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Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
By Jamey Dunn
FutureGen, a “clean” coal plant proposed for construction in Mattoon, got backing today from an Illinois utility company. Exelon, based in Chicago, has joined the group of investors, known as the FutureGen alliance, that support the project.
As originally proposed the plant would use a first-of-its kind combination of technology to capture carbon emissions created from burning coal and trap them underground. (For more information on clean coal and FutureGen see Illinois Issues May 2009.)
The project stalled in January 2008, when former President George Bush’s administration pulled support because of concerns about growing costs and increasing risks to taxpayers. A federal report by the Government Accountability Office, however, later indicated that accounting errors overestimated the cost by $500 million.
“People were upset. Upset that we went through five years of competition for this coal research project and they pulled the rug out from under us as soon as Illinois won,” U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said at a Chicago news conference.
The project awaits approval of more than $1 billion in stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy. Including the cost of materials, recent estimates have said the total price could exceed $2 billion. The feds asked the alliance to find cost savings to reduce that price and more private investors to back the plan. Durbin said that is why support from Exelon helps the plant’s chances for moving forward.
“Exelon — in joining the FutureGen alliance — not only brings more credibility to the project, more resources to the project, they bring their expertise to the project and move us closer to approval,” Durbin said.
Two investors, Electric Power Co. and Southern Co, dropped out of the project last year, citing concerns over rising costs. With Exelon on board, the alliance is up to 10 members.
The goal of the plant is to capture 90 percent of the carbon emissions by the third year of a five-year test period, according to the Department of Energy.
“We can’t ignore the scientific consensus that suggests that we have to find a way to control carbon emissions if we are to move forward in combating global warming and climate change,” said Doyle Beneby, senior vice president of Exelon Power. “It’s clear that we need to do everything we can as an industry to make sure that coal continues to become part of the energy mix here and part of the mix in a low carbon future.”
A decision from the DOE is expected in February. Check back for further details.
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Friday, January 29, 2010
NORMAL, Ill. - Gov. Pat Quinn celebrated his one-year anniversary as Illinois' chief executive by flying around the state touting the White House's decision to turnover $1.2 billion for passenger train improvements. But as he goes into the final weekend before voters decide whether he is worthy of the Democratic nomination for a term of his own, Quinn was unable to boast an endorsement from the state's senior representative in the U.S. Senate.
Joining Quinn on the trip was Dick Durbin, the second-most powerful member of the senate. Friday's trip, which included stops at Chicago's Union Station and Amtrak depots in Alton and Normal, marked another venture for the Democratic pair.
During the last 12 months, Durbin and Quinn successfully paired-up to drive home the importance of obtaining financial assistance for high-speed rail upgrades and the sale of a state-owned prison in northwestern Illinois to the federal prison system to house soon-to-be transferred Guantanamo Bay detainees.
But despite the partnership and compliments the two have given one another, Durbin said he would not be adding his name to Quinn's list of endorsements.
"I haven't endorsed any statewide candidates," Durbin said following a presentation to nearly 130 people crammed into the Amtrak station here. "I've decided to stay neutral. I have a lot of friends running."
However Durbin has endorsed Democrat Porter McNeil, who is running to succeed Mike Boland in the Illinois House of Representatives.
Durbin's decision to remain neutral comes at a tough time for the Quinn campaign. Quinn's once commanding lead over Hynes has turned into a contest a recent poll by the Public Policy Polling shows could be a toss-up.
Quinn campaign spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin could not be reached for comment.
At the same time, Durbin's indecisiveness means he is not assisting the effort against the promoted lieutenant governor and former state treasurer.
Hynes has hit the standing governor with strong and effective attack advertisements. Perhaps the most effective spot includes an archived interview with the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, who, in the footage, says hiring Quinn was a mistake.
Quinn has said Washington asked him to resign from the administration because of conflicts between himself and the mayor's chief of staff.
Coming to Quinn's defense, even if unintentionally, is Illinois' junior U.S. Senator Roland Burris. In a Wednesday news release, Burris called the advertisement an abomination. However, the former Illinois attorney general said he understood it was produced in the spirit of political campaigning.
Hynes has said his campaign is based on facts.
Speaking to high-speed rail supporters and spirited opponents, who interrupted Durbin during his remarks, Quinn withheld making comments about the election or his Democratic opponent.
Brady stands by Chicago radio ad promoting his downstate roots
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady said Friday his campaign was right to promote his outer-Chicago ties in a radio advertisement streaming through the metropolitan airwaves.
The advertisement, which is on rotation at Chicago-based WGN-AM, also fires shots at Brady's fellow GOP candidates Andy McKenna, the former Illinois Republican Party chairman, state Sen. Kirk Dillard and former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan.
Brady, a real estate entrepreneur and state senator from Bloomington, said his campaign conducted a survey in Chicago showing voters in the metropolis hope to elect someone without urban connections. He declined to release the study, which he says was conducted two months ago.
Brady made an appearance at Friday's gathering in Normal conveniently after Durbin and Quinn had left.
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Apparently there has been more questionable behavior from Andy McKenna. I was shocked to receive this blog this morning, which obviously indicates a disturbing pattern by Andy and his inner circle.
McKenna campaign pilfers alumni data
By Gary Caruso
Published: Friday, January 29, 2010
Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2010
The publication of this column specifically on this Friday was set merely by chance since it was scheduled by an editor at The Observer, in part, as a small component on a master semester schedule for all columnists. It is the first of my long-standing Friday columns which just so happens to coincide on the weekend before Notre Dame alumnus and Illinois Republican Gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna’s primary election next Tuesday. So while the timing of this column may appear calculated, it is the first regularly scheduled opportunity to convey an experience that began while The Observer was on hiatus.
Direct e-mail solicitations on behalf of the McKenna/Murphy candidates began several months ago from a Notre Dame classmate of McKenna. Last fall, I mysteriously received “McKenna for Illinois” solicitations as part of their e-mail list server. To my astonishment, the campaign was using an e-mail address listed only with the Notre Dame Alumni Association … and only temporarily for two weeks while moving...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
By Rachel Wells
Illinois politicians will travel tomorrow by plane to Amtrak stations in Chicago, Alton and Bloomington to unveil a $1.2 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act award for Illinois high-speed rail improvements.
The funds -- part of a 31-state, $8 billion program -- will go toward rail improvements on the existing Chicago-St. Louis corridor. The improvements will allow trains to travel up to 110 miles per hour and will reduce travel time between the two cities to four hours, a one-hour decrease.
The award will also help pay for an environmental impact study regarding the possible construction of a second track along the route and for the streamlining of train traffic near Chicago.
"The federal funding creates benefits for Springfield and the state of Illinois by creating thousands of jobs, increasing economic activity, boosting tourism and reducing travel time between Chicago and St. Louis by over an hour," Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said in a news release.
Illinois requested $4.5 billion for rail improvements, more than half of the $8 billion appropriated for improvements throughout the country. President Barack Obama has proposed spending an additional $1 billion on high-speed rail for each of the next five years. The proposal requires congressional approval.
Here's how Illinois' $1.2 billion award breaks down:
• $1.1 billion for track construction and signal, station and rolling stock improvements. The work will allow for three to five daily round trips between Alton and Dwight to travel at up to 110 miles per hour.
• $1.25 million for a supplemental environmental impact statement concerning construction of a second track between Chicago and St. Louis capable of carrying trains traveling at up to 110 miles per hour.
