Happy Thursday, Illinois. The post-debate results are in and the fly won!
POLITICAL DRAMA! President Donald Trump told Fox Business minutes ago he would not participate in his next scheduled faceoff with Joe Biden after the Commission on Presidential Debates announced this morning that the second presidential debate, slated for next week, will be conducted virtually. “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate,” he said.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: Illinois Playbook will not publish Monday, Oct. 12. After the brief hiatus, we’ll return to our normal schedule Tuesday, Oct. 13.
In last night’s VP debate, Mike Pence attacked Sen. Kamala Harris’ record as a prosecutor in California. Harris criticized Pence’s leadership of the White House coronavirus task force. And President Donald Trump, who is recovering from Covid-19, waited until after the debate to unleash a series of debate clips. So it sort of seemed like a regular old debate, aside from the Plexiglass and the masks, et al.
If there was any one stand-out moment (aside from that huge fly that buzzed about on Pence’s head), it was when the VP wouldn’t acknowledge there would be a peaceful transfer of power should Trump lose the election. Some other key moments.
For us, the question is how will it play out in Illinois? Answer: the VP debate doesn’t matter much. But what it does show is the divisive and chaotic political landscape that remains and how it could hurt Illinois.
It turns out Trump is backing off of his tweeted edict of no Covid relief until after the election, thus muddling his message that the economy is on track. Members of Congress are still talking about piecemeal plans, writes POLITICO’s Ben White. They know that kicking the can down the road could jeopardize the nation’s economy. Chicago and Illinois already face dire consequences because tax revenues have plummeted in the economic shutdown and the slow recovery.
“Kamala Harris exposed the profound leadership failures of the Trump-Pence administration. Platitudes and empty rhetoric by Mike Pence cannot paper over Donald Trump’s worst transgressions,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement after the debate.
Before the debate, Pritzker remained hopeful. “I still anticipate that Congress will step up to the plate with a support package for state and local governments,” he told reporters during a virtual Q&A Wednesday afternoon. “Even though the president has thrown the talks into disarray now that he’s on a cocktail of steroids coming out of the hospital, we are going to need this support and whoever wins the election, the Congress and the president will have to step up to the plate. Though I anticipate after the election there will be a real desire to get something done quickly.”
In the meantime, Illinois residents — and millions of other Americans — must brace for the worst: government layoffs, service reductions and budget cuts.
Willie Wilson is running as a third-party candidate in the U.S. Senate race, though you might not know that from his political donations. Wilson has been handing out cash to numerous GOP candidates this campaign season, including $5,000 to outspoken Republican Rep. Darren Bailey, who’s running for the state Senate — and maneuvering to potentially run for governor after that. Wilson has also given $3,000 to GOP Rep. Blaine Wilhour and $10,000 to Ammie Kessem, 41st Ward Republican Committeemember.
All that comes on the heels of Wilson opposing Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s restrictions on religious gatherings during the coronavirus lockdown.
Over the past decade, Wilson has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans and conservative political organizations, including former Gov. Bruce Rauner, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin and the Illinois Republican Party.
Wilson’s team points out that he’s given to Democrats, too. He famously gave $135,000 to Lori Lightfoot in 2019 for her mayoral run, then recently acknowledged being “disappointed” that she didn’t show more appreciation. Wilson also gave $50,000 to former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2018, and, more recently, $20,000 to Bill Conway’s primary bid against Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.
Wilson is also spending millions of dollars to challenge Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin. Wilson isn’t likely to win, but he could beat Republican Mark Curran, a former Lake County sheriff. The real victory for Wilson will be if he can get 5 percent of the vote, which would make his Willie Wilson Party a permanent fixture on Illinois ballots, just as the Green and Libertarian parties have.
Wilson says he became an independent because Democrats who lead the state haven’t done enough to help minority communities. And he says he voted for Donald Trump in 2016 because he couldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton — he says she didn’t treat him fairly when he also made his own run for president in 2016. (Wilson won’t say who he’s voting for this year, though he told the Tribune Democrats “made a poor choice for their candidate.”) In a statement sent to Playbook, Wilson said: “I am now; neither Democrat nor Republican but a true independent. I have come to realize that we need options, we need a place for men of good will, who will never agree on everything but always can agree on a few things, a party where they can come together to get a few things done.”
