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WASHINGTON--Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) will meet Tuesday here in the wake of Rush's stinging criticism of Kirk's call for mass arrests of 18,000 Gangster Disciples, a Rush spokesman said Monday.

Kirk last week said he will seek $30 million from Congress to bankroll the project. Rush wants to discuss channeling more money to youth unemployment. Rush will also tell Kirk that "he is willing to show him around his district," spokesman Debra Johnson told the Sun-Times. Johnson said Rush sought the meeting with Kirk.

Later on Tuesday, in a separate meeting, Rush will discuss gun violence with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Rush also requested the Durbin meeting, Johnson said.

The Sun-Times analysis of the formidable hurdles Kirk must clear to implement his plan is HERE.

Excerpt from analysis: "Before going public with his plan, which would overwhelmingly affect African-American gang members, Kirk did not seek any buy-in from the three Illinois members of Congress who are black and whose districts would likely be most affected by the sweep.

The three Democrats -- Rep. Bobby Rush, Rep. Danny Davis and Rep. Robin Kelly -- are all critical of Kirk's idea.

On Friday, Davis told the Sun-Times that Kirk's plan is the "most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in my life. I am totally amazed that something like this could come out of the senator's office." Davis said he "would have loved to have had some discussions" with Kirk to offer his input before the senator started talking about it in public.

Kelly told the Sun-Times on Friday, "While I agree with Sen. Kirk that we need to do more to crack down on gangs and other violent criminals, I don't think his plan is viable. Ending gun violence requires a more nuanced approach that includes creating access to jobs and job training, mental health counseling, mentoring and other social and community supports that offer young people alternatives to violence. It also requires passing commonsense gun control measures that keep guns out of the wrong hands."

Rush was the first to blast Kirk's plan, telling the Sun-Times on Wednesday that it was a "headline-grabbing, empty, simplistic" and "upper-middle-class, elitist white boy solution to a problem he knows nothing about."

The 2013 Dodge Dart (Chrysler Corp. photo)

WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is in New York on Friday for a Democrat Governors Association winter policy conference--which also includes opportunities to stroke DGA donors. Quinn, guesting on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," said the new Dodge Dart will be made in Illinois.

Discussing manufacturing jobs, Quinn said that "Chrysler is announcing next week" the revived Dodge Dart will be manufactured in the giant Chrysler assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill.

The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday that "Chrysler is hiring about 400 to 500 new employees to support the production of the Dodge Dart compact car" in Belvidere and that Chrysler will hold an "event at the Belvidere plant next Thursday to celebrate the decision to produce the Dart at the plant and dedicate a new body shop.

"Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will both attend."

Quinn also said he liked President Barack Obama's proposal, made in the State of the Union address, for students to stay in school until they graduate or reach the age of 18. In Illinois, students have to stay in school only until the age of 17. Quinn did say if he was going to push for a higher dropout age.

"I like the fact that the president said kids have to stay in school until they are 18. Jobs follow brainpower. We have to understand that investing in education, including community colleges, is the key to a nimble economy," Quinn said.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn hits Washington Thursday and Friday; one meeting is with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss opening up foreign markets to more Illinois exports.

On Thursday, Quinn accepts an award from Americans for the Arts at a US Conference of Mayors winter meeting breakfast. (Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in Washington Friday to deliver a keynote to the group.)

Later Quinn visits with Clinton; Illinois exports are up 32 percent from last quarter.

Quinn is scheduled to guest on Fox News America's Newsroom with Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum at 10:30 AM ET. He wants to discuss, I'm told, "how Illinois is facing down the national recession with less and less federal dollars by leading the nation's largest capital program and providing targeted tax relief for low-income workers."

On Friday Quinn, who is active in the Democratic Governors Association joins DGA chief Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley; Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and labor leaders to discuss jobs and workforce training in Hanover, Md.

WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn's media consultant, Joe Slade White and general election campaign manager Ben Nuckels wrote an interesting article in Campaigns and Elections about how Quinn won election last year, despite a brutal Democratic primary and being tied to ousted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Quinn's political team included White who names the other top consultants: "Mark Mellman on polling, David Rosen on fundraising, Trish Hoppey and Hal Malchow on direct mail, and Dennis Gragert and Robert Dietz on research."

A key part of the media strategy: Hoard cash until the end.

Michael Madigan, the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party and the Speaker of the Illinois House attended a fund-raiser for GOP House Speaker John Boehner in the Chicago suburb of Lemont, scoops Chicago Sun-Times political reporter Abdon M. Pallasch and Springfield Bureau Chief Dave McKinney. Read their exclusive report here.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn "disappointed" in Madigan; read Sun-Times story here.My February, 2010 column on how Madigan--unlike 49 other state Democratic chairs--declines to run a robust Democratic organization in Illinois is here.

Madigan cares most about keeping the Illinois state House. Still, under Madigan, Illinois has a Democratic governor and both state legislative chambers. Illinois Democrats in 2010 saw four U.S. House seats held by Democrats turn over to Republicans--helping create the majority that made Boehner speaker. Nationally, Democrats are poised to make some Illinois congressional battles a 2012 priority.