• $133 million for construction of a multi-layered train intersection at Englewood. The project would eliminate delays by carrying commuter lines over tracks that now carry intercity passenger services and freight services.
Among the officials appearing on the tour will be Gov. Pat Quinn, Federal Railroad Administrator Joe Szabo and U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. Although the route slated for improvement runs through Springfield, Durbin's hometown, officials will not be stopping in the capital city.
High-speed rail has been a topic of controversy in Springfield, where local leaders once threatened legal action if a second track was built on Third Street, where originally planned, but later agreed to an environmental impact study of an alternative track route. At one point the Illinois legislature got involved when House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat, filed a bill that would have denied state funds for a second track along the Third Street route.
Durbin spokeswoman Christina Mulka said Springfield likely just didn't fit into the officials' schedules. "I wouldn't read anything into that," she said. "We're not trying to avoid the area; it's Sen. Durbin's hometown.
"He wants to see high-speed rail in Springfield, and he wants to see it done in a responsible way. ... He'll probably be in Springfield soon enough to talk about high-speed rail and a whole number of other issues."
Springfield city spokesman Ernie Slottag said he didn't connect the exclusion of Springfield to the controversy, nor did he expect a public protest had officials planned a stop in the city. He said the city is waiting to learn more specific details of the award.
Other Illinois towns have also expressed concern about how high-speed rail could change their communities. For more information about high-speed rail, see the November edition of Illinois Issues.
By Rachel Wells
As a lawsuit seeking to close two Chicago navigational locks remains under review by the U.S. Supreme Court, Great Lakes leaders on Wednesday agreed to seek $20 million for an Asian carp management and control plan.
According to Christina Mulka, press secretary for U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, congressmen are seeking the money to study target specific poisons, advocate increased Asian carp commercial fishing and research pheromones and other technology that would lure the overbearing fish away from Lake Michigan.
Lawmakers have not proposed a specific source for the funding. The money could come from the $475 million in federal funds already appropriated for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a regional approach to invasive species and pollution, said Mulka.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' work in containing Asian carp includes the construction of underwater electric barriers. Since 1998, $41.2 million in federal funding has gone toward the barrier project. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has also spent $700,000 to kill Asian carp during barrier maintenance, according to news releases from Durbin's office.
"We're looking for a solution outside of the courtroom," Mulka said. With support from several other Great Lakes states, Michigan filed suit in December asking the Supreme Court to close two Chicago navigational locks to keep Asian carp out of Lake Michigan.
U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert also hosted today's meeting of Great Lakes leaders. Phone calls placed to Michigan legislators, U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, were not immediately returned. Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox also could not be reached for comment.
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Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Perhaps all it takes to squeeze new information out of Comptroller Dan Hynes and Gov. Pat Quinn is to remove them from their familiar setting.
Most of Thursday's hour-long Democratic gubernatorial debate in Carbondale was a continuation of the feud between Hynes and Quinn. But it also had moments where the two opponents delivered lines they have not made prominent on the campaign trail.
We now have a better understanding why Hynes received an endorsement from the Stonewall Democrats of Illinois, a coalition of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists. He said he supports same-sex marriage, while Quinn stood behind civil unions.
And Quinn said he is open to legalizing medical marijuana. Hynes said he is learning more about the issue.
Kudos to moderator Jak Tichenor of WSIU for closing the race's only debate south of Interstate 80 by subjecting the two Chicago Democrats a "lightening round of questions," which provided those statements.
But during the first 45 minutes of the debate, Hynes and Quinn remembered this election is going to be decided on whose attack ads prove more effective.
The debate was the first time Hynes and Quinn were in the same room together since the challenger released his attack ad featuring the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.
Quinn, going on what he has labeled as defensive maneuvers, fired back by accusing Hynes of dropping the ball on Burr Oak Cemetery.
Given all the attack ads and shots taken throughout this primary, isn't it odd that neither candidate wants to admit they are running a negative campaign?
"I think it's important to defend myself when he attacks my record," Quinn said after the debate. "I don't like this kind of name calling that I receive from the comptroller. I think he's better than that."
"Our campaign has been based on facts and on the issues that matter," Hynes said. "My job right now is managing the crisis that Gov. Quinn has been unable to solve."
Both Hynes and Quinn brushed off the idea that the negative campaigning weakens the Democrat's chances of retaining the governor's office in the general election.
Debating from a studio in the Communications Building at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, the candidates also took the opportunity to highlight the institution's importance and to draw connections between themselves and the late former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon - a name still on the tips of tongues in that part of the state. Quinn in particular mentioned his friendship with Simon's daughter, Sheila Simon, who has previously said she receives phone calls from the governor on her daughter's cell phone.
Though he stood outside of the studio before the debate began, neither Hynes nor Quinn directly connected themselves with SIU President Glenn Poshard, a former Democratic congressman and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate. This comes as a bit of a surprise given Poshard's name recognition throughout the state and contributions to pushing a capital bill through the Legislature.
Despite being redundant at times, the debate in Carbondale was more informative than any other meeting between these two contenders. That is not saying much for a race revolving around mudslinging and vague plans for ethics reform and fiscal responsibility.
It's a shame that even after Rod Blagojevich proved how little content campaign promises and attacks need to win the governor's office, those who follow him on both tickets continue deploying the same tactics.
I hate being lied to, don't you?
I hate it even more when candidates who frame themselves as reformers lie to us. Aren't we supposed to be different?
So why would Justin Oberman be lying to us?
I understand. The Oberman campaign did their oppo and found that going after the losses in Bright Start was the best wedge a 35-year old wannabe politician who is campaigning behind his father's legacy could have with an accomplished reformer and leader in Illinois who has been able to bridge all the various strata of Illinois politics. I get it.
But, frankly, it's disgusting. Oberman's ad quotes Robin (who I'd like to think of as a friend, and whose campaign has specifically asked me not to blog about these issues) saying, "We lost no money" after the ad mentions that Bright Start lost $150 Million.
But that's not what she said. Robin Kelly -- and her boss Alexi Giannoulias and the entire Treasurer's staff -- is proud of the fact that the Treasurer's office has MADE MONEY from the money that the taxpayers intrust in that office (which is different than the money that it holds for taxpayers for things like education). The State Treasurer reached out to Justin Oberman to explain the apparent confusion that Oberman had -- or, at least, was evidenced on the campaign trail. But Oberman refused to take the meeting.
I suppose that it would be harder to continue to make the charges under those circumstances. As if that would preserve some kind of political integrity.
The facts are these, as explained in detail by the terrific political blog, Progress Illinois:
Back in January, we learned that risky financial maneuvers by the Wall Street managers of Illinois' college savings program had led to a swift $85 million loss. The Prairie State wasn't alone in this situation -- Oregon, Texas, Maine, and New Mexico also included Oppenheimer's "Core Bond Fund" as an investment option for families saving for college and suffered steep losses as a result. Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, who oversees the program, was the first state official to accuse Oppenheimer of investing outside of the fund guidelines and pursue legal action against them. Others have since followed suit.In a sense, Justin Oberman is caught in a huge political dilemma. If he exploits this tactical advantage, then it appears that he either does not understand Big Finance or he's lying. Oberman claims that if he's the state Treasurer, "My office will conduct thorough research into every state investment that we make to insure minimum risk and maximum return." But Oberman's comments -- and the ad he's airing at the moment -- proves just the opposite. He didn't conduct thorough research into the Bright Start issue, and he refused to meet with the state Treasurer, who would have been happy to explain it to him.
