With less than three weeks 'til Election Day, the mud pies are flying fast and furious. (It's messy out there.) The week's most notable moments in the endlessly entertaining circus sideshow that is Illinois politics:
Quinn vs. Rauner. The spendy political nemeses took the stage Tuesday night for another televised debate, this one more bitter than the last. The showdown, held at the DuSable Museum of African American History, centered on who could best improve conditions for black Chicagoans—especially concerning crime and gun control. (Quinn wants to ban military-grade assault weapons; Rauner won't say whether he supports such a ban but vows to ensure "we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill.") Claws out, the GOP nominee dug in, lecturing Quinn: "I cannot keep up with the baloney and lies that you spread. You can't run on the truth. The truth is you're the worst governor in America." BURN. "All my opponent does is grow his bank account and that hurts everyone," the incumbent Democrat shot back, making a dig at the super-rich Winnetka investor's vast fortune (some of which is stashed in the Caymans). Good thing Eileen Quinn is in his corner. Not missing an opportunity to bash Rauner, the governor's spry 97-year-old mother told NBC Chicago in an interview Wednesday, "I don't consider him very polished." The Republican challenger, meanwhile, recruited wife Diana, a self-avowed Democrat, to help woo the mom vote in a TV ad so softly lit, it could be a Barbara Walters special. "If you're ready to turn our state around, and create new opportunities for our kids, and our future, then I hope you'll vote for Bruce," cooed Mrs. Rauner, sporting a tasteful maroon sweater that's cute but not as adorable as Eileen. The best way to sling mud? With sugar. And a heaping dose of salt. See: "Nice guys do not threaten women. Ever."
Schneider vs. Dold. The battleground 10th congressional district in Chicago's northern 'burbs remains up for grabs as Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider struggles to fend off a potent challenge by GOP-er Bob Dold, who's angling to win back the seat Schneider stole from him last election cycle. Team Schneider has gone hard against the Kenilworth candidate's voting record on Obamacare—notably his previous attempts to strike down the health care law. But Dold, aiming to present himself as a fiscially conservative/socially moderate independent, has got on his side a relatively well liked (and like-minded) fellow North Shore Republican, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, who disses the Deerfield congressman in a new ad that dropped Tuesday. "Brad Schneider's part of the problem in Washington. He just votes the way party leaders order him to," declares Kirk, handing Dold the ultimate compliment from one egotistic politician to another: "He's like me."
The day after that spot hit, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched an anti-Dold attack that casts the contender as an aforementioned tea party sympathizer on Schneider's behalf. "With features that include lockstep voting with Republicans, the tea party counts on Bob Dold," proclaims a narrator, in a jaunty morning-show radio voice. "Fully loaded with Republican ideas like raising the retirement age and privatizing social security."
Since the 10th skews more blue than red, the tea party thing might leave an impression on Democrat-leaning voters who disdain the conservative movement.
Michael Madigan vs. the Liberty Principles PAC. Speaking of conservative groups, someone over at the Liberty Principles political action commitee—is that you, Dan Proft?—has A) intense hatred for Illinois' Machiavellian House Speaker and B) a twisted sense of humor as well as C) way too much time on their hands. The result: Jazzercise Mike Madigan. The stoic Democrat power broker, looking like Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu:
Apologies for the nightmares.