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At Chicago Cultural Center at 1 p.m. to announce the launch of the ‘Together We Rise’ recovery initiative.
No official public events.
At Daley Plaza at 9:30 a.m. to announce the launch of a $20 million Cook County Covid-19 Recovery Mortgage Assistance program to help suburban Cook County residents experiencing financial insecurity due to the pandemic. Watch live
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 42 additional deaths to the coronavirus Wednesday and 2,630 new confirmed cases. That’s a total of 8,878 deaths and 307,641 cases in Illinois. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Sept. 30 through Oct. 6 is 3.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 4.2 percent.
— Illinois has had Covid outbreaks in 44 schools but won’t say where they’ve occurred: “More children are testing positive for Covid-19 than they were between March and mid-August, when schools shut down. As parents weigh the safety of in-person learning, Illinois has not published information about the virus’s spread in schools,” by ProPublic’as Jodi S. Cohen and Tribune’s Jennifer Smith Richards.
— Parents struggle to balance childcare and work during the pandemic: “About half of Chicago households with children report serious problems caring for their kids, according to a new NPR and Harvard poll,” by WBEZ’s Adriana Cardona-Maguigad.
— Eli Lilly asks FDA to authorize Covid-19 antibody drug: “Company says it could supply one million doses of the treatment this year, if regulator authorizes emergency use,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
— Wisconsin activates field hospital as Covid keeps surging: “Wisconsin has become a hot spot for the disease over the last month, ranking third nationwide this week in new cases per capita over the last two weeks. Health experts have attributed the spike to the reopening of colleges and K-12 schools as well as general fatigue over wearing masks and socially distancing,” by the AP
… Lightfoot: ‘I fear for the safety of Wisconsin,’ by Crain’s A.D. Quig
— From the New York Times: Notre Dame’s president faces an angry campus after getting the coronavirus
— Harris and Pence return to the jab and move debate: “Mike Pence had the toughest job in politics: defending Donald Trump’s pandemic response. It didn’t take long for him to go to work,” writes POLITICO’s David Siders.
… Foxx, Stratton, Kelly, Yarbrough watch ‘history maker and a glass ceiling breaker,’ writes Sun-Times’ Rachel Hinton.
… Meanwhile, moderator Susan Page was criticized for allowing Pence, mostly, and Harris, too, “to dodge questions and frequently interrupt each other,” POLITICO’s Lara Seligman reports.
… Fly becomes breakout star of the debate: “The black fly was hard to miss against Vice President Mike Pence’s white hair and immediately captivated social media,” by POLITICO’s Catherine Kim.
… Interesting side note: Page is a Northwestern grad, who recently reflected on going to school there, (h/t Bill Hogan).
— SENIORS PUSH BACK on ‘misinformation’ about graduated income tax: “Seniors from organizations representing the interests of older Illinoisans said Wednesday that ads suggesting retirement income will be taxed under a graduated state income tax are at best misleading and at worst lies. During a virtual news conference Wednesday, seniors from around the state were enlisted to urge fellow retirees to support the graduated income tax amendment and ignore claims that retirement income will be taxed. ‘The graduated income tax would not allow the state to tax retirement income and it does not make it easier to tax retirement income in the future,” said Wendy Edington, a retiree from Rock City and a volunteer for AARP Illinois,’” by State Journal-Register’s Doug Finke.
IVI-IPO endorsements: The left-leaning Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization is endorsing Green Party candidate Thomas Wilda over Democratic Rep. Mike Quigley in the 5th Congressional District. The IVI-IPO is also endorsing Joe Biden for president, Kim Foxx for Cook County State’s Attorney and Tammy Wendt for Cook County Board of Review. Here’s the full list.
