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Politicians Begin 2010 Waterboarding Session

Russ Stewart 5 November 2009 5 Comments
Pulling fingernails. Gouging eyes. Breaking kneecaps. And waterboarding everybody.
It’s that time of the year. With the closure of candidate filing on Nov. 2, Illinois’ 2010 political campaign has officially begun. Voters’ pain and suffering has commenced, and the torture will continue unabated for the next year. And then it will extend into 2011, with the Chicago municipal elections.
For the next 90 days, until the Feb. 2 primary, expect every scheming, ill-qualified, unappealing aspirant to deluge the airwaves with radio and TV ads emphasizing that his or her opponent is a crass, ignorant, corrupt moron. And expect reciprocity.
Call it the “Least Worst” Syndrome. Amid scandals and corruption enveloping Illinois, Cook County and Chicago; amid ongoing revelations and pleas preceding next summer’s federal trial of Rod Blagojevich; and amid a persistent economic downturn which has wreaked budgetary havoc, necessitating spending and taxing hikes, every politician is viewed with hostility. So 2010’s candidates will bleat this pathetic refrain: I haven’t a clue. But my opponent has (or will) screw it up worse than me. I’m the least worst choice.
Here’s a review of filings:
Cook County Board President: It’s doubtful that anybody could screw up this job worse than incumbent Todd Stroger, but a Stroger victory in the Democratic primary is not an impossibility.
First, Stroger has firmly wrapped himself in victimhood. The detested sales tax increase, and Stroger’s three successful vetoes of a repeal, have elevated him to near-sainthood in Chicago’s black community. Stroger argues that the funds are required for “essential services” – County Hospital, neighborhood health clinics, County Jail guards, Juvenile Court bureaucrats. Quite conveniently, many of the 12,000 employees who provide those “services” are blacks sponsored by Stroger’s 8th Ward organization, or other black South and West Side wards. To black voters, Stroger is the much-maligned Guardian of the Gate – a veritable hero.
Second, Stroger is playing the race card. Over 100 black ministers recently endorsed him, urging all other black contenders to exit the race. The board presidency is now viewed by them as a black-only job. If Stroger gets 90 percent of the black vote, and his foes split the remaining 67 percent, Stroger could win.
Also filing were: Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (5th), who is black, but is targeting white “progressives.” U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-7), who is black, and also filed for re-election; he has until Nov. 9 to withdraw from one race. Clerk of Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, a South Side black. And Terry O’Brien, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District president, who is white.
The outlook: Preckwinkle will get black support in Hyde Park, but nowhere else. She’ll run up huge numbers in Oak Park, Evanston, and white liberal enclaves, and she might get surreptitious backing from Mayor Daley’s allies, much as Anita Alvarez did in 2008. Preckwinkle has no administrative experience, but she’s the “least worst” choice for liberals and for Daley.
O’Brien has expertise, but is unknown. To win, he has to make himself the “Anti-Stroger,” and promise to repeal the sales tax hike. He wins only if he whips up an anti-Stroger frenzy, which could redound to his detriment by precipitating a huge black pro-Stroger frenzy. Preckwinkle takes more votes from O’Brien than from Stroger.
Brown is largely irrelevant. The key is Davis: If he aborts, Stroger wins the West Side. That means Stroger, Preckwinkle and O’Brien are all in the 30-35 percent range. Each could win, including the “worst worse” – Stroger.
Assessor: Board of Review Commissioner Joe Berrios, the county Democratic chairman, is facing Bob Shaw, a black former alderman, and former Judge Ray Figueroa. If elected, Berrios would transform the office into a money-raising machine, raising pay-to-play to new levels and making himself the county’s most powerful Hispanic politician. The property tax system begs for reform. Shaw will be on the “black ticket,” and get the same amount of votes as Stroger. As the least worst candidate, Berrios is favored, although Figueroa’s “reform” campaign may get traction.
