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The [Wednesday] Papers

"Some of the candidates for Illinois governor may be weighing the pros and cons of a recount," AP reports. "Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are too close to call."

That's what you get when you hold a primary on Groundhog Day; looks like we're in for six more weeks of campaigning.

"Right now, the results are unofficial. Election authorities will count late-arriving absentee ballots, randomly check some of the results, inspect voting equipment and then declare official winners. That takes two weeks. Then the losing candidates might decide to seek a recount."

State elections board chief Daniel White told the Sun-Times that a candidate seeking a recount would have to petition the state Supreme Court once the votes totals become official, which wouldn't happen until early March.

The good news? Candidates have to pay for recounts themselves.


My real-time thoughts as the returns rolled in: In Mystery Primary Theater. Go read that first, and then come back for the rest of this column.

Quinn vs. Hynes
Quinn holds a 50.4 to 49.6 lead with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

That sounds close, but Hynes will have to make up 7,202 votes, which won't be easy.

Recommended Hynes recount strategy: Double-check all votes coming from the Joe Berrios organization and West Palm Beach.

Brady vs. Dillard
Brady leads by Dillard by 503 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Andy McKenna and Jim Ryan made it a four-person race, but appear to be too far behind to get into the recount ring.

If Bob Schillerstrom had dropped out earlier, his 7,343 votes could have conceivably made a difference. I wonder if many of those came in the early voting phase.


Can we all agree that a McKenna vs. Quinn race would be the absolutely worst outcome possible, unless we're rooting for Green nominee Rich Whitney?

Lite Guv
"As I write this," Mark Brown writes, "the only thing certain about the governor's race is that the Democratic candidate's running mate is going to be a pawnbroker. Don't say I didn't try to warn you."

Because the Sun-Times is incapable - like most newspapers - of actually putting links in their stories, I'll provide not only the link that should appear on "Don't say I didn't try to warn you," but provide excerpts as well.

"Cohen doesn't think it's fair for me to write about him being in the pawn business, which baffles me because he seemed very proud of it when we first met on another story just 14 months ago.

"At the time, Cohen was anxious to tell the world about how some guy had hocked his jewel-encrusted false teeth to get tuition money for his daughter. I visited him at his store and watched his easy rapport with the characters, er, customers inspecting his merchandise and waiting in line for loans, while he explained the pawn business - which basically involves being a street banker. Cohen said he had been in the pawn business all his life, having dropped out of high school to take over when his father died.

"Since launching his campaign, however, Cohen has tried to avoid that part of his resume, making no mention of it in his election materials, emphasizing instead that he is a 'Chicago businessman' who operates Cohen's Green Cleaning Supplies, a distributor of environmentally friendly cleaning products."

How convenient. I wonder how much business Cohen's new company does. I couldn't find a website for it.

"Cohen says he's involved in many businesses and made much of his money in real estate. He admits the cleaning-supply business is just a recent 'startup' that he has put on hold during the campaign."

Aha. Get it?


The lieutenant governor's races was a puzzle in both parties. Cohen, using his personal fortune to come out of nowhere and build name recognition, beat four sitting state legislators: Art Turner, Rickey Hendon, Mike Boland and Terry Link.

For the life of me I couldn't figure out if all four of them were in this thing for real. Link is a Lake County major Dem domo and couldn't even manage to beat out Elmhurst electrician Thomas Michael Castillo.

An unknown won the Republican side too, with Jason Plummer beating out McKenna sidekick Matt Murphy in a six-person field. Plummer is a former Peter Fitzgerald intern; he's just 27.

Are either of these really the guy we want a heartbeat away from the governorship?

Alexi vs. Kirk
This campaign will not be televised.

While Alexi Giannoulias's handlers tried to keep him away from pesky reporters given his chronic inability to answer even moderately difficult questions, Mark Kirk not only refused to debate his primary opponents, but wouldn't even release his campaign schedule.


"Giannoulias is the opponent the Republicans wanted," Lynn Sweet writes this morning.

And the candidate the White House didn't want.


The Tribune editorial page recalls a recent statement made by President Obama against Scott Brown: "Bankers don't need another vote in the Senate."


