By Abdon M. Pallasch and Lynn Sweet
CHICAGO--Illinois Democratic governor primary rivals Pat Quinn, the governor and Dan Hynes, the comptroller, flooded the television ad zone on Friday, with each putting up hard hitting ads in the Chicago media market in final weekend before the Feb. 2 balloting.
There's also a bit of odd news over on the GOP primary side--former Polish President and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa made his first-ever endorsement of an American political candidate Friday. Read on to find out who.
Hynes gathered a group of African-American ministers at a hotel on 26th Street near State to tout their endorsement. This comes as the Hynes/Quinn showdown may hinge on black votes. Hynes is using an ad featuring the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington criticizing Quinn when he worked for him in City Hall. Hynes was asked how his campaign got a hold of the video. "The footage, I don't even know, but I think it is out there in the public domain."
Former Polish President and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa made his first-ever endorsement of an American political candidate Friday -- for longshot Republican gubernertorial candidate Adam Andrzejewski. Though Walesa started as a union activist, he was socially conservative and economically suppportive of a free market, so he supports Andrzejewski for his stands, not just his Polish heritage, Walesa told a freezing crowd of tea partyers in the federal plaza Friday. He promised to come back and campaign for Andrzejewski in the general election.
"I wish you all success, and, if you succeed, I will show up again," Walesa told the tea partyers. In longer, indoor comments earlier, Walesa and fellow Solidarity founder Mieczyslaw Gilsaid they saw themselves in Andrzewjewski, 40, when they were his age -- a young man not willing to work within the existing system and willing to try to restructure it, they said.
Andrzejewski, moreso than any of the other five Republican candidates, has been willing to back up his threats to restructure state government with actual examples, such as zero-ing out the million-dollar budget of the Department of Commerce, which he says is under-performing.
Andrzejewski¹s grandfather came from Poland but he had never visited his ancestral home until November when Atlanta businessman Witold Zabinski brought him over and introduced him to Gil and other Walesa friends. Andrzejewski grew up bailing hay in Kankakee County where his father ran as a Democrat against then-state legislator George Ryan.
Meanwhile, just a few blocks from where the minsters endorsed Hynes, Mayor Daley lavished very warmly on Quinn. If it wasn¹t an endorsement, it came awfully close. Mayor Daley reached out and touched Gov. Pat Quinn's arm 1, 2, 3, 4 times during a 2-minute speech four days before Election Day praising Quinn for all his work over the years that helped secure millions of dollars in federal funding for a new high-speed rail corridor from Chicago to St. Louis. Daley then set off to repeat the not-quite-an-endorsement -- since Daley has made clear he does not endorse in primaries -- at other stops around the state.
Retiring Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan endorsed State Comptroller Dan Hynes Friday, on the same day that Quinn endorsed Cook County Democratic Chairman Joe Berrios to succeed Houlihan. Houlihan spent his years as assessor delivering on a promise of transparency. Property owners in Cook County can look at their properties and their neighbors' properties on-line, in contrast to the Board of Review, where Berrios sits, and where precious little is on-line. Years ago, Quinn endorsing Berrios would have been unthinkable.