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Doug Finke

Dems dodge Madigan links; Republicans can only smile

Pritzker, Biss tie each other to House speaker

Pritzker, Biss tie each other to House speaker

It’s no secret that Republican candidates for years have tried to make House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, an issue in campaigns.

They’d demand their Democratic opponents swear independence from Madigan, which was often met by some artful dodge of the issue from the Democrats. More often than not, the gambit didn’t meet with a lot of success in determining the outcome of a campaign.

That may continue to be true, but the atmosphere around the issue has obviously changed when Democrats see the issue as an opportunity to use against other Democrats.

Arguably the most contentious exchange in the Democratic gubernatorial forum in Springfield last week revolved around Madigan. Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston accused J.B. Pritzker of being so beholden to Madigan that Pritzker couldn’t even utter Madigan’s name without the speaker’s permission.

Pritzker countered that Biss is tainted because he’s accepted campaign support from Madigan in the past and even ran a super PAC in 2016 fueled largely with money from Madigan supporters.

So you’ve got two of the leading candidates to be the Democratic nominee for governor each saying the other is tainted by connections to Madigan. That blinding light you see is all of the Republicans smiling.

GOV. BRUCE Rauner was taken to task by the Liberty Justice Center, the legal muscle behind the Janus case. That’s the case that was heard Monday before the U.S. Supreme Court over union fees that public employees must pay.

It’s named after Mark Janus, the Illinois state employee who objects to paying fair share union dues because his job is represented by AFSCME. Unions believe an adverse ruling could cripple their ability to collect dues needed to represent workers.

Anyway, Rauner has taken a lot of credit for the case, even though the courts ruled he didn’t have standing to challenge the union dues.

And Liberty Justice is telling him to knock it off about taking credit for it. It also wants Rauner to zip it when the governor keeps saying that a win in the case will advance his political agenda in Illinois.

The internal intrigue part comes from the Liberty Justice Center having links to the Illinois Policy Institute, even though the official line is they are completely separate operations. Remember that the IPI had a bunch of its employees hired by the Rauner administration for about 10 minutes last summer before they were sent packing, so relations aren’t the coziest right now.

Rauner challenger state Rep. Jeanne Ives also criticized the governor for politicizing the case. So there’s that.

If you love internal dissension, this year’s primary campaigns for governor must be heaven.

WALLET-HUB has a ranking of the state capitals for livability.

No, Springfield did not finish in the top five or even the top 10. According to WalletHub, Springfield was lucky to finish in the top 30. It came in at 29, to be exact.

Cities were ranked on four categories: affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. The city’s best showing was on affordability, where it finished fifth. Its worst was on quality of life, where it placed 40th. That measured amenities such as bars, restaurants, weather, transportation options and the like.

For comparison’s sake, the best capital is Austin, Texas, according to the survey. Trenton, New Jersey, came in last.

Dems dodge Madigan links; Republicans can only smile The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Doug Finke columnshaw-push-component-1