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Roeser and Russ Stewart Make Illinois Primary Predictions

Russ Stewart 29 January 2008 3 Comments

It will be remembered as Black Tuesday. Or the Big Black Blowout. In the Feb. 5, 2008 Democratic primary, black candidates will be nominated for three Cook county offices (state’s attorney, recorder, and clerk of circuit court), two appellate court vacancies, and Barack Obama will win the state’s presidential primary.

Here’s an analysis of the Obama-Clinton race and the Board of Review (2nd District), plus predictions by Chicago Daily Observer editorial board chairman Tom Roeser and political analyst Russ Stewart on Roeser’s WLS show concerning a multitude of Chicago, Cook County, and congressional races.

President (Democratic): black Democrats excelled in the 1983, 1992, 2000 and 2004 primaries. In 2008, it’s a replication of 1992 and 2004. Black turnout in Chicago and Cook County will be huge. Obama wins, but by how much?

In the 1992 U.S. Senate primary, black recorder Carol Moseley Braun got 409,574 votes (47.3%) in Cook county against two white foes, and 148,120 votes downstate and in the collar counties, winning statewide with just 38.3%. In the 2004 primary, Obama got 464,917 votes (64.4%) in Cook county, and 191,006 votes elsewhere, winning statewide with 52.8%.

Democratic turnout in 1992 was 1.63 million, and in 2004 it was 1.3 million. In 1992, Bill Clinton got 776,829 votes (51.6%), of which 435,599 came from Cook county, and 341,230 elsewhere. Turnout will be near 1.5 million on Feb. 5, and a lot of the 2004 Obama voters – particularly liberal baby boomer females – will opt for Hillary Clinton..

While Mayor Rich Daley has endorsed Obama, his loyal white committeemen are doing nothing. Race is a factor. Many whites, especially outside of Chicago, will vote against Obama – and for Hillary. In Chicago and the North Shore, liberal whites will back Obama; in the outlying white ethnic wards and suburbs, moderate and conservative Democrats will back Hillary.

Roeser prediction: Obama wins.

Stewart prediction: Obama will finish first with 675,000 (45%), to Clinton’s 600,000 (40%) and John Edwards’ 225,000 (15%).

Board of Review (2nd district): Incumbent Joe Berrios hasn’t raised more than $1.6 million because he’s just a swell guy. The BOR reduces tax assessments, saving corporate property owners millions of dollars, and residential homeowners thousands. This year, Berrios, the 31st Ward Democratic committeeman and county Democratic chairman, and the most powerful Hispanic in county politics, is spending it all.

Jay Paul Deratany is a personal injury attorney who is spending his reaped rewards – at least $800,000. Deratany is backed by U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9) and a bunch of lakefront liberals.

A key player in this race is county Assessor Jim Houlihan (D), who has donated $100,000 to Deratany. In 2006, Houlihan recruited and funded ($84,000) the candidacy of Brendan Houlihan (no relation), who upset Republican commissioner Maureen Murphy by fewer than 4,000 votes. In 2007, Houlihan’s senior aide, Ron Messina, was appointed chairman of the state property tax appeal board (PTAB), which hears appeals from the board of review. If Deratany wins, Houlihan would have complete vertical control of the assessment process, would be able to raise enormous campaign cash from property owners, and would be in a position to fund and run for mayor in 2011. Another key player is House Speaker Mike Madigan, whose law firm handles a boatload of commercial property tax appeals, and reaps a bonanza of contributions to his House campaign fund from satisfied clients.

Houlihan ripped Madigan during 2007, accusing Madigan of blocking renewal of the seven percent assessment cap so as to aid his law firm. The cap eventually passed. Madigan wants Berrios to win. My prediction: The 2nd District takes in the white and Hispanic areas of Chicago.

Roeser prediction: Berrios wins.

Stewart prediction: Berrios will triumph with 55%.

Cook County State’s Attorney: Like Mount Vesuvius, which erupted in 79 A.D. and destroyed Pompeii, a bunch of Democratic contenders – Tom Allen, Larry Suffredin, Bob Milan, Anita Alvarez – are eagerly waiting for a similar eruption to immolate black contender Howard Brookins. The eruption will be too late.

