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Jenna Dooley

While most U.S. House incumbents representing northern Illinois have gotten a pass for the March Illinois primary election, all of them will face challenges from the opposing party in the general election next November.

A total of 27 seats in the Illinois General Assembly representing northern Illinois will be on the ballot in 2018, but there will be only six contests in the March primary.

Five of them are for Illinois House seats, with the biggest field in the 67th District in Rockford. Six Democrats are seeking the nomination for the seat being vacated by State Rep. Litesa Wallace. No Republican has filed in that race.

jb-pritzker.com

Illinois’ two Democratic U.S. senators are taking sides in the primary for governor. 

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth are both endorsing businessman J.B. Pritzker.

It’s the latest example of Illinois' Democratic establishment lining up behind Pritzker. He's already gotten nods from a variety of different politicians, party organizations, and labor unions.

Another gubernatorial candidate, state Sen. Daniel Biss, says while he admires the senators, Democrats need to decide whether they want to be the "billionaire party," a reference to Pritzker’s wealth.

FBI

FBI Director Christopher Wray is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing. He is likely to face questions about the Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. Last week, former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. The hearing also comes days after President Trump attacked the FBI on Twitter, saying "its reputation is in Tatters," citing the investigation of Hillary Clinton's private email server under former Director James Comey.

Hoping to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, members of Congress have introduced a bill that would allow victims to take their cases to court. 

It's called the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act," and one of the lead sponsors is U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, from the 17th Illinois Congressional District. 

During a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Bustos said 60 million Americans have contracts with forced-arbitration clauses, but this bill would give them the option of going to court.

State of Illinois

National politics and the recent surge of sexual harassment allegations have resulted in calls to increase the number of female candidates in the 2018 state legislative elections. But Illinois did not necessarily meet these expectations.

The only increase came from female participation in the races for the state House of Representatives and the race for lieutenant governor—where three women are competing for the spot.

U.S. Government

Nineteen Illinois Democrats have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich to help clarify the line between legal and illegal political fundraising.

Among those making the request are U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, former U.S. Rep. Bill Lipinski, and former State Sen. Emil Jones.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Supporters of President Donald Trump held a rally and expo in Rockford Tuesday to celebrate the first year of his presidency.

Jenna Dooley

The Illinois General Assembly’s new ethics watchdog can now begin investigating a backlog of 27 cases.
They’ve been piling up for nearly three years while the office has been vacant.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law yesterday that removes an expiration date on some of the complaints. Rauner wasn't satisfied with all of the bill's content.

“House Bill 137 is very flawed," he said.

Wes Frazier / Getty Images

Another woman has charged that Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a teen, and top Republicans now threaten to expel Moore should he win Alabama's special election on Dec. 12.

In an emotional news conference, Beverly Young Nelson said Moore groped her and tried to force himself on her in his car behind the restaurant where the then-16-year-old worked.

Democratic Governor Hopefuls Back More Help For Higher Education

Nov 7, 2017

Four of the seven Democrats running for governor took part in the gubernatorial candidate forum Monday night at the University of Illinois Gregory Hall auditorium. Three of the four said the answer to rising college tuition is to make state college and university tuition free.

General Assembly Is Looking To Resolve Ethics Vacancy

Nov 2, 2017

As sexual harassment allegations sweep across the nation, the Illinois legislature is now under fire for a lack of reporting procedures. Due to a staffing vacancy, dozens of complaints -- not necessarily sexual in nature -- have gone nowhere.  

An Inspector General is required to consider ethical complaints at the Illinois State Capitol. But the state has failed to hire one for two years, resulting in a backlog of 27 complaints. Some lawmakers are furious that complaints have gone unanswered due to “a technicality.” 

Joe Biden on Facebook

President Trump is eroding America’s credibility around the world by pulling out of agreements, former Vice President Joe Biden told the nonpartisan Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Wednesday.

Biden hit on Trump’s foreign policy moves -- everything from pulling out of the Paris climate agreement to trying to dismantle the nuclear agreement with Iran and not being tough enough on North Korea and Russia.

senatorsilverstein.com

Chicago Democrat Ira Silverstein is resigning his leadership position in the Illinois Senate following accusations he sexually harassed an advocate working with him on a bill. 

Silverstein represents Lincolnwood and parts of other towns in the northern Chicago suburbs. 