In the months since he entered litigation to recoup the $85 million...
Here's what we know (bear with us on this one):
By the time Giannoulias took office in 2007, the Bright Start college savings plan had amassed 180,000 portfolios and nearly $2 billion in assets. It had also been long-criticized for its high costs and limited investment options. Intent on lowering those administrative costs, Giannoulias selected Oppenheimer to manage the portfolio through a competitive bid process that year. The investment bank suggested Illinois invest in a series of their mutual funds, including the Core Bond Fund, which was billed as one of the company's most conservative investment strategies. The treasurer's office contributed $200 million to this fund and immediately saw its fortunes rise. By April of last year, Chicago-based investment rating group Morningstar had named Bright Start one of the top five college savings plans in the nation.
Unfortunately, things took a turn for the worse later in the year. It turned out that Oppenheimer's then-Senior Vice President of Fixed Income Angelo Manioudakis had decided to roll the dice with the fund. He not only invested it in risky mortgage-backed securities, but -- worse yet -- heavily leveraged the fund.
Once the housing market seized up and Giannoulias's office realized what Manioudakis had done, they immediately transferred all Bright Start monies allocated to Core Bond to short-term U.S. treasury debt. But that wasn't before investors lost 36 percent of the $200 million originally committed to the fund. The following month, the state served subpoenas on Oppenheimer under the Consumer Fraud Act. “Core Plus’ performance is unacceptable," Giannoulias wrote in a statement earlier this year, "and even more staggering when you consider that families thought they were investing in relatively conservative portfolios as their children neared college age." Speaking on WLS’ Don Wade and Roma earlier this week, the treasurer said he is "optimistic" that the state will ultimately recoup the families' money.
The lingering question is whether the extreme risks being taken by Oppenheimer were visible to Giannoulias -- as well as the broader community of investors and analysts -- and whether the treasurer should have been expected to act faster to protect Bright Start investors from the exposure...
While Oppenheimer might have disclosed the fact that it was investing in these particular types of instruments, even the Morningstar analysts in charge of keeping tabs on this fund weren't aware of the degree of leverage being employed... [Friday April 24th, 2009, 9:07am]
For those just getting caught up, six states, whose 529 college-savings programs were exposed to Oppenheimer Funds' Core Bond fund, experienced heavy losses last year when the bond sank 38 percent in the fourth quarter. Billed as a one of the Wall Street company's most conservative investment strategies, Oppenheimer's then-Senior Vice President of Fixed Income Angelo Manioudakis decided to invest a chunk of the bonds in risky mortgage-backed securities. Worse yet, he heavily leveraged the fund, a move that analysts in charge of keeping tabs on Core Bond did not even notice. A few months after the housing market seized up and the value of the fund plummeted, State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias transferred all Bright Start monies allocated to Core Bond to short-term U.S. treasury debt and began negotiating with Oppenheimer to retrieve some of the cash. In February, the state also served Oppenheimer with subpoenas under the Consumer Fraud Act. And while Giannoulias reached a "handshake deal" in June that would return $77 million to the affected Bright Start accounts, there remained one large obstacle: the state of Oregon. [Monday November 23rd, 2009, 10:17am]
Lost in the coverage, however, was the centrality of leverage in the Bright Start controversy. Shortly after the fund tanked, a Morningstar analyst called it the "chief culprit" in the fund's poor performance and acknowledged that Oppenhemier made no disclosures in any legal documents about the degree of leverage they were employing. That's why it was good to see Madigan stress this point in her release:Oppenheimer had marketed Core Plus as a conservative investment vehicle appropriate for beneficiaries who were at or near college age. Core Plus, however, contained risky investments and was highly leveraged by its Oppenheimer management team, which, in turn, resulted in excessive losses. The management team is no longer with Oppenheimer.While Oppenheimer did disclose its investments in mortgage-backed securities, the Morningstar analysts in charge of keeping tabs on Core Bond expressed surprise at the degree of leverage being employed, largely through $1.4 billion worth of "swaps." A Morningstar article from April explains more about Oppenheimer's use of these instruments:At the end of March 2008, the Core portfolio carried around $400 million in securities exceeding its then $2.2 billion in net assets via transactions that were effectively akin to margin borrowing. It also had roughly $800 million in long exposure to corporate credit via default swaps -- including American International Group AIG, Lehman Brothers, Wachovia WB, Washington Mutual, and Bear Stearns. It had around $600 million in total return swap exposure to a volatile slice of Barclays' AAA rated CMBS index. By normal reporting convention, all of these positions were not included on the fund's balance sheet and, thus, not in its net assets.
By the end of September, when the market sailed off into uncharted territory, Core Bond's credit exposure to those markets totaled more than 180% of net assets on a dollar basis. In other words, for every dollar of shareholder capital in the fund, it was exposed to the credit-driven movement of more than $1.80 worth of securities.
The message here isn't that derivatives are bad, though they can be dangerous if not well understood. Rather, it is that investors had little way of knowing that the funds were piling high extra layers of market exposure. Because most of this additional market exposure came from off-balance-sheet derivatives, the funds' portfolios didn't look highly leveraged. In a conventional accounting sense of leverage -- borrowing money against net assets and investing it -- they might have looked slightly leveraged. But in a economic sense, and as a mutual funds go, they were heavily leveraged.
Why would we trust him to do that if he can't do it now?
Oberman claims the reformer mantle that his father held. But then he goes on TV with a politically potent, but clearly false, accusation against a real reformer, a real progressive that has been building up impressive credentials ever since Justin Oberman was born.
I don't know about you, but I'm kind of tired of the Daley brand of political slugfest (even if I appear good at it). Robin Kelly doesn't deserve this kind of treatment, and, quite frankly, Justin Oberman ought to be ashamed of himself. These kinds of fabrications on the part of politicians are more typical of machine pols than reformers. Oberman damages the reformer brand with this kind of stunt. It's just disgusting...
Alan Cottrell has provided professional services to the Kelly campaign in the past, but is not currently connected professionally to the campaign...
Cross posted from ICPR's blog, The Race is On:
ICPR's website has updated fundraising totals for the US Senate, Illinois Governor, and Cook County Board President candidates. For the Democrats, Pat Quinn reported big receipts since Tuesday, showing $250K from SEIU and another $50K from another of Chicago Ald. Ed Burke's committees. How odd that the lifelong reformer now relies so heavily on the Regular Chicago Democrats and Rod Blagojevich's biggest campaign contributor. Hynes has raised about $250K recently, including $100K each from the laborers and the IFT.
For the Republicans, Kirk Dillard reported another $100K, including another $50K from Ron Gidwitz and $25K from the Operating Engineers. Dan Proft also had a $50K check from Richard Uihlein, who has been popping up a lot in the disclosure reports this year. The head of Uline Industries gave $50K to Matt Murphy last summer and $5K to another Republican seeking the nomination, Andy McKenna, though the $95K he's given to Proft is the bulk of his recent giving.
