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Tags: Pat Quinn

Monday Morning’s Polling Roundup: Michigan and Illinois



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After most polls in Illinois showed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner ahead of Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn, the Chicago Tribune offered a stunning poll showing Quinn ahead by 11. Had the race suddenly and completely turned upside down? Or was the Tribune’s poll just a wildly-off-base sample?

This morning, We Ask America offers a new result that comes down somewhere in the middle, finding Rauner ahead, but by a much smaller margin, 44 percent to 41 percent.

We Ask America concludes:

After holding a double-digit lead a few weeks ago, the gap narrows . . . just as it did four years ago when Republican State Senator Bill Brady led Quinn by 10 points a month out from the election only to lose a relatively close race. Despite running a state that’s home to massive debt, terribly low job creation rates, and a pension system that has almost single-handedly lead to a credit rating close to “non-investment grade”, Pat Quinn has pulled within the margin of error.

There is time left, and Bruce Rauner has the wherewithal to unleash the hounds with a wave of his checkbook, but the ticking of the clock is growing louder every day.

That pollster also surveyed Michigan, and found incumbent GOP governor Rick Snyder tied with his Democratic challenger, Mark Schauer.

It should be noted that no first-term Michigan governor has lost a re-election bid in more than 100 years. Snyder, who some say waited too late in the game to hit the airwaves with his pro-business campaign messaging, seems to be banking on the fact that Mr. Schauer will run out of funds before this thing is all said and done. But blood in the water usually leads to increased contributions, so that may be a false hope.

To this point, all we know is this one is close . . . real close.

In the state’s U.S. Senate race, Republican Terri Lynn Land has proven competitive, but rarely ahead of Democrat Gary Peters. The latest poll shows more of the same, with Peters ahead, 42 percent to 39 percent.

Tags: Bruce Rauner , Pat Quinn , Terri Lynn Land , Gary Peter

The Coming Republican Takeover of . . . Illinois?



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How will President Obama feel when a Republican wins the governor’s race in his home state of Illinois?

Gov. Pat Quinn is facing an increasingly uphill battle against Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, a new We Ask America poll shows.

Rauner is now sitting on a 14-point lead in the poll that was conducted July 28, which is up from his 10-point lead he had in a June poll. Rauner’s boost can be attributed to his economic plan, which includes a state income tax reduction. A poll showed while people don’t believe Illinois can afford this plan, a majority say it makes them more likely to vote for him.

Reboot Illinois, which was founded by hedge fund manager Anne Dias Griffin, commissioned the poll by We Ask America, an independent polling subsidiary of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

Overall, if the election were held today, Rauner would pull in 47 percent of the vote, compared to Quinn’s 33 percent. Of those polled, 20 percent said they’re still undecided.

All 118 seats in the Illinois house of representatives and about one-third of the state-senate seats will also be on the ballot this year. Democrats have a 40-to-19 margin in the senate and a 71-to-47 margin in the house. But a big win by Rauner could create coattails, and it appears he and his campaign are investing money in an effort to make that happen:

Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz:

Thanks to heavy spending by wealthy gubernatorial nominee Bruce Rauner — and disgust within the GOP that it let the governor’s mansion slip away four years ago despite the Rod Blagojevich scandal — Illinois Republicans appear to be disciplined, organized and moving to win in a way they haven’t been in decades. And the Democrats know it.

One insider tells me that a combination of the state and national parties and the Rauner campaign is prepared to spend as much as $2 million just on an absentee ballot operation — perhaps seven or eight times as much as in 2010, when Republican state Sen. Bill Brady of Bloomington lost to Gov. Pat Quinn.

Another source reports that the party has opened 20 field offices just in the collar counties. In comparison, Mr. Brady had three offices in the entire state.

Notice the momentum and bandwagon effect:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Chicago Friday and gave Republican Bruce Rauner $2.5 million.

With that the Republican Governors Association more than doubled its financial support of Rauner’s campaign for governor.

Tags: Illinois , Pat Quinn , Bruce Rauner

Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes



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Elsewhere in today’s Jolt, an update on the organized-crime organization commonly referred to as the Illinois state government:

Illinois Governor’s Anti-Crime Program May Have Committed Crimes

Indictments of Illinois governors: it’s not a question of “if,” but “when” and “for what”!