WASHINGTON--Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is the new finance chair of the Democratic Governors Association, I'm told, responsible for raising millions of dollars from across the country to help bankroll upcoming governor contests.

Quinn was tapped for what is his first big national political role by DGA chairman Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. Taking on the finance chair chores means Quinn will travel more around the country to raise Democratic cash.

O'Malley told the Sun-Times he was "very pleased" Quinn "will be the next Finance Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. Gov. Quinn knows what it takes to win close races, last year withstanding an onslaught of negative attacks to win the governorship of Illinois in a tough political environment.

"In his new role as Finance Chair, Gov. Quinn will be representing Democratic governors at events in Illinois and throughout the country, helping to ensure that the DGA has the resources it needs to elect more Democratic governors and fight back against Republican attacks."

DGA Vice-Chair North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said Quinn's "strong record of fighting for working families has earned him the support of Democratic donors, and I have no doubt he will be successful in his new role as Finance Chair. Gov. Quinn knows the importance of successful fundraising and will be a tremendous asset for us as we expand the ranks of Democratic governors."

At one-time seen as reluctant to be involved in major fund-raising, Quinn stepped up to the plate when it came to his battle to win election on his own in 2010, after becoming governor after Rod Blagojevich was impeached in 2009. Quinn raised $23 million in what was a brutal Democratic primary and general election campaign against Illinois State Sen. Bill Brady.

There are four governor contests in 2011: Republicans are governor in Mississippi and Louisiana and Democrats hold the seats in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Quinn has been in Washington since Friday for meetings of the National Governors Association and the DGA. Quinn attended a DGA fund-raiser at Union Station here on Saturday night. Quinn on Tuesday was scheduled to speak to the AFL-CIO's Executive Council

WASHINGTON -- As GOP Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker continues in a standoff with labor, Democratic Illinois Gov. Quinn told me some GOP governors are on an "ideological crusade" to strip away union collective-bargaining rights in order to reduce the political power of organized labor.

Quinn flew in Friday for the National Governors Association winter meeting, piggybacking visits to the White House and Capitol Hill and working in some politics. He huddled with national union leaders as tens of thousands in Madison, Wis., protest Walker's bid to take away most collective-bargaining rights of public employees.

This comes as some Democratic state lawmakers from Wisconsin and Indiana have holed up in Illinois in order to deny quorums back in their state legislatures.

Unions -- especially public employee unions -- are a major source of Democratic votes, political contributions and campaign foot soldiers. The political clout of these unions could be diminished if union collective-bargaining laws are weakened.

"I think some of the animus against the unions, the public employee unions, is motivated by their political activities in the past, and I don't think that is right," Quinn told me.

"I have had strong disagreements on policy with AFSCME. They did not support our public pension reform at all, nor did the teachers unions, both IEA and IFT, but we were able to get that done and signed into law and we worked with them on a variety of other issues. But clearly some of the other Republican governors are on an ideological crusade."

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Illinois Democrats lost the Senate seat and three, possibly four of the big House races but kept Gov. Quinn and both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly. The Democratic win for Quinn is due in part to the get-out-the-vote effort Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and state Senate president John Cullerton (D-Chicago.) Dems tell me it was the biggest GOTV effort since 1962. Illinois Republicans fielded their largest ground game ever.

Some statistics from the Illinois Democratic Coordinated Campaign:

*Across Illinois, over 23,200 people knocked on doors and made phone calls over the final four days, many of them filling multiple volunteer shifts.There were 8,000 people on the street on election day alone

*They knocked on over 975,000 doors and made over 380,000 phone calls over the last four days.

*More than 50 percent of these voter contact efforts were concentrated in Cook County. These efforts resulted in higher than expected voter turnout within Chicago (over 50%). African American turnout was up from 2006 in many south side neighborhoods and southern Cook County townships.

In the last four days, President Obama and Vice President Biden recorded robocalls called Illinois voters.

*80,000 Biden
*240,000 Obama Vote tomorrow
*240,000 Obama Vote today

GOP Illinois mayoral candidate Bill Brady concedes Friday to Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn: read the Sun-Times report here.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn won the Illinois governor race, beating GOP rival Bill Brady by about 19,400 votes, according to an analysis Thursday of uncounted votes by the Associated Press.

Quinn stopped by Manny's Deli off Roosevelt Road south of the Loop and declared at the corn beef palace that his lead was "insurmountable."

The Sun-Times political writer Abdon M. Pallasch reports that Quinn said,
"I think our lead is insurmountable -- I think it may grow a little bit. The numbers are basically there. The basic laws of arithmetic are on our side. Those wondering about the results of the election, they just have to look at the count right now and that will tell them the results right there."

Quinn/Simon campaign manager Ben Nuckels in an e-mail to supporters. "While we will wait for every vote to be counted, our current lead is more than 19,000 votes. We don't see a path to victory for Senator Brady, and we believe we have won."

