With help from Olivia Olander
Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. Former President Donald Trumpofficially announced he’s running, again, kicking off the 2024 election season.
SPRINGFIELD. Ill. — A week after seeing Republicans lose up and down the ballot, GOP state senators and representatives elected new leaders of their caucuses.
State Sen. John Curran secured the unanimous support from colleagues to take the reins of the Senate from current state Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie.
And state Rep. Tony McCombie won 31 to 8 to become House minority leader after current Minority Leader Jim Durkin’s announcement last week he was stepping down.
The new leadership is an indication that Republicans want to expand their reach. It’s something Durkin discussed when he announced he was stepping aside. Illinois needs legislators who are “more to the middle,” Durkin said last week. Curran fits that bill on the Senate side.
What the Eastern Bloc thinks: In the House, McCombie leans to the right, but she isn’t one to alienate moderate Republicans. Or as one moderate lobbyist put it, “She’s not one of the crazies,” a reference to the far-right folks affectionately known as the Eastern Bloc. McCombie is respected by Eastern Bloc members as well as moderates.
Dems like ‘em too: And both Curran and McCombie have good relationships with Democrats, so watch for more efforts to reach across the aisle going forward. At least initially. History suggests D’s and R’s will be disagreeing on plenty.
Dem leaders confirmed: House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch issued a statement saying he “secured the necessary votes” to remain speaker. His And Senate President Don Harmon received support Tuesday from the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus to continue in his position next year as well.
ALSO UNDER THE DOME
— Welcome back! State Rep. Barbara Hernandez drew a standing ovation Tuesday from fellow House members who welcomed her back to Springfield after a long recovery from a stroke and 10-hour brain surgery earlier this year. Hernandez thanked colleagues on both sides of the aisle “for helping my family and the text messages, the emails, the flowers and the food you offered my family as well.” Hernandez thanked the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker and comptroller for checking in and sending food, too. And she thanked the doctors who cared for her who were standing in the gallery applauding her.
— Related: Republican challenger Patrick Sheehan concedes to Democratic state Rep. Michael Hastings: Hastings overcame accusations of domestic violence to edge Sheehan, reports WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.
— Spotted: Lawmakers cut short their meetings Wednesday to celebrate Secretary of State Jesse White at a retirement party at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre. And Democratic state Sen. Tony Munoz was feted at a dinner party. He’s leaving the General Assembly.
NEW OWNERS: Illinois Review, a conservative online media outlet, has been purchased by radio show host and Republican political operative Mark Vargas and Chicago attorney and former congressional candidate Scott Kaspar. The price is not being disclosed.
Founders Fran Eaton and Dennis LaComb announced the sale Tuesday, saying after “17 years and 17,000 stories” they hope the new owners can take Illinois Review “to the next level.”
Vargas is a familiar name in conservative political circles. Along with a radio show on AM 560, he has written a column for Newsmax and is an adviser and confidante to former President Donald Trump. Vargas also advised former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Kaspar ran unsuccessfully for Congress this year in the 6th Congressional District. He received endorsements from Trump allies Rudy Giuliani and Bernard Kerik but still lost in the primary to Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau, who was defeated by Rep. Sean Casten.
The purchase of Illinois Review on the same day that Trump announced he’s running again for president is “a total coincidence,” Vargas told Playbook. He did offer that Illinois Review would be featuring an “America First” section on the website.
In is first column under the Illinois Review masthead, Vargas took a hit at political operative Dan Proft, who failed to get any Republicans over the finish line in the Midterms.
“It’s time for the Illinois Political Consulting Class to go. They are not experts at winning races — they are experts at losing races,” Vargas wrote. “The records speak for themselves. And we are in the super minority because of it.”
If you are Donald Trump, we’d like to hear about your strategy for energizing Republicans post-Midterms. Email [email protected].
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
No official public events.
At City Hall at 10 a.m. to preside over a City Council meeting.
At Maggiano’s Banquets at noon with former Stockton, Calif., Mayor and founder of Mayors for a Guaranteed Income Michael Tubbs and University of Chicago’s Shantá R. Robinson for a City Club panel discussion on guaranteed income programs. — At Morgan MFG at 4:30 p.m. for the Chicago Innovation Awards.
— The ‘Workers’ Rights Amendment’ has passed, after more than 50 percent of all ballots cast were in favor of the question, The Associated Press projected Tuesday. The change to the Illinois Constitution — backed by unions and opposed by conservatives and business groups — guarantees the right for workers to collectively bargain. Here’s a map, courtesy of political consultant Frank Calabrese.
— Mazzochi prevails in suit against DuPage Clerk Kaczmarek over 45th District mail ballots: “In an order entered Tuesday afternoon (Nov. 15) in Wheaton, Judge James Orel of the 18th Judicial Circuit Court issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Kaczmarek ‘from using any signature on a Vote by Mail application in connection with validating signatures on the Vote by Mail ballot,’” by Pioneer Press’ Graydon Megan.
— Republican concedes race for Cook County Board, leaving party with one seat, by Tribune’s A.D. Quig
— Lightfoot’s media man on mayor’s latest ads: Eric Adelstein, the mayor’s media consultant who is a partner at Adelstein Liston Media, said the ad aims to counteract the narrative “that there’s no plan” on crime, by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt.
