WBEZ | Election 2010 http://www.wbez.org/tags/election-2010 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Video: Election night at WBEZ http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/video-election-night-wbez <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-November/2010-11-05/electionnight.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-05/electionnight.jpg" style="width: 486px; height: 273px;" title=""></p><p style="text-align: left;">On Tuesday night, WBEZ and wbez.org went wall-to-wall with coverage of the 2010 mid-term elections. Our web traffic was through the roof (highest ever) and our on-air programming was outstanding.</p><p>You want to see what it looked like in a snappy video produced and edited by Samuel Vega? It's worth it to watch Steve Edwards coughing, Tony Sarabia scrambling and Jason Marck undressing.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/16516044?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=c9000a" frameborder="0" height="338" width="600"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 05 Nov 2010 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/video-election-night-wbez AP: Quinn declared winner http://www.wbez.org/story/ap-quinn-declared-winner <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-04/AP101104018623.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has narrowly defeated his Republican challenger. An AP analysis of uncounted votes from absentee and other ballots shows state Sen. Bill Brady won't be able to overcome the just more than 19,400-vote lead Quinn holds with 100 percent of precincts reporting Thursday.</p><p>Brady has said he won't concede until all votes are counted, including absentee ballots from military members serving outside Illinois. State officials have until Dec. 3 to certify all results. Quinn inherited the governor's mansion nearly two years ago when lawmakers ousted Rod Blagojevich after his arrest on federal corruption charges. He campaigned on a proposal to raise the state income tax by one-third as Illinois struggles with a deficit that could top $15 billion.</p><p>Here is Governor Pat Quinn's statement:&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;After nearly 10 months of the gubernatorial campaign, the decision of who would serve the residents of Illinois for the next four years was placed in the hands of the voters. And they have spoken. With 100 percent of the precincts recorded and declaration of victory by the Associated Press, the outcome is decisive. Now, the Governor believes it's imperative that him and other elected officials serving Illinois return their focus to the serious issues our state faces. It will take nothing less than everyone's full, collective efforts to address these challenges and ensure that the economic recovery we&rsquo;ve begun continues and is strengthened. The Governor carries with him the high expectations, hopes and dreams of the people of Illinois, and he will work tirelessly to continue to deliver results to all of our state&rsquo;s residents in the coming years.&quot; -- Mica Matsoff, Campaign Spokesperson</p></p> Thu, 04 Nov 2010 20:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/ap-quinn-declared-winner Pew exit poll: voters more conservative, white, angry http://www.wbez.org/story/conservative/pew-exit-poll-voters-more-conservative-white-angry <p><p>Got much delayed by some self-inflicted computer problems but here's hoping that's solved now.</p><p>So far, no surprises. All the elections that have been called have gone the way they were supposed to. For instance, the South Carolina race for U.S. Senate was called for Jim DeMint, the Republican and Tea Party point man in the Senate. We won't have Democrat Alvin Greene to kick around anymore.</p><p>Anyway, the Pew Research Center is making available some exit polling which confirms pretty much what analysts of the electorate have been saying for months, that voter enthusiasm for this year's midterms tilted mostly to the Republicans.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>According to the Pew, 41 percent of the voters called themselves conservatives which was higher than the percentage in the last two national elections. It was 32 percent in 2006, 34 percent in 2008.</p><p>Most voters said the government was doing too much, usurping what individuals and businesses should be doing. In 2008, most didn't think the government was doing enough.</p><p>A higher percentage of voters were white, older and more educated, which goes with the more conservative bent. Again, all the indicators from pre-election polling suggested this would be the case.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288743570?&amp;gn=Pew+Exit+Poll%3A+Voters+More+Conservative%2C+White%2C+Angry&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=129828651&amp;h1=Midterm+elections,Exit+polls,Mid-term+election,State+races,Congress,It%27s+All+Politics,Conservative,Election+2010,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131021153&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101102&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c31=131007872,130996845,130224844,130218547,130215202,129828651,127313033,125693903&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 18:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/conservative/pew-exit-poll-voters-more-conservative-white-angry SENATE: Democrats hope for slim majority http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/senate-democrats-hope-slim-majority <p><p>Senate Democrats are hoping to hold on to a slim majority as the first results from the day's 37 races begin to emerge.