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'Even by Illinois standards, this is brazen'

The Chicago Tribune is mostly endorsing incumbents in the Nov. 6 election, but that isn't the case for the 36th state Senate district, which has been changed to include most of Whiteside County.

In the race, Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, is running against Republican Bill Albracht.

The Tribune is backing Albracht, a former Secret Service officer and Vietnam veteran. It noted that Jacobs inherited his seat in 2005 from his father, former Sen. Denny Jacobs, who later was hired to be a lobbyist for ComEd.

"Does Mike Jacobs recuse himself from ComEd legislation to avoid a conflict of interest? Of course not. He signed on to be chief sponsor for ComEd's 'smart grid' legislation," the Tribune said in Monday's edition. "When another senator questioned the ethics of that move, Jacobs punched him on the Senate floor."

That's what others accused Jacobs of, but he was never charged.

State Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, who raised the question over whether Jacobs had a conflict, contended the Democrat punched him afterward. Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon, and others backed up McCarter's account.

Jacobs denied it.

Everyone agrees that Jacobs approached McCarter's desk on the Senate floor. Jacobs said he went up to McCarter to express his disappointment in him. He acknowledged a "dust-up" in which he may have touched McCarter.

In an interview after the incident, Jacobs said McCarter was bringing up personalities, violating Senate rules. He said the Republican noted his father worked for ComEd, which backed the bill to raise rates to pay for a smart grid that would reduce the number of outages.

The Tribune called Jacobs "ethically obtuse." Referring to the situation involving Jacobs and his father's ComEd connection, the newspaper wrote, "Even by Illinois standards, this is brazen."

"This should not even be close," the newspaper said. "Albracht would bring discipline and integrity to the job. He is warmly endorsed."

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