Dems shaken by early ‘burbs poll- POLITICO


Good Tuesday morning, Illinois. Two years ago, we were all enamored with that phrase, “flattening the curve.” Good times.

There was a scared-straight incident in a private House Democratic Caucus meeting the other day.

A poll was floated showing Gov. JB Pritzker facing suburban headwinds — even trailing Republican governor candidates Richard Irvin and Darren Bailey.

Problem is there was no explanation about which suburb was polled. A source familiar with the data tells Playbook that the burb wasn’t Cook County but conservative and swing-district areas where House Dems are trying to gain traction. That didn’t prevent the gulp some lawmakers had.

The poll, which was first reported by Capitol Fax blog, was conducted by Tulchin Research — the same group that has polled for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and New York Mayor Eric Adams. The poll also addressed issues of concern — the top item being crime, surprising anyone.

Others familiar with the poll say House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch was trying to light a fire under Democrats to get them on the campaign trail by showing that no contest can be taken for granted. He asked his caucus to keep the numbers private, which didn’t go so well. (Hey, they were scared.) A House Democrats spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

The poll’s data created such a kerfuffle that a separate, unrelated survey was made public to show folks that Pritzker is doing just fine in the northern suburbs.

In that poll conducted by Personal PAC, respondents from Lake, Kendall, Kane, DeKalb, McHenry counties were asked a range of questions, including whether they approved of President Joe Biden — 47 percent said yes and 45 percent said no; and whether they approved of Pritzker — 48 percent said yes and 42 percent said no. It’s polling that might offer Dems some momentary relief. Though don’t count on it.

A Chicago-area company that makes garage door openers is at the center of a new global supply chain controversy that could affect building construction across the country.

Chamberlain is the No. 1 maker of garage-door and security-gate openers for new homes, hospitals, and military buildings, but it is being held up from producing them because of a patent challenge.

The International Trade Commission has asserted two patent infringements on Chamberlain’s technology, causing a delay in production.

One of the company’s foreign competitors complained to the ITC, even though Chamberlain says it’s been producing its openers with the same commonly used technology for nearly 30 years. Though the company disputes the ITC findings, it’s taken action by complying with orders to adjust. Within five days, Chamberlain said it redesigned its technology and submitted the reworked products to U.S. Customs officials for legal approval. 

Given that’s usually a months-long process, Chamberlain CEO Jeff Meredith has written a letter to the Biden administration urging it to nudge the ITC to modify the orders so Chamberlain can continue manufacturing products to avoid what it says would be a massive supply shortage while U.S. Customs approves the redesigned products.

Meredith says without Biden’s help, there could be a new supply shortage leading to higher costs on consumers and builders.

Chamberlain employs 1,600 people nationwide, including 700 in Illinois. The company works with customers directly, as well as garage-door installers and small businesses across the country that contract with homebuilders. If a garage door issue results in a supply chain crisis, Meredith said, it could affect the entire industry right as prime building season gets underway this spring.

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No official public event.

At McCormick Place’s Arie Crown Theater at 11 a.m. for the Skilled Trades Career Fair.

No official public events.

‘We’ve learned absolutely nothing’: Tests could again be in short supply if Covid surges: “Covid-19 infections are rebounding in several European countries and Biden officials are monitoring infections in the United Kingdom,” by POLITICO’s David Lim.

Pritzker: State ‘in a good place’ with Covid-19 subvariant, but it’s closely monitoring trends: “The BA.2 subvariant of omicron is ‘30 percent to 50 percent more transmissible than the original and is causing surges in some places around the world,’ Pritzker noted at an event in Chicago,” by Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke.

8 takeaways from Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said Jackson, the first Black female Supreme Court nominee, is ‘a living witness to the fact that, in America, all is possible,’” by Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet

Dems downplay influence of ‘dark money’ judicial group in KBJ confirmation: “Republicans are trotting out a favored Democratic strategy: slamming unelected advocacy groups for pushing a Supreme Court pick. Democrats say this time is different,” by POLITICO’s Marianne LeVine.

— Illinois represents: Attending Day 1 of the Supreme Court confirmation hearing were Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, state Sen. Mattie Hunter, and state Rep. Kam Buckner, who chairs the Illinois House Black Caucus. The three Black lawmakers were invited by Durbin to take part in the historic hearing. Tweet

Pritzker vowed to overhaul state’s child welfare system: “Despite additional funding, some say it’s in worse shape than ever,” reports Tribune’s Clare Spaulding.