</p><p>Whether Republicans can pick up the 10 seats they need to take over the Senate is a drama that could extend into the early morning, when results from several tight West Coast races may become clear.</p><p>And the Democrats' second biggest question -- the fate of the party's majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada -- remains in doubt amid a tough challenge from Republican Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle.</p><p>So far, the evening's early results have not delivered any major surprises.</p><p>South Carolina Republican Jim DeMint, who championed a bold slate of Tea Party candidates, won an easy victory. So did Indiana Republican and former Sen. Dan Coats, who prevailed over Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth. Easily coasting to re-election was incumbent Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont.</p><p>In Kentucky, Republican Rand Paul, a Tea Party favorite, defeated Democrat Jack Conway, after a long-running war of words. Paul, the son of veteran Texas Rep. Ron Paul, is competing for the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Jim Bunning. It's been a contentious race. At one point a former volunteer for Paul was accused of assault for stomping on the head of a left-leaning activist. And Conway supporters ran ads highlighting a college prank by Paul involving the &quot;Aqua Buddha&quot; and questioning his religious bona fides.</p><p><strong>Among the most closely watched races:</strong></p><p><strong>Illinois</strong> -- In a race characterized by attack ads and finger-pointing, Republican Rep. Mark Kirk held a narrow lead in the polls against Democrat (and friend of President Obama) Alexi Giannoulias. Kirk drew fire for overstating his military record, while Giannoulias' family ties to a bank that dealt with disreputable characters became a focus of negative ads.</p><p><strong>Colorado</strong> -- Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D) is fighting for his political life against Tea Party Republican and former District Attorney Ken Buck. Buck wants to repeal the Obama administration's signature health care law and opposes abortion rights.</p><p><strong>Washington</strong> -- Three-term incumbent Patty Murray is clinging to her seat in a contest against Republican Dino Rossi.</p><p><strong>West Virginia</strong> -- Popular Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin has been running away from the Obama White House in a bid to hold on to a Senate seat held for decades by the late Democrat Robert Byrd. But Republican John Raese, as well as Sarah Palin -- who campaigned for him -- did their best to yoke Manchin and Obama. The victor will serve the remaining two years of Byrd's term. Manchin's former aide is under investigation by the FBI and Justice Department for alleged contracting abuses. Raese is under fire for an ad that featured &quot;hicky&quot;-looking actors.</p><p><strong>Pennsylvania</strong> -- Former Club for Growth president and onetime GOP House member Pat Toomey is hoping to turn the Senate seat Republican after incumbent Democrat Arlen Specter lost in the primary. But Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak, a Navy veteran, has been campaigning nonstop to avert a GOP win.</p><p><strong>Alaska</strong> -- Republican Joe Miller, a Tea Party favorite, is trying to hold on to an early lead in the polls over Democrat Scott McAdams. Incumbent Lisa Murkowski, who lost in the GOP primary, has launched a bold write-in bid to retain her seat and maintain her family's political dynasty in the state. If Murkowski is successful, she'd be the first write-in candidate to win since the late Strom Thurmond of South Carolina in 1954.</p><p><strong>California </strong>-- Incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer is trying to pull out a Democratic victory in a race against former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive and John McCain presidential adviser Carly Fiorina.</p><p><strong>Wisconsin</strong> -- Republican Ron Johnson, an Oshkosh plastics executive, is trying to defeat Democrat Russ Feingold, a three-term champion of campaign finance reform. Feingold voted for the health care bill and did not run away from that vote, unlike many struggling Democrats this year.</p><p><strong>Florida</strong> -- Marco Rubio seems to be in line to win the seat for the GOP over Democrat Kendrick Meek and independent Charlie Crist. Crist, the incumbent governor and former Republican, is doing his best to make it a close contest. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288742775?&amp;gn=SENATE%3A+Democrats+Hope+For+Slim+Majority&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=125693903&amp;h1=Election+2010,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131020739&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101102&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c31=125693903&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288742811?