Saturday, July 30, 2011

Many Are Waiting In the Wings to Succeed Mike Waller as Lake County State's Attorney (UPDATED x3)

Well, after months of speculation about the future of Mike Waller, who has served as Lake County State's Attorney for 22 years, Waller has now finally made official his decision to retire after completing his current term.

As many speculated that Waller might retire (and those in the know, knew pretty positively that this was coming for a while), many candidates on both sides of the aisle have already announced or expressed interest, as more are sure to come.

So far, TA's unofficial tally is:

Democrat Candidates

Chris Kennedy (former ASA, has announced)

Scott Drury (possible self-funder, reportedly has formed a committee) (UPDATED: Looks like Scott Drury will announce August 8th)

Reggie Matthews (current ASA)

Republican Candidates

Bryan Winter (municipal attorney, has announced)

Louise Bryant Hayes (current ASA, not yet officially announced)

Mike Nerheim (former ASA) (UPDATED x2: Nerheim will announce this coming Tuesday, apparently. His website, which is not yet live, will be
(UPDATED x3: Nerheim has now made his bid official and his website (link above) is up and running)

If anyone knows of any more, let us know in comments.

State Senator Terry Link, the Lake County Democratic Chairman, has picked his horse already (Kennedy) and is reportedly frowning on any other potential Dem candidates that are poking their heads up. Here comes the intimidation, back-room buy-offs, and other schenanigans to clear the field.

I don't see that happening on the Republican side, so I think we may have a rocking and rolling primary, as Senator Mark Kirk used to like to say.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

State Senator Susan Garrett Will Not Run for Re-election (UPDATED x3)

I had heard rumors of the possible retirement of State Senator Susan Garrett, and it turns out they were correct. Garrett sent out a press release announcing that she's hanging it up. She also makes clear that she's done with public office (although she pledges to serve out her term to January 2013), much to the disappointment of many Dems who were begging her to run against Congressman Bob Dold in the 10th Congressional District.

This may really open the door for a Republican to make a run in her senate district; cue Dr. Arie Friedman, perhaps?

UPDATED 7/28/11: Here's some follow-up by The Patch, with some interesting reaction by Senator Terry Link:

Though no names have been mentioned as a possible replacement, state Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), one of Garrett’s mentors when she entered politics, knows a solid candidate will have to emerge.

“We have some very large shoes to fill both as a legislator and because of her character. She set the bar very high,” Link said. “Lake County and Illinois are losing a fine legislator, who represented her district as fine as any person could.”

If Link's comments are to be believed, I find it interesting that Garrett left the Dems in the lurch without an heir apparent. Last night at an event for Circuit Court Clerk Candidate Keith Brin, some of us were chewing over this, and few prospective Dem names were apparent to any of us, either. Of course, Lauren Beth Gash's name was raised, but her personal agenda remains a mystery. I also heard rumblings that Dan Seals might be thinking about yet another run for the 10th District (gasp of horror from the crowd), but I bet that he's probably getting quite used to his new cushy state paycheck and benefits to throw himself back into the fray, especially in light of Congressman Bob Dold's successful at fundraising so far.

UPDATED x2: Looks like the Julie Morrison announcement (mentioned in comments) is now official.

UPDATED x3 7/29/11 6:30 am: Another possible Dem contender whose name was raised yesterday here in comments, Annette Lidawer, has talked to the Patch and confirmed her interest. The Patch also tried to get an official answer out of Dr. Arie Friedman on the GOP side to see if he's ready to throw in, but he didn't give them anything to print. Since Garrett's retirement announcement, Friedman has been quietly (?) telling GOP insiders at various recent campaign events that he's throwing in, though, so don't be surprised to see an official announcement here around the end of the month.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Warren Township Republican Organization Hosts Milton Friedman Economic Freedom Dinner Featuring John Tillman

The Warren Township Republican Organization will be hosting its "Milton Friedman Economic Freedom Dinner" next Thursday, July 28th. Mike Amrozowicz, Warren Township Republican Chairman, is doing a great job leading this group, and they recently opened up a permanent township Republican office, something not many townships in Lake County have been able to accomplish:

The Friedman Dinner will be held at the Heather Ridge Clubhouse, 5900 Heather Ridge Drive, Gurnee, IL 60031, and the keynote speaker will be John Tillman, CEO, Illinois Policy Institute. There will also be a panel discussion with comments from several members of the Illinois General Assembly. Tickets are $50.00 and can be purchased online at Cocktails start at 6:00 PM and dinner is at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Former 10th District Congressional Hopeful Dr. Arie Friedman Forms State PAC; We Wonder What's Next...