Sheriff: Incumbent Tom Dart could have run for Stroger’s job or the U.S. Senate. He got headlines by halting foreclosure tenant evictions, and unearthing the Burr Oak cemetery scandal. Dart faces Sylvester Baker, a black former employee. In 2006, Baker got 19.8 percent. The outlook: No contest. Dart’s next goal: Mayor of Chicago.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District: Every two years, three anonymous commissioners are nominated by the Democrats, and routinely elected. A Republican last won in 1972. So the criterion is not least worst, least known, or least qualified. It’s gender, Irish surname, ballot position and/or party endorsement.
The 2010 Democratic slate is Barb McGowan, a black incumbent; Mike Alvarez, out of Alderman Dick Mell’s (33rd) organization; and Mariyana Spyroupoulos, who has strong support in the Greek community. Other candidates include Stella Black, Wallace Davis III, Todd Connor, Teddy Aguilar, Mary Paolantonio Salemi, Maureen Kelly, Kathy O’Reilley, Kari Steele and Jerry Marzullo. That’s a field of 12, with 7 females, 2 Hispanics, and 3 blacks.
The outlook: McGowan, Steele and Davis (the latter two children of former aldermen) will be on the unofficial “black slate.” With her Irish surname, McGowan is a cinch. In 2008, Spyroupoulos got 296,088 votes, finishing fourth, while the slated Dean Maragos, got 205,031 votes, finishing sixth. Greek names are a hard sell. But surnames like Kelly and O’Reilley aren’t, especially if female, and most especially if they win first or second ballot position in the lottery. As usual, the MWRD race will be a crap shoot.
Board of Review (1st District): Once elected countywide, the three commissioners now run in districts, with the 1st being wholly suburban. The Board reviews and reduces the assessed valuation on real estate. In 2006, Brendan Houlihan upset Republican incumbent Maureen Murphy by 13,062 votes (51.5 percent). Dan Patlak, the Wheeling Township assessor is the 2010 slated Republican, and he faces a potential shill in Sean Morrison. According to Patlak, Morrison’s petitions were circulated by 19th Ward Democrats, who want to beat Patlak, after which Morrison will take a dive. The outlook: Patlak will win.
Governor (Republican): Compared to Pat Quinn, every Republican is the least worst alternative. Therefore, the key to the primary is portray one’s opponents as the worst least worst, and oneself as the best least worst. Do you follow that?
The top-tier consists of State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, and former Illinois attorney general Jim Ryan, who lost to Blagojevich in 2002, getting 45.1 percent. Brady is the most conservative, Dillard has Jim Edgar’s endorsement, and Ryan is a retread.
The second tier is businessman Andy McKenna and DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom; the third tier is businessman Adam Andrzewski and publicist Dan Proft. McKenna will spend $3 million.
The outlook: It’s a Brady-Dillard horserace. The key question: Even if Quinn is the pits, will enough habitual Democrats and liberal independents decide next November that a having a Republican governor is the least worst option?
Governor (Democratic): It’s “Governor Jello” versus the Yogurt Man. By next June, the (expletive) will hit the proverbial fan. Taxes will have to rise, or state services slashed. Quinn vacillates daily. Comptroller Dan Hynes is the Democrats’ least worst alternative.
Hynes has no tie to Blagojevich, and won’t be enmeshed in the coming fiscal meltdown. Interestingly, Hynes does not oppose a state income tax hike; instead, he just wants “tax the rich” – those earning over $200,000. According to Hynes’ insiders, Hynes is like yogurt, and wants to make the state healthy, even if it means hiking taxes and serving only one term.
And that makes Democrats like Daley and Speaker Mike Madigan happy. If Hynes were elected, Democrats would control the 2011 redistricting, and Hynes would take the hit for a tax hike. And, in 2014, Hynes would take a hike, clearing the way for Lisa Madigan to be governor.
10th Senate District: Incumbent Jim DeLeo (D) is retiring. Those who filed in this Northwest Side district include Democrats Mary Anselmo, John Nocita, Wanda Majcher, Tom Ryan, John Mulroe, and Republican Alderman Brian Doherty (41st). Against a second-rate field, Doherty is favored to win.
20th House District: Incumbent Mike McAuliffe (R), who has served since 1996, will face desultory opposition from Democrat Nancy Micek.
11th House District (Ravenswood-Lakeview): Incumbent John Fritchey (D) is running for county commissioner against former Alderman Ted Matlak. Democrats seeking the seat are Dan Farley, Ann Williams and Scott Tucker. The favorite is Farley, son of a former state senator, although Williams has appeal as the liberal reformer.
Russ Stewart is political analyst for The Chicago Daily Observer.

