Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. I’m thankful that we can connect here every day. Your readership, and your friendship, means the world.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: We’re off tomorrow and Friday but will return bright-eyed with new stories to share Monday.
Former Mayor Richard J. Daley, left, former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, and current Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch. | POLITICO illustration/AP Photo, Chicago Sun-Times
A year ago this week, Michael Madigan was counting heads to see how many state lawmakers would back him again as Illinois House speaker.
The political landscape was shifting under his feet as more lawmakers publicly took a stand to not endorse him. It would be the beginning of the end. Weeks later, he would announce he was suspending his run for speaker, ultimately stepping down from the General Assembly altogether. When he walked away from leading the Illinois Democratic Party, too, it really seemed like Illinois’ political world was entering uncharted territory.
But that shift away from the Madigan-run — Irish-run — machine was really years in the making, dozens of political insiders, observers, historians told your Playbook host for a deep dive into Illinois politics.
The election of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington in 1983 shocked the system in a way many say they still feel today. The end of the patronage system made a dent, too. Then there were the elections of Rahm Emanuel, Lori Lightfoot, Emanuel “Chris” Welch — the state’s first Black speaker — and Rep. Robin Kelly, Madigan’s successor as state party chair. Add the state’s changing demographics, and Madigan’s exit should have seemed inevitable even if his fingerprints persist.
The dramatic increase in people of color “changed the dynamic in terms of Democrats being dominated by the old Chicago politics, Irish politics,” said Kent Redfield, emeritus professor of political science at the University of Illinois Springfield.
But have things really changed, or did this new guard learn from their Irish forebears? Read the whole story on POLITICO
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation Tuesday solidifying new lines for Illinois’ 17 congressional districts, down one from the last remap because of the state’s population decline over the past decade.
The map is designed to create 14 Democratic and three Republican seats — though the 17th District, now held by Rep. Cheri Bustos, who is exiting national politics, remains competitive with new lines.
Still, the Illinois map gives a boost to congressional Democrats as they head into the midterms with their grip on the House at stake.
Activists have criticized the redistricting process for not relying on independent map-makers to create new boundaries. Instead, the remap for the congressional, legislative and judicial boundaries was done behind closed doors, controlled by the same Democrats who control the statehouse.
The governor defended the maps Tuesday in a statement, saying, “These maps align with the landmark Voting Rights Act and will ensure all communities are equitably represented in our congressional delegation.”
With the map signed by the governor, watch for Congressman Rodney Davis to announce his political plans. Though Democrats strategically created a safe seat for Davis, he hasn’t ruled out a run for governor.
“Stay tuned. Rodney will make an announcement on his future plans very soon. He hopes everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving,” Davis’ spokesman, Aaron DeGroot, said in a statement published in the Sun-Times story by Lynn Sweet.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger is also considering a run for governor or senator.
Kinzinger already announced he wouldn’t be seeking re-election to Congress after he was lumped in the same district with his friend, Rep. Darin LaHood from Peoria.
Also paired in the same district are Republican Reps. Mary Miller, from Oakland, and Mike Bost, of Murphysboro.
Check out POLITICO’s new redistricting tracker. Illinois loses a seat but Democrats, who controlled the map-making process, were still able to boost their numbers, from 13 to 14, presuming they can win all those seats. You can see how Illinois stacks up here.
Kinzinger on his chances of winning a gubernatorial race: “I’m the only candidate that can win [in a general election], at least that’s out there now,” Kinzinger told Crain’s A.D. Quig, acknowledging he’d have a tough time in a primary. “I recognize that we’re in a moment where there’s some people who would rather torch their chances of winning the Illinois governor’s race than dare vote for somebody that’s a conservative that doesn’t like Donald Trump. It’s a unique moment,” he said.
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— Latest Covid-19 surge in Illinois surpasses late summer wave: “In three weeks, the weekly hospital admittance rate for those not fully vaccinated rose from less than 13 per 100,000 to nearly 21,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella and Joe Mahr.