&amp;gn=SENATE%3A+Democrats+Hope+For+Slim+Majority&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Election+2010,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131020739&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101102&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288742811?&amp;gn=SENATE%3A+Democrats+Hope+For+Slim+Majority&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Election+2010,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=131020739&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101102&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /></p></p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 18:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/around-nation/senate-democrats-hope-slim-majority GOP seizes House; Senate balance tightens http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/polls-close-political-possibilities-open <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2010-November/2010-11-02/booth1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The seismic event driving the 2010 midterm elections has triggered a tsunami: Republicans have swept to control of the House of Representatives.</p><p>That's the biggest story so far in a turbulent election that followed a volatile and intensely negative political campaign season.</p><p>Results so far show a decided shift to the right across the country. But Democrats held ground in some closely watched races and were fighting to keep a Senate majority.</p><p><strong>GOP Takes It To The House</strong></p><p>A major upheaval was under way in the House of Representatives, where Republicans had picked up at least 37 seats. They need 39 to take control of the House. Results so far suggest that's likely and that the final total could be considerably higher.</p><p>Among those going down was Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia, who serves on the powerful Judiciary Committee and on Energy and Commerce and has been in office 28 years.</p><p>In Indiana, Rep. Baron Hill &mdash; a moderate Democrat and fiscal conservative &mdash; was ousted by Todd Young, a veteran and lawyer who has been endorsed by Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and presidential hopeful.</p><p>South Carolina elected State Rep. Tim Scott to the House. He will be the first black Republican from the Deep South to serve there since Reconstruction &mdash; and also the first black GOP representative since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired in 2003.</p><p><strong>Democrats Lose Ground In Senate, Too</strong></p><p>It appeared certain that Republicans had picked up four Senate seats previously held by Democrats. Perhaps the biggest news came from Wisconsin, where the GOP's Ron Johnson knocked off longtime Sen. Russ Feingold.</p><p>Also making gains for Republicans were Dan Coats in Indiana, John Boozman (who beat Democratic incumbent Blanche Lincoln in Arkansas) and Gov. John Hoeven, who takes the seat held by retiring Democratic Sen. Byron Dorgan in North Dakota.</p><p>Tea Party favorites Rand Paul and Marco Rubio captured Kentucky and Florida, showing the strength of that new political movement. And Roy Blunt won in Missouri, keeping that Senate seat in GOP hands.</p><p>But it wasn't all Republicans all the time. In Delaware, Democrat Chris Coons was able to hold off a challenge from Tea Party candidate Christine O'Donnell.</p><p>In West Virginia, Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin claimed the Senate seat vacated by the late Sen. Robert Byrd.</p><p>And in Connecticut, longtime Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, was on his way to overcoming a $50 million spending spree by Republican newcomer Linda McMahon.</p><p>In Ohio, Republican Rob Portman claimed the seat vacated by fellow Republican George Voinovich. Republican newcomer Kelly Ayotte won in New Hampshire, holding on to another GOP seat. In Kansas, Jerry Moran held down the Senate seat vacated by fellow Republican Sam Brownback.</p><p>Democratic incumbents still on the job include Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer in New York, Pat Leahy in Vermont and Barbara Mikulski in Maryland. Republicans holding on to their seats included Richard Burr in North Carolina, Tom Coburn in Oklahoma, Johnny Isakson in Georgia, Jim DeMint in South Carolina and Richard Shelby in Alabama.</p><p>Democrats were trying to defend their hold on both houses of Capitol Hill against an onslaught of candidates from inside and outside the Republican mainstream.</p><p>President Obama watched and wondered what the outcome of Tuesday's vote will mean for his agenda &mdash; and his re-election hopes in 2012.</p><p>And across the nation, 37 governors' offices are up for grabs, as well as control of many statehouses. State-by-state outcomes will affect redistricting decisions that could have a lasting impact on the political landscape.