Extra: Biz Group Boosts Dunkin with $960,000 TV Ad Buy

by David Ormsby

(Chicago) – Illinois' biggest business advocate group has jumped into the effort to help Chicago Democrat State Rep. Ken Dunkin hold his seat against a tough primary challenge.

The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, which last month formed an Independent Expenditure PAC, has disclosed an $960,842 TV ad buy on Dunkin's behalf.

Dunkin, who has allied himself with Governor Bruce Rauner, faces a fierce challenge from a former aide to Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Juliana Stratton. Stratton's campaign is being heavily financed by organized labor groups opposed to Rauner, including AFSCME Council 31 and SEIU Healthcare IL IN.

The fresh spending by the Illinois Chamber pushes the Dunkin-Stratton contest over $4 million.

Moreover, a source tells The Illinois Observer that Stratton's allies are seeking to raise more money to counter the business group's new TV ad onslaught


On Monday, February 22, over 30 representatives of Chicago ADAPT and friends from at least 7 concerned organizations protested at Representative Ken Dunkin’s office at 2059 East 75th St. in Chicago.

Chicago ADAPT demanded Representative Dunkin support a fair contract for child care and in-home service providers as well as other public employees, support full funding of services and progressive revenue, vote in favor of Illinois House Bill 4351 (a bill protecting in-home services for people with disabilities and seniors), and to meet with Chicago ADAPT Wednesday, March 16 to continue dialogue.

Shelly Berry, a constituent in Dunkin's district, remarked: "Representative Dunkin has turned his backs on us and we demand an apology for his recent remarks insulting the disabled community and betraying the public trust."

Chants of betrayal and demands for representing the people and not corporate interests were apparently unheard by Representative Dunkin, as he refused to acknowledge the crowd assembled at his office doorstep.

Chicago ADAPT is a grassroots disability rights group dedicated to the civil rights, independence, and integration of people with disabilities



e; Budget Impasse Hurts Hospitals

by IO News Staff

(Chicago) – A conservative Super PAC allied and partially funded by Governor Bruce Rauner disclosed on Tuesday more than $500,000 in TV ad spending to bolster the GOP primary opponent to State Senator Sam McCann (R-Plainview).

Liberty Principles PAC, which received $1.8 million in January from Rauner’s Turnaround Illinois PAC, reported on Tuesday that it had purchased $522,859 in TV advertising on March 7 to support McCann foe Illinois state trooper Bryce Benton.

The PAC, directed by radio personality Dan Proft, disclosed on Friday, March 4, that it had purchased $570,452 in TV ads on February 26.

Proft has so far spent $2,479,025.26 in behalf of Benton, primarily TV ads.

Despite a tsunami of money being spent against the incumbent and the wave of negative attack ads launched by Proft, McCann has still kept his head above water, a poll shows.

A February 23 survey commissioned by The Illinois Observer and provided on February 26 to subscribers of our e-newsletter, The Insider, (subscribe here) of 523 likely Republican voters shows that McCann leads Benton by 14-points, 43.8%-29.8%. Meanwhile, 26.4% were undecided.

The automated poll, conducted by Chicago-based Ogden & Fry, had a +/- 4.37% margin of error.

The survey also shows that McCann's job approval rating matches his head-to-head support, 43.8%, while his disapproval stands at 33.3%. 22.9% were undecided.

McCann's support against Benton, who has been endorsed by Rauner, is nearly identical to the backing he drew from voters over the summer when another political unknown, Sangamon County assistant state's attorney Steve McClure, 31, was mulling a primary challenge.

A July 25 Ogden & Fry survey commissioned by The Insider of 737 likely Republican primary voters found that McCann, 46, who was first elected in 2010, led McClure 45.3-5.8%. 48.8% were undecided.

While McCann's support since July has remained relatively steady, Rauner's has not.

In the July 25 poll, 60% of GOP voters in McCann's conservative district approved of Rauner's job performance; 18.9% disapproved. And 21.1% were undecided. But in our new survey, only 53.2% of GOP voters approve of the governor's job performance, a seven-point drop, and 29.3% disapprove, a 10-point jump. Undecided voters have shrunk to 17.6%.

In 2014, Rauner beat Governor Pat Quinn in McCann's district, 61.6%-32.5%.

The heavy spending against McCann hints that he is proving to be a more resilient candidate than either Proft or Rauner had considered possible.

Stay tuned.

A1: $34,500.00 in 6 contribs to Sam McCann for Senate.

Trib IL CampaignCash (@ILCampaignCashMarch 9, 2016

BUDGET IMPASSE HURTS HOSPITALS... "Sixteen million dollars. That’s how much the state owes four southern Illinois hospitals, including St. Elizabeth’s in Belleville, according to hospital executive James Dover. He estimates that figure represents 10 to 15 percent of his operating budget over a six month period.