— Failure to vaccinate poor countries fans fears of uncontrolled outbreak, by POLITICO’s Erin Banco, Adam Cancryn and Carmen Paun.
— Cook County Dems pick firefighter who voted in two GOP primaries to succeed D’Amico in Illinois House: “Anthony Joel Quezada, 35th Ward Democratic committeeperson, initially voted against nominating Kelly for the seat, but later joined with the other committeepersons in a show of unity in the actual vote to appoint Kelly,” by Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
… The independent 39th Ward Neighbors United organization said it’s “disappointed” in how the appointment was made: “[B]ehind closed doors and without meaningful consideration of the voices from our community,” according to a statement. The group says John D’Amico’s “hand-picked successor,” Mike Kelly, “lacks the credentials but went out of his way to avoid putting his positions on the record.”
— ENDORSEMENTS OR NOT: The 25th Ward Independent Political Organization has announced its endorsements for the June 2022 primary election. For Cook County Assessor, the IPO endorsed incumbent Fritz Kaegi. For Cook County Judicial Circuit Court, 14th Subcircuit, endorsements went to city Law Department attorney Iris Chavira and Cook County government attorney Viviana Martinez. And for countywide Cook County Judicial Circuit seats, IPO endorsed Dan Balanoff, Ruth Gudino, Diana Lopez, and Pam Saindon.
… The IPO didn’t endorse in the secretary of state’s race. Alexi Giannoulias and David Moore had sought endorsements, but neither received the necessary 66 percent of votes, according to a source familiar with the vote. Candidates Anna Valencia and Pat Dowell did not seek IPO’s endorsement.
— CHINA SYNDROME: A group of Illinois conservatives is sounding the alarm that China is a threat to America. The group is hosting the Our America CMC 2021 conference Dec. 11, featuring Virginia Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears. In its promotional material, the group blames the “threat of the Chinese Community Party and the extent of its infiltration into and influence on our country” for threats to free speech, religion and the right to bear arms. Host committee: Will County Board member Raquel Mitchell, Bolingbrook Mayor Emeritus Roger Claar, Illinois Policy Institute external relations officer Rob Isham, and Gold Coast Exclusive Real Estate CEO Kristine Farra.
— Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her wife, Amy Eshleman, and Reps. Chuy Garcia and Jan Schakowsky were among the political leaders who shared an early Thanksgiving meal with 34 Afghan refugees last night at Golden House Restaurant & Pancake House, an Uptown restaurant with a history rooted in the immigrant experience.
Lightfoot, seated at the head of a long dining room table in the back room, invoked Harold Washington and his efforts in the 1980s “to make Chicago a welcoming city.”
At the other end of the table, Garcia told the crowd of political leaders and Afghan immigrants the event was “very personal.” He recalled his own arrival to Chicago from Mexico in 1965. “Chicago was very cold and very snowy. I had never seen snow before,” he said. “Chicago is a city that wants to be there for you.”
The crowd nibbled at the kind of Thanksgiving meal that was so traditional you couldn’t help but roll your eyes as you smiled — sliced white meat, mashed potatoes and thick gravy, packaged green beans and cranberry sauce sliced right out of the can.
It turned out to be the appetizer, however, as the waitstaff then brought out heaping plates of aromatic rice and beef shishkabobs, humus and a traditional Afghan eggplant and yogurt dish. Talk about thankful!
Organizers of the first Afghan Thanksgiving were 46th Ward Committeeman Sean Tenner and his wife, entrepreneur Shiwali Varshney Tenner.
SPOTTED: House Majority Leader Greg Harris, state Rep. Ann Williams, state Sen. Mike Simmons, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer, Ald. Michele Smith, Ald. James Cappleman, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos, 40th Ward Committeeperson Maggie O’Keefe, and Illinois Department of Human Services’ Grace Hou, who reminded the Afghan refugees that the federal government had $100 million to help meet the needs of Afghan immigrants to the country.
