PI Original Josh Kalven Thursday August 6th, 2009, 12:31pm

2010 Grab Bag: Hynes In, Giannoulias Way Up In Poll, Kirk Sorry About Tweets

The latest from the 2010 electoral landscape ... Illinois Governor The Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch reports today that Comptroller Dan Hynes "will be sending out a letter to supporters today confirming he is running for governor," adding: "He comes into ...

The latest from the 2010 electoral landscape ...

Illinois Governor

The Sun-Times' Abdon Pallasch reports today that Comptroller Dan Hynes "will be sending out a letter to supporters today confirming he is running for governor," adding: "He comes into the race with $3.5 million in the bank, compared with [Gov. Pat] Quinn's $700,000."

Earlier this week, Hynes continued his criticism of Quinn's handling of the budget crisis, with a specific focus on state workers:

Hynes said Quinn is cutting front-line workers before weeding out middle- and upper-level managers.

Hynes’ office said 1,600 people on the state payroll who earn $70,000 or more a year were hired while Rod Blagojevich was governor. Hynes described them as “mostly political appointees.”

“There are 1,600 positions that should be scrutinized before we consider cutting employees who take care of our children and protect our communities,” Hynes said, adding that he is not suggesting all of the jobs are unnecessary.

In the 2004 Senate primary, AFSCME Council 31 -- which represents almost all of the "front-line workers" mentioned above -- endorsed Barack Obama over Hynes.  Considering these remarks, don't be surprised if they back him this time around.

Will there be any other entries into the Democratic gubernatorial primary?  One person to watch is State Rep. Jack Franks (learn a bit more about him here).  On WTTW last night, the SouthtownStar's Kristen McQueary reported that he plans to make a decision about the race by Labor Day.

And what about an African-American candidate?  Downstate Sen. James Clayborne is "mulling it over," according to Rich Miller's Monday SouthtownStar column.

On the GOP side of this race, State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) confirmed to the Daily Herald that he is serious about running for governor, despite Kirk Dillard's hopes that he would bow out:

In fact, [Murphy] told Animal Farm today he is fundraising, has a team of advisors in place and recently meet with members of the Republican Governors Association. In coming weeks he is planning a statewide tour.

In recent months, we paid close attention to both Murphy and Dillard's comments about the budget crisis and came away unimpressed to say the least.

U.S. Senate

Today, Politico reports on a Democratic poll showing State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias with a commanding lead over both Chicago Urban League head Cheryle Jackson and Merchandise Mart CEO Chris Kennedy in statewide matchups:

The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, shows Giannoulias winning 45 percent of the primary vote against businessman (and RFK son) Chris Kennedy and Chicago Urban League president Cheryle Jackson. In the three-way race, Kennedy tallies 17 percent of the vote, with Jackson at 13 percent.

In a head-to-head matchup against Jackson, Giannoulias leads by 30 points, 51 percent to 21 percent.

These numbers aren't particularly surprising.  After all, Giannoulias has previously run a statewide campaign and neither Kennedy nor Jackson have ever run for public office.  While Politico doesn't offer up any data regarding the disparity in name identification, Giannoulias is surely much, much better known.  

If the last round of unsourced rumors are true, Kennedy is thought to be shying away from the Senate race.  But what about Jackson?  Will these kind of polling numbers dissuade her from turning her exploratory committee into a full-fledged campaign?  Here's what she had to say about her potential bid in the latest issue of Today's Chicago Woman:

"I can’t deny I have the opportunity to do what I do here [at the Urban League] for everybody, statewide. So much of it revolves around economic challenges as far as health care, immigration, public education. [My ideas] worked here and I think they could absolutely work in communities downstate – rural communities disconnected from the economic mainstream.” [...]

She chooses her words carefully. “I’m very serious about this,” she says. “I’m more serious than people realize…One thing’s for sure. I’ll be making the decision very soon.”

On the Republican side, Rep. Mark Kirk struck an apologetic tone this week after Capitol Fax recently noticed him tweeting while on active duty with the Naval Reserves:

"It's something that I will not do again," Kirk said while pooh-poohing the severity of the offenses at the end of a downtown Chicago news conference on his proposal for health-care reform on Monday. "I understand the sensitivities. So my days on that, when I'm on active duty, are over."    

The New York Times also published an article today on Kirk's ongoing struggle with his previous support for the Democrats' cap-and-trade bill.  The piece notes that the congressman has changed his tone as of late, acknowledging that he received some harsh blowback from Illinois conservatives: 

Kirk has on a couple of occasions said he was representing the wishes of his suburban Chicago district. At the same time, the congressman has already started to back away from that vote -- saying that as a senator he would examine such legislation for its impact on the whole state -- though he has not gone so far to say that he would vote against the bill if it comes back to the House. 

In an interview for "Fox Chicago Sunday" after announcing his Senate bid, Kirk said, "I've always backed energy independence policies, but I've heard from people on this issue like no other. The energy interests of Illinois are far broader and deeper than my North Shore district."

More on this issue here and here.

7th Congressional District

Will Rep. Danny Davis actually leave his congressional seat to run for Cook County Board President?  We're still not convinced it's going to happen.  In the meantime, a crowded field is waiting in the wings, as Politico reports:

But with so many black pols expressing interest in succeeding Davis, there’s talk of a splintered African-American vote — a scenario that could hand the election to a white candidate. 

Already, the list of potential black candidates includes Boykin, Deputy Cook County Recorder of Deeds Darlena Williams-Burnett, state Sen. Rickey Hendon and state Reps. Karen Yarbrough, LaShawn Ford and Deborah Graham. 

Just one non-African-American — Alderman Bob Fioretti — is widely mentioned as a prospective candidate. 

Lieutenant Governor

The AP reported on Monday that State Rep. Art Turner (D-Chicago) is launching a bid for lieutenant governor.  According to the article, he "wants to focus on veterans services, schools, and economic development."

Meanwhile, another Democratic candidate for the office, Justin Oberman, talked to Illinois Channel about the race:

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