Darren Bailey on why he lost

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With help from Olivia Olander

Happy December, Illinois. Cheers to the folks at Chicago’s Union Station for going all out with this year’s holiday tree. It’s magnificent.

SPRINGFIELD. Ill. — Republican Darren Bailey, who lost his bid for governor last month, plans to stay involved in getting conservatives elected to school boards and other municipal offices, and he’s leaving open the possibility of running again.

“I am going to turn that over to God to see what doors he opens,” Bailey told Playbook during a break at the state Capitol, where he’s a state senator. Bailey talked about his loss in the governor’s race and the role that abortion, Donald Trump and a lack of funding played in the outcome.

The money problem: Bailey expressed frustration that he couldn’t counter attack ads aimed at him. “The lack of me being able to acquire the funds to get my message out was an issue,” he said. “I’d meet face to face with anyone to have the conversation of what divides us and what we can do to work together on issues that will unite us. But Governor Pritzker was able to paint me as someone that I’m not and that was powerful.”

About abortion: Not having the funds to explain his abortion views or how they might affect the state, or not, was also frustrating. “I’m pro-life, but I needed to get the message out” that Illinois wouldn’t see a change in abortion laws. Bailey explained that in interviews, but it didn’t resonate because he didn’t have the funding “to get the message out.”

The Trump factor: “You either love Trump, or you hate him. I think that’s it. And here in Illinois, there does happen to be that divide. I don’t let it frustrate me," Bailey said. "I see the accomplishments that President Trump brought far outweighing his mean tweets.”

On the Illinois GOP’s divisions between conservative and moderate views, Bailey said he wishes the party would unite around conservatism — even in wake of losses in the midterms that favored moderates. He acknowledges, however, that the party needs to find a unified message on certain issues, including abortion.

Mailing it in: And though Bailey didn’t vote for legislation to make mail-in voting a law, he did say that he’d like to see Republicans work harder to get voters to send in their ballots.

“That’s why the Democrats won,” Bailey said, acknowledging his campaign spent $300,000 on a mail-in ballot effort. “But it wasn’t enough.”

State Sen. Robert Peters filed the long-awaited amendment to the SAFE-T Act criminal-justice reform law that’s set to go into effect Jan. 1.

The 308-page amendment, called a trailer bill, clarifies language in the law that became a point of contention during the midterms. Peters says his new bill clarifies the law’s language.

“I believe that this is a really good trailer bill,” Peters told reporters Wednesday.

Much of the criticism about the law is focused on ending the cash bail system. The trailer bill clarifies the transition process “by giving prosecutors more time to prepare for hearings where they can argue for detaining a defendant,” report Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Dan Petrella.

State Sen. Scott Bennett, a former prosecutor who a few months ago proposed changes to the SAFE-T Act, has now signed on to the trailer.

Lawmakers are expected to take up the bill today before they adjourn, and Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch have both said they expect the bill will pass and be signed by the governor before Jan. 1.

What’s next: State lawmakers will return to Springfield Jan. 4 for a lame duck session where they’ll take up a measure to ban the sale of assault weapons. Key language in the measure, which is expected to be filed today, was provided to the Sun-Times in its scoop about the bill. “It really can’t wait,” state Rep. Bob Morgan, who was at the Highland Park July 4th parade when seven people were gunned down, told Sun-Times’  Tina Sfondeles and Frank Main.

Also still on lawmakers’ plate is the plan to use state revenues to pay down $1.36 billion in debt taken on by the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund during the pandemic.

As we mentioned Wednesday, this would be a supplemental budget that might prompt lawmakers to try to tack on additional goodies. But Republicans are saying they won’t be on board unless the measure is strictly focused on paying off unemployment debt. That will be fine with Pritzker. He wants the measure to have bipartisan support and doesn’t need the drama of add-ons.

If you’re Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy, Playbook would like to hear from you about how your party can unite. Email skapos@politico.com.

At the White House to attend a state dinner in honor of French President Emmanuel Macron.

No official public events. 

At the Bilandic building at 10 a.m. for the swearing-in of First Appellate Court Justice Joy V. Cunningham as a new Illinois Supreme Justice.

