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The Spin: Tunney vs. Cubs | Chicago Teachers Union endorsement | Wheels of old Democratic machine turning

Chicago Tribune

Thursday, December 6, 2018  |  Article  |  Lisa Donovan

While elected officials remembered George H.W. Bush during his funeral in D.C., we’re watching the brewing battle in Wrigleyville, where the Cubs-owning Ricketts family may be aiming to unseat incumbent Ald. Tom Tunney. We’re also waiting to see who the all-powerful Chicago Teachers Union endorses in the mayoral race today. And a federal raid of his offices doesn’t seem to have slowed Ald. Ed Burke’s fundraising efforts.

 

Welcome to The Spin.

 

Wrigleyville election battle reminder: The Cubs-owning Rickettses are political animals

 

 (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

Ald. Tom Tunney, whose 44th Ward includes Wrigley Field, has clashed with the Cubs-owning Ricketts family over the years. But the Tribune’s John Byrne has a fascinating look at how this is playing out as Tunney seeks re-election. Read it here.

 

The friction: The Cubs-owning siblings say Tunney has been disrespectful and difficult as they’ve pushed ahead with an ambitious plan to remake not only the ballpark, but also the neighborhood beyond — a community where people live and work. Tunney points to all the cranes and construction unfolding there and offered an “Are you kidding?” to contend that he’s not standing in the way.

 

The election: Tunney says the Ricketts family is looking to help finance a campaign to take him out. A Ricketts family spokesman says the owners are thinking about backing a challenger.

 

The political connection: The Ricketts family, which hails from Nebraska, is no stranger to politics. Pete Ricketts is a Republican who just won a second term as Nebraska governor. Todd Ricketts, who lives in the Chicago suburbs, was President Donald Trump’s one-time nominee for deputy commerce secretary. When that didn’t work out, he landed as the finance chair of the Republican National Committee with Trump’s blessing. Then there is Laura Ricketts, who has opened her wallet for Democratic candidates and causes. She sported a Hillary Clinton hat to a Cubs game on the eve of the 2016 election, even as her father was about to write a $1 million check to Trump.

 

Why the Chicago Teachers Union endorsement matters in the mayor’s race

 

 (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

The politically potent Chicago Teachers Union will vote today on which candidate to endorse for mayor, giving the winner some serious muscle and likely money in the crowded race. Read Gregory Pratt’s piece in the Tribune here.

 

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle likes to remind people she was a high school teacher, and she has won some first-round approval by a few CTU committees. But leaving nothing to chance, her campaign was busy shopping her education platform to reporters on the eve of the vote, showing she sides with the union on key issues, including an elected school board.

 

Union backing in the race can be helpful, but it doesn’t guarantee victory. The CTU’s political arm contributed nearly $600,000 four years ago to the campaign of Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who ultimately failed in his bid to unseat Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

 

On the street, the endorsement may carry some heft with the thousands of CPS teachers and parents who may cast a ballot.

 

Gov. Rauner, Bill Daley among locals attending George H.W. Bush’s funeral

 

 (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Outgoing Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Chicago mayoral candidate Bill Daley were among the locals who headed to Washington, D.C., for the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush. Read about the service here.

 

A tweet showed Rauner signing in before the service: “Honor to sign guest register on behalf of the people of Illinois. President Bush 41's decency and diplomacy will be missed.”

 

The Madigan, Berrios machines keep humming along

 

 (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune)

In not-like-the-rest-of-us news: There will be no need for ex-Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ family to stand in the unemployment line. His sister, daughter and a few pals who were working for him at the county were shown the door when his term ended last week after his primary re-election loss.

 

It turns out that his sister and one of his close friends landed jobs with Secretary of State Jesse White’s office. Read Hal Dardick’s piece in the Tribune here.

Berrios, an old-school machine Democrat, was unapologetic about having family on his staff, saying he needed trusted people in his office. He and White have been longtime friends, and White cut a radio ad for Berrios’ campaign.

 

And an operative of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was appointed to serve as the Cook County recorder of deeds for the next two years before the office is eliminated and operations are shuffled to the clerk’s office. Read Gregory Pratt’s piece in the Tribune here.

 

There was a line to get into Ald. Ed Burke’s party

 

 (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune)

Judges, elected leaders and “wannabes” lined up for Ald. Ed Burke’s annual downtown holiday fundraiser despite his City Hall and Southwest Side aldermanic offices being raided by the FBI last week, showing he still wields power. Read the Sun-Times story here.

 

The paper offered a list of Chicago aldermen on hand, including Ariel Reboyras, 30th, Margaret Laurino, 39th, Patrick O’Connor, 40th, David Moore, 17th, Nick Sposato, 38th, Roderick Sawyer, 6th, and Ray Lopez, 15th. That’s in addition to Santa himself, who rode in on a firetruck carrying an “I’m for Ald. Ed Burke” sign.

 

Wisconsin Republicans vote to limit incoming Democratic governor’s powers

 

 (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune 2016)

*And Wisconsin lawmakers quickly passed a bill limiting a governor’s powers, slashing early voting as Republican Gov. Scott Walker prepares to hand the reins to a Democrat. Read here.

 

*Crain’s is reporting that a Bridgeport bank loaned the Daley-led ward organization $80,000 to remodel its 11th Ward offices on South Halsted Street before the bank went under. Read here.