February 25, 2009
"APATHY IS ECSTASY" IN 5TH DIST. DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY
This column specializes in crunching numbers and making political predictions. Regarding the 3/3/09 Democratic primary in Illinois' 5th congressional district, located on Chicago's northwest side, and vacated by new White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel, here are the numbers: 620,387 (population), 345,000 (registered voters), 124,098 (Feb. 2008 turnout), 67,499-52,671 (margin of Obama over Clinton), 578 (number of precincts: 486 Chicago, 92 suburban), 46,774 (votes for Emanuel in 2002), 33,907 (votes for Blagojevich in 1996), 35,000 (expected 3/3/09 Dem primary turnout), 10,500 (votes needed to win), 1.7% (percent of RV's that will be enough to go to Congress). And the winner is: Who cares? Over 90% of the voters will not participate. The top tier candidates are John Fritchey, Sara Feigenholtz, Pat O'Connor and Mike Quigley. Fritchey is backed by Dem committeemen from the 33rd, 36th, 38th, 43rd, 45th and 47th wards, which contain 275 precincts (56.5% of the district). This is not a "pig in a poke" primary. The only people who vote are those who already know who that want, and will make the effort to go to the polls. Issues don't matter. Obama doesn't matter. Gender doesn't matter. What does matter is who can identify their voters, and get them to the polls. Feigenholtz has raised $550,000, Fritchey $453,000, and Quigley $303,000. The pro-Fritchey Democratic committeemen have a base controllable vote. In the 2004 US Sen Dem primary, when Obama faced Dan Hynes, those committeemen delivered 12,770 votes for Hynes in their wards. That's the hardcore Machine base. That's Fritchey's base. If Fritchey loses, the Chicago Machine is indeed dead. Full Article...
February 18, 2009
A TALE OF 3 POLITICIANS: GOING, GOING, GONE?
Going, going, gone! It's a timeless baseball cliche, but it aptly describes the 2010 political prospects of black Democrats Roland Burris and Todd Stroger -- but not that of Park Ridge Mayor Howard Frimark (R). For Burris, Illinois' appointed US Senator from Blagojevich, how about this rhyme: Liar, Liar, Pants-On-Fire? He lied to get himself to Washington, and there will be a consequence. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and US Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-9) are poised to challenge him in the 2010 Dem primary; Burris's black base is 30%, and he won't get many white votes. Burris's days are numbered. As for the Toddler -- Cook County Board president Todd Stroger -- his moniker is: Dumb as they come. He hiked the sales tax, and critic Comr. Mike Quigley is running for Congress, pledging not to run against Stroger in 2010. That gives white Comr. Forrest Claypool, who got 46.5% in 2006 against dad John Stroger, a clear shot in 2010. Black Ald. Toni Preckwinkle is running, which will divide the black vote. Stroger's days are numbered. In northwest suburban Park Ridge, incumbent Mayor Frimark, a Republican, is being attacked from the right by "Reagan Republican" Ald. Dave Schmidt. Issues are the new $16 million police station, taxes, the Des Plaines casino, and O'Hare noise, due to the new runway. The arithmetic favors Frimark. He will win with 55%. Full Article...
February 11, 2009
THE "QUINN QUANDARY": IS GOVENOR BEATABLE?
It's a short-term win-win situation for Illinois' new governor, Democrat Pat Quinn. He drives the agenda. He determines whether the state's projected budgetary shortfall of $9 billion will be cured by a tax hike (sales and/or income tax) or a massive spending cut. That will happen shortly. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) has his own agenda: To elect daughter Lisa Madigan as governor in 2010. Quinn's success is Lisa's detriment. But legislative Democrats won't resist a Quinn-proposed tax hike, nor a Quinn-proposed spending cut. Can Quinn win in 2010? He has lost 3 of 7 Democratic primaries for statewide office, and has won 3 of 4 statewide elections (the last 2 no-brainers as Blagojevich's Lt. Gov. running mate). He lost primaries in 1986, 1996 and 1998, and won in 1990, 1994, 2002 and 2006. In Dem primaries, Quinn has averaged 44.8%, but has shown abysmal BAD JUDGMENT in his choices. Now he must choose: To tax or not to tax? A wrong choice means he will be bounced out of office in 2010, either by Lisa Madigan in the primary, or by a Republican in the election. Full Article...
February 4, 2009
Correction: Based on erroneous information, Russ Stewart's column on Feb. 4 incorrectly stated that Ronald Cope, a former Lincolnwood village attorney, is a candidate for mayor. He is a candidate for trustee. Mayor Jerry Turry is unopposed.
February 4, 2009
"CHANGE WE NEED" NOT APPARENT IN SUBURB RACES
Barack Obama's much-publicized mantra in 2008 was "Change We Need." That sent him to the White House. In Chicago's northwest suburbs, which hold municipal elections on April 7, 2009, the operative words are: "Change? What change? We don't need no damn change." Incumbent mayors will keep their posts in Norridge, Skokie, Elmwood Park, Schiller Park, Rosemont, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights, and likely Park Ridge and Lincolnwood. Mayors have retired in Evanston, Des Plaines and Harwood Heights, and Niles' Nick Blase was indicted for bribery, and resigned. That sets up 4 vigorous open seat contests. Incumbents face tough races in Franklin Park, Morton Grove and Lincolnwood. Two rules apply: If a first-termer draws tough opposition, they are a flop. If the long-time mayor has tough opposition, they are toast. Here's an early analysis. Full Article...