Rich Miller

Rich Miller

GOP opponents not laying a glove on Irvin

By Rich Miller

I was a bit flabbergasted to see last week that Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin told a blatant falsehood on a southern Illinois radio station. But what came after that helps us see how the Republican primary will play out for the next four and a half months.

If you follow my blog, CapitolFax.com, you know that Irvin flatly told WJPF Radio host Tom Miller, “I’ve always been opposed to mandates,” when Miller asked what he thought about Gov. JB Pritzker’s plan to phase out the state’s mask mandate. Irvin added that Pritzker is “making his decisions based on politics.”

RichMiller

Rich Miller

Turns out, though, Irvin strongly supported state mandates as mayor of Aurora. He warned his city’s business owners in September 2020 to make sure their customers were wearing masks and threatened to impose fines on scofflaws.

A few months earlier, he heaped praise on the governor’s COVID-19 response, which included stay-at-home orders and mask mandates. Even back then, at the height of the first wave, those mandates were openly being criticized by some Republicans. After noting that the governor had telephoned him the night before to explain his latest virus mitigation plan, Irvin told area reporters he pledged the support of Aurora “to do our part to help in the statewide effort.”

I am a regular listener of Tom Miller’s radio interviews. He is smart, polite and non-confrontational–qualities which attract important guests from across the political spectrum. For my purposes, Miller (no relation) usually puts his interview subjects at ease, which can often lead to them saying what’s really on their minds. He’s invaluable.

I knew Irvin had appeared on Miller’s show, but I didn’t get a chance to listen to the online recording until I received a press release from the Democratic Governors Association entitled, “Richard Irvin Does a Complete 180 on COVID Mandates.”

After listening to the interview and watching an accompanying Irvin press conference video and then reading an attached news story from Chicago’s ABC 7 television station, I put a blog post together and moved on.

Later, though, it struck me how truly amateurish the other Republican gubernatorial candidates really are. Big-time campaigns in an important state like Illinois usually have people assigned to monitoring their opponents’ public comments for just the sort of prevarications that Irvin was caught in last week. Only Irvin wasn’t called out by the Republicans, but by the Democrats.

That the Democrats would be interested in stopping Irvin before he makes it to the general election is no surprise at all. He’s a (so far) successful African-American mayor of the second-largest city in the state.

While he will win over some usually Democratic-supporting black voters if he makes it out of the primary and into the general election, his presence on the ballot could well drive down the all-important black turnout, which would damage not only Pritzker, but the rest of the Democratic ticket throughout the state.

The same people who are running Irvin’s campaign did just that in 2014. Enough Black voters stayed away from the polls that, partly as a result, Republican Bruce Rauner defeated incumbent Democrat Pat Quinn.

Rauner also did better in the hugely important suburbs than Quinn expected, and Irvin’s backers are hoping their candidate’s anti-crime messaging, along with a pledge to balance things out between the government and progressive interests, will help him do well in the ‘burbs.

“Don’t underestimate how much of this is about making suburban white women comfortable about voting for a campaign full of dog whistles,” recently warned one top black Democratic strategist, who isn’t usually a paranoid type.

So, I suppose the Republican candidates feel they don’t need to invest in opposition research and trackers as long as they know the Democrats will handle all the heavy lifting for them.

But, in this particular case, almost all of those Republicans can honestly say, unlike Irvin, “I’ve always been opposed to mandates.” They really missed a major opportunity to pounce.

Because they haven’t built out that crucial campaign infrastructure, the Republican candidates are less able to anticipate and respond to Irvin’s campaign, which has shown an ability for digging stuff up about the rest of the field, particularly Darren Bailey and Jesse Sullivan. Many of the hits you’ve been seeing on those two candidates are coming from the Irvin camp. Gary Rabine and Paul Schimpf have apparently not been enough of a factor in the primary to warrant much attention.

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

Local News

Peggy Zabicki

Senior Center has re-opened

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been blessed with. I visited the Southwest Regional Senior Center, 6117 S. Kedzie, recently. They are open once again, and everything looks very nice. New floors were installed and there are freshly painted…

Mary Stanek

Tabares’ shred day was a fun event

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy National Pizza Month! Don’t we live in a great neighborhood for pizza? There are so many pizza parlors to choose from. There are the big chains and the mom-and-pop establishments. I volunteered on last week at…

Kathy Headley

Kids visit gas station with a purpose

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last Thursday, third graders from McKay School visited the new Roux Gas Station at 7051 S. Western. The station was recently built on the vacant lot where Napleton Buick and its predecessor, Van Male Buick, once stood. Now…

