‘Dog whistle politics’ in Illinois- POLITICO

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Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. About Tuesday’s primary: Trump’s candidates keep chalking up wins, but the headwinds facing Democrats appear to have eased, via POLITICO.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook won’t publish Monday, Aug. 29, to Monday, Sept. 5. We’ll be back on our normal schedule Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is calling a conservative super PAC’s TV ad an example of “dog whistle politics.”

“It darkens my skin. I don’t think there’s any dispute that I’m African American. I’m black and proud of that, so why do you need to blacken it and send it out to suburban communities? It’s fear-mongering,” said Lightfoot, who first saw the TV ad in an item in Playbook. “It’s the ultimate dog whistle.”

Who’s behind the ad: The spot was pulled together by the People Who Play By the Rules super PAC, run by conservative political operative Dan Proft and largely funded by billionaire GOP donor Richard Uihlein. The target of the ad wasn’t Lightfoot, exactly, but Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker and how the state is handling crime. Uihlein most recently has been giving money to the PAC in an effort to boost Republican Darren Bailey’s campaign for governor. Bailey doesn’t have anything to do with the ad.

Proft denied Lightfoot’s charge of racism. “That is insane — and par for the course from inveterate race hustlers like Lightfoot and Pritzker trying to misdirect attention away from the fact that she has turned the city over to repeat, violent predators and he aims to do the same statewide with his elimination of cash bail,” Proft said in an email to NBC News’ Natasha Korecki.

“Their contention is completely untrue and patently absurd. We did nothing to her pigmentation just as we did nothing to pigmentation of our pasty blowhard of a governor. The video of Lightfoot was pulled from the web from her City Club speech,” Proft told Natasha.

The ad calls attention to the SAFE-T Act that goes into effect next year doing away with cash bail, but the ad doesn’t explain that judges can keep dangerous suspects behind bars to protect the community.

Lightfoot addressed the ad during a Q&A with reporters after she discussed crime numbers that show Chicago homicides are down 18 percent and shootings down 18 percent, too.

Pritzker’s campaign called on Bailey to “immediately” take down the ad. “Instead of insulting elected officials, members of the GOP ought to figure out why they have to keep apologizing for everything that comes out of their mouths,” spokeswoman Natalie Edelstein said in a statement.

There are deeper concerns: Political operatives say Black lawmakers and candidates across the board are worried the ad is part of a Trumpian effort to normalize “racist tropes” and that it will only get worse in the leadup to the November elections.

More ‘hellholes’: They point to Bailey doubling down that Chicago, a city with a dominant Black population, is a “hellhole” and a speaker at a GOP meeting in Springfield calling Attorney General Kwame Raoul “a lap dog” to Pritzker.

Read Natasha’s full story here, including this nugget from Democratic ad maker John Rowley, who said the ad either makes “strategic, calculated and racial appeals, or to be generous, is culturally clueless.”

According to the Tribune: “Since the ad debuted Aug. 15, People Who Play By The Rules has reported spending more than $1 million on TV ads in Chicago and other markets, according to state campaign finance records.”

And from the Sun-Times: “Bailey’s campaign, which has not yet begun airing TV ads with just 77 days until the general election, said they have had no communication with Proft’s political action committee, as required by federal law.

SEEING LOTS OF GREEN: Now that Illinois Democratic Party leadership is in place to his liking, Gov. JB Pritzker has donated $5.5 million to help Democrats as they enter the competitive General Election.

Pritzker gave $1.5 million to the Democratic Party of Illinois on Friday, according to state records. The governor, who’s ranked on Forbes’ billionaire list, also gave $1 million to the Senate Democrats’ campaign fund, led by Senate President Don Harmon, and $3 million to the House Democratic campaign fund, headed by Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, who helped Pritzker get the votes needed to elect fellow state Rep. Lisa Hernandez to lead the Illinois Democratic Party.

From the Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Jeremy Gorner: “Pritzker’s political largesse comes as the governor continues to try to broaden the extent of his power in Democratic circles and as the state party aims to keep its total control of Illinois government."

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

In Elk Grove Village at 9 a.m. to kick off a campaign bus tour with first lady MK Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. — At the Schuler Family Farm in Lexington, Ill., at 2:15 p.m. for a candidate roundtable. — In Bloomington at 4:15 p.m. to canvas with McLean County Dems. — In Peoria at 7 p.m. for a rally. Events will be livestreamed here.

At 79th and Green streets at 9:30 a.m. for the groundbreaking of Auburn Gresham Apartments, part of the INVEST South/West initiative.

On vacation today.

Illinois voting rights landscape widens with permanent vote by mail option, by Rockford Register Star’s Jim Hagerty.

—  Rivian subcontractors to pay $315,000 in back wages due Mexican laborers in second state lawsuit over plant construction, by Tribune’s Robert Channick

— NEW YORK TIMES TAKE | Karaoke singers live the dream at the Illinois State Fair: “Near the 500-pound Butter Cow, 16 contestants performed songs by Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, Jamey Johnson and Shania Twain in a bid to win $500 and appear on the Grandstand Stage.”

