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Debate day — Oops, there it is

Happy Thursday, Illinois. Let me be clear, at the end of the day, debates are amazing! (Overused phrases aside.)

Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker is enjoying a sizable lead in the polls over Republican challenger state Sen. Darren Bailey with less than five weeks to the Nov. 8 election.

But a debate can change all that. 

Tonight will be the first time the two men face each other on the same stage in a televised debate. It starts at 7 p.m. on WGN 9 and on WGN’s website.

We know going in that Pritzker and Bailey disagree on most all policy issues, so we’ll be looking for attacks, side comments and oopsies.

Could there be a “There you go again” moment? (Ala Ronald Reagan to Jimmy Carter in 1980.)

After all, it’s the most unexpected question or response that makes a debate fun to watch. Like, retired Vice Adm. James Stockdale saying, “Who am I? Why am I here?” in a vice presidential debate. It sounds like a drinking game to keep track of potential gaffes. But this is serious stuff.

We’ll dissect it all Friday. For now, here are five issues likely to pop up tonight:

The economy: Pritzker will list the credit-rating upgrades that the state has received during his administration and his signing of a bill increasing the minimum wage. Bailey will point out the rise in gas prices and strains on the pocket-book of regular folks. It’s not exactly something Pritzker can control — given the war in Ukraine is partly to blame — but it will be a talking point, nonetheless.

Abortion: Watch Pritzker speak forcefully about his support for protecting abortion rights, and he’ll surely call out Bailey for his opposition to it. For his part, Bailey has been pulling back from conservative rhetoric, acknowledging instead there’s nothing he can do to change abortion laws in Illinois, given the state’s General Assembly has Democratic majorities.

Crime: Bailey will likely zero in on the Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act (SAFE-T) and the cash bail system. There’s misinformation about changes coming to the system that until now has kept people in jail based on whether they have money to get out. Bailey has parroted some of the misinformation out there about criminals being able to roam free. So, Pritzker will be in the position of defending the law while also acknowledging, as he has already, that the law could be tweaked in the upcoming legislative session.

Covid: While Pritzker is credited with maneuvering the state well through the pandemic, Bailey is likely to address concerns that Pritzker unilaterally made decisions instead of allowing the General Assembly to do so — even though that’s not how government works in managing an emergency such as Covid-19.

And an oppo dump: A day ahead of today’s debate, Pritzker’s campaign called attention to a 2020 video of Bailey saying the AARP (retirees) and other groups are taking “selfish” and “immoral” views that lead to the “destruction of society as we know it.” The comments were in relation to supporting former House Speaker Mike Madigan. Comments start at about 8:30 in the video.

Debate moderators: WGN’s Tahman Bradley and WCIA’s Jennifer Roscoe will guide the candidates in the debate, which is being held at Illinois State University in Normal.

WGN lists all the stations across the state that are airing the debate.

A message from World Business Chicago:

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LATINOS ALREADY SPLIT: The Latino Leadership Council’s announcement that it’s urging Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to run for mayor took some civic leaders by surprise Wednesday, especially since the organization just a few weeks ago donated $30,000 to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign.

David Andalcio, the primary funder of Latino Leadership Council, said he’s behind Lightfoot, and so is Sam Sanchez, a co-chair of the organization’s finance committee.

Both men praised Lightfoot’s work during the pandemic to help small businesses stay afloat. “The mayor and her team met with local city and business leaders to strengthen our economic, cultural and social partnerships,” Sanchez said. “Working alongside her, it was clearer than ever that we need the mayor’s continued leadership in this city.”

A person familiar with the push to back Garcia says the organization’s political arm was polled (in a meeting and by phone) and a majority approved.

That the council already gave $30,000 to Lightfoot wasn’t an issue for those members.

Things change fast in politics: “The donation was made in August before Chuy started considering running,” said spokeswoman Alejandra Moran. A $30,000 donation “is a paltry figure compared to what the [council] could do if Chuy decides to run. It would be a historic opportunity for the Hispanic community, without any doubt.”

And besides, she adds, members of the organization “can support whoever they want to support.”

Garcia’s challenge, of course, is if the folks with the campaign cash split for Lightfoot.

Have a news tip, suggestion, birthday, anniversary, new job, or any other nugget for Playbook? I’d like to hear from you: [email protected]

At Illinois State University in Normal at 7 p.m. for a televised debate with Republican Darren Bailey.

