Mike Frerichs

Democrat Day 2015
Brian Mackey / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say they're in an "epic" struggle with the state's new Republican governor. The party met in Springfield Thursday for its annual fundraising breakfast and State Fair rally.

The afternoon rally began with a tongue-in-cheek thank-you to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"Why am I here to thank Bruce Rauner?" asked state Rep. Lou Lang, from Skokie. "Look around you — the Democratic Party has never been as energized or as organized as it is right now."

Mike Frerichs at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois Treasurer Mike Frerichs is keeping secret the results of an investigation into his predecessor.

Former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford saw his political career collapse last year when an employee accused him of harassment and requiring political work.

Rutherford commissioned an investigation and pledged to release the results, but then backtracked.

Bruce Rauner at Inauguration 2015
Brian Mackey/WUIS

Click above to view a slideshow of images from the 2015 Illinois Inaugural Ceremony.

Comptroller website

 A measure has been filed that would prompt a special election in 2016 for Illinois Comptroller. The vacancy created in the office following the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka in December exposed what some say is a weak spot in Illinois Constitution, as Topinka was set to begin a new, four-year term. The legislation would put in place a new method that would limit the length of gubernatorial appointments to fill such openings.

ilga.gov

Legislators will be back in Springfield Thursday for a special session. They're set to debate holding a special election for the office of Comptroller. But other ideas are on the table too.

The stir over what to do about the Comptroller's office began when, just before she was to be sworn in for a second term, Judy Baar Topinka suddenly passed away.

Next week, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner will appoint Leslie Munger, a businesswoman and failed candidate for state representative, to fill Topinka's spot for the next four years.

Illinois' next state treasurer won the Nov. 4 election
by 9,225 votes _ the third-closest statewide race since at least 1900.
 
 Democrat Michael Frerichs  beat Republican Tom Cross 48 percent to
47.8 percent out of 3.5 million votes cast. Records collected and analyzed by
The Associated Press show that the 0.261 percentage-point difference ranks it
behind only the 198-2 race for governor and 1952 campaign for secretary of
state.
 
 The Illinois State Board of Elections formally declared Frerichs the winner at

WUIS

Democratic state Senator Mike Frerichs appears to have won the race to be the next state treasurer.

If the current totals hold, this will go down in history as one of Illinois' narrowest general election victories.

According to the independent Illinois Election Data website, Frerichs won by fewer than 10,000 votes — a fraction of a percent of the 3.5 million votes cast.

No matter, a win is a win, and Republican state Rep. Tom Cross conceded the race.

Senator Mark Kirk facebook

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is requesting a federal inquiry into what he's calling ``voting irregularities'' and ``mishandling of ballots'' during this month's election.
 
In a letter dated Monday and obtained by The Associated Press, the Illinois
Republican asks U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon to ``secure'' questioned ballots
and ensure proper handling.
 
Kirk references allegations raised last week by a lawyer for GOP candidate for
treasurer Tom Cross. Among them is that elections officials couldn't account for
all mail-in and provisional ballots.
 

State Week logo
Dan LoGrasso / WUIS

A look ahead at the upcoming Veto Session, the aftermath of the results in the Governor's race, and the race for Treasurer is still too close to call.

Race For Ill. Treasurer Remains Undecided

Nov 11, 2014
PeoriaPublicRadio

There are still thousands of votes yet to be counted in the race for Illinois State Treasurer. The contest between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs is shaping up to be the closest in Illinois history. Currently, Cross holds a 500 vote lead over Frerichs -- one one-thousandth of a percentage point, and still too close to call.

But Cross' campaign alleges some voters who cast provisional ballots voted more than once. Cross' campaign manager Kevin Artl says his team saw the same names coming up twice in lists provided by the Cook County Clerk's office.

PeoriaPublicRadio

The race for state treasurer remains too close to call days after Illinois voters went to the polls.
 
Both Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs remain hopeful that uncounted absentee and provisional votes break their way.
 
Cross led Frerichs by 21,000 votes out of 3.4 million cast when The Associated Press stopped tabulating the vote count on Wednesday evening.
 
Cross spokesman Kevin Artl contends that Frerichs is not getting enough votes
still being tallied to make up the difference.
 

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’.

Tom Cross for Treasurer campaign

Tom Cross of Oswego has spent more than 20 years as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives.  A former prosecutor, for over a decade he was the House Republican Leader.  

Now Cross, 56, wants to be state Treasurer.  He won the GOP nomination and faces Democratic state Senator  Mike Frerichs of Champaign.  The position is responsible for investing state dollars.

Cross said he feels current Treasurer Dan Rutherford has done "a nice job" streamlining the office and it's budget.  But he said he can take the office in a different direction.

Amanda Vinicky

Even as states like Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin are known as political battlegrounds and bellwethers, Illinois has the reputation for being a solid "blue" state. Illinois sends double as many Democrats to Washington as it does Congressional Republicans. The state legislature tips heavily in favor of Democrats, who hold veto-proof majorities. And it has been more than a decade since a Republican last sat in Illinois' governor's seat.

ilga.gov

  The Democratic candidate for state treasurer is catching flak from Republicans, who are critical of his time as a local official. But Mike Frerichs' (D-Champaign) campaign says Republican opponent Tom Cross (R-Oswego) is playing "revisionist history."

Frerichs, currently a state senator, was elected to the Champaign County board in 2000, then became the county's auditor in 2002. Republicans point out that during Frerichs' time as auditor, the County Board implemented an early retirement program to save money.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

A state senator and candidate for higher office on Thursday sought some attention for giving up a portion of his pay. This comes after Illinois lawmakers — for the first time in years — did not vote to symbolically cut their own pay. This form of salary self-denial has become popular in Illinois, but its roots are much deeper than that.

The base salary for a member of the Illinois General Assembly is $67,836 a year.

During the Great Recession, when Illinois’ finances were tanking, lawmakers decided to give some of that back.

ilga.gov

Illinois lawmakers have long debated whether to combine the offices of comptroller and treasurer. Both candidates for treasurer are competing to one-up each other over whether the office should even exist.

  When state treasurer Dan Rutherford announced a run for governor, the Republican left his seat wide open. Two GOP candidates are vying for that party’s nomination on Tuesday.

Former House minority leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) left his position in the fall to run for treasurer. He's promising to use a new tool to force a balanced budget: The threat of suing the General Assembly and the governor.

Cross says having that card in his back pocket will make sure the state doesn’t spend more than it takes in, like the state's constitution mandates.

Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey/WUIS

The Illinois State Board of Elections is putting a stop to a practice that's allowed political campaigns to hide some of their spending.

This is a story of new technology coming under the purview of older campaign finance laws.

At least two major candidates this year have been paying staff through outside payroll companies: Democrat Mike Frerichs, who's running for treasurer, uses ADP; and Republican Bruce Rauner, running for governor, uses Paylocity.*