Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Patrick Kenneally Fundraiser on August 17th

State's Attorney Patrick Kenneally will be having a fundraiser at Cable Quarry Park (5517 Northwest Hwy, Crystal Lake) on August 17th.

Kenneally was the Republican nominee in 2016. He faced off against Ray Flavin (D) and easily won with about 63 percent of the vote. 

Kenneally would have faced off against Jim Harrison, but Harrison dropped out of the race and was replaced by Flavin after he was criticized for filing a lawsuit against a senior citizen for a letter to the editor.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Constitution Party's Randy Stufflebeam To Run for Governor

The Constitution Party is the third largest third party and fifth largest political party in the United States. They also have a state chapter in Illinois and regularly run candidates for statewide and federal offices. Sometimes they appear on the ballot and sometimes they're relegated to being write-in candidates.

Next year, the Constitution Party will run a candidate for governor. His name is Randy Stufflebeam.

He's gotten some media attention. For instance, a local Fox station in central Illinois mentioned him in this article.

Stufflebeam has been an active Constitution Party member, even having high-ranking leadership positions, for over 10 years. Stufflebeam is a former Marine, and he's ran for office before. In 2006, he ran for governor as a write in candidate for the Constitution Party and received 19,020 votes (0.55%).

While the Constitution Party is very similar to the Republican Party, Stufflebeam doesn't care about "splitting the vote." He believes voting for the lesser of two evils, as they say, has only resulted in a loss of liberty. He also cites low voter participation in 2014 as proof that people are fed up with the two party system.

This attitude is common with third parties. The Green Party's presidential candidate Ralph Nader was unapologetic when he was accused of giving the 2000 election to Bush. When Jill Stein (G) visited my college, I asked her if she was comfortable siphoning votes from Hillary Clinton and having Donald Trump become president. She said she had no qualms about running for president (she even contended that from a progressive point of view, Clinton was a corporatist and Obama was worse than Bush). By contrast, and in unusual fashion for a third party candidate, Gary Johnson's (L) running mate and fake libertarian, William Weld, basically endorsed Hillary Clinton and said she was better than Trump.

For more information on Randy Stufflebeam, check out his website. 
(This is where I got the above photo of Stufflebeam.)

Failure of Dispensary in Woodstock Highlights Excessive Regulations

In 2015, the city of Woodstock approved of a medical marijuana dispensary.

Unfortunately for people with one or more of the 40 or so ailments that Illinois law permits marijuana to treat, that dispensary never opened.

The people in charge could not fulfill the state's requirements.

Part of the requirements to open a dispensary include 400,000 dollars in liquid assets, a 60,000 dollar fee just to apply, legal fees for consultants, fingerprints, records regarding bankruptcy, student loan defaults, child support, alimony, and a full disclosure of taxes from previous years.

This makes it incredibly difficult to open a dispensary.

In addition, the state limits supply by allowing only 60 dispensaries and 21 cultivation centers, which is fewer than other less populous states that have medical marijuana.

This red tape is bad for patients, bad for business owners, and bad for workers.

Number of Democrats Running for Governor Is Too Damn High

As Duncan MacLeod of the Highlander series said, "There can be only one."

Of course, MacLeod was talking about immortal beings, and I am referring to Democratic candidates for governor of Illinois.

Regardless, there are many candidates trying to become the Democratic nominee, and I must admit that I was wrong once again. I really thought that with my last post I had covered all the Democrats.  Nope.

As Yoda from the Star Wars series said, "There is another."

While Yoda was talking about another Skywalker, I'm talking about another Democrat running for governor. There is an eighth candidate for governor on the Democratic side: Tio Hardiman. 

You may recognize this name. If you do, it's likely because Hardiman ran for governor in 2014.

He challenged incumbent Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, in the primary. He recieved a little over 28 percent of the vote. For a guy who didn't have much name recognition or money, he did alright. 

For comparison, James Marter challenged Mark Kirk in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate and got 29.4 percent. He too had little name recognition or money. 

While politically, Hardiman and Marter are very different, what they have in common is that they ran against an incumbent during a primary, got about the same percentage of votes, and that incumbent went on to lose. The fact that they had such little name recognition and money but could still pull that many votes pretty much says that the people they ran against had ticked off quite a few of their constituents, and those constituents were pretty much willing to vote for anybody else. Those constituents may have not voted for the incumbent during the general election either, which would have contributed to the incumbents' losses.

