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Morning Spin

Chicago Tribune

Wednesday, July 11, 2018  |  Editorial  |  Editorial Board

Third-party governor candidate Sam McCann reported receiving $77,700 more in campaign contributions from a union that endorsed J.B. Pritzker in the Democratic primary for governor, campaign finance records show.

About $60,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 paid for petition circulation services for McCann. Last month, he turned in roughly 65,000 petition signatures to get on the November ballot, a number so big that it helped insulate him from an attempted challenge by Republican allies of Gov. Bruce Rauner and others.

McCann is running under the new Conservative Party banner, exacerbating the challenges facing Rauner’s re-election as he seeks to heal divisions within his party’s base.

The central Illinois Republican previously had received $50,000 from the politically active union. It plays politics on both sides of the aisle, but union leader James Sweeney has been highly critical of Rauner’s agenda, particularly in trying to end a requirement that prevailing union wages be paid on public construction projects.

McCann’s campaign reported the contributions late Monday night. In addition to the petition services, the union also was listed as paying for printing campaign materials, video production and “campaign walkers.”

What’s on tap

*Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in Beijing, China.

*Gov. Rauner has no public events scheduled.

From the notebook

*Democrats want abortion assurances: Illinois lawmakers pushed Gov. Rauner on Tuesday to pledge that he will protect the controversial abortion bill HB40 if he’s re-elected governor, even though he signed the measure into law.

The pledge is a two-sentence document asking Rauner to declare he won’t sign any legislation “that repeals, modifies or in any way diminishes HB40” if re-elected in November. It also notes “100 percent” support for the bill as the law of the state of Illinois. Pritzker has signed the pledge, said Terry Cosgrove, CEO of the pro-choice Personal PAC.

HB40 was a controversial measure that expanded taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women covered by Medicaid and state employee health insurance. When Rauner signed the bill last year, he faced intense criticism from conservative Republicans who said he betrayed their values.

At a press conference in Chicago, City Clerk Anna Valencia said she’s “mad as hell” at Rauner, whom she called “our so-called leader,” for not signing the pledge. Others including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Ald. Michelle Smith, 43rd, and state senator Heather Steans added their voices to those calling on Rauner to sign the pledge.

Despite Rauner’s pro-choice stance and signature on the bill, officials questioned his commitment on the issue.

“We do not want a recalcitrant, reluctant supporter of women’s reproductive healthcare that’s gonna sign one bill (and) look like he’s in a hostage video while he’s doing it,” said Ann Williams, a state representative who was one of the bill’s sponsors.

Reporters at the press conference asked why Rauner had to sign the pledge if he already signed the law and questioned whether the event was simply political theater. Cosgrove said no, arguing that pro-choice pressure forced the governor to sign the bill by citing a pledge he’d previously signed.

Rauner campaign manager Betsy Ankney noted many Democrats, including Steans, praised Rauner’s decision to sign the measure into law. Ankney also noted that Pritzker had donated more than $400,000 to Personal PAC.

“I am aware that many people are trying to play politics with this issue, and I want to make clear that I signed legislation here in the state of Illinois so that women’s reproductive rights are protected regardless of what happens at the federal level,” Rauner said.(Gregory Pratt, Monique Garcia)

*Pence to visit Friday: Vice President Mike Pence will appear at a Rosemont hotel on Friday for a “Tax Cuts to Put America First” event. Rauner met with Pence last month while on a trip to Washington, D.C., ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus V. AFSCME decision.

*Roskam cash: Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam’s campaign said he’ll report raising more than $940,000 in the second quarter of the year as he works to fend off a challenge from Democratic businessman Sean Casten. The campaign says it has $2.3 million in the bank.

What we’re writing

*‘You should not be wearing that,’ man berates woman in Puerto Rican flag shirt; response of cop in viral video under investigation.

*Toni Preckwinkle apologizes to woman berated by man at forest preserve for wearing Puerto Rican flag shirt.

*Chicago lawmaker picked to run Democratic Party of Illinois.

*Illinois watchdog Mautino’s campaign fund narrowly avoids more fines.

*Chicago cop involved in controversial fatal shooting cleared of bar fight charge by judge.

*News media seek to unseal filings in conspiracy case connected to Laquan McDonald’s shooting.

*Judge charged after gun falls from jacket at Cook County’s main criminal courthouse.

*South Shore Hospital tells state it needs $3 million in funding by Aug. 1 to avoid shutdown.

What we’re reading

*After viral video, a refresher course: 5 things to know about Puerto Rico.

*Highland Park mansion’s use of Airbnb spurs neighbor lawsuit: ‘We have to clean up empty beer cans.’

*NFL players union files grievance with league over anthem policy.

*English-language World Cup viewership in U.S. drops 35 percent through quarterfinals.

*Palos Township trustee says she won't resign a year after Facebook comments about Middle Eastern immigrants ignited protests.

*Southwest Airlines will no longer serve peanuts, citing allergy concerns.

Follow the money

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

*Rescue saves all 12 boys and their coach from flooded cave in Thailand.

*British Prime Minister Theresa May seeks to stem Cabinet exodus over Brexit.

*Michael Flynn is cooperating with Mueller and eager to have case wrap up, court hears.

*Brett Kavanaugh begins Congress tour, selling himself for Supreme Court.

*Trump offers ‘a solution’ for separated migrant families: ‘Don’t come to our country illegally.’