In this case, there are allegations of Pat Quinn using state funds to run a slush fund to award his allies. Even by Illinois standards, this looks pretty brazen:

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez issued a sweeping grand jury subpoena seeking records tied to Gov. Pat Quinn’s troubled Neighborhood Initiative Program – including those for a grant involving the husband of Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

The Sun-Times previously reported that almost seven percent of the $2.1 million in funds given to the Chicago Area Project meant to combat crime in West Garfield Park went to Brown’s husband, Benton Cook III . . . 

The state’s Auditor General, William Holland, slammed the program in a February audit, saying Quinn’s administration didn’t “adequately monitor” how state grant dollars were spent or on whom; community organizations that hired people with those funds weren’t maintaining time sheets; and city aldermen dictated where funding was to be steered.

Political opponents likened the program to a “political slush fund.” The Quinn administration has said the program was set up in response to a violent summer over 2010 and later, in 2012, the governor supported legislation that moved oversight of the program from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

This is the detail that a previous Illinois governor might have called golden: “In his review, Holland further found that the state did not allow for a competitive, open application for the money and instead sought recommendations from Chicago aldermen as to what community organizations should get money in the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative program.”

Gee. The governor takes a pile of money and claims it’s for crime prevention, and then asks a bunch of Chicago alderman where to spend it? Who could have foreseen something going wrong with that plan?

There is a better option, Illinois voters. His name is Bruce Rauner, and he’s the GOP nominee. Today he’s announcing his campaign has collected “590,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure that would ask voters whether term limits should be introduced.”

Think about it, you might see some Illinois governors leaving their offices not wearing handcuffs.

Only one poll has been conducted this month; it put Rauner up by 3.

Tags: Bruce Rauner , Pat Quinn , Illinois

The Stage Is Set for Illinois Republicans. Really.



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Also in today’s Jolt:

Could Illinois Get a Republican Governor in 2014?

Illinois Republicans, you have a golden opportunity this year. Don’t screw it up:

Gov. Pat Quinn may be the ‘luckiest politician alive,’ a moniker given to him by Hillary Clinton after all of Quinn’s primary opponents for Governor dropped out of the race, but a recent visit to Rockford and a new statewide poll shows he has a great deal of work to do if he is to win reelection.

The ‘Capitol Fax/We Ask America’ poll republished in the political website ‘Reboot Illinois’ found the Governor trails whoever may be the prospective Republican nominee.

’Reboot Illinois’ reports that, “According to the poll of 1,354 likely general election voters, all four of Quinn’s potential Republican primary opponents have pulled ahead of the long-unpopular Democratic governor. The poll, taken January 30th, found that Sen. Bill Brady leads Gov. Quinn 48-39. Sen. Kirk Dillard and Treasurer Dan Rutherford are ahead of Quinn 46-37. And Rauner leads the governor 47-39. The self-described party affiliation in the poll was 22 percent Republican and 38 percent Democratic, while 40 percent said they were independents.

When one Democrat after another decided to not run for governor against the perpetually unpopular Quinn — most notably Bill Daley and state attorney general Lisa Madigan — I wondered if the current crop of ambitious Democratic pols knew something the rest of us didn’t. Daley’s explanation seemed particularly ominous and cryptic:

“One of the things I always thought in my career that I wanted to do, I thought I would be able to have that opportunity, I hoped, would be to run for office. And even though you’re around it for a long time, you really don’t get a sense of the enormity of it until you get into it,” Daley told the Tribune.

“But the last six weeks or so have been really tough on me, struggling with this. Is this really me? Is this really what I want to spend my next five to nine years doing? And is this the best thing for me to do at this stage of my life?” he said. “I’ve come to the conclusion that this isn’t the best thing for me.”

“A sense of the enormity,” huh? One theory: The state’s finances are such an epic mess that whoever is governor starting next year is going to have four years of misery, and if they’re really unlucky, another four after that.

How bad is Illinois’s long-term debt problem? Bad enough to get Democratic state lawmakers to do things the public-sector unions don’t want them to do. That’s baaaaaaaad!

Quinn and the state legislature just passed a major pension-reform bill, at least temporarily slowing down the clock on one ticking financial time bomb. But that bill may get undone, depending on what the judges say:

Illinois’ largest government employee unions sued Tuesday to overturn Illinois’ new pension law, ripping the long sought, landmark money-saving changes as outright “theft” from workers that won’t pass a legal smell test.