— Mayoral moves: Former Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to announce he’s running for mayor, joining a crowded field of challengers hoping to defeat Mayor Lori Lightfoot in the 2023 election. Watch for Quinn to announce Thursday at the Allegro Hotel.
— SPOTTED: Police torture survivor Darrell Cannon was a special guest at former Ald. Joe Moreno’s fundraiser Tuesday night at the Irish Nobleman in Chicago’s River West neighborhood. While in the City Council, Moreno successfully co-sponsored the ordinance that provided reparations to Cannon and other victims of torture at the hands of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge. Cannon was there to lend his support to Moreno’s bid to reclaim his 1st Ward City Council seat. Also spotted at the event were Ald. Tom Tunney, Ald. George Cardenas, former Ald. Joe Moore, zoning attorney Rolando Acosta and President of Chicago Tiny House Brien Cron.
— Illinois would share in $3.1B Walmart opioid settlement, by Crain’s Jon Asplund
— ‘Come Home,’ Chicago says, in bid to bring people back to city via program to develop thousands of vacant lots: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan is to spur “in-fill development” on 5,600 city-owned vacant lots in Invest South/West communities to stop Brown and Black families from leaving Chicago,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
— Analysis: Cost of Chicago legal judgments and settlements: “Despite improvements in budgeting for lawsuit costs under the Lightfoot administration, police settlements continue to exceed budgets, while other departments are not required to budget for payments,” by Better Government Association’s Geoffrey Cubbage.
— Chicago-area flu activity rises along with Covid-19 hospital admissions, top doctor says, by NBC 5’s Lauren Petty
— Field Museum employees seeking to unionize ask head of museum for recognition, by Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek
— Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez calls for ceasefire in Pilsen after three people killed in two shootings Monday, by Block Club’s Mack Liederman
— Aldermen give initial OK to $13.5M in TIF funding to rehab Save-A-Lot grocery stores, by The Daily Line’s Erin Hegarty
— OPINION:A new City Colleges-One Million Degrees partnership aims to boost graduation rates and economic mobility for thousands of students — and hopes to be a model nationwide, write Penny Pritzker, Juan Salgado and Aneesh Sohoni in Crain’s.
— Jewish graves desecrated with swastikas spark anger, tears: “There’s a lot of anger, a little bit of worry, but mostly feeling sorry for how dark that person’s heart has to be to do that.” Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout, Sophie Sherry and Emmanuel Camarillo report.
— Cook County property tax bills arrive after months of delays and finger-pointing, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone
— Selection of Lake Forest’s next mayor thrown into turmoil after caucus nomination rejected, by Pioneer Press’ Daniel I. Dorfman
— Gurnee neighbors say plans for big truck sales lot don’t fit in, are being rushed, by CBS 2’s Lauren Victory
— R. Kelly’s lawyer points to technicalities, argues singer deserves acquittal or new trial in Chicago: “Kelly is already serving a 30-year prison sentence for a racketeering conviction in New York. His time behind bars is likely to increase when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.
— Man sold fentanyl and heroin to veterans at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, complaint alleges, by Tribune’s Jordan Anderson
— Federal jury finds reputed Wicked Town gang leader, top associate guilty of racketeering and murder, by Tribune’s Jason Meisner
— Prosecutors drop another murder case handled by former Chicago Police detective Reynaldo Guevara, by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm
— Auburn man arrested in connection with fatal accident was at Jan. 6 riot, by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie
— Ivy Hall, one of Illinois’ first Black-owned dispensaries, opens in Bucktown, by Block Club’s Quinn Myers
We wondered about your longest friendship:
Lawrence Falbe: “A buddy I met in 6th grade in a gifted student summer school where we made 8mm science fiction movies and a narrated filmstrip on how to play Dungeons and Dragons.”
Mark Peysakhovich: “After a 30+ year hiatus, I recently reconnected with my best friend from high school. I didn’t realize how much I missed Mike until we started hanging out again. And his wife is even more fun! It’s a good reminder of the immeasurable value of friendship.”
What small thing gives you pleasure on a daily basis? Email [email protected]
New Governor 101 | We’ve got a primer on the 9 incoming state executives: “The newcomers will join a group of governors who are seeing their power and prominence expand,” via POLITICO.
— It’s freshman week in Congress and Illinois represents: “It was all smiles — some awkward, some not — as the incoming freshman class of the 118th Congress gathered for new member orientation in the Capitol Visitor Center,” via The Hill.
— Same-sex marriage bill picks up more Senate GOP support, by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine
— McConnell faces leadership challenge from Rick Scott as conservatives steam, by POLITICO’s Burgess Everett
— Ivanka Trump: I’m done with politics, by POLITICO’s Olivia Olander
— Today at 6 p.m.: Joe Ferguson, Chicago’s former inspector general, discusses “The Road to Structural Reform. Free, in person and via zoom. Details here
— Monday: Sen. Dick Durbin and “special guest” headline a virtual fundraiser for Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock. Details here
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Kate Arias for correctly answering that Fullerton at the Lake was a fresh air sanitarium started by the Chicago Daily News. It’s now the Theater on the Lake.
TODAY’s QUESTION: What was the name of the long-gone bar and billiard hall in Champaign that was known for its Friday fish sandwiches? Email [email protected]
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Executive Director Jim Collins, executive search exec Doug Seville, financial consultant Linda Shuman and Dayco business development manager Beth Conlon.
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November 16, 2022 at 05:43PM