‘Feels very Rahm Emanuel-ish’
Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. It’s two weeks to Election Day!
Paul Vallas is emulating former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the money race for Chicago mayor, raising millions from the business community, while rival Brandon Johnson is relying primarily on union monies to fuel his campaign.
By the numbers: Vallas has raised $11.1 million in his bid for mayor, and Johnson has raised $7.1 million.
“It feels very Rahm Emanuel-ish,” political fundraiser Trisha Rooney told Playbook about Vallas’ fundraising. “It’s that same kind of energy. People are giving anything they can, whether it’s $500 or $100,000.”
Rooney should know. She was a fundraiser for former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Emanuel, who famously worked the phones to raise money, whether it was for his mayoral or previous congressional campaign or for Barack Obama, for whom he worked as chief of staff.
Vallas isn’t afraid to make phone calls either, Rooney said. “He will call anyone, and then he wants to tell them his plans.”
Breaking it down: Vallas has received contributions from hundreds of individual donors, including high-profile business names such as Craig Duchossois ($510,000), Don Wilson ($350,000) and Joseph Grendys ($200,000). Last week, Vallas headlined two big fundraisers — one at Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse that raised $650,000 and another at Joe Perillo’s Bentley Gold Coast showroom, where $350,000 was raised.
Union label: Johnson’s money has come from the Chicago Teachers Union ($2.5 million), the American Federation of Teachers ($1.7 million), SEIU Healthcare and various SEIU organizations, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers. The CTU even approved a plan to apportion $8 from each union member’s monthly dues to PACs for him.
High-stakes weeks: Vallas and Johnson are still a long way from Emanuel’s $24 million effort in 2015, though they’ve passed the $7 million Mayor Lori Lightfoot raised in 2019.
Vallas could get close. He has 37 more fundraisers — breakfasts, lunches and evening events — before the April 4 runoff election.
There’s dark money, too: A new independent super PAC created to support Vallas received an infusion of $320,000 last week. A super PAC whose donors are anonymous, it was formed by Greg Goldner, founder and manager of ReAsolute Public Affairs, according to Crain’s Justin Laurence, who first had the story.
BIG ENDORSEMENTS: Former Congressman Bobby Rush is endorsing Paul Vallas, and Al Sharpton is heading to town to endorse Brandon Johnson, per NBC’s Natasha Korecki. Also, Ald. Jason Ervin, head of the City Council’s Black Caucus is endorsing Johnson. Context: Black voters who endorsed Mayor Lori Lightfoot and others during the first round of the mayor’s race will be a deciding factor in who wins April 4 — and Vallas and Johnson are pulling out all the stops to win their support.
4 business groups, including Chicagoland Chamber, back Vallas, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman
City’s chief labor negotiator reportedly sacked after interview gushing about Vallas: “Neither the city’s longtime negotiator, Jim Franczek, nor Mayor Lori Lightfoot commented on the situation,” reports Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.
Hundreds show up for Monday night forum that shows stark differences between Vallas, Johnson on schools, crime, by ABC 7’s Craig Wall and Liz Nagy
Vallas and Johnson address 7 key issues, by Block Club’s Quinn Myers
Tensions are rising in the labor community after Stacy Davis Gates, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, made an eyebrow raising comment during an interview with Olivia Olander of POLITICO’s Weekly Shift.
Gates was making the case that the CTU, SEIU and SEIU Healthcare are unions with mostly Black and women members who endorse Brandon Johnson for mayor. Gates said they’re not just “white guys in hard hats.”
Taking offense: “There is no room in the labor movement or politics for divisive statements like Stacy’s,” Mike Macellaio, president of the Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council, said in a statement to Playbook. “The building trades are a diverse group of highly skilled men and women of every race, color and creed.”
And Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor is also concerned. “The labor movement fights every day to provide pay and opportunity to members. But we have to make sure that we can disagree with each other without getting to a point where it divides us — because the labor movement has to endure.”
Staying neutral: Neither the CFL nor the trades council have endorsed anyone in the mayor’s race.
Gates responds: “I truly don’t understand the response to my comment. And, I think we are saying the same thing: Labor is diverse, and its leadership is diverse, too. It is important especially for women during Women’s History Month to know they are represented at the highest levels of union leadership,” Gates said in a statement.
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Some opposition: Pastors have written to lawmakers saying the bill goes against reform efforts that address disproportionately impacted communities of color. Letter here
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COOK COUNTY AND COLLARS
— A commission created to investigate police torture more than a decade ago under scrutiny: Special prosecutors acting on behalf of Cook County are challenging it: There are concerns of conflict of interest and cases “costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars while straying from their objective,” reports Tribune’s Madeline Buckley.
— How an out-of-state pot firm used a shooting victim in a bid to score social equity licenses in Illinois: “Edna Peterson was searching for a job on Craigslist earlier this year and came across an offer that sounded too good to be true: ‘Interested in a quick $2,000?’” by Sun-Times’ Tom Schuba and David Struett.
We asked if it’s OK for lawmakers to vote on legislation remotely.
Holly Ambuehl: “Only as long as they fully allow and support remote testimony to enhance public accessibility as well.”
Eric DeBellis: “Yes. It allows less time where all the lobbyists are and more time where their constituents and families are — and less time commuting.”
Graham Grady: “Yes, but with limitations such as illness, severe weather, or meetings called on an emergency basis. There is value associated with being together — whether in agreement or in opposition. Government needs to be a collaborative effort.”
Ed Mazur: “No. The electorate deserves to see them raise their hands, vote aye or nay and face their voters.”
Patricia Ann Watson: “Absolutely! No need to treat legislating as if we are in the Pony Express, telegraph and the back-slapping, cigar-smoking days.”
When did you call a state legislator’s office? Email [email protected]
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MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Bryce Harris for correctly answering that Gov. Jim Thompson used a blackjack table as a desk when he signed the Riverboat Gaming Act into law in 1990.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Why did James “Big Jim” Kennally try to steal the body of Abraham Lincoln? Email [email protected]
Illinois Board of Higher Education Chair John Atkinson, former Lt. Gov and past Boise State University President Bob Kustra, Legislative Black Caucus Foundation Executive Director Tiffany Hightower, longtime Southern Illinois political operative Dennis Johnson, JLL Technologies’ Mirela Krawczyk and Abbot editorial content senior manager and former Tribune business editor Mike Kellams.
March 21, 2023 at 07:48AM