— Ex-FOP leader, suspecting politics at play, suspended from police union for use of camera in rival’s office: “Kevin Graham, the former president of the Chicago Police Department’s largest union, was suspended from the organization for 3 years on Wednesday for leaving behind a tiny camera that continued to record in his old office while it was occupied by his successor, and not telling him about it, officials said. Graham, however, has denied any wrongdoing and plans to appeal the decision,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
— Lightfoot pledges to push through her plan for City Hall review of polluting industries despite aldermanic opposition: “The council on Wednesday did not consider a proposal by Lightfoot to require city planned development review for large industrial developments, including certain industrial composting, manufacturing and waste-related businesses that residents in many cases don’t want near their homes,” by Tribune’s John Byrne and Gregory Pratt.
— City Council approves law to require nonbinary gender option on city paperwork: “Chicago’s City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday requiring the city to update its forms and paperwork with gender-neutral designations,” by Block Club’s Jake Wittich.
… Quinn’s Airbnb mission: The City Council approved a measure introduced by Ald. Marty Quinn that will effectively ban home-sharing services like Airbnb from all 48 precincts in his 13th Ward.
— Chicago police earn ‘beyond a failing grade’ in clearing sexual assault cases, according to new report: “The vast majority of sexual assault and abuse reports made to the Chicago Police Department in the past decade — between 80 percent and 90 percent — have not resulted in an arrest, according to a study of city data released Thursday,” by Tribune’s Annie Sweeney.
— CPS says clerks must report to work in person, despite labor ruling that questions Covid-19 protections in schools: CTU says the action “threatens jobs,” by Tribune’s Hannah Leone.
— Young Chicagoans step up to work the polls as fewer elderly apply: “Want to be a poll worker in Chicago? You may end up on a waiting list, as young people are flocking to sign up for Election Day service,” by WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel.
Speaking of questions Susan Page allowed debaters to dodge last night — More than 300,000 Cook County residents could lose insurance if ACA were repealed, officials say: “Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle made it clear on Wednesday: There is no Plan B for the hundreds of thousands of her constituents who risk losing health insurance should Republicans in Washington succeed in repealing the Affordable Care Act,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
THE FIFTY: Governors and mayors have never mattered more to the future of the nation, and The Fifty, a new series from POLITICO, takes you inside the role they’re playing in the pandemic and more. This week’s feature spotlights Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, who’s battling the coronavirus while running for Congress as a Republican. Check it out!
— A wave of polls paints a dire picture for Trump, by POLITICO’s Steven Shepard
— VP debate offers glimpse of a post-Trump future, by POLITICO’s Ryan Lizza
— From the Indy Star: Federal judge strikes down request to broaden mail-in voting for Hoosiers
Chicago City Council approved Timothy “Timmy” Knudsen as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. Knudsen, who was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot after Chairman Farzin Parang stepped down in September, is a partner at Croke Fairchild Morgan & Beres. He has served as an alternate ZBA board member since September 2019.
Today at 1:30 p.m.: Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza headlines a webinar organized by the Chicago Central Area Committee and Alliance for Regional Development. The subject: “Driving Fiscal Recovery Amid Covid-19.” Register here
WEDNESDAY’s GUESS: Congrats to Cook County Forest Preserves Director of Legislative Affairs Delio Calzolari and state Rep. Kam Buckner, who correctly answered that Republican Gov. Richard Ogilvie’s lieutenant governor was Democrat Paul Simon from 1969 to 1973. And Cunningham Township Assessor Wayne T. Williams Jr. correctly notes that in the 1870s, Republican Gov. John Lourie Beveridge’s lieutenant governor was Democrat Archibald Glenn. (So interesting!)
TODAY’S QUESTION: Who was the first woman to head a branch of the Illinois government? I’ll take the fifth correct answer. Send to [email protected].
Department of corrections: Harry Leinenweber is a sitting, not retired, as we wrote on Wednesday, federal judge.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., Cook County Circuit Court Judge Carolyn Gallagher, Highland Park Councilmember Alyssa Knobel and pollster and strategist Dan Cohen.