2012 election cycle is over, but candidates are
already girding for 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. It
the early lineup and outlook.
Volatility is epidemic. There will be elections in
115 suburban Cook County municipalities and all 30
suburban townships. America's 5-year economic
recession has created fiscal paralysis and
political paranoia. Tax revenues have dwindled,
operating expenses have escalated, borrowing and
bond issues have become the norm, and office
holders are suffused with a fear of voter
of raising taxes, municipalities are hiking fees.
Real estate revenue taxes, once a staple source of
income, evaporated with the housing market
collapse. Home owners, suffering from declining
property values but increasing property tax bills,
will not tolerate bloated spending.
a really toxic environment," one suburban
politician said of the developing 2013 races.
"Voters expect services, but they don't want
to pay more" Any incumbent tarred as a tax
raiser is toast.
off-year contests like next year's, voter turnout
is barely a quarter of that in a presidential
year. That's a contest between
"controlled" voters, meaning those who
have a city or township job (and their families
and friends) or who otherwise benefit from the
incumbent administration, and those who are angry
and have a real or imagined beef against the
2013 election is not shaping up as a "throw
the bums out" election. Here are some
Larry Dominick, the clownish Cicero town
president, wins elections in this 75 percent-plus
Hispanic suburb the old-fashioned way: he buys
them, as did Betty Loren-Maltese and her
predecessors. Fat, bloated and out of control are
the watchwords for Cicero's government.
Cicero has a population of 83,891, it has only
26,931 registered voters. Dominick beat Roberto
Garcia by 6,608-3,628 in the 2009 election. Juan
Ochoa, former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition
Authority chief executive officer and president of
the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is
running. Dominick's "controlled" vote is
about 6,500. If turnout exceeds 13,000, Ochoa can
Heights: If Chicago is "The City That
Works," Harwood Heights is the "City of
the Revolving Door." Democrat Ray Willas was
a fixture as mayor from 1973 to 2001. Republican
Trustee Norb Pabich won the job by 75 votes in
2001, and Democratic Trustee Peggy Fuller ousted
Pabich by 38 votes in 2005. Fuller quit in 2009,
and Republican Trustee Arlene Jezierny defeated
Trustee Mark Dobrzycki by 271 votes in 2009.
Trustee Jimmy Mougolias, who was with Fuller in
2005 and Jezierny in 2009, is running for mayor in
next year's election.
huge issue -- and Mougolias's main attack -- was
the proposed Mariano's store at Lawrence and
Harlem avenues. The developer wanted the city to
pay $5 million for the land. Jezierny's deal was
to give the developer a 50 percent reduction on
the city's 1-cent sales tax. Mougolias's campaign
The shadow of disgraced former 47-year mayor Nick
Blase has lifted, and Niles has transitioned from
bossed to boisterous. Trustee Bob Callero, a Blase
ally, won election in 2009 over Trustee Kim
Biederman, Chris Hanusiak and two other candidates
by 1,190 votes, getting 48.9 percent of the vote.
Callero may or may not retire. Already angling to
run for mayor in 2013 are Trustees Andy Przybylo,
Louella Preston, Joe LoVerde and Hanusiak.
Ridge: You can't beat "Mayor No" with
nobody. Dave Schmidt's austerity policy has
encountered minimal resistance. Five of the seven
aldermen elected in 2009 have resigned in
frustration, figuring their salary of $100 per
month is not worth the aggravation. Schmidt would
usually veto whatever budgets or appropriations
the City Council passed, but nobody has seized the
"No Mayor No" standard.
a conservative Republican, upset the more moderate
Republican incumbent, Howard Frimark, by
4,897-3,801. Frimark could try again. No
Democratic candidate has emerged.
fulcrum of Illinois' 2014 election is Democratic
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Does he or does he not
run for a fourth term? Durbin, who will be age 68
this month, has publicly expressed his ambivalence
about running for re-election in 2014, which would
mean that he would be 75 when his next term ends.
two "no go" 2014 obstacles, and sources
of dissuasion for Durbin, are Senators Harry Reid
and Chuck Schumer. Reid, of Nevada, who will be
age 73 in December, is the Senate's Democratic
majority leader, and his term doesn't expire until
2016. Schumer, of New York, who will be age 62
this month, is Wall Street's man in the Senate, a
former Senate Campaign Committee chairman, and a
major fund-raiser for other senators. Schumer
raised more than $35 million for his 2004 and 2010
re-election campaigns. Durbin and Schumer, both
combative liberals, lust after Reid's powerful
a onetime staffer to his predecessor, Democrat
Paul Simon, was elected as a U.S. representative
from the Springfield area in 1982, and he won
Simon's Senate seat in 1996 by 655,204 votes,
getting 56.1 percent of the votes cast and running
42,284 votes ahead of Bill Clinton. Durbin was
re-elected in 2002 by 778,063 votes (60.3 percent)
and in 2008 by 2,095,223 votes (67.8 percent),
getting 196,496 more votes than Barack Obama.
