043033 UC Ingalls Mental Health Awareness Month Ad Reoirter
Rich Miller

Rich Miller

Not your grandfather’s petition drive

By Rich Miller

I’ve been fascinated by election petition-gathering season this year because of the adjusted primary schedule, the crazy Omicron variant, and the prevailing fear of crime, not to mention the awful weather.

Petition season was always during the fall. But because the primary was moved to June 28, petition circulators now have to get out there in the dead of winter, during the pandemic and crime surges.

As Rep. Nick Smith (D-Chicago) said recently on Rep. Mike Zalewski’s (D-Riverside) “Have All Voted Who Wish” podcast, voters have been increasingly reluctant to come to their front doors for years, long before the pandemic. These days, it’s far more difficult to convince folks to answer when the canvassers knock.

RichMiller

Rich Miller

Rep. Smith’s solution was to ask his volunteers to work their own blocks, with the expectation that each person would gather 10 signatures.

But that only works for someone with an experienced and fairly large network like Smith has. What about others?

Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) is also the 49th Ward Democratic committeeperson and threw a boozy “petition party” in mid-January, advertising it on social media. She said the event was “amazing,” netting 625 signatures in three hours for 18 different candidate petitions.

I’ve also been told of members doing things like setting up shop in their local Starbucks and collecting signatures from people while they were waiting for their orders.

But Rep. Dan Didech (D-Buffalo Grove) is being hailed by some of his colleagues as a “signature machine” for what one legislator calls his “house calls” program.

Didech came up with the idea of scheduling home visits with voters in his district to collect petition signatures. “Sometimes,” a fellow House Democrat said, people even “grab a few neighbors so you can get a group.”

Didech pushed back hard against some fellow House Dems who wanted to reduce the statutory signature requirements during the early January session. “But I got 1,000 signatures in 10 days, so I feel vindicated,” Didech told me. “I’m not special. Everyone can do that.” He said he finished so fast that he’s now helping others, including those who wanted to reduce the signature requirement.

Rep. Didech explained that, because of the pandemic, he had already transitioned his voter outreach away from in-person contact at the doors and toward Facebook and direct mail. “People are used to communicating with me on those channels,” he said.

Didech posted a photo of a map of his new district on Facebook and told his followers that he still needed some signatures. “Please comment or send me a message if it’s OK for me to stop by your house this weekend,” Didech wrote in the Facebook post.

“That one post generated 150 signatures,” Didech said.

Rep. Didech also sent a direct mailer to his supporters and strong Democrats in his new district to ask people to email him when it would be convenient for him to stop by their homes. Didech said his email inbox “completely blew up.”

Didech’s formula worked so well for one Chicago Democrat that she only half-jokingly called Didech “the master” last week.

Forty-seventh Ward Democratic Committeeperson Paul Rosenfeld is using Didech’s methods “with a lot of success.” Rosenfeld said he’s collected “over 500 signatures on 14 different petitions” that way.

But maybe not everyone can replicate this effort. First-time candidates or newer members with small supporter networks can’t always just magically generate home visits. Some districts aren’t as “connected” online as they are up in Buffalo Grove or the 47th Ward.

Even so, longtime Statehouse operative Mike Cassidy told me the story of how his 13-year-old daughter, Cate, finally took an interest in politics in January, so he agreed to help some friends gather signatures as a way of getting her involved.

Cassidy asked Cate to text her friends the night before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when they figured people would be home, to ask if she and her parents could come by with petitions.

“She not only went through her middle school phone book and social media contacts, but we pulled names from our Christmas card list,” Cassidy marveled. “We drove around town for about four hours, collecting close to 100 signatures.”

“I have circulated petitions my entire career,” Cassidy said, which used to involve going door-to-door. “But unlike waiting for people to get home from work or targeting weekends, these days more people work from home due to COVID.” He said people were “happy” to have guests who they knew and were confident were masked and vaccinated.

Rich Miller also publishes Capitol Fax, a daily political newsletter, and CapitolFax.com.

