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The Mechanics
« When Everything Is Up For Grabs Scott Simon On Mayor Daley »

Chicago Tue Sep 07 2010

How Mayor Daley and Senator Meeks May Kill Pat Quinn's Chances.

As you are well aware Mayor Daley has decided not to run for re-election and the first round of elections to figure out who is going to be the next mayor of Chicago is only 168 days away.

This may seem like plenty of time but in fact it isn't much time at all and the timing of this election is going to potentially have a significant impact on the statewide races, in particular Pat Quinn's race in November for several reasons.

Fundraising.
It is going to be harder for Democratic statewide candidates to get large sums of money from various union groups when these same groups are looking at having to turn around fairly quickly and spend money on the municipal race. These groups can not get funds in nearly as fast as industry PACs and other groups. So any large union is going to have to think twice about significantly depleting their funds in order to help a statewide (such as Pat Quinn) and be forced to sit out the municipal election.

Primary and General Uncertainty.
Keep in mind that the election on Feb 22nd is a non-partisan election. So if no one gets 50%+1 the election moves on to the next round. In a traditional primary this wouldn't be a problem, you would know the Democrat would win the general so you could spend your money in the primary where the 'real' election would be and then be fine. At the very least if you backed the wrong horse in the first round you could get behind the likely winner in the second round. This time you may have to chose between two Democrats.

So at this point at least some money and possibly at lot of money that would be in play for November is likely off the table if you are Democrat because it is going to needed and used for the mayors race.

Senator James Meeks:
Now imagine if you are the Chicago Teachers Union or the IEA and James Meeks decides to run. A popular south side Pastor and State Senator who has come out on multiple occasions as being in favor of vouchers for Chicago public school students. The last thing you want if you are a teachers union is the mayor of Chicago who is in favor of vouchers. He is the Pastor of a church with 24,000 members so if he decides to run he is a major force day 1.

Again the teachers unions do not want a pro-voucher mayor of Chicago. So if you were a teachers union would you be giving money to non-incumbent statewide Democratic candidates who chances are 50/50 at best and most of who besides Pat Quinn who has odds even worse that 50/50 are running for offices that don't really impact teachers or do you hold on to that money to deal with the threat that Reverend Meeks is.


So what do you get.

You likely get almost all of the teachers union money now off of the table because the race to be Chicago's next mayor is going to be not only more important but also a better investment. So a major source of funds for Democratic statewide candidates may be reduced or off the table completely and that does them no favors in a tough year.

 
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Rubbernecker / September 9, 2010 6:46 AM

I disagree with your hypothesis insofar as the teachers' unions go.

The IEA has a very regimented decision-making process on the issue of politics and they do not represent Chicago teachers. While having a strong advocate for vouchers as Chicago's mayor would be a win for pro-voucher forces, that post is not, ultimately, where the IEA's bread is buttered, so Quinn doesn't lose anything there (plus, they've got gobs of money, anyway).

As for the CTU and their parent organization IFT, they are not supporting Quinn at present, anyway. So, no net loss there for the Gov. (The same reasoning goes for AFSCME, by the way).

As for the construction unions, they are a conservative bunch in many ways. They are either short on PAC money already due to the economy or will be loathe to take a gamble on one horse in a crowded field.

The bigger concern for the Gov is SEIU. Do they change their electoral strategy? Maybe, but nothing certain.

Rubbernecker / September 9, 2010 6:48 AM

So, I guess I disagree with your entire premise.

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