Suburban Political Recount

Suburban Political Recount

For lawmakers, a quiet summer with Metra

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 09/10/2013 - 16:42

State Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, vented today that it's been nearly 60 days since he asked for a meeting of the General Assembly's Mass Transit Committee to talk about the infamous hiring memo written by former Metra CEO Alex Clifford.

Clifford left Metra with a severance package of up to $718,000 after making allegations about improper hiring practices at the commuter rail agency, some tied to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“It’s becoming pretty clear to me that Speaker Madigan has no intention of providing a platform where the truth can be learned about the serious allegations made by former Metra CEO Alex Clifford,” said Tryon, the top Republican on the committee.

Big guns, but maybe not for money

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 09/09/2013 - 16:29

Much has been made of businessman Rod Gidwitz backing Republican Bruce Rauner for governor despite his past support of state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale because of the the business community campaign cash that could elude Dillard as a result.

But could Dillard's addition of former Gov. Jim Thompson to his endorsement list with former Gov. Jim Edgar help in the money column?

Dillard campaign manager Glenn Hodas says maybe and says both men will have roles in the money side of the effort. But that's not their main role.

"We expect to be outspent," Hodas said.

Proft isn't running

Posted by Mike Riopell on Thu, 08/29/2013 - 09:50

Dan Proft told me a few weeks ago he was weighing a run for governor, but now he isn't, according to a statement at the conservative blog Illinois Review.

The former Wheaton resident and WLS-AM talk show host said he'll be working on backing certain Republican Statehouse candidates instead. He's part of the Illinois Opportunity Project, which has said it's working to draft conservative candidates.

"I feel a bit odd making a statement about something I am not going to do," Proft says in the statement. "However, since I have been openly contemplating another run for Illinois governor, it is appropriate I make my decision known for clarity's sake and for the sake of generous supporters past and present."

Rauner wins Dundee Township straw poll

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 08/26/2013 - 14:24

The local Republican faithful of Dundee township so far prefer businessman Bruce Rauner for governor, according to a straw poll at a picnic Sunday.

Rauner got about half of the about 70 votes, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale got about 41 percent. State Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa split the rest.

So does it mean anything? Much like the famed straw poll of Ames, Iowa, even if it doesn't, it's still fun to talk about.

Dundee Township includes Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee and parts of Elgin, Hoffman Estates and Algonquin.

All in

Posted by Mike Riopell on Thu, 08/22/2013 - 11:26

Last week, DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan said an entrance to the Illinois treasurer’s race by House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego wouldn’t upend his plans.

This week, Grogan says he’s set to announce his candidacy for real, even though he’s already been traveling the state talking about it.

“Next week during the Du Quoin State Fair, I’ll be announcing my candidacy for State Treasurer, details to follow,” Grogan posted on Facebook. “While others can talk about political money raised, I’ll be talking about safeguarding the people’s money.”

Former DuPage County Board Chairman Bob Schillerstrom also said he’s seeking the office, but he’s not said what Cross’ likely entrance means to him.

Republican's diabetes effort tests 2,000

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 08/21/2013 - 16:36

Since 2011, the Illinois legislature's Diabetes Caucus formed by state Rep. Mike Tryon, a Crystal Lake Republican, has tested 2,000 people for free.

“It is very important to get tested for diabetes because the sooner you can get treatment the less chance an individual has to develop the harmful side effects of uncontrolled Diabetes such as stroke, heart attack, blindness and amputation,” Tryon said in a statement.

Tryon found out he had Type 2 diabetes in 2006. House Republican Leader Tom Cross has a daughter with Type 1 diabetes, as does state Rep. Jim Durkin of Western Springs.

The testing is done throughout the state at health events and hospitals, and people can learn more at

Suburban Democrats for Quinn?

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 08/20/2013 - 15:15

Gov. Pat Quinn's campaign sent us a list of 70 Democratic Party county chairmen who support his re-election bid over former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley.

The suburban names are largely all there:

DuPage - Bob Peickert
Kane - Mark Guethle
McHenry - Mike Bissett
Will - Scott Pyles

And last week the Cook County Democratic Party slated Quinn as their favored nominee.

So missing from the suburban list is just state Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and head of the Lake County party. Is he backing Daley?

He isn't. He's not backing Quinn, either.

"I'm staying neutral," Link said. "I've got plenty of time."

Former suburban lawmakers to lead good government group

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 08/19/2013 - 16:55

Former north suburban lawmakers Susan Garrett and Beth Coulson will serve as president and vice president of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform Board.

The group is a top good-government advocacy organization.

Garrett, a Lake Forest Democrat, joined the board earlier this year and was put in charge this month. Coulson is a Northfield Republican.

“I have long appreciated ICPR’s truly bi-partisan agenda for making government more responsive,” Coulson said in a statement.

Coulson was a former member of the Illinois House until losing a 2010 primary bid for Congress to Republican Bob Dold, who went on to win that race.

Garrett is a former member of the Illinois Senate who declined to seek re-election in 2012.

Blackburn steps aside for Simon

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 08/14/2013 - 12:10

At this morning's large county chairman's breakfast in Springfield, Will County Auditor Duffy Blackburn used his speech to announce he'd drop his bid for Illinois comptroller and back Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon in the March 18 primary.

Blackburn announced his candidacy before Simon got in, and his move is a good reminder that no races are yet set in stone.

Blackburn had been touting an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, and his move today to avoid a primary fight was widely praised by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin. So maybe look for Blackburn in future races.

The Illinois State Fair opens

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 08/09/2013 - 10:58

Gov. Pat Quinn cut the ribbon at the Illinois State Fair today, and there wasn't much new to learn from the governor when reporters asked him questions after.

He declined to say whether he'd sign into law legislation that raises the interstate and tollway speed limit to 70 mph, for example.

But we did learn this:

"I had three pork chops on a stick last night," Quinn said.

That is dedication.