Where we’re at in Chicago mayor’s race
With help from Olivia Olander
Good Monday morning, Illinois. Rihanna’s high-rise Super Bowl performance showing off her baby bump was the ultimate reveal.
EARLY VOTING KICKS OFF TODAY at polling sites across Chicago after a few weeks of mail-in voting and two super sites allowing folks to cast their ballots for the Feb. 28 election. As of Sunday, 37,890 ballots have been turned in by mail with 41,845 total ballots cast so far. By comparison, on Feb. 10, 2019, a total of 2,452 ballots had been cast.
The Chicago mayor’s race is so fluid that every move candidates make is chewed up and spit out on social media to be criticized and over-analyzed.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot joined supporters on the West Side on Saturday along with a few notable supporters, including Alds. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) and Chris Taliaferro (29th).
The mayor took heat from some rivals for not appearing at a forum organized by Rainbow Push, but her West Side event had been planned long before the forum was pulled together.
And an investigation into Paul Vallas’ residency confirms he lives in Chicago, but he also has a home in Palos Hills in his wife’s name. Carpetbagger comparisons started popping up on Twitter. NBC 5 has details
A defensive Vallas says the attacks are a response to his having momentum in the race, reports Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
Polls, meanwhile, run the gamut though they all have Lightfoot, Vallas and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia battling to get into the April run-off with Brandon Johnson close enough to make him a wildcard in the race. Lightfoot released an internal poll showing she has the edge, and Johnson’s internal poll shows he’s making inroads.
Money is a factor: Vallas leads the pack in that regard, with the most recent help from Koch Foods billionaire Joseph Grendys, who donated $200,000.
Lightfoot’s campaign had its best fundraising week in the cycle, receiving $100,000 each from Cubs co-owner Laura Ricketts, media exec Fred Eychaner and Peak6 Investments co-founder Jenny Just, and $25,000 each from former state Sen. Heather Steans and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc., a signal that allies are coming through for the mayor when she needs it.
Organizations taking sides, too: Johnson has seen the Chicago Teachers Union double down on giving to his campaign, according to the Illinois Policy Institute. And Garcia saw a $1 million bump from an independent expenditure committee.
— Paul Vallas insists he’s a lifelong Democrat. But he’s backed by conservative donors and the FOP, the Tribune’s Gregory Pratt and Alice Yin write in a deep dive about Vallas’ politics
— Right after landing a big business deal with the CTA, businessman Elzie Higgenbottom helps Lightfoot’s reelection effort, by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos
— A city-owned bank draws skepticism, not just from the usual suspects: Candidate Paul Vallas “surprised many by endorsing an idea traditionally championed by the far left, most recently progressive rival Ja’Mal Green,” writes Crain’s Steve Daniels.
— Ghost buses, CTA budget woes, shared streets: Transportation challenges ahead for Chicago’s next mayor, by Tribune’s Sarah Freishtat, Alice Yin, A.D. Quig and Gregory Pratt
— MEDIA MATTERS: We called the Triibe’s story last week about Paul Vallas’ son being involved in a police shooting in Texas “oppo research.” The Triibe says it got the story through good-old fashioned reporting. … And the videos of mayoral candidates talking on a range of issues was the work of the Sun-Times and WBEZ.
Gov. JB Pritzker buttonholed President Joe Biden and VP Kamala Harris during a White House visit that was part of the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington, D.C.
Pritzker’s message to Biden and Harris: Chicago would be a great place for the 2024 Democratic Convention.
Pritzker also met with some Cabinet officials and schmoozed with fellow governors during a black-tie White House dinner that included a performance by Brad Paisley.
Bill signings: The governor, who returned to Illinois Sunday, announced a flurry of bills he’s signed into law.
One measure relaxes restrictions on felons changing their names: “Under the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, there is no longer a lifetime ban on name changes for people who have been convicted of identity theft, as well as for those on state registries for convictions on offenses that include murder, arson and various sex crimes,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
He also signed bills that abolish life without parole for people under 21 years of age, allow school principals to unionize in Chicago, and allow cars, vans and other first division vehicles to operate as school buses with a secretary of state permit.