No official public events.

At the Cook County Building at 10 a.m. to present the county’s fiscal 2023 budget to the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

— Lightfoot’s extra pension payments don’t let Springfield off the hook, Civic Federation says: “State laws created the police, fire, laborers and municipal employees pension funds, and state lawmakers have a responsibility to consolidate, reform and fund local pension plans, says Civic Federation President Laurence Msall,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

— Winter isn’t here yet, but the heat’s already on natural-gas customers: “Spikes in energy prices point to higher costs to heat homes, while some residents already report increases in their bills,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

— While lawmakers worry about ‘rainbow fentanyl,’ some experts say fears of new street opioid overblown, by Tribune’s John Keilman

— The Tylenol murders, part 4: ‘That’s Jim Lewis!’ The Tylenol task force turns its attention to a man with a disturbing past, by Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Christy Gutowski

— In IL-09| Republican congressional candidate Lauf stands by debunked claim about schools and litter boxes: “I hear story after story from teachers and school administrators detailing meetings about this ‘furry’ trend in (Illinois) public schools,” Lauf, of Woodstock, told the Daily Herald in an email. When repeatedly asked to share proof of such activity, Lauf provided none. “Lauf is challenging Democratic incumbent Bill Foster of Naperville in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District. Foster campaign spokesman Greg Cybulski dismissed the litter-box claim as a right-wing conspiracy theory that Lauf ‘got fooled into thinking is real.’” Russell Lissau reports.

— Secretary of state race | Alexi Giannoulias and Dan Brady offer differing visions for the office: “Giannoulias said better technology is needed to improve the office’s online services. …. Brady [holding his phone] said putting the apps on and making you take it and be part of, that’s fine for somebody tech-savvy. But this little device causes more accidents across the highways and byways of Illinois than anything else.” Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner and Jake Sheridan.

Capitol News’ take on the secretary of state race, via Jerry Nowicki

— State Senate race | Sandy Hamilton and Doris Turner turn to attack ads: “Close race for newly configured 48th Senate District leads both sides to make accusations,” by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.

A message from World Business Chicago:

— Now this is a debate: Better Government Association’s David Greising debates the SAFE-T Act and journalism practices and objectivity in an on-air discussion with radio broadcaster, and conservative political operator Dan Proft.

— GREETINGS: Chicago saw 130 new migrants arrive Tuesday, according to the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. The city has now seen 2,208 asylum-seekers bused from the Texas border since Aug. 31.

— Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants to build tiny home communities in Chicago: “Billed as a way to create more affordable housing, the city’s plan envisions two or three communities of tiny homes,” by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.

— Tyson Foods will move about 500 corporate employees in Chicago, Downers Grove to Arkansas headquarters, by Tribune’s Talia Soglin and Brian J. Rogal

— Community organizers call on Lightfoot administration to address environmental justice complaint, by Tribune’s Stephanie Casanova

— Founding father of Chicago recycling says city damaged his popular North Side center, but city says it was cleaning up, by Tribune’s Nara Schoenberg

— No new taxes, too few workers: Covid-19 delivers mixed impact on Cook County budget: “Cook County Board President Preckwinkle is offering bold spending plans, armed with roughly $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief money. But she needs workers to pull these plans off, and faces more than 4,000 vacancies. “We’re in the midst of a staffing crisis in health care,” she warned.” WBEZ’s Kristen Schorsch reports.

— The next big move at O’Hare: Delta is about to shift to Terminal 5: “The carrier is relocating from O’Hare’s Terminal 2 to Terminal 5, where the Chicago Department of Aviation is finishing up a $1 billion rebuild and transition to offer both international and domestic flights,” by Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke.

— Man accused of damaging Chicago abortion clinics charged in federal court: “Michael Barron had been tied to 19 attacks on three clinics between January 2021 and June 2021, records show. Fourteen of those attacks involved the firing of ball bearings from a slingshot. The other five involved glue placed in the locks of a clinic’s doors,” by Sun-Times’ Jon Seidel.

— Jury finds Chicago man guilty in slaying of 6 members of extended family in 2016 Gage Park case, by Tribune’s Madeline Buckley

— R. Kelly has been convicted twice in federal court. Will Cook County also prosecute him? “R&B star still faces charges for sexual abuse of four victims, including three minors, in Cook County,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.

