March 11, 2020


There is "no longer as much enthusiasm among the Democratic base," groaned Gloria Chevere, a former judge and party strategist. The choice for president has come down to "two old white guys."

She has a point. Democrats pride themselves on their social and demographic diversity, but former Vice President Joe Biden, born 11/20/42, and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, born 9/8/41, are among the last remnants of the pre-baby boomer generation - now the "Geezer Generation" - born before the end of World War II.

"It doesn't matter," countered 46th Ward Democratic committeeperson Sean Tenner. "Democrats are motivated" to vote because they are "absolutely petrified about losing again to Trump." So the 2020 choice comes down to who is LEAST LIKELY to lose. And that is Biden.

The dynamics of 2020's Biden-Sanders are a seismic shift from 2016's Clinton-Sanders. Four years ago Sanders was the anti-Clinton "protest" candidate. Clinton won the Illinois' primary 1,017,006-982,517 statewide and 643,300-536,205 in Cook County (and 380,208-320,894 in Chicago). By the time Illinoisans voted in 2016, Hillary Clinton had wrapped-up the nomination. A Sanders vote was against Clinton, not for Sanders' "democratic socialism." Now it's the reverse. Sanders' leftist philosophy has been unfrocked, his demand for a systemic societal "revolution" has petrified a lot of voters, and Biden is the anti-Bernie or STOP SANDERS candidate. Biden just wants to de-Trump the status quo. Biden wins Illinois by 400,000 and Cook County by 200,000 votes.

STATE'S ATTORNEY: For officeholders, superficial impressions matter. Voters don't maintain a spreadsheet listing good and bad deeds. They just retain a few tidbits that they may have read or heard on the nightly news. For Kim Foxx, voters likely only remember are her bungling of the Jussie Smollett case, low or no bonds which put criminals back on the street, a focus on criminal justice reforms and anti-police hostility. She claims crime is down, but nobody believes it, even though it is true. She is not a tough prosecutor and billionaire George Soros and other "leftists" are funding her campaign.

The perception of Bill Conway is that he is a superficial lightweight and that all his ads are poll-tested. His message is garbled. He is a "progressive" prosecutor but he is tough on crime but is also compassionate? Conway is going to win because Foxx is going to lose since her ceiling is 40 percent, and her African-American base is not united. Those living in low-crime areas think Foxx is just swell and those in high-crime areas think otherwise. Donna More and Bob Fioretti, both white, are taking votes away from Conway. This is Fioretti's fourth race in 5 years. More got 144,063 votes in 2016. If they get more than 10 percent each, Conway loses.

The contest is a referendum on Foxx, and neither race nor money are a factor. Conway's billionaire father is funding him, and he will spend over $15 million. Foxx won 645,738-317,594-144,063 over the Laquan McDonald-stained Anita Alvarez and More in 2016. She won Chicago with 415,637 votes, or 62.4 percent. She will lose 470,000-455,000 on March 17.

CLERK OF COURT: It's identity politics versus practical politics. There are four candidates for Dorothy Brown's job, which is running the court system - Jacob Meister, Iris Martinez, Richard Boykin and the slated Mike Cabonargi. Martinez is Hispanic and the only woman on the ballot. Boykin is African-American and has West Side support. Cabonargi and Meister are posturing as "reformers," and will divide that niche. Cabonargi has just dumped $500,000 into television ads and has backing from white committeepersons, Toni Preckwinkle's South Side support and the Lakefront and North Shore liberals. Being slated is worth 25 to 30 percent. It's a 3-way race. Cabonargi wins by 3,000.

METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT: Here's a chance to vote for somebody who nobody knows about for a job about which nobody knows what they do. Actually, they dispose of solid waste and effluent. Fortunately, nobody is claiming they can do it better. There are ten candidates for three spots. The slate is Cam Davis/Kim DuBuclet/Eira Corral Sepulveda, who are 5-6-7 on the ballot. Dumped commissioner Frank Avila is third and there are two Irish-surnamed women - Heather Boyle and Patricia Flynn. Avila, Davis and Flynn will win.

SUPREME COURT: There are seven candidates for this 1st District (Cook County) seat: Appointed justice Scott Neville, Appellate justices Margaret Stanton McBride, Shelly Harris, Jesse Reyes, Cynthia Cobbs, Nathanial Howse and lawyer Daniel Epstein. 20 to 25 percent wins it. Neville, Cobbs and Howse are African-American and Reyes is Hispanic. Neville has South Side black backing, plus the Tribune and Sun-Times endorsements, but the Irish-surnamed McBride is the only white female. McBride will narrowly edge Neville, with Reyes a close third.

