Bob Daiber

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as head of the Democratic Party at least temporarily, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

The speaker fired Kevin Quinn earlier this week after Madigan’s lawyer spent three months investigating accusations that Quinn harassed a campaign staffer.     

In this Friday Forum, we begin a series of interviews about important Illinois Primary Election races. WNIJ’s Dan Klefstad talked with Northern Illinois University Prof. Scot Schraufnagel, chairman of the Political Science Department, about various statewide and Congressional races. This week, we start with the top of the ballot: the race for Illinois governor.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what he thought that amount ought to be.

The concept of a graduated income tax has been embraced by state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Chris Kennedy, and Bob Daiber.

Jaclyn Driscoll/NPR Illinois

Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker  was selected to be first on the March primary ballot among the seven candidates running.

The State Board of Elections held a lottery on Wednesday to determine ballot position.  Those in line with nominating petitions on the first day of filing were entered into the lottery. Some studies suggest a candidate’s position on the ballot could earn them extra votes. In  tight primaries, that could mean winning the nomination.

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The Democratic candidates for Illinois Governor convened at a progressive forum yesterday to stake out the distinctions in their campaigns.

Evanston state Sen. Daniel Biss started with a question.

 

“Are we going to listen to the insiders and let it be all about billionaires again, or are we going to build a progressive movement to make transformational change that we have needed for so long?" he asked. 

 

The Illinois primary election isn’t until next March, but campaigns are going strong. Most Democrats running for governor will take part in a forum Tuesday night at Northern Illinois University.

Kim Gates, a member of DeKalb Stands, says her group -- which helped organize the event -- was formed in reaction to concerns about the presidential election. Now, she says, they see the importance of being engaged politically at every level of government.

 

It looks like Illinois will keep most of its regional offices of education. A commission charged with reviewing the need for the offices and the position of Regional Superintendent released its recommendation today: it proposed cutting the number of offices from 44 to 35.