— COLUMN | Illinois politicians share what they’re thankful for in 2021: Gov. J.B. Pritzker, Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, Senate President Don Harmon, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and numerous others share thoughts with Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore
— Illinois budget allows Gov. J.B. Pritzker to spend billions in federal Covid-19 aid without legislative input: “Using the funds this way is necessary in efforts to put the state’s finances on a stable long-term trajectory as Illinois emerges from the pandemic, the administration says, noting that its financial maneuvers have led to credit upgrades from two Wall Street ratings agencies and an improved outlook from a third,” by Tribune’s Dan Petrella.
— Second-chance hiring gains momentum in Illinois but barriers remain: “The law, which went into effect late March, comes at a time when corporations are taking new steps to improve second-chance hiring practices as they face hiring challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic alongside broad calls to advance social justice,” by Tribune’s Jade Yan.
— LIGHT BULB MOMENT: Why there are no holiday lights atop the Capitol, by WTAX’s Dave Dahl
— Medline and Sterigenics would have to report ethylene oxide emissions under new EPA proposal, by Tribune’s Michael Hawthorne
— From furniture to piñatas, Chicago businesses are feeling effects of supply-chain slowdowns: “Holiday shopping is underway, but many small businesses in Chicago have limited inventory or higher prices due to supply-chain bottlenecks,” by WBEZ’s Claudia Morell.
— City investigating Parlor Pizza for possible labor and anti-discrimination violations: “The investigation comes after former employees said Parlor seated nonwhite customers in less-desirable areas and staff worked extra hours without pay. The city is urging those impacted to come forward. Parlor has denied the allegations,” by Block Club’s Quinn Myers and Amy Qin.
— How one Chicago public school is changing its culture now that the police are gone: “About 50 schools have removed police officers since 2020. Curie High School says it’s de-escalating student conflict by talking and listening,” by WBEZ’s Adriana Cardona-Maguigad.
— INVESTIGATION: A patient in a psychiatric ward was seen on video possibly being sexually assaulted. No one reported it: “Roseland Community Hospital in Chicago kept quiet about a possible sexual assault of one patient by another in its psychiatric unit. Only after ProPublica asked questions did Illinois’ public health officials alert law enforcement,” by ProPublica’s Duaa Eldeib and Tony Briscoe.
— Workers in Chicago-area warehouses allege harsh, dangerous working conditions: “Employees working in warehouses for Amazon and other companies say the distribution centers are often windowless and a breeding-ground for COVID-19. They called for higher wages and better working conditions,” by Sun-Times’ Jason Beeferman.
— Union says dates set for Art Institute vote, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder
— ‘That is not accurate’: How a report stating Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy will be fired after Thursday’s game set off a strange day at Halas Hall, by Tribune’s Colleen Kane
— Oak Park restaurant, apartments burned out as fire damaged Lake Theatre, neighboring businesses, by Tribune’s Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas and Daniel Dorfman.
— Meet Elmwood Park’s ‘Scottie Ash Seed:’ man on a mission to save Chicago’s ash trees, inoculating them against the much-feared emerald ash borer at his own expense, by Tribune’s Nara Schoenberg
Lake Forest man to plead guilty to charges in Jan. 6 Capitol riot, according to feds: “Mark Kulas Jr. was charged this week with a single count of violent and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, one of the same charges filed in June against his younger brother, Christian Kulas, in connection with the breach of the Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump,” by Sun-Times’ Andy Grimm.
— ENDORSEMENT: Congresswoman Marie Newman secured an endorsement from the SEIU Illinois State Council in her bid for re-election in the new 6th Congressional District. The SEIU Illinois State Council, comprised of SEIU Healthcare, Local 1, and Local 73, represents home care and child care providers, security officers, janitors, public employees, medical professionals, first responders and social service workers. SEIU State Council President Tom Balanoff said Newman “is a proven advocate for working men and women.”
