog whistles used to raise legal questions about the first African American and first woman to lead the Democratic Party of Illinois,” Miller said in her statement. “The party has flourished under her leadership. Personal PAC did not raise the same questions about the previous chair when he was under federal investigation and ultimately indicted,” she said, referring to former House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Miller also withdrew from co-hosting a fundraiser tonight for Personal PAC. A few hours later, the event was canceled outright with no plans to be rescheduled.
Terry Cosgrove, the head of Personal PAC, said the organization “has been proud since Day One to support and stand with the first African-American speaker of the Illinois House, and we are continuing to do that now.” He was referring to House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who’s also endorsing Hernandez.
Who’s behind who: The drama comes after Congressman Bobby Rush and the Illinois AFL-CIO threw their support to Hernandez, and Congressman Danny Davis and the Congressional Black Caucus PAC endorsed Kelly.
Hernandez sits on Welch’s House leadership team. She most recently carried the House and congressional redistricting bills. And for years she was a top ally of Madigan, who used to run the Democratic Party with an iron first.
Times have changed: Welch’s caucus lost some incumbents in the primary, and he wants assurances that party fundraising and outreach are strong enough to keep Democrats’ supermajority in the House and hold on to two state Supreme Court seats that are up for grabs.
The party has raised more than $2 million since Kelly was elected chair last year and has $4.2 million in the bank. Because Kelly’s a federal office holder, her hands are tied from being involved in state fundraising. So a separate committee oversees those funds.
It’s a complication that Pritzker and Welch see as a hindrance. But Kelly and her allies say the reorganization allows for transparency that was lacking under Madigan.
There’s another tension point. Some Democrats say Pritzker is using his wealth to dictate politics. “You feel you’ll be in a bad spot if you say ‘no’ to the governor,” a political adviser told Playbook on condition we not use their name for fear of being alienated by Pritzker. “A lot of people feel they don’t have an option.”
AND, HE’S OUT: Libertarian Jesse White, who was hoping to upend the secretary of state race, withdrew his candidacy Wednesday just as his petition signatures were about to face scrutiny.
White shares the same name as long-serving Democratic Secretary of State Jesse White, who’s not seeking re-election. There was concern among Democrats that voters (the ones who don’t read Playbook) might vote for Libertarian White thinking they were voting for Democrat White.
That won’t happen now with Libertarian White’s exit.
“We’re disappointed that Jesse is no longer going to be on the ballot,” outgoing Libertarian State Chair Steve Suess told Playbook. “That’s all I can say right now.”
Democrat Alexi Giannoulias’ campaign had already filed challenges to White’s petition signatures, and the next step in the process, the records examination, was to have started Wednesday.
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No official public events.
At City Hall at 9:30 a.m. for an update on reproductive rights.
At the Cook County Building at 10 a.m. to preside over the Cook County Board of Commissioners meeting.
— Google taking over Thompson Center from the state: “The search engine giant, with 2,000 employees in Chicago, will occupy the entire building. The state, working out terms with developer Michael Reschke, will sell it to Google for $105 million. In turn, the state will pay $75 million for the 115 S. LaSalle St. building, formerly the BMO Harris Bank building,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.
… Google expansion will enhance Chicago’s tech cred, by Crain’s John Pletz
— More sheriffs join DHS lawsuit: The lawsuit seeks “to clear a chronic logjam of mentally ill inmates sitting in county jails for months while awaiting psychiatric treatment from the state,” by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.
— Sangamon County health officials look into first reported monkeypox case in adult male, by State Journal Register’s Steven Spearie
— Construction of the Interstate 74 bridge over the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities won top honors Wednesday among Midwest states in the America’s Transportation Awards.
… It’s the best weekend of the year for downtown hotels, but business travel remains sidelined, reports Tribune’s Brian J. Rogal
— School board approves $10.2M contract for police officers for upcoming school year, by Chalkbeat’s Mauricio Pena and Eileen Pomeroy
— Magnet school students can’t count on a bus ride to class as driver shortage continues, by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp
— 2 CPS teachers’ jobs are spared after they’d been recommended for firing over protests, by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz
— Details on proposed ordinance to make Chicago a ‘sanctuary’ for abortion and gender-affirming care, by Tribune’s Alice Yin
Authorities say Pheasant Run fire was caused by teens who broke into the shuttered resort: “Prosecutors said all four defendants had repeatedly gone to the property and broke into rooms. … ‘The most culpable’ of the teens threw a bed and other items out an upper window of the tower. He also made videos that would be posted on TikTok and Snapchat,” by Daily Herald’s Susan Sarkauskas.
— Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan hosts benefit concert for Highland Park. ‘We will always come together,’ by Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova and Gavin Good
— 117 felony charges for alleged Highland Park July 4 parade shooter, by Lake County News Sun’s By Clifford Ward and Robert McCoppin
Bailey attacks Pritzker and Lightfoot over crime; refuses to discuss Trump: Republican governor candidate Darren Bailey "wants to reinstate the death penalty for cop killers and repeal of the SAFE-T Act, which includes an end to cash bail beginning in January,” reports WGN 9’s Tahman Bradley.
— Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison was re-elected chair of the Cook County GOP last night “by enthusiastic acclamation,” according to a source in the room at Moretti’s in Chicago’s Edison Park neighborhood. Republican State Central Committeepersons also were elected. Here’s a list of Cook County GOP candidates slated and on the ballot. And here’s a list of GOP state legislative candidates also slated and on the ballot.
— The Democrats’ rural problem: “The big story of Democrats’ country collapse is that it’s self-inflicted. There has been no infusion of cash, no new commitment from the DNC or the state parties to mobilize and organize in rural areas, and no sense of urgency,” via Washington Monthly.
Amazon workers file complaint alleging racial discrimination at Joliet warehouse: “Black employees say colleagues wore Confederate flag clothing and wrote racist and threatening messages, but Amazon took little action,” by WBEZ’s Esther Yoon-Ji Kang.
We asked for your best story about rats:
Larry Bury, of the Northwest Municipal Conference: “We were visiting my oldest daughter and walking back from dinner when my youngest daughter, who was maybe 6 at the time, sees a rat scurrying along the curb. She points and says ‘Look at that poor squirrel. He must be sick since he has no hair on his tail.’ We laughed before we explained ‘that’s no squirrel’.”
Taryn Williams, of Advance Illinois: “The feral cats in my neighborhood (Hermosa) frequently like to bring half-eaten rats to my doorstep as gifts of gratitude for me not chasing them out of the yard.”
Ed Mazur, of the City Club: “Years ago when I was an urban studies professor and doing a ride-along with the Chicago Police Department on the midnight shift in a West Side district we entered an alley and the officers turned to me and said "Dr., be on the lookout for the Willards". Within a few seconds our squad car lights watched as several groups of 4 legged rats crossed in front of our car. Willards was a movie film that featured Rats.”
Thumbs up or down on a third national political party? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
— SHOCKER: Manchin and Schumer strike agreement on a party-line bill, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett and Marianne LeVine
— Gas prices are falling. Is it too late to save the Dems? POLITICO’s Ben Lefebvre
— Biden launches plan to bring solar to low-income homes, and Illinois is helping shape the program, by POLITICO’s Zack Colman
— Barack Obama’s annual summer reading list is here, via Town & Country …
— Luis Gutiérrez, the former Illinois congressman, has been named a fall fellow with the University of Chicago Institute of Politics, which was founded by former political consultant David Axelrod. Also among the latest fellows are former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), former U.S. Senate Secretary of the Majority Laura Dove, NBC News political analyst and CEO and editor of The Dispatch Steve Hayes, Indian journalist Rana Ayyub and author and leading voice on criminal justice reform Shaka Senghor.
— Ken Griffin, recently decamped for Miami, puts four Chicago condos on the market: Total asking price is $54.5 million, by Crain’s Dennis Rodkin
Amy Littleton has been named president of Reputation Partners. She starts Aug. 15. Concurrent with her appointment, Nick Kalm, the firm’s founder and president, will become CEO. Reputation Partners’ EVP and general manager Andrew Moyer will continue in his current role.
— Today at 10 a.m.: The bipartisan Illinois House Public Safety and Violence Prevention Task Force, chaired by state Reps. La Shawn Ford and Fran Hurley, both D-Chicago, holds a virtual hearing on gun crimes, current efforts to curb violence and how the state can take action to help save lives. View the livestream here
— Saturday at 1 p.m.: Congressman Sean Casten (IL-06) will join Fred Guttenberg, father of Parkland shooting victim Jamie, for a town hall focusing on gun violence prevention. Sign up to watch
WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Jeff Lande for correctly answering that Claes Oldenburg created the Batcolum, a 100 foot tall lattice steel baseball bat installed in 1977 in front of a federal office building on West Madison Street that is the midwest U.S. Social Security Regional Office.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Which former Illinois member of Congress tried out for the A’s back when the team was the Philadelphia Athletics? Email email@example.com
State Treasurer Mike Frerichs, Urbana Mayor Diane Marlin, governor’s chief of staff Anne Caprara, former state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, former state Rep. Darlene Senger, political and media consultant Delmarie Cobb, tech entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate Neal Sales-Griffin, education advocate and comms expert Peter Cunningham, and TV personality Walter Jacobson.
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July 28, 2022 at 07:08AM