Kinzinger’s presidential proclivities – POLITICO


TGIF, Illinois. This could be the big day when Congress finally passes the twin infrastructure and Build Back Better bills, national Playbook reports. We’ll believe it when we see it.

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: Rod Blagojevich took the stage at Martyrs’ in Chicago to channel Elvis, forever his favorite singer, in a rendition of “Don’t Be Cruel” with The Drawers. The band’s lead guitarist is Leonard Goodman who also is the former gov’s attorney.

We hinted at this last week, and now Rep. Adam Kinzinger is acknowledging he’s considering a 2024 run for president, according to CNN.

The Illinois Republican also said he’s considering a run for Tammy Duckworth’s Senate seat or the governor’s mansion against J.B. Pritzker. Kinzinger said he will “probably” have an answer about a possible statewide run by early January, in time for the signature process that begins Jan. 16.

“The key is, how do we restore the honor of the party in the country?” he told CNN, adding that he “definitely” wouldn’t rule out a White House run in 2024.

Of course, a presidential primary pitting Kinzinger against former President Donald Trump, whom the Illinois congressman voted to impeach, would be a political smorgasbord for Playbookers.

And a statewide race would be just as delicious if he were to make it out of a primary. That, of course, is the big question. Does he have a broad enough base, given his anti-Trump philosophy, to win over enough Republicans to get into the general election?

Back in February, Kinzinger told reporters, “It’s not my intention to run for anything statewide. I think there’s probably less of that chatter. At the beginning, I heard people speculate that I was taking the positions I was taking to set myself up to run statewide. And I’ll tell you, people who speculate that don’t know me.”

Kinzinger’s latest comments come a week after his 16th Congressional District was redrawn by Illinois state lawmakers as part of the 2021 redistricting process. The remap plunks him into the same district as his friend Rep. Darin LaHood. Kinzinger ruled out such a race and is now leaving his options open — wide open.

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood is at the center of a debate among Democrats about how to respond to GOP campaign attacks, including on “critical race theory,” which has become a blanket term Republicans now use to criticize schools for how they’re trying to discuss racism, identity and diversity.

From CNN: “Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week presented research and debated how to handle the once-obscure topic that is primarily taught at the university level but has become a focus on the right, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.”

The report says Underwood and Georgia Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux of Georgia, who is white, disagreed on what the response should be. “Underwood wanted to forcefully counter the GOP’s misinformation head-on, while Bourdeaux was leery about elevating the issue, according to sources familiar with the matter. Rep. Jahana Hayes of Connecticut, another Black woman, sided with Underwood during the meeting,” according to CNN.

“We have a rising American electorate that are Black and brown people,” Underwood told CNN when asked about the episode. “We should be able to speak to their issues, their experiences as Americans in this country, without feeling like it’s a liability for other audiences.”

Critical race theory is top of mind this week among Democrats who saw Terry McAuliffe defeated in the Virginia governor’s race, in part because Republican Glenn Youngkin pushed back against teaching about racism in schools.

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In London to advance Illinois’ interests, including meetings with international business leaders.

At Comer Children’s Hospital at 9:15 a.m. for a Covid-19 update.

No official public events.

Biden vaccine mandates will hit after holiday season, offering relief to businesses: “The announcement follows weeks of pressure from business leaders who complained the rules would wreak havoc on the supply chain and possibly aggravate worker shortages,” by POLITICO’s Rebecca Rainey.

Vaccine skeptics score big in Green Bay: Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the reigning NFL MVP, tested positive for Covid-19 and has been ruled out of games until at least Nov. 13. He’s an influencer and unvaccinated. “Perversely, Rodgers may now be encouraging people to remain unvaccinated,” too, writes Tyler Weyant in POLITICO Nightly.

Cook County Health to begin vaccinating kids 5 through 11: “Patients can walk in to any Cook County Health site for a shot for a child, or make an appointment at (833) 308-1988,” by Sun-Times’ Mitchell Armentrout.

Chicago kids are rolling up their sleeves for shots, by WBEZ’s Susie An

And in the suburbs, too, by Daily Herald’s Jake Griffin

LINCOLN IN LONDON: Gov. J.B. Pritzker, House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch and Senate President Don Harmon were hosted at a reception put on by the London campus of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and London & Partners, which is that city’s business growth agency. Pritzker, Welch and Harmon each spoke, focusing their comments on the economy and the climate legislation that has made them part of the discussion at COP26, the Glasgow climate change conference. Also spotted, Madhav Rajan, dean of the Booth School (visiting from Chicago) and Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners. London is a leader in the climate tech sector, so the climate talk was a hit in the city of royalty. The Illinois lawmakers also stopped by the Lincoln statue in Parliament Square in London. It’s a replica of the one in LIncoln Park created by Augustus Saint-Gaudens.


The Movement That Almost Changed the World: “An idealistic climate campaign promised to transform the whole conversation in Washington. They ended up chanting ‘F— Joe Manchin’ in a parking lot,” by POLITICO’s Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna.