— THE WSJ TREATMENT | Feud Between Billionaires Ken Griffin and J.B. Pritzker likely to shape Illinois governor’s race: “Two billionaires — one Democratic, one Republican — are facing off over the response to rising violence in Chicago and their broader running feud is raising the prospect of a new national spending record in a governor’s race,” by the Wall Street Journal’s John McCormick.
MWRD policy aide Richard Greenfield: “Every time someone brings up politics at the table, I’m going to move the conversation to how awful the Chicago Bears have been this season and how Matt Nagy needs to be fired.”
We asked how you’re managing political discussions around your holiday table : Political observer Timothy Thomas Jr. said, “our long standing rule has been to leave work at work and home at home.”
And political consultant Porter McNeil writes: “Our Thanksgiving week food is usually so good that attempts to go red v. blue are drowned out by delicious food. If that doesn’t work, play ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles.’ That’s a powerful combination.”
For Monday, how has Covid-19 altered your decision-making? Email to [email protected]
FROM THE LONG GAME: A poll from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs found climate change to be one of the country’s most polarizing foreign policy issues. Only 16 percent of Republicans consider it a critical threat, compared to 82 percent of Democrats, according to the August survey. The 66-point difference is the largest gap since the council began asking the question in 2008.
The gap widened because Democrats moved, said Dina Smeltz, a senior fellow at the council. Rank-and-file Republican opinions haven’t changed in years. “It’s always been a low priority for them,” Smeltz said. So for GOP lawmakers, “there’s no incentive for them to do anything about climate change if their constituents don’t care about it.”
— Trump says Kyle Rittenhouse visited him in Mar-a-Lago after trial, by POLITICO’s Myah Ward
— The Buttigieg presidential buzz has penetrated the White House, by POLITICO’s Alex Thompson
— Powell’s historic bet: Shrugging off inflation to deliver on jobs, by POLITICO’s Victoria Guida
— Monday at 5:30 p.m.: A political fundraiser for Los Angeles Council Member Joe Buscaino in his bid for L.A. mayor will be held at the recently reopened Des Plaines Theater. The host is Ron Onesti, a restaurateur and leader of Chicago’s Italian community.
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to John Curry, for correctly answering that President Kennedy attended a naval training program at Abbott Hall on Northwestern’s downtown campus during World War II. He also noted that presidential candidate George McGovern was a graduate student in the NU history department, a fact enthusiastically embraced by the NU Students for McGovern when he ran.
TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was known as the “voice of liquor”? Email to [email protected]
Today: ComEd VP of governmental affairs Michael Fountain, Burling Builders founder Elzie Higginbottom, Turing Strategies political consultant John Kamis, Financial Health Network president & CEO Jennifer Tescher, and Women of the Blues Foundation founder Lynn Orman Weiss.
Psst… this is the editor. Today is Shia’s birthday! Show her some love.
Thursday: Empower Illinois strategy director Juan Rangel, Genpact sales VP John Hergert, former Illinois Education Association’s Charles McBarron, former QB Donovan McNabb, and South Chicagoland Region community health director Angela K. Waller (who’s celebrating the big day in Spain).
Friday: State Senate President Don Harmon, lobbyist and former state Rep. Louis Lang, Mac Strategies Group’s Ryan McLaughlin, Resolute Public Affairs EVP Rob Nash. Cresco Labs government affairs EVP John Sullivan, and software entrepreneur and former CPS CEO Ron Huberman, who turns the big 5-0.
Saturday: Press secretary to the governor Jose I. Sanchez, Cor Strategies operations marshal Ryan Kilduff, and journalist Robert Reed.
Sunday: Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering, Executive Ethics Commission member Patty Schuh, not-for-profit and political fundraiser Lisa Wagner, Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago chief of staff Michael Crowley (who previously was the mayor’s comms director), and John Straus, former head of the Illinois Commission on Science & Technology.