I was a bit flabbergasted to see last week that Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin told a blatant falsehood on a southern Illinois radio station. But what came after that helps us see how the Republican primary will play out for the next four-and-a-half months.

I think by now you can see why Governor JB Pritzker’s campaign spent so much money over the past month or so on TV and digital ads touting the state’s improved fiscal position.

I’ve been fascinated by election petition-gathering season this year because of the adjusted primary schedule, the crazy omicron variant, and the prevailing fear of crime, not to mention the awful weather. Petition season was always during the fall. But because the primary was moved to June 28, petition-circulators now have to get out there in the dead of winter, during the omicron and crime surges.

Richard Irvin is a Republican. Period. Irvin might not be enough of a Republican for the purists. And Democrats might want to weaken Irvin in the Republican primary for governor by pointing to some of the nice things he’s said about Democrats (including the governor) over the years. But Richard Irvin is still a Republican.

House Speaker Chris Welch marked his one-year anniversary as his chamber’s top leader with a series of news media interviews last week. One of the questions I asked was what his legislative district’s constituents were talking to him about the most. “The number-one issue in my district, and this is across the state, is crime,” Speaker Welch said.

The Illinois Senate’s COVID-mitigation protocols (testing, masks, and limited remote-voting) didn’t anticipate a partisan attempt to use a record-breaking virus-surge to shut the chamber down, but that’s what almost happened last week.

Matt Chapman, a self-described data nerd who runs a not-for-profit group called “Free Our Data,” recently filed Freedom of Information Act requests with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. He wanted everything received by the Chicago Tribune this year via their FOIA requests.

Just a couple of months ago, more than 50,000 electronic witness-slips were filed in opposition to a proposed legislative change to the state’s Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

One of the things that I most certainly did not have on my 2021 legislative Bingo card last January was that an Oak Park liberal Democratic Senate President and the state’s first Black House Speaker would be fighting multiple legal claims that their new state legislative district maps deprive protected minorities of their constitutional rights.

Some Illinois House Democrats got a bit of a shock during a private caucus meeting held not long after the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) filed its proposed redistricting plan with a federal three-judge panel the other day.