Lightfoot touts national recognition of Chicago’s violence prevention programs: Homicides and shootings are each down 18 percent, the mayor said Tuesday. “Chicago has been investing in ways to prevent gun violence in the city, and Lightfoot said it’s playing a role in a downward trend in crime that’s now being recognized by a national advocacy group,” reports ABC 7’s Sarah Schulte.

Budget analysis: Chicago’s Office of Public Safety Administration cost city more than it saved: “New department created $4.3 million in staffing savings but $139.8 million in overhead costs,” by Better Government Association’s Geoffrey Cubbage.

Lightfoot declines to endorse commission’s call to remove 13 racist monuments, including 3 Columbus statues, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone …

The mayor wants more recommendations before deciding on monuments, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt

City’s top doctor cautiously optimistic on spread of monkeypox in Chicago, by WBEZ’s Courtney Kueppers

— NEW YORK TIMES TAKE | NASCAR takes to streets of Chicago — merging computer-generated fantasy with reality

— Poll: Arlington Heights voters want Bears stadium —  as long as they’re not paying for it: “Commissioned by the political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity Illinois, the poll found that 72 percent of residents would approve of a stadium on the 326-acre former racetrack property,” by Daily Herald’s Charles Keeshan and Christopher Placek.

—  Cook County juvenile jail using ‘semantics’ to hide many hours youths are isolated, according to report: “Most kids and teenagers there — the vast majority of whom are Black — spend at least 13 hours per day locked in their small cells,” report Injustice Watch’s Jonah Newman and Carlos Ballesteros.

‘I got something for you.’ Then a car traveling 60 mph hit four people in front of South Shore bar, killing three: “Police said they were still without a motive and have no evidence yet that the attack was a hate crime,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba and Sophie Sherry.

Chicago-area counties sue pharmacy chains for allegedly feeding opioid crisis, by Tribune’s John Keilman

— Jury hears cloak-and-dagger testimony from reputed fixer in alleged R. Kelly conspiracy to derail early criminal probe, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner and Megan Crepeau

2nd ex-prison guard convicted in inmate beating death, by The Associated Press’ John O’Connor

Former City Colleges and Triton basketball coach known for bond with players accused of selling forged documents to jail inmates, by Tribune’s William Lee

Chicago police officer accused of taking part in Jan. 6 insurrection declines plea deal:Officer Karol J. Chwiesiuk, who allegedly took photos of himself inside the Capitol, is scheduled to go to trial in May. He was stripped of his police powers in June 2021,” by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek

Two Illinois brothers arrested for attacking officers at Capitol on Jan. 6, by Tribune’s By Jake Sheridan

— Mehmet Oz, the Republican Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, flew into O’Hare for a fundraiser in the Milwaukee area. It was the second fundraiser in 10 days. Earlier this month, Oz was in Lake Geneva at the vacation home of billionaire Pat Ryan and his wife, Shirley Ryan, for an event that brought out Chicago corporate bigwigs. Former Ambassador Ron Gidwitz and his wife, Christina Gidwitz, co-hosted.

Sun-Times’ Tina Sfondelea tweeted about Oz’s trip: “Spotted in first-class on flight from Pittsburgh to O’Hare: Dr. Oz, telling people he’s coming to Chicago ‘to raise money.’”

The mayor had some fun responding: “Chicago is a great place to visit, work, and live. If you’re looking for a perfect place for your 11th home, look no further @DrOz!”

Chicago Election Board unveils precinct consolidation plan tied to redistricting: “The once-a-decade redistricting process will eliminate 779 of the city’s 2,069 precincts,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

We asked for your favorite non-breakfast food that you eat for breakfast:

Lisa Wagner, the noted political consultant: PB&J

Mark Heffington: “Fried Rice with eggs and ham. I was 16 before I realized it wasn’t a breakfast food.”

John Straus: “Cold leftover pizza.”

What’s keeping you from returning to the office full-time? Email skapos@politico.com

Why New York Democrats can’t agree on bail reform:America looks to New York as the proving ground for criminal justice reforms — and sees a moderate mayor at war with his own party,” by POLITICO’s Erin Durkin and Katelyn Cordero.

Dems notch major special election win, 2 incumbents fall in big primary night, by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro

Most adults want stricter gun laws, a new U. of Chicago and AP-NORC poll finds, via The Associated Press

—  Trump made 30 endorsements in recent primaries. Here’s who won, by POLITICO’s Marissa Martinez

Documents recovered at Mar-a-Lago were among government’s most classified, letter shows, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney, Andrew Desiderio and Lara Seligman

TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Peyton Bernot and Bob Remer for correctly answering that Nathaniel Pope, the Illinois Territory’s delegate to Congress, and his brother, John Pope, a senator from Kentucky, moved the northern border over 50 miles into the Wisconsin Territory, via DNAinfo.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who convinced the Illinois General Assembly that his office was insolvent and then absconded with the big appropriation approved to fix it? Email skapos@politico.com

Calumet City Mayor and state Rep. Thaddeus Jones, Chicago lawyer and politico Gery Chico, Berteau Consulting’s Zach Koutsky, JUF President Lonnie Nasatir, Township Officials of Illinois exec Brad Ruppert, comms specialist Galia Slayen, MikeWorldWide EVP John Diglas and Harry Winston global VP Diana Hall.

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August 24, 2022 at 07:09AM

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