Pulling fingernails. Gouging eyes. Breaking kneecaps. And waterboarding everybody.

It’s that time of the year. With the closure of candidate filing on Nov. 2, Illinois’ 2010 political campaign has officially begun. Voters’ pain and suffering has commenced, and the torture will continue unabated for the next year. And then it will extend into 2011, with the Chicago municipal elections.

For the next 90 days, until the Feb. 2 primary, expect every scheming, ill-qualified, unappealing aspirant to deluge the airwaves with radio and TV ads emphasizing that his or her opponent is a crass, ignorant, corrupt moron. And expect reciprocity.

Call it the “Least Worst” Syndrome. Amid scandals and corruption enveloping Illinois, Cook County and Chicago; amid ongoing revelations and pleas preceding next summer’s federal trial of Rod Blagojevich; and amid a persistent economic downturn which has wreaked budgetary havoc, necessitating spending and taxing hikes, every politician is viewed with hostility. So 2010’s candidates will bleat this pathetic refrain: I haven’t a clue. But my opponent has (or will) screw it up worse than me. I’m the least worst choice.

Here’s a review of filings:

Cook County Board President: It’s doubtful that anybody could screw up this job worse than incumbent Todd Stroger, but a Stroger victory in the Democratic primary is not an impossibility.

First, Stroger has firmly wrapped himself in victimhood. The detested sales tax increase, and Stroger’s three successful vetoes of a repeal, have elevated him to near-sainthood in Chicago’s black community. Stroger argues that the funds are required for “essential services” – County Hospital, neighborhood health clinics, County Jail guards, Juvenile Court bureaucrats. Quite conveniently, many of the 12,000 employees who provide those “services” are blacks sponsored by Stroger’s 8th Ward organization, or other black South and West Side wards. To black voters, Stroger is the much-maligned Guardian of the Gate – a veritable hero.

Second, Stroger is playing the race card. Over 100 black ministers recently endorsed him, urging all other black contenders to exit the race. The board presidency is now viewed by them as a black-only job. If Stroger gets 90 percent of the black vote, and his foes split the remaining 67 percent, Stroger could win.

Also filing were: Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (5th), who is black, but is targeting white “progressives.” U.S. Representative Danny Davis (D-7), who is black, and also filed for re-election; he has until Nov. 9 to withdraw from one race. Clerk of Circuit Court Dorothy Brown, a South Side black. And Terry O’Brien, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District president, who is white.

The outlook: Preckwinkle will get black support in Hyde Park, but nowhere else. She’ll run up huge numbers in Oak Park, Evanston, and white liberal enclaves, and she might get surreptitious backing from Mayor Daley’s allies, much as Anita Alvarez did in 2008. Preckwinkle has no administrative experience, but she’s the “least worst” choice for liberals and for Daley.

O’Brien has expertise, but is unknown. To win, he has to make himself the “Anti-Stroger,” and promise to repeal the sales tax hike. He wins only if he whips up an anti-Stroger frenzy, which could redound to his detriment by precipitating a huge black pro-Stroger frenzy. Preckwinkle takes more votes from O’Brien than from Stroger.

Brown is largely irrelevant. The key is Davis: If he aborts, Stroger wins the West Side. That means Stroger, Preckwinkle and O’Brien are all in the 30-35 percent range. Each could win, including the “worst worse” – Stroger.

Assessor: Board of Review Commissioner Joe Berrios, the county Democratic chairman, is facing Bob Shaw, a black former alderman, and former Judge Ray Figueroa. If elected, Berrios would transform the office into a money-raising machine, raising pay-to-play to new levels and making himself the county’s most powerful Hispanic politician. The property tax system begs for reform. Shaw will be on the “black ticket,” and get the same amount of votes as Stroger. As the least worst candidate, Berrios is favored, although Figueroa’s “reform” campaign may get traction.

Sheriff: Incumbent Tom Dart could have run for Stroger’s job or the U.S. Senate. He got headlines by halting foreclosure tenant evictions, and unearthing the Burr Oak cemetery scandal. Dart faces Sylvester Baker, a black former employee. In 2006, Baker got 19.8 percent. The outlook: No contest. Dart’s next goal: Mayor of Chicago.

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District: Every two years, three anonymous commissioners are nominated by the Democrats, and routinely elected. A Republican last won in 1972. So the criterion is not least worst, least known, or least qualified. It’s gender, Irish surname, ballot position and/or party endorsement.

The 2010 Democratic slate is Barb McGowan, a black incumbent; Mike Alvarez, out of Alderman Dick Mell’s (33rd) organization; and Mariyana Spyroupoulos, who has strong support in the Greek community. Other candidates include Stella Black, Wallace Davis III, Todd Connor, Teddy Aguilar, Mary Paolantonio Salemi, Maureen Kelly, Kathy O’Reilley, Kari Steele and Jerry Marzullo. That’s a field of 12, with 7 females, 2 Hispanics, and 3 blacks.

The outlook: McGowan, Steele and Davis (the latter two children of former aldermen) will be on the unofficial “black slate.” With her Irish surname, McGowan is a cinch. In 2008, Spyroupoulos got 296,088 votes, finishing fourth, while the slated Dean Maragos, got 205,031 votes, finishing sixth. Greek names are a hard sell. But surnames like Kelly and O’Reilley aren’t, especially if female, and most especially if they win first or second ballot position in the lottery. As usual, the MWRD race will be a crap shoot.

Board of Review (1st District): Once elected countywide, the three commissioners now run in districts, with the 1st being wholly suburban. The Board reviews and reduces the assessed valuation on real estate. In 2006, Brendan Houlihan upset Republican incumbent Maureen Murphy by 13,062 votes (51.5 percent). Dan Patlak, the Wheeling Township assessor is the 2010 slated Republican, and he faces a potential shill in Sean Morrison. According to Patlak, Morrison’s petitions were circulated by 19th Ward Democrats, who want to beat Patlak, after which Morrison will take a dive. The outlook: Patlak will win.