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

Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Anne Burke reflects on her career on last day: “Burke has been on the Illinois Supreme Court for 16 years, the last three as Chief,” reports ABC 7’s Leah Hope

Rep. Cheri Bustos prepares for life after Congress: “She is knitting together what comes next. For one thing, she expects to serve as one of four co-chairs for the Council for Responsible Social Media,” by Rockford Register Star’s Jeff Kolkey.

— MK Pritzker, the first lady of Illinois, is speaking on a “Women’s Voices in Health” panel moderated by Chelsea Clinton on Friday. Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, is also on the panel. The Clinton Foundation is sponsoring the event. Details here

— Paul Vallas’ campaign for mayor received $100,000 from Gerald Beeson, the COO of Citadel, and $50,000 from Pete’s Fresh Market’s Peter Liarikos.

As Mayor Lori Lightfoot runs again, a look at who’s backing her and who’s looking elsewhere, by WBEZ’ Mariah Woelfel

Chicago’s youngest mayoral hopeful, Ja’Mal Green, wants cops, not taxpayers, to pay for police misconduct, by Block Club’s Jamie Nesbitt Golden

122 candidates will compete for 66 seats on Chicago’s new police district councils, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Lightfoot administration pushing TIF renewals to funnel billions in tax dollars into hot neighborhoods: “The mayor campaigned on reining in tax-increment financing and has in some instances but is continuing the controversial practice in some affluent areas that critics say don’t need them,” by Illinois Answers Project’s Alex Nitkin.

Lopez wants Ethics Board, IG to investigate Fire owner’s $25K contribution to Lightfoot, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

— RELATED: Chicagoans with disabilities inflamed over Chicago Fire’s West Side deal, by Sun-Times’ Michael Loria

— Chicago awarded another $40M in grants to 60 businesses and nonprofits as part of the Chicago Recovery Plan, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday. It was the third and final round of such allocations for pandemic relief, which previously totaled $83 million.

The journey of a Central American asylum seeker: “A South Chicago nursing student tells the story of her family’s trek through Central America, Border Patrol facilities and the U.S. asylum system,” by Monet Thornton in South Side Weekly.

Transgender activist LaSaia Wade fired by her South Side LGBTQ center amid allegations of ‘questionable’ spending, by Tribune’s Nara Schoenberg

— Commentary: Chicago program aims to reduce substance abuse — without punishment, by University of Chicago Crime Lab’s Ashna Arora and Vanderbilt University Panka Bencsik via the Tribune

— COOK COUNTY TAX BILLS: Second-installment tax bills will be hitting mailboxes by the end of the week with a due date of Dec. 30. And the Treasurer’s Office says it’s already collected more than $320 million. (What a feeling to get bills paid ahead of the holidays.) More than 50,000 taxpayers have already paid online, according to the Treasurer’s office.

New property tax increases hit Hispanic wards hardest in Chicago: “On the Lower West Side, property owners saw their median tax bill more than double, from $2,275 to $7,239, according to the analysis. In Avondale, another heavily Hispanic neighborhood, the median tax bill went up 27 percent,” by Sun-Times’ David Struett.

4 things driving up Chicago property tax bills, by Tribune’s A.D. Quig

Lake County filing petitions to keep violent criminals locked up after SAFE-T Act goes into effect, by Fox 32’s Elizabeth Matthews

— WATCH WHERE YOU PARK: Chicago winter parking ban takes effect today, via WTTW’s Patty Wetli

Metra riders closely watching rail strike actions that could affect their service, by ABC 7’s Craig Wall

Illinois weed workers are unionizing at a record pace: “But the path to contracts may be long,” writes Zachary Nauth for WBEZ.

