If you want to see how Governor Bruce Rauner's mind works, you should skim through the vast trove of e-mails from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's private account that a Better Government Association lawsuit finally forced into public view last week. 

“This will be the most expensive race of our lifetime,” a Republican friend assured me last week about the apparently-already-begun 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

If Democratic billionaire J.B. Pritzker pulls the trigger and decides to run, we can expect that significant campaign spending could begin as early as next month – on both sides. And if last week is any indication, this is gonna be one nasty contest.

Top folks in the governor’s office said they didn’t quite understand last week why the Senate Democrats and the spokesperson for House Speaker Michael Madigan were so upset with them about canceling last Thursday’s leaders meeting to discuss ending the long Statehouse impasse and finishing up a budget.

As Senate President John Cullerton sees it, Governor Bruce Rauner “needed an excuse” to veto a bill last week that would’ve given the Chicago Public Schools $215 million for its June 30 pension payment. And Cullerton believes he turned out to be that excuse.

On election night, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan started making his usual post-election calls to his Democratic members asking for their support for his re-election as speaker. But at least a couple said they’d like to sit down with him before providing a firm answer.

There’s been a lot of spin from the Illinois House Democrats about how Tuesday’s losses were not that big a deal. Don’t believe it.

The innocuous-looking mailer began arriving November 2.

During any given campaign season, one or maybe two state-legislative campaigns wind up running ads on Chicago broadcast-television stations. But in the age of Governor Bruce Rauner’s gigantic campaign contributions, it may be easier to count the number of Chicago-area candidates who aren’t running any city broadcast ads.

Democratic House candidate John Bartman was appointed to the ballot in July when Representative Jack Franks (D-Marengo) dropped out of the race to run for McHenry County Board chair. Bartman is not getting help from the House Democrats, who appear to have all but conceded.

Presidential candidates set the turnout. That’s the race voters care about the most by far, so everybody else who’s running down-ballot essentially has to work within the structure of that year’s presidential-turnout numbers.

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