</p></p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 18:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/polls-close-political-possibilities-open As polls close, a look at key races in Indiana http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/polls-close-look-key-races-indiana <p></p> Tue, 02 Nov 2010 17:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/polls-close-look-key-races-indiana Memo to pols: If you blanket my neighborhood with yard-signs, I'm not voting for you http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/memo-pols-if-you-blanket-my-neighborhood-yard-signs-im-not-voting-you <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-November/2010-11-01/madigan-signs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img title="" alt="" style="width: 484px; height: 322px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-01/madigan-signs.jpg" /><em><br /></em></p><p>It&rsquo;s a day before the election. It&rsquo;s pump up time. This is when politicians turn into emcees and supporters build up stamina for their various rally reactions:</p><p>&quot;How are we doing today Rock Island?&quot; (Cheer, scream)</p><p>&quot;I can&rsquo;t hear you!!!!&rdquo; (Cheer, scream)</p><p>&quot;Are we going to win tomorrow or what?&quot; (Cheer, scream)</p><p>&quot;Wait, what? Channel 5 had a camera problem. Can we start over? Sure.&quot;</p><p>&quot;How are we doing Rock Island??&quot;</p><p>I love the day before an election. This is when I collect all my fliers, yard signs, web sites and robo-calls and make an overnight trip to the desert, put on my 'Best of Cream' on my iPod, take some peyote and come to a decision. I will just repeat for hours: Who will be the state&rsquo;s new comptroller? Who will be the state&rsquo;s new comptroller...</p><p>Either that, or just vote for whoever hands me literature last.</p><p>Today is also the last day we can talk freely about who we think will win. Tomorrow, media gets really touchy (or at least we do) about reporting on candidates because we don&rsquo;t want to poison the well for potential undecided voters. So here are my endorsements:</p><p>Governor: Pass.</p><p>Senate: Pass.</p><p>Congress: Pass.</p><p>Comptroller: Judy Baar Topinka.</p><p>Cook Cty President: Pass.</p><p>Who knows who will win? If there&rsquo;s one thing I know more than anything in the whole wide world, it&rsquo;s this:&nbsp; don&rsquo;t trust the media. The media is like Hollywood. Somewhere, one media outlet talked about the &ldquo;anger&rdquo; of the country and then everyone picked up the story because they want the ratings. It&rsquo;s like vampire shows. One works, order 15 more.</p><p>This election cycle feels like the media is paying back the right for the left love fest in 2008. In 2008, we went crazy pver Obama and the Dems. Now, almost like payback we&rsquo;ve told one-sided stories the other way, talking about tea-partiers and the rage/anger of the country. Everyone has gone on record (including us) that this is a republican year and they are going to win the house and major offices state-wide. See, the media is equal-opportunity&hellip;in broad, yearly strokes.</p><p>And it&rsquo;s not just the media. &nbsp; Election cycles have become more and more intrusive. If you're going to spend three years campaigning for president, I&rsquo;ll accept intrusive campaigning if we see some change - like ending wars and writing historic social legislation. I&rsquo;m down with that. At least it shakes it up a bit.</p><p>But when two-year congressmen and state-wide constitutional officers start campaigning months and months out from the election and paper the whole city in their crappy on-line printed red &amp; white yard signs, that's when I have a problem.</p><p>Memo to wannabe elected politicians: Don&rsquo;t try to get my attention by LITTERING the medians of this fine city. I will not vote for Scott Lee Cohen and Dan Rutherford because of their over-zealous volunteers who put 50 signs back-to-back-to-back-to-back on Ashland Ave. Same with the open green space in parks or off of Lake Shore Drive. You don&rsquo;t understand the city or the people who live here when you take away our only green spaces to try and deliver YOUR NAME to our sub-consciousness. You know who else does that? Fast food, telemarketers (want a job quick?) and shady mortgage companies. Congrats, you are in respectable company.</p><p>Elections in this town should mean something, but they shouldn&rsquo;t be on my answering machine, on my windshield or in my parks. We have a serious budget problem in our state. Regardless of who wins, there will be cuts. And those decisions will have to be made by a manager who not only shows discipline to cut, but but pressure on the wound to help us heal quickly. He will have to carry a knife, but also Neosporin. But if this state sees too much blood, we&rsquo;ll freak out and probably pass out. You put a tax on parking lots AND cut social services? I&rsquo;m woozy.</p><p>This is why turnout is expected to be low. Not because candidates don&rsquo;t inspire, but Illinois voters are acting like you do when you know you have to pay a delinquent bill - by hiding it under a pile of unopened mail. Nobody wants to see it, nobody wants to think about it. We all know it&rsquo;s coming, but it&rsquo;s not our problem to fix, it&rsquo;s a paid politician&rsquo;s job. And we don&rsquo;t want to be responsible for our choice messing it up.</p><p>So on this final day before we go to the polls, let&rsquo;s try to put out of our minds the apocalypse that awaits us in 2011. Let&rsquo;s go to the polls and pay that bill! If it all works out, those cuts probably won&rsquo;t leave a scar. Probably.