Few defend Rod Blagojevich now, but most of the Democratic establishment backed him for years, helping him edge out primary opponent Paul Vallas and cruise to a second term in 2006.
The indictment released Thursday made it clear that Blagojevich and his inner circle had planned to rob the taxpayers once in office to both pad their wallets and to ensure their political viability.
So, we at Animal Farm thought it would be interesting to take a trip back to the summer of 2001 when U.S. Rep. Blagojevich announced his bid for governor.
Shortly thereafter a slew of Democratic powerbrokers came to his aid and started the snowball rolling towards primary night.
From the governor's own campaign Web site, we find a list of the first Democrats, most of them masters of the 'machine,' to get the ball rolling for Blagojevich:
Chicago Elected Officials choose Blagojevich for Governor
August 27, 2001, 1:00 PM
Commitment to education and prescription drugs again draw wide support.
Over 30 federal, state, county and local elected officials from the City of Chicago endorsed Democrat Rod Blagojevich for Governor today, citing his record as a state legislator and Congressman and praising his commitment to improving public education and providing expanded prescription drug benefits for Illinois seniors.
“We are unwavering in our support of Rod Blagojevich because he has been unwavering in the fight to create opportunity, strengthen families and improve the quality of life for everyone in Illinois,” said U.S. Representative Bill Lipinski, who is also Committeeman of the 23rd Ward.
Lipinski was joined by 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke, U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky and State Senator and 9th CD State Central Committeewoman Carol Ronen who topped a list of top Cook County elected and party officials who announced their support of Blagojevich.
“I am with Rod 100% because he has what it takes to win – money, message and an army of supporters,” said Burke, referring to a rousing announcement speech given by Blagojevich to a reported throng of 10,000 people on August 12. Burke also mentioned filings with election officials that show Blagojevich with over $3 million in his campaign fund, double the amount of cash on hand of all of his potential Democratic opponents combined.
“Rod Blagojevich has pulled together an unprecedented group that has unified all wings of the Democratic Party behind his call to improve our schools and make sure every senior citizen in Illinois can afford prescription drugs,” added Schakowsky.
The campaign released the following list of 35 endorsers, several of whom were in attendance at a downtown news conference:
U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez
U.S. Representative Bill Lipinski
U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky
State Senator Carol Ronen (9), 9th CD State Central Committeewoman
Alderman and Committeeman Ed Burke (14)
Alderman and Committeeman William J.P. Banks (36)
Committeeman Randy Barnette (39)
Commissioner Joe Berrios, Cook County Board of Review, Committeeman (31)
State Representative Richard Bradley (20)
State Representative Robert Bugielski (19)
Alderman and Committeewoman Vilma Colom (35)
State Senator John Cullerton (6)
State Senator James DeLeo (10)
State Representative Sara Feigenholtz (12)
Alderman and Committeeman Ray Frias (12)
State Representative John Fritchey (33)
Alderman and Committeeman Jesse Granato (1)
Alderman and Committeeman Bernie Hansen (44)
Alderman Marge Laurino (39)
Alderman Patrick Levar (45)
Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (8), Committeeman (26)
State Representative Larry McKeon (34)
Alderman and Committeeman Richard Mell (33)
Alderman and Committeeman Rick Munoz (22)
Alderman Billy Ocasio (26)
Alderman and Committeeman Pat O’Connor (40)
Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley (10)
Commissioner Martin Sandoval, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Commissioner Cynthia Santos, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Alderman Gene Schulter (47)
Alderman Helen Shiller (46)
State Representative Cynthia Soto (4)
Alderman Ray Suarez (31)
Alderman and Committeeman Mike Wojcik (30)
Alderman Mike Zalewski (23)