Preckwinkle makes a move

Happy Tuesday, Illinois. Buckle up. The four-week countdown to the municipal elections in Chicago and across the state will be fast and furious.

Toni Preckwinkle, the powerful Cook County Board president and head of the county Democratic Party, is endorsing Brandon Johnson for mayor.

It’s a big get for Johnson as he tries to secure establishment Democrats in the runoff race against Paul Vallas. Preckwinkle, who didn’t endorse in the first round of the election, has stayed quiet in the mayor’s race up until now.

Some history: Preckwinkle ran for mayor four years ago, famously making it to the runoff only to lose to newcomer Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Preckwinkle’s insight on how to win, or avoid losing, could be invaluable.

Vallas is out with his own endorsement: Ald. Roderick Sawyer is the first of the seven other mayoral candidates to take sides in the runoff. He’s backing Vallas. Sawyer, an establishment Democrat like Preckwinkle, is the son of the late Mayor Eugene Sawyer, the city’s second Black mayor.

First in Playbook: Vallas is out with a new ad featuring former Secretary of State Jesse White. “I’ve known Paul Vallas for 40 years, and I trust him,” says White in the 30-second spot.

By the numbers: Chicago’s municipal election broke the voting record of 2019. As of last night, 561,564 ballots were cast in the Feb. 28 election. That’s 35.51 percent of the citywide turnout (of 1,581,564 registered voters), according to the Chicago Board of Elections.

Those numbers are up from 2019, when 560,701 ballots were cast for a 35.45 percent citywide turnout. They’ll keep counting the mail-in ballots through March 14.

FIRST RUNOFF POLL: Paul Vallas leads Brandon Johnson 43.5 percent to 32.5 percent in the first independent mayoral poll heading into the runoff. More than 24 percent of voters polled were undecided. The 1983 Labs survey has a sample size of 583 registered, likely voters in Chicago. It was conducted digitally from March 2 to 6. Details here

DEBATE WEDNESDAY: Vallas and Johnson square off for the first time one-on-one during a televised forum hosted by NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago. Details here

Congressman Sean Casten is blasting a weekend gathering in Springfield of the far-right Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

The group is working to train local sheriffs in how to defy the recently passed Illinois assault weapons ban legislation. It’s led by Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff who in the 1990s sued to overturn the Brady Law. Mack also has served on the board of the Oath Keepers, which has been linked to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

“To invite a known Oath Keeper … to discuss strategies for how to best ignore the laws of Illinois not only shows a complete disregard for American democracy, but also actively endangers the communities the sheriffs are sworn to protect,” Casten said in a statement.

Tensions will continue: The new Illinois gun law that bans the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines is being challenged in court and could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you are President Toni Preckwinkle, Playbook would like to know what you would have done differently in 2019. Email [email protected].

No official public events.

At Navy Pier at 9:30 a.m. for the 2023 Chicago Police Department graduation ceremony.

On Evans Avenue at 10:30 a.m. to discuss the Cook County Land Bank Authority’s plan to build 10 three-flat buildings on vacant lots.

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

— BUSINESS OF POLITICS: State Rep. Celina Villanueva, Cook County Commissioner Alma Anaya and Chicago Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez have registered domain names for congressional runs.

High prices and gaps in availability highlight a patchwork child care system in Illinois: “In order for Illinois to begin improving child care accessibility, the state needs to expand the number of seats at existing centers and preschools and also build new ones. But to do that, the industry needs adequate staff to be able to run them,” reports Capitol News’ Andrew Adams.

State witness protection program finally gets millions in funding, but has yet to get off the ground, by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner

Full-day kindergarten bill passes committee, amendment in the works, by State Journal-Register’s Patrick Keck

State Sen. Turner pushes a plan that could lead to a new state flag, by NPR’s Sean Crawford

Pritzker touts $70M plan for addressing teacher shortage, by Capitol News’ Nika Schoonover

Decatur’s 40-year legacy of license plate manufacturing gets Giannoulias blessing: “The plates are produced by Macon Resources, Inc., a Decatur social service agency that provides services to people with mental, physical and developmental disabilities,” by Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore.

Nearly 1.3M Illinois Facebook users getting a second check from last year’s $650M biometric privacy settlement, by Tribune’s Robert Channick

After leaked report on smokestack demolition, Little Village residents feel invisible, many skip voting: “Little Village residents say they feel invisible, and that translated to the polls where the 22nd Ward recorded a 23 percent voter turnout as of March 1, one of the lowest in the city,” by Tribune’s Karina Atkins.

— NAIL-BITERS: Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) are still on the bubble to determine if they’re heading into a runoff. Ballots are still trickling in, but so far La Spata has 50.1 percent of the vote and Taliaferro has 50.27. Candidates need 50 percent plus 1 vote to avoid a runoff. Votes will be counted through March 14. “I’m feeling encouraged,” La Spata told the Sun-Times.

— Chicago City Council’s left- and right-leaning caucuses did well in the election: “The division in the new City Council will be most stark between the progressive group and the conservative Democrats,” Dick Simpson tells Block Club. “It’ll become more polarized.”