Governor (Republican): Compared to Pat Quinn, every Republican is the least worst alternative. Therefore, the key to the primary is portray one’s opponents as the worst least worst, and oneself as the best least worst. Do you follow that?

The top-tier consists of State Senators Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, and former Illinois attorney general Jim Ryan, who lost to Blagojevich in 2002, getting 45.1 percent. Brady is the most conservative, Dillard has Jim Edgar’s endorsement, and Ryan is a retread.

The second tier is businessman Andy McKenna and DuPage County Board chairman Bob Schillerstrom; the third tier is businessman Adam Andrzewski and publicist Dan Proft. McKenna will spend $3 million.

The outlook: It’s a Brady-Dillard horserace. The key question: Even if Quinn is the pits, will enough habitual Democrats and liberal independents decide next November that a having a Republican governor is the least worst option?

Governor (Democratic): It’s “Governor Jello” versus the Yogurt Man. By next June, the (expletive) will hit the proverbial fan. Taxes will have to rise, or state services slashed. Quinn vacillates daily. Comptroller Dan Hynes is the Democrats’ least worst alternative.

Hynes has no tie to Blagojevich, and won’t be enmeshed in the coming fiscal meltdown. Interestingly, Hynes does not oppose a state income tax hike; instead, he just wants “tax the rich” – those earning over $200,000. According to Hynes’ insiders, Hynes is like yogurt, and wants to make the state healthy, even if it means hiking taxes and serving only one term.

And that makes Democrats like Daley and Speaker Mike Madigan happy. If Hynes were elected, Democrats would control the 2011 redistricting, and Hynes would take the hit for a tax hike. And, in 2014, Hynes would take a hike, clearing the way for Lisa Madigan to be governor.

10th Senate District: Incumbent Jim DeLeo (D) is retiring. Those who filed in this Northwest Side district include Democrats Mary Anselmo, John Nocita, Wanda Majcher, Tom Ryan, John Mulroe, and Republican Alderman Brian Doherty (41st). Against a second-rate field, Doherty is favored to win.

20th House District: Incumbent Mike McAuliffe (R), who has served since 1996, will face desultory opposition from Democrat Nancy Micek.

11th House District (Ravenswood-Lakeview): Incumbent John Fritchey (D) is running for county commissioner against former Alderman Ted Matlak. Democrats seeking the seat are Dan Farley, Ann Williams and Scott Tucker. The favorite is Farley, son of a former state senator, although Williams has appeal as the liberal reformer.

**

Russ Stewart is political analyst for The Chicago Daily Observerpitpend

5 Comments »

  • john said:

    Russ, Where did you get the “Facts” of 12,000 8th ward members? Or is this made up?

  • john said:

    Also keep up your biased assault on Stroger You need ratings..But as usual you lie and make up your own state Man up Russ Tell the truth. I heard you a while back on WLS and a Stroger spokesperson ate you alive. Where is your talk about Obrien and his corruption and Contracts???

  • Scott Tucker said:

    Russ,

    Thank you for writing about the race for Illinois’ 11th State House.

    However, I, Scott Tucker, am not a Democratic candidate. I’m a Republican.

    The Democratic candidates are Dan Farley, Ed Mullen, & Ann Williams.

    The Republican candidates are Scott Tucker (me) & Deb Leticia Gordils.

    Thank you,

    Scott Tucker
    GOP Candidate for Illinois’ 11th State House
    http://www.TuckerForStateRep.com
    Scott@TuckerMailServer.com
    773-230-2682

  • votecounter said:

    Russ
    This CW that Brady being the only down stater and therefore will be benefit from the large field is crap. Brady has no money and the votes coming out of a portion of central Illinois are not enough to win. The Lifers have all but abandoned Brady for his complacency in the last conservative loss. He has been running for five years and has not gotten to the 15% he got in the last primary. he has less Cash on hand this time and no organization to speak of. Dillard has chosen to run as a moderate and has disappointed some of us who wanted to have a conservative advocate to be Governor not a warmed over Milksop like Jim Edgar. BTW where is the 2 million Dillard claimed he would have by Oct 1st? I assume that since we have not heard he didn’t raise it. There goes your top tier. You have not given the 50% of the primary vote a candidate in your hypothesis, you and the GOP field ignore them at your own risk or reputation.

    Your scenarios are allot like an Old Army General your fighting the last war and have no clue about how to fight this one.

  • Deb leticia Gordils said:

    Thank you Scott Tucker for mentioning my name. You are a gentleman.

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