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ElectionNotes 2010

Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones received 115,623 votes (3.2 percent); about 30,000 more than Alexi Giannoulias needed to overcome Mark Kirk.

Libertarian Party candidate Mike Labno, however, received 85,607 votes (2.4 percent); enough to have carried Kirk to victory if neither Jones nor Labno were in the race and those voting Green voted Democratic and those voting Libertarian voted Republican.

Of course, that wouldn't have necessarily happened. If Jones wasn't in the race, for example, I simply wouldn't have voted. Alexi would not have gotten my vote.

The real question is, why didn't those 1,668,690 voters who went for Giannoulias vote for Jones?


Republicans took two state offices from Democrats: Treasurer and comptroller.

Significance? Now we have to read four more years of Sneedlings from the irrepressible Judy Baar Topinka and wonder if Dan Rutherford will run for governor in four years.


Dick Durbin must be counting his lucky stars he wasn't up for re-election this time around, given the environment and the way he mishandled the Roland Burris seating. Durbin won't face voters until 2014.


Beachwood contributor Tim Willette sends in this gem:

"Illinois voters didn't appear overly enthusiastic about either Senate candidate, but Republican Mark Kirk triumphed with help from independents, men and people worried about the economy, an exit poll showed," AP reports.

In other words, everyone! Is anyone not worried about the economy?

Says Tim: "Ha ha - like writing 'Kirk received crucial support from people who fear death.'"


Me: "Ha! At Filter with Mike Luce, just read this to him. He says 'Ideological women not worried about the economy, however, went the other way.'"

Tim: "You're in luck - both of them just tweeted that they're also at Filter at this very moment. Check the table by the window."


Mary Schmich writes:

"Good pundits do more than parrot common wisdom. They make you question your assumptions. That's good, even if they're wrong. My favorite political opinion Tuesday came from Stephen Dubner, co-author of Freakonomics, who offered this contrarian opinion in a radio interview:

"'Winning candidates do raise more money, but the relationship between the money and their winning, it's just a correlation. It's not causal. So imagine you'd go out onto the street and it's raining really hard and everybody's got an umbrella. And if you didn't know any better, you'd think, oh, man, those umbrellas are making it rain . . . The people who win do raise and spend more money, but the reason they have more money is because they're a more attractive candidate.'"

First, a multitude of studies have shown that there actually is little correlation between candidates who raise and spend the most money and winning.

Among those who say so: Stephen Dubner.

Now, it's true that most of the studies I'm thinking of actually look at self-funded candidates, so they spend money but they don't raise it.

At the same time, those who do raise it are most attractive to who? Those who have a strong interest in contributing large amounts of money to candidates who will protect their those interests.

I'm not sure what's so revelatory about that.


"The Obama White House will shift into re-election mode in a few months, and the 2012 presidential campaign headquarters will be Chicago again, if all goes as planned."

Great. Way to change the political culture. Was it ever out of re-election mode?


Richard Roeper is the last pundit in the country to muse over conservative candidates vowing to "take back the country."

Too bad he doesn't take the opportunity to point out how the punditry and pols complaining about this phrase are lame and hypocritical.


"The bitterly contested race for the Illinois senate seat that launched Barack Obama into the White House has been fraught with claims of dishonesty on both sides, leading to an exceptionally high level of distaste for both candidates, according to preliminary exit polls," ABC News reports.

"Of the 37 closely-watched senate contests across the country, this was one of the nastiest, with Democrat State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias portrayed as a mob banker and current Republican Mark Kirk as a serial liar.

"The acrimony was reflected in preliminary exit poll results, with a third of the voters saying they felt neither candidate was honest and trustworthy. More than half the voters said both candidates attacked each other unfairly."

Wow, voters really are stupid. Only a third felt neither candidate was honest and trustworthy? That means two-thirds of voters of idiots. And more than half said both candidates attacked each other unfairly? The attacks seemed fair to me.


From Technology Review:

Bogus Grass-Roots Politics on Twitter

Data-mining techniques reveal fake Twitter accounts that give the impression of a vast political movement.

Researchers have found evidence that political campaigns and special-interest groups are using scores of fake Twitter accounts to create the impression of broad grass-roots political expression. A team at Indiana University used data-mining and network-analysis techniques to detect the activity.


Among the Election Night analysts spotted on local TV broadcasts: Scott Fawell, Roland Burris, Dennis Hastert and Cliff Kelley. More like a rogue's gallery. Might as well put Oxford Cell Block C on the air.