Brookins’ qualifications for the post of chief prosecutor are thin, as are Allen’s and Suffredin’s. Milan and Alvarez work for outgoing State’s Attorney Dick Devine, who has endorsed Milan. Brookins is black, and will get 70-80% of the black vote. Brookins has rebuffed charges that he’s a rental deadbeat, didn’t pay employees’ withholding taxes, and owned property with code violations. The latest charge is that, as alderman, he put his new wife on the payroll of a developer in his 21st Ward for whom he got $11.6 million in city funding.

Black voters will back Barack and Brookins, while white and Hispanic voters split.

Roeser prediction: Allen wins.

Stewart prediction: Brookins will win with 32%, with Allen a close second. But any further eruptions will aid Republican Tony Peraica in November.

Recorder: Black incumbent Gene Moore and black west side Alderman Ed Smith (28th) are battling for the nomination to an inconsequential post. Daley has endorsed Smith, but most black – and virtually all white – Democratic committeemen are supporting Moore.

Stewart prediction: Moore will win with 55%. Roeser makes no prediction.

Appellate Court (1st District): The district is contiguous with Cook county. In 2006, the party slated two white males for two vacancies; one lost to a black female. In 2008, there are again two vacancies: Incumbent Alan Greiman, who has served since 1991, faces two circuit judges: Sharon Coleman, who is black, and William O’Neal. For the second spot, Judge John Steele, a black former alderman, faces Judge Richard Walsh and Frank Gardner.

Stewart prediction: The Big black blowout will insure the nomination of Coleman and Steele. Roeser agrees.

50th Ward Democratic Committeeman (West Rogers Park): Incumbent Berny (he insists it be spelled that way rather than Bernie) Stone, the ward’s alderman since 1973, faces his protégé, State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-8). “It’s tough to run (for committeeman),” said Silverstein. “Jewish voters think I’m trying to take Bernie’s (aldermanic) job away.” Silverstein supports Obama, and is backed by Schakowsky and the ward’s anti-Stone forces; he is also endorsed by Daley. Stone is backing Clinton. My prediction: Stone, age 80, has no ground game. In the Jewish area west of Western Avenue, Stone will get 55%. In the east end, with a Third World population, Silverstein will get 60%.

Roeser prediction: Silverstein wins.

Stewart prediction: A 300-vote Silverstein win.

41st Ward (Edison Park, Norwood Park, Edgebrook, Gladstone Park): Ralph Capparelli is over-the-hill, but his opponents are still under-the-radar. Capparelli, age 83, is Democratic committeeman in Chicago’s most Republican ward. Foes Mary O’Connor, Frank Coconate and Pat Mulligan attack Capparelli for being ineffective. Coconate hits O’Connor as plant of Republican Alderman Brian Doherty.

Roeser prediction: Capparelli wins.

Stewart prediction: Against a single foe, Capparelli would lose. Against three, he wins.

7th Ward (South Hyde Park): It’s like shooting fish in a barrel – and the Jackson clan has the revolver. In 2007, Sandi Jackson, wife of U; S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-2), beat appointed Alderman Darcel Beavers, daughter of longtime Alderman Bill Beavers (1983-2006), with 57%. Now she’s running against the old man, a county commissioner, for committeeman. My prediction: Bye-bye Beavers Clan. Jackson will win easily, and the South Side will be Jesse-Land.

Roeser prediction: Jackson wins.

Stewart prediction: Jackson wins.

43rd Ward (Lincoln Park): It’s up for grabs. Alderman Vi Daley is retiring in 2011, and Democratic committeeman Peg Roth is quitting in 2008. 2007 aldermanic losers Michele Smith and Tim Egan are running for committeeman, as is Chuck Eastwood, Daley’s top aide.

Stewart prediction: Smith will win, giving her an edge for alderman in 2011. Roeser passes.

3rd Congressional district (southwest Cook county suburbs, Chicago’s Southwest Side): You can’t beat nobody who is related to somebody with a bunch of nobodies. Dan Lipinski (D) is congressman because his father resigned and got his fellow committeemen to anoint his son. Dan won the 2006 primary with 54%, and faces three Democrats – former assistant state’s attorney Mark Pera, attorney Jim Capparelli, and Palos Hills Mayor Jerry Bennett – in 2006.

Roeser prediction: Lipinski wins.

Stewart prediction: Lipinski wins, but with less than a majority.