Durbin is unbeatable in Illinois.
the 2004 elections, when Democratic majority
leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota was defeated,
majority whip Reid won Daschle's post, Durbin won
the whip's job, the number two position, and
Schumer became conference chairman, the number
three job. Reid looked like a loser in 2010, but
he was rescued when the Republicans nominated a
flawed Tea Party candidate.
has been in Washington for 30 continuous years. He
covets Reid's job in 2016, but he has no guarantee
that he could prevail over Schumer, who is 6 years
his junior. So Durbin has a stark choice -- retire
in 2014, do some lobbying, make scads of money,
and enjoy life, or commit himself to 8 more years,
until 2020. Prediction: Durbin will retire.
on the 2014 ballot are a slew of statewide
offices, the most important being governor.
Polling has shown incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn
with positively anemic "re-elect" and
"unfavorable" numbers. In a recent
survey by the Cato Institute, a conservative think
tank, Quinn was rated among the nation's worst
governors due to his obdurate tax-and-spend
governors, such as those in Wisconsin, Michigan,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia, have cut
spending and begun solving their state's pension
crisis. Not Illinois. Lambasted by his critics as
inert, dilatory, inept, inconsistent and clueless,
Quinn will not be re-elected, but he could be
renominated in a large Democratic field. The field
will be minuscule if Attorney General Lisa Madigan
runs. In a one-on-one against Quinn, Madigan wins
overwhelmingly. Against a bunch of second-tier
Democrats, such as state Representatives Jack
Franks or Lou Lang or 2010 loser Dan Hynes, Quinn
Durbin quits, Madigan would be the likely winner
of the seat.
2015, Chicago's ubiquitous mayor, Rahm Emanuel has
taken a page from the Bill Clinton play book: a
sound bite and photo op a day keeps the public's
boredom away. The genius behind that concept is
that voters do not necessarily remember what
Emanuel does, says or proposes, but they do
remember that he's constantly doing something.
time, such constant exposure can prove tiresome,
and eventually Emanuel will become insufferable --
but not by 2015. Emanuel's "tough guy"
approach to the teacher's demands didn't prove
astute, but union anger will not manifest itself
in union money or a union-backed opponent. Emanuel
can easily raise $10 million from liberal, Jewish,
Clinton and Hollywood sources, and he can always
count on a ringing endorsement from Clinton and
Emanuel likely is running for president in 2016
or, if that fails, in 2020. So, to use a slang
expression, he's soon "gonna be outta
here." Who's going to be dumb enough to run
against him, or bankroll somebody who's running
against him, if there's even the slightest
possibility that he'll be in the White House?
Emanuel would be foolish to run for governor or
senator in 2014, as that would only deplete his
money and risk defeat. Why not a mayor for
problem which will reach critical mass in 2014-15
will be the city's pension obligation, which must
be solved by increased property taxes or
borrowing. Emanuel will remain as mayor until he
gets elected president (or maybe vice president on
a Hillary Clinton ticket).
Ward: In the City Council's remap, a new
Hispanic-majority 36th Ward was drawn and pains
were taken to include the home of state
Representative Luis Arroyo in the new ward. Arroyo
is a protege of county Assessor Joe Berrios and
Alderman Dick Mell. He is a lock for the seat.
2016, sympathy for ailing U.S. Senator Mark Kirk's
medical plight does not necessarily translate into
votes. Illinois is an overwhelmingly Democratic
state, and Republican Kirk won by just 59,220
votes (with 48.1 percent of the vote) in 2010, a
banner Republican year. Kirk, age 53, suffered a
partially disabling stroke in January, has been a
senator in abstentia, and is still recovering.
keep his seat, Kirk should be traveling Illinois
exhaustively, not non-existently, building a
network and a base for 2016. The buzz in political
circles is that first lady Michelle Obama will
run. If so, she's unbeatable.