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01/22/2018 07:33 AM EDT

By Natasha Korecki (nkorecki@politico.com; @natashakorecki) and Kristen East (keast@politico.com; @kristenicoleast)

Good Monday morning, Illinois.

THE BUZZ – Exclu: Today, National Nurses United (NNU), the first union to endorse Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, and Reclaim Chicago are announcing their endorsements of Daniel Biss for governor.

The national labor union is perhaps the highest-profile endorsement of Biss to date, as he pushes to break through in a Democratic primary that’s largely focused on J.B. Pritzker vs. Chris Kennedy.

“Nurses are proud to endorse Daniel Biss because he shares nurses’ values of caring, compassion and community,” Martese Chism, RN, a member of the Board of Directors of National Nurses Organizing Committee, NNU’s Illinois affiliate, said in a statement. “Under Governor Rauner, our communities are in jeopardy. Daniel Biss shares our vision for an Illinois where every resident receives quality healthcare through a single payer/Medicare for All healthcare system. He rejects the notion that cuts to social services are necessary or inevitable and is committed to raising the progressive revenue that we need to fully fund and expand the services that our communities need.”

Reclaim Chicago is a progressive, grassroots group that will also back Biss today. Both Reclaim and NNU boast of having boots on the ground support, with Reclaim saying it “gave 9,000 hours of volunteer field-work over five months in the 2015 Chicago municipal elections and more than 5,000 hours over 10 weeks to the campaigns of Kim Foxx, Bernie Sanders and many down ballot races in 2016.”

TIMING: The endorsements and attention come at just the right time for Biss, who has out fund-raised Kennedy, and socked away his money until now, giving him some firepower in the closing weeks before the March 20 primary.

Biss was also handed a gift on Friday after the Chicago Tribune editorial board session. Chris Kennedy, who is competing with Biss for the anti-establishment vote, or at least competing for the alternative to billionaire J.B. Pritzker, heaped praise on none other than Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

CONTEXT: ABC7’s Craig Wall has the video. Wall asked Kennedy about the amount of money Rauner is spending on anti-J.B. Pritzker ads, and relayed talk that: “Bruce Rauner is almost becoming a SuperPAC for you as he’s trying to undermine JB Pritzker.”

KENNEDY’S RESPONSE: “I think Bruce Rauner is trying to do what he thinks is best for the state of Illinois. Now we may disagree on what that is. His willingness to speak truth to power, to take on the powers that have been strangling the economy for decades of this state, is something I think he should be applauded for.” VIDEO

SCREEEECH: Say what?

Pritzker was out immediately with a release: Did Chris Kennedy just endorse Bruce Rauner?

React: Mark Brown: “Chris Kennedy earns slow hand clap for his Rauner applause line.” Read

Christian Mitchell “…actually, no. There’s basically nothing Bruce Rauner should be applauded for, and a candidate in the Democratic primary who claims he’s standing up for working people should know better. Whose side are you on?” Twitter

Kennedy on Twitter: “I have been calling out @BruceRauner’s leadership my entire campaign. It’s why I’m running. My remarks have been taken out of context, isolated from the questions that were asked.

.@JBPritzker is the candidate Rauner wants to run against. When I agree with someone, I say it. I agree that @BruceRauner should’ve released the tapes so voters know how @JBPritzker really operates.”

So who benefits from Kennedy’s Rauner remark?

From Chris Mooney, former director of University of Illinois’ Institute of Government and Public Affairs: “If it’s a race of one big dog against the little dogs, you know how that story is going to end. Biss and Kennedy, it would be to their advantage to get the other out. So it can be another Bernie vs. Hillary instead of two Bernies vs. one Hillary.”

Biss has never been a typical candidate. Remember his Road Back video series? Here he juggles fire while explaining mundane pensions, flat taxes and property taxes. Watch

Also, Biss snagged Evanston Democrats’ endorsement. “Tonight, Evanston Democrats voted to endorse someone we’ve seen up close and personal as our Representative and Senator and who we know will make a great, progressive Governor,” said Evanston Township Democratic Committeeman Eamon Kelly. “Our grassroots members are fired up and ready to put in the work to nominate him on March 20.”