State Dems’ plan seeks to divest from Russian debt: Gov. J.B. Pritzker and fellow Democrats who lead the General Assembly have pledged to push legislation to penalize Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. And House Democratic Rep. Lindsey LaPointe has introduced a plan “to divest from Russian debt, welcome Ukrainian refugees to Illinois and develop a method for detecting Russian money laundering in local real estate,” by The Associated Press’ John O’Connor.

Blue Cross fined $339,000 by state: “The Illinois Department of Insurance continues to evaluate whether the Chicago-based insurer’s downstate preferred-provider network is adequate to meet patients’ needs after Blue Cross removed the clinic’s more than 600 doctors, advanced-practice nurses and physician assistants as part of a contract dispute with the Springfield-based, for-profit clinic,” by Illinois Times’ Dean Olsen.

To combat ongoing opioid crisis, Prizker announces Overdose Action Plan, by Tribune’s Clare Spaulding

Frerichs promotes program requiring small companies to provide retirement plans, by WGEM’s Mike Miletich.

Countdown to General Assembly wrapping up April 8: Three topics still on the table: budget, American Rescue Plan dollars, and crime, reports Lee Enterprises’ Brenden Moore and Taylor Vidmar

Pritzker distances himself from Kim Foxx as Irvin goes on attack: “The Cook County state’s attorney becomes an issue in the governor’s race, and both are taking shots at her plan to release some prisoners early,” by Crain’s Greg Hinz.

— Pondering petitions: Challenges to candidate petitions have been issued, and now objections will be assigned to Election Board hearing officers who will conduct record reviews and check challenged signatures. The final decision on who makes the June 28 ballot comes April 21 when the State Board of Elections rules on the objections. And even then it’s not over. An objector or candidate who disagrees with the board’s decision can appeal in court, which can keep an objection pending for weeks.

Voters in about half of Illinois House districts only have one major party candidate running in primary: “Republicans lined up more choices for voters in Illinois House races than Democrats,” reports Center Square’s Greg Bishop.

— State Rep. Amy Grant has officially announced her re-election bid for House District 47.

New Illinois tollway chairwoman talks about challenges, commuting and construction: Which construction project has caught your interest? “The most exciting one is the tollway (I-490) that we’re building that’s just going to wrap itself around O’Hare International Airport and create access from the western point that will relieve a ton of congestion,” Dorothy Abreu tells Daily Herald’s Marni Pyke in a Q&A.

Lightfoot unveils campaign to welcome air travelers: “Neither the mayor nor World Business Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht mentioned the much-ridiculed “Chicago Not in Chicago” campaign, but they didn’t have to. It was the elephant in Terminal 2,” by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman.

New Park District chief pledges to put in place a ‘culture of respect’ following lifeguard abuse scandal: “We’re not just giving you lip service here,” Chicago Park District CEO Rosa Escareno said of changes being made at the Chicago Park District. Sun-Times’ Mitch Dudek reports

New era set to dawn at City Hall with debut of electronic voting system: “The yellow vote tally sheets used to record every vote from the sharply divided to the mundane with a flick of the pencil will officially be a relic of the past starting Wednesday, when City Clerk Anna Valencia fires up a cloud-based voting system that will let alderpeople cast their votes with a tap of a touchpad screen, and vault into the 21st century,” by WTTW’s Heather Cherone.

— 11th Ward council pick: A new alderman may not be named this week after all for the seat that Patrick Daley Thompson held. In a statement, Lightfoot said she’s “committed to finding a qualified candidate to become the next alderman of the 11th Ward. And so, a bit more time is needed to ensure that the residents of the 11th Ward have the best representation possible.”

— EARLY BIRD | CPS releases calendar for 2022-23 school year: “Students are due back Aug. 22 for what would be the district’s earliest start in recent memory,” by Sun-Times’ Nader Issa.

With high gas prices, Willie Wilson isn’t the alone offering giveaways, by Tribune’s William Lee

Finance Committee OKs keeping demolition fees in Pilsen and along 606 trail, by Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman

Sex assault lawsuits from 2 special ed students at Bogan High lead to $1.5M proposed settlement, by Tribune’s Tracy Swartz

Council committee agrees to pay $450K to family of man killed by speeding police car, by WTTW’s Heather Cherone

Michael Jackson Broadway musical ‘MJ’ heading to Chicago, by Sun-Times’ Miriam Di Nunzio

Cook County inmates get ID cards for life outside jail: “‘Without an ID in this city or this country, you don’t exist. You can’t get an apartment, you can’t go to the food pantry, you can’t get social service help,’ said Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer. That’s why Commissioner Gainer wanted to bring this municipal ID printing event to Cook County Jail, where a lot of inmates don’t have identification,” by Fox 32’s Sally Schulze.