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 01 Nov 2010 14:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/memo-pols-if-you-blanket-my-neighborhood-yard-signs-im-not-voting-you No opponent, but big money in Illinois justice's race http://www.wbez.org/story/business/no-opponent-big-money-illinois-justices-race <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr/images/26-10-2010/kilbride.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There's no shortage of hot political races in Illinois this year. The Senate seat once occupied by President Obama is up for grabs. So is the governor's mansion.</p><p>But it's a big-money campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court, in which Justice Thomas Kilbride is running without an opponent, that has good-government advocates shaking their heads.</p><p>Nearly $3 million has flowed into that race -- making it the second-highest-grossing judicial retention campaign in history. And, experts say, it could have a lasting impact on the independence of the court system.</p><p><strong>'Does The Public Buy It?' </strong></p><p>Cynthia Canary, who runs the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, has been tracking contributions in the campaign. More than $2 million from the state Democratic Party and unions has gone to Kilbride. About $600,000 more from business groups is funding the opposition.</p><p>&quot;We've got this notion embedded in our history that when judges sit on a case they're supposed to ... consider the law and not be swayed by campaign contributions or whom they know,&quot; Canary says. &quot;But when you're talking about this kind of money, even a justice who is doing their absolute best to apply that kind of standard and to be neutral, the problem is: Does the public buy it?&quot;</p><p>Kilbride, 57, is a 10-year veteran of the court who is trying to win another 10-year term. He's a former legal aid lawyer who once ran his own small law practice.</p><p>These days, he's running a careful sort of campaign, introducing himself to some of the sprawling district's 1.2 million voters at community events.</p><p><strong>Community Campaigning</strong></p><p>One morning last week, local political candidates and religious leaders sat side by side at the Kankakee Country Club in Kankakee, Ill., and dug into biscuits and gravy from the buffet while waiting for the 29th annual prayer breakfast to begin.</p><p>Mike Bossert, chairman of the Kankakee County Board, warmed up the crowd.</p><p>&quot;Welcome all to Kankakee County,&quot; Bossert said. &quot;I'm honored to have the opportunity to welcome you on this glorious, fall morning. October in Illinois -- sunshine, cool weather, harvest is done, $5 corn -- life is great, right?&quot;</p><p>Actually, things could be better for native son Kilbride. Even though no one is running against him, he has attracted fierce opposition.</p><p>A few hours after the prayer breakfast, Kilbride drove to the convention center in East Peoria, Ill., to introduce himself to a group of probation officers and maybe pick up a few votes. Outside, Kilbride opened the trunk of his white sedan, which has become a roving campaign office.</p><p>&quot;I've got a group of yard signs and the bumper stickers and the palm cards,&quot; he said.</p><p>Inside the convention center, Kilbride accepted an award on behalf of the Illinois Supreme Court, of which he is set to become chief justice this week. But if he doesn't win 60 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, the awards dinner in East Peoria could be one of his last official acts.</p><p><strong>Attack Ads</strong></p><p>Ed Murnane leads the pro-business Illinois Civil Justice League, Kilbride's leading critic. Murnane rallied the business community after Kilbride voted this year against limits on medical malpractice claims. (Another Illinois Supreme Court justice who voted the same way in the medical liability case is also facing re-election, but, unlike Kilbride, he comes from a solidly Democratic district in Cook County, Ill., so the money hasn't flowed in his direction.)</p><p>At a community event posted on YouTube, Murnane laid out his case.</p><p>&quot;It became obvious that Thomas Kilbride not only had the worst record on civil issues,&quot; Murnane said, &quot;he also had a terrible record on criminal issues, and we thought the voters of Illinois who are being asked to send him back to the Supreme Court for 10 more years needed to know about his record.&quot;</p><p>Murnane canceled an interview with NPR, then didn't respond when asked to reschedule. But his political action committee has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from business groups and manufacturers to run negative radio ads against Kilbride.</p><p>The ads include some violent content from actors pretending to be criminals.</p><p>&quot;I was convicted of sexual assault of three different children,&quot; one ad begins. Another voice adds, &quot;I was convicted of shooting my ex-girlfriend in the face and murdering her sister while our daughter watched. On appeal, Justice Thomas Kilbride sided with us over law enforcement and our victims. ... Vote no on retention of Supreme Court Judge Thomas Kilbride. It's way down on the ballot, but please make it a top priority.