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The Mechanics
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Illinois Tue Sep 21 2010

Jackson Jr. Caught In Yet Another Scandal

It was a terrible, horrible no good, very bad day for Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr:

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.

The allegation by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak counters public statements made as recently as last week by Jackson that he never authorized any deal to attempt to buy the Senate seat.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (left) and Raghuveer Nayak pose in front of the White House on Oct. 8, 2008, the day Nayak says a critical meeting occurred.

Nayak also told authorities he paid for two airline trips for a "social acquaintance" of the Democratic congressman at Jackson's request, raising more potential ethical and political problems for Jackson.

The FBI interviewed that acquaintance -- a Washington, D.C., restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro -- about a year ago as part of its corruption probe of Blagojevich. Authorities were trying to determine whether Jackson had asked Nayak to offer Blagojevich campaign cash in exchange for the then-governor appointing Jackson to the seat once held by President Obama, according to sources with knowledge of the probe.

Huidobro, Jackson and Nayak all dined together on Oct. 8, 2008 -- the same day that Nayak has told authorities he had a key conversation with Jackson about the Senate appointment, sources said. The three then ended up at Ozio, the restaurant and club where Huidobro works and where Jackson has held fund-raisers.

Huidobro told authorities she knew nothing of Jackson's political dealings regarding the Senate seat, according to sources. She also said she flew to Chicago on several occasions at Jackson's request and that Jackson sometimes reimbursed her for her travels.

Nayak told the FBI that he paid for two airline trips for Huidobro from Washington to Chicago in 2008.

A spokesman for Jackson declined to comment on Monday.

Reached Tuesday on his cell phone, Jackson said: "I have nothing to say. Call my office. Have a good day."

I hate to bring it up because the above is really a story in itself but this really does do even more damage to Jackson's already less than perfect mayoral prospects. It also leaves a gaping hole in the selection of black candidates for mayor. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think Carol Moseley Braun has much of a chance and State Senator James Meeks isn't exactly a friend of gay Chicagoans. That may mean that blacks and those who would vote for a black candidate will have to choose between Sheriff Dart and Rahm.

 
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IrishPirate / September 22, 2010 5:10 AM

J Cubed is done. Ain't getting elected to higher office.

Even before this his chances of being mayor weren't good.

None of the currently announced or semi announced black candidates have a realistic shot at winning.

Too much baggage and too identifiable as "black candidates".

If a serious black candidate emerges it will have to be someone like Kwame Raoul or Terry Peterson. Someone who has cross racial appeal.

The changing demographics of the city make that an absolute necessity. Chicago has lost at least 150,000 black residents to the burbs and beyond in the last decade. That doesn't bode well for a candidate who can only market themselves as "the black candidate".

I also don't think Rahmbo has much of a chance unless he can face a clearly weak candidate in the runoff. Someone like a Senator Reverend Meeks comes to mind.

My current guess, subject to change at a moment's notice or based on my alcohol intake, is that it will be Dart Versus Rahmbo.

Expect a vicious campaign from Rahmbo and a decisive win for Dart.

I just don't see a big constituency out there for 9 fingered profane maniacs.

Perhaps I'm wrong.

Daniel Strauss / September 22, 2010 8:03 AM

Totally agree with you, especially on the point about a black candidate with cross racial appeal and that the race is Dart's to win or lose although you wouldn't know it from how the national media has been covering this so far.
You think there's a Latino candidate with cross racial appeal?

Felix / September 22, 2010 11:32 AM

@Daniel. Manny Flores is an excellent latino candidate with cross racial appeal.

Daniel Strauss / September 22, 2010 12:10 PM

To be honest, I don't know much about Flores. His name has come up but it's usually clumped together at the bottom of articles about the mayoral race i.e. "other potential candidates include Carol Moseley Braun, Manny Flores...etc."

What's important to know about him?

Stoney / September 22, 2010 1:43 PM

Flores= bails when things get tough. He doesn't have the stones to win a tough campaign let alone govern.

Felix / September 22, 2010 4:46 PM

I live in the 1st ward and was really impressed with the way Flores ran it. He struck me as a decent guy who got things done without the usual machine bullshit.

Irishpirate / September 22, 2010 6:46 PM

Apparently Lisa Madigan is being very coy about finishing her term as AG.

If she enters da race then it gets "verrrrry interesting".

http://newsblogs.chicagotribune.com/clout_st/2010/09/ag-madigan-walks-fine-line-on-mayor-question.html

As for a Hispanic candidate, I think if any of those mentioned not named Guitterez makes the runoff they would have a shot at winning.

Again anyone who can portray themselves as not a machine candidate could beat Rahmbo.

I really think he is being overplayed as a candidate.

Mike Madigan loathes Tom Dart. Mayor is arguably a better job than Governor.

Let's say we're looking at a race between the following serious candidates:

Dart

Madigan

Rahmbo

Meeks

Del Valle

Flores

Braun(?)

That could be hard to "game".

Madigan would take votes from both Dart and Emmanuel. In fact since Emmanuel seems to be counting on machine support I think it kills his campaign.

So then we're looking at Dart V Madigan V Meeks with an outside chance of a hispanic candidate making the runoff.

If Meeks can get 60 percent or more of the black vote he is at 25+ percent in the February election.

That damn near guarantees him losing in the runoff to the less divisive candidate.

Unless we get say ten candidates who can each get at least 5 percent of the vote I doubt we'll see a hispanic in the runoff.

Now the more semi viable candidates we get the more opportunity to see someone getting to the runoff with minimal appeal outside their base.


Daniel Strauss / September 22, 2010 7:39 PM

Do you really think it's going to go to a run-off?

I'm pretty skeptical of Meeks' viability as a candidate but I think it's reasonable to consider the possibility that he'll run.

Also, thanks for the Madigan tip. I wasn't near a computer when that broke and am just finally catching up on the few hours I've missed.

Irishpirate / September 22, 2010 7:52 PM

I would almost guarantee a runoff. There are to many egos involved and even the lesser known pols in the race can probably expect at least 3-5 percent of the vote apiece.

I also can't picture a reasonable scenario where Meeks wins a runoff. I think he could make the runoff.

If he were more self aware and truly wanted a Mayor who is black he would recruit a Kwame Raoul or Terry Peterson to run.

Those guys could rock the black vote and they also have cross racial appeal.

Davis and Braun are washed up hacks, but I expect their egos may get at least one of them officially in the race.

With the JJJ implosion Meeks is now the most influential local black politician at least regarding the Mayoralty.

I'm assuming the President stays out of the race and doesn't openly support anyone.

I'm also assuming he doesn't resign the Presidency to run for Mayor.

You have to figure that even in a 10 candidate race Dart would get at least 20 percent of the vote. Same goes with Madigan. Figure a black candidate around that number and the rest dividing up the remaining votes.

It's likely gonna be one hell of an interesting election.

Daniel Strauss / September 22, 2010 7:58 PM

I wasn't aware anyone was suggesting President was considering a mayoral run...

re: "hell of an interesting election"

True that.

Irishpirate / September 22, 2010 8:06 PM

Unfortunately, President Obama probably sees the Presidency as "outranking" "Da Mare".

It's a common mistake for those not born and raised here.

Daniel Strauss / September 22, 2010 8:09 PM

Outside of Chicago he's probably not alone. Outside of Chicago that is.

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