The suit, filed in Sangamon County Circuit Court, had been expected following last month’s passage of a bill that seeks to curb annual cost-of-living increases for retirees and to increase the retirement age for many current workers. The goal is to close the state’s worst-in-the-nation $100 billion unfunded public pension liability within 30 years.

Yes, you read that correctly. A $100 billion debt in the state’s pensions. And that’s the optimistic calculation. As our friends at IllinoisWatchdog.org calculated,

The Land of Lincoln is in the top five when it comes to debt per capita ($25,959), debt in relation to state spending (727 percent) and unfunded pension liability ($254 billion).

Even if the pension-reform law sticks around, the state’s fiscal mess is . . . colossal:

Our analysis of the state’s fiscal situation before the recent pension changes projected a $4 billion deficit in Fiscal Year 2015, which would get larger each year and reach nearly $13 billion in 2025. That is a serious budget gap, and one that is impossible for the state to maintain for long. It’s like a family spending $5,000 each month when they only have $4,700 in income — and that $300 monthly gap growing to $800 each month in 10 years. Just as for this family, this situation is unsustainable for the state.

While the pension changes were at least implicitly touted as helping deal with this large and growing budget gap, they actually affect it very little in the long term. The new pension law does substantially reduce the fiscal burden to the state of paying for future pension obligations. The savings to the state come mostly from reductions in cost of living adjustments for current and future recipients of state pensions.

But for the next 10 years, the state will use most of the savings from the law to address the unfunded liability. The state will only allocate about $1 billion each year to reduce the annual scheduled payments to the pension funds. So with the new pension law in place, the projected deficit goes from $3 billion in FY 2015 to $13 billion in 2025 — still a huge shortfall and hardly different than the situation prior to the pension changes.

The state spent nearly $1.5 billion on interest payments for their debt in 2013.

Hey, where are all of you Republican gubernatorial candidates going? Come back!

If the state of Illinois’ budget deficit were a robot, it would look something like this.

Tags: Illinois , Pat Quinn , Bill Brady , Kirk Dillard , Dan Rutherford , Bill Daley

Daley: Forget What My Brother Said, Quinn Has to Go.



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Bill Daley is running for governor of Illinois, challenging incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn in the primary.

It wasn’t that long ago, April 2009, that another Daley — Bill’s brother Richard, then the mayor of Chicago — was telling us that Quinn was doing just fine:

Mayor Daley on Thursday all but endorsed Pat Quinn in 2010, arguing that the accidental governor has done “a very good job so far” and has the heart, soul and passion for the office he inherited when the now-indicted Rod Blagojevich was ousted.

The mayor’s brother, former U.S. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, took a pass on the governor’s race, arguing Quinn was a good guy and that it was incumbent on Democrats to give their new governor a chance to tackle a financial crisis he did not create.

On Thursday, Mayor Daley went further than that.

He said Quinn has “done a very good job so far” and is definitely “electable,”

That primary is going to be the political equivalent of “Game of Thrones.”

Tags: Pat Quinn , Bill Daley , Richard Daley

In Illinois, Governor Quinn Will Face a Primary Challenge



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Speaking of competitive Democratic primaries of 2014, looks like we’ll be seeing one in Illinois, where no one can defend the performance of incumbent Pat Quinn:

Sen. Dick Durbin told me Tuesday that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is “seriously thinking” about running for governor.

I talked to Madigan about a gubernatorial bid on Saturday night — she was here for President Barack Obama’s Inauguration festivities — and my takeaway from the conversation is she wants to run whether or not Bill Daley also gets in a Democratic primary to challenge Gov. Pat Quinn.

The main consequence of Madigan, 46, inching toward a bid is this: We now know the politically vulnerable Quinn is heading toward a colossal primary fight because he is going to be facing strong opponents, either Madigan, Daley or both in the March 18, 2014, balloting.

How unpopular is Quinn?

With a 64 percent disapproval rating, Quinn is the most unpopular governor PPP has polled in the country this year. Only 25 percent of those polled were satisfied with Quinn’s performance. Quinn’s disapproval ratings among Democrats are more telling: 43 percent of Democrats who took the survey disapproved of him.

