Politics

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.

Republican Mark Kirk Says He Won't Support Trump

Jun 7, 2016
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The junior U.S. Senator from Illinois has reached a breaking point in support for his party's presidential candidate.

Kirk said Tuesday that, as the presidential campaign progressed, he was hoping the rhetoric would tone down and reflect a campaign that’s "inclusive, thoughtful and principled."

But he says Trump’s latest statements about a federal judge of Mexican heritage were dead wrong and un-American.

Kirk has said he’d support the party’s nominee.

The newly chosen Illinois Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, Tammy Duckworth, says she backs President Barack Obama's choice for the U.S. Supreme Court.  She's calling on her opponent to do the same. 

The U.S. Senate's Republican leader says he'll block Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. 

But Rep. Duckworth says Garland has "impeccable credentials."

Duckworth is campaigning to take Republican Mark Kirk's Senate seat from him. 

Amato For State's Attorney / Facebook

One candidate pulled ahead in a pack of three in the race for the Republican nomination for DeKalb County State’s Attorney.

Rick Amato has about 44 percent of the vote. Former State’s Attorney Clay Campbell has about 31 percent of the vote while Chuck Rea has 25 percent.

The winner faces Democrat Richard Schmack in the general election in November. He ran unopposed.

Wikimedia

The stakes are high for candidates in Illinois. Races are expected to be tight from the presidential nominations right down to state legislative contests.

Even if you've moved or haven't yet registered to vote, there's still time.

Illinois politicians have voted in recent years, to make it easier for Illinois residents to vote them in (or out) of office.

This is the first time voters statewide can take advantage of being able to register on Election Day.

U.S. Department of State

Some voters in the northern suburbs say presidential primary results in Michigan have them a little wary about Hillary Clinton’s chances in Illinois. 

In the latest Chicago Tribune poll, the former Secretary of State is beating Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders by a more than 2 to 1 margin.

Fox Lake social studies teacher Colleen Schoenberger brought her daughter to the Clinton rally in Vernon Hills last night. Schoenberger says Sanders’s unexpected victory in Michigan concerns her.

State of Illinois

A federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford names four other staffers who allegedly complained of unwanted sexual advances by the one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Edmund Michalowski filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in February 2014 that destroyed Rutherford's Republican bid for governor against eventual winner Bruce Rauner. Rutherford claimed it was a dirty political trick.

Julie Jacobson/AP Photo

Former President Bill Clinton says his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is a “change-maker” who will create a more inclusive economy and politics.

That was the former president’s message as he made stops in the Chicago area Tuesday, starting his morning shaking hands on the West Side of Chicago. Later, he gave a 45-minute, almost academic speech at Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston to hundreds of supporters.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner says 15th District Congressman John Shimkus can play a role in promoting his “Turnaround Agenda” in Washington.

The governor is campaigning with Shimkus today in a six-city tour of the 15th Congressional District that began in Mahomet Monday morning.

Rauner calls Shimkus a model for a party that seeks to help small business owners and farm families. The governor says Shimkus has helped Republicans in their fight against longtime Democratic House Speaker.

Durbin.senate.gov

The senior U.S. Senator from Illinois says the nation is locking up too many people for far too long. He hopes to change that soon.

Democrat Dick Durbin has worked with Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa on the sentencing reform and corrections act.

Durbin says the act would ease mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses that don't involve guns, gangs, or violence. He says he believes the U.S. overreacted with the war on drugs and other "get tough on crime" measures.

Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

A majority of Illinois voters do not believe the state is headed in the right direction. 

That's according to a new poll from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

When 1,000 voters were asked if they believe Illinois is on the "right track," 84 percent of them answered "no."

That comes as Illinois is in the midst of a historic budget impasse, which may have affected voters' opinion of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Illinois House Democrats / juliana-stratton.com

An attack ad showing the old mug shot of Illinois state representative Ken Dunkin is the subject of a contentious debate.

Incumbent Ken Dunkin is on the outs with his fellow Democrats. That’s because he’s the only Democrat to side with the Republican Governor on some big issues.

At a South Loop debate last night, Dunkin asked his opponent how she could be for criminal justice reform but still hammer him on a mug shot from his past.