&quot;</p><p>The state bar association, retired judges and police groups have denounced the ads as unfair and inaccurate. Kilbride offered a more personal response.</p><p>&quot;I think they're deplorable,&quot; Kilbride said. &quot;They're horrific. I think they're vile.&quot;</p><p>Kilbride said those criminal cases dealt with procedural issues. And he says none of the defendants were released from jail or got lighter sentences because of his rulings.</p><p>The attacks have gotten so harsh that Kilbride has been asking himself whether he ever wants to run again after this race ends.</p><p>&quot;I don't know about in the future [if] I'd want to do anything like this, the way it's evolved,&quot; he said. &quot;I am where I am. Here's the point. It's not about me; it's about our court system. It's about the independence of the judicial branch.&quot;</p><p>Yet Kilbride has raised more than double what his opponents have collected so far -- numbers that surprise some local voters.</p><p><strong>Misdirected Money?</strong></p><p>At a shiny new ice rink in Kankakee last week, voter Jeffrey Naese watched his son play hockey in a nighttime league. Naese works full time, but he runs the Zamboni here in the evenings to pick up some extra cash.</p><p>&quot;I would surely hope that million dollars would go toward something that would help out toward our community,&quot; Naese said.</p><p>Kilbride agreed. He said he'd prefer to drive around introducing himself to voters, not spend millions on television ads that feature law enforcement officers vouching for his approach on crime.</p><p>&quot;Nobody would be raising any money but for the announcement months ago, if not a year ago, when Ed Murnane of the Illinois Civil Justice League made it clear he was going to raise a million and a half dollars to come after me,&quot; Kilbride said. &quot;Now what am I to do ... sit still, lay down and roll over and just get trampled?&quot;</p><p>Kilbride said the race is about far more than his career.</p><p>&quot;If we are going to allow the courts to be politicized to this degree, where there's more and more big-time money coming in, it's going to ruin the court system and we might as well shut down the third branch,&quot; he said. &quot;I mean that seriously.&quot; Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288126993?&amp;gn=No+Opponent%2C+But+Big+Money+In+Illinois+Justice%27s+Race&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=125693903&amp;h1=Election+2010,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130810189&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101026&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=3&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c31=125693903&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288126994?&amp;gn=No+Opponent%2C+But+Big+Money+In+Illinois+Justice%27s+Race&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Election+2010,Around+the+Nation,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130810189&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101026&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=3&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /></p></p> Mon, 25 Oct 2010 23:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/business/no-opponent-big-money-illinois-justices-race Centrist blue dogs in the midterm cross hairs http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/centrist-blue-dogs-midterm-cross-hairs <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr/images/25-10-2010/bright_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The upcoming midterm elections have many Democrats fighting for their political lives. But one group may have the toughest fight of all: the centrist House Democrats known as Blue Dogs.</p><p>Elected in traditionally Republican territory, they now find themselves in the cross hairs as voter sentiment has soured.</p><p>If you just listened to the campaign ads, you wouldn't guess some of these candidates have a &quot;D&quot; by their names.</p><p>&quot;I've said no to more government spending, no to President Obama's big health care plan, and no to Wall Street bailouts,&quot; <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqM_3yOHQI">says freshman Rep. Walt Minnick</a> of Idaho.</p><p>In Mississippi, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP48TzxZuzQ">Travis Childers brags</a>, &quot;I'm pro-gun and pro-life.<em> </em>I'm endorsed by the NRA and National Right to Life.&quot;</p><p>And an announcer reports that <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UHItyRdQyY">freshman Democrat Bobby Bright</a> of Alabama &quot;voted against the bailouts, against stimulus spending, against the massive government health care.&quot;</p><p>Bright is the first Democrat to represent Alabama's 2nd Congressional District in 44 years. The son of a sharecropper and former mayor of Montgomery won by a scant 1,700 votes two years ago.&nbsp; And ever since, he's amassed a voting record that breaks with his party a majority of the time.</p><p>On a recent campaign stop across from the train depot in rural Evergreen, Ala., Bright greets voters at Famous Floyd's diner -- and comments on the fact that two gentlemen who arrived together are sporting rival team colors.</p><p>&quot;Is that Auburn?&nbsp;And Alabama -- looka here,&quot; Bright says. &quot;They're getting along fine together.