Suburban Political Recount

Suburban Political Recount

Former Dillard backer goes to Rauner

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 16:09

The announcement today that businessman and former GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rod Gidwitz will be backing Republican Bruce Rauner for governor comes with some implications for state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale's bid.

Dillard's 2010 campaign counted Gidwitz as a supporter and still owes Gidwitz about $185,000 in loans from that campaign.

11th District primary money battle tight

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 10:43

Only about $18,000 separated the second-quarter fundraising efforts of Republicans Darlene Senger of Naperville and Chris Balkema of Channahon in their bid to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Bill Foster.

Senger, a state lawmaker, raised about $82,500 in the last three months, and Balkema, a Grundy County board member, raised about $64,600. Ian Bayne, a private investigator from Aurora, didn't file a report, according to federal election records.

The close fundraising numbers could indicate a tight primary race to come, but some perspective is important. Over the same three months, Foster, of Naperville, raised about $275,000.

Dillard's bid for governor likely to end his Senate career

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 09:35

State Sen. Kirk Dillard, a Hinsdale Republican, will take his gubernatorial announcement tour to DuPage County today, an area he's represented in the Illinois Senate for 20 years since 1993.

It's his last stop of the tour, and his current term in office is likely to be his last in the Senate. Dillard is serving a two-year term in office, and he can't run for both governor and Senate at the same time.

If he wins, he'll be the next resident of the governor's mansion. But if he loses, he won't have the Senate to return to, barring some unforeseen and unlikely maneuvering.

Cronin backs Quinn's pay cut move

Posted by Mike Riopell on Thu, 07/11/2013 - 14:44

Gov. Pat Quinn has an ally in a top suburban Republican in his drive to find a solution to the state's $100 billion in pension debt by cutting lawmakers' pay.

"Drastic times call for drastic measures," DuPage County Board President Dan Cronin told me today.

Cronin reached out to Quinn's office Wednesday to support the governor's plan to cut lawmakers' salaries off until they send him pensions legislation. Cronin said he works with the governor's office on various issues every week, so his contact with Quinn and his staff isn't out of the ordinary.

But as Quinn faces questions about his ability to lead because the pension issue remains unresolved, Cronin has voiced his support.

Dillard announces Monday announcement

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 11:21

State Sen. Kirk Dillard will announce his candidacy for governor Monday.

I reported as much in my column Friday, but the Hinsdale Republican's website post makes it certain. He'll be the last Republican to get in the race unless WLS-AM talk show host Dan Proft gets in.

Proft told me last week he's still thinking about it.

VIDEO: Obama "pumping sunshine" on health care, Roskam says

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 07/10/2013 - 11:15

This video of U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam at a committee hearing features him using a favored phrase to describe President Barack Obama's delay of implementing his health care reform law.

"Now we've got a situation where, essentially, the administration, for years, has been pumping sunshine," he says.

Video: CBS Sunday Morning on Mark Kirk's recovery

Posted by Mike Riopell on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 10:48

The reliable morning show ran a story about U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk's stroke recovery.

Quinn in Lake County tomorrow

Posted by Mike Riopell on Tue, 07/02/2013 - 15:38

Gov. Pat Quinn is set to be in Lake County tomorrow to sign legislation allowing some 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections.

Adlai E. Stevenson history teacher Andrew Conneen helped spark the legislation.

The proposal would allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries starting next year if they'll turn 18 by the general election in November.

Wirtz rained on Quinn's victory parade

Posted by Mike Riopell on Fri, 06/28/2013 - 10:15

Gov. Pat Quinn has declared today Blackhawks Day in Illinois to coincide with the team's victory parade in Chicago.

But just a couple years ago the team's owner, Rocky Wirtz, tried to upend Quinn's biggest accomplishment in office via a lawsuit that made it all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.

The Wirtz lawsuit nearly blocked a massive, $31 billion construction program to build roads and schools with money from increased vehicle fees and liquor taxes. From our story at the time:

Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz challenged the state's huge construction program in court because one of the new taxes, on liquor, hit his Schaumburg-based distributor.

Duckworth blasts witness over 28-year-old ankle injury

Posted by Mike Riopell on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 13:19

Via the Washington Post, U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth went after a witness at a House hearing today.

Here's how the Post explains her target:

Duckworth grew visibly upset with Braulio Castillo, the president and CEO of Strong Castle, Inc. A congressional investigation found that Castillo claimed service-disabled veteran status in 2012 over an ankle injury he suffered in 1984 at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School.

Duckworth, who lost both legs after a helicopter she was piloting in Iraq was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, didn't hold back.