Susan Walsh / AP

In this election year… each side of the political aisle had different takes on President Obama’s final State of the Union Address, and what it could mean for his legacy. 

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin calls President Obama’s address the kind given by a man tested by conflict, and served as a rebuttal to much of the rhetoric in the GOP race to succeed him. Like the president, the Illinois Democratic Senator is downplaying the threat ISIS poses to this country’s future.  

Lawmakers Suggest Bill To Recall Chicago Mayor

Dec 10, 2015

Two Chicago Democrats are proposing legislation that would allow city voters to recall their mayor.

Democratic Rep. La Shawn Ford filed legislation Wednesday outlining a lengthy process for a city special election. Ford tells Chicago's WBBM-TV that people have lost confidence in Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

State Representative Mary Flowers says the recall bill probably couldn’t apply to Emanuel, since it hasn’t been passed and he’s already elected.

Flowers represents the Gresham neighborhood on the city’s South Side, where she says Emanuel hasn’t brought enough jobs.

Illinois House Republicans

The newest Illinois state legislator has been sworn in.

Sara Wojcicki-Jiminez is a Republican from Springfield. She was previously an aide to first lady Diana Rauner and a spokeswoman for the House Republican caucus.

"One of the things that I learned on staff is that I should definitely keep this brief,” she said. “So I am very humbled by the opportunity. I am honored. I look forward to working with everybody in our caucus, and for our friends across the aisle."

WUIS

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is rebuffing a bid by the White House to assuage concerns over Syrian refugees.

Rauner is one of about 30 governors nationwide who said no to taking in people fleeing war-ravaged Syria. Rauner, a Republican, cited security concerns following the terror attacks in Paris.

"What matters is a coordinated, cooperative, highly communicative effort at a national scale to protect the people of America against terrorists," he said in November.

Flickr: West Midlands Police / Photo cropped from original

A Chicago Democrat says he hopes a new state law will prevent the very situation that’s playing out over the death of a 17-year-old killed by a Chicago police officer.

The new law sets standards for officers who wear body cameras.

State representative Elgie Sims says it’s significant, given the release of a police dashboard video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

“It only reinforces what we did,” Sims said.

Senate.gov

Illinois U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is calling on Governor Bruce Rauner to meet with Syrian refugee families.

“These are poor people who are trying to escape ISIS,” Durbin said. “If the governor would just take a few moments, his idea about these refugees might change.” 

Rauner last week said the state should temporarily stop accepting refugees following the terrorist attacks in Paris. A spokesman for the governor says Rauner is frustrated over the federal government’s refusal to address specific security concerns and requests for information.

Bobby Rush Running For Re-Election

Nov 23, 2015
U.S. Democrats

Bobby Rush is running for re-election and says he won’t be resigning any time soon.

In his re-election announcement Friday, Rush made it biblical.

“Truly, I feel like Moses,” Rush said.

Rush says Pharoh’s army was chasing Moses. Rush says he’s being chased by people who want his Congressional seat.

And in front of Moses was the Red Sea, which Rush says is like the issues facing Chicago.

“The Red Sea of police brutality and murder,” Rush said. “The Red Sea of indifference of our issues. I intend to go forward into the Red Sea.”

Human rights groups in Illinois say they'll continue programs for Syrian refugees. That’s despite the governor's calls to suspend accepting them.

As of 2010, Illinois has welcomed about 170 Syrian refugees. That's according to Sam Tuttle, policy director for Heartland Alliance.

"We hope that the governor and his staff and the people of Illinois will learn more about the resettlement program and that we can all be welcoming refugees who have oftentimes witnessed some great horrors, so that they can start their lives again," Tuttle said.

Illinois General Assembly

Republicans interested in running for Raymond Poe's former district in the Illinois House have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to submit an application to the Sangamon County GOP.

Poe on Friday announced he'll begin Monday as the agriculture director, meaning he won't be running for reelection.

Sangamon County Republican Chairman Rosemarie Long says the party will run a candidate in the primary, even though petitions are due the end of this month.

"Very short, very short time," Long said with a chuckle.