CITIZEN ACTION ENDORSES PRITZKER: On Sunday, Pritzker won the endorsement of Citizen Action, a public-interest group that touts fighting for causes like affordable health care, and campaign finance reform. The decision to back Pritzker was reportedly not contentious among board members. (Pete Giangreco, a consultant of the Pritzker campaign, sits on that board.)

TODAY:Chris Kennedy will be releasing his statewide plan to reform the property tax system, protect taxpayers, and ultimately bring fairness to funding Illinois public schools. Chris will be joined by Alderman Anthony Beale and Alderman Rick Muñoz. Ald. Muñoz recently filed a proposal that would require the city to challenge assessments on the largest commercial buildings in or near the Loop.”

Also today: Kwame Raoul, candidate for Illinois Attorney General, joins Chicago Teachers Union at a news conference today for an announcement.

“CHICAGO WEST” – “37 names Kimye left on the cutting room floor,” by Chicago Magazine: “1. Windy City West (first to be removed from shortlist) … 4. River West … 19. Don’t You Dare Put Ketchup On It West … 20. Gino’s West … 28. Frank Lloyd West … 37. Chicago Dog All-Beef Frank Mustard Onion Relish Pickle Tomato Celery Salt Poppyseed Bun West.” Story here


Sen. Dick Durbin joined “Meet the Press with Chuck Todd” on Sunday characterizing the chances of reopening government this way: “I’m not going to make that prediction, but I feel that there are positive conversations.” He added: “I wish the president would help us. At some point his leadership could make the difference.”

On the president’s immigration comments, Durbin said, “It did happen, Chuck. I’m sorry that it was said. I’m sorry that the president denied it.” Watch the full interview.

– “Duckworth calls Trump ‘a five-deferment draft dodger,'” by Chicago Tribune staff: “Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, speaking on the Senate floor about the partial government shutdown, said Saturday she would not accept a lecture about military funding from President Donald Trump, calling him ‘a five-deferment draft dodger.’ Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down, was responding to a tweet by Trump that said, ‘Democrats are holding our military hostage’ in the shutdown.” Story here

“Yikes. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL): “I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.” She labels the president “Cadet Bone Spurs,”” by Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) on Twitter: See the tweet

– “Durbin warns against Senate ‘nuclear option’ to reopen government,” by POLITICO’s Jacqueline Klimas: “The Senate’s second-ranking Democrat said Sunday that President Donald Trump’s suggestion to change Senate rules to reopen the government ‘would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised.’ The president tweeted Sunday morning that if the ‘stalemate’ that closed the government continues, Republicans should invoke the ‘nuclear option,’ which would allow the Senate to move forward with 51 votes instead of the 60 normally required to break a filibuster. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) slammed the suggestion, saying part of being in the Senate is respecting the party that’s in the minority.” Story here

– “Bost, Shimkus and Davis blame shutdown on Senate Dems; Durbin blames Trump,” by Belleville News-Democrat: “The three U.S. House members who represent the metro-east issued a joint statement Saturday, calling on the U.S. senators from Illinois – Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth – to support a funding bill that would end the shutdown of the federal government. The statement was issued by Reps. Mike Bost, of Murphysboro; John Shimkus, of Collinsville; and Rodney Davis, of Taylorville – all Republicans. Durbin and Duckworth are Democrats. Bost, Shimkus and Davis accused Durbin of forcing the shutdown as a way to undo President Donald Trump’s ending of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. That immigration program protected children brought to the United States illegally by their parents from deportation.” Story here

Welcome to the POLITICO Illinois Playbook! Please send tips, events, announcements to nkorecki@politico.com or @natashakorecki SUBSCRIBE to Illinois Playbook For more Illinois news visit: http://www.politico.com/news/illinois

