Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It’s campaign time – ’14 cycle begins

I didn’t venture down to Springfield early Monday, although I wish I could have. For there was the occurrence of a key moment in an election cycle.

The ticket of Tio Hardiman/Brunell Donald-Kyei filed its nominating petitions Monday so it could challenge Pat Quinn/Paul Vallas come March 18. Photograph by The African Spectrum
The filing of nominating petitions; the documents required of any candidate to show that he has any kind of support that makes him (or her) worthy of a spot on the March 18 primary election ballot.

EVEN IN MY absence, however, the usual spectacle took place – hundreds of people lined up outside the offices of the Illinois State Board of Elections to submit their petitions in hopes that they can be the first to file for their desired office so as to qualify for the top slot on the ballot.

In some cases, the actual candidates came out to wait their turn in line. While others sent their political operatives to do the dirty work of bearing with wintry-like weather.

It seems this year, there were a few people who camped out beginning last week to ensure they were they absolute first people in line when the state Board of Elections offices opened at 8 a.m. Which is always the case. I’ve seen it in the past – only the names have changed, ever so slightly.

According to the Chicago Tribune, they were people who worked for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. Personally, I’d have been more impressed if Madigan himself had shown up to file his petitions.

William Brady gets credit for filing ...
INSOFAR AS THE Republican brawl for the gubernatorial nomination, it seems that William Brady and Kirk Dillard to file the petitions that their campaign aides put together for them.

While Bruce Rauner sent aides to do it for him, and Dan Rutherford sent Steve Kim – his running mate for lieutenant governor, to do the paperwork that gets the two of them on the ballot.

Since all were on hand when the Elections Board office opened, there will be the lottery sometime next month to determine who actually gets the top ballot spot (which according to political superstition can be worth as much as 5 percent of the vote).

Won’t it stink for the candidate who froze his tushie off on Monday, only to lose the lottery and wind up last or next to last?

... own petitions, as did Kirk Dillard
THERE’S ALSO THE Democratic Party brawl, so to speak, for governor.

Tio Hardiman filed his petitions to get on the ballot, meaning that Gov. Pat Quinn will have an actual challenger for the primary. But now we know the actual name of Hardiman’s lieutenant governor running mate.

She’s Brunell Donald-Kyei, an attorney who according to the Capitol Fax newsletter once worked in the Public Guardian’s office before going into private practice, where she was the attorney for Eugene Mullins – a friend of former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger who was found guilty of corruption charges for allegedly taking kickbacks related to county contracts.

We can joke about a possible Paul Vallas/Donald-Kyei debate, although it probably says a lot that the State Board of Elections website botched her name. We may have some voters searching for “Donald Brunell” on the ballot.

THAT IS IF they don’t just ignore the Hardiman/Donald-Kyei slot and cast their vote for Pat Quinn.

I’m focusing primarily on the governor’s races for now, because I suspect they’re about the extent that anybody is paying attention to political campaigns at this point.

Other elections will get their day in the sun, although it probably will be a cloudy, overcast day and few will pay attention. It always causes me to feel dismay the degree to which many people don’t pay attention to their elected officials – then want to rant and rage when their ineptitude comes through.

Although I found it intriguing to see state Rep. Derrick Smith, D-Chicago, filed his petitions Monday for re-election. Smith, of course, was the freshman legislator whose colleagues kicked him out of the Legislature when he was indicted on federal charges that amount to soliciting bribes.

SMITH: The political thing that won't go
BUT SMITH GOT himself re-elected in the very next election cycle. And it seems the U.S. Attorney’s office is taking so long to get around to Smith’s trial that he may well finish out his current term and get himself picked to another!

For those who are repulsed at the notion, his conviction would eventually remove him from office. But the Smith shadow will continue to cover the General Assembly.

It is why political observer geeks such as myself find days like Monday to be something special. It literally is a day when everybody who wants to run for office has to make their physical presence in Springfield – or at the County Building downtown if their desired dream post is a Cook County government position.

It’s not quite the same as those people who line up to ensure they get any seat for a rock concert or major sporting event. Even though it ought to be regarded as more important -- considering the influence these people have to dictate how the tax dollars generated from our incomes actually gets spent.


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