Friday, March 12, 2010

It is a wasted opportunity if Dems listen to Daley and back Turner for Lt. Governor

Mayor Richard M. Daley is usually the last politico who will make a public endorsement when an electoral office is up for grabs. So it kind of surprises me to learn that Daley this week made public who he thinks should get the Democratic Party’s nomination for lieutenant governor.

Of course, Daley went for the safe choice. The predictable choice. It’s Art Turner.

HE THINKS THE state representative from Chicago’s West Side ought to get the spot because he finished second in the six-candidate primary election held Feb. 2. In all fairness, Turner got about 20 percent of the votes cast in that primary – which makes him about as legitimate a nominee as Bill Brady, who took the GOP gubernatorial nomination with roughly the same percentage.

But that was the screwed up set of primaries – the voters who didn’t know anything about any of the candidates picked the ones who had enough personal wealth to get their names (if not any actual information about them) known to the public.

Hence, Democrats got the Chicago small business owner with some tawdry stories in his life saga. And the Republicans got the 27-year-old kid who may someday live up to his resume – even though he doesn’t yet.

When Scott Lee Cohen decided to back away from the Democratic nomination, it left the vacancy that the State Central Committee will have to resolve some time this spring.

FOR DALEY, IT is merely a matter of taking the second-place winner. He doesn’t want much more thought put into the process – perhaps because he’s afraid that his Democratic colleagues will screw things up even worse.

It is possible, although personally I think the people who should be griping are the Republican partisans. Democrats are going to get a chance at bolstering their candidate slate for the Nov. 2 general election by filling a “slot,” while Republicans are stuck with Jason Plummer of Edwardsville paired up with Bill Brady of Bloomington – a top-of-ticket that elicits nothing more than yawns among Chicago-area voters who comprise two-thirds of the state’s population.

Because I honestly think that if Democratic committeemen do nothing more than pick Turner on the grounds that he finished second, they are blowing a big opportunity.

And no, I don’t have the racial hangup that some people do about giving the nomination to Turner, which would mean that four of the six Democrats running for statewide constitutional offices would be African-American.

IT’S JUST THAT I would like to see something resembling a variety among the candidates, and this is a chance to enhance the ticket – which right now consists of two white Irish types, a Greek guy (let’s not forget Alexi Giannoulias) and three African-American officials – including long-time Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.

I know that some political observers think the Democrats need to enhance the diversity of their ticket by picking someone who lives outside the Chicago area and who can appeal to the Anglo vote. Which is a concept that strikes me as being ridiculous.

How is “diversity” truly enhanced by picking a rural, white guy?

So what is it I want? Especially now that I am no longer even willing to pretend that I am a candidate for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor?

I’D LIKE TO see someone with a strong sense of ethicity. Giannoulias’ presence is nice in that regard, but there could always be more. And I’m not necessarily trying to promote the political future of a Latino government official.

It is with that thought in mind that I continue to take seriously the idea of Raja Krishnamoorthi as the lieutenant governor nominee. His Indian background would truly be a first in Illinois politics and he comes from Peoria – which adds something for those people who absolutely want a downstate Illinois address among the state government candidates.

He ran for the Democratic nomination for Illinois comptroller, losing to state Rep. David Miller, D-Lynwood. But his loss was a narrow one, not quite as close as Brady versus Kirk Dillard, but pretty close.

If we’re going to take the logic that a Second Place finisher ought to be entitled to something when a vacancy occurs, then Krishnamoorthi (who gained positive attention during the primary) is as legitimate a choice as Turner.

BESIDES, THE PRESENCE of Krishnamoorthi would go a long way toward undermining one lame point that Republicans are going to try to make throughout the primary – they are the party of ethnic diversity because their slate includes an Asian and a Latino.

It’s true.

The Republican running for Illinois attorney general is of Korean ethnicity, while the GOPer running for Illinois secretary of state originates from Honduras and also lived in Panama (even though he is not really an immigrant because he has had U.S. citizenship his whole life because of his parents).

My problem with this “logic” is that these particular candidates were picked to fill slots on the GOP ticket where none of the so-called “legitimate” Republicans were willing to take on either White or Lisa Madigan. I believe if Republicans thought either of those officials was vulnerable, they would have never allowed an ethnic candidate to get near the ballot.

REPUBLICANS WANT TO claim they have an Asian and a Latino? Democrats could respond by saying they have an Indian and a Greek, and ones who have more legitimate experience than the ethnic types trotted out by the Republican Party.

In short, this is an opportunity that I fear will be wasted by political people who can’t think beyond picking a legislator just because he has been friendly in the past with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.


EDITOR’S NOTES: For those who care, this is probably one of the few times that “Hizzoner, Jr.,” and “Mr. Speaker” (,0,4994427.story) agreed on something.

I probably am better qualified to be lieutenant governor than 99.99 percent of the people who seriously bothered ( to submit an application to the Illinois Democratic Party’s state central committee.


Anonymous said...

Rock on with that. I like this Raja guy too.

Anonymous said...

I just received an email from Art Turner's campaign asking for contributions. I suggest people ask how the money will be spent before giving. A look at the last few years of his D2's suggest Turner has been paying himself and family members tens of thousands of dollars for unspecified expenses and living the high life off his campaign fund. This stuff may fly in an obscure Chicago State Rep race, but I don't want another LG nominee forced to resign.
These are a few things reporters might ask about if they decide to make a small effort this time.

$11,000.00 Turner, L, Arthur 2102 S Avers Chicago, IL 60623
2/4/2008 - election day - expenses

$900.00 Turner, L, Arthur 2102 S Avers Chicago, IL 60623
2/4/2008 - Campaign election day - stipend payout

$4,700.00 Turner Arthur 3849 W Ogden ave
suite2 Chicago, IL 60623 12/31/2008 - Petty Cash

(That would make over $16,000 in cash for unspecified expenses in a five day period)

$6,563.00 Southwest Airlines 11/7/2008 - inauguration

$809.35 VIP Limousine Services Washington, DC 1/21/2009 - Inauguration

$500.00 Hyatt on Capitol Hill 1/28/2009 - Inauguration

$314.08 City Water Light and Power 700 N. 9th St. Sprinfield, IL 62702 1/30/2008 - utilities
(He wasn't running statewide that year so how are regular utility payments in Springfield a campaign expense?)

$600.00 Turner, Aaron 2102 S. Avers Chicago, IL 60623
5/31/2008 - Services Rendered

$300.00 Turner II, Arthur L. 2102 S Avers Chicago, IL 60623 8/10/2007 - services rendered

$200.00 Turner, Jasper 2102 S. Avers Chicago, IL 60623 8/22/2008 - services rendered

(All of the above people named Turner living at the same address received many other payments)

Monroe Anderson said...

I agree. Great out of the box thinking.