Illinois governor’s race haunted by 2016 presidential primary

An inevitable candidate. Accusations of a rigged primary. Early commitments from organized labor.

The Illinois Democratic primary for governor sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential primary campaign — which didn’t end up well for the party.

Opponents of billionaire J.B. Pritzker, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination in Illinois, are now using the Clinton example in an effort to level the field, warning that the party risks blowing a prime opportunity to knock off a vulnerable Republican governor by repeating the same mistakes it made in 2016.

Evoking Sen. Bernie Sanders, Pritzker’s top competitors — Chris Kennedy, the son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, and state Sen. Daniel Biss, a Harvard-educated mathematician — say they’ve been elbowed out at every turn by party insiders. They say the Democratic establishment in one of the nation’s biggest blue states has greased the skids for an untested candidate, simply Continue reading “Illinois governor’s race haunted by 2016 presidential primary”

Gutierrez eyes 2020 presidential run

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), who announced Tuesday that he will not seek reelection to Congress, is instead pursuing another move: testing the presidential waters.

Gutiérrez joins a growing field of Democrats — including more than a half-dozen House members — who are looking at a 2020 run.

"I will be reaching out to people across the country. I am going to take the steps to guarantee [Federal Election Commission] regulations and rules about campaign financing, first and foremost, make sure I’m following the law, " Gutiérrez told POLITICO on Wednesday when asked whether he is entertaining a presidential bid.

"This is what I can tell you — anybody really wanted to listen to me — look, I’m not retiring, I’m not retiring. I’m going to sit down with Soraida [Gutiérrez’s wife], and we’re going to figure it out. I want to build something, I want to build something national. Continue reading “Gutierrez eyes 2020 presidential run”

Gutierrez retirement rattles Chicago politics

There’s nothing normal about the way Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez’s retirement announcement went down.

The abruptness of his decision, the suspicious timing, the immediate coronation of a successor — all of it set off a flurry of speculation Tuesday that Gutierrez had made some kind of grand inside play, perhaps brokered with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Even in the great game of Chicago politics, where backroom deals are a way of life, Gutierrez’s move managed to stun and surprise the Democratic establishment. In one fell swoop, the veteran congressman managed to upend the city’s congressional delegation, remake the 2019 mayoral race and set off a domino effect on local offices.

“This is clearly a game of musical chairs by the insiders, orchestrated from the top,” said Bob Fioretti, a former alderman who ran for mayor against Emanuel and is now running for county board president.

Before most up-and-coming elected officials could Continue reading “Gutierrez retirement rattles Chicago politics”

Gutierrez won’t seek reelection

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) a leading national voice on immigration reform, will not seek reelection and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday morning, three Democratic sources with knowledge of the decision told POLITICO.

Gutierrez is expected to announce he’s withdrawing his nominating petitions on Tuesday.

The sources say that former Chicago mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia will begin circulating petitions for Gutierrez’s post.

Gutierrez’s spokesman, Douglas Rivlin said he couldn’t comment.

"I don’t know anything. I don’t know anything," he said late Monday.

The news will create a frenzy for a seat Gutierrez has held since 1993. Without Gutierrez even making the news official, two people are already making noise about taking his place — Garcia and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, sources told POLITICO.

Anti-Trump pundit runs for Illinois attorney general

Former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti announced Thursday he would seek the Democratic nomination for Illinois attorney general — and the ensuing traffic promptly crashed his campaign website.

Races for state attorney general don’t typically generate that level of interest. But Mariotti, the latest of seven Democrats to join the race to succeed retiring state Attorney General Lisa Madigan, is no ordinary AG candidate.

Since President Donald Trump’s election, Mariotti has cultivated himself as a legal commentator, a frequent TV presence explaining various legal events related to the president, from travel bans to the Russia probe to transgender people in the military.

After revealing his intentions in an MSNBC appearance Thursday evening, he followed up with a series of tweets laying out his reasons for running. Those tweets drew more than 20,000 “likes.”

“When I left my job as a federal prosecutor last June, I didn’t expect to spend every Continue reading “Anti-Trump pundit runs for Illinois attorney general”

Embattled Illinois governor to run for second term

CHICAGO Illinois Republican governor Bruce Rauner is officially running for a second term, his campaign confirmed.

The announcement comes as the embattled governor has endured ongoing staff turmoil and as he faces a revolt from conservatives in his own party.

In a new campaign video, which Rauner narrates, the governor says the people of Illinois have a choice: “We can throw in the towel, walk away and leave our future to the same corrupt career politicians. Or we can fight. I choose to fight.”

The announcement comes after another Republican — state Rep. Jeanne Ives — announced she is circulating petitions to run in a primary race against Rauner.

The governor enraged conservatives after he signed a bill compelling the state to fund abortions for the poor.

Rauner was elected in 2014 under the promise of turning around Illinois’ economic fiscal climate. However, the amount of unpaid Continue reading “Embattled Illinois governor to run for second term”

Kennedy quietly reversed Illinois tax break request

CHICAGO — Democrat Chris Kennedy has made Illinois property taxes — among the highest in the nation — a focus of his campaign for governor. He’s railed against an appeal system that he has likened to “extortion” for kicking lucrative tax breaks to politically connected insiders with high-powered lawyers.

But even as Kennedy took to social media and forums to complain about a “rigged system,” he was actively pursuing a second property tax appeal of his own — asking for a 20 percent reduction for his personal home in the Chicago suburb of Kenilworth.

Kennedy then quietly withdrew his appeal request, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO, seven days after a story surfaced that was critical of property tax reductions won by his chief primary opponent, billionaire J.B. Pritzker.

“Dear board members, please withdraw the above-referenced complaint for the 2016 assessment year,” said the letter, dated May 19.

Continue reading “Kennedy quietly reversed Illinois tax break request”