Here's a roundup of election news that was on The Chicago Reporter's political radar this week:
- This election cycle, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan's camp finds itself doing something it usually doesn't have to do: campaign. This week, Madigan's staff sent out a jokey campaign flier attacking prison-bound former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose impeachment was spearheaded by Madigan in 2009. The message: Madigan is an experienced leader who has a record of fighting corruption. The only other serious candidate seeking the nomination for 22nd District state representative is Michele Piszczor. Right now, it's not clear how much of a threat, if any, she poses to Madigan's incumbency. She laughed, when the Chicago Sun-Times asked her about the ad. "I don't know how he's going to ... 'clean up' anything when he is a corrupt politician himself," she said of Madigan. Piszczor, who speaks Polish and Spanish, is hoping her grassroots campaign will appeal to the large Latino and Polish populations in the 22nd District. Madigan's camp told WBEZ she isn't registering a "blip on the radar."
- The campaign team working to make Joy Cunningham the first African-American woman on the Illinois Supreme Court is now without a high-ranking, but controversial, staffer, according to Crain's political blogger Greg Hinz. William "Gator" Bradley, an ex-gang leader, recently stepped down as a paid member of Cunningham's staff. Bradley is a long-time political organizer; he has also run, unsuccessfully, for alderman. Presently, it is not clear why Bradley left the campaign, although his resignation followed the hiring of a new campaign manager. Cunningham is currently an appellate court justice. She is running against Appellate Court Justice Aurelia Pucinski, interim Supreme Court Justice Mary Jane Theis and Thomas Flannigan.
- Early voting for the March 20 primary in Chicago and throughout Cook County started Monday and will run through March 15. There will be 51 early voting locations citywide, and the 42 suburban polling places can be found by visiting the Cook County Clerk's Office's website. This year, in Chicago, speakers of Asian and Indian languages will be on hand at 36 "targeted" precincts to help voters who might need assistance, The Chicago Board of Elections announced last week. Ballots will also be available in the Urdu, Hindi and Gujarati languages. Low turnout is expected in both Chicago and countywide, though. The city saw a 70-year low in voter registration this year, with nearly all of the most significant declines in participation happening in African-American wards. Since early voting was rolled out, countywide, in 2006, participation in primaries has not exceeded 10 percent of the overall vote, according to the clerk's office.
- As President Barack Obama prepares a bid for another term, his country of origin is being publicly challenged--again. Yesterday, Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Arizona's Mericopa County, announced that there is reason to believe that Obama's Hawaii birth certificate is a computer-generated fake. Arpaio also claimed that Obama's 1980 selective service card could be a forgery. The theories were the "preliminary" results of a "volunteer" investigation and center around the hypothesis that the documents did not originate in paper-form. The White House released those documents and the State of Hawaii has affirmed their authenticity numerous times. Arpaio, a darling among some Republicans and Tea Partiers, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department due to accusations that his office unfairly targeted and mistreated Latinos, and that it didn't adequately investigate alleged sex crimes. He has denied any wrongdoing and also said yesterday, "I'm not going after Obama ... I'm just doing my job."
© Community Renewal Society 2012