Lobbyist Denise Rotheimer publicly accused him of harassing her last year.

Ryan Delaney/St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth is calling for a new law that would give Congress a greater say before America could attack North Korea.

"I think what’s important is to realize that war is very much imminent in North Korea,” she said.

She says war would be “catastrophic" for people in the region, including thousands in the American military.

State Rep. Ives Will Oppose Rauner In Primary

Oct 30, 2017
jeanneives.org

A state representative from Wheaton has begun circulating petitions in an effort to challenge Gov. Bruce Rauner in next year's Republican primary. 

Jeanne Ives, who has been in the Illinois House since 2013, has been critical of Rauner for signing certain legislation, including a plan that allows public funds to pay for abortions.  She is considered among the legislature’s more conservative members. 

Ex-Gov. Quinn Enters Democratic Attorney General Race

Oct 27, 2017
WNIJ

Former Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn is joining a crowded field attempting to become the state's next attorney general.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports Quinn on Friday announced his intention to run, saying he wants to be "the lawyer for the people.''

Quinn, who governor from 2009 to 2015, says he intends to present his case to be the Democratic nominee next week to the party's Cook County organization.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced last month she wouldn't seek re-election.

This week an open letter citing example after example of a culture of sexual harassment against women in Springfield shook the Illinois State Capitol.

With that context, the five men running for the Democratic nomination for Illinois governor met last night for a forum in a crowded room at the University of Illinois Chicago. The fact that all the candidates are men was not lost on anyone.

Bruce Rauner/YouTube

Gov. Bruce Rauner has made his long-awaited announcement that he is seeking re-election. The first term Republican issued a video Monday morning that features him riding his motorcycle through Illinois. It focuses on the agenda he has pushed since taking office, including property tax relief.     

In the video, he talks about battles waged with the General Assembly, adding that that he has won some and lost some, but “chooses to fight.”

Pawar Drops Out Of Democratic Gubernatorial Race

Oct 12, 2017

Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar withdrew from the crowded Democratic race for Illinois governor today and announced he is launching a new political action committee.

In an email blast from his campaign office, Pawar noted that his campaign had raised $828,000 from 2,526 donors, but he said he would have to take on more personal debt or cut campaign staff to expand the campaign “to a scope that could earn the nomination.” He decided against either option.

A former candidate for Rockford mayor is running for lieutenant governor. Brian Leggero announced Wednesday that he was asked by Republican gubernatorial candidate William J. Kelly to be his running mate.

 

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

A majority of the Democratic candidates running for Illinois governor took the stage during a forum Tuesday at Northern Illinois University. The five Democrats had a common target for much of the evening: incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

 

 

 

Let’s start at the end of the night. Community organizer Tio Hardiman certainly got the crowd’s attention with his closing statement with cameos by challengers State Sen. Daniel Biss and businessman Chris Kennedy.

"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. 

Seventeen Illinois lawmakers have signed on to support a Wisconsin case before the U.S. Supreme Court that calls political gerrymandering unconstitutional.

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.com/danielbiss

A Democrat running for Illinois governor is in search of a new running mate.

State Sen. Daniel Biss announced that he is dropping Chicago Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa from his ticket. They differed on the "B.D.S movement" -- which favors boycotting, divesting, or sanctioning Israel. Biss, who opposes it, says in a statement that Ramirez Rosa recently changed his position.

Biss’s selection of Ramirez Rosa last week prompted north-suburban U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, R-Deerfield, to withdraw his endorsement of Biss.

President Trump addressed the nation last night on U.S. engagement and "the path forward" in Afghanistan and South Asia. An annotated transcript is provided below.  

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Illinois Policy Institute

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives twice expressed unanimous opposition Wednesday to expressions of racial animus.

In an official 105-0 vote, the House adopted a resolution -- sponsored by Rep. Elgie Sims, D-Chicago, and Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills -- which vilifies white supremacists. The proclamation specifically “repudiates and condemns'' neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan and others that “espouse hate.''

Facebook candidate accounts

A geology professor from DeKalb and an insurance agent from Sycamore plan to run for the Illinois 70th District House seat.

Tuesday night, Democrat Paul Stoddard announced his intention to run for the office currently held by Republican Bob Pritchard, who is not running for re-election. Stoddard is retiring soon from Northern Illinois University and has been a DeKalb County Board member for 10 years.

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."

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