Tags: Bill Daley , Lisa Madigan , Pat Quinn

Of All the Democrats to Hang on . . . Pat Quinn? Blago’s Successor?



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The GOP keeps Mark Kirk’s seat. Congratulations, Congressman-elect Robert Dold; I underestimated his chances all cycle long.

And yet, this Illinois Campaign Spot reader warns the new Republicans to not get too comfortable:

Greetings from still occupied Illinois. Kirk and the House candidates won, Brady BOTCHES the gov race. Of all the Dems to survive last night………Pat Quinn ?

As you said a feel bad landslide. All those new House Republicans from Illinois better not get too comfy because they will get redistricted to the far side of the moon now. House Speaker Mike Madigan will give Quinn the keys to the red train at Santa’s Village and continue to be the real Governor of Illinois (as he has been since Jim Edgar, the last real Governor Illinois had). So I get a state income tax increase and a whopper of a property tax increase. Yay for me.

Take a look at the vote %s from the Gov and Senate races, might explain why the House results were so better than the Senate. House races are in their little districts, Senate…………everybody in the state gets a shot at you. The % of the vote out of Cook County…………..most of that is African American from Chicago, plus heavy city union vote. Quinn came out of Chicago alone up 4 to 1, lot of ground to make up around the state. Statewide, not just in Illinois, monolithic African American vote is HARD to beat, even in a wave. GOP needs a message or candidate to strip some of that off. Any state with large African American vote is going to be a tough go in 2012 for whoever the GOP candidate vs Dear Leader.

I would throw in one point about redistricting: People move, demographics change, and after a while, even safe seats don’t seem so safe anymore. Phil Hare’s awkwardly drawn district lines were meant to create a safe Democratic seat, and Congressman-elect Bobby Schilling laid that notion to rest.

Tags: Bobby Schilling , Illinois , Pat Quinn , Robert Dold

Did Illinois Democrats Botch Their Absentee Get-Out-the-Vote Effort?



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A subscriber to Capitol Fax, a subscription-based Illinois political news service, shares a fascinating bit of news with me. I don’t want to post from the article directly — the guys at Capitol Fax need to make a living — so I’ll just broadly outline their scoop.

Illinois Democrats appear to have made serious mistakes in their absentee-ballot get-out-the-vote efforts. They started late and they mailed all of their absentee-ballot applications for every targeted voter in the state from one location in Chicago. Obviously, that takes longer than mailing it locally, and so many of the applications are still sitting in post-office bins across the state. The deadline for requesting an absentee ballot is . . . today.

So the state party has to contact these folks by phone and tell them that they’re in danger of missing the deadline, and so they should vote in person on November 2 . . . except they don’t have the phone numbers for all of their targeted voters.

Republicans, meanwhile, have a three week head-start. It is not clear how much these troubles will impede Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts, but you figure it probably hurts Pat Quinn and Alexi Giannoulias on the margins, and those guys don’t have much room for error.

UPDATE: Brian Faughnan writes in to offer a deeply disturbing theory: “A GOP veteran of Chicago politics suggests that the Dems ‘screwed up’ that absentee-ballot campaign on purpose. He suggests that the plan was to ensure that lots of ballots are fouled, to force a showdown over whether to count tens of thousands of ballots that can’t be verified. He sees it as a way to insert vote fraud into the process in a massive way.”

Tags: Alexi Giannoulias , Pat Quinn

In Illinois, Bill Brady Just Got His Next Big Campaign Issue



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The Illinois state government at work:

Last week Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said the state is going to have to tighten its belt, and then trimmed $1.4 billion from the new state budget. On Tuesday Quinn downplayed the fact that in the same budget he handed-out pay raises to some of his top staffers. An Associated Press report indicates the governor’s office rewarded a number of top officials with pay increases.  Budget director David Vaught, for example, received a $24,000 raise to bring his salary to $144,000 a year.

Quinn said Vaught has earned it.

“He got a new assignment, the budget director, it’s one of the most important jobs in state government.  So it has a different salary, yes it has a higher salary.  But over all the amount of money spent by taxpayers on the governor’s office is significantly lower today.”The governor said countered the criticism, saying his office has been doing a lot more with a lot less.  

But the AP report states that as governor, Quinn handed out 43 pay raises to 35 different people over the past 15 months.  The average raise according to the AP came in at 11.4 percent.

Remember, it’s only a recession for the private sector.

