The long Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and is perhaps best known in Chicago as the beginning of its long, hot season of gun violence. The morning-after news coverage typically notes that the holiday “was the most violent weekend of the year so far,” or some such thing. You’ve probably seen the polling, which shows crime isn’t the super-hot political issue it’s often portrayed to be. But don’t kid yourself. It’s still high enough on voters’ lists to make a difference, usually coming in second-place behind economic issues.

Illinois peaked at 27 U.S. House seats after the 1910 Census and subsequent reapportionment. That lasted until the 1940 Census, when Illinois dropped to 26 seats in Congress. We’ve been steadily losing ground ever since. It’s not that we lost population, it’s that other states in the West and the South grew much faster. California had just eleven congressional districts as a result of the 1910 Census. It now has 53.

Gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin has spent tens of millions of billionaire Ken Griffin’s dollars introducing himself to Republican primary voters. Yet, a recent poll taken for WGN TV by Emerson College Polling shows he’s leading Senator Darren Bailey by just four percentage points, 24-20, with nineteen percent split between the other four candidates and undecideds “leading” with 37 percent.

Almost every weekday since the beginning of February, the Richard Irvin campaign has sent at least one press release to reporters about a host of issues, from crime to taxes to corruption to former House Speaker Michael Madigan to, well, you name it. Last week, however, the Irvin campaign was conspicuously silent for 24 hours.

I’ve mentioned before that House Speaker Chris Welch has said since the day he was elected to his chamber’s top job last year that he is fully committed to protecting all of his incumbents, whether in the primary or in the general election. That wasn’t always the case with his predecessor, House Speaker Michael Madigan.

The Illinois Senate adjourned its session April 9 just after 3 o’clock in the morning. The House adjourned about three hours later, as the sun was coming up. This wasn’t the first time that the chambers worked into the wee smalls to finish their work, including a budget, and it probably won’t be the last, but it’s getting to be a bit much. Senate President Don Harmon told me afterward that, in the future, he would like to “avoid” adjourning sessions that late.

Last year’s state budget talks were dragged into the bitter fight between the Senate and the House and the governor’s office over a massive bill to regulate carbon-based power plants. As a result, the House hurriedly and angrily jammed an appropriations bill over to the Senate before it could be fully checked for accuracy. Both chambers had to return during the summer to fix the mistakes.

As you probably already know, the Democratic Governors Association recently launched a TV ad blasting Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin for claiming to be a crimefighter while having defended dangerous criminals as a defense attorney.

After the Illinois House and Senate voted to pass legislation to partially pay down the state’s unemployment insurance trust-fund debt, top Democratic leaders gathered for a Statehouse press conference to boast about their accomplishment.

The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police’s top campaign priority this spring is defeating Senator Rob Martwick (D-Chicago) in the Democratic primary. The police group is backing Chicago police detective Erin Jones, who not long ago was described as a “loyal member” of the Northwest Side GOP Club.

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