Saying goodbye to Joel Weisman as host of WTTW’s Week-in-Review: First off, a thank you to Joel and WTTW for including me as among the guests for his final show (I was referred to as the “baby” of the group, ha!) WTTW gave Weisman quite the send off on Friday, including a one-hour special show that is really a fun watch for any political junkie. David Axelrod, Lynn Sweet, Mary Mitchell and Lester Munson made up the first of three panels that reminisced on some of the most compelling stories over the last 40 years. Mary Ann Ahern, Charles Thomas, Tribune Publisher Bruce Dold and myself made up another panel (the third was a mix of the first two). Watch here

Following the last show taping, WTTW threw an in-studio soiree and among the media luminaries attending: Carol Marin, Robert Feder, Mark Giangreco, Walter Jacobson … and too many more to name.


– “Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with negative response during talks at University of Michigan,” by University News’ Brie Matteson: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel received a harshly negative response during his talks at the University Of Michigan after revealing his plan of spending almost $100 million on a new police academy. Although the Mayor was visiting the university to speak to students about the beneficial experience and occupational benefits of relocating to Chicago once they graduate, he was met with a heckling from the audience, with two of the protestors chanting ‘Money for kids, not for cops, no cop academy.’ and was caught on video and posted on Twitter in a 45-second clip.” Story here

– “Rahm Emanuel continues to pile up frequent-flier miles – costing taxpayers $46K,” by Chicago Sun-Times’ Fran Spielman: “Mayor Rahm Emanuel made nearly two dozen out-of-town trips last year at a cost of roughly $46,000 to Chicago taxpayers, records show. Records released by City Hall in response to a Freedom of Information request – on a day when the mayor was at the University of Michigan – show Emanuel is continuing to pile up frequent-flier miles, even though he is at war with President Donald Trump and has a whole lot less to show for his shuttles between Chicago and Washington, D.C.” Story here


– “Gutierrez slams Kennedy’s praise of Rauner,” by Windy City Times’ Andrew Davis: “U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez ( D-Illinois ) criticized Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy for lauding current Gov. Bruce Rauner. According to a statement issued from Si! Communications ( which represents the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation ), Kennedy commended Rauner for ‘trying to do what he thinks is best for the state of Illinois. … His willingness to speak truth to power, to take on the powers that have been strangling our economy for decades in this state is something that I think he should be applauded for.'” Story here

– “Mike Madigan speaks in Ottawa, predicts success for dems in general election,” by NewsTribune’s Ben Hohenstatt: “If to be early is to be on time, Mike Madigan was prompt for Saturday’s Illinois Valley Federation of Labor Third Biennial Labor Summit held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Ottawa. The state speaker of the house and keynote speaker at the summit took to the dais about an hour earlier than scheduled. This caused an intermission in a presentation by Robert Bruno, professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, while Madigan delivered a well-received speech to a largely Democratic crowd.” Story here

– “Ives discusses marijuana, DACA as she looks to topple Rauner,” by Central Illinois Proud’s Paul Cicchini: “State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is looking to build momentum with less than two months before voters decide which Republican should represent the party in November in the race for governor. Ives calls a recent poll where she collected 21-percent ‘good news.’ Ives, who is running from the right of Gov. Bruce Rauner, says he undermined the relationship among local, state and federal law enforcement by signing the Trust Act. She is also uncertain about whether there should be some kind of permanent residency afforded to DACA recipients.” Story here

– “Ted Kennedy Jr. campaigns for cousin Chris Kennedy,” by WIFR: “One of the most well-known names in American politics makes a stateline stop to campaign for a fellow family member. Ted Kennedy Jr. is currently a state senator in Connecticut. He’s the son of longtime ex-Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy Sr. Friday; he spoke on behalf his cousin Chris Kennedy who’s one of three Democratic candidates for Illinois governor. Kennedy Jr. says Chris has three important qualities for a leader: He’s a listener, a collaborator and a fighter.” Story here

