Politics

Political news

A person familiar with the case tells The Associated Press
that the Justice Department is formally investigating whether Rep. Aaron Schock
of Illinois, who has submitted his resignation, committed crimes with his office
expenditures and business dealings.
 
 The government is convening a federal grand jury in Springfield, Illinois, this
source says, and the FBI has started issuing subpoenas to compel people close to
the Republican congressman to testify. The source spoke only on grounds of

Springfield candidate for mayor Jim Langfelder, the current City Treasurer, visited the WUIS studios for a conversation about the issues.  Langfelder talked about his vision for Springfield, including CWLP.

IAR

Candidates Paul Palazzolo and Jim Langfelder debated the issues on the evening of March 12. 

The debate was sponsored by the Illinois Association of Realtors, the Capitol Area Realtors and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.

WUIS' Amanda Vinicky and the SJ-R's Bernie Schoenburg were moderators.

Amanda Vinicky

Republican Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois says he's resigning his House seat amid questions about his spending.

In a statement on Tuesday, Schock said he would step down effective March 31.

Schock, a four-term lawmaker, said he was taking the step with a "heavy heart." He said that questions about irregularities in his campaign finance and congressional spending accounts over the past six weeks have proven to be a "great distraction" and have made it too difficult for him to serve.

Springfield mayoral hopeful Paul Palazzolo says a full time neighborhood coordinator will help current residents and make the city more attractive to those wanting to re-locate.  

Speaking on WUIS' Illinois Edition, Palazzolo says it will be based an approach taken in Peoria.  The coordinator would listen to concerns about issues from snow removal to fly dumping and then work with the various city departments to resolve the problem.  

ilcourtclerks.org

After 19 years as the Sangamon County Circuit Clerk, Tony Libri is stepping down at the end of the month.

Libri, who also previously served as Sangamon County Auditor before becoming Circuit Clerk and made an unsuccessful run for Springfield mayor, did not give a reason for his retirement.  A statement says he will be able to spend more time with his family.

The Sangamon County Board will appoint a new circuit clerk to fulfill the remainder of Libri's term.  That post will then be up for election in 2016.

Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock has reimbursed the U.S. government for more than $1,200 to travel to a Chicago Bears football game last November.  

A spokesman said late Monday that Schock wrote a check to cover the costs of the trip. The congressman previously charged the private air travel to his House office account, which is funded by taxpayers.  

Newly released congressional expense reports show Schock charged more than $14,000 in private air travel last fall. Those costs add to a list of several flights he took on planes owned by donors.  

Republican County Leaders Saturday selected Tim Butler as a replacement in the Illinois 87th House District.  He'll fill the seat Rich Brauer held until he resigned to take a job with the Rauner Administration.
Butler has served as an aide to Congressman Rodney Davis, as his District Chief of Staff. Previously, he worked for Congressman Ray LaHood.
 GOP Leaders from four counties that make up the district (Sangamon, Logan, Menard and Tazewell) accepted applications over the past week before unanimously selecting Butler.

City of Springfield

Incumbent Springfield Mayor Mike Houston lost his bid for re-election in Tuesday's primary election. Houston had just 19 percent of the vote in the five-way race.

  With all 102 precincts reporting, Springfield Treasurer Jim Langfelder and Sangamon County Auditor Paul Palazzolo won the primary and will advance to the general election on April 7.

Ward 2 Ald. Gail Simpson and community activist Samuel Johnson trailed the field.

Here are the complete returns:

Illinois Congressman Aaron Schock says he hopes
constituents see him as ``still the same person'' after a week dogged by
controversies in Washington.
 
 The Peoria Republican returned to his central Illinois district Friday. It was
his first visit since a watchdog group called for an ethics probe into how he
paid for extravagant decorations of his Washington office, and after a staffer
resigned because of racist remarks on Facebook.
 
 Schock got a warm reception at one of his first stops. Several locals at a

David Ohmer (flickr.com/the-o)

Chicago officials are trying to shore up their bid to bring the Obama Presidential Library to the president’s hometown.

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

There are now five candidates in the running for Springfield mayor. Incumbent Mike Houston, county auditor Paul Palazzolo, alderman Gail Simpson, city treasurer Jim Langfelder, and perhaps the lesser known of the bunch - community activist Samuel Johnson. He joined us recently for this interview:   

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

With five hopefuls throwing their name in the ring to be Springfield's next Mayor (current Mayor Mike Houston, Sangamon County auditor Paul Palazzolo, city treasurer Jim Langfelder, activist Sam Johnson, and Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson), WUIS is reaching out to hear from each candidate on why the desire the role.

Illinois' next state treasurer won the Nov. 4 election
by 9,225 votes _ the third-closest statewide race since at least 1900.
 
 Democrat Michael Frerichs  beat Republican Tom Cross 48 percent to
47.8 percent out of 3.5 million votes cast. Records collected and analyzed by
The Associated Press show that the 0.261 percentage-point difference ranks it
behind only the 198-2 race for governor and 1952 campaign for secretary of
state.
 
 The Illinois State Board of Elections formally declared Frerichs the winner at

WUIS

Democratic state Senator Mike Frerichs appears to have won the race to be the next state treasurer.

If the current totals hold, this will go down in history as one of Illinois' narrowest general election victories.

According to the independent Illinois Election Data website, Frerichs won by fewer than 10,000 votes — a fraction of a percent of the 3.5 million votes cast.

No matter, a win is a win, and Republican state Rep. Tom Cross conceded the race.

Senator Mark Kirk facebook

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is requesting a federal inquiry into what he's calling ``voting irregularities'' and ``mishandling of ballots'' during this month's election.
 