We wondered which phrases are overused:

Janice Anderson: “‘Let me be clear.”

Clark Chaplin: “It is what it is.”

Eugene Daly: “At the end of the day …”

 Andrew Davis, executive editor of Windy City Times: “I’m not like the other candidates.”

Robert Kartheiser: “Question: ‘How’s it going?’ Reply: ‘I’m living the dream.’”

Ashvin Lad: “Ending every statement with ‘right?’”

John Straus: “Amazing!”

Timothy Thomas Jr.: “‘Top of mind,’ as repeatedly referenced by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.”

Phil Zeni: “Awesome!”

Brent Zhorne, a Knox County Board candidate: “On the ground,” or “Boots on the ground.” “It’s especially overused by politicians and TV reporters reporting live from somewhere in the world.”

Sandwich cut preferences: diagonal, from the North to South Pole or along the equator – and why? Email [email protected]

— The lame-duck grinch that might steal Congress’ Christmas, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, Burgess Everett and Caitlin Emma

— Herschel Walker’s Christian fans unfazed by abortion revelations, by POLITICO’s Natalie Allison

— Beto O’Rourke Is Making His Last Stand in Texas, by POLITICO’s David Siders

— Biden’s plans to create a new accelerator for Covid vaccines and treatments has hit a wall, by POLITICO’s Adam Cancryn and Erin Banco

— Starstruck memories from Michael Kutza, Chicago International Film Festival founder, by WTTW’s Marc Vitali

— Steve Pemberton, a former Massachusetts Senate candidate who earlier in his career lived in Chicago and worked at Walgreens, is headlining a Nov. 3 fundraiser for CASA Kane County, which helps children in abuse, neglect and private guardianship. Pemberton has spoken and written about experiencing abuse as a child. Your Playbook host interviewed him about it some years ago. Tickets for the event here

— Matthew Glavin, a member in Cozen O’Connor’s Public Strategies Group, has been named to the board of Youth Guidance, a Chicago-based organization specializing in educational support for students.

— Patricia Marvin, who helped harried Thanksgiving cooks on Butterball Turkey Talk-Line, dead at 96, by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell

— Jerry Vainisi, general manager of the Chicago Bears Super Bowl XX championship team, dies at 80, by Tribune’s Dan Wiederer

— Veteran ABC 7 news anchor Alan Krashesky retiring after four decades at Chicago TV station, by Tribune’s Robert Channick

— Tilden Katz is joining Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies as a senior principal and launching the firm’s strategic comms and reputation management practice. Katz was VP for issues management at Smithbucklin. He’ll continue teaching a crisis comms course at Northwestern law school.

WEDNESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Sen. Dick Durbin and fellow Playbook readers Mary Kay Minaghan and Kimberly Janas for correctly answering that Frank D. Savickas was the first Lithuanian American to serve in the Illinois General Assembly, having been elected to the House in 1966 and the Senate in 1970.

TODAY’s QUESTION: What was the first location of the Chicago Public Library (main branch) and what group donated the land? Email [email protected] 

State Sen. Michael Hastings, South Side pastor and former congressional candidate Chris Butler, deputy chief of staff to Commissioner Kevin Morrison Caitlin McElroy, Dem comms specialist Tracy Sefl, attorney Jamal Edwards and PR pro Mary Wagstaff.


A message from World Business Chicago:

Chicago has long been heralded as the world’s best transportation, distribution, and logistics, hub. The Chicago Venture Summit Future-of-Logistics will put this history on display showing the world how Chicago is leading the way globally in capital investments for logistics tech.

“Chicago is the country’s leading transportation and logistics hub. From a central location to our diverse talent pipeline and rapidly expanding tech and innovation, logistics tech companies and startups are well positioned for success here,” said Michael Fassnacht, President and CEO of World Business Chicago, and Chief Marketing Officer for the City of Chicago. “With an 802% increase in growth capital between 2019 and 2021, we’re excited to host investors, corporate innovators, and founders from around the world at the inaugural Chicago Venture Summit, Future of Logistics.”

Join us for the city’s flagship startup and venture capital conference on October 6. Learn more at ChicagoVentureSummit.com

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