Guess who landed a sit-down interview with Ted Kennedy Jr.? Jay Doherty Jr., 13-year-old son of Jay Doherty, City Club of Chicago president. Kid knows his stuff: “Ted Kennedy Interview – Kennedy for Illinois Version,” by Jay Doherty: Video here


– “What’s killing CTA train ridership? Two four-letter words,” by Crain’s Chicago Business’ Greg Hinz: “Signs are growing that Uber, Lyft and their peers have begun to cut significantly into Chicago Transit Authority business, with overall ridership now declining after two decades of steady increases. Though the companies deny it, the phenomenon is particularly apparent on late nights and weekends, periods when the CTA has lost as much as 20 percent of its riders on some lines in just two years.” Story here

– “Chicago’s private-sector employment: Really the highest in city history?” by Kiannah Sepeda-Miller for Better Government Association and PolitiFact: “In a recent WGN radio interview, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasted that the count of private sector jobs in the city had hit an all-time high even as employment statewide sagged. ‘Chicago now has the highest employment in the private sector in the history of the city,’ Emanuel told host Steve Cochran. ‘And we’re doing it even with a state that’s actually dragging us back.’ To put a fine point on it, Emanuel repeated the claim a minute later. ‘I just told you, Chicago now has the highest private sector employment – ever,’ the mayor said, stressing the word ‘ever.’ All of which raises a demographic and workplace quandary. Census data make clear that the Chicago of today is a much smaller place than the Chicago of yesteryear. State officials counted nearly 1.18 million private sector jobs in Chicago, a number Emanuel’s office says is a record. How then to reconcile that claim with a city population swoon dating back to the 1950s? We decided to check.” Story here


– “If Chicago lands Amazon’s HQ2, will scores of residents be priced out of their neighborhoods?” by Chicago Tribune’s Bob Goldsborough: “With all the usual caveats applying – even if Amazon chooses Chicago for HQ2, no one yet knows which part of the city or suburbs the company would select – economists were quick to acknowledge that while Amazon’s arrival would be a nice stimulant for Chicago’s housing market, it would hardly turn the region, or even parts of it, into a place where soaring rents and stratospheric home prices are the norm.” Story here

JOHN HARRIS in POLITICO Magazine, “‘Washington Was About to Explode’: The Clinton Scandal, 20 Years Later: In 1998, news broke that upended politics and sent a presidency hurtling towards impeachment. Twenty years later, an all-star panel tries to make sense of that moment-and what it tells us about our own”: “What many people don’t remember-and what people who are too young to have followed the story in real time may find inconceivable-was how strange and disturbing and fragile things seemed at the beginning. And they may not perceive what seems clear to many veterans of those days: How much the angry, raucous, media-saturated politics of the Age of Trump has its roots in the angry, raucous media-saturated politics of the Age of Clinton. … To mark the anniversary of the Clinton-Lewinsky moment, POLITICO … assembled a group of journalists who had played central roles in the story to ponder the lessons of that history.” With oral histories from Michael Isikoff, Susan Glasser, and Peter Baker Story here

WEEKEND WEDDING — Emily Bittner on Saturday married Clay Diette; the couple both work for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Pool report: “They met working for Rahm. … The wedding was at Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ and the reception was at the Montgomery Club. … The mayor shed a tear when she walked down the aisle.” Pic

SPOTTED: Adam Broder, Diana Astiz, David Bergstein, Marc Brumer and his wife Mallory Ward, Emily Bolton, Fiona Conroy, David Bergstein, Abby Livingston.

– “First there was Prince. Now Tom Petty. When will America finally wake up to the opioid crisis?” by Dan Diamond for POLITICO Magazine: Story here

– “The 270 people connected to the Russia probes,” by POLITICO’s Darren Samuelsohn, Sarah Frostenson and Jeremy C.F. Lin: Story here

– “Why the government shutdown actually costs money,” by POLITICO’s Danny Vinik: Story here

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