What, nobody thought to prop the cold, dead body of Danny Rostenkowski up near the weather guy?


During a discussion of Republicans trying to exploit discontent with House Speaker Michael Madigan in legislative races, Fox News Chicago anchor Robin Robinson found it ironic given that, according to her, Michael Madigan himself wasn't on the ballot.


Maybe she meant that with a fake opponent he wasn't really involved in a campaign of his own.


In rushed, dramatic tones, Channel 2's Jay Levine told us he had just gotten off the phone with the Bill Brady camp and they were "cautiously optimistic!"

I don't know why TV reporters can't just say "I just got off the phone with folks up in Bill Brady's suite and they had absolutely nothing of value to say. They're just waiting on the returns like everybody else. But we'll let you know when there's news to report!"


Fake smart guy David Brooks writes in his New York Times column:

"Memo to young journalists: Democratic victories are always ascribed to hope; Republican ones to rage."

Really? I thought Ronald Reagan's successes were attributed in large part to his sunny outlook, especially compared to supposedly grim Democrats like Jimmy Carter (post-smile) and Walter Mondale.

And didn't George H.W. Bush famously run on a platform of "Don't Worry, Be Happy?"

And wasn't Bush's son the happy-go-lucky have-a-beer-with frat guy who was preferred over policy wonk library-head Al Gore and the dark visage of John Kerry?


"A comparison of vote totals in Chicago's most heavily gay wards shows that Illinois Comptroller-elect Judy Baar Topinka, who has long supported LGBT rights, outperformed other Republicans by a wide margin in those wards," Gary Barlow reports in Gay-Friendly Topinka Gets Boost From Heavily Gay Wards.

"Topinka supports civil unions and other LGBT community issues, stands she's taken for years, often at the cost of losing support from right-wingers in her own party. But as she showed in her successful campaigns for state treasurer earlier in her career, those pro-LGBT positions gained her so much support in Democratic strongholds that she easily outpolled other Republicans on the Illinois ballot Nov. 2."


"I know I sound like a broken record," said Equality Illinois Director of Public Policy Rick Garcia. "But again, it looks like the only two Republicans left standing statewide are the moderates, Judy Baar Topinka and Dan Rutherford."


Joe Berrios, debunker.

"To me it was all a bunch of bunk," Berrios told the Chicago News Cooperative, when asked about the persistent criticism of cronyism that has dogged his campaign. He vowed greater transparency, but set a vague standard for it, saying that from day one "you will see more information than you have in the past" out of the office.

Berrios' victory is big for Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, the Chicago Democrat who heads the state party organization - and whose law firm handles many property tax appeals cases in Cook County

Casting himself as a reformer, Claypool frequently criticized Berrios for his work as a Springfield lobbyist and for his cozy ties to Madigan as well as other property tax lawyers. As head of the three-member Board of Review, which has the power to reduce property tax assessments, Berrios received massive campaign donations from the many of the same lawyers who appeared before the board and won tax breaks for their clients.

The Chicago News Cooperative reported in January that Berrios has raised $3 million in the past decade from property tax lawyers.


And what about Joe Berrios' daughter, Toni?

She was described in a 1st Ward Democratic flier that came to my home as part of the ward's Democratic family, along with Ald. Joe Moreno and committeeman Jesse Juarez.

From Fox Chicago News:

"Maria Toni Berrios is a Democratic State Representative from Chicago's Northwest Side. Reporter Dane Placko asked her: 'Are you concerned that there is a least an appearance here that they may be trying to win favor with your father by donating to you? Her reply? Not at all, not at all.'"

"She first won her seat in 2002 running unopposed with the help of her father, long-time Cook County Board of Review Commissioner Joseph Berrios who now also heads the Cook County Democratic party. Placko asked him is he ever solicited donations, campaign donations for his daughter.

"Berrios replied: 'I've been at her fund-raisers as any proud father would be.'

"But this proud political papa's friends are doing most of the heavy lifting. A Fox Chicago News investigation found that in 2008, more than 60% of the campaign contributions to Toni Berrios came from tax attorneys, appraisal companies, and real estate firms looking for a break on property taxes from her father's agency."


Said Toni: "That's just your coincidence."


Comments welcome.


Posted on November 4, 2010

MUSIC - The Last 10 Songs I Shazamed.
TV - MSNBC In Full-Blown Freakout.
POLITICS - The Cook County Soda Tax Worked.
SPORTS - Women's Hoops Pay Gap Persists.

BOOKS - The Mind Is The Body.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - A Breath Sanitizer For Blowing Out Birthday Candles!

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