— 30th Ward: Candidate Ruth Cruz has been endorsed by former opponent Juan Pablo Prieto heading into the runoff. Cruz faces Jessica Gutierrez.

— 43rd Ward: State Sen. Sara Feigenholtz is endorsing Ald. Timmy Knudsen in the runoff against Brian Comer.

— 45th Ward: Ald. Jim Gardner appears headed into a runoff against Megan Mathias. Gardiner has 48.02 percent.

— 46th Ward: Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia is endorsing Kim Walz in her runoff against Angela Clay.

Indicted Ald. Carrie Austin gets head start on political retirement:Austin retired effective March 1. Mayor Lori Lightfoot can appoint a two-month caretaker for her old 34th Ward boundaries or the Far South Side or leave the ward without an alderperson,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

Under pressure from city’s watchdog, CPD reopens probe of cop who wore extremist symbol during racial justice protest: “This marks at least the third time Chicago’s inspector general has pressed the police department to take a closer look at an officer’s far-right links,” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba.

Construction to resume on Rockford airport expansion, despite endangered bee: “The Federal Aviation Administration has given the project its go-ahead. Conservationists say their fight is not over,” by Zachary Nauth for WBEZ.

Questions loom as Lake County considers Forest Preserve land sale to Waukegan Airport, by WTTW’s Patty Wetli

Bolingbrook manufacturing plant accused of using child labor: ‘Unacceptable,’ reports Fox 32’s Joanie Lum

First Black woman to lead NEIU accuses board of discrimination and ethics violations: “University President Gloria Gibson said board members tried to fire her after one of them sought favorable treatment for his wife,” by WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos.

We asked what restaurant copycat recipe you’ve tried.

— Lisa Schneider Fabes: The Whole Foods detox salad.

— Jerry Harrison has “mastered” the grilled chicken Caesar’s pasta salad from Cheddar’s.

— John Howell has “tried repeatedly to replicate Heaven on Seven’s gumbo, but no luck … yet.”

— John Straus: Spinning Bowl salad from Don Roth’s Blackhawk restaurant.

What question would you ask in Wednesday’s mayoral debate? Email [email protected]

— Scott Simon of NPR recently received the 2022 W.M. Kiplinger Award for distinguished contributions to journalism. In his acceptance speech, the Illinois native said this of Chicago: “There is no better place for a reporter to learn about courts, crime, human drama, ethnic strife, race, greatness, art, comedy, loss, life, politics and the music of the soul.”

— Derek Wise will serve as a member of the Western Illinois University Board of Trustees. After a 30-year career in public safety, he retired in 2022 from the Illinois State Police as the Southern Patrol region commander.

The ‘Wild West of Weed’ faces its toughest test: “Oklahoma is so swamped with marijuana — legal and otherwise — that voters might just say no to further legalization,” by POLITICO’s Paul Demko.

New York Republicans go to all-out war against Santos, by POLITICO’s Olivia Beavers

Mastriano, unchastened, says he is weighing a Senate run, by POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein

Interstate voter list organization starts to crack as Florida, other GOP states quit, by POLITICO’s Zach Montellaro and Gary Fineout

Never Trumpers rally in D.C., trying to find hope and a plan amid despair, by POLITICO’s Ally Mutnick

U.S. Appeals Court refuses to order FAA to stop shrinking seats on planes, via Forbes

California governor says state won’t do business with Walgreens over position on abortion pill, via CNBC

— Debra Bogo-Ernst has joined Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s Chicago office. Bogo-Ernst is chair of the law firm’s class-action litigation practice and a litigation partner. She is a former Mayer Brown Chicago office managing partner and co-lead of that firm’s consumer and class action practice. Her arrival brings Willkie Chicago’s lawyer headcount to 75.

— Jonathan J. McGee has joined Baker Tilly U.S. as a senior consultant in the public sector advisory practice. He was director for the office of business and workforce diversity at the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Founder of the legendary Mr. Beef Italian beef stand has died: “Joe Zucchero opened the beef stand in 1979 in River North and it inspired ‘The Bear,’” by Eater’s Ashok Selvam.

Dave Wills, Tampa Bay Rays and former White Sox announcer, dies at 58, by Sun-Times’ Jeff Agrest

— Saturday: A mayoral forum is sponsored by the Chicago Women Take Action Alliance. Details here

MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to James Cavallero for correctly answering that Hazel Johnson was known as the “mother of environmental justice,” having founded People for Community Recovery in 1979 and for her work in the Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens community.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Which Chicago mayor was part of the first transcontinental railroad? Email [email protected]

Former state Sen. Tim Bivins, C Strategies CEO Becky Carroll, Kivvit Managing Director Judy Erwin, property developer George Kalogeras, Growth Beverage Chair Brian Rosen, strategic communications expert Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Chicago Reporter Executive Editor Hugo Balta and Bloomberg editor Lydia Mulvany.



via Illinois Playbook

March 7, 2023 at 07:19AM

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