Andy Martin pulled 5 percent of the Republican primary vote. Or, to put it another way, 37,201 people flew over the cuckoo's nest.


On the Democratic side, Jacob Meister pulled in 16,000 votes even though he dropped out of the race. I wonder how many of those came in early voting.

County Board
Toni Preckwinkle won in a walk. Is there a rationale for Tom Tresser's Green campaign anymore? Yes, Preckwinkle voted for the Olympics and Daley's budget. Even sought his endorsement. But she won't be under his sway again for four more years.


The departure of Preckwinkle from the city council - presuming she wins the general election in the fall - will bring to three the number of seats Daley will get to fill this year, along with those no longer held by Ike Carothers and Manny Flores. Given that Preckwinkle and Flores were two of the most independent members of the council, Daley may have once again come out the big winner on Election Day.


For all his bellyaching over unfair media coverage, Todd Stroger never understood that voters never forgave him for the way he attained office. As Carol Marin writes today, "For all the friends-and-family patronage hiring on his watch, Todd Stroger was the ultimate patronage hire."

It seems voters will forgive patronage office-holders and their hires as long as the beneficiaries show competence.


As for the board itself:

"Your nominee, Preckwinkle, will be favored against Republican Roger Keats next fall," the Tribune editorial page notes. "But on Tuesday you gave whoever wins that faceoff what she or he will need to modernize and streamline this antiquated and featherbedded government: a likely ninth vote for reform on the 17-member County Board. The nomination of independent-minded challenger Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia over Joseph Mario Moreno, one of the board's most useless and taxaholic incumbents, is a tremendous win for citizens who rely on county services and for taxpayers who foot the bill."

Also: John Fritchey beat Ted Matlak handily, which at least moves the arrow in the right direction.

Alexi's Proteges . . .
. . . went 1 for 2.

Giannoulias chief of staff Robin Kelly knocked off Justin Oberman for the Democratic nomination for treasurer, while David Miller appears to have knocked off Giannoulias deputy Raja Krishnamoorthi for the Democratic nomination for comptroller.

The Tax Man
Machine Monster Joe Berrios was installed as the Democrats' man - helluva party you got there, Dems - for Cook County Assessor.

Seals & Crofts
In the race to replace Mark Kirk in Congress, Julie Hamos fell to retread loser Dan Seals. Seals may actually have a shot in the general this time, though, given that conservative Bob Dold beat the more moderate Beth Coulson.

There is no Crofts in the race, it turns out.

But Seriously, Folks
Joe Walsh won the Republican nomination for Congress in the 8th District despite being called on the carpet by the real Joe Walsh for stealing one of his songs and remaking it into a campaign ad.

* Every sucky incumbent congressman (Rush, Davis, Lipinsk) easily won their primary.

General Assembly
* Dan Burke holds a 434-vote lead over Rudy Lozano with 98 percent of precincts reporting. If you can, please go vote again for Lozano.

* Deb Mell had no problem dispatching Joe Laiacona, unfortunately.

I'll have to study up to see which jokers we're putting on the bench this time.

"To be sure, some nonvoters said they were taking a pass out of utter frustration with politicians of all stripes," the Tribune reports.

"'The state of Illinois is so utterly screwed up, can anybody help it?' said Hugh Parker, of Arlington Heights.

"Charles Wheeler, an expert on Illinois politics at the University of Illinois at Springfield, said turnout may have also been done in by a growing reluctance on the part of many voters to declare a party preference. Another factor, he said, was the legislature's decision a few years ago to move the primary from mid-March to early February, when the weather is worse.

"The change shortened the time for meaningful primary campaigning.

"'Depressing the vote works to the advantage of incumbents,' Wheeler said."

So does depressing the voters.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Your anti-depressant.


Posted on February 3, 2010

MUSIC - The Last 10 Songs I Shazamed.
TV - We're Fucked, Mate.
POLITICS - Blago Is Back, WTF.
SPORTS - The Ex-Cub Factor.

BOOKS - It's Happening Here.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Welcome To The World Of Paramedical Tattoos.

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