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Polling Shows a Path for Democratic Challenge to Quinn PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 26 August 2012 05:54

“We’ve got to activate the taxpayers of Illinois,” Governor Pat Quinn told reporters after his legislative special session failed to move any sort of pension reform forward. He promised to lead a “grassroots” effort to push legislators to pass a reform bill.

But will the voters actually listen to him? A recent poll conducted for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle found that 54 percent of the county’s likely voters disapprove of Quinn’s handling of the public-employee-pension issue. Just 29 percent approved.

Keep in mind: This is Cook County we’re talking about. It leans strongly Democratic. Quinn’s job-approval numbers are radically upside-down throughout the state, but 54 percent of Cook County voters still disapprove of how he’s doing his job in office. So if he’s getting this sort of pension-issue disapproval in Cook, of all places, it’s most likely a whole lot worse elsewhere.

Union State-Fair Performance Turns Back Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 19 August 2012 09:17

If you were following the news last week, you already know that hundreds of AFSCME members packed the Illinois State Fair director’s lawn last Wednesday afternoon and booed pretty much everybody who tried to speak at the annual Democratic event. The only person of consequence to escape most of the hostility was Secretary of State Jesse White (who is also exempted from the traditional fan booing of politicians at Chicago baseball games). But even White received a few boos at times.

“It is a great day to be a Democrat in Springfield, Illinois!” shouted Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, the event’s emcee, over loud catcalls. “And I am happy to be here with all of you, no matter what your point of view is," she continued, hoping to calm the angry crowd, which was far more AFSCME than Democratic.

It didn’t work.

Can GOP Successfully Make Madigan the Villain? PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 12 August 2012 09:41

The Illinois Republican Party has relentlessly bashed House Speaker Michael Madigan almost every day via press release during the past few months. Not many of those statements have been covered by the media, but the GOP is obviously hoping to make Madigan an issue in this election by blaming him for just about every problem in Illinois, even more than it did two years ago.

Madigan has also been hammered by the Chicago Tribune in a series of stories about his alleged conflicts of interest. Madigan initially dismissed the criticisms as “garbage” but eventually responded point-by-point in a letter that was mostly ignored by the media, and never addressed by the Tribune itself. The Tribune’s editorial board has led the charge against the speaker over the years, demanding his toppling as the House’s top guy.

House Republicans have tried for at least two decades to make the speaker an issue in campaigns. It’s never really succeeded, mainly because people hadn’t heard enough about Madigan to be moved by the GOP’s negative advertising.

Quinn Pushes Legislators on Pension Reform PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 05 August 2012 05:24

Governor Pat Quinn’s office flatly denies it, but it’s hard to see how last week’s big announcement about calling a special session on pension reform wasn’t at least partially related to a major Chicago TV station’s special report on the very same subject a few hours after his proclamation.

The station, WGN, broadcast a lengthy documentary called “Pension Games” during its 9 p.m. news program, then hosted a live discussion afterward on its CLTV cable-television station, along with an exclusive sit-down with Quinn. The station hyped the program for days, and Quinn took clear advantage of the public-relations opportunity to promote himself, even taking an opportunity to whack the General Assembly for cutting the schools budget after receiving a viewer call-in question about how the pension bill would impact his property taxes.

“For all of us, Mark, I want to thank you,” Quinn gushed to the program’s host, Mark Suppelsa. He most certainly wasn’t speaking for members of the General Assembly, however.

Republicans Find Themselves in a Campaign Hole PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Illinois Politics
Written by Rich Miller   
Sunday, 29 July 2012 09:24

The House and Senate Democratic leaders have once again dominated the quarterly fundraising race. The Democrats are currently sitting on almost three times the amount of cash as the Republicans.

House Speaker Michael Madigan’s three committees raised a combined $591,000 in the quarter that ended June 30. Madigan had more than $3.5 million cash on hand. Senate President John Cullerton’s two committees netted about $655,000 during the quarter. Cullerton finished with more than $2.7 million in cash and investments.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross’ two committees raised $353,000 during the quarter. Cross ended the filing period with $789,000 on hand. Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno raised just under $263,000 during the quarter but had more than $1.4 million on hand.

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