Judicial races aren't getting much press attention this year and it's a shame, because there's some big fundraising in several. There are five Appellate Court seats on the ballot, all in northern Illinois or Cook County. Here are the top races:
The race for the Democratic nomination for First District (Cook County) McNulty Vacancy race shows $632,115 in total receipts among 6 candidates, though Jim Epstein has the lion's share of that, with $516,432. A Democrat named Jim Ryan reports $56,526, while Arnette Hubbard reports $50,251, No one else has five figures. Epstein has dozens of donors in the 4-and 5-figure range, but his biggest supporter is himself, at $260,000 in loans this calendar year.
The race for the Republican nomination in the Second District Callum Vacancy race shows $509,119 between two candidates. While not evenly matched, both candidates here have significant fundraising. Ann Jorgensen reports $404,119 in total; most of that, $284,245.21 -- came in a single donation from the Ann Teresa Brackley Trust (Ann Jorgensen's middle name is Brackley). The other candidate, Kenneth Moy, reports $105,000, all from himself, all in the last six weeks.
The race for the Republican nomination in the other Second District seat -- the Gilleran Johnson Vacancy -- shows the third-highest fundraising total for appellate court seats at $454,830. Mary Schostok reports $425,472, while the only other candidate, Donna Kelly, reports $29,357. Schostok's biggest supporter is her husband, Michael Schostok, a lawyer who has contributed $108,000.
For seats on Illinois' circuit court bench, the top spot goes to the race for the Republican nomination in the 18th Circuit (DuPage County), Kilander Vacancy. Two candidates combine for $258,365. Ron Sutter reports $186,471; he gave $50K to his campaign as did Paul and Dorothy Sutter of Bloomington. Brian McKillip reports $71,894, of which $30,000 came from himself.
In the four-way contest for the Democratic nomination for the Otaka Vacancy in the Cook County 90th Subcircuit, there is $197,761 in combined receipts. Yehuda Lebovitz leads the fundraising with about half that total -- $97,604. Most of that figure -- $68K -- came from another PAC formed to support an earlier Lebovitz bid for the bench; that PAC, in turn, raised most of its money from the candidate. Abbey Romanek reports $45,652, nearly all from herself. Geary Kull reports $42,290. He's his largest contributor but, at $5K; he's also the smallest self-funder in the race. Dennis Fleming is fourth in the fundraising at $12,215.
Third highest is the contest for the Republican nomination in the Fifth Circuit in east-central Illinois for the Cini Vacancy. Matt Sullivan reports $64,200, while Frank Young shows $51,250 and Brian Bower reports $32,250. Eric James Neumann has yet to form a committee.
Fourth highest is for the Democratic nomination for the Vandersnick vacancy in the 14th Circuit in the Quad Cities area. Three candidates combine for $136,489. Clarence Darrow leads in fundraising, showing $68,835, including $36,269 from various Darrows. Trish Joyce shows $53,155, including $28,000 from herself. Maritia Griffith has $14,500, nearly all from Ronald Griffith.
Fifth highest fundraising is in another seat in Cook County's 9th Subcircuit -- this one for the A Vacancy. Six candidates combine for $127,042. Evanstonian Steven Bernstein leads the group with $79,461, which includes $25K of his own money. Previous legislative candidate Michael Ian Bender comes in second place with $33,456, none of it his and no more than a few thousand from any one donor. No other candidate has five figures.
Later this week -- legislative race totals and more.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010
By Rachel Wells
House Republicans are pushing for continued campaign finance reform with new legislation that would limit the power of political parties and all four legislative leaders in general elections.
As proposed by House Minority Leader Tom Cross, HB 5008 would expand on campaign contribution limits that were passed along party lines during last fall's veto session. The campaign finance reform bill -- signed into law by Gov. Pat Quinn exactly one year after then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges -- placed contribution limits on individuals, businesses, unions and political committees during both the general and primary election cycles but only limited legislative leaders and political parties during primary races.
Under the new bill, legislative leaders and political parties would be limited to giving $200,000 to statewide candidates, $125,000 to Senate candidates and $75,000 to House candidates during general elections, as they are now limited in the primaries.
Cross called the proposed legislation a solution to Illinois' "image issue" created in part by the consolidation of power in the hands of a few, the very same situation that could keep the bill from being heard at all.
"I think almost every member would tell you they're for this. The reform groups are for it, the public is for it, and it would be a shame to let two people (House Speaker Micheal Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton), in kind of evidence of the problem we're talking about, stop a piece of legislation like this. I would hope that it would get a vote and it would get a vote where people could actually vote their true feelings," Cross said.
Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat involved in last year's negotiations, said near unanimous approval of Cross' proposal is highly unlikely. "I can say with certainty that not all members would support that," Harmon said. "They believe the political parties exist for the purpose of electing members of their political party. That's their role, to elect Democrats or elect Republicans."
Madigan cited the same argument last fall in testimony against extending limits on parties to general elections.
Reform coalition Change Illinois supported the signing of last year's bill but says its members will continue to advocate for further contribution limits, like those proposed in HB 5008. "The contribution limits bill passed and signed last year was an historic step forward, and the next step should be enactment of limits on contributions from political parties and legislative caucus committees controlled by the four legislative leaders," the organization stated in a news release.
During the announcement, Cross was pressed concerning his endorsement of Republican gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna, who was reprimanded by the Illinois Republican State Central Committee. As reported this morning by the State Journal-Register and described in the committee's ethics inquiry, then-chairman McKenna used party funds to commission a statewide poll measuring voter attitudes toward potential candidates. Although the poll included McKenna's name, he failed to disclose that fact at any point to the State Central Committee and failed to alert members of his potential for personal benefit in commissioning the poll.
Cross dismissed any connection between his endorsement of a candidate who violated party ethics codes and his call to weaken party power as a step toward reform. He said that critics of McKenna are using the controversy to score political points during an election year.
"People that are talking about this that don't want to talk about the fact that they're for tax increases and not talking about restraining spending and creating jobs. It's kind of a political 101 -- 'let's throw some dirt on an issue and not talk about the real issue,'" Cross said.
If you're a Democrat living in Bloom Township, you probably received a very official looking piece of mail entitled "Voter Alert." While the voter alert was faked, voters in Bloom should have been alerted to one of the more interested contested primaries this cycle.
I'd like to argue that voters shouldn't ignore this race, but I won't (I won't suggest that you do ignore it, either). Because, well -- like that Facebook designation -- it's complicated.
Except that it's complicated.
Because Matthews has made backing Republicans-turned-Democrats into a pattern that I (at least) can't ignore. Matthews appointed Republican-turned-Democrat Anthony DeLuca to George Scully's state representative seat (80th ILGA District). DeLuca voted in the same Republican primaries that Faso did (in 3/16/04 and 3/19/02), as well as in 2000 and 1998.
And Matthews has been the major promoter Republican-turned-Democrat TJ Somer in his race for judge. Somer was the former President of the Republican Party in Bloom Township (I've incorrectly said previously that he was the Republican committeeman), but Somer has admitted in the press that he has to be a Democrat to win a seat on the bench.
Somer voted in the Republican primary in 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000 and 1998.
Politics is all about give and take, but it's hard to see how Democrats get stronger when their choice is between a Republican-turned-Democrat (like TJ Somer, Anthony DeLuca or Joe Faso) and a Democrat who goes out of his way to see that Republicans-turned-Democrats are placed into Democratic seats at every available opportunity. (Matthews couldn't have appointed a Republican-turned-Democrat to Debbie Halvorson's seat because there were other Democratic committeemen who had votes, too.)