How a grieving Southwest flight attendant expanded Illinois’ paid sick leave law: “Southwest flight attendant Corliss King lost her husband during treatment for kidney failure, ending a 24-year marriage. She was stricken of course. But by the time that Terrance Hale died in 2020, King was battling not only to establish his legacy but also to change an Illinois law that blocked airline workers from using accumulated sick leave to care for sick relatives. Only now is her four-year fight nearing a successful end,” by Ted Reed for Forbes.

State law causing payday loan stores to close: “Consumer advocates say the short-term lenders preyed on the poor. Such businesses in Evanston were closing even before the state law took effect,” by Evanston Now’s Jeff Hirsh.

In blow to union detractors, SCOTUS declines to hear three post-Janus cases over dues collection: “The plaintiffs in the first two cases, Troesch v. Chicago Teachers Union and Fischer v. Murphy in New Jersey, said that so-called “escape periods” — short windows of time in which employees can opt out of paying union dues — are allowing states to avoid compliance with the court’s 2018 decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31,” by Linda Jacobson in The 74, an education-focused nonprofit website.

Lawmakers back teacher sick pay bill, but will Pritzker sign it? Center Square’s Andrew Hensel reports

State Rep. Zalewski: Daylight Savings time ‘drives people crazy,’ by Dave Dahl via WJBC

Springfield Veterans Day parade returning after hiatus, by State Journal-Register’s Steven Spearie

Lightfoot staying above the fray in messy ward remap battle — for now: “Lightfoot promised to create an independent commission to draw new ward boundaries to coincide with the 2020 Census, but has taken no steps to honor that promise,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

CPS facilities chief out amid dirty schools complaints: “Clarence Carson’s departure comes less than a week after the Sun-Times documented conditions that were so bad at a Southwest Side elementary school that teachers and administrators had been wielding mops and brooms themselves,” by Sun-Times’ Lauren FitzPatrick and Nader Issa.

For the Blackhawks, an icy road ahead: “A damning report showed the human cost of one of the greatest turnarounds in sports business history. New leadership must now try to change the team’s culture and performance without losing what made it a success,” by Crain’s Danny Ecker.

Timeline: The Chicago Blackhawks video coach scandal — and what’s happened next, by Tribune’s Christy Gutowski and Phil Thompson

Rev. Jesse Jackson rallies with Black UIC law students days after hospitalization in D.C.: “Three days after hitting his head in a fall during a trip to Washington, D.C., the civil rights leader was protesting Thursday in Chicago, saying feels ‘fantastic.’ Jackson joined Black UIC law students at a rally outside the school,” by Sun-Times’ Jason Beeferman.

Christmas tree lighting ceremony returns to in-person event, with concert and fireworks: “Last year’s celebration was a virtual affair due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s event features Brian McKnight as the music headliner,” by Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio.

‘We are in crisis mode’ | Museum workers are turning to unions over conditions they say are untenable: Employees of the Art Institute of Chicago and School of the Art Institute filed representation petitions with the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago. “The filing will trigger an election in the coming weeks in which employees can vote to officially form their union,” by Mark Guarino for the Washington Post.

CME Group, Google in $1B cloud computing venture, by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

Commander of Future USS Hyman G. Rickover visits kids In Pilsen ahead of sub’s final preparations: “Kids at the Union League Boys and Girls Clubs in Pilsen got a chance to meet with the commander of the Navy’s newest submarine,” via NBC 5. With VIDEO

Search continues for DePaul alum and Nigerian immigrant reported missing in October, by Tribune’s Sylvia Goodman

Indicted alderman taps clout contractor on city-financed Bridgeport project as a character witness: “Patrick Daley Thompson’s friend Michael Meagher is president of McHugh Construction, which is restoring the old Ramova Theatre with City Hall’s financial backing,” by Sun-Times’ Tim Novak and Robert Herguth.

Feds seek 45 days in jail for Inverness tech exec who participated in U.S. Capitol attack: “Bradley Rukstales, 53, pleaded guilty in August to willfully and knowingly parading, demonstrating and picketing inside the Capitol, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and a $5,000 fine,” by Tribune’s John Keilman.

Chicago police officer charged with involuntary manslaughter in fatal shooting of her husband, also an officer: “Police say the shooting occurred as Jacqueline Villasenor, 39, and her husband struggled over a gun in their home in the 8500 block of West Winona Street Tuesday,” via Sun-Times wire.

Judge tosses 5 more convictions tied to ex-CPD detective Ronald Watts, by WTTW’s Matt Masterson

Cook County guns and ammo tax, struck down by Illinois Supreme Court, is back on the books for now after board vote: “In a 12-2 vote, with three commissioners absent, the county board approved the amendment, which states all revenue from the firearm and ammunition tax must go toward programs or operations geared toward gun violence prevention. The passage follows an Oct. 21 ruling from the state’s highest court that found the levy was unconstitutional,” by Tribune’s Alice Yin.

Lisle school district investigating remarks about race, immigration, deportation: A 15 says a “paraprofessional’s comments became more personal and she began to feel singled out,” reports Tribune’s Tatyana Turner.