10th Congressional district (North Shore and east Lake county): The “surge” in Iraq is working. The U.S. presence in Iraq has diminished Arab terrorism in Israel. Jay Footlik, a lobbyist and former Clinton administration liaison to the Jewish community, is running as a “Friend of Israel.” 2006 loser Dan Seals, who got 47%, is running on a get-out-of-Iraq-now platform. Footlik argues that an anti-Iraq, anti-Israel Democrat like Seals can’t win. Incumbent Republican Mark Kirk contends that the best way to protect Israel is to win in Iraq. The outlook: Seals will be nominated.

Roeser prediction: Seals wins.

Stewart prediction: Seals wins, but only with 55%.

11th congressional district (far southwest suburbs: Joliet, Streator, Ottawa, Morris and LaSalle): Incumbent Jerry Weller is retiring, and State Senator Debbie Halvorson (D) is a formidable candidate. Republicans are New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann, former White House aide Jimmy Lee, and airline pilot Tim Heenan. It will be Baldermann versus Halvorson, with the Democrat favored.

Stewart prediction: Baldermann wins. Roeser passes.

14th congressional district: Is there Oberweis fatigue? Oberweis ran statewide in 2002, 2004 and 2006, losing each time and spending a total of $6 million. He’s already spent $1.6 million to win the Republican nomination to replace the retired Dennis Hastert, who has endorsed him. He faces State Senator Chris Lauzen in the primary. Oberweis denies that he will be a one-termer, and use the job to run for governor in 2010.

Roeser prediction: Lauzen wins.

Stewart prediction: A narrow Obverweis win – and Lauzen wins in 2010.

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Russ Stewart is an attorney, a political analyst for Nadig newspapers and The Chicago Daily Observer where he also serves on its editorial board.

3 Comments »

  • Claude "I am shocked" Raines (author) said:

    What a rotten choice faces the voters in selecting a nominee for the position of Commissioner of Board of Review (2nd District) next Tuesday. Incumbent Joe Berrios is the successor to the late Tom Keane. As boss of the 31st Ward, he has been caught up in some nepotism and womanizing scandals.

    Under ordinary circumstances, one might view Berrios as vulnerable, but Deratany is positively weird. He has made some big bucks as an attorney, but he has also been involved in some peculiar cases that seem designed to generate publicity. He is also openly gay and an activist. He wrote a play that addressed the subject of gay marriage entitled “Two Grooms and a Mohel” which was staged at the Bailiwick Theater to poor reviews. Jan Schakowsky is backing him and praised his legal record on cases that have nothing to do with property tax assessments. Deratany faulted Berrios for accepting campaign contributions from lawyers challenging assessments, but had no problem with accepting money from Assessor Jim Houlihan who obtained the money from the same sources as did Berrios. This is reform?

    Berrios has most of the endorsements from the committeemen in the district, so he has a definite advantage.

  • Claude "I am shocked" Raines (author) said:

    What a rotten choice faces the voters in selecting a nominee for the position of Commissioner of Board of Review (2nd District) next Tuesday. Incumbent Joe Berrios is the successor to the late Tom Keane. As boss of the 31st Ward, he has been caught up in some nepotism and womanizing scandals.

    Under ordinary circumstances, one might view Berrios as vulnerable, but Deratany is positively weird. He has made some big bucks as an attorney, but he has also been involved in some peculiar cases that seem designed to generate publicity. He is also openly gay and an activist. He wrote a play that addressed the subject of gay marriage entitled “Two Grooms and a Mohel” which was staged at the Bailiwick Theater to poor reviews. Jan Schakowsky is backing him and praised his legal record on cases that have nothing to do with property tax assessments. Deratany faulted Berrios for accepting campaign contributions from lawyers challenging assessments, but had no problem with accepting money from Assessor Jim Houlihan who obtained the money from the same sources as did Berrios. This is reform?

    Berrios has most of the endorsements from the committeemen in the district, so he has a definite advantage.

  • Mark G (author) said:

    Joe Berrios was not the direct successor of the late Tom Keane. There were two loyal organization stalwarts that served as Democratic Committeeman and or Alderman before Berrios got elected, Edward Nedza and Chester Kuta. From what I know, one retired and one did time (Nedza). Berrios did get his start as a precinct captain with Keane.

    Joe does have baggage but it usually has been overlooked. Regardless, Berrios is definitely going to win this one because of the precinct organization that he now has and that he does have key committeeman support

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