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Allegations Against Treasurer Might Be the Tip of the Iceberg PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 09 February 2014 05:41

One of the reasons people near Treasurer Dan Rutherford are so nervous these days is because of the possibility that other employees might come out of the woodwork with even more allegations.

As I write this, the publicly revealed facts are still quite thin. A now-former employee of Rutherford has claimed, without producing any hard evidence as of this writing, that he was sexually harassed and told to do political fundraising work. Rutherford has flatly denied the allegations, claiming they are politically motivated and part of a shakedown attempt that’s being pushed by Bruce Rauner, his Republican-gubernatorial-primary opponent. The former employee, Rutherford claims, demanded $300,000 through his attorney to remain quiet. Rauner has denied any involvement.

The treasurer’s office has negotiated two previous severance agreements, a fact that the accuser’s lawyer alluded to last week when she told WLS Radio’s Dan Proft: “Their standard MO is to work out standard severance agreements. That’s what they do, and they’ve been doing that the last two or three years with employees.”

 
TV Assault Takes a Toll on Quinn PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 15:12

Without a doubt, the most overlooked aspect of Bruce Rauner’s multi-million-dollar TV-ad buy has been his advertising campaign’s repeated attacks on Governor Pat Quinn.

“Career politicians are running our state into the ground, and Pat Quinn, he’s at the top of the heap,” Rauner says in one of his ads that have permeated the airwaves since November. “Pat Quinn, a career politician who failed to deliver term limits,” a Rauner TV announcer declares in another spot.

The millions of dollars worth of ads are supposedly aimed at Republican-primary voters, but obviously everybody else in the state is seeing them, as well. And Quinn, who doesn’t have a well-funded primary opponent, hasn’t bothered to rebut any of Rauner’s multiple attacks. Considering Illinois’ persistently high unemployment rates, the hostile national climate, the never-ending negative stories about the state’s finances, and Quinn’s four-year history of low job-performance scores, the governor’s silence seems like a big mistake.

And if a new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll is accurate, Rauner’s months-long, unrebutted attacks have indeed helped knock Quinn into a shockingly deep hole.

 
Topinka Works Hard for Union Endorsement PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 26 January 2014 18:04

I don’t think I’ve seen a Republican – or a candidate of any stripe – work as hard for an AFL-CIO endorsement than Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka did.

She assiduously courted the unions who represent workers in her office, worked to help the Teamsters pass a bill important to the union that jabbed at a non-union cemetery owner (the comptroller’s office regulates some cemeteries), built strong relationships with some labor-union leaders and attended tons of their events, and even endorsed the union-backed pension reform bill.

In other words, she went above and beyond her Democratic rival Sheila Simon (presently the lieutenant governor) on pretty much all counts. The Simon family has long enjoyed union support. Except for his successful U.S. Senate primary bid in 1984, union leaders and members almost always backed her father Paul.

 
Rauner’s Monopoly on the Airwaves Has Him Sitting Pretty PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 January 2014 05:48

A solid week of horribly negative media coverage of Bruce Rauner was apparently outweighed by lots and lots of television ads, because his numbers are still rising.

A new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll found that Rauner’s lead increased since late November in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

The poll of 1,139 likely Republican-primary voters taken January 14 found Rauner getting 34 percent of the vote, with state Senator Bill Brady at 17 percent, Treasurer Dan Rutherford at 15 percent, and state Senator Kirk Dillard bringing up the rear at 9 percent.

A We Ask America poll taken November 26 – after Rauner launched his holiday-season TV-ad blitz – showed Rauner with 26 percent, Brady with 18 percent, Rutherford with 17 percent, and Dillard with 10 percent. Those numbers echoed a Public Policy Polling survey taken just days before, which had Rauner leading with 24 percent.

So, essentially, the rest of the pack hasn’t moved at all, while Rauner has added eight points to his lead. Last week’s poll had a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

 
Minimum Wage Trips Up a Pair of GOP Hopefuls PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 12 January 2014 20:52

If Bruce Rauner manages to successfully back away from his recently unearthed statement from December that he favored reducing the state’s minimum wage by a dollar an hour, he will have dodged a very serious political bullet.

According to a new Capitol Fax/We Ask America poll, the idea is absolutely hated in Illinois. Asked if they would be “more likely or less likely to vote for a gubernatorial candidate who supports lowering the state’s minimum wage to the national rate of $7.25 an hour,” a whopping 79 percent said they’d be less likely. That’s definitely a result that could move actual votes on Election Day, particularly in the context of the messenger – a hugely wealthy political unknown whose advertising campaign is trying hard to turn him into a “regular guy.”

Women were 84 percent less likely and men were 73 percent less likely to vote for a candidate who wanted to lower the minimum wage by a buck an hour, according to the poll taken January 8 of 1,135 likely voters with a margin of error of 3.1 percent. Democrats were 90 percent less likely, while independents were 77 percent less likely, and even Republicans were 63 percent less likely to vote for such a candidate.

 
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