Where do things stand in the mayoral campaign as we enter the first full week of the new year? With the same nonsense talking points that created ridiculous campaign rhetoric during the old year!
|EMANUEL: A Tuesday court date|
Tuesday is the day that a Cook County judge is expected to issue a ruling as to whether a Board of Election Commissioners ruling that says Rahm Emanuel can be on the Feb. 22 mayoral election ballot was right or wrong.
NOT THAT THE ruling will bring any finality to the issue. The people who are determined to dump Emanuel are determined to take this on Wednesday to an Illinois Appellate Courts panel if they lose, while Emanuel’s campaign will have their attorneys go to the appeals court – if by chance the judge rules that the elections officials screwed up and he should NOT be regarded as a legitimate Chicago resident for purposes of this election cycle.
Now don’t take this as a prediction as to what the judge will do. But I won’t be surprised if the next step to the appeals court (located at LaSalle and Randolph streets across from the Thompson Center state government building) is taken by Burt Odelson and the people who want Rahm gone.
Keep in mind that at one time, the rulings of elections boards were considered sacrosanct. No one could appeal them in any court of law.
While the latter part has changed, the courts still tend to respect the rulings that these panels make. So the obligation is fully on the people who are challenging Emanuel to show exactly where the Chicago elections board screwed up, and how that screw-up would have resulted in Emanuel clearly not being fit to be on the ballot.
A MERE TECHNICAL screw-up, in and of itself, isn’t enough to boot Rahm.
I actually found a Chicago News Cooperative report about a legal brief filed Friday by attorneys on Emanuel’s behalf to be interesting. They argued that the elections board spent so much time on the Emanuel case compared to typical ballot challenges that that factor alone shows how careful they were in reaching their decision about Emanuel.
Will those three days of testimony, including nearly 11 hours of Emanuel himself on the stand, make the process legitimate in the eyes of the court? It might.
So even if there’s a lot of back and forth in coming weeks due to court rulings (he’s on, then he’s off, then he’s on again, then off again), I won’t be surprised if in the end, he winds up on again, and any votes cast for him on Feb. 22 being legitimate ballots that count.
NOW IF THIS were another candidate, he’d probably have right to be concerned that all his time was being spent in court – instead of out campaigning and trying to sway voters. Yet Emanuel has the advantages of name recognition and a head-start on fundraising that he’s probably the one person who can get away with spending so much time hanging around courthouses for word of his campaign’s fate.
If anything, being in court so much may save him from saying something stupid (or showing that famous temper) on the campaign trail.
That’s not the case for his opposition, where Gery Chico on Monday made a point of boasting of the $2.5 million his campaign has already raised (which could make him competitive with Emanuel). He also has another 47 fundraising events scheduled during the upcoming month.
He also boasts of the fact that 97 percent of all his contributions came from people who live in the Chicago area (including suburbs), which lets him take his own dig along the lines of Carol Moseley-Braun’s less-subtle charge that Emanuel is an “outsider” being helped by “outsider” Bill Clinton.
AND WHAT OF Moseley-Braun? That fundraising factor makes it clear why she was eager to be the lone “major” African-American candidate in this campaign. It seems that seeking donations from people to whom that factor is important means that in a large field, no one candidate will get that much money.
Even Moseley-Braun herself estimates a $5 million fund in total to get through the Feb. 22 election and an April 5 runoff against Emanuel. And no, she hasn’t raised it yet.
Chico already is half-way to Moseley-Braun’s desired goal and is likely to exceed her, as will Rahm.
So making an appearance with Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., at Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition on Saturday and with Rev. James Meeks at his Roseland neighborhood church on Sunday may have helped with unity. Although her initial insistence on Monday on following the lead of Jason Plummer and making an issue out of refusing to make public her tax returns brought back the memories of "haughty Carol" who thinks she is better than the rest of us.
|VAN PELT-WATKINS: A year wiser?|
So Patricia, if you ever read this, Happy Belated Birthday. A part of me hopes you get a delayed gift of many thousands of votes cast for you on Feb. 22.
Because in some ways, I think that would be the perfect screwy ending to what is shaping up to be a twisted election cycle for ’11.