Election 2014

Election 2014
11:50 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Oberweis Would Back Federal Same Sex Marriage Law

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, State Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove
Credit Oberweis for US Senate

The Republican nominee for U.S. Senate has switched his stance on same-sex marriage.

Only a few Republican members of the General Assembly voted for Illinois' law that has, since June, allowed two men or two women to marry one another.

State Sen. Jim Oberweis wasn't one of them. He voted no.

But the Sugar Grove Republican, now a candidate for the U.S. Senate, says he would go along with a federal law permitting same sex marriage.

Here's how he answered a question about it Wednesday's debate.

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Election 2014
11:36 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

13th Dist. Candidates Talk NAFTA, Ebola During Springfield Debate

Democrat Ann Callis (left) and Republican Rodney Davis in a WUIS/AARP debate at UIS Tuesday, October 21.
Credit Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

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Election 2014
7:54 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Small Campaign Contributions Amount To Chump Change

Credit flickr/borman18

  The race for Illinois governor is one of the most expensive match-ups in the nation. A new report shows that most of that comes from relatively few donors.

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Statehouse
6:43 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Notes On The Final Governor Debate

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

The debate portion of the Illinois governor’s race is over. Monday night's debate may have given voters a little clarity.

Now - that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any mud-slinging or repetitive campaign refrains. There was a lot of that. But we did get some answers on issues that have popped up in all three debates. Like what Governor Pat Quinn would do when the 5 percent income tax rate ends in 2015.

QUINN: We need to maintain the income tax, at the same time give annual, direct, property tax relief - a 500 dollar refund - to every single homeowner in this state.

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Statehouse
7:17 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Third & Final Governor Debate Tonight

Credit brucerauner.com, quinnforillinois.com

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican challenger Bruce Rauner are getting ready for their third and likely final televised debate.  

Monday night's debate comes as the two candidates are locked in a neck-and-neck contest for governor.  
 It's being hosted by the League of Women Voters of Illinois and broadcast by WLS-TV in Chicago.  

Quinn and Rauner have gotten personal and at times nasty in other candidate forums as they duel over economic plans and dispute school funding plans.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Earlier Than Ever

Pres. Barack Obama visited Chicago Sunday, to encourage Illinois residents to vote, and to do it early. Early voting begins today, and runs until just before election day. That could change campaigns' strategies, or expand the electorate.

It used to be that campaigns geared up for one day: Election Day. Starting in 2006, Illinois residents were given the option of casting an early, in-person ballot. That used to last for a two-week span. Not this election. Voters have from today until Nov. 2 to vote early.

Look for people to take advantage of it.

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Election 2014
12:52 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

Davis, Callis Respond To Negative Ads

Debate participants: (L-R) Panelists Tom Kacich and Hannah Meisel; moderator Jennifer Roscoe; candidates, US Rep. Rodney Davis (R) and Ann Callis (D).
Credit Mike Thomas/WILL

The candidates for the 13th Congressional District squared off in a debate at the WILL studios in Urbana.  Republican incumbent Rodney Davis  and Democratic challenger Ann Callis promoted themselves as problem-solvers ready to reach across party lines.

They concurred on some issues, like forming a bipartisan commission for Social Security reform.

On immigration reform, Callis responded to a tweet from an undocumented college student, and noted what she was told during a visit to the University of Illinois.

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Election 2014
10:04 pm
Wed October 15, 2014

After 22 Years, Crime Victims Back On Ballot

Attorney General Lisa Madigan, facing away, confers with supporters of Marsy's Law before a news conference Wednesday at the AG's Springfield office.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS

This story first appeared as Illinois Issues' State of the State column in the October 2014 edition of the magazine.

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Politics
5:35 am
Tue October 14, 2014

2nd Governor Debate Tonight (Tues)

Credit WUIS

Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn will debate for a second time as they battle to become Illinois' next governor.

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Election 2014
5:10 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Illinois' Medical Marijuana Program At Odds With Federal Policy

Judge Ann Callis, who is Democrats' nominee for the the 13th Congressional district, and U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, hold a press conference in Springfield Monday.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

As Illinois begins to allow people with certain diseases to use cannabis as medicine, the state will be running afoul of federal law.

It may be spring before patients will be able to buy medical marijuana (the application process is going on now). Whenever it happens, the state will be in tricky territory: the federal government classifies marijuana as an illegal drug.

That raises challenges, like: can an business in the cannabis industry deposit money in federally-regulated banks?

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Election 2014
12:52 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Politicians On Parade

Bruce Rauner gives a thumbs up to a child at Pilsen's Mexican Independence Day parade.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Children across Illinois had the day off from school Monday in honor of Columbus Day. Despite soggy weather, both Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican rival Bruce Rauner celebrated by walking down State St., for Chicago's Columbus Day parade. In an age when campaigns are increasingly high-tech, Amanda Vinicky took to the streets to find out why so many politicians spend so much time pounding the pavement.

Candidates have less than a month left to complete their missions. Grasping for your attention, and convincing you to vote for them on election day.