“It’s huge,” said Dover, president and CEO of the Southern Illinois Division of Hospital Sisters Health System, which is headquartered in Springfield. “We’ll never turn away a patient, but what other business would continue to take care of people while the state says ‘Sorry, we’re not going to pay you because we failed to pass a budget?’”


Dover said the hospitals he oversees haven’t been paid by the state in six months. About $9 million of what they’re owed are reimbursements from the state for the care of Medicaid patients. Another $7 million is for the care of state workers and retirees." ... Read more here...

SUN-TIMES HITS RAUNER OVER DUNKIN... "State Rep. Ken Dunkin’s South Side district votes overwhelmingly Democratic every two years, which is why it should vote overwhelmingly against him on Tuesday.

On the line for Democrats in Illinois is the ability to counter an ideologically-driven Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, who is holding state government hostage to an anti-union agenda at odds with political reality. On the line for everybody in Illinois, regardless of party affiliation, is the ability to move beyond a kind of ineffectually coercive style of politics, relentlessly practiced by Rauner, that is doing permanent damage to Chicago and the state.

A vote for Dunkin in the Democratic primary is a vote for Rauner at his most divisive, as he continues to pursue a failed strategy to win a war he can’t win. It is a vote for continued paralysis in Springfield." ... Read more here...

Bravo, Sun-Times, bravo! Editorial: Saving Ken Dunkin, Governor, won't save Illinois | Chicago Sun-Times

— Brendan Reilly (@AldReillyMarch 9, 2016

RAUNER: MADIGAN "NOT DOING HIS JOB"... "Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesdayblasted House Democrats for leaving town during the budget impasse and said House Speaker Mike Madigan needs to do his job.

“Speaker Madigan right now is not doing his job,” Rauner said at a news conference. “He’s not here in town.”

“This is the time for the regular session. This is not the time for vacations.”

House Democrats resume their session April 4. The Illinois Senate was meeting Tuesday.

“A month? A month? That’s wrong,” Rauner said of the House schedule.

Rauner has come under increasing criticism for the budget impasse which has gutted many social service programs and put the pinch on public universities across the state, as well as many of their students dependent upon MAP grants." ... Read more here...

CULLERTON TO RAUNER: NOT SO FAST ON SCHOOL FUNDING... "Gov. Bruce Rauner appeared before reporters Tuesday to criticize House Speaker Michael Madiganfor putting his chamber in recess until April 4, but he spared some words for Senate President John Cullerton, accusing him of holding up education funding over a bailout of Chicago Public Schools.

“We cannot let Illinois schools be held hostage for a Chicago school bailout,” Rauner said during a news conference in his Capitol office.

The governor repeated his call for the General Assembly to send him a “clean” school funding bill with “no games.”

Not so fast, Cullerton’s office replied.

Before moving ahead on Rauner’s proposal, Cullerton wants a district-by-district breakdown of what it would mean for state funding levels. Education officials are putting that together, and it should be ready in a couple weeks, according to Cullerton’s office." ...Read more here...

OFFICIALS: BUDGET IMPASSE HITS CHAMPAIGN-URBANA... "Friday night, during The Round Table: Illinois State Budget Impasse event, a very clear narrative emerged: a narrative of vulnerability, power and civic engagement here in Champaign-Urbana.

The Round Table was hosted by The Accord, in collaboration with the Campus Faculty Association (CFA). Speakers included State Representative Carol Ammons, State Senator Scott Bennett, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UIUC Edward Feser, Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing, Non-Tenure Faculty Coalition (NTFC) Local #6546 President Shawn Gilmore, and Champaign Councilmember Will Kyles. The speakers discussed before a packed room how the budget impasse has affected education and Champaign-Urbana communities.

To date, Governor Bruce Rauner has delayed or blocked funding for disabilities, the elderly, community colleges, universities, and students. While the budget has been mishandled for decades by both Republicans and Democrats, the budget crisis is not the fault of these civil programs or of taxpayers.

“You’re still paying taxes. Money is still coming in. Let’s talk about how to distribute it,” said Bennett." ... Read more here...

SHELDON: DCFS HAS SUFFERED FROM "REVOLVING DOOR OF DIRECTORS"..."When I came to Illinois one year ago to lead the Department of Children and Family Services, I began a deep-dive to identify some of the department’s biggest, most-pressing issues, as it clearly was an agency under intense media and public scrutiny.

A revolving door of directors left the agency without clear direction or priorities. Intense media scrutiny put a real-life face on our failures and spotlighted some of the biggest challenges facing Illinois’ child welfare system. Eroding credibility created an atmosphere of doubt and mistrust among the public, our private agency partners, elected officials, public guardians, the courts and law enforcement.

Yet, I also observed an experienced and dedicated workforce passionate about children and families and a private sector willing to embrace change." ..