Happy Wednesday, Illinois. It’s a lot of hurry up and wait in politics these days! We’ve got news about one Senate race in Georgia (Raphael Warnock has ousted Sen. Kelly Loeffler) and we’re still waiting on Jon Ossoff’s effort to boot GOP Sen. David Perdue. And certification of Joe Biden’s win starts today — but could be drawn out into tomorrow. So pour some coffee and let’s focus on Illinois.
House lawmakers were finally given a bit of information about what to expect when they return to Springfield on Friday: Pack extra undies because you’ll be there for the long haul.
This means House Speaker Michael Madigan knows he won’t be able to muster 60 votes in a behind-closed-doors Democratic caucus meeting before Wednesday. That’s the witching hour for lawmakers to be sworn in for the next General Assembly. The state constitution requires them to immediately pivot to a vote for speaker on the House floor. And in public.
This will be historic.
With 19 Democrats standing firm against Madigan and possibly half a dozen new lawmakers deciding they won’t vote for him either, it appears impossible to resolve the speakership quietly — even though a majority of the Black and Latino caucuses are firmly behind him.
Once on the floor, House Minority Leader Jim Durkin will put his name in the hat for the speakership along with Madigan, Democratic Reps. Stephanie Kifowit, Kathleen Willis and, Rep. Ann Williams, should she officially join.
The entire House, which will be meeting in the BOS convention center to allow for social distancing, will vote again and again and again until one person reaches 60 votes.
This will be reminiscent of the 1975 vote for speaker that went on and on before a compromise candidate emerged. But this time, lawmakers won’t just be feeling pressure from their seatmates to acquiesce so they can all go home. Lawmakers will be under a social media microscope — inundated with tweets, texts and messages about each vote they take. Legislators who might be hiding their support for Madigan must stand up for their vote. And if opponents to Madigan decide to switch, they know they’ll make Page One and Playbook headlines.
It will be a test of wills and, maybe, negotiation. Will Madigan intimidate by forcing people to look him in the eye? Or will he placate and offer something in return for sticking with him?
There could be a point he decides to step aside. Caesar didn’t live forever, after all. If that happens, watch for the Black Caucus to make a commanding move to take the gavel, leaving all other players in the dust.
Republican Darren Bailey, who will be sworn into the state Senate next week, lashed out at Congressman Adam Kinzinger for criticizing President Donald Trump.
“We got a sitting Illinois congressman, a Republican, that just wants to constantly drop kick Trump. Stupid,” Bailey said during his latest Facebook video talking to constituents about elected officials that should be booted from office. “Adam Kinzinger up north, calls himself a Republican. No, he’s a Democrat. Get him out of office.” Bailey included the comment “Stand down!”
Kinzinger’s spokeswoman, Maura Gillespie, responded: “As the Congressman has said, this is a moment in our history that requires action. It requires a moral compass and genuine leadership. Congressman Kinzinger has chosen to lead without fear of the consequences and without concern for his political career.”
Gillespie continued: “Our democracy and our country’s moral fiber are more important than appeasing the conspiracy theorists in this country or feeding into the misinformation campaigns we’re seeing all day on social media. Congressman Kinzinger is going to lead by doing the right thing, no matter the cost.”
Get used to this heated exchange, folks. Kinzinger and Bailey are both considering a run for governor in 2022. The GOP primary is 14 months away.
The two Republicans’ views on the world are indicative of the deep divisions within the party in Illinois and Washington, especially as Trump and his loyalists mount a last-ditch plan today to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump gave the Republican party new energy and momentum — and fresh issues to divide themselves over.
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No official public events.
At the Thompson Center at noon for a Covid-19 update.
Participating in a virtual town hall at 6 p.m. to share information about Cook county’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution plan.
The Illinois Department of Public Health today reported 126 new deaths and 6,839 new confirmed and probable cases of the coronavirus. That’s a total of 16,959 fatalities and 991,719 cases. The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total tests from Dec. 29 through Jan. 4 is 8.5 percent. Chicago’s positivity rate is at 10.6 percent.
