Friday, April 20, 2018

Brown wants to be mayor; can she win 2019 election before being indicted?

It’s not unheard of for someone under criminal suspicion by federal investigators to run for government office. Heck, the taint of a possible indictment doesn’t even always scare voters off from casting a ballot in support of someone.
Is this for real?

Yet I suspect that Dorothy Brown, the Cook County Circuit Court clerk who now has visions of running for mayor come the 2019 election cycle, may well go into the political history books for an over-bloated sense of self-importance.

FEDERAL INVESTIGATORS HAVE long focused their attention on Brown’s behavior as a court clerk and political official, even though as of yet she has not been indicted for anything.

Yet the reports have been intense enough that her name always gets tossed about whenever political corruption is the topic of discussion.

So should Brown, who has been a part of the local government for nearly two decades, seriously be thinking of herself as a challenger to Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he seeks re-election come the Feb. 26 municipal elections?

My guess is she figures there’s so many other challengers (it could be as many as one dozen in the non-partisan election format) that she has as good a chance as anybody else in finishing in second place – which would put her up against Emanuel in an April 2 run-off election (provided that Rahm doesn’t get a clear majority in February).
Just a couple of past politicos who ran ...

BUT COULD BROWN, who some say solicited cash and gifts from her employees – in exchange for promotions, actually overcome the political stink of suspicion and win anything? For her part, Brown says people are lying to federal investigators about her. Or is this a way of bloating her ego in the months prior to the federal government handing down an indictment?

Would this ultimately be the “achievement” for which Brown will be remembered on political scene – the candidate who got indicted in mid-election cycle!

Of course, there have been many names in our political past who wound up having to deal with the suspicion of criminal allegations being floated against them.
... for office with taint of indictment

Rod Blagojevich, whose name cropped up in the news recently when the Supreme Court of the United States rejected a final attempt at appealing his conviction, had suspicion and the FBI against him when he sought re-election in 2006.

YET HE MANAGED to win a second term in office by dumping so much rhetorical crud (including some outright slander) against the reputation of Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka. It wasn’t until more than two years later that the U.S. Attorney’s office came down with the indictment (which actually was motivated by his actions in the days following the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama).

Blagojevich was in position to pick Obama’s replacement from Illinois in the U.S. Senate, and prosecutors claim he blatantly solicited payoffs from people interested in getting the appointment.

There are some who think that if Blagojevich hadn’t been so arrogant in his behavior while under investigation, federal investigators might not have been able to get anything on Rod – and the resulting years of criminal proceedings and his incarceration wouldn’t have occurred.

Is that what could happen with Brown? Her having the nerve to run for mayor while under suspicion will motivate prosecutorial-types to find something on her? I’m sure there are some who will fantasize about Brown being carted away in handcuffs by FBI agents just before she could take the mayoral oath of office.

THE OTHER “BIG name” politico who pops into my head is Dan Rostenkowski, the Northwest Side member of Congress who used to be the all-powerful House Ways & Means chairman before he got busted for what some considered a petty offense – purchasing some $22,000 in stamps from the House Post Office, then converting them to cash for his personal use.
EMANUEL: Trying to laugh off his challengers

This came up during his re-election bid of 1994, and the 36-year member of Congress ultimately lost to Republican Mike Flanagan, who lasted but one two-year term before being replaced by none-other-than Blagojevich in his days before becoming governor.

Can Brown be more successful than Rostenkowski was in overcoming suspicion in swaying voters to back her bid for higher office?

Or will her scheduled announcement Sunday that she’s running for mayor merely be the beginning of an absurd election cycle, one which Emanuel himself on Thursday described as a, “political improv show … audition(ing) more cast members.”


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