If you are Fred Eychaner, we’d like to hear from you. Email [email protected].
No official public events.
At Soldier Field at 12:30 p.m. for a Chicago Football Classic 25th Anniversary event.
At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., at 9:30 a.m. CT for the launch of Counties for a Guaranteed Income.
Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]
— Why Illinois is having a hard time filling state government jobs: “A hot private-sector job market is not good for the public sector,” said Chris Goodman, associate professor of public administration at Northern Illinois University. “It’s hard for public-sector employers to compete with private-sector employers because a lot of the public-sector jobs are highly unionized, so it’s hard to increase salary demands with those regulations.” Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin reports.
— ‘Tired of being abused’: Watchdog report shows Choate patients forced to handle own excrement, by Capitol News’ Illinois Beth Hundsdorfer and Lee Enterprises Midwest’s Molly Parker
— Illinois grapples with rise in sports gambling problems as bets hit $1B a month, by Tribune’s Jake Sheridan
— New IL bill helping craft breweries ship straight to your doorstep, by WCIA’s Danny Connolly
— More controversial tweets emerge by challenger in high-profile 50th Ward race: Mueze Bawany, who called then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “some f—ing honky feminist,” hopes equal focus is given to Ald. Debra Silverstein’s record. Tribune’s Hank Sanders report.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Members of the Jewish Caucus in the Illinois General Assembly have written a letter to the Chicago Teachers Union and SEIU Healthcare, expressing “serious concern” about “the deeply offensive antisemitic social media postings of Mueze Bawany, a candidate … that you are supporting financially and politically.”
— 25th and 29th Wards: Incumbents challenged over records on public safety: “Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th) and Chris Taliaferro (29th) aren’t keeping their constituents safe, their challengers say. The data tell a more complex story,” by Sun-Times’ Michael Loria.
— 40th Ward: Lincoln Square candidates talk bike safety, crime and favorite restaurants, by Block Club’s Alex V. Hernandez
— 43rd Ward: Ald. Timmy Knudsen is out with two new ads ahead of the Feb. 28 election. The ads address public safety and property taxes. And challenger Wendi Taylor Nations has secured two big endorsements from former 43rd aldermen Michele Smith and Marty Oberman. Here’s their statement.
— $500 a month, no strings: Chicago and Cook County experiment with a guaranteed income: “For recipients, it’s a lifeline. For liberal supporters, it shows how expanding government can make a difference. For conservatives, it’s a return to wasteful welfare handouts,” by New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman.
— Victims, families and school leaders seek answers after increase in after-school shootings: “A WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows that 2022 brought a spike in fatal shootings among teens in the after-school hours in Chicago,” by Sarah Karp, Nader Issa, Ola Giwa and Matt Kiefer.
— On Chicago’s path to a casino, a major stumbling block emerges: Alden Global Capital, the New York-based parent of the Chicago Tribune, is “digging in its heels on a deal to vacate its site” to allow Bally’s to move forward, writes Crain’s Danny Ecker.
— The fight to save the limestone steps at Promontory Point has lasted more than 20 years. “Now officials say they’re onboard, but residents are wary,” by Tribune’s Ezra Maille.
— A revived push for a labor peace agreement with city nonprofits, by Illinois Answers Project’s Manny Ramos
— Police issue citations as activists attempt to enter shuttered Woodlawn school housing newly arrived immigrants: “The city’s plans to transform the shuttered James Wadsworth Elementary School into a temporary shelter for migrants seeking asylum has been met with controversy in Chicago’s Woodlawn neighborhood,” by Sun-Times’ Elvia Malagón.
— State planning to move 658 migrants to vacant Kmart on Chicago’s Southwest side, by WTTW’s Paris Schutz
— Harry Seigle donates $5M to Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s immigration clinic, by Daily Northwestern’s Fiona Roach
— Kaegi reversing Chicago’s big commercial tax value cuts: “Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi is intensifying his battle with the Board of Review, betting its new makeup is friendlier to his vision of hiking commercial property taxes. Kaegi announced Thursday evening he will reinstate higher values on more than 500 large commercial properties in Chicago that had their tax values reduced by the Board of Review, thus saving their owners from paying more in taxes,” by the Real Deal’s Rachel Herzog and Adam Farence.