State police discuss spike in juveniles involved in armed crimes at suburban roundtable, by ABC 7’s Tre Ward

Judge allows harassment suit to go forward against embattled Ald. Jim Gardiner: The lawsuit alleges Gardiner “had a man harassed, intimidated, and ultimately falsely arrested after he’d picked up a cellphone that Gardiner’s ward superintendent had inadvertently left at a 7-Eleven,” by Tribune’s Jason Meisner.

Investors sue chewing gum billionaire Beau Wrigley and the cannabis firm he led: “Some investors of privately owned cannabis company Parallel are suing the firm and its former CEO, William ‘Beau’ Wrigley Jr., over what happened to their investment dollars,” via Green Market Report.

We asked what works best for keeping in touch: For Patricia Ann Watson, “an actual phone call is best. Texts/mails/blogging veil or are deceptive in giving emotional/spiritual intentions/details. The voice needs to be heard.” … Sharon Rosenblum prefers in person: “My fingers can’t text and people only answer their phones when I don’t want them to.”… And Wayne Williams prefers phone calls, though he’s known to send “a ‘call me’ text.” Same, Wayne.

What was the subject of your greatest confrontation? Email [email protected]

— Bruce Heyman, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada during the Obama administration, has joined the Chicago Public Media Board of Directors, which oversees WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Philanthropist Mackenzie Scott donated $2 million to advance the work of Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI). It’s the largest single donation in the Chicago organization’s history. COFI works with low-income parents to fight for equity on behalf of their children and families. The donation comes on the heels of Scott donating $8.3 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, reports Crain’s.

President Biden signed the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act into law. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi was a co-sponsor of the bill focused on addressing burnout and mental and behavioral health conditions among health care professionals. The measure is named after a New York City emergency room physician who died by suicide after working on the frontlines of the pandemic.

‘The only thing Putin understands is strength’: US aircraft carrier flexes muscle in the Med: “With Russian ships and submarines patrolling the Mediterranean, the USS Truman teams up with French and Italian carriers,” by POLITICO’s Hannah Roberts

The next 2 weeks could determine the fate of Ukraine, by POLITICO’s Paul McLeary and David Bown

Progressives find a new takedown target in the House, by POLITICO’s Holly Otterbein

Trump hoards his war chest and Dem donors unleash millions: 5 takeaways from the latest campaign money disclosures, by POLITICO’s Brittany Gibson and Zach Montellaro

Indiana governor vetoes transgender girls sports ban, by The Associated Press

Striking employees of WTTW draw politicians’ support: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged the station to reach a fair contract with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and end a strike that began last week,” by Sun-Times’ David Roeder.

Ted Cox has been named assistant policy adviser for state Comptroller Susana Mendoza. Cox is an award-winning journalist known for his work at DNAinfo, Chicago Reader, Daily Herald and Daily Southtown. He’s also been a familiar name in Playbook for his journalism and his trivia skills.

Thursday at 5:30 p.m.: Tribune reporter Ray Long is holding a book launch party at Billy Goat Tavern for “The House That Madigan Built: The Record Run of Illinois’ Velvet Hammer.” It’s an appropriate place for a book that “reads like stories told at the Billy Goat Tavern at midnight, by the most knowledgeable guy in the room,” writes Mary Wisniewski in her New City book review.

MONDAY’s ANSWER: Congrats to Playbooker John Straus, labor leader Clem Balanoff, and Judge James Shapiro for correctly answering that Maria Callas was the “European Marilyn Monroe,” who debuted with Lyric Theatre, which evolved into the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

TODAY’s QUESTION: Who was the first Illinois lieutenant governor whose political party was different from the governor? Email [email protected]

Democratic state central committeeman Bill Houlihan, publishing veteran Linda Johnson Rice, clinical psychologist Patricia Howse, business consultant Benton Cook III, Piece pizzeria co-owner Billy Jacobs, and Connie Mixon, associate professor of political science at Elmhurst College and co-author of “Twenty-First Century Chicago.”

And belated greetings to political donor John Atkinson, chair of the Illinois Board of Higher Education and chairman of Marsh Chicago.

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