Local News

John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

biz pop's beef logo

Pop’s to celebrate National Italian Beef Day with week of specials

Palos Heights-based Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is beefing up May this year with a week-long celebration of National Italian Beef Day at each of their locations. As part of the celebrations, Pop’s is hosting an interactive contest on their Facebook page during the week of National Italian Beef Day from Monday, May 23, through…

Members of the “Small Island, Big Song” presented educational workshops to students at Moraine Valley Community College. (Supplied photo)

‘Small Island, Big Song’ workshops enrich classroom learning at MVCC

From staff reports Coming from some of the smallest islands in the world, performers from “Small Island, Big Song” talked about climate change, indigenous cultures and island history from their homelands to students in select sociology and geography classes at Moraine Valley Community College last month. The group performed their musical and spoken word endeavor…

Neighbors

AladdinsBanquets WebAd
John Kosmowski

Feds indict Summit police chief, building inspector

Indictment says they shared a bribe over liquor license for the Mars Bar A federal grand jury this week indicted Summit Police Chief John Kosmowski and building inspector Bill Mundy with sharing a bribe from a business owner in 2017 to facilitate the transfer of a liquor license for the Mars Bar. The indictment returned…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 25, 2022

regional orland memorial day 2022 preview

Orland Park to add 7 names during Memorial Day ceremony

The Orland Park community is invited to join the village this Memorial Day in remembrance of those who have given their lives for our country. The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 30, at the village’s memorial, Ara Pace – Place of Peace, located outside of Village Hall at 14700 S.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Girls Soccer: De La Salle tops Bremen for program’s first regional title

By Steve Millar Correspondent De La Salle coach Carlos Nunez has seen his teams come up a bit short in the postseason repeatedly over the years. The Meteors had never won a regional championship in girls soccer. Until this year, that is. “I’ve been in every single one that we’ve lost in,” Nunez said. “We’ve…

Mallory Pugh, middle, moves the ball during the preseason. She played her first NWSL game Sunday and had two goals and an assist. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro soccer report: Pugh tallies twice return in Red Stars’ win over Orlando

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Mallory Pugh gave a sample of what could be a big 2022 season when she scored four goals in the exhibition Challenge Cup series. But the Red Stars scoring threat missed the first two games of the NWSL season with an injury, and the team split decisions against Louisville and…

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 8.23.03 AM

New ward map OKed

Reflects Madigan’s power By Tim Hadac The City Council this week approved a new ward map that, among other things, will see all of Clearing and most of Garfield Ridge shifted to the 13th Ward. Midway International Airport also would shift from the 23rd Ward to the 13th. Monday’s 43-7 vote means the issue will…

Sandburg's Jeremy Johnson, the hero of a semifinal win over Homewood-Flossmoor, legs out a hit in a 6-3 loss to Lockport on Saturday at Ozinga Field. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg takes 2nd at Bajenski tourney

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer The Sandburg baseball team has had more downs than ups this season. But the Eagles finished the regular season on a strong note with a run to second place at the Steven M. Bajenski Memorial Tournament, which wrapped up May 21 at Ozinga Field in Crestwood. To get to the…

Sandburg's 3200 meter relay team of (left to right) Sean Marquardt Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Brock Rice ran the third-best time in the nation Thursday at Lockport and finished in second place. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Track Postseason Report: Sandburg boys 3200 relay records nation’s third-best time in 2022

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer How good was the competition in the boys track Class 3A Lockport Sectional in the 3200 meter relay? Sandburg’s relay team of Brock Rice, Declan Tunney, Trent Anderson and Sean Marquardt ran a time of 7:42.42, which tied for the third-best time in the nation in 2022. And that was…

biz pop's beef logo

Pop’s to celebrate National Italian Beef Day with week of specials

Palos Heights-based Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage is beefing up May this year with a week-long celebration of National Italian Beef Day at each of their locations. As part of the celebrations, Pop’s is hosting an interactive contest on their Facebook page during the week of National Italian Beef Day from Monday, May 23, through…

Members of the “Small Island, Big Song” presented educational workshops to students at Moraine Valley Community College. (Supplied photo)

‘Small Island, Big Song’ workshops enrich classroom learning at MVCC

From staff reports Coming from some of the smallest islands in the world, performers from “Small Island, Big Song” talked about climate change, indigenous cultures and island history from their homelands to students in select sociology and geography classes at Moraine Valley Community College last month. The group performed their musical and spoken word endeavor…

CRR NH Harmony Restaurant House Ad
Regional Natural Healing House Ad