Illinois House Democrats

One of the longest-serving state representatives in Springfield is responding to a potential challenge from the son of Congressman Bobby Rush.

Flynn Rush hasn’t run for office, but he recently filed paperwork against the No. 2 Democrat in the Illinois House.

Barbara Flynn Currie has represented Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood since 1979. She’s had a few challengers along the way, but she’s always won handily.

Illinois Public Radio asked Currie what her relationship is like with her congressman.

Illinois House Democrats

A Chicago Democrat is defending recent votes he made against his own party.

State Representative Ken Dunkin went against Democrats and House Speaker Michael Madigan this week on a big vote involving child care and services for seniors.

Dunkin says he did that because he made an arrangement with Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

We got a breakthrough in two different areas and I’m ecstatic that the governor kept his word and we got the funding back in the budget for those two items,” Dunkin said.

Thousands Come For Trump In Springfield

Nov 10, 2015
Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

More than 10,000 people came to Illinois’s capitol city last night to hear from Donald Trump, who’s leading Republican polls in the race for President. 

Trump spoke for more than an hour at the convention center. That’s just blocks away from the Old State Capitol, where President Barack Obama declared his candidacy in 2007. 

Trump criticized Obama's nuclear deal with Iran and says he wants to repeal Obama's signature health care law.

"We have incompetent people leading us. And we can't keep doing it,” Trump said. “We can't keep doing it."

Two More Presidential Candidates Pop Up In Illinois

Nov 9, 2015

Presidential contenders have been popping up in Illinois.

That includes two today.

The Illinois primary election is March 15th. That's a full month and a half after the Iowa caucuses, which kick off the race for America's next president.

But some of the top candidates are spending time here. Hillary Clinton campaigned -- and raised money -- in Chicago last week.

Today, Republicans are flying in.

Donald Trump will hold a rally in Springfield tonight. Back up north, former Ohio former Gov. John Kasich is stopping by Chicago's Billy Goat tavern tonight.

Wikipedia

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture says a new international trade partnership will help farmers and ranchers in Illinois. That’s if it gains congressional approval.

But some Chicago representatives are already skeptical of the plan.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, known as TPP, was reached last month. But the details haven’t been released to congress yet.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says the partnership will open new market opportunities for the soybean, corn and pork industries in Illinois, among other things.

Hannah Meisel / Illinois Public Radio

Mike Madigan is running for the Illinois General Assembly.

No, the other one.

Urbana businessman and city council member Mike Madigan is running for the 52nd state senate district, he announced Monday in Champaign.

Madigan is the owner of Hickory River restaurants in Urbana, Peoria, Springfield and Decatur and has served on the city council since May 2013. He's the only Republican in that heavily Democratic body.

While he may have the name in common with longtime Democratic House Speaker Madigan, this Madigan says the similarities pretty much end there.

Carl Nelson / WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner doesn’t appear to have high hopes for his next meeting with Democratic leadership.

As Illinois enters its fifth month without a budget, Gov. Rauner and his political opponents have agreed to meet in public in the coming weeks. There, Rauner says they’ll talk about his priorities, which may include limits on collective bargaining, along with raising taxes and how much the state government spends.

All of those topics have been non-starters. That’s why Rauner told reporters he thinks the meeting is more for show, than to come up with a deal.

Hastert Pleads Guilty To Bank Fraud

Oct 28, 2015

 Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty in a federal hush-money case. 

The 73-year-old Hastert entered the plea Wednesday in downtown Chicago. Under the plea deal, prosecutors have recommended a prison sentence of up to six months.  

 

The Chicago Tribune reported that nothing new was revealed about the underlying events that led Hastert to withdraw nearly $1 million in cash from four banks over 2½ years.

Cook County

Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown is hinting she may sue the county Democratic Party for dropping its endorsement for her re-election bid.

Brown says her cell phone was subpoenaed -- but she hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing. Still, it was enough for Cook County Democrats to reverse course and endorse Ald. Michelle Harris to replace Brown on the Democratic ticket for court clerk.

Brown says she contributed money to the party after it agreed to endorse her earlier this year, and she calls that exchange a contract.

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