Dr. Arie Friedman, who ran in the Republican primary for the 10th Congressional District in 2010, has formed a state PAC called the Doctors and Patients Alliance of Illinois. Friedman is a former Navy helicopter pilot and pediatric practitioner from Highland Park. After losing in the 2010 GOP primary to now-Congressman Bob Dold, Friedman has remained active on the political scene, leaving many of us to wonder what's next in his political future. The formation of this PAC could well be seen as a prelude to another run for office, perhaps against Jan Schakowsky in the 9th Congressional District, or maybe Susan Garrett, if serving in the State Senate might be attractive.

When I spoke to Friedman about the PAC, he was reserved on his political future but hinted that he was seriously considering some options. Meanwhile, he told me that the PAC has already raised more than $14K and will be looking to support candidates and advance its agenda, which is spelled out on the website:

The Doctors-Patients Alliance of Illinois (DPAI) was created to give doctors and patients a powerful voice in Springfield. By developing a grassroots network of doctors and patients, DPAI serves as a political force that will educate and influence lawmakers and voters, while providing the media with real human-interest stories about the impact of government-controlled medicine.

DPAI respects the intelligence of the citizenry and understands that the truth will always be the best medicine. Securing solutions to the healthcare challenges facing Illinois and the nation is our ultimate goal. To achieve our goal, we outline and advocate for those solutions, while explaining the devastating impact ObamaCare will have on families, medical practitioners and the Illinois economy. Our audience is both lawmakers and voters.

DPAI understands that real change is secured at the ballot box. By working directly with state-level candidates, DPAI educates candidates and provides financial support and endorsements to lawmakers and those seeking office who share our vision of protecting the doctor-patient relationship.

DPAI knows that government-controlled medicine is unhealthy for our state and our nation. Market driven solutions are the cure, and doctors and patients working together can write the prescription.

While Friedman asserted that the PAC is non-partisan, based on the viewpoints espoused on the website, you can safely guess that this group won't be endorsing any pro-Obamacare candidates any time soon.

David Barkhausen to Run for Lake County Board (UPDATED)

My friend David Barkhausen, with whom I served on the Board of the Lake County Republican Federation for about 10 years and got to know quite well, is throwing his hat in for County Board in the new 13th district, which will have no incumbent running. The Lake County News-Sun has an article up about Barkhausen, who is currently Shields Township Clerk and who served in the General Assembly for more than a decade. Gazebo News has more:

Barkhausen said his top priority would be maintaining strict controls on Lake County spending. “County government is the second largest item on our property tax bills after public schools,” Barkhausen said. “County Board members have an obligation to maintain the County’s strong fiscal position without adding to this burden.”

“I offer proven leadership to carefully review Lake County’s fiscal policies,” Barkhausen maintained, pointing to his past public service at the state and local level as an example of the type of representation he would provide to Lake County government.

David is a hard worker and a well-qualified guy. Good luck David!

UPDATED 7/20/11: Here's another article from The Patch, which has a lot of additional detail about the race and Barkhausen's platform.

Monday, July 18, 2011

State Senator Dan Duffy Says "Game On" In 26th District

My friend and college fraternity brother Dan Duffy is running for re-election in the newly-remapped 26th District. I haven't run the voter numbers in the new district but at first glance, it looks even more Republican than the old one. I have little doubt that Dan is going to continue to shake up Springfield for a number of years to come.

I assume (although I have not seen an official announcement) that Ed Sullivan, Jr. will run for re-election in his state rep district, and I would further assume that newly-appointed Beaubien replacement Kent Gaffney will also run in the other legislative district, which two districts combined make up Duffy's senate district. Duffy was critical of Gaffney's appointment, so it will be interesting to see if Duffy supports Gaffney - especially in the event of a primary, which seems likely.

Here's his press release:

State Senator Dan Duffy running for Re-Election in 2012

For Immediate Release
July 18, 2011

Lake Barrington, Illinois - After sitting down and discussing future
options with his family, State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Lake Barrington)
has decided to run for re-election to the State Senate in 2012. “The
boundaries of the 26th district may change but my duty and message
remain clear,” said Duffy. “I have a vision for Illinois that puts us
FIRST – not last. We still have a lot of work to do to get Illinois
back on track.”

A small business owner, Senator Duffy originally ran for office in
2008 pledging to do everything he could to Encourage Job Growth, Fight
Corruption, and Keep Taxes Low. He has evaluated every piece of
legislation based on those three key principles. Senator Duffy has
been extremely active and outspoken in his efforts to promote a more
business friendly work environment, shine a light on the inner
workings of our state government - and he has fought hard against
excessive regulation, litigation and taxation. “I believe we need
more people with real-world experience doing their duty by serving in
our state government,” Duffy explained.

