Pritzker’s national strategy- POLITICO

Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. The heat has dipped, and all seems right in the world.

Gov. JB Pritzker has donated $2 million to the Democratic Governors Association as part of a strategy to help Democrats across the country win governors’ races in November.

The goal is to elect Democrat governors who can be a firewall against new abortion restrictions pushed by conservative legislatures. Part of the effort is identifying states where a Democratic governor can veto anti-abortion legislation pushed by a conservative legislature.

“I’m just doubling-down my support for pro-choice candidates, particularly governors who will have an enormous impact on the future of women’s reproductive rights until we can pass a federal law guaranteeing those rights,” Pritzker told your Playbook host.

He’s donated “hundreds of thousands” of dollars to governor candidates across the country and is waiting for the Democratic primary to wrap up in Florida before wading into that race, too.

Republican Ron DeSantis “is a terrible anti-choice governor,” Pritzker said in an interview, adding that Florida is among “the places where I’m trying to make a difference.”

Billionaire replay: Pritzker funding a Florida race could become a repeat of the political battle he faced against hedge fund exec Ken Griffin in Illinois. Griffin has since moved to the Sunshine State and is a strong supporter of DeSantis.

Pritzker uses ‘terrible’ DeSantis as foil in national campaign on abortion rights, from POLITICO’s home page

The Ken Griffin interview: “If Ron (DeSantis) decides to run for president (I’m pretty confident), I’m gonna be a big supporter of his,” Griffin told Tribune’s Chris Jones.

“Fake news,” campaign consulting and political intrigue take center stage in Campaigns, Inc., premiering on TimeLine Theatre’s stage Thursday and running through Sept. 18.

It’s a comedy about the 1934 California governor’s race between Democrat Upton Sinclair, who wrote about Chicago’s meat-packing industry in “The Jungle,” and conservative Republican Frank Merriam.

True story: Sinclair’s campaign slogan was “end poverty in California,” and he called for ending the sales tax and instituting an income tax on anyone earning more than $50,000 a year — a lot during the Depression. He won the Democratic nomination by more votes than any primary candidate in California had ever won before. Republicans were appalled.

The play’s title, Campaigns, Inc., takes its name from the political consulting firm created by the husband-wife team of Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter. It’s believed to be the first-ever political consulting firm.

Campaigns, Inc. was hired to destroy Sinclair by using words and dialogue from his many books against him, including a tale about Sinclair’s failed divorce, titled “How I Got Licked.”

It worked. Sinclair lost and the political consulting industry was born. Playbook talked to playwright Will Allen about the production:

How did you come to tell this story? “A filmmaker buddy sent me an article from the New Yorker in 2012, called “The Lie Factory” with a note saying it could be a good play. I was immediately fascinated. I had never heard of Baxter and Whitaker.”

Their work seems a lot like what we see in political ads today: “They were the first people to develop a scheme of a mass media assault of misinformation. That issue remains huge today. It’s shocking that in 88 years, we haven’t learned anything. While the methods of a media attack have evolved, the messages and ideas and the way we manipulate voters is still virtually the same.”

How did you write the play? “I spent the first year or so researching all the different players in this story from Upton Sinclair and Frank Merrion, to Charlie Chaplin, William Randolph Hearst, a lot of athletes and movie stars and FDR in the White House.”

Do you follow politics? “I would call myself a political junkie. A lot of people tell me I should run for office, and it’s something I have thought about. But my wife isn’t interested in that. So for now, I’ll stick to writing about politicians.”

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you:

At Lion Electric’s Joliet Manufacturing Facility in Channahon at 11:15 a.m. to celebrate clean manufacturing investments … At the Dairy Building in Springfield at 3 p.m. for the unveiling of the Illinois State Fair Butter Cow.

At the Chicago Cultural Center at 10 a.m. to release the City’s 2023 Budget Forecast.

No official public events.