Hardiman is campaigning on a similar message this time as he did last time: he's a man of the downtrodden Illinoisan. He proclaimed, "I'm the only person running for governor that's gonna be a champion and a voice for the poor people of Illinois."

Here's another reference. Jimmy McMillan, a perennial candidate in New York said, "The rent is too damn high." I believe the number of Democrats running for governor is too damn high. 

Everybody likes little platitudes like "more voices, more choices" and seems to believe that if there are more candidates the election is somehow "more democratic." While I think there can be too few candidates in an election, I think there can also be too many. I don't know what the magic range is or when it becomes too many, but to quote former Justice Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it," and I see too many Democrats.

Unless you're a J.B. Pritzker fan or a Bruce Rauner fan, I would be alarmed by this. What I see happening is progressives mostly splitting between Pawar and Biss. I see Kennedy doing alright with older people who have nostalgia for the Kennedy dynasty. Daiber might get some votes down south. Hardiman might get some votes out of name recognition. Most of these peoples' vote tallies will be negligible. Overall, this primary is full of candidates who won't make much of a dent. If there ends up being 8 candidates, somebody could win the primary with a ridiculously low plurality, like 15% (mathematically, it could be even lower).

What I'm getting at is that low-information voters, those who don't really do much research on their own, could give Pritzker the advantage. Pritzker is spending huge amounts of money. This story by the Sun-Times reports that Rauner and Pritzer are spending 120,000 per day on advertising. Of that, 100,000 is spent by Pritzker. He's a billionaire, so he has a funding advantage over all the Democrats -- probably combined. Often times with politics, people don't know much about the candidate, but they'll vote for the person whose name they recognize. This is actually a humongous flaw with democratic government, but I won't get into all that.

In 2016, there were about 17 candidates who ran for president on the Republican side. What happened? While he was "really rich," Trump did not spend the most. Candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio spent much more than he did and lost. But even though Trump didn't spend a lot, he still got a lot of media access, which is similar to Pritzker, except Pritzker is paying for his exposure. When the field is so crowded, the other guys don't get much time. Press access and name recognition, combined with a crowded field and the inability of the party to coalesce around a single candidate opposing Trump, helped propel Trump to the top of the ticket, and it very well could propel Pritzker to the top of the Democratic ticket.

There, the similarities between Trump and Pritzker diverge. Pritzker is being backed by the establishment of his party, while Trump was vehemently opposed by the establishment of his party. At one point, Republican elites were even talking about stealing the nomination from him at the convention. Even when it was general election mode, they had delusions of electing Evan McMullin. And while Republicans threatened to not vote for Trump, and I know some didn't, Trump pretty much won with the grassroots. Most of the holdouts were people who worked for newspapers, magazines, or think tanks. Additionally, Trump was able to tap into some voters who normally don't vote Republican. In Pritzker's case, I see the grassroots being mad at him, and I'm not sure how well he'll play with independents. He worked for the Clinton campaign in 2008. He removes toilets in his houses to shirk paying property taxes. He's a billionaire investor. He's not exactly the face of the energized "resistance."

A crowded field resulting in a Pritzker primary victory may be the best thing for Rauner and Republicans. Just like people abandoned Pat Quinn, just like people abandoned Mark Kirk, and just like people abandoned Hillary Clinton, people will abandon Pritzker. While the conventional wisdom is that money wins elections and therefore Pritzker is the ideal candidate, as we saw from the primary and general presidential election, where Trump was outspent and still won, and like we saw with the special election in Georgia's 6th congressional district, where Karen Handel was outspent and still won, we know money does not guarantee electoral victories.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Drury In: Democrat Scott Drury Running for Governor

I thought I had covered all the Democrats and Republicans running for governor.

On the Republican side, I've done stories about William Kelly challenging Rauner.

On the Democratic side, I've done stories on Kennedy, Daiber, Pawar, Pritzker, Biss, and Paterakis.

My last post was on Libertarians. There will be coverage of other third parties soon.

Since I attended the Women's March in Woodstock today, I discovered there is another Democrat running for governor.