The unions have been asking that very question. In fact, the reason that Joe Faso (Republican-turned-Democrat) is in the race is apparently because he was recruited by the trade union officials to run against Matthews. The local unions have coalesced sufficiently around their choice that they convinced the Chicago Federation of Labor to endorse Joe Faso in this race. As far as I know, this is the only instance where the Chicago Fed has endorsed a non-incumbent in a party race.
Why have the unions turned against the "Real Democrat" to a Republican-turned-Democrat? This is less clear, but the anger is real. The unions in the South Suburbs had been the backbone of Democratic politics through the years when Republicans ruled Bloom Township. But when Democrats in Bloom got a little power -- and the ability to appoint a state senator and state representative, as well as slate the subcircuit judicial races is a little bit of power -- the locals felt ignored. There is a natural temptation to think that local Democratic politics is starting to resemble local Republican politics -- dictatorial, secretative, elitist. So again, one asks: Why should Democrats be holding their nose to vote for Democrats in the age of Barack Obama?
We are better than that. And we have better (and more loyal) Democrats than that. We really do...
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Read more . . .
The Other McCain
I've also been told Adam will appear on Fox and Friends on Friday and on Laura Ingrahm sometime this week. Proft needs to drop out.
Monday, January 25, 2010
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Sunday, January 24, 2010
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Saturday, January 23, 2010
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Friday, January 22, 2010
By Jamey Dunn
Public universities in Illinois are considering different options to cope with the fact that the state owes them millions, and there is little sign of a light at the end of the tunnel.
The University of Illinois is considering a tuition increase, and Southern Illinois University is looking to borrow. In the meantime, smaller state universities are trying to find cost savings anywhere they can.
University of Illinois Interim President Stanley Ikenberry created a stir when he said at a board of trustees meeting in Chicago yesterday that a 9 percent tuition increase may be a best-case-scenario for the university system. Ikenberry said a decision about a possible tuition increase probably would not come until the summer. U of I has campuses in Urbana, Chicago and Springfield. The board also voted to increase student fees from $1,382 a semester to $1,421.
The U of I has already laid off some staff and instituted a hiring freeze and furlough days, unpaid days off that result in a salary cut for employees, as part of a plan to cut $82 million from its budget. The state owes the U of I more than $400 million. “Furloughs are the very painful and highly visible last resort,” university spokesman Thomas Hardy said. The U of I has created a task force to look for ways to save money in everyday operations.
Other cost reduction measures that state universities are taking include deferring maintenance projects, cutting department budgets and freezing their buying power for large purchases, cutting travel costs and slowing down payments to vendors. Those decisions impact surrounding communities as well as campuses.
David Gross, a spokesman for Southern Illinois University, said slowing down SUI’s payments to vendors has negative affects on local business in already economically depressed areas of southern Illinois. SIU has campuses in Carbondale and Edwardsville. He said the uncertain fiscal environment -- the state owes SIU $125 million -- is damaging university morale. “There has been a lot of angst on campus.”
Hardy said cutting down on maintenance led to the U of I laying off some maintenance employees as projects for them to work on dwindled.
While the U of I is considering a tuition increase, Gross said that it might not be a viable option for SIU. “We think we are at the end of our ability to raise tuition rates much, if any at all.” SIU has not instituted any layoffs or furlough days, and Gross said the university has no plan to at this point. SIU has given its existing budgeting committees the task of seeking out savings.
SIU is considering asking the legislature for borrowing power in case it gets in a tight spot and cannot meet payroll. Universities do not currently have the power to borrow money for their operating budgets. The U of I is not seeking the ability to borrow.
Illinois State University, located in Normal, has not had to face furloughs or layoffs yet. University spokesperson Jay Groves said that ISU would likely not make any decisions about a tuition increase until May. The state owes that university more than $60 million.
Western Illinois University, with campuses in Macomb and the Quad Cities, is taking a hard look at everyday efficiencies. CORRECTION The state owes Western $21.6 million. Spokeswoman Darcie Shinberger said that the university is doing all it can to avoid layoffs. “We are stressing that whether it’s $5 or $25, really take a hard look.”
Shinberger said a tuition increase could be in the works, but that decision will not be made until June. “It is likely we will be looking at a modest all-costs increase.”
Eastern Illinois University also has not instituted layoffs. It is implementing a hiring freeze, putting off maintenance projects and reducing spending to try to keep it that way. The state owes the university $39 million.
Representatives from all universities contacted agree that cost-cutting measures and dwindling funding for higher education are not new issues. However, the state’s inability to pay its bills has made the current situation much more dire. Finding the money to pay faculty and staff is a serious concern across the board.
“This is a bigger example, or a more critical example, of what’s been going on for several years with the sluggish economy and lack of funding to higher education,” Groves said
Judy Erwin, executive director of the State Board of Higher Education, said Illinois’ economic woes are all the more reason for the state to invest in education to train a competitive workforce. “Unless the state steps up to the commitment to fund higher education, Illinois will not be able to rebuild the state’s economy.”
Irwin said she doesn’t understand why legislators have not done more to get institutions of higher education the money they are owed. “What is it going to take to convince legislators that there is a very serious crisis that cannot be ignored…Do we wait until some colleges have to be shut down?”
Representatives of Northeastern Illinois University, Governor’s State University and Northern Illinois University could not be reached for comment.
DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom announced today that he is dropping out of the race for the Republican nomination for governor.
Schillerstrom threw his support behind former Attorney General Jim Ryan, a fellow DuPage country Republican.
“As Election Day nears, it is clear that we lack the financial resources necessary to communicate with voters statewide and win the February 2 primary. Given that reality, I have decided to end our campaign for governor,” Schillerstrom said in a news release. His withdrawal leaves six candidates in the running for the Republican nomination.
On Tuesday, January 19th, Lisa Madigan spoke to "Team Obama" (now Team HOPE) at the Flossmoor Station about her work as Illinois' Attorney General. She is introduced by freshman state Senator Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields.
Lisa talked about her efforts to help solve the mortgage foreclosure crisis and her work with women's and children's issues. Then she took questions from the audience.
This video is 37:22 long. It can be downloaded by clicking here.
Team Obama was formed from the grassroots volunteers who were mobilized on behalf of Barack Obama's presidential campaign out of the South Suburbs and have chosen to "stay together and stay involved." Its meetings are open to the public. The group does not make endorsements and encourages participation in the political process as participants see fit.
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Thursday, January 21, 2010
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ABSENTEE AND EARLY VOTING HAVE ALREADY STARTED AND THE ELECTION IS ONLY 12 DAYS AWAY
-- Scott Brown: Naked Cosmo Centerfold Republican Replaces Late Sen. Ted Kennedy; Daughter Vies for Fame
-- From Centerfold to Senator - Jackie Gingrich
NEW YORK TIMES
-- Brown and His Daughters -- a New Web Sensation - Katherine Seelye
-- Dillard touting independent approach in GOP race - Ray Long and Michelle Manchir
-- Nice job, Massachusetts; now it's Illinois' turn - John Kass
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: McKenna promoter Rick Pearson demonizes and denigrates Jack Roeser as being a "controversial conservative activist" and Ron Gidwitz as being an "unsuccessful 2006 GOP governor candidate"
(FROM THE BLAST: Republican governor candidate Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale reported raising nearly $1.4 million over the time period — nearly half from loans - and began the year with nearly $370,000 in the bank. Dillard reported more than $600,000 in loans, including $250,000 each from Thomas Patrick, a board member of an insurance and brokerage firm, and controversial conservative activist Jack Roeser. Dillard also reported $134,000 in loans from unsuccessful 2006 GOP governor candidate Ron Gidwitz, who also pumped in at least another $131,000 in cash and a paid mailing. Donating $150,000 was Barry Maclean, president & CEO of Maclean-Fogg, and his firm. Republican governor candidate Jim Ryan, who has been running a low-key campaign, had about $190,000 left as of Jan. 1 after raising $313,000. Republican governor candidate Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington reported raising $443,000 in the final six months of last year and began 2010 with $192,000 in the bank. The donations included a $101,000 loan from the candidate.)