Pritzker says Illinois will benefit from CHIPS & Science Act: The governor was on hand in Washington for President Joe Biden signing into law the innovation and economic competitiveness legislation that authorizes tens of billions in new research and development spending at the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation. “We have a lot of manufacturing,” said Pritzker. “We’re in the heart of what use to be called the Rust Belt, now the Innovation Belt, and our manufacturers use semiconductors in virtually everything that they do, and it’s been very hard to obtain those chips when they needed it.” via KFVS 12 …

Biden signs CHIPS and Science bill, boosting semiconductor production, via POLITICO VIDEO

Alexi Giannoulias, the Democratic nominee for secretary of state, is pushing for legislation to protect abortion-care data that could be threatened by anti-abortion groups known to use license plate scanners to get information about patients.

He’s working with state Reps. Kelly Cassidy (D-14th) and Ann Williams (D-11th), who have pledged to sponsor the proposed legislation in Springfield.

“Illinois must enact protections to ensure the data is not used to target women seeking access to abortion services or employing it as a surveillance system to track them,” Giannoulias said in a statement.

What the legislation would do: Giannoulias wants to limit the purpose for which Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPRs) can be used, such as to locate drivers involved in serious crimes and stolen vehicles. Giannoulias also is calling for legislation that specifies ALPRs cannot be used to track individuals seeking abortion care or individuals assisting them and nor should information be shared with other states.

— Elizabeth Rochford has been endorsed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers in the race for the Illinois Supreme Court’s Second District.

—  The People Who Play By The Rules PAC has launched a series of "Business Speaks" ads featuring business folks. The latest has Tom Sodeika of Auxilium HCM criticizing Pritzker over Covid-19 mitigation policies, taxes and “big name businesses” moving out of Illinois.

— MAYOR’s RACE | Ald. Sophia King joins race to unseat Lightfoot:King is chair of the Chicago City Council’s Progressive Caucus. Her husband, Alan, an attorney and house music DJ, is a close friend and basketball-playing buddy of former President Barack Obama,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

— Bill Conway makes it official: The Navy veteran and former prosecutor officially threw his hat in the ring for alderman of the 34th Ward. The newly shaped ward includes parts of Chicago’s Loop, West Loop, Greektown and Fulton River District areas. “My top priority is working closely with law enforcement and community partners to ensure public safety,” Conway said in a statement — a reminder that he was also a former candidate for Cook County state’s attorney.

Foxx moves to drop charges in 8 murders tainted by former CPD detective Reynaldo Guevara: The cases from the 1980s and ’90s were dropped Tuesday — based on allegations of misconduct by the former Chicago Police detective, by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm and Stefano Esposito.

Foxx defends her tenure amid wave of staff losses in State’s Attorney’s Office: “Foxx points to national shortage of prosecutors during pandemic era’s ‘Great Resignation,’” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.

Cannabis confusion: Knowing the difference between regulated weed stores and unregulated CBD shops: “Regulated dispensaries like the River North Sunnyside store are not happy about new unregulated shops, a spokesperson said,” by ABC 7’s Jason Knowles

Chicago police official overseeing court-ordered reforms is axed by top cop after questioning deep staff cuts: “Robert Boik, who has served in high-ranking civilian roles within the department since 2016, was dismissed after sending an email criticizing Supt. David Brown’s decision to move 46 officers to the Bureau of Patrol as part of a larger reorganization, according to sources,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba and Fran Spielman.

Lightfoot assures cops: ‘I will always have your back’:The mayor’s latest attempt to reclaim the police support that has abandoned her since her landslide victory in 2019 came during a graduation ceremony Tuesday in the ballroom at Navy Pier,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

NASCAR permit agreement reveals new details about race coming to Chicago, by NBC 5’s Mary Ann Ahern and Shelby Bremer

Riot Fest management apologizes and its contractor steps down after ‘hostile’ community meeting: Momentum to booting the festival is gaining traction, reports Tribune’s Kinsey Crowley

CPS outlines Covid-19 protocols for new school year, including expanding test-to-stay program, by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz

Man allegedly stole $56,000 in watches from Ralph Lauren on Mag Mile — then was arrested hours later for hammer attack at Mother Hubbard’s, by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba

Lawsuit claims grand jury was misled in case of Christopher Vaughn, Oswego man convicted of murdering wife and 3 kids in 2007, by Tribune’s Robert McCoppin

State Sen. Michael Hastings suing Frankfort police over release of report alleging he abused his wife, by Daily Southtown’s Mike Nolan

Former Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie is the 2022 recipient of the Paul Simon-Jim Edgar Statesmanship Award presented by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. Former Gov. Jim Edgar and John Shaw, director of the institute, announced the award. In a statement, they praised Currie’s "four decades of forceful, creative, consequential, and civil leadership in the Illinois General Assembly."