— Elk Grove man sentenced to 3 years of probation, fined $1,000 for breaching U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6: “Marcos Gleffe said it was “the biggest mistake going through the door” and that he “would not do it again” if he could go back,” by Sun-Times’ Sophie Sherry.
We asked when you spotted a politico at a restaurant.
Brian Bernardoni: “Joe Biden at Capitol Grille in D.C. when he was a senator.’”
Bill Henkel: “George Dunne, a Democratic powerhouse who was Cook County Board president, at Harry Caray’s.”
Bill Hogan: “David Axelrod at Greek Islands.”
Kevin Lampe: “Al Gore at the Billy Goat.”
Ed Mazur: “Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan at Bruna’s Ristorante on South Oakley Avenue.”
Kathy Posner: “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle at Manny’s.”
What’s the one book that will never get old? Email [email protected]
— Tim Drea, president of the Illinois AFL-CIO, will play the king in “Snow White,” which is being performed by the Springfield Youth Performance Group. He’ll join daughter Lillian and son Jack, who are also in the show. “‘Snow White’ has a special place in my heart because it was Lillian’s first SYPG production as a Raccoon at age 7 and now she is Snow White,” Drea said in a release. The performance will be narrated Feb. 25 by Springfield Ward 5 Alderwoman Lakeisha Purchase and by Hospital Sisters Health System VP Catie Sheehan on Feb. 26. Tickets here
— Gov. JB Pritzker announced recipients of the Order of Lincoln: former Illinois first lady Jayne Carr Thompson, Washington Archbishop and Chicago native Wilton Gregory, former state legislator and Springfield Mayor Karen Hasara, Ariel Investments co-CEO John Rogers Jr., meteorologist Thomas Skilling III and noted state policy adviser Paula Wolff. They will be honored April 29 in the Illinois House chamber.
— FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: Congresswoman Delia Ramirez has been appointed vice chair ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee. Ramirez has said she sees the committee as a good spot to call attention to deportation issues.
— ‘A serious committee’: Lawmakers have high bipartisan hopes for China panel as tensions rise: “The China committee’s two leaders — Chair Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), and ranking member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) — are setting the tone early, identifying areas where they say they expect to find bipartisan agreement on policy and legislation,” by NBC’s Scott Wong.
— On brand: Congresswoman Mary Miller has reintroduced her Safety & Opportunity for Girls Act to counter President Joe Biden’s executive order on Title IX that forbids sex discrimination in education. Miller’s measure defines sex as biological, rather than gender identity.
— U.S. downs unidentified object over Lake Huron, third destroyed since Chinese spy balloon, via POLITICO
— College Board slams DeSantis administration comments on African American studies, by POLITICO’s Bianca Quilantan and Andrew Atterbury
— Republicans clash with prosecutors over enforcement of abortion bans, by POLITICO’s Alice Miranda Ollstein and Megan Messerly
— Lawsuit seeks white woman’s arrest in Emmett Till’s 1955 kidnapping, lynching, by The Associated Press
— Black farmers call for justice from the USDA, by NPR’s Ximena Bustillo
FRIDAY’s ANSWER: Dexter Park, once located next to the Chicago Stock Yards, was named after the racehorse Dexter who won 50 of his 55 races from 1863 to 1867. Dexter Park was a horse racing park that was also utilized as a professional baseball park by several teams and was the first home of the Chicago White Stockings and now the Chicago Cubs.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who led Germany’s Baden uprising before settling in St. Clair County and serving as colonel of the 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War? Email [email protected]
State Rep. Marcus Evans Jr., Appellate Judge Joe Birkett, Lake County Clerk Anthony Vega, Chicago Department of Business Affairs’ Chris Jessup, aldermanic candidate Jessica Gutierrez, public affairs consultant Brian Bernardoni, ITR Concession Co. general counsel Ted Gibbs, Boca Media Group President Xavier Nogueras, National Republican Senatorial Committee’s Betsy Ankney, workforce development pro Morgan Diamond and former Thornton Township board member Dolores Ryan.
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February 13, 2023 at 08:55AM