-- Is the Mass. Race a Harbinger for Illinois? Mark Kirk trails by just a few percentage points. - Andrew Greiner
-- Obama's Struggles Could Affect Illinois Meanwhile, the Illinois GOP takes inspiration from the GOP win in MA - Mary Ann Ahern
-- BEYOND OUTRAGEOUS: Poll: 81% Of Americans Say Legalize Weed!!! Now is the time to open a taco stand, people. - Drew Magary
-- Illinois Democrat Senate Debate Shaped by Massachusetts - Three Democrats claim they're above the fray - Andrew Greiner
-- VERY SAD: Cindy McCain Comes Out for Gay Marriage Wife of Sen. John McCain joins daughter, Meghan, in fight against Prop 8 - Tamer El-Ghobashy http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/politics/NATL-Cindy-McCains-Gay-Marriage-Mutiny-82217877.html
-- 14th Congressional District: Hastert and Hultgren stump for votes in Chicago area - Charles Thomas (Includes video clip)
-- Illinois politicians react to Mass. Senate upset - Sarah Schulte (Includes video clip)http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/politics&id=7229899
-- Will Illinois Democrats Lose U.S. Senate Seat? - Mike Flannery
(FROM THE ARTICLE: One who agrees that the faltering economy was one key to the result in New England is Rep. Mark Kirk. Voter opinion surveys show he's the frontrunner in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. He thinks health care was even more important yesterday. "The health care bill, I think, was the central issue in the campaign," Kirk said. "And, it's a signal to Congressional Democrats: 'You better stop this train and start over with a bi-partisan group of Republican and Democratic leaders or lose the next election.'" Kirk had another reason to feel upbeat today. He filed a new fundraising report that shows he's amassed more than $5 million for this contest. Democrats here have reason to sweat. Illinois GOP Chair Patrick Brady said in a phone call that Republicans are very grateful for the bitter, negative nature of the Democratic primary race for governor. "It's doing a great service to our party," Brady said. "I hope they keep it up.")
-- 88,000 Properties In Cook County Not Paying Taxes Taxpayers Footing Bill Of More Than $200 Million For Nonprofit Buildings - Jay Levine (DIERSEN: How many properties in Wheaton are owned by nonprofits and not paying any real estate taxes?) http://cbs2chicago.com/local/property.taxes.cook.2.1439077.html
-- McCain's Wife, Daughter Back Gay Marriage Movement John McCain Respectfully Disagrees With Family Members
-- Can Dillard ride opposite rails of teacher pension reform? - Joseph Ryan
-- Hastert campaign won't report controversial contribution from Brad Hahn - James Fuller
-- Local officials fear Andrzejewski tax plan - Timothy Magaw (DIERSEN: What percent of "local officials" in Illinois are Democrats or RINOs?)
-- Wheaton OKs $6 million borrowing plan - Robert Sanchez
-- Rickert to be honored at GOP dinner: The Dundee Township Republican Central Committee in conjunction with the Dundee Township Republican Organization, is holding its 17th annual Lincoln Award Dinner on Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Milk Pail Restaurant on Route 25 in East Dundee. The program features Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady as keynote speaker. A social hour will begin at 4:30 p.m., and the program at begins at 5 p.m. This year's Lincoln Award recipient is Kane County Treasurer David J. Rickert. For details, call Margaret Scalfaro at (847) 428-1875.
-- Michels, Hatcher ahead in campaign contributions - Susan Sarkauskas
-- Zaruba for DuPage County sheriff, GOP - Endorsement
-- DuPage County Forest Preserve Commission, Dist. 6: Kotecki - Endorsement
-- For DuPage County Forest, Dist. 4: Formento - Endorsement
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Patrick Hughes supporter Raymond Craig of Lombard blasts the Illinois Republican Party for promoting Mark Kirk and for selecting Alan Keyes to fill the Jack Ryan vacancy
-- Is Illinois next? GOP suddenly enthused after Massachusetts victory - Timothy Magaw (DIERSEN: Beyond tragically, based on Illinois Republican Party (IRP) Chairman and National Committeeman Pat Brady's remarks, it seems that those who support Pat Brady see the Massachusetts victory as something to use to drive conservatives, that is, platform Republicans, that is, the base of the party, out of the party.)
-- Gubernatorial candidates fight to finish for funds - Joseph Ryan
(FROM THE ARTICLE: On the Republican side, seven candidates have been fighting for support from like-minded campaign donors and backers. Reports for five of the candidates were not available as of press time. McKenna, who often touted his fundraising prowess for the Illinois Republican Party when he lead it for the last four years, has raised more than $2 million from individuals, companies and organizations. He has also chipped in more than $1.6 million of his own additional cash. The candidate who voters may know best, however, came up far short of McKenna's fundraising. Former Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, who also was previously DuPage County State's Attorney, raised just over half a million dollars in his campaign. About $30,000 in goods and services was donated to Ryan's campaign above that. State Sen. Kirk Dillard, who has won the backing of former Gov. Jim Edgar as well as notable conservative groups, has raised about $800,000 million in his bid. The veteran Hinsdale lawmaker also took out more than $600,000 in loans, including $250,000 from Jack Roeser, head of taxpayer and social conservative groups, and more than $150,000 from former governor candidate and businessman Ron Gidwitz. Downstate candidate state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington has raised just over half a million dollars since June. He ran unsuccessfully in the 2006 Republican primary for governor. Other GOP candidates, whose reports were not available at press time, include Hinsdale businessman Adam Andrzejewski, DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom and Chicago conservative commentator Dan Proft. All of them raised about $40,000 each since Jan. 1.)
-- Get full context of coverage of political races - Jim Slusher (DIERSEN: Slusher fails to acknowledge that the Daily Herald's top priority is to elect Democrats and RINOs.) http://www.dailyherald.com/story/?id=352567
-- Patlak stands out for board of review - Gene Dawson, Barrington
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: The anti-conservative, anti-platform Republican, anti-Republican, pro-liberal, pro-Democrat, anti-White, anti-male Donna Brazile promotes Steele
-- For Cook County Board Dist. 17, Republican: Gorman - Endorsement
-- FROM THE ARTICLE: On the Republican side, state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale raised $1.36 million between July and December and closed out 2009 with $368,659 in the bank. Those figures put Dillard ahead of former Attorney General Jim Ryan. Ryan reported raising $313,421 in the six-month period and having $190,248 at year's end. Former state GOP leader Andy McKenna reported raising $2.23 million and having $63,531 left. Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington raised $443,102 and ended the year with $192,052. Consultant Dan Proft reported raising $169,170 during the period and carried over $51,290 into this year. DuPage County Board Chairman Robert Schillerstrom raised $661,139 and closed out 2009 with $119,874. The remaining GOP candidate, Hinsdale businessman Adam Andrzejewski, lent or donated $758,405 to his campaign and raised another $67,198 from others. He had $334,362 left. . .Republican John Garrido raised $80,887. He had $21,478.05 in his campaign fund Dec. 31. Fellow GOP candidate Roger Keats raised $18,724 and had $9,000-plus left.
