Lots going on this weekend, so let's get to it:
LINK ON THE HOTSEAT: I almost spit out my coffee this morning in shock, but the Waukegan News-Sun came out and demanded an explanation from State Senator Terry Link as to how he could have allowed the fraudulent signatures gathered by his two prime circulators to have been submitted in support of Link's candidacy. You know when the News-Sun, which has slobbered over Link's every accomplishment and supported his every position (even down to bringing gambling to Waukegan), comes down this hard on him (among other things, criticizing his "cavalier" attitude), there is a change in the dynamics of Lake County politics afoot. Perhaps more importantly, the News-Sun also took up the demand first made by Lake County Republican Chairman Dan Venturi and challenged the other Democratic candidates that also had signatures obtained by the two Link circulators to explain themselves.
What a difference a month makes--as much as I love to read Capitol Fax Blog, blogfather Rich Miller was like most who didn't take this issue seriously when we first broke the story. I recall Miller's November 21, 2007 syndicated column on the influence of political blogs, in which he stated "Congressional campaigns aren’t the only races being affected by blogs. A blogger in Lake County (“Team America”) was the first to report concerns about state Sen. Terry Link’s nominating petitions. Apparently a couple of dead people “signed” the petitions, as did one of Link’s former Republican opponents. Oops. The seriousness of the situation was overstated, but the local media picked up the story almost right away." (emphasis mine)
No one is calling the situation overstated now.
JERRY JOHNSON FILES HIS APPEAL: As we reported earlier this week, Jerry Johnson officially announced that he would file an appeal of the State Board of Elections decision that kept Link on the Feburary 5th primary ballot. The appeal was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Thursday, December 27th. Download the actual appeal petition here. As to timing, and the effect on the election if a judge were to kick Link off the ballot, it could be horrendous. It will no doubt take a few days for the State Board to be served with the appeal, then a hearing must be scheduled. Considering New Year's, that means basically a month to get that done (which for Cook County is moving at transwarp speed). If Link is removed, that reduces him to write-in candidate status, which gives Link precious little time to gear up his war machine to get out the word that the emperor will be dethroned unless the little people do their duty to write in Link's name. The fact that the ballots have already been printed (and I don't think they would reprint them now) means that Link will still be on the ballot, so voters would have to be coached to ignore Link's actual name on the ballot and then write in his name on the line that is always available for write-ins. Early voting begins on January 14th; if there is no decision by then, early voters would not even know they were supposed to write in Link instead of check his name off. Based on the rumblings in Link's power base, Waukegan, the locals are salivating at the chance to finally get back at Link for years of slights, and mounting a successful write-in campaign could be a real challenge in the face of Johnson's determined opposition.
MARK KIRK INTERVIEWED AGAIN ON PAKISTAN: As we reported earlier, Congressman Mark Kirk has proven himself to be a go-to person time and time again for the Chicago media for his insight and analysis in crisis situations, both nationally and internationally. Congressman Kirk will appear again on TV tomorrow morning on Fox Chicago Sunday at 8:00 a.m., Channel 32. See a preview here.
SEALS AND FOOTLIK TO BE GRILLED BY HIGHSCHOOLERS: In addition to the two debates scheduled for Seals and Footlik for January 10th and 12th, which will be sponsored by the League of Women Voters (see this post for more details), a debate has been scheduled for January 9th at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, at 7:30 p.m, in the Performing Arts Center's Little Theater. I don't have any more details yet, but I am assuming that the debate will be open to the public, not just Stevenson students. According to the scant information available on the Stevenson website (scroll all the way down to "News Alerts"), the debate will be moderated by Stevenson students. This oughta be good.