As the youngest of 11 children and the father of five kids, Senator
Duffy recognizes the impact critical legislation can have on our daily
life. As a small business owner for over 15 years, Duffy understands
– first hand - how to create jobs, balance a budget and live within
our means. “I believe it is imperative to continue promoting these
principles in the State Senate, “Duffy stated.

“It has been an honor to represent the people of the 26th district for
the past three years. I am very blessed to have the best volunteers,
donors and supporters in the state,” said Duffy. “I strive to be the
voice of ALL people and will continue to get others engaged in our
political process so we can put our state on a path to success.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dold too Bold for Carol Sente, So It's Back To the Drawing Board for Dems; Quick, Get Susan Garrett on Speed Dial, Stat!

Not overly surprising, but it turns out that Carol Sente was just toying with everyone when she leaked to Lynn Sweet earlier this week that Sente was thinking about challenging Congressman Bob Dold for the newly-remapped and Dem-friendly 10th Congressional District. The Daily Herald has an article up here, but seems mostly concerned with whether or not fellow State Rep. Sid Mathias will challenge Sente for the 59th legislative district, since he has now been drawn into the district with the latest remap.

Sente put out a press release today stating:

While I am flattered that many constituents and friends asked me to consider running for Congress in the 10th Congressional District, I believe there is too much unfinished business in the General Assembly. The challenges we face in Illinois and in our communities requires dedication, resolve and commitment to put the practices of the past behind us, and it is crucial that we continue to improve upon the reforms we have begun.

I guess cooler advisors and friends must have convinced Sente that the new 10th District wasn't quite drawn as a walk-away for a Dem as some might like to think, or was intended, plus anyone running against Bob Dold is already about a million dollars behind, not to mention facing a three or four-way primary before even getting to the general.

So, Dems, it's back to the drawing board, unless socialist/facist/anarchist Ilya Sheyman is your cup of tea. I bet not a day goes by that Susan Garrett's phone isn't ringing off the hook.

Tribune Whacks Quinn Over Political Hires, Including Dan Seals

It's always nice to wake up in the morning and see the Tribune taking a whack at the Dems, especially when its Dan Seals. I could tell someone at the Trib was doing a little research based on the blog hits on my sitemeter over the past couple weeks, and today the Trib unveiled their little research piece on the number of political appointments to highly connected Dems made by Governor (not reformer) Pat Quinn. Right there on the front page is the reference to Seals' recent appointment to a cushy six-figure state job after losing three times in a row in his bid for Congress. We looked at this way back in May when the appointment was made.

Rick Pearson at the Trib says that "In the case of Seals' hiring and others, Quinn's awarding of jobs resembles a consolation prize for falling short in a bid for Congress."

Um, resembles???

I'm still laughing, though that former State Rep. Julie Hamos, who Seals narrowly defeated in the last primary, got a better paying job out of Quinn.

It's nice to know that there's a safety net for unemployed Dems named Uncle Pat. So, Illinois Dems, get out there and run, and even if you lose, you win.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bob Dold Raises a Cool Half-Million for IL-10 Re-election Bid; Dem Contenders Trail

I'm in a bit of a rush this morning but the Patch has a good rundown on Q2 fundraising totals in IL-10 thus far:

Dold collected $541,330 for the quarter ending June 30, bringing his total fundraising to $931,535 during the current campaign reporting cycle. Dold collected $310,889 for the quarter ended March 31 and $79,316 last year after the election, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). He has $748,546 cash on hand.

Also according to Patch, the Dems contenders are all lagging pretty far behind:

At this point three Democrats have declared their candidacy to run in March primary for the right to oppose Dold in the general election. The candidates are Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman, Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider and Wheeling attorney Robert McKenzie.

Schneider said Monday he raised $321,085 for the current quarter. Sheyman disclosed July 1 he collected nearly $110,000 for the same period. McKenzie has not reported financial information.

As we noted earlier this week, State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) of the 59th District was reportedly toying with the idea of announcing against Dold, but was supposed to make a decision by this Friday. I suspect that if she is at all serious, she was waiting to see how Dold did in Q2 fundraising. Unless Sente gets in, I think the Desperate Dems will continue to cast about for a legitimate candidate to take on Dold, lest they suffer the humiliation of losing to Dold in a district they specifically remapped to enable a Dem to easily win.

Monday, July 11, 2011

State Rep. Carol Sente to Challenge Dold in IL-10?

Lynn Sweet at the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that State Rep. Carol Sente (D-Vernon Hills) of the 59th District is thinking about throwing in for the newly-remapped 10th District. How real this thought might be and how much might be a little vanity on Sente's part remains to be seen. I have heard, however, that the Dems are casting about with a pretty big net, desperate to catch a potential candidate that will have a better chance of winning against Congressman Bob Dold than socialist/progressive Ilya Sheyman.