We asked what item you took on your way out the door from an old job:

We were expecting folks to take something like boxes of pens or wine glasses from the lunch room (cough, cough). But most of you said name plates, including Beth A. O’Mahoney: “At all of my past jobs working in both state government and in the private sector, I have taken my name plate from my cube or office. I have quite the collection now.”

Cam Davis, an MWRD commissioner: “A coffee mug that says, ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Wear You Down’ from the old Lake Michigan Federation."

Larry Beaumont: “I took a mockup of a pipe bomb that I used in a trial of a bombing murder case I prosecuted.”

Lissa Druss, Strategia Consulting CEO: “My Rolodex. That’s right before I started putting phone numbers into my Palm Pilot! And that’s before I got my BlackBerry.”

Dan Schneider, staff attorney at Legal Action Chicago: “After interning for a music distribution company in Massachusetts, my boss let me select an item out of their inventory to take home with me. I chose Rappin’ With The Rickster, a DVD compilation of ‘New York Zelig’ Ricky Powell’s early 1990s cable access show.”

What can’t you miss at the Illinois State Fair? Email

‘People will die waiting’: America’s system for the disabled is nearing collapse:Providers for intellectually and developmentally disabled struggle to recruit and retain staff amid soaring inflation, pandemic burnout,” reports POLITICO’s Dan Goldberg.

Trump endorsed 5 candidates in Tuesday’s primaries. Here are the winners, by POLITICO’s Marissa Martinez

Why the Trump search warrant is nothing like Hillary’s emails, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney

Republicans who blast FBI’s Trump search are prepping to snag Joe in a Hunter Biden probe, by POLITICO’s Jordain Carney

Democrats betting on progressives to keep control of Senate, by POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein

After court ruling, Dems expect to receive Trump’s tax returns ‘immediately,’ though Trump is likely to further appeal, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney

Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till lynching, via The Associated Press

Demand for Italian beef is booming. Thank ‘The Bear’: “The FX series has fueled a spike in sales of the sandwich at Chicago-specialty restaurants across the country,” via The New York Times.

— Robert Lee Berner Jr., an attorney with the law firm Baker & McKenzie where, for over 60nyears, he was a driving force of the firm’s global expansion, has died. He was 90. “A career highlight was successfully arguing one of the most consequential business law cases in the past century (Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder) in front of the U.S. Supreme Court,” according to his obituary. Politicos might remember Berner as the father of Mary Berner, Louise Berner Holmberg, Robert L. Berner III, John R. Berner and Sheila Berner Kennedy, whose husband is Chris Kennedy.

Nichelle Nichols blazed a trail from Robbins, Illinois, to the Starship Enterprise: Urban historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas talked with Lisa Labuz about Nichelle Nichols and the trailblazers of Robbins, via WBEZ’s Cianna Greaves

Oct. 29: The Chicago Humanities Festival hosts a conversation between Pete Souza (the official White House photographer for Barack Obama and Ronald Reagan) and David Axelrod (former chief strategist and senior adviser to Obama) “for a look at the moments — little and big — that make up life in the Oval Office.” Tickets here

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: It was too easy! Congrats to Lilly Athamanah, Marc Schulman, Ed Mazur, Andy Shaw, Loren Wassell and Stephen Rosenblat for being quick on the draw to answer that playwright Jim Jacobs’ experience at Taft High School in Chicago was the basis for the musical “Grease.” It was our homage to Olivia Newton John who died earlier this week.

H/T to David Isaacson of Theater Oobleck for the 1971 poster of the play “Grease,” before it became a movie in 1978.

TODAY’s QUESTION: What two DuPage County towns had a rivalry over the location of a courthouse? Email

Former state Sen. Jim DeLeo, Cook County Government chief of staff Kara Highfill, 42nd Ward business affairs director Joanna Angarone, Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives President David Doig and essayist Elaine Soloway.



August 10, 2022 at 07:17AM

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