Illinois primary today. Thanks goodness.
I’ve been watching the campaign from the other side of the Big Muddy, where I can see television ads run on St. Louis-area stations. Illinois, like New York, has long been weighted down by old party boss-style politics and corruptions in which both parties are complicit. The sitting Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, has done a heckofa job standing in the way of doing anything that might, you know, make things better. He ought to be very vulnerable.
Rauner does nothing but run negative ads. His negative ads against his primary opponent, Jeanne Ives, featured clips of her allegedly saying nice things about the Democratic speaker of the Illinois House, Mike Madigan. (Madigan is one of those “permanent” politicians. He has been in Illinois politics for so long one suspects he was around when Illinois was still the Northwest Territory. I think they built the statehouse around him.) Rauner’s video clips of Ives were so obviously and badly edited I wondered if they were produced by Project Veritas. I’m sorry I can’t find any videos of them, but they’re really stupid ads. In any event, the ads had the effect of making Ives seem sympathetic and reasonable until I saw one of her ads against Rauner, which was downright unhinged.
What can one say but … OMG. Seriously, that is a real campaign ad. It isn’t a spoof.
Possibly afraid that Rauner’s ads against Ives were too soft and ineffectual, the Democratic Governor’s Assocation made this one:
Seem noteworthy that the Democratic Governor’s Association would take sides in a Republican primary, but there it is.
There are three men running for the Democratic nomination. Any of them would be an improvement on Rauner or Ives, but I’m guessing the least desirable one will be elected.Â J.B. Pritzker, heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, has blanketed the state with an incessant television ad campaign that’s been going on for months. And they are very good ads, well produced and positive, showing all kinds of real folks talking about how J.B. is a great guy. Pritzker has spent $70 million of his own money on those ads, it says here. He took a hit a few weeks ago when Rauner released tapes of an old phone conversation between Pritzker and former governor and current convict, Rod Blagojevich. Pritzker can be heard recommending another politician for an appointment because “it covers you on the African-American thing.” But this appears to have been smoothed over.
The other two Democratic candidates are Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby of Blessed Memory; andÂ state Sen. Daniel Biss, who is the most progressive of the three and who is backed by Our Revolution Illinois.Â But I haven’t heard a peep about either guy in all these months of campaigning. I assume they are more visible from within Illinois.
There is a surprising shortage of polling for these races, but I’m guessiing we’re looking at Rauner versus Pritzker in the fall.
Update: I forgot to mention that today Illinois has a shot at getting rid of one of the worst Blue Dogs in the House.
Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) spent much of his career antagonizing his own party as an outspoken pro-life advocate who has been hostile to gay rights and has voted against Democratic priorities from the DREAM Act to Obamacare to Planned Parenthood funding. After more than a decade representing a safely Democratic seat stretching from Chicagoâ€™s Southwest Side out to largely working-class suburbs, heâ€™s facing the toughest primary challenge of his career from former ad executive Marie Newman, a staunch liberal whose campaign has gotten a major boost from a constellation of national progressive groups seeking his ouster.
Go, Marie Newman!
Update: It will be Rauner vs. Pritzker in November; Pritzker should win easily. Lipinski,Â alas, won in a squeaker over Marie Newman.