APPELLATE COURT: A lucky white male judicial candidate is one who has three female opponents. That's appointed/slated justice Michael Hyman, who faces Sandra Ramos, Carolyn Gallagher and Maureen O'Leary (a party shill to diminish Gallagher's vote). Against one woman Hyman would be toast. Not this year. He wins with 35 percent, with Ramos real close. John Griffin occupies the other vacancy, and has strong support from organized labor and Mike Madigan. His opponent is Sharon Johnson. Griffin loses.

10TH SENATE DISTRICT: People say incumbent Rob Martwick is glib, sly and opportunistic and that he votes as if he was representing Evanston. He was state representative from the east half (east of Nagle Avenue) of the district from 2012 to 19, where he was an ally of the departed alderman John Arena. He got himself appointed senator last summer, and expects to spend $320,000, money coming from Springfield Democrats and tax appeal lawyers. Martwick is selling himself as a seasoned battler for working families west of Nagle in the 20th House District. His opponent is Danny O'Toole, a decorated Chicago police officer with little money. Martwick will have more than ten mailers, while O'Toole, with no ground game in the 45th Ward or suburbs, is piggybacking on the "First Responder" (police and firefighter) candidates' mailers. In a turnout of 37,159, Martwick wins with 57 percent, 22,000-16,000.

19TH HOUSE DISTRICT: Lindsey LaPointe, an Arena protege, got Martwick's seat and has done an exemplary job by (1) taking Madigan's money and doing what she is told and (2) actively trying to distance herself from the despised Arena. She works precincts hard and will pump out mailers paid for by Springfield or public sector union sources. She has about $259,000 cash on hand. Ex-radio talk show host Patti Vasquez campaigns relentlessly door-to-door, but has about $70,000. Cop Joe Duplechin has trade union and FOP support, plus that of Alderman Jim Gardiner. Turnout was 8,997 in 2016. LaPointe wins, topping Vasquez 3,500-3,300.

20TH HOUSE DISTRICT: This was Mike McAuliffe's Republican seat for 23 years, and is now held by Rosemont mayor Brad Stephens (R). Madigan recruited and is funding firefighter Michelle Darbro, who has overlaps with the "First Responder" crowd and is endorsed by firefighters' Local 2 and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st). She'll have 10 mailings, has Madigan managers and is walking precincts. Her opponent is Cary Capparelli, son of a former state representative, who is running a digital campaign. Eschewing door-knocking, Capparelli is deluging voters with 250,000 "impressions," which are banner and video ads streamed on Web sites people visit.

2016's turnout was 15,749 and Capparelli hopes to "impress" half of them 20 to30 times by March 17. This is the future of politics. Darbro wins by 1,200 votes.

3RD HOUSE DISTRICT: This was Luis Arroyo's seat until he was arrested for bribery last year and resigned. His appointed successor is Eva-Dina Delgado, who faces teacher Nadia Carranza on March 17. Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th) backs her, but then mug shots of Carranza, taken after her past arrest for retail theft began circulating. Think expungement here. This race is over.

16TH HOUSE DISTRICT: This was Lou Lang's Skokie seat for 32 years until he quit in 2019. He anointed Mark Kalish, a rabbi and lobbyist, as his replacement, but then unannointed him after Kalish voted "present" on the Reproductive Rights Act, which codified Roe v. Wade. Lang is backing Denyse Wang Stoneback, an anti-gun activist. Also running is Kevin Olickal, director of the Indo-American Democratic Organization, who sent out an attack piece showing Kalish in his rabbinical attire. This has backfired in a district where Orthodox Jews are 15 percent of the vote, and the Jewish vote close to 30 percent. Kalish wins by less than 1,000 votes.

41ST WARD: This will be a major upset. McAuliffe has been Republican committeeman since 1996 (back when they weren't called committeepersons), but will lose to Ammie Kessem, who lost to Martwick in 2018. Kessem, a 20-year cop, is unabashedly pro-Trump, pro-life and pro-gun and has had five mailers. Trump got 3,365 votes in the 2016 primary in the ward, and 11,480 in the election. McAuliffe got 4,576 votes in 2016. This will drop by a third, as many conservatives take a Democratic ballot. (D) Retired cop Bill Kilroy faces attorney Joe Cook for Democratic committeeperson. The key is Edison Park. Napolitano has endorsed Kilroy and Kessem. Kilroy wins by 600 votes.

In the 45TH WARD Alderman Gardiner will defeat Arena acolyte Ellen Hill 2-1.

In the 9TH and 10TH judicial subcircuits, the winners will be Ira Silverstein, Mike Strom, John Garrido and John Hourihane.