Sweet also reports that another announced Dem primary candidate, Brad Schneider, will report over $300,000 raised and in cash on hand for the quarter, but I will be curious to see how much of that was actually raised versus being contributed by the candidate.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lake Bluff Independence Day Parade Features Politicians and Classic Cars

My, but this has been a fun-filled and action packed 4th of July weekend. I started off the day attending the Lake Bluff 4th of July parade, which has huge - was over 100 entries, for this tiny community. I wanted to attend some other parades, especially Mundelein's, but painting the deck got in the way. In any case, as usual, here are the pix:

Here's the parade kickoff.

There were several old fire engines.

Hot race cars and classics abounded.

I don't often feature Dems, but I will admit that State Senator Susan Garett had one of the best classic cars in the parade.

Keith Brin had a number of supporters at the Lake Bluff parade, and told me he was then on his way to the Deerfield parade.

I could only dream of affording one of these...

Bob Dold walked the parade, as usual, supported by a large contingent of supporters.

Some of these cars are just simply awesome.

A Civil War Regiment made an appearance.

In addition to the usual "Cheese" float, Caputo's added a Formula One racer.

Not yet a classic, but here is the Keith Brin-mobile.

Harvard Says Republicans Own 4th of July, But It's Hard To Celebrate Given the State of the USA

A recent study from Harvard University suggests what we generally always felt; on the whole, Republicans are more patriotic than Democrats (or at least they seem to feel that way), and celebrating the 4th of July appears to benefit the GOP more so than the Dems, in terms of political mileage. So, think about that as you are on your way out to march in the remaining parades this weekend.

"The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans," write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.

It's also sobering to reflect on the state of the country on this day celebrating our national independence from mother England. So, to find out what the national mood is, we of course turn to a British publication (the Telegraph), to see what their view from the outside is. And it's not good for us:

The intoxicating atmosphere of the 2008 election and Obama’s inauguration has given way to a hangover. Americans were promised that the $787 billion Obama stimulus package would cut unemployment by funding so-called “shovel-ready projects”. Instead, unemployment is at 9.1 per cent compared to the 7.8 per cent Obama inherited, while the national deficit has tripled from less than $500 billion to a staggering $1.5 trillion.

To add insult to injury, at a recent gathering of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, during a discussion about the length of time it took to get projects funded, a smiling Obama interjected: “Shovel-ready was not as shovel-ready as we expected.” Members of the council sitting around him tittered but most Americans were not amused. [snip]

The 1980 election was won by Ronald Reagan with his “Morning in America” message. Today, a 10ft bronze statue of Reagan will be unveiled outside the US Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square, which, in another sign of the times, is due to move to Battersea next year because of concerns about its vulnerability to terrorists. Thus far, there is no sign of a new Reagan emerging.

More worryingly, the optimism he embraced and came to personify is all but absent in America this Fourth of July.

Where is the Gipper when you need him?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

State Senator Dan Duffy Not Thrilled By GOP Pick for Beaubien State Rep. Seat

My friend and fellow Augie alum State Senator Dan Duffy has cared little for kow-towing to the GOP establishment (or indeed, the General Assembly establishment as a whole) ever since he got to Springfield. I find it pretty refreshing.

True to form, Duffy has publicly expressed his disappointment with the GOP pick to replace State Rep. Mark Beaubien in the 52nd District, whose recent passing left a big hole in the budget acumen of the State House Republicans. It made a certain amount of sense, then, that the pick to replace Beaubien is the state house Republican budget director, Kent Gaffney, 44, of Lake Barrington.

Duffy told the Northwest Herald, however:

“In typical Illinois fashion, the job went to a political insider. Even though many good candidates with outstanding real-world experiences applied for the position, a House Republican staffer was handed the job."

While the McHenry and Lake County Republican leadership held an open recruitment, soliciting resumes and conducting interviews with 10 or so candidates, the ultimate decision was made by State. Rep. Mike Tryon (in his capacity as McHenry County GOP Chairman), Lake County Republican Chairman Bob Cook, and 8th District Central Committeeman Gene Dawson. Tryon and Dawson supported Gaffney, while Cook stated that he would have rather chosen someone who was more active in local politics and had proven electability.

Gaffney told the Daily Herald,

“I used to think you'd have to be crazy to be one of these guys,” Gaffney said of the representatives he worked with. “But as a staffer, you sometimes find yourself understanding the issues better than some of the legislators because you're explaining them to them.”

I don't know Gaffney, and I did not have a particular favorite among the contenders (the Barrington area and the other towns in the 52nd District are a little out of my territory), but I am hopeful that whether its Gaffney or another person who winds up as the GOP candidate in 2012, that we will keep this seat.