Neighbors vow to fight proposed Black-owned South Loop dispensary, by Block Club’s Jamie Nesbitt Golden

Chicago man charged in Jan. 6 riot, accused of ramming Capitol doors: “The feds say James ‘Mac’ McNamara was given the online moniker #RailMixer,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

Another suburban Chicago resident gets 18 months probation for Jan. 6 role:Before she was sentenced Wednesday, Dawn Frankowski told the judge she got caught up in the moment but said, “I’m an adult. I take full responsibility for what I have done, for my bad choice,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

After state House Democrats voted unanimously to keep Emanuel “Chris” Welch as speaker, they gathered at Chesapeake Seafood House in Springfield for the annual “Marty Party,” a let-your-hair-down bash put on by state Rep. Marty Moylan, lobbyist and former state Sen. Dave Sullivan and lobbyist Marc Poulos. The event celebrates lawmakers joining the General Assembly and leaving. Welch stood with the “newbies” in attendance, and Moylan did a shout-out to lawmakers who won’t be returning in January.

We spotted state Rep. and Democratic Party chair Lisa Hernandez, state Reps. Camille Lilly, Anthony DeLuca, Theresa Mah, Michelle Mussman, Sue Scherer former congressional candidate and now lobbyist LitesaWallace, Local 399’s John Hanley, former lawmakers Lou Lang and Joe Berrios, government affairs leader Omari Prince and lobbyists Josh Witkowski and Dan Johnson. Latino Caucus members arrived late after electing their leaders. Staffers for the governor’s office and numerous lawmakers were there, too. And that’s to name a few. It was crowded.

We asked what you do when visiting Springfield:

Ted Cox: “A horseshoe at Obed & Isaac’s and a corn dog at Cozy Dog.”

Mike Gascoigne: “Between January and March, the Molly Schlich Film Festival by the Springfield Art Association.”

Bryce C. Harris, Universal Gaming Group: “I try to stop for a donut and a coffee at Mel-O-Cream, a horseshoe for lunch, and a few pints along with the pork chop that used to be on the menu at Obed & Isaac’s.”

Ashvin Lad: “Visit my parents and get a Mel-O-Cream donut and D’arcy’s Pint horseshoe.”

Joseph Monack: “White Oaks Mall and Five Star Liquor.”

Michael Stokke: “Magic Kitchen for Thai food.”

Chirayu Patel: "Tour the Lincoln House & Museum."

Franklin Ramirez: “I have to stop by the Capitol gallery to watch the action. It’s the greatest live drama outside of All My Children.”

Claude Walker: “I go to the rail at the Capitol and gaze straight up through the hypnotic shafts of light to the dome. Later, it’s a late-night slice at Gallina’s.”

What’s your mom’s signature dish? Email skapos@politico.com

Gov. JB Pritzker is headed to Washington, D.C., for the White House state dinner for French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.

— The menu features butter poached Maine lobster, though we’re most interested in the cheese spread that includes Deer Creek Cheddar Cheese “from a small family run creamery in Sheboygan, Wis.” Here’s the full menu.

Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet has behind-the-scenes details on the event.

Biden world once ignored Marjorie Taylor Greene. Now it’s making her the face of the GOP, by POLITICO’s Eugene Daniels and Jonathan Lemire

Friends to the left of him, critics to the right: McCarthy’s stuck in the chase, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers and Jordain Carney

Never mind, Musk says — accusation against Apple was a ‘misunderstanding,’ by POLITICO staff

— Vashon Jordan Jr. is now director of digital media and photography in Gov. JB Pritzker’s office. Jordan has spent the past 14 months as the photographer on the governor’s reelection campaign.

— Samantha Chatman is now weekend morning anchor at ABC7. She has been a consumer investigative reporter. Chatman will anchor the weekend morning newscasts with Mark Rivera effective immediately while continuing to cover consumer stories for the station.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Matthew Beaudet, Robert Christie and Jon Maxson for correctly answering that the First Congressional Baptist Church served as a temporary City Hall after the 1871 fire.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which national political convention held in Illinois saw the nomination of a person of color? Email skapos@politico.com 

2nd Ward Democratic Committeeman Tim Egan, civic leader and auctioneer Leslie Hindman, political fundraiser and connector Sugar Rautbord, attorney and civic leader Manny Sanchez, Major League Baseball counsel Daniel Egel-Weiss and Playbooker and trivia maven Gail Purkey.

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December 1, 2022 at 07:24AM

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