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Election 2014
8:19 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Quinn, Rauner Agree: No To Education Funding Plan

Both of the major party candidates for governor say Illinois should put more money into education. But neither are ready to embrace a controversial plan that would change how state money is distributed to schools.

There's been an uproar in some Chicago suburbs lately, over a proposal that's already passed the Illinois Senate. Under it, many districts there would see cuts in state funding, because they're in wealthier areas.

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Election 2014
5:07 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Removing The Pension Protection Clause

Credit Hannah Meisel

Illinois' ability to change retirement benefits of government workers is limited because of a provision in the state Constitution. But what about trying to make that a non-issue, by doing away with that clause?

Article XIII, Sect. 5 of the Illinois Constitution is direct: pension benefits, it says, "shall not be diminished or impaired."

Nevertheless, a law passed last year cuts benefits for current workers and retirees. Whether that squares with the Constitution is currently the subject of a lawsuit.

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Election 2014
4:30 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Rauner Runs Up Endorsements; Quinn Says No Surprise

Gov. Pat Quinn (left) and Bruce Rauner shake hands before their Oct. 9 debate in Peoria.
Credit Hannah Meisel

Although he's dipping in polls, Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is picking up newspaper endorsements.

The Daily Herald was first out of the gate with an endorsement for Rauner; saying that "installing a Republican governor while both houses of the General Assembly and the state Supreme Court remain solidly Democratic" will at least give Illinois "a fighting chance" for change.

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Election 2014
4:37 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Familiar Jabs, Talking Points In First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner at Thursday's gubernatorial debate in Peoria.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

The two leading candidates for Illinois governor met Thursday night in Peoria for the first debate of the election season. Both men stuck closely to the ideas they’ve been honing for months on the campaign trail.

Democratic Governor Pat Quinn and his Republican challenger, Bruce Rauner, are running carefully scripted campaigns.

Quinn has a populist message: That he’s a friend of the working man, always looking out for the little guy.

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Election 2014
9:40 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Raw Tape: Watch First Quinn/Rauner Debate

Gov. Pat Quinn, left, and Bruce Rauner met Wednesday in Peoria for the first debate of the fall election season.
Credit Illinois Public Broadcasting

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican nominee Bruce Rauner met for the first formal debate of the general election season Thursday in Peoria. The panel included Illinois Public Radio/WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky and Illinois Issues Executive Editor Jamey Dunn.

Watch or listen to the full debate:

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Statehouse
6:19 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Hearings Over Quinn Anti-Violence Program Begin Today in Chicago

Lawmakers are set to start a two-day hearing probing Gov. Pat Quinn's troubled anti-violence program.  

The Legislative Audit Commission subpoenaed seven former Quinn administration officials connected to the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative. They're due to start appearing before the bipartisan committee that oversees state audits Wednesday. Organizers say testimony could take all day.  

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Election 2014
3:25 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Toxic Ads Scorch, Spur Defamation Suit

A screenshot of the "Daisy" ad that aired in September, 1964. It's widely believed to be the first attack ad, and a political game-changer.
Credit Daisy Ad screenshot

It was 50 years ago last month that a new type of campaign commercial aired -- one devised to make President Lyndon Johnson's opponent look bad, rather than to extol his own virtues. "Daisy" only aired once, it was so controversial: the scene of a girl pulling petals off a flower crossed into one of an exploding bomb.  That commercial changed the political landscape. Any inhibitions campaigns may have had in 1964 have long since vanished. Now, negative ads are the norm. It's gotten to the point that a candidate for State Representative this week filed a lawsuit over it.

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Election 2014
12:37 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

A Look At Tight IL Legislative Races

Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

As election day nears, legislative races are hotly contested in some parts of the state. We preview those and look at the odds of a Republican take-over in the Illinois House or Senate. We spoke with the Daily Herald's Mike Riopell for this interview:

To read Riopell's story about legislative races, CLICK HERE.

 

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Election 2014
4:40 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Latino Voter Drive; Time Left For Procrastinators

Martin Torres has lead the Latino Policy Forum's voter registration drive this fall.
Credit Latino Policy Forum website

As candidates hustle for voters' support, interest groups are working to drum up numbers of their own, with voter registration drives. The deadline is tomorrow.

Martin Torres has been all over Chicago lately, holding voter registration events. It's the Latino Policy Forum's goal to sign up 5,000 voters.

He says Latinos make up 16-percent of the state's population, but the community's political influence hasn't kept up.

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Statehouse
6:18 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Illinois Voter Registration Ends Tuesday

Credit Macon County

Election officials say there are two days left for regular voter registration ahead of Nov. 4.  

Illinois residents who have a driver's license or state ID can register online through the State Board of Elections website through Tuesday.  

Starting Wednesday, voters have a chance to participate in ``grace period'' registration until Nov. 3.

The process will be a little different for those registering late. Residents must present two forms of identification to election officials in person. One of these forms must include a current address.  

