politics

"Am I Next? Student lie-in at the White House to protest gun laws" by Flickr user Lorie Shaull / (CC x 2.0) /

Students and supporters plan to gather in downtown Rockford for their March For Our Lives event Saturday.

Event organizers say the march, which is a sister event to the national march held by Parkland shooting survivors, begins at 1 p.m. at the city parking lot next to Beattie Park and ends at Davis Park. A rally afterwards will include student activists, a spoken word artist, and Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Gill v. Whitford, a Wisconsin case challenging partisan legislative maps.

Wendy Tam Cho, a University of Illinois political science professor, says this case is particularly important because it could determine the court’s role in future cases on gerrymandering. 

scottdrury.org

A Democrat hoping to be Illinois’s next governor selected one of his former campaign employees Monday to be his running mate.

North Shore State Representative Scott Drury has selected Alex Hirsch as his running mate. Campaign records show Hirsch was paid by Drury’s campaign fund in 2014 and ‘16.

But it doesn’t appear Hirsch has ever run for political office.

Drury hasn’t advertised his selection on Facebook or Twitter. Instead, in an emailed statement, he describes Hirsch as a Bernie Sanders supporter and a millennial, but also as a “long-time trusted advisor.”

Twitter: @_ErikaHarold

A lawyer who is a former Miss America says she's running for Illinois attorney general.

Erika Harold of Urbana announced plans Tuesday for a Republican bid to challenge four-term Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan in 2018.

Harold, 37, works as an attorney with the Meyer Capel law firm. She says in a statement that career politicians have "made it a nightmare for too many families in our state" and that Illinois needs a government that "works for them, not the powerful."

Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

Some Illinois lawmakers – including Elaine Nekritz, Christine Radogno and Tim Bivins – recently resigned or announced they will not run for re-election. Any options they may have for their next steps could even include lobbying for the time being, under the state’s revolving door policy.

State of Illinois

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan said Democrats are finalizing a proposed state budget plan and could present it to minority Republicans as soon as Tuesday.

Madigan and fellow Chicago Democratic Rep. Greg Harris would not discuss details but said they're devising a spending plan and revenue to pay for it. It might be ready for discussion at Tuesday's meeting of the four legislative leaders. 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner has called state legislators back to Springfield this week to begin 10 special sessions through the end of June.

 

He says he wants a budget deal, but he also is spending money attacking Democrats. The attacks have come in at least three forms: online ads, direct mail, and TV commercials.

 

duckworth.house.gov

Iraq War veteran and Purple Heart recipient Tammy Duckworth – Illinois’s junior senator – is speaking out against President Trump’s executive order on immigration.

She says it amounts to a ban on Muslims and that it actually puts American troops overseas in harm’s way – by giving terrorist groups like ISIS a major recruitment tool.

"United States Capitol" by Flickr User Cliff / (CC X 2.0)

For elected officials in Illinois, attending Donald Trump's inauguration Friday is a political event. And their presence or absence is a political statement.

Several congressmen who represent parts of Chicago are skipping the Inauguration, but their reasons vary.

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez gave a whole list of reasons in a speech on the House floor for boycotting -- from Trump’s comments on sexually assaulting women to blaming the outcome of a court case on the Mexican heritage of a federal judge.

Talk Radio News Service

President Barack Obama is returning to the city that launched his unlikely political career to give one final speech.

He'll deliver in Chicago a parting plea to Americans not to lose faith in their future, no matter what they think about their next president.

Obama's speech before thousands on Tuesday evening is his last chance to try to define what his presidency meant for America, and a fitting bookend.

Chicago is where the nation's first black president declared victory in 2008 and where he cultivated his decidedly optimistic brand of American politics.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has appointed a new transportation secretary as he gears up for a budget battle over how to pay for roads.

Walker announced Tuesday that he has appointed Department of Safety and Professional Services Secretary Dave Ross to serve as secretary of the Department of Transportation. Ross replaces Mark Gottlieb, who plans to resign effective Jan. 6.

Walker's announcement didn't offer any explanation for Gottlieb's resignation. Walker spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email to The Associated Press that Gottlieb plans to retire.

NPR

Donald Trump captured crucial victories over Hillary Clinton in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, showing remarkable strength Tuesday night in three of the nation’s most fiercely fought battleground states in an unexpectedly tight race for the presidency.

Clinton carried Virginia and Colorado, as well as California, the nation’s largest prize. With a handful of other states still undecided, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

Voters Tuesday rejected all five local referenda in Winnebago County.

The biggest margin was against the Roscoe proposal to add a 1 percent sales tax for public infrastructure. Almost 70 percent voted no.

The Shirland Township Road District property tax increase was opposed by 66 percent. It would have added $33 to the annual tax bill of a $100,000 home.

state of Illinois

With less than 24 hours until Election Day, gobs of money continues to flow to campaigns for the Illinois statehouse.

Only a fraction of races for the Illinois state House and State Senate are really competitive.

But those that are, are throwing a lot of money toward TV ads.

On Chicago’s Northwest Side, incumbent Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe brought in $232,000 just in the last week.

That’s almost $100,000 more than his Democratic opponent, Merry Marwig.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

If you’d like to prepare for your votes in the Illinois General Election, WNIJ News offers these links to help you be informed about all the issues.

Compiled below – county by county – are links that will allow you to view the sample ballots that may affect you.

Following those listings are links to the campaign websites of contenders in state and federal primaries.