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

CRRNH_Carnevil02_100522

Halloween’s dark side

Carnevil on 64th promises grisly, gory, ghoulish frights By Cosmo Hadac Those passing the home at 5716 W. 64th St. this month may see the grave of Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger dancing to the Monster Mash. What started out as a way to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic’s social distancing mandates has expanded…

Joan Hadac

Don’t take senior center for granted

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] I’m back. Thank you, Patti Tyznik, for filling in and giving me a week off. I hope this becomes a regular thing! Nominations are now open for officers to serve on the board of directors of the Southwest Side Senior Service Organization,…

Orland firefighters show how they extinguish a burning building. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Community turns out to salute Orland firefighters at open house

Nearly 500 people attended an open house hosted by the Orland Fire Protection District on Saturday that featured an up-close look at the techniques firefighters use to respond to emergencies. Demonstrations by firefighters included a rope rescue showing how individuals can be rescued from apartment buildings; the dive team demonstrated how they can rescue individuals from…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Peggy Zabicki

Senior Center has re-opened

By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place • (773) 504-9327 I hope everyone has been able to enjoy the beautiful autumn weather we’ve been blessed with. I visited the Southwest Regional Senior Center, 6117 S. Kedzie, recently. They are open once again, and everything looks very nice. New floors were installed and there are freshly painted…

Mary Stanek

Tabares’ shred day was a fun event

By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place • (773) 284-7394 Happy National Pizza Month! Don’t we live in a great neighborhood for pizza? There are so many pizza parlors to choose from. There are the big chains and the mom-and-pop establishments. I volunteered on last week at…

Kathy Headley

Kids visit gas station with a purpose

By Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 Last Thursday, third graders from McKay School visited the new Roux Gas Station at 7051 S. Western. The station was recently built on the vacant lot where Napleton Buick and its predecessor, Van Male Buick, once stood. Now…

Richards High School Bands Director Jordan Fransler will be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 9, raising money for Miracle Network Dance Marathon. (Supplied photos)

Richards teacher to tackle the Chicago Marathon

By Kelly White As bands director at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Jordan Fransler’s days are filled with education and music, but that’s not all. In his free time, the talented teacher likes to put on his running shoes. “Running became one of my favorite hobbies several years ago. It started out as a…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Mount Carmel tested in win over Brother Rice

By Steve Millar Correspondent After Mount Carmel beat each of its first five opponents by 24 points or more, senior quarterback Blainey Dowling thinks it is good the Caravan had to fight to the end against an upset-minded Brother Rice team. Dowling ran for the game-winning 15-yard touchdown with 1:58 left to lift Mount Carmel…

In just its second year as a team, St. Laurence's girls golfers won a regional title. Photo courtesy of St. Laurence

Area Sports Roundup: St. Laurence golfers make history

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer   That didn’t take long. The St. Laurence girls golf program is in only its second year of existence but last weekend celebrated a major accomplishment. Coach Jim Tracy’s troops won the Providence Catholic Class 1A Regional by four strokes, logging a 372 to edge University High (Chicago), which finished…

SXU coach Mike Feminis reacts as the final horn goes off as he earns his 200th career win in a thriller over 18th-ranked Roosevelt. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pigskin Wrap: St. Xavier tops Roosevelt in thriller, gets Feminis career win No. 200

By Jeff Vorva Staff writer Saint Xavier coach Mike Feminis was gunning for his 200th career victory, but it looked more like he might be tagged with his 78th career loss. After wasting a 14-point halftime lead, the Cougars found themselves down six in the closing minute of the Homecoming game Oct. 1 at Bruce…

CRRNH_Carnevil02_100522

Halloween’s dark side

Carnevil on 64th promises grisly, gory, ghoulish frights By Cosmo Hadac Those passing the home at 5716 W. 64th St. this month may see the grave of Pennywise the Clown or Freddy Krueger dancing to the Monster Mash. What started out as a way to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic’s social distancing mandates has expanded…

Joan Hadac

Don’t take senior center for granted

By Joan Hadac Your correspondent in Clearing and Garfield Ridge (708) 496-0265 • [email protected] I’m back. Thank you, Patti Tyznik, for filling in and giving me a week off. I hope this becomes a regular thing! Nominations are now open for officers to serve on the board of directors of the Southwest Side Senior Service Organization,…

Orland firefighters show how they extinguish a burning building. (Photos by Steve Neuhaus)

Community turns out to salute Orland firefighters at open house

Nearly 500 people attended an open house hosted by the Orland Fire Protection District on Saturday that featured an up-close look at the techniques firefighters use to respond to emergencies. Demonstrations by firefighters included a rope rescue showing how individuals can be rescued from apartment buildings; the dive team demonstrated how they can rescue individuals from…

DVN Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church House Ad
Regional Capri Pizza House Ad