— Lightfoot says ‘exponential increase’ of Covid-19 vaccines needed to fight spread of coronavirus: “It would take a year and a half to vaccinate all of Chicago at the current rate, Lightfoot said. The city already has distributed 95 percent of the vaccine it’s received, she said, but doesn’t have enough and wants more,” by Tribune’s Gregory Pratt, Madeline Buckley, Alice Yin and Jamie Munks.
… Less than a third of Covid vaccines shipped to Chicago have gone to residents, reports WBEZ’s Becky Vevea
— Pritzker to offer more vax details as states grapple with rocky rollout: “One of the biggest questions governors face” is who goes first, writes Daniel C. Vock for Center for Illinois Politics.
— AG Raoul warns against Covid vaccine scams: Attorney General Kwame Raoul urged Illinoisans to ignore rogue vaccine offers online, over the phone, and through text messages. “People should be wary of anyone who offers the vaccine or promises priority access to the vaccine or a Covid-19 cure in exchange for money,” Raoul said in a statement. One Illinois Ted Cox reports
— Warnock win puts Democrats on the brink of Senate control: “The second Georgia Senate runoff between Republican incumbent David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff remains uncalled,” by POLITICO’s James Arkin and Andrew Desiderio.
— The Democrats’ leads are only expected to grow today because there are tens of thousands of votes left to count, and many are from Democratic strongholds.
… Local connection: Jason McGrath, the pollster for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, ran polling for Democratic candidate Rev. Raphael Warnock.
Imagine reading this in 2016 — Republicans turn on Trump after Georgia loss: “Fissures are forming as Republicans decide whether it’s useful to cling to Trump — even as he tries to subvert an election — or to distance themselves,” by POLITICO’s Meridith McGraw, Gabby Orr, Andrew Desiderio and James Arkin.
— Live results from Ossoff and Perdue race, via POLITICO.
— Live results from Warnock and Loeffler, via POLITICO.
— Rev. Michael Pfleger removed from St. Sabina for decades-old sexual abuse allegation: “Cardinal Blase Cupich announced what he called ‘the difficult news’ in a letter to the St. Sabina community Tuesday. He wrote he asked Pfleger to step aside while the archdiocese investigates allegations more than 40 years old,” by Sun-Times’ Sam Kelly, Elvia Malagón, and Robert Herguth.
— Half of CPS teachers expected back to classrooms didn’t show: “Of the 5,800 CPS staffers due back on Monday to prepare for in-person learning to begin next week, teachers were the least likely to return,” by WBEZ’s Sarah Karp.
— CPS CEO rips aldermen, says reopening concerns ‘purely political’: “We cannot sit back and allow a generation to just falter because of made up reasons around why we can’t do reopening,” Janice Jackson said. Sun-Times’ Nader Issa reports.
— Disgraced ex-schools CEO Byrd-Bennett steered $10M more to ‘friends’ than previously known: CPS inspector general: “A company executive at one company wined and dined Byrd-Bennett at the tony Pump Room in exchange for insider knowledge about bidding specifications, the report says,” by Sun-Times’ Lauren FitzPatrick and Nader Issa.
— Video goes public of woman being knocked to pavement by officer in SUV: “More than a year after an officer in a Chicago police SUV knocked a woman to the pavement in the South Shore neighborhood, seriously injuring her, a community activist has released bodycam video showing the woman lying on the sidewalk and bleeding from the head while officers wait for paramedics. A Cook County judge ordered the release of two body camera videos as part of a lawsuit filed by William Calloway, who is from the neighborhood and sued the Chicago Police Department after he was denied access to the footage,” by Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner.