In a letter dated Monday and obtained by The Associated Press, the Illinois
Republican asks U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon to ``secure'' questioned ballots
and ensure proper handling.
 
Kirk references allegations raised last week by a lawyer for GOP candidate for
treasurer Tom Cross. Among them is that elections officials couldn't account for
all mail-in and provisional ballots.
 

Race For Ill. Treasurer Remains Undecided

Nov 11, 2014
PeoriaPublicRadio

There are still thousands of votes yet to be counted in the race for Illinois State Treasurer. The contest between Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs is shaping up to be the closest in Illinois history. Currently, Cross holds a 500 vote lead over Frerichs -- one one-thousandth of a percentage point, and still too close to call.

But Cross' campaign alleges some voters who cast provisional ballots voted more than once. Cross' campaign manager Kevin Artl says his team saw the same names coming up twice in lists provided by the Cook County Clerk's office.

PeoriaPublicRadio

The race for state treasurer remains too close to call days after Illinois voters went to the polls.
 
Both Republican Tom Cross and Democrat Mike Frerichs remain hopeful that uncounted absentee and provisional votes break their way.
 
Cross led Frerichs by 21,000 votes out of 3.4 million cast when The Associated Press stopped tabulating the vote count on Wednesday evening.
 
Cross spokesman Kevin Artl contends that Frerichs is not getting enough votes
still being tallied to make up the difference.
 

Former U.S. Rep. Lane Evans of Illinois, a former Marine who fought for veterans' rights during his 24 years in office, has died after a long fight with Parkinson's disease.  

His legal guardian and former congressional staffer Michael Malmstrom says Evans died Wednesday at a nursing home in East Moline, Illinois.  
The Democrat was 63.  

Gov. Pat Quinn is keeping a low profile after refusing to concede his re-election bid to Republican Bruce Rauner. 
Rauner has a nearly 5 percentage point lead over Quinn with 99 percent of precincts reporting. The Winnetka venture capitalist declared victory on election night.  
But Quinn says he wants to wait for every vote to be counted.  

The Chicago Democrat had no public appearances Wednesday. Quinn aides say they're watching election results.  
Quinn has waited to concede before.  

WTTW

Ebola has not just dominated the news recently, it has become a point of discussion in campaigns.  It came up in last night's U-S Senate debate, held as part of the public t-v program "Chicago Tonight."

U-S Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, says he favors close monitoring of passengers and quarantining those at high risk of exposure.

But he disagreed with his Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a state Senator, on the need for a travel ban from certain countries.  

Rauner campaign

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner is distancing himself from the resignation of longtime Chicago Sun-Times Springfield reporter Dave McKinney. McKinney quit Wednesday, blaming the Rauner campaign for "intimidation and interference" in his reporting.

Earlier this month, the Sun-Times published a story detailing allegations of Rauner's former associate, who said Rauner threatened her and her family after a soured business deal.

Stocks-Smith Campaign for Mayor 2011

The runner up in the 2011 Springfield mayor's contest issued a statement today saying she won't run for the office next year.  

Sheila Stocks-Smith indicated it's not the right time for her to make a bid.  Stocks-Smith finished second to Mayor Mike Houston in the last election. 

Her statement:

"After carefully thought, I have decided that this is not the right time for me to run for Mayor. Instead, I will continue to serve my community and influence positive change in Springfield through my social policy and program work and community activism.” 

Rachel Otwell/WUIS

Illinois' declining manufacturing sector led to one candidate for congress calling for repeal of a controversial free trade deal.  The North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, has been praised by those who see it as key to opening up new export markets.  But others say it has led to more outsourcing of jobs to other countries.  

Democrat Ann Callis of Edwardsville, who is seeking the 13th Congressional District seat, commented in a Tuesday debate in Springfield that she would support repealing NAFTA. 

Afterward, she walked back those comments:

Davis, Callis Respond To Negative Ads

Oct 17, 2014
Mike Thomas/WILL

The candidates for the 13th Congressional District squared off in a debate at the WILL studios in Urbana.  Republican incumbent Rodney Davis  and Democratic challenger Ann Callis promoted themselves as problem-solvers ready to reach across party lines.

They concurred on some issues, like forming a bipartisan commission for Social Security reform.

On immigration reform, Callis responded to a tweet from an undocumented college student, and noted what she was told during a visit to the University of Illinois.

WUIS

Republican Bruce Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn will debate for a second time as they battle to become Illinois' next governor.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Republican state Sen. Jim Oberweis have staked out opposing positions on whether to require universal background checks for firearms purchases.  

Oberweis is trying to unseat Durbin in November. They met Monday before the Chicago Tribune editorial board.  

Durbin says mandatory background checks would help keep convicted felons and mentally unstable people from getting guns. He says a federal law would reduce violence in places like Chicago, where police say felons get weapons from other states with weaker laws.  

WUIS Statehouse Bureau Chief joined the Takeaway's John Hockenberry to discuss the close Illinois Gubernatorial election.

After failing to get on the November ballot,  the Green Party's candidates for Governor and Secretary of State say they will launch a write-in campaign in this fall's election.   That comes less than a decade after the Illinois Greens pulled in enough votes to reach "major party status" in Illinois.
 

 In the 2006  Governors Race,  Judy Baar Topinka was challenging incumbent Rod Blagojevich.      There was also Rich Whitney who ran for Governor as a candidate for the Green Party.  He got more than ten percent of the vote that year.

Alderman Gail Simpson Facebook page

    A member of Springfield's city council says she is running for mayor.  Alderman Gail Simpson, who is African American, says the community is too segregated, and she is better equipped than the other candidates to fix that problem. 

“I have a concern with a total part of this city – it’s not just the east side, because there are residents on the south, east, and north side that don’t have a voice. You know – they’re two cities,” Simpson said. 

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