&quot;</p><p>College football arch rivals might be getting along fine for breakfast, but Bright points out it doesn't work like that for Democrats and Republicans in Congress.</p><p>&quot;We've got more people in the center trying to make things good happen than we do on the fringes that are the loudest and most volatile and the most vocal,&quot; says Bright. &quot;Those are the guys controlling our government right now. But you know who is on the chopping block this term? People like me.&quot;</p><p><strong>Taking Risks</strong></p><p><em>Congressional Quarterly</em> says Bright opposed the Democratic Party line on 55 percent of votes in 2009. That has him walking a fine line with voters in southeast Alabama -- touting his vote against President Obama's health care overhaul while at the same time defending the legislation.</p><p>&quot;I don't care what people tell you,&quot; he says. &quot;It's doing some good things for 80 percent of the people who live in Alabama.&quot;</p><p>But he says 80 percent of the people in Alabama didn't want it, so he voted against it.</p><p>&quot;It was a real negative for me to hear him say 'I didn't vote for it,' &quot; says retiree Daniel McDaniel.&nbsp;He is among the 30 percent of voters in Bright's district who are African-American. Their turnout was crucial two years ago, and in question today.</p><p>&quot;I probably wouldn't have voted for him if I hadn't talked to him today,&quot; McDaniel says.</p><p>Bright risks alienating the Democratic base with his ads sporting a picture of House Republican Leader John Boehner and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FibqNXZWxDI">promising not to vote for Nancy Pelosi</a> as speaker.</p><p>Democratic pollster John Anzalone says to win in this political climate, the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs like Bright have to distance themselves from the party, Pelosi and the president.</p><p>In the minds of voters, Anzalone says, &quot;they have to show they are not part of the [D.C.] cabal.&quot;</p><p><strong>Opponent Puts Focus On Pelosi</strong></p><p>Republicans are trying to keep the red state Democrats on the defensive. Bright's opponent, Martha Roby, a Montgomery City Council member, has kept the focus on Pelosi.</p><p>&quot;We've seen a lot happen in the past year and a half that's come straight out of her agenda,&quot; Roby says. &quot;And people down here don't like it.&quot;</p><p>Roby, a 34-year-old mother of two, beat a Tea Party candidate in the Republican primary, and has since picked up an endorsement from Sarah Palin. At a recent Kiwanis Club lunch in Dothan, Ala., she called for smaller government and a repeal of the health care law.</p><p>Sitting at the Rotary's &quot;curmudgeon table,&quot; 88-year-old Charles McLeod says she'll get his vote.</p><p>&quot;I voted for Dewey in 1944 and I'll probably still vote Republican,&quot; chuckles McLeod. He adds he likes the way Bright votes, but says the congressman is in the wrong party. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288034030?&amp;gn=Centrist+Blue+Dogs+In+The+Midterm+Cross+Hairs&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=125693903&amp;h1=Politics+Weekly+E-mail+Newsletter,Election+2010,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130653320&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101018&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=2&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c31=127088100,125693903&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288034084?&amp;gn=Centrist+Blue+Dogs+In+The+Midterm+Cross+Hairs&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Politics+Weekly+E-mail+Newsletter,Election+2010,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130653320&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101018&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=2&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" alt="" /></p></p> Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/centrist-blue-dogs-midterm-cross-hairs Voters say they want to know who funds ads http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/voters-say-they-want-know-who-funds-ads <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr/images/25-10-2010/adforms_custom.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Turn on a TV just about anywhere in the country right now, and you'll see tough political attack ads. Millions of dollars are being spent on these ads by groups that are organized as nonprofits -- and, therefore, do not have to disclose their donors.</p><p>In Pittsburgh, for example, many of the attack ads hitting the airwaves are from these noncandidate, nonparty, supposedly nonpolitical groups. It's perfectly legal for them to raise contributions in any amount, keep their donors' anonymity and run hard-hitting ads -- like one that attacks Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak.</p><p>&quot;Call Sestak. Tell him what's good for Pelosi is bad for Pennsylvania,&quot; the ad says, before adding, &quot;The U.S. Chamber is responsible for the content of this advertising.&quot;</p><p>The U.S. Chamber doesn't have to say who gave it the money for the ad. But does that matter?</p><p><strong>A Tradition?