-- Scott Brown: More to GOP's new star than meets the eye Touted as easygoing indie, he walks on the radical side - AP
-- Rumors of his rise greatly exaggerated Brown not running for prez yet, but it can't be ruled out - Richard Roeper
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: The anti-religious anti-conservative anti-plaform Republican anti-Republican pro-liberal pro-Democrat pro-Combine Chicago Sun-Times endorses Michels http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2002808,CST-EDT-edit21.article
-- AS THE DEMOCRAT PARTY'S STRANGLEHOLD ON ILLINOIS AND ON AMERICA: Poor in suburbs up 47% Report urges regional strategy to fight poverty - Francine Knowles
-- On robocalls and Southlanders running statewide - Kristen McQueary
(FROM THE COMMENTARY: Dodge is up against Judy Baar Topinka who, after losing to Rod Blagojevich in 2006, is campaigning on a theme of renaissance. Her name recognition is off the charts, but Dodge claims Republican voters are tiring of her. "Sixty-two percent of Republican voters didn't want her as the candidate for governor in 2006. She lost pretty badly to a bad Elvis impersonator under federal investigation. She got less actual votes than Alan Keyes," Dodge said Wednesday. "As I've gone around the state, the response to Judy is, 'Thank you, but we'd like to move forward.' " Dodge's campaign recently collected about $60,000 from GOP activist Jack Roeser, of Carpentersville. Recently, Roeser was linked to radio advertisements from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Andy Martin, broadcasting an unsubstantiated rumor U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10th) is gay. Many in the Republican Party distanced themselves from the unwarranted, startling advertisements. "Andy Martin is a complete lunatic," Dodge said. "What he did was shameful and wrong. (Roeser) is pretty conservative, but I'm grateful for his help. I was clear with him. I don't feel the same way he does on some of the issues he brings up." Also in the race is William Kelly, a newcomer Dodge says is connected to Topinka. Kelly's presence on the ballot boosts Topinka's chances of winning by splitting the vote three ways. See Dodge's Web site, jimdodge2010.com, if you're curious about his claim. And don't miss the hilarious tequila-swilling, boob-admiring video of Kelly. Aren't campaigns fun?)
ST. LOUIS TODAY
-- GOP gubernatorial contenders use their jabs mostly for Democrats - Kevin McDermott
(FROM THE ARTICLE: The pro-experience side included DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom, who repeatedly noted that his county is "larger than six states," and state Sen. Kirk Dillard, who came back several times to the line that "the governorship is not an entry-level position." Candidate Dan Proft, a media commentator with no elective experience, responded by paraphrasing poet Oscar Wilde: "Experience is what we call our previous mistakes." Former GOP Chairman Andy McKenna similarly presented himself as an outsider who could "go down there and draw a line in the sand" to bring the state's financial crisis under control. The debate did occasionally highlight the deep ideological division in the GOP, which has been struggling for years with an internal rift between moderates and hard-right conservatives such as Sen. Bill Brady, another of the candidates. Brady chided Dillard and former state Attorney General Jim Ryan for refusing to take the no-tax-hike pledge that Brady has taken. Ryan - the only candidate in the field to have won statewide office before - also had to field criticism for his former friendship with and major political support from Stuart Levine, a figure in the Tony Rezko corruption scandal. "What Stuart Levine did, he did behind my back," Ryan said. The debate came on the heels of Tuesday's election victory in Massachusetts by Republican Scott Brown for the late Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy's Senate seat. That victory is being widely viewed as a rebuke of national Democratic leadership, and the Illinois Republican candidates repeatedly referenced it during Wednesday's debate. "I think Illinois is ready for a Scott Brown experience," said candidate Adam Andrzejewski, a businessman, who drew applause from the audience with the line.)
PEORIA JOURNAL STAR
-- GOP field sets budget goal All seven candidates for governor say a tax increase is not needed - Doug Finke
-- Brady takes aim at GOP frontrunners Bloomington senator tries to distinguish himself in a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates - Christopher Wills
-- Endorsement: Illinois lieutenant governor - Republican: Murphy http://www.pjstar.com/opinions/x1685418840/Our-View-Illinois-lieutenant-governor-Republican-Murphy
SPRINGFIELD STATE JOURNAL REGISTER
-- Bomke says Dillard’s ties with Edgar give him edge - Bernard Schoenburgh
-- "An endorsement for McKenna by state Rep. ANGELO “SKIP” SAVIANO, a member of the Republican State Central Committee from Elmwood Park, will be announced today, said McKenna spokesman LANCE TROVER."
JOURNAL GAZETTE TIMES COURIER
-- Fundraising reports for Feb. 2 races rolling in
-- Illinois GOP sees hope in light of Mass. Senate upset - Kurt Erickson
-- Politicians must get message from Massachusetts - Editorial
ROCKFORD REGISTER STAR
-- GOP governor candidates exchange shots
-- State's financial woes take center stage at GOP gubernatorial debate - Tim Mitchell http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2010/01/21/states_financial_woes_take_center_stage_at_gop_gubernatorial_debate
SUBURBAN CHICAGO NEWS
-- The Aurora Republican Women's Organization is sponsoring the Republican candidates for 14th District U.S. representative and 25th District state senator at a forum at 7 p.m. Monday, January 25, at Prisco Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Candidates for the 14th District are Ethan Hastert and State Sen. Randy Hultgren. Running for the 25th District state senator seat are the incumbent, Sen. Chris Lauzen, and Sugar Grove Village President Sean Michels. Contact Gabriela Wyatt, 630-772-6436
-- OUTSTANDING: St. Charles committee votes to ban video gambling - Hal Conick
-- Cole and Mitchell face off for 62nd House - Angela Sykora
-- Four candidates vie for DuPage chairman seat
-- Editorial: Rivadeneira best choice for 41st District GOP
http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lagrange/news/forum/1997656,la-grange-edit41st-012110-s1.article-- 41st District Candidate Q&A: Rafael Rivadeneira http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lagrange/news/politics/2003613,la-grange-41strafael-011410-s1.article
-- 5th Congressional District Candidate Q&A: Rosanna Pulido
-- Endorsement: Abbott top GOP pick for DuPage 3rd District http://www.pioneerlocal.com/burrridge/news/forum/2003610,burr-ridge-dpc3edit-012110-s1.article
-- Editorial: DuPage County Board needs Cronin at its helm http://www.pioneerlocal.com/clarendonhills/news/forum/1997775,clarendon-hills-editdupchair-012110-s1.article
-- Hughes to get vote this time - Terry Darraugh, Lake Bluff http://www.pioneerlocal.com/lakeforest/news/forum/1997047,lake-forest-letters-012110-s1.article
-- Hultgren gets Tribune, Sun-Times endorsements
-- Gun Owners of America endorse Hughes for U.S. Senate
-- VERY SAD IF NOT OUTRAGEOUS: Schillerstrom to spotlight pro-abortion support (DIERSEN: The Republican Party platform, the Illinois Republican Party platform, all the religions of the world, etc. discourage abortion.)
