STUMP » Articles » Illinois Election Shenanigans: WTF is going on? » 19 October 2014, 13:29

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Illinois Election Shenanigans: WTF is going on?  


19 October 2014, 13:29

Wtf is going on in Illinois in the governor’s race?

  • Dave McKinney disappeared from the Sun-Times for several days after the paper ran his piece about Bruce Rauner’s alleged threat to “bury” a former female CEO.

The Rauner people went after McKinney, then all of a sudden the paper decided to endorse the guy. What a coinkidink.


And, by the way, Dave’s marriage to Ann had zero to do with this story. McKinney has been beating the Quinn administration over their freaking heads about the NRI investigation all year (to the point where I’ve criticized him in the Fax). Any suggestion that he was leaning Democratic is absolutely ridiculous and insane. And the decision to sideline him, to my mind, was purely about politics.

I have my own Sun-Times Rauner story, which I plan to share with subscribers on Monday.

…Adding… Liston is not a lobbyist. She’s a flak. Big difference.

No, actually, it’s not. Yes, lobbyists tend to work one-on-one with targeted pols and flaks tend to target messages toward the public, but their work is primarily promoting their candidate/party/whatever. At its core, in terms of the goal, you have a similar situation.

That said, look at this:

  • Brooke Anderson from the Quinn campaign…

“It’s bizarre. They said they weren’t going to endorse and suddenly – as billionaire Bruce Rauner falls behind in the polls – they are changing their policy. There’s a lot of concern out there that the new owners – who until recently included Bruce Rauner – are operating the paper in a way that is contrary to the independent journalistic standards of the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Unfortunately it appears that Bruce Rauner’s financial influence is still being felt. Any endorsement is clouded by the fact that Mr. Rauner was a part-owner of the paper which abruptly reversed its position when he fell behind in the polls.”

  • UPDATE 1 *** Robert Feder…

The decision to endorse Rauner and no other candidates on the November ballot is certain to fuel cynicism about the motives of Michael Ferro Jr., chairman of Sun-Times Media parent company Wrapports LLC.

In recent weeks, sources said, Ferro has been exerting pressure on editors regarding coverage of Rauner, who held a 10 percent stake in Wrapports before he became a candidate for governor.

There is a lot more to this back-story, and we’ll just have to see if it emerges.

And as Rich Miller of Capitol Fax says, the endorsement is a doozy:

Almost three years ago, we announced the Chicago Sun-Times would no longer endorse candidates in elections. But, as we announced yesterday, we will again endorse candidates, starting with the gubernatorial race.

This one contest, the race for governor, is simply too important to the future of Illinois for us to stay silent. It may well be the most important election in our state’s modern history. On Nov. 4, voters will decide if Illinois is to grow and charge ahead, reclaiming its place as one of the great states in the Union, or to settle — once and for all — for defeat and decline.

So wait. Why did they stop making endorsements? It can’t have been that the elections were unimportant.

I’m going to guess that three years ago they didn’t want to piss off readers by making endorsements that half of them would detest. But something has changed. I’m looking forward to Rich Miller’s followup.

I have no endorsement for Illinois governor, btw, though I am a Republican and I think Quinn is an ineffective twit.

The reason I don’t have an endorsement is because I have absolutely nothing at stake. I don’t live in Illinois. I don’t have a company domiciled in Illinois. If I make a bad endorsement, eh, what’s it to me?

I try to keep my endorsements to races where I’m directly affected. I’ve run into trouble with this in other situations, when friends have asked me to endorse them. Well, I wasn’t a member of the orgs they were running for officer positions for. So while I was happy to give them advice, I wasn’t going to endorse them. It’s not my deal.

Anyway, I agree that this endorsement is suspect, even if I might be on Rauner’s “side”.

A public pension angle to this race:

Illinois’ ability to change retirement benefits of government workers is limited because of a provision in the state Constitution. But what about trying to make that a non-issue, by doing away with that clause?

Article XIII, Sect. 5 of the Illinois Constitution is direct: pension benefits, it says, “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

Nevertheless, a law passed last year cuts benefits for current workers and retirees. Whether that squares with the Constitution is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

Both men running for governor say the pension plans are too rich and need to be changed. So why not go all the way and suggest changing the Constitution?

Asked about it, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn would only say he’s optimistic the new law will be upheld.

“If the court acts in a way that says contrary, we’ll take necessary steps, obviously,“Quinn said.

He didn’t rule out a constitutional change, though he called the clause “a good one.”

Republican nominee Bruce Rauner says the Constitution’s framers were right to include the guarantee.

“I think pensions are a contractual obligation, and what is agreed to should be paid into and honored by all parties,” he said.

Rauner wants to freeze pension plans where they are and have workers start private accounts.

So this may seem to be unexpected, but I don’t think it actually is.

Quinn thinks one can wave one’s hands and presto-changeo, all the past promises are magically transformed. Rauner realizes that the promises continuing indefinitely into the future won’t work, and that these promises need to be paid for. But Rauner’s also asking for an outright cutting off of future promises, because Illinois has shown itself to be a bad actor on that score.

Anyway,I decided to look at what the polls were saying on the race, and they’re saying it’s super close.

I decided to look, and it was pretty close in 2010 as well.

I would call into question the whole “blue state” thing for Illinois, but I think this is mainly about Quinn – a weenie whom nobody likes.

I am still in wonder as to how he got where he is — I guess that being a relatively non-corrupt politician when all the Illinois pols are being sent to federal prison clears the way.

Anyway, there’s no real winner in that election. I’m not sure how much either Rauner or Quinn should want the governor’s seat. Best wishes to either, and I will be looking at their returns, because as a conservative New Yorker, I don’t have much hope in my own state.

Compilation of Illinois posts

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