</strong></p><p>NPR asked several groups for interviews. They all refused, or didn't return calls. But those who defend the lack of transparency give this rationale: The information in attack ads should stand on its merits. Viewers do not need to know who funded the ad.</p><p>Not surprisingly, Sestak, one candidate under attack, doesn't agree. He's slightly behind in the polls -- and is trying to turn the tables on the U.S. Chamber.</p><p>&quot;They really do want somebody who's going to represent them,&quot; he says. &quot;So they're trying to make Pennsylvania into an auction, when it's supposed to be about an election.&quot;</p><p>As for Republican candidate Pat Toomey, the Chamber's ads seem to help him -- as his campaign spokeswoman acknowledged.</p><p>&quot;I think it's important for people to know about Congressman Sestak's record,&quot; spokeswoman Nachama Soloveichik said. &quot;I think it is important for people in Pennsylvania to know what Congressman Sestak voted for.&quot;</p><p>Disclosure typically wins plaudits from politicians and the courts -- even the Supreme Court in its <em>Citizens United</em> decision encouraging corporate money in partisan politics (<a href="#supreme">see sidebar</a>). But some conservatives see anonymity in politics as a broad, constitutional right that trumps disclosure. Among them is Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which works to end most restrictions on political money.</p><p>&quot;There is a time-honored tradition in America of anonymous speech in politics,&quot; he says.</p><p>But what about the voters? Does it make a difference to them if a political message comes from the U.S. Chamber or a labor union or some &quot;Citizens For&quot; or &quot;Americans For&quot; that they've never heard of?</p><p><strong>The Voters' Opinions</strong></p><p>Tucked among the old brick townhouses of Pittsburgh's North Side is the unassuming storefront of the <a href="http://www.montereypub.com/" target="_blank">Monterey Pub</a>. It's a local place -- the comfy, beloved hangout of neighbors who stop by after work for a great burger and Guinness on draught.</p><p>Both TVs are on the local news -- at least until the Penguins game starts -- and Andrew Wickesburg nurses his pint. He is not shy about his opinion of attack ads.</p><p>&quot;I hate those things,&quot; he says. &quot;They just disturb me on some inner level. It's just not good for us, not good for anyone, really; watch those things.&quot;</p><p>What really makes Wickesburg crazy is having no idea who funded the ads.</p><p>&quot;Obviously, it's a viewpoint that's held by somebody, but it doesn't have any information that I can really back up, without going and looking for myself,&quot; he says.</p><p>At the end of the bar, Jana Thompson agrees. She says researching every ad is just impossible.</p><p>&quot;If it takes me 20 minutes of Internet searching to find out, because you know, I saw that ad, and there was that thing, and I had to know the name -- yeah, I'm never going to do that. Nobody's going to do that,&quot; she says.</p><p>In a little booth in the corner, two old friends, Jim Lawrence and Dennis Nolan, pick at their last fries. They're both exasperated by the situation, which Lawrence says is made worse by the ambiguous names the supposedly nonpolitical groups have.</p><p>&quot;You know, these things could be financed by anybody. If they want to chop down apple trees it will be called the Green Apple Coalition,&quot; Lawrence says.</p><p>And Nolan thinks keeping the donors secret actually hoodwinks the viewer into paying attention to the attack.</p><p>&quot;When you do find out who's funding them, the motivations are just crystal clear,&quot; he says.</p><p>Keeping the funding secret allows a corporation to pursue its own interest, in the guise of supporting the people's interest, says Wickesburg. &quot;There are a lot of corporations around here that would benefit from having a candidate that has their interests at heart, not necessarily our interests.&quot;</p><p>The feeling is strong and unanimous -- these voters want to know exactly who is funding the attack ads. And the fuzzy feel-good name of an organization is not enough. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288034073?&amp;gn=Voters+Say+They+Want+To+Know+Who+Funds+Ads&amp;ev=event2&amp;ch=1014&amp;h1=Election+2010,Story+of+the+Day,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130566194&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101014&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=2&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c31=125693903&amp;v31=D%3Dc31&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /> Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img alt="" src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1288034109?&amp;gn=Voters+Say+They+Want+To+Know+Who+Funds+Ads&amp;ev=event2&amp;h1=Election+2010,Story+of+the+Day,Politics,U.S.,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&amp;c3=D%3Dgn&amp;v3=D%3Dgn&amp;c4=130566194&amp;c7=1014&amp;v7=D%3Dc7&amp;c18=1014&amp;v18=D%3Dc18&amp;c19=20101014&amp;v19=D%3Dc19&amp;c20=1&amp;v20=D%3Dc20&amp;c21=2&amp;v21=D%3Dc2&amp;c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001" /></p></p> Thu, 14 Oct 2010 17:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/election-2010/voters-say-they-want-know-who-funds-ads