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Capitol Fax

Friday, August 5, 2022  |  Article  |  Rich Miller

NOW YOUSE CAN’T LEAVE This week’s uproar over Darren Bailey’s 2017 claim that the Holocaust “doesn’t even compare on a shadow” to the lives lost to abortion reminded me of a scene in an old movie called “A Bronx Tale.”


The claim Bailey made on Facebook exploded into view courtesy of a brutal TV ad by Gov. JB Pritzker’s campaign. The ad begins with an announcer previewing an already-used video clip of Bailey saying he would not allow a woman who was raped or a victim of incest to have an abortion. “You may have thought you heard everything that Darren Bailey had to say about abortion,” the voice-over person says before the clip is played. “But that’s not all Darren Bailey has said,” the person continues as the newly unearthed clip is shown to viewers.


The closing tagline of “Darren Bailey, too extreme for Illinois,” is then flashed on the screen. That’s pretty close to the same language used in Democratic ads which aired during the Republican primary.


There are those who say that, judging from historical experience, if Pritzker is using something this over the top in early August, then oh my goodness he must have some really strong opposition research in store for voters when the campaign cranks up this fall.


That could very well be, but Bailey could also be experiencing a post-primary bump that Pritzker wants to flatten before it gets out of hand. Some Republicans not aligned with Bailey have been privately making this claim after being spooked by some private poll numbers last week. For whatever reason, Bailey’s billionaire GOP primary benefactor Richard Uihlein has not directly contributed any money to Bailey’s campaign since the primary, so attacking when your opponent can’t fight back in kind has its advantages. Bailey released a response video to another Pritzker TV ad (calling him out for hypocritically taking millions in federal farm subsidies while opposing other government social programs) that has so far received just 749 views.


Either way, this is a true political beat-down. And that brings me back to the movie, which follows a young Italian-American boy as he learns life lessons from those around him, including from some mobsters.


In the scene, a biker gang known for busting up bars unwittingly walks into a mob-owned bar and, after being told they could stay for a couple of beers, begins to cause trouble. The top mob boss tells the bikers to leave. After being rudely rebuffed, he quietly walks to the front door and locks it, then turns around and faces the bikers: “Now youse can’t leave,” he says.


The mob boss’ underlings stream in through the back door brandishing baseball bats, pistols and other implements of destruction and absolutely pummel the bikers, who are then dragged outside and beaten some more, including by bystanders.


And that’s basically how the rest of this campaign is going to go, even when/if Bailey’s coffers are replenished. Pritzker never took his foot off of Bruce Rauner’s political throat four years ago even though he was way ahead in the polls, and he kept whacking Richard Irvin long after Irvin was clearly no longer viable in the GOP primary. It’s just how they roll over there. Toss in the fact that Pritzker helped found a Holocaust museum and abortion rights is an issue which appears to animate him, and you can understand the desire to go all-out on this one.


REP. ROBINSON MULLING CITYWIDE BID Rep. Lamont Robinson (D-Chicago) has been calling House colleagues over the past week or so to gauge their support for a possible run for Chicago city clerk, several members confirmed this week.


Incumbent City Clerk Anna Valencia was soundly defeated in her Democratic primary bid for secretary of state by Alexi Giannoulias in June, so she’s seen as having some vulnerability if, as expected, she runs for reelection next year.


“I’m always thinking about my future,” Rep. Robinson said via text message yesterday. “If I go down a different path, I’ll let you know.”


Robinson has been in the House since January of 2019.


OBJECTIONS FILED Fifteen objections have been filed this week against legislative candidates placed on the ballot late last month by their local party organizations, about half of the 35 who filed to run on July 25. To fully qualify for the ballot, Senate candidates had to collect 334 valid petition signatures and House candidates needed 136 valid signatures gathered after the primary.


All but one of the objections were filed by Democrats against Republicans. The lone Democratic petitions challenged were circulated for Linda Robertson, who has filed to run against Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva). Ugaste’s district leans Republican, but is ever so slightly swingy.


The Democrats say most of their Republican challenges are pretty basic. The Repubs collected and filed enough faulty signatures – mainly people who either don’t live in the districts and those who are not registered to vote – to put them under the legal threshold. Dems say they have evidence that one candidate doesn’t actually live in the district, which can be tough to make stick.

A quick look at the challenged newcomers shows the 29th Senate District may be the most important for the Democrats to win. Sen. Julie Morrison’s (D-Lake Forest) newly drawn district has been fairly solidly Democratic for the past two cycles, but was less so in 2016, when Democrat Susana Mendoza lost the district by 4 points and Tammy Duckworth won it by only 5. JB Pritzker won it by 13 and Joe Biden won it by 36. Still, it’s difficult to recall any candidate appointed this way ever winning. [UPDATE: Mary Edly Allen was appointed to the ballot in June of 2018 shortly before then-Rep. Nick Sauer, a Republican, was forced out of office by scandal. She went on to win the House seat against a far-right candidate.]


The idea is to keep Democratic legislators pinned down in their districts and not out walking precincts for other, more heavily targeted members. But not all of these and other recently appointed candidates were recruited by the House Republicans. Rep. Anthony DeLuca’s (D-Chicago Heights) GOP opponent Al Kuypers was assisted by the Illinois Policy Institute. Kuypers’ petitions were not challenged.


The Illinois Policy Institute sent me a list of the new candidates it assisted, and I’ll post that on the blog. The list includes Froylan Jimenez, who ran as a Democrat against Sen. Tony Munoz a couple of years ago and lost. Jimenez is running as a third party candidate and filed on July 11th. His petitions have also been challenged.