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Gov. JB Pritzker and Illinois Sen. Darren Bailey

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, left, and Republican challenger Illinois Sen. Darren Bailey debate at Illinois State University in Normal on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022.

The Rundown: Pritzker’s double-digit lead

Good afternoon! It’s Friday, and I’ve totally not been counting down the minutes to punch out, partly because there’s a new Halloween movie out. Yup, definitely employee of the month over here. Anyway, here’s what you need to know.

1. Pritzker holds a double-digit lead over Bailey in the governor’s race, according to a new poll

A WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times poll out today found Gov. JB Pritzker leading GOP nominee Darren Bailey 49% to 34%.

But it’s not all good news for Pritzker. The poll also found the Democratic incumbent is struggling to boost his favorability numbers: 46% held favorable views of Pritzker, 46% unfavorable and 9% were unsure. But Bailey’s numbers are even worse.

The survey of 770 likely voters was conducted on Monday and Tuesday by Public Policy Polling, and it includes a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The poll also found U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth leading her Republican opponent, Kathy Salvi, 50% to 36%, with 5% supporting Libertarian Bill Redpath and another 9% undecided. [WBEZ]

And Democrats running for other statewide offices have wide leads over their GOP opponents, according to the poll. [WBEZ]

2. The corruption case against Michael Madigan ensnarls AT&T Illinois, which agrees to pay a $23 million fine

The corruption case against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan expanded today, showing federal authorities are still unearthing allegations of conspiracies carried out under the once-powerful politician.

AT&T Illinois today agreed to pay a $23 million fine for illegally currying favor with Madigan by arranging a $22,500 payment to one of Madigan’s allies, former state Rep. Eddie Acevedo, according to a deal the company reached with federal prosecutors.

Under that deal, the company must cooperate with federal prosecutors for two years in order to avoid a formal indictment.

But AT&T Illinois’ former president, Paul La Schiazza, was charged today for conspiring to influence Madigan.

Meanwhile, Madigan faces a new allegation of criminal wrongdoing. He has already pleaded not guilty to similar charges related to the energy giant Commonwealth Edison. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Top business leaders are preparing for a recession

Or as NPR puts it: “It’s almost impossible to find a CEO who isn’t bracing for a recession.”

Almost every top business leader in the U.S. expects an economic downturn in the next 12 to 18 months, according to a recent survey from The Conference Board, a nonprofit think tank focused on the global economy.

“Our CEOs are overwhelmingly bracing for a recession — both in the United States, and in Europe,” Steve Odland, the head of the group, told NPR.

But there is at least one ray of sunshine: Most CEOs believe that if the U.S. enters an economic downturn, it will be mild and not like the Great Recession. [NPR]

4. The owners of Jewel and Mariano’s plan to merge and possibly create a new grocery store empire

Jewel Osco-Mariano’s? Mariano’s Jewel Osco?

Kroger, the owner of Mariano’s, today announced plans to buy rival Albertsons, owner of Jewel Osco, under a deal worth $24.6 billion, reports NPR.

The news comes as Kroger and Albtertsons, the two largest grocers in the nation, face increased competition from Amazon, Walmart, Costco and others, and it could create a new nationwide grocery store empire.

But the deal also comes at a time when inflation has hurt the pocketbooks of shoppers, with grocery prices soaring 13% in September compared to a year ago.

That will likely result in more scrutiny from federal antitrust regulators who will review the fine print of the merger agreement. [NPR]

5. How Chicago put Louis Armstrong on a path to jazz greatness 100 years ago

Louis Armstrong stepped off a train at Illinois Central Station on Aug. 8, 1922, a pivotal moment in Armstrong’s rise as one of the most revered musical icons of all time.

“His life to that point had moved rapidly. Growing up impoverished in a vice district of New Orleans where he dropped out of school early and learned trumpet at a home for juvenile delinquents, Armstrong heard the early sounds of jazz in brothels and riverboats,” writes Mark Guarino for WBEZ.

“But Chicago promised him the same things it did other Black Southerners who migrated to Chicago between 1910 and 1930: prosperity, sophistication and transformation.”

Upcoming performances across the city will mark the 100th anniversary of Armstrong’s arrival in Chicago and feature some of the city’s most celebrated modern trumpeters, including Orbert Davis, Marques Carroll, Corey Wilkes and Maurice Brown. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • A lawyer for the convicted “Starved Rock killer” says evidence shows a relative of one of the victims arranged mobsters to carry out the murders. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Illinois students are getting their first broad exposure to Asian American history this year. [WBEZ]
  • Rev. Jesse Jackson says he has no plans to slow down after turning 81. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Actor and comedian Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid in the Harry Potter movies, died at age 72. [Hollywood Reporter]

Oh, and one more thing …

A hundred thousand red tulip bulbs will be planted tomorrow in vacant lots on Chicago’s South Side.

And it’s part of a public work aimed to spark conversation around the disempowerment of Black neighborhoods that followed from banks refusing to lend to residents, reports Michael Loria at the Chicago Sun-Times.

“We’re planting the tulips in the shape of houses that should exist,” said artist Amanda Williams, who is behind the project.

Volunteers are welcome to help Williams between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. tomorrow. Some tools will be available, but folks are encouraged to bring their own. [Sun-Times]

Tell me something good ...

I am completely in the Halloween spirit right now, and I’ve been watching horror movies every chance I can get. What are some of your favorite horror movies?

Laura Strong writes:

“Here are some of my recommendations for movies to watch this time of year: The Autopsy of Jane Doe was truly petrifying. If you want a oldie with a good story, and a little bit of a twist ending, watch April Fools Day. Also 10 Cloverfield Lane was great. Scary, with moments of humor, and it has John Goodman.”

And Judy writes:

“While not technically a horror movie, the movie that scared the bejeezus out of me when I was a child was The Wizard of Oz. Almira Gulch was scary enough, but the fact that a wicked witch could look exactly like your next door neighbor (except, you know, for the being green part), plus flying monkeys AND getting stuck outside during a tornado — well, that was the stuff of my childhood nightmares for YEARS!”

Thanks for all the recommendations this week. I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from y’all.

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