August 30, 2023

Most people have edible leftovers in their refrigerator which they periodically dump in the trash. This political writer accumulates a bunch of printable leftovers in his brain which he periodically dumps in this column.

45TH WARD COMMITTEEPERSON (D): COOK OUT, RABBITT IN. “I’m not running,” said Joe Cook, the 41st Ward Democratic committeeman whose Wildwood home was remapped into the 45th Ward in 2022. “I’m running,” said Michael Rabbitt, who narrowly lost in the 2022 15th Illinous House District state rep primary (D) to the appointed Michael  Kelly. Rabbitt’s 41st Ward Edgebrook home was remapped into the 45th Ward in 2022. Rabbitt ran against Kelly as a “progressive”and spent $91,652. “I am not running” against Kelly in 2024, he said.

The incumbent is Alderman Jim Gardiner, a firefighter and conservative re-elected by 1,274 votes on April 4 and elected committeeman by 352 votes in 2020. He defeated John Arena in 2019 and that crowd has never forgiven him. “I am running” for committeeman Gardiner told me in July. The alderman has been under a cloud since 2021 when some messages surfaced which critics termed misogynistic. He was also investigated by the FBI.

“I tried to persuade him not to run,” said Cook of Gardiner.  With Gardiner in, Cook said that he himself “had no serious chance” of winning. “He’s invisible,” said Rabbitt of Gardiner. “There is no Democratic party in the ward. He has no power” in the party” because of his “ethics” situation, said Rabbitt, noting that Gardiner was censured and stripped of his party committee posts.

Seven 41st Ward precincts in the 15th District were moved into the 45th, so Rabbitt is a complete unknown south of Devon. The presumption is that a Woke/Leftist from Portage Park will run, splitting the anti-Gardiner base. But that looks increasingly unlikely. “I am reaching out,” said Rabbitt. Petitions can be circulated starting Sept. 5, so it’s “game on.” If it’s a one-on-one Gardiner-Rabbitt match-up, Gardiner will have a real problem.

10TH SUBCIRCUIT: ANOTHER GARRIDO COMEBACK? There will be two vacancies in this Northwest Side/north suburban subcircuit. Judges Gregory Wojkowski and Clare McWilliams have retired.  James Murphy-Aguilu, Clerk of Court Iris Martinez’s chief-of-staff, was appointed to the Wojkowski vacancy but then slated for a countywide judgeship on Aug. 15.

The subcircuit is about 50/50 city/suburban, taking in parts of the 41st, 45th, 39th, 40th and 50th wards, as well as parts of Niles, Northfield and Maine townships. The 8 committeepersons’ second pre-slating meeting is Sept. 1. “We don’t know if we will make a joint endorsement,” said Cook.

Those seeking slating include Jim Murphy, an ex-CCSA prosecutor from Sauganash; Peter McNamara of Park Ridge, a CTA attorney; David Adams of Skokie, a civil lawyer; Caroline Glennon Goodman, a public defender; James Crawley, a civil lawyer from the 45th Ward; Christian Blume, who ran for 40th Ward alderman this year, getting 14.5 percent; and Liam Kelly, a criminal defense attorney backed by state senator/committeeperson Ram Villivalam’s (D-8) 39th Ward Democratic organization.

Yet to be heard from is John Garrido, retired police lieutenant and Gladstone Park lawyer who narrowly lost for alderman to Arena in 2011 and 2015 and for subcircuit judge in 2020. He would be formidable in 2024, but he is reviled by the Far Left as much as Gardiner. The most formidable would be Murphy.

12TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT: TRUMP RULES. It is said no good deed goes unpunished. But Darren Bailey, the hapless Downstate farmer from Louisville, got absolutely pulverized by JB Pritzker (D) in the 2022 governor’s race, losing 2,283,748-1,739,095, a margin of 544,653 votes or 42.4 percent, may get rewarded in 2024. But he has to beat congressman Mike Bost (R-12), first elected in 2014. Donald Trump will be the kingmaker. If he endorses Bailey, Bailey wins. A July 8 or Strategies poll showed Bost up 43-37.

STATE’S ATTORNEY – FERGUSON OUT, BURKE IN: You can’t run if, by law, you can’t run. That’s the situation of Joe Ferguson, Chicago’s Inspector General (IG) for 12 years (three 4-year terms), appointed by Rich Daley in 2009. Before that he was an assistant U.S. Attorney for 15 years.