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Election 2014
1:27 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Gov. Quinn: No Regional Minimum Wage

"West Wing" actor Martin Sheen, left, wades into real-life politics, as he stumps for Gov. Pat Quinn a month before the election.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

First, the President held a $50,000 a head fundraiser for Pat Quinn.  This week, First Lady Michelle Obama and Gloria Steinem are scheduled to be in Illinois to stump for him.  Over the weekend, it was actor Martin Sheen's turn to campaign alongside the Democratic governor.

According to the trade magazine "Variety," Martin Sheen made as much as $300,000 an episode for his role as Democratic Pres. Jeb Bartlet in the show "West Wing."

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Statehouse
6:42 am
Fri October 3, 2014

GOP Eyes Voter Rolls Amid Close Illinois Campaign

Credit wttw Chicago Tonight

 Illinois Republicans are mounting what they say is an unprecedented and costly campaign to purge ineligible people from voter lists and recruit their own election judges before November. 

It's a sign of how close the contest is expected to be for control of President Barack Obama's home state.  
Republicans have allocated $1 million in Cook County alone to examine voter rolls and recruit 5,000 GOP election judges to watch over polling places in Democrat-heavy Chicago. Efforts to go through voter rolls are underway in two counties east of St. Louis.  

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150% of capacity
11:38 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clock Ticking On Illinois Prison Crowding

Credit flickr/dnak

A watchdog group says whoever wins the race for governor is going to face difficult choices about Illinois’ prisons. The group on Wednesday is laying out what it’s calling a “roadmap” for overhauling crime and punishment — and wants to know where the candidates stand.

The non-partisan John Howard Association says decades of “tough on crime” policies have led Illinois to lock up 49,000 people in a system designed to hold 32,000.

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Election 2014
2:23 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Bruce Rauner, Before He Was A Candidate (Author Interview)

Credit Chicago Magazine

Though Gov. Pat Quinn remains largely private about his personal life, he has been in the public eye for decades -- there were unsuccessful bids for treasurer, Secretary of State and the U.S. Senate, as well as successful ones for Illinois Treasurer, Lieutenant Governor and, most recently, for Governor.

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Carbon Emissions Cuts
1:06 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Clearing The Air On Clean Air Plan

Environmental advocates met at the state capitol to thank Gov. Quinn for his support of the federal proposal requiring states to curb carbon emissions from coal power plants, and asked that he put an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Credit Amanda Vinicky

Illinois regulators are continuing to develop a plan to reduce the state's output of greenhouse gasses. Environmentalists say they have the Pat Quinn to thank. Or do they?

Illinois has had clean energy targets for years, but this latest effort isn't part of that. Rather, the state's Environmental Protection Agency and commerce commission are preparing for a proposed federal rule. It would reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from coal-fired power plants.

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Politics
6:26 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Durbin, Oberweis Debate Background Checks for Guns

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis have staked out opposing positions on whether to require universal background checks for firearms purchases.  

Oberweis is trying to unseat Durbin in November. They met Monday before the Chicago Tribune editorial board.  

Durbin says mandatory background checks would help keep convicted felons and mentally unstable people from getting guns. He says a federal law would reduce violence in places like Chicago, where police say felons get weapons from other states with weaker laws.  

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Elexction 2014
8:40 am
Mon September 29, 2014

Retirement Plan At Center Of Dispute In Ill. Treasurer's Race

State Rep. and former House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, and Democratic Senator Mike Frerichs of Champaign
Credit campaign photos

Last month, Champaign Senator and Illinois treasurer candidate Mike Frerichs found himself on the defensive after opponent Tom Cross blamed him for costing Champaign County millions of dollars more than a decade ago, when he served as county auditor.  He and the Republican challenger are at odds over an early retirement program.

Cross (R-Oswego) contends the plan, passed more than a decade ago by the Champaign County Board, backfired, while Frerichs calls those allegations ‘lies’.

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Election 2014
7:34 am
Sat September 27, 2014

Mike Lawrence: The Compelling Challenge Of Rehabbing Illinois

Mike Lawrence
Credit IGPA

The following is an op-ed written by Mike Lawrence for the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois.  Lawrence was a longtime journalist, Press Secretary for Gov. Jim Edgar and later directed the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute.

Gov. Pat Quinn and Bruce Rauner are having a brawl -- trash-talk and all. So, it's less likely with every gouge and grunt, that either will focus on rescuing Illinois until after the election -- if then.

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Election 2014
8:34 pm
Thu September 25, 2014

Quinn, Rauner Share Hazy Stance On Decriminalizing Pot

Credit Thinkprogress.org

It's hard to find common ground between Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican businessman Bruce Rauner, but when it comes to decriminalizing marijuana, they're on the same page. Both have a stance that's well, hazy.

"It's worthy of looking at," Quinn said about the idea of reducing penalties for people caught with small amounts of pot."It's basically something I think the legislature should have hearings on. I think a lot of people should have input on. I do think that it's worthy of consideration."

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