MARIJUANA MILESTONE: Cresco Labs’ Sunnyside dispensary in Buffalo Grove launched adult-use cannabis sales Thursday. The opening of the shops is worth documenting. Of the 60 legacy medical cannabis dispensaries in Illinois, Sunnyside Buffalo Grove represents the final medical dispensary in the state to be granted permission for adult-use cannabis sales. Among those at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were state Sen. Adriane Johnson and Julie Morrison, state Reps. La Shawn Ford and Daniel Didech, and Buffalo Grove Village President Beverly Sussman.

— State Sen. Steve McClure, the assistant minority leader, announced his reelection campaign at the Sangamon County GOP headquarters Thursday. “Nearly three years ago, when I first took office, no one could have predicted how America and Illinois would be tested,” the Springfield Republican said in a statement. “I am committed, now more than ever, to standing up for our communities against the radical liberal agenda that is driving the chaos across Illinois.”

Conservative Republican runs for Mark Batinick’s seat: “Shorewood resident Tom McCullagh said he is a pro-family candidate, who intends to continue to advocate for public safety,” by Patch’s John Ferak.

The making of a respectable lobbyist: “Randy Witter, the principal of Cook-Witter Inc. of Springfield, retired Oct. 1 after a lobbying career that began in 1973. Although his experiences could fill several volumes, Witter confessed, ‘I’m not going to write a book, I don’t want to say this or that person was crazy.’ But he has picked up some wisdom along the way about how things really get done under the Capitol dome,” writes Illinois Times’ David Blanchette.

We asked which celebrity has a political opinion you care about: Andy Shaw, an observer of Illinois politics and culture, says he watches Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks “because even though I haven’t heard them opine very often, if at all, I continue to marvel at their apparent ability, even as two of the biggest and most celebrated movie stars in the world, to live relatively normal lives, with only one spouse each, seemingly nice children and no allegations of scandalous behavior. Remarkable, and commendable enough in our tabloid-hungry day and age, to assume they have political opinions worth listening to, if they chose to offer them.”

For Monday, I’m binging on HBO’s “Succession” tonight, so I can get the inside jokes when Kieran Culkin appears on SNL. What’s your latest TV binge? We’ll list the top five on Monday. Email to [email protected]

Pelosi amps up domestic-agenda pressure campaign, pressing Friday votes, by POLITICO’s Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle and Nicholas Wu

This truck driver just defeated New Jersey’s most powerful lawmaker, by POLITICO’s Matt Friedman

How MLB continues its focus on growing the sport among African Americans, by The Undefeated’s Richard Harris

San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin, a Chicago native, faces a likely recall, by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Kyle Rittenhouse case: The shooting, the arrest and the fallout as his trial continues in Kenosha, by Tribune’s Stacy St. Clair and Kori Rumore

Stephen Carlson, Chicago lawyer who mentored Michelle Obama at Sidley Austin, dead at 70: ‘I just treated Michelle as I would have anybody,’ he once wrote. ‘I regard it as simply what a Princeton gentleman should do to anyone who asks for his help,’ by Sun-Times’ Maureen O’Donnell.

— Saturday 11 a.m.: A citywide prayer event will take place in all of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. Mayor Lori Lightfoot will join in the prayer event for Covid-safe holidays.

— Saturday at 7 p.m.: Actor and former White House staffer Kal Penn (who has been making all kinds of news this week) makes an in-person appearance at Chicago Humanities Festival at the Harris Theater for a conversation with Suroosh Alvi from Vice. Tickets here

— Sunday at 10:30 a.m.: Doctors Terry Mason, Damen Arnold, Sajjad Mutaza and Maya Green discuss the Covid vaccine, from booster shots to vaccinating children. On “N’Digo Studio with Hermene Hartman” on NBC 5.

THURSDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Argonne National Lab speechwriter Ben Noble and political consultant Frank Calabrese for correctly answering that Rutherford B. Hayes was the first president to visit the Illinois State Fair.

TODAY’s QUESTION: With a h/t to the governor being in England, what did Oak Brook founder Paul Butler give Prince Philip when the prince and Queen Elizabeth left Chicago during their 1959 St. Lawrence Seaway Royal Tour? Email to [email protected]

Today: Law Bulletin editor Andrea Hanis, Latino Restaurant Association CEO Lily Rocha, attorney Meryl Holt Silverman, and Crain’s assistant managing editor Cassandra West.

Saturday: Assistant House Majority Leader Jay Hoffman, Emerson Collective managing partner and former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former Illinois House spokesman Steve Brown, political and campaign consultant John Geahan, Wood Family Foundation events manager Laurie Dimakos, WCIA Capitol bureau chief Mark Maxwell, and arts critic Hedy Weiss.

Sunday: DuPage County board chair Dan Cronin, philanthropist and political donor Eleni Bousis, Harry Caray CEO Grant DePorter, crisis communications consultant Randall Samborn, Secretary of State policy adviser Bob Yadgir, and Sportico reporter Daniel Libit.


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