The IG is an independent municipal oversight agency. It probes matters ranging from police misconduct to contract fraud to official corruption.  The IG has a platform to both publicize wrongdoing and recommend prosecution to the feds and/or state’s attorney. To stymie a politically-ambitious IG, a city ordinance bars the IG from running for office for 2 years after departure. Ferguson resigned effective Oct. 15, 2021. So what’s the problem with Ferguson, currently a lecturer at University of Chicago, running for state’s attorney (CCSA) in 2024?

He can’t announce until after Oct. 15 of 2023. He can’t until then create a D-1 campaign committee, can’t solicit donations, can’t create a political operation and hire staffers, and can’t circulate nominating petitions, which are due by Dec. 4 to run in the March 19 Democratic primary. He needs a minimum of 5,885 signatures, which means 15-20,000 as a safety net. If he ran, all this must be done in 49 days. It’s not going to happen.

Ferguson’s Plan B is to run as an independent, getting 25,000 signatures and filing next summer or get named to fill a Nov. 2024 Republican CCSA ballot vacancy. Neither is viable. He will be long-forgotten if he waits until 2028.

With Kim Foxx (D) departing, the 2024 slated Democrat for CCSA is Clayton Harris, also a lecturer at UC and ex-ASA (prosecutor) unassociated with Foxx. Ex-Appellate Court justice Eileen O’Neil Burke, who grew up in the 41st Ward, is running. Her campaign appears to be in disarray.

Is there any doubt who wins?

U.S.  ATTORNEY: NOT LIGHTFOOT. It’s over for ex-Mayor Lori Lightfoot. Pre-election rumors had the mayor, if she lost in 2023, getting a soft landing as a Biden appointee to Illinois’ Northern District U.S. Attorney’s (USA) job. Forget about that.

After getting a puny 16.8 percent on Feb. 28, Lightfoot, age 61, is politically damaged goods. There is no Biden political benefit to making her USA because there is no constituency to placate. The unconfirmed new USA, among 93 nationwide, is April Perry, replacing holdover John Lausch Jr., a Trump appointee kept on to finish the Mike Madigan prosecution. Lightfoot showed $12,419 cash-on-hand in her June 30 filing. So any political comeback is just absurd.

44TH WARD:. Chicago’s Lakefront 44th Ward, centered in Lakeview, is one of the city’s many LGBTQ-friendly neighborhoods. Alderman Tom Tunney was appointed in 2022, becoming the city’s first gay alderman, and was re-elected five times, retiring in 2023 and handing-off the job to chief-of-staff Bennett Lawson.

Tunney, age 68, evolved into something of a law-and-order conservative and some can’t get past his clashes in opposition to the Chicago Cubs owners.

He is running for re-election as committeeperson (D) in 2024. He supposedly has an opponent, an LQBTQ candidate.

40TH WARD: NON-AGGRESSION PACT. “Just Say No” has it’s rewards. “Democratic socialist” Andre Vasquez beat 36-year alderman Pat O’Connor by 1,058 votes in the 2019 runoff, but then lost the 2020 committeeman (D) race to Maggie O’Keefe by 701 votes. A protégé of 47th Ward committeeman Paul Rosenfeld (D), O’Keefe was expected to take on Vasquez in 2023, but didn’t. Vasquez was re-elected with 78.9 percent in 2023 and was expected to take on O’Keefe in 2024, but has said he will not.

10TH DISTRICT: MART­WICK SAFE. State Ssenator Rob Martwick (D-10) has $233,362 on-hand, was an enthusiastic 2023 backer of Brandon Johnson for mayor, was instrumental in dumping Clerk of Circuit Court Iris Martinez at the party’s Aug. 15 slatemaking because she endorsed cop Erin Jones against him in the 2022 (D) primary, and has a free ride in 2024. And that’s only because of the money.

“I’m not running,” said Jones, a CPD detective who lost by 7,799 votes, getting 31.2 percent. She then launched into a tirade on Martwick: “He’s disgusting. He is the quintessential privileged White male. He lied about me (in 2022) and he lies about everything.” Jones has a point.

I can remember way back in 1996 when the 30-year-old Martwick ran against state senator Walter Dudycz (R) and I used to point out in this column his affinity for fancy cars.

Father Robert Martwick went to law school with Richard M. Daley, was Norwood Park Township Democratic committeeman for 52 years (1966-2018) and founded a booming property tax appeal law firm in which young Rob is a partner.

This exhausts my cache of gossip and trivia until at least 2024.

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