Scott Drury is a state representative in the 58th district. He's also an adjunct professor at the law school of Northwestern University. Before running for office, he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago. He lives in Highwood with his wife and two children. You can view his website here.

Drury was apparently in attendance of the Women's March today -- I know this because one of the speakers mentioned him. Unfortunately, he didn't have a booth set up in the park where the march ended (unlike congressional candidate Jim Walz), he did not speak in the gazebo, and nobody I talked to could point him out.

Drury has gained attention for defying House Speaker Michael Madigan. He was the only Democrat who opposed electing Madigan as speaker. Because of this, he believes Madigan removed him from his position on the House Judiciary Committee and refused to give him a gift clock which was given to 66 other House Democrats. Drury has also butted heads with Democrats on labor issues, as well as the so-called millionaire's surcharge.

Some people who were part of the march had Daniel Biss for governor buttons, but I'll have more coverage of the Women's March in another post.

(Photo credit of Scott Drury to Illinois General Assembly)

Libertarians Running for Governor

Since I've done at least one story on every Democrat and Republican running for governor, I thought it would be appropriate to devote some coverage to third party candidates.

The Libertarian Party of Illinois will hold a statewide convention next year (in the spring, I think). Delegates will elect the nominee there. In order to be a delegate, you just have to be a member and show up at the convention. Direct any specific questions about the process here.

Three candidates are competing for the Libertarian Party's nomination.

Here's a look at them -- they are displayed in alphabetical order by last name.

1. Kash Jackson
Lives in Antioch
Retired U.S. Navy (20 years), Founder of Restoring Freedom
Number one issue: State spending is too high
Solution: Freeze state spending, cut entitlement programs

2. Matthew C. Scarro
Lives in Chicago
Number one issue: Debt and lack of budget
Solution: Pass balanced budget, restructure pensions for new state employees and make system solvent

3. Jon Stewart
Lives in Deerfield
Independent auto dealer/real estate investor, former professional wrestler
Number one issue: Debt including backlogged bills and unfunded future liabilities
Solution: Balanced budget amendment, renegotiate public sector pensions and wages, temporary hiring freeze, eliminate pensions for new state hires and replace with deferred comp or 401(k)

***The description of these candidates has been paraphrased from the Libertarian Party of Chicago's March 2017 Newsletter. For a full description, see page 2 of the newsletter.*** 

In 2014, Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Chad Grimm got 3.4% of the vote.

(Photo of Libertarian Party logo via Wikipedia)

Friday, July 21, 2017

Summer of Trump

Radio host and former congressman Joe Walsh is promoting an event in Bolingbrook, Illinois on August 22nd called Summer of Trump. It will be held at the Bolingbrook Golf Club, 2001 Rodeo Drive, Bolingbrook.

Joining Walsh will be media personalities Guy Benson and Hugh Hewitt.

Below is a description of the event via 560 The Answer.

After his first hundred days, questions continue to swirl around the presidency of Donald Trump. Accusations of Russian collusion linger, with an investigation into Trump and his administration underway after the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. In the meantime, Trump’s repeal-and-replace healthcare bill is stalled in the Senate, while his tax reform bill has yet to get off the launch pad. Meanwhile, tensions with North Korea continue to mount, while renewed fears about terrorism continue to grow. And through all of this, Democrats continue to whisper the word, “impeachment.”

How can Trump overcome the cloud of controversy hanging over his White House? What will it take for him to fend off the mainstream media and get his message across to the American people? How will he convince Congress to get to work on his legislative agenda? What should we expect from Trump this fall and into the year ahead?

All of these questions will be answered at THE SUMMER OF TRUMP, hosted by Joe Walsh, and featuring Hugh Hewitt and Guy BensonTuesday, August 22, at the Bolingbrook Golf Club. Three of the sharpest political minds in the country will discuss and debate where Trump stands in the middle of what will certainly be a long, hot summer in Washington, DC. You can be sure that none of these three will pull any punches as they attempt to make sense out of one of the most unusual presidencies in American history. You won’t want to miss this exciting night of political conversation and insight.

General tickets cost $18.59 and VIP Meet & Greet tickets cost $51.71. They can be purchased here.

(Photo credit to AM 560)