The Rundown: Richard Irvin stumbles on abortion questions

Plus, it’ll be a warm week in Chicago. Here’s what you need to know today.

Richard Irvin at a press conferenc
Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Richard Irvin held a press conference in Aurora Monday, May 9, 2022. Rich Hein / Chicago Sun-Times
Richard Irvin at a press conferenc
Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Richard Irvin held a press conference in Aurora Monday, May 9, 2022. Rich Hein / Chicago Sun-Times

The Rundown: Richard Irvin stumbles on abortion questions

Plus, it’ll be a warm week in Chicago. Here’s what you need to know today.

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Good afternoon! It’s Monday and this “singing” black hole sounds like when an art school kid brings you back to their place to play music that only five people know about. Here’s what you need to know today.

1. A leading GOP candidate for Illinois governor struggles with questions on abortion rights

Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, who is seeking the GOP nomination in the June 28 primary for governor, repeatedly dodged questions today about his stance on a possible national abortion ban and whether he voted for former President Donald Trump or would support him for reelection in 2024, reports WBEZ’s Dave McKinney.

Irvin, whose campaign has received tens of millions of dollars from billionaire hedge fund investor Ken Griffin, never gave a coherent answer on a national ban that is being floated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Irvin did call Gov. JB Pritzker’s repeal last December of the state’s parental notification law for minors seeking abortions “abhorrent” and said he’s hearing from voters that law needs to be reinstated.

But he would not articulate whether, as governor, he would spearhead a push to reinstate the parental notification law. He did say he supports abortion rights in cases of “rape, incest and health and life of the mother.” [WBEZ]

Irvin’s comments come as suburban women voters could play a key role in the governor’s race now that abortion rights are a major issue. And that presents a “complex dynamic” for Republicans hoping to challenge Pritzker in the November election, reports the Chicago Tribune.

As the newspaper points out, suburbs throughout the state have become more Democratic and more diverse in recent years. And suburban voters accounted for 53% of the ballots cast in 2018, making them the largest geographic demographic, the Trib reports. [Tribune]

Meanwhile, Mayor Lori Lightfoot today announced the city will spend $500,000 to support abortion access for residents and people traveling from nearby states. [Tribune]

2. Will the draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade be the final word from the Supreme Court?

That question is being raised even more after The Washington Post recently reported that Chief Justice John Roberts sought to write a moderate opinion that upholds a 15-week abortion ban and leaves Roe intact.

But the more conservative wing of the Supreme Court said they had enough votes to overturn the landmark decision establishing a constitutional right to the procedure.

Court observers tell the Post they believe Roberts is still promoting a more moderate opinion. In a statement last week, Roberts said the draft opinion, which was dated in February, “does not represent a decision by the Court or the final position of any member on the issues in the case.”

But some abortion rights advocates say upholding a 15-week ban would be the same as striking down Roe. [WaPo]

Meanwhile, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) refused to rule out bans on certain contraceptives in his state if Roe is overturned. [CNN]

3. Putin, in a major speech, provides no path to the end of the war in Ukraine

Russia today is celebrating Victory Day, which marks the Soviet Union’s defeat of Nazi Germany. And a much anticipated speech from President Vladimir Putin did not offer any insights to the direction of the grinding war in Ukraine.

Analysts feared Putin would declare a formal war against Ukraine and mobilize troops. And others thought the Russian leader would declare some claim of victory.

But he did neither and, in turn, gave a sense that the war has no end in sight.

In Ukraine, Russia’s advances in the east remain slow-going in the face of significant losses, leaving analysts wondering how Moscow intends to keep fighting.

“Without concrete steps to build a new force, Russia can’t fight a long war, and the clock starts ticking on the failure of their army in Ukraine,” tweeted Phillips P. O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. [AP]

4. A new analysis provides a better look at Chicago’s digital divide

More than 97% of households in the Loop have internet access. But in Burnside, that number is under 58%, and in West Englewood, less than 62%.

Those figures come from a new analysis by the University of Chicago, and researchers hope their findings will influence how $65 billion in federal funds to expand broadband access is distributed.

“What does it mean for the lived experience of a person if their internet is good or if their internet is performing poorly?” asked Nicole Marwell, a principal investigator of the university’s Internet Equity Initiative.

“For a kid who is trying to do remote school, it might mean that the teacher keeps buffering and they get disengaged from the lesson and they decide to just pack it in and then that’s it for school for that day.” [Chicago Sun-Times]

The news comes as the Biden administration today announced it will partner with internet providers to cap costs for low-income Americans. [NPR]

5. It could hit 90 degrees in Chicago as a heat wave is expected to strike the central U.S.

After a month that felt like being trapped in a rainbow of grays, the city could see record breaking highs from Tuesday through Thursday, reports Block Club Chicago.

Thursday is expected to be the warmest day of the week, possibly hitting as high as 92 degrees. [Block Club]

I don’t mean to be a downer. I love warm weather and being able to do things, like feeling genuine happiness when the sunshine hits my face.

But the unusually high temperatures for May come as extreme weather erupts throughout the nation.

The heat wave began in Texas, where temperatures reached as high as 112 degrees, and it’s expanding to parts of the central U.S., increasing the risks of heat-related illness and fire threats. [Washington Post]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Here’s a look at the ins and outs (and undecideds) in the race for Chicago mayor. [Chicago Tribune]
  • The Archdiocese of Chicago has reduced its number of parishes by more than 100. So what happens now? [WBEZ]
  • Electric scooters return to parts of Chicago tomorrow. [WBEZ]
  • A trailer for the Avatar sequel is now online. [Hollywood Reporter]

Oh, and one more thing …

A chemist-turned-baker makes purple croissants that are supposed to be really good, and they’re only available two days a week at a cafe in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, reports my colleague Charmaine Runes.

When Chicago went into lockdown during the spring of 2020, Mirachelle Anselmo began baking at home and set her sights on what food writer and chef Claire Saffitz declared “the highest achievement in all of pastrydom”: the French croissant.

But Anselmo added a nod to her own Filipino roots by using ube, a purple yam common in the Philippines.

“It was an absolute fever dream to think I could develop an ube croissant, filled with ube halaya,” she posted on Instagram, alongside a photo of a marbled cream-and-purple croissant. “That dream has now become reality, and that reality tastes really good.” [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

I really love warm weather. And I’m becoming pretty jazzed about the summer. What are you looking forward to doing outside as the temperatures get warmer?

I love heading over to Moody’s Pub in Edgewater and having a couple of drinks and food on the patio. I’ll be the person wearing a Hawaiian shirt who is laughing loudly with the heavily tattooed man who is my husband.

Feel free to email me or hit me up on Twitter, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.