Boone County

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says it's "disappointing" two groups have withdrawn endorsements. He's trying to fight off a challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Kirk was a rare Republican to receive recommendations from the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights, and a gun control group led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. 

Both pulled their endorsements after Kirk made a wisecrack minimizing the Duckworth family legacy of military service; many critics immediately condemned it as racist. 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Taking a selfie at a polling place could be illegal in several states – including Illinois and Wisconsin.

That reminder comes after pop star Justin Timberlake took a selfie at a voting booth in Tennessee.

DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson says about 8,000 early votes have been tallied in DeKalb County so far. He says he wants to encourage voter enthusiasm in this election and not scare people, but he says voters must be careful of where they take their post-vote selfies.

Democratic Part of Milwaukee County / U.S. Senate

National security issues loom large in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold.

They disagree on how to fight the Islamic State terrorist group, what to do about Iran, and whether to send U.S. troops into foreign hot spots like Syria.

Johnson tried to portray Feingold as weak on national security. He portrays the former senator as a hypocrite who talks tough on the campaign trail, but cast senate votes that undermined the ability of U.S. troops to succeed.

House Dist. 74: Butts vs. Swanson

Oct 27, 2016

Democrat Bill Butts faces Republican Daniel Swanson in the race for Illinois House of Representatives in District 74. The district includes Galesburg and Kewanee. 

Incumbent Republican Donald L. Moffitt, who has represented the district for 23 years, is not running for re-election.

Senate Dist. 32: Coyne Challenges Althoff

Oct 27, 2016
Illinois General Assembly / Democratic Party of McHenry County

Democrat Melissa Coyne and incumbent Pamela Althoff, a Republican, will face off in next month’s general election for a two-year term representing

House Dist. 66: Skillicorn vs. Zettler

Oct 27, 2016

Republican Allen Skillicorn faces Democrat Nancy Zettler in the race for Illinois House of Representatives in District 66. The district includes Crystal Lake and Huntley, down to Elgin. 

Incumbent Republican Michael W. Tyron, who has represented the district since 2005, is not running for re-election.

House Dist. 63: Bartman vs. Reick

Oct 27, 2016
John Bartman Campaign Facebook Page / Steven Reick Campaign Facebook Page

Democrat John Bartman and Republican Steven Reick are vying for Illinois Rep.

City Clerk's Office -- Beloit, Wisconsin

Beloit City Clerk Lori Stottler says Wisconsin voters have another week to start the registration process online to avoid long lines at the polls on Nov. 8.

Being registered may not be a given to voters who only vote once in a while, perhaps just for presidential elections. That’s why Stottler says voters should check to see if they’re still registered, or even register again ahead of next month’s election.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

A new super PAC known as LIFT (Leading Illinois For Tomorrow) is spending a million dollars on ads tying Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to Donald Trump.

The group is led by Democratic  State Sen. Daniel Biss, who says the campaign is meant to inform voters what their ballot choices mean for the state's future. 

"And so, people across the state who are very concerned about what Gov. Rauner has done to politics in Illinois were generous enough to support this effort," Biss said.

FLICKR USER / KRISTIN_A (MERINGUE BAKE SHOP) "VOTE!" (CC BY 2.0)

He may call himself the leader of Illinois' Republican Party, but Governor Bruce Rauner is continuing his refusal to weigh in on this year's biggest election.

A record-setting audience of roughly 80 million people tuned in to watch Monday's presidential debate.

The next day, a reporter asked Rauner if he did the same.  

"I did not," the governor responded.  

Which means Rauner didn't hear Donald Trump's comments about Illinois' largest city.

twitter.com/fighting15th

The head of the Illinois Republican Party says he’d like to see Donald Trump criticize Hillary Clinton more at the next debate.

Tim Schneider says Trump can be rude.

But the candidate spent too much time reacting to Clinton’s answers at last night’s debate, and not bringing up things like Benghazi, or Clinton’s emails.

"So to me, it’s an easy choice," Schneider said.   "I choose rude over wrong."

Schneider’s trying to unite the state party behind Trump when the Republican governor and Republican U.S. Senator won’t commit to supporting the nominee.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says there are still serious issues facing the state, and he hopes a compromise can be reached so that Illinois can move forward soon.

Rauner reacted to a decision by the state's Teachers Retirement System to reassess the rate of return on pension investments. That reassessment means the state will have to pay $400 million more into the fund this year, and Rauner calls that devastating.

Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Some Illinois delegates for Donald Trump say they’ll skip next week’s political convention in protest of their own state Republican Party.

Rich Nordstrom won election in the Republican primary to go to next week’s National Convention as a delegate and officially vote for Donald Trump to be the party’s nominee. But Nordstrom isn’t sure he’ll go, saying he’s bothered the top Illinois Republicans -- like Governor Bruce Rauner – are not going.

Flickr user Marc Nozell / "Hillary Clinton in Hampton, NH (April 2007)" (CC v 2.0)

Hillary Clinton returned to Illinois’s capital city today to give a speech focused on racial tensions and other divisions that she says hold back the nation. 

Clinton says recent turmoil has blacks questioning whether their lives matter, while economic turmoil has workers questioning whether America cares about their future. She says in times like this, the nation needs a President who can pull all sides together.

Northern Illinois University

Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial remarks could affect the Illinois U.S. Senate race, according to one expert.

Northern Illinois University political scientist Matt Streb says he can’t remember a time when candidates distanced themselves from their party’s nominee. He says this is affecting the race between incumbent Republican Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth.

Pages