Ward Room's Campaign Round-Up is a weekly column dedicated to keeping you in the know about the upcoming 2016 elections. Check the Ward Room blog for continued coverage every Tuesday.
U.S. Senate Race
Sen. Mark Kirk's campaign criticized Rep. Tammy Duckworth for missing a series of congressional votes last week, including one on the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Act. Duckworth has missed 19 out of 26 votes in September following a seven week recess. That includes seven votes Tuesday.
“It is no surprise that Rep. Duckworth has been rated on of the least effective member of Congress, always putting politics ahead of her responsibilities to her constituents,” Kirk spokesperson Kevin Artl said.
Last week, the Duckworth campaign claimed the congresswoman missed votes because she was busy on the campaign trail.
“On Tuesday, Tammy was warmly received by over 2,000 working men and women of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, where she laid out her vision for an economy based on fair trade and opportunity for all in contrast to Senator Kirk, who supports the tax loopholes companies use to ship jobs overseas and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by raising taxes on middle-class families by $2,000,” Duckworth spokesman Matt McGrath said in a statement.
“She also noted that Illinois has lost more than 270,000 manufacturing jobs since Kirk was first elected to Congress, a fact not lost on those in attendance, or working families across Illinois,” McGrath added. “With that record, it’s no surprise Kirk was a no-show in Illinois on Labor Day.”
The Duckworth campaign also pointed to votes missed by Kirk, including one in May that looked to protect and enhance the rights of sexual assault survivors. The Kirk campaign noted that Duckworth also missed a vote that day on a measure that looked to help police find kidnap victims.
Cook County State’s Attorney Race
Kim Foxx is facing questions about a potential conflict of interest after the Chicago Tribune reported that she’s doing consulting work for a personal injury law firm, Powers Rogers & Smith.
On Saturday, Foxx told the Tribune that she has been doing consulting work for the firm since 2015, but wouldn’t disclose how much they have paid her. She hadn’t publicly disclosed her work for the firm until the Tribune asked about it. Lawyers from the firm have contributed $18,500 to her campaign fund, according to the Tribune.
Foxx, a Democrat, said the firm wouldn’t get preferential treatment and that their cases would be treated "in the same manner that I would treat every other case," according to the Tribune.
Foxx did not indicate that she would recuse herself from cases in which the firm sues Cook County, but insisted to the Tribune that “there is no conflict of interest.”
The firm has successfully sued the county multiple times, the Tribune reports. This year, they were paid $6 million by to settle a lawsuit with the family of a Dolton teenager who was killed by a car being pursued by sheriff’s police, according to the Tribune. Additionally, the Tribune reports that Powers Rogers & Smith won a $3 million settlement against Cook County Hospital in 2000 and a $3.1 million verdict in a medical negligence case the same year against the county.
Foxx beat out current Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the March Democratic primary after Alvarez was widely criticized for her handling of the Laquan McDonald case. Foxx will face Republican Christopher Pfannkuche in November.
Illinois House District 20 Race
The Illinois Republican Party released a new ad tying state representative candidate Merry Marwig to House Speaker Mike Madigan on Monday. Marwig is locked in a tight race with incumbent state Rep. Michael McAuliffe for the 20th House district that includes parts of Chicago's Northwest Side as well as suburban Schiller Park, Rosemont, and Norridge, among others.
The ad accuses Marwig and Madigan of “profiting from the same corrupt system,” noting that Madigan “made a fortune on tax appeals representing the powerful and politically connected.”
In 2010, the Chicago Tribune reported that Madigan’s law firm had become a “top player in Chicago’s skyscrapers property tax appeals."
The 30-second spot, which refers to Marwig as the speaker’s “handpicked candidate,” claims she had her property taxes lowered twice as part of an ”inside game” that has saved Madigan’s friends millions and forced taxpayers to pay more. The narrator goes on to accuse Madigan and Marwig of "looking out for themselves, instead of you.”
Marwig responded to the ad in a statement that accused McAuliffe of benefiting from a property tax appeal and tying him to Donald Trump.
"Mike McAuliffe is a hypocrite 20-year career politician who is so out of touch he believes local residents who appeal their property taxes are corrupt, even though he personally benefited himself from a successful property tax appeal on a condo he owned," she said, adding that he "and Donald Trump are using the same playbook of distracting voters from the issues our neighborhoods are concerned about."
Madigan’s chief political opponent, Gov. Bruce Rauner, has contributed most of the $13 million spent on GOP House and Senate candidates during this election cycle, the Associated Press reports. On top of that, the Illinois Republican Party still has $3 million more of Rauner’s money in the bank.
“In terms of specific races, I’m not involved in those in any material way,” he added.
State Rep. Michael McAuliffe’s campaign committee reported a $6,640 donation from the Illinois Republican Party Tuesday.
The Illinois Republican Party contributed $50,000 to the Republican State Senate Campaign Committee Tuesday.
Speaker Madigan’s committee reported $260,500 in donations Monday. This includes $53,900 each from the political committees of state Rep. Kathleen Willis, state Rep. Natalie Manley and state Rep. Anna Moeller. Another $53,900 came from the Carpenters’ Legislative Improvement Committee.
Comptroller Leslie Munger’s committee reported a $25,000 donation from the Illinois Republican Party last week.
Kim Foxx's committee reported donations from some high-profile Democrats earlier this month. This includes $1,000 from Senate President John Cullerton’s committee and $5,000 from Ald. Ed Burke’s committee. Treasurer Kurt Summers also pitched in $1,500.