Bill Brady:

Today’s revelation shows there are two rules under Governor Pat Quinn — one for him and the powerful insider crowd, and another for all the rest of us. While working families are tightening their belts and doing more with less, Pat Quinn is doling out massive pay raises to his own staff — and we’re paying for them.  Today’s revelation shows, once again, that Pat Quinn is incapable of solving our fiscal crisis, and has lost control of state government. How many other agencies received pay raises?

Tags: Bill Brady , Pat Quinn

I’m Not Saying Running Against Phil Hare Is Like Playing the Rams at Home



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In yesterday’s rankings, the one that has generated the most skepticism is putting Rep. Phil Hare of Illinois in the “Blue/As Difficult as Beating the St. Louis Rams” category. As one media guy who watches Congress closely put it:

You have Phil Hare in the easiest to beat bunch. He seems more like Leans Democrat to me — equivalent to your Orange/Eagles group. This is a district that was carried not just by Obama, but by Kerry and Gore. In 2008, Republicans couldn’t even be bothered to contest Hare, and he got 57 percent the last time they did. He’s done a couple stupid things lately — ‘I don’t care about the constitution’ and not releasing an internal poll — but this one seems to be a much harder take-away than some others.

All true, but I figure the “I don’t care about the Constitution” makes for one wicked attack ad, and that internal poll must have shown something pretty ominous, or else he would have released it. (Think about it, even a 55-45 split in his favor would be acceptable to release.)

Here’s Hare to the Wall Street Journal at the end of last month, right before President Obama visited the district:

In Illinois, Rep. Phil Hare, the Democrat who represents Quincy, said he needed the president to make the case that the economy was improving, and that his programs, especially the economic stimulus, have worked. “I’ve had a death threat. I had a rock thrown through the window of a leased vehicle. It’s tough out there,” Mr. Hare said.

I’m also wondering about coattails in Illinois; it looks like the Democrats have two awful top-of-the-ticket names in Illinois. Neither Alexi Giannoulias nor Pat Quinn are leading the Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll, and neither Democrat has led a poll since March. The last five percentage totals for Quinn, the incumbent: 36, 38, 38, 33, 37. Those are Corzine-esque numbers.

Tags: Alexi Giannoulis , Bill Brady , Bobby Schilling , Illinois , Mark Kirk , Pat Quinn , Phil Hare

Yeah, But a Lot of Embarrassing Failed Democratic Candidates Are Wrong on Job Creation



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You know how we know our political world has gone off the rails?

The good folks at the Republican Party of Virginia* send me an e-mailed press release, with the headline, “Embarrassing: Failed Democratic Candidate Attacks Governor on Job Creation.”

My first thought was they were referring to Scott Lee Cohen attacking Governor Pat Quinn.

Scott Lee Cohen, the pawnbroker who flamed out of Illinois politics just days after voters nominated him as the Democratic lieutenant governor candidate, is making plans to run for governor.

Cohen would have a steep climb to redefine himself in the eyes of Illinois voters, even by the standards of this state’s tainted political culture. During his primary campaign, the 43-year-old political novice ran on notions of integrity and business acumen. But scrutiny of Cohen’s background after the election revealed troubling facts and false statements.

The most salacious revelation surrounded his 2005 domestic battery arrest, in which his convicted prostitute girlfriend alleged he put a knife to her throat. The case was dropped when she didn’t show up in court, but in explaining his side of the story, Cohen made statements that turned out to be false. He said he had met the woman in a bar, but later acknowledged that he met her when he was a patron at the massage parlor where she was arrested for performing sex acts for money. Cohen also said the woman would vouch for his character, but she issued a statement through a lawyer saying he was not fit to hold office.

But instead they were talking about our old friend Terry McAuliffe.

McAuliffe says the new governor, who just marked his 100th day in office, isn’t making it any easier to attract new jobs to the state by getting bogged down in controversies over his Confederate heritage proclamation and resisting legal anti-bias protections for gay Virginians.

Of course, on McDonnell’s 101st day, Northup Grumman moved its corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to northern Virginia.

UPDATE: The release was from the Republican Party of Virginia, not the Republican Governors Association; I initially misread the three-letter-acronym starting with “R.”

Tags: Bob McDonnell , Pat Quinn , Scott Lee Cohen , Terry McAuliffe

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