-- Brady asks Dillard: Which Obama do you think we have now?http://illinoisreview.typepad.com/illinoisreview/2010/01/brady-asks-dillard-which-obama-do-you-think-we-have-now.html
-- Congressmen Tim Johnson, Don Manzullo endorse Brady for Governor
-- DuPage County Sheriff Zaruba endorses Cook for Lieutenant Governor
-- O'Malley endorses Andrzejewski
-- Arrington: I can make this race a national referendum
-- ACU endorses Hultgren in 14th CD
-- The Cost of Establishment Endorsements
-- 54th House GOP primary could oust incumbent Bassi
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: VERY SAD IF NOT OUTRAGEOUS: DEMOCRATS AND RINOS OVERJOYED: Pat Brady demonizes and denigrates Republicans who support U.S. Senate candidates other than Mark Kirk.
-- Hughes responds to Chairman Brady's "Fringe Movement" comment (DIERSEN: Pat Brady is making it increasingly clear that he, like McKenna and Topinka, despises conservatives, that is, despises platform Republicans, that is, despises the base of the Republican Party. A political party that elects leaders who despise the party's base is doomed. Obama is making it making it increasingly clear that he despises Americans. A country that elects leaders who despise the country's citizens is doomed.)
-- LGBT Dems back Hynes for Governor
-- Tea Party Nation's next target: Mark Kirk
-- The Cost of Establishment Endorsements - Rivadeneira for State Rep. campaign
-- 12 days for IL GOP leaders to wise up - Lee Newcom
-- Time for Conservatives to Choose in US Senate Primary-An Endorsement - Lee Newcom
-- Cook County GOP's Keats and Garrido faceoff
-- State GOP Chair Pat Brady insults the Republican base, and a real leader responds
(THE ARTICLE: Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Patrick Hughes issued the following statement on Wednesday in response to Pat Brady's divisive rhetoric: Today in a call with media, Illinois GOP Chair Pat Brady called the opposition movement to Mark Kirk a "fringe movement." This claim just goes to show how out of touch the Republican Establishment, in Illinois and in the country, has become with the American people. Scott Brown's victory yesterday was supported in large part by the national conservative movement. This movement, which is growing strong in Illinois and behind my campaign, is fueled by discontent with the leadership within Washington and within the Republican Party. Voters are tired of being told what candidates are best for them. Establishment groups and leaders like Pat Brady believe they can speak on behalf of voters better than they can speak for themselves, so they pick "the best candidate" behind closed doors and ignore the democratic primary process. Mark Kirk has a liberal voting record that does not represent Conservatives or Republican Primary voters. He is a Wall Street liberal who voted for the bank bailouts, millions in earmarks for his campaign donors, and then he bailed out Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama this summer when he voted for Cap and Trade. Mark Kirk would be nothing but the next Arlen Specter or Olympia Snowe if he were elected to the U.S. Senate. The claim by Pat Brady that Republicans in Illinois are "unified around" Mark Kirk is proof that the Republican Establishment is behind the camouflage campaign Mark Kirk is running in order to fool Republicans into thinking he is actually a Conservative.)
-- Are Republican politicians up to the task ahead? - John Biver
-- AUGUST 21, 2006 FLASHBACK: Champion Classics: Ryan, Topinka, and deja vu - John Biver
-- Jefferson and Madison speak to today's Republican politicians about debt - John Biver
-- 99 and 44/100th % pure: "It Floats!" Prescription's Right for Illinois GOP
ILLINOIS FAMILY INSTITUTE
-- March for Life: Durbin & Burris Cancel Weekly Constituency Breakfast Meeting: Coincidence? - Daniel T. Zanoza
REPUBLICANS FOR FAIR MEDIA
-- Kelly Receives Endorsement of Family PAC Federal? It's An Embarrassment! - Daniel T. Zanoza
AMERICANS FOR TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY
-- What Qualifies the United States to Lecture Uganda on Homosexuality? - Peter LaBarbera
-- Rivadeneira: Conservatives Against the Establishment - Alex Keown
-- Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady Dismisses The Tea Partiers/9-12ers/Conservatives As “Fringe Element?”
-- 14th District: The Ethan Hastert Candidacy Mystery - Warner Todd Huston
-- Andrzejewski has local spenders running scared - Bruno Behrend
CHICAGO DAILY OBSERVER
-- DIERSEN HEADLINE: Russ Stewart blames Republican losses in Illinois on "Illinois Republicans," but he should be more specific, he should blame those losses on those who a) govern the Illinois Republican Party (IRP), specifically, on IRP State Central Committee (SCC) members, and especially, on those IRP SCC members who have the largest weighted vote and b) on the Illinois Republican members of Congress who constructively appoint IRP SCC members.)http://www.cdobs.com/archive/featured/republicans-stupidity-may-be-overcome-in-2010,118585
-- Google ads now an important tool for Illinois candidates - Adrian Uribarri
-- Who Benefits From Brown Victory? Rep. Kirk - Blake Dvorak
-- The poor are moving to the suburbs at higher rates, study finds - Samantha Winslow (DIERSEN: That is, the poor are fleeing the poverty and crime that the Democrat Party platform creates in the cities at higher rates.)
-- Gay Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Jacob Meister files complaint against WTTW - Joseph Erbentraut
-- We Were Promised Better Than This Health Care Bill - Congressman Peter Roskam
-- Dazed Democrats rethink entire strategy - Jim Vandehei & Mike Allen
-- STEELE: Just the beginning Now is the time to volunteer, to give, to act
LOS ANGELES TIMES-- Reporters feel jilted by President Obama Lack of televised healthcare talks make campaign pledge of transparency seem like an empty promise. - James Rainey
WALL STREET JOURNAL
-- New York Times Plans to Charge for Web Site - Russell Adams
-- Win Points to New GOP Strategy - Greg Hitt
-- GOP Victory Upends Senate Brown Claims Massachusetts Seat, Throws Health Revamp Into Doubt; Democrats Reel - Greg Hitt and Peter Wallsten
-- The War Against Suburbia - Joel Kotkin
-- No Time For Gloating As GOP Plots Return - Sean Higgins (FROM THE ARTICLE: Rep. Pete Roskam, R-Ill., caught the same roll-up-your-sleeves vibe from the meeting. "Everyone was happy about the results, but the tone was, 'There is work to do and let's get about it,'" he said.)http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=518638
DEMOCRAT SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
-- Mark Kirk Continues To Skip Senate Debates -- Why Is He So Afraid Of Answering Questions?http://www.dscc.org/news?type=press_release&press_release_KEY=1024
-- Someone Didn't Get The Memo WE WILL NOT VOTE FOR MARK KIRK!!!!
DAVID B. MALONE
-- Wheaton, Illinois needs a downtown grocery store
-- Proft speaks at Wheaton meet and greet - Dave Diersen
Dan Proft spoke at an outstanding meet and greet Wednesday morning, January 20, at DuPage County Milton Township Precinct Committeewoman Jeanne Ives' Wheaton home. Attendees included Bob Earl, Mark Stern, and Michelle Senatore. Senatore recounted how she and Dan had been neighbors when they were children and that she had accidentally broken Dan's right forearm back then.