The Friday Political Roundup: January 24th-28th
Missed anything this week in Chicago politics? We have you covered with our weekly digest of the best game in town.
Rahm’s residency reigns
Haven’t we used that header before? It’s true; for another dramatic week, the question (now answered) over Rahm Emanuel’s residency ruled the headlines.
First, there was Monday’s Illinois Appellate Court ruling that Emanuel was not eligible to be on the ballot. Then the Chicago Board of Elections said they were printing ballots--and got started doing so. But then the Illinois Supreme Court issued a stay on the appellate court ruling, and Emanuel was back on the ballot, at least temporarily. Soon thereafter, the high court agreed to take the case.
All of this raised a big question: If Rahm Emanuel were to be knocked off the ballot, what would that do to the rest of the field? A poll found that the main beneficiary would be Gery Chico, who would be the front-runner without Emanuel in the race.
Everyone spent much of the week scrutinizing the politics of the Illinois Supreme Court. Then there was that weird Chinese-language animated video taking literally the headline “Rahm Emanuel kicked off ballot.” Baltimore invited Emanuel to run for mayor there, and the Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal suggested he could get a talk show if he can’t run for mayor.
But finally, late Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Emanuel belongs on the ballot, though two justices took issue with the tone of the majority opinion. And all this time, Emanuel continued to capture the headlines—even overseas.
On a less dramatic note…
But there’s more to the mayor’s race than all this drama. Gery Chico pledged to hire 2000 more cops if elected. He picked up the endorsement of the local firefighters’ union, and said he’d consider doing away with the residency requirement for city employees. Emanuel nabbed endorsements from the Teamsters and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley. And Carol Moseley Braun got endorsements from Planned Parenthood and Personal PAC. The week came to a close with the top four candidates debating on live TV.
Meanwhile, money continued to flow in, and out, of campaigns. Braun took a trip out of state to raise some funds. Joseph Stanford explained why he gave a nearly $300,000 donation to Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins. Chico grabbed a nice chunk of change from the aforementioned firefighters, but had to return a handful of other donations after some vetting. Elsewhere in municipal elections, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce endorsed aldermanic candidates, several of whom are facing labor-backed candidates.
Miscellany beyond the city
In Cook County news, Board President Toni Preckwinkle was after Sheriff Tom Dart, saying it’s time to start wielding a budget axe. Speaking of money problems, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s $30-billion capital plan was ruled illegal by an Illinois Appellate Court. Quinn says his administration will appeal the ruling, which shot down a plan to tax alcoholic drinks and candy (among other things) and legalize video poker to pay for construction projects. The state’s income tax increase, however, is not going away—that has New Jersey among the states looking to lure business away from Illinois.
On Monday, Quinn is expected to sign a bill bringing civil unions to the state. State Rep. Deb Mell says she’s still pushing for gay marriage. We still don’t know what Quinn will do with a bill to repeal the death penalty. This week, his Lt. Governor Sheila Simon asked him to sign it.
Not to be forgotten is Tuesday’s State of the Union address by President Obama. U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6) responded that he doesn’t have too much faith in Obama’s pledge to do away with earmarks. Senator Mark Kirk says there were positives and negatives to the address, but questioned whether Obama’s budget numbers will add up.
Later in the week, Senator Kirk and Senator Dick Durbin got their committee assignments – both are on the Appropriations Committee, among others. Kirk and Durbin are also working together to get United and American Airlines on the road to O’Hare expansion—they held a meeting with top airline executives yesterday, though without significant progress.
That’s the week of politics in review. Let us know if you think we missed anything, and have a great weekend.