Here's a roundup of election news that was on The Chicago Reporter's political radar this week:
- House Speaker Michael Madigan's challenger, Michele Piszczor is seething over what she claims were attempts by a Madigan foot soldier to steal her campaign signs. A press release sent out by Piszczor's camp Thursday alleges Fred Moody--whom Madigan paid $18, 431 to for campaign work from 2009-2010, according to the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform--was stalking her while she recently campaigned in the 22nd District, on the South Side. The incident came to a head when a friend of Piszczor's caught Moody allegedly stealing Piszczor's signs and got in a shouting match with him. During the argument, Piszczor's camp photographed a document reportedly in Moody's car that listed several potential voters the Madigan worker didn't talk to. It also listed a number of reasons, one of the most common ones being: "Uneducated Spanish voter." Moody ended up being arrested following the altercation, and he was cited for "stalking: noncriminal." When she reported the incident, Piszczor claims an officer told her: "What do you expect going against Mike Madigan?"
- U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. is catching more grief from Will County officials insistent on keepping him out of the planning for an airport in south-suburban Peotone, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday. The Will County board passed a resolution that calls on Gov. Pat Quinn to halt talks with an airport commission Jackson put together for the project. The board stated it would prefer if Quinn communicated directly with the county and left Jackson out of the process entirely. It's the latest blow the county leaders have dealt to Jackson, and many of them will likely oppose him in Tuesday's primary. Last month, the county board leaders also seized on reports that the financial backer of Jackson's airport plan, the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin had ties to the late Libyan leader Moamar Ghadafi. Jackson countered by saying he has "full faith" in the company. Regardless, Tuesday's contest against Debbie Halvorson is the first real challenge Jackson has faced since being elected to the 2nd District seat in 1995. Last summer's remapping has placed a significant part of the district in more rural, white communities like Kankakee, which are unfamiliar to Jackson. But Jackson's camp released a poll this week that shows him leading Halvorson 59 percent to 23 percent among likely primary voters.
- Crains' political blogger Greg Hinz also reported this week that Halvorson picked up an endorsement from Emil Jones, the former Illinois Senate president. Jones and Halvorson go way back: He urged her to run for state Senate in 1996, and she has likened him to a "father figure." But Hinz pointedly noted that the Jones endorsement also brought to the surface once again an old rivalry between Jones and Jackson. Jones lost a bid for Congress to Jackson in 1995.
- This week, the Chicago Tribune's editorial board called the March 20 primary "inglorious Tuesday" for voters in Illinois' 10th House District, on the West Side. The remark followed the arrest and indictment of incumbent state Rep. Derrick Smith, who is accused of taking a $7,000 bribe. The paper retracted its less-than-enthusiastic endorsement of Smith and conceded that the best voters can hope for is someone halfway decent--a Republican appointee, a write-in candidate, anyone but the current lineup--in the November general election. That's because Smith's opponent, Tom Swiss, the paper argued, has shown his potential constituents considerable disrespect. Now, the contest is largely centered on race. Swiss, a former Republican who speaks in bizarre, general terms when discussing his supposed familiarity with African-Americans and low-income voters, is a white candidate running as a Democrat in a mostly black district. He's up against Smith, who is black and has a whole lot of money and muscle behind him. That said, Swiss still faces a huge hurdle, regardless of Smith's indictment.
- Eeny, meeny, miney, moe. You're not alone if that's how you select judicial candidates. WGN aired an investigation late last week that examines the significance of judicial rating systems. The piece also features several guides to educate voters on the judicial candidates running for seats this year. Check it out before casting your vote.
© Community Renewal Society 2012