— Doctors facing increased online harassment: “Even before COVID-19, doctors faced harassment just for sharing health information. Now, in a pandemic where even evidence-based suggestions such as wearing masks and socially distancing have become political, doctors open their social media in a weary time only to find more anger,” by Tribune’s Alice Bowen.
— Opinion: Covid relief bill a first act for immigration reform: “The new bill ends a damaging marriage penalty and allows payments of $600 for an individual U.S. citizen and $600 for each dependent child in households with an undocumented spouse,” writes Rebecca Shi, executive director of American Business Immigration Coalition in Chicago.
As need for shelter explodes, Evanston-based agency receives $80K from private, public sectors to feed households: “To combat the rising insecurity over housing, food and more, Connections for the Homeless partnered with Cook County after Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s initial stay-at-home order in March to funnel $3.3 million from the federal Cares Act stimulus package to help residents of the North Shore, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said in a Tuesday news conference,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.
THE FIFTY: This week’s feature by POLITICO’s Renuka Rayasam examines how governors are leading divided states. Gretchen Whitmer and Roy Cooper talk about what it’s like to govern during polarized times — and what Joe Biden can learn from state leaders.
— FROM WISCONSIN: Police officer won’t face charges in Jacob Blake police shooting, Kenosha prosecutor says; Rittenhouse pleads not guilty: “The police officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t face criminal charges for firing seven bullets into the former Evanston man during a struggle in August, Kenosha County prosecutors announced Tuesday. Relying upon arguments that have long protected officers in on-duty shootings, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said he would not be able to disprove Officer Rusten Sheskey’s self-defense claims,” by Tribune’s Dan Hinkel, Stacy St. Clair, John Keilman and Genevieve Bookwalter.
— Class action: SEIU, U of I wrongly forcing workers to pay union dues after they leave union: “A University of Illinois hospital worker has brought a class action lawsuit against both the union that represented him and the state of Illinois, asking a federal judge to declare unconstitutional a state law he said the union and the state’s university system has relied on to continue to take union dues from workers’ pay unconstitutionally, even after workers leave the union,” by Cook County Record’s Jonathan Bilyk.
University of Chicago Institute of Politics, which was founded by political strategist David Axelrod, has selected its winter fellows: POLITICO’s Tim Alberta, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and NYT’s Kara Swisher.
Whitney Barnes is now press secretary for Illinois Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie. She previously was director of communication and advocacy for the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.
Rep. Marie Newman has been appointed to the House Committee on Small Business and the House Committee on Transportation & Infrastructure, and joined the Congressional Labor Caucus, the House Democratic Manufacturing Working Group and Democratic Women’s Caucus. She also will be vice chair of Comms for the Congressional Progressive Caucus, focusing on progressive policies surrounding universal health care, climate change and Covid relief for families.
— Congress set to certify Biden’s win as Trump fuels unrest, by POLITICO’s Kyle Cheney, Melanie Zanona, Gabby Orr and Sarah Ferris
— Trump’s most audacious loyalty test ever, by POLITICO’s Michael Kruse
— GOP fears Electoral College challenge will ‘come back to haunt’ it, by POLITICO’s David Siders
— Trump privately admits it’s over, but wants to brawl for attention, by POLITICO’s Anita Kumar
TUESDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to T.J. Clark, deputy political director for Rep. Lauren Underwood, for correctly answering that Richard Nixon decided not to contest the results of the 1960 election — even though he thought Illinois robbed him — because he didn’t want to appear to be a sore loser. He worried that “charges of ‘sore loser’ would follow me through history and remove any possibility of a further political career.”
TODAY’s QUESTION: Joe Biden is the third Democratic presidential nominee to win Kendall County. Who are the other two? Email your answer to [email protected].
State Rep. Marty Moylan, Personal PAC CEO Terry Cosgrove, Kivvit managing director Eric Herman, political adviser Al Kindle, senior comms executive Claire Koeneman, gun-violence prevention advocate Kathleen Sances, and David Sterrett, a senior research scientist with NORC at the University of Chicago.