Quinn's lieutenant governor running mate is Sheila Simon, the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon (D-Ill.)

The Democratic slaughter Tuesday will make it harder for President Obama to govern -- but might make it easier for him to win re-election in 2012.

The Obama White House will shift into re-election mode in a few months, and the 2012 presidential campaign headquarters will be Chicago again, if all goes as planned. But for now, a lot of attention on the political front will have to be on dealing with a GOP-controlled House and a Senate where Republican gains will make it harder to get the 60 votes needed to get anything done. Obama will reach out to Republicans during his press conference today.

After keeping a low profile in Illinois contests, Sarah Palin in the closing days of the campaign cut a robocall for the Faith & Freedom Coalition sent to 500,000 to Illinois homes with conservative voters.

Palin's Illinois script:

Hello Illinois, this is Sara Palin urging you to go to the polls on Tuesday or even better vote early.

We have some simple choices this year. America needs to return to conservative, common sense and time tested truth. We need leaders who believe in smaller government, lower taxes, stronger families and a robust unapologetic national defense.

The momentum is on our side but it isn't over until the polls close. So please go to the polls and vote for the candidates who share your value. Urge your friends and family to vote too.

Thank you and God bless you.

Chicago mayoral hopeful Rahm Emanuel, the former White House chief of staff who was an architect of the 2006 Democratic House sweep, is using his e-mail list to spur Democratic turn out.

Emanuel earlier sent out an appeal for Democrat Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias; today's appeal if for the ticket.

President Obama will get a lot of the blame if the top of the Democratic ticket loses in his home state of Illinois -- it won't all be fair, but that's what pundits and Republicans will do.

But let's not forget who got the ball rolling to get the Illinois Democrats in this pickle in the first place: former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, convicted earlier this year of lying to federal agents and looking forward to a second trial next year on a series of corruption charges, including trying to sell Obama's old Senate seat.

FOX News poll tracks with the latest PPP poll, predicting GOP wins in Illinois on Tuesday, with third party candidates maybe spoilers for Democrats Alexi Giannoulias running for Senate and Gov. Quinn.

FOX ILLINOIS SENATE Republican Mark Kirk, 46 to Giannoulias, 42, to Green Party LeAlan Jones, 6

FOX ILLINOIS GOVERNOR Republican Bill Brady, 44 percent to Quinn 38 percent. "In this race, the Democrat is suffering at the hands of two minor candidates, the Green Party's Rich Whitney and independent Scott Lee Cohen," Fox found.

A poll by has a split result for the top of the Illinois ticket: In the hotly contested Senate contest, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias is at 47 to 44 for Republican Mark Kirk. In the race for governor, Bill Brady is at 47 to 40 for Gov. Quinn.

From YouGov: Interviews with 1000 registered voters, including 784 likely voters, were conducted October 25-30, 2010

Check out the e-Voter widget on my blog--right side, scroll down--to find out where you vote on Tuesday and a sample ballot customized for your home address.

President Obama gave yet another plug to Democratic Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias and Gov. Quinn on Sunday, taking them to breakfast at Valois, the famous Hyde Park restaurant. Read the Sun-Times report from Abdon M. Pallasch and Dave McKinney here. This comes the day after Obama headlined a rally for Quinn and Giannoulias in Hyde Park. After breakfast, Obama flew to Cleveland for another get-out-the vote rally and jetted back to the White House to take part in Halloween festivities.

A few blocks from his Kenwood house, and down the street from the University of Chicago Law school where he taught, President Obama returned home Saturday for a nostalgic rally on the Midway Plaisance designed to push Gov. Quinn and U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias over the finish line on Tuesday.

Obama has done a series of get-out-the-vote rallies in past weeks -- Chicago was his third of the day and he hits Cleveland today for another one with Vice President Joe Biden -- but the Chicago one was special because it was home turf. If he can't convince Democrats in Illinois to turn out in big numbers, then he's got a problem -- that's what the Republicans will say, and what Democrats might be too polite to say out loud.

rally chicago1.jpegCrowd on The Midway waiting for President Obama. (photo by Lynn Sweet)

The Democratic National Committee on Saturday transfered money to a handful of state Democratic parties, with Illinois getting the largest chunk, $950,000, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned. The DNC is making the transfer as President Obama headlines a big rally at the University of Chicago this evening.

The DNC is sending money to states where Democrats are scrambling to survive: $470,000 to Florida, $200,000 to New Hampshire, $50,000 to Nevada, $325,000 to Pennsylvania, $125,000 to Wisconsin, $100,000 to Colorado and Maine, $300,000 to Ohio, $50,000 to Nebraska and $5,000 to New Mexico.

Illinois Democrats are heading into the final weekend before the Tuesday election optimistic about the chances for Senate contender Alexi Giannoulias and Gov. Quinn based on an analysis of early voting turnout in Illinois by the Democratic National Committee. The early voting turnout is coming from Chicago and Cook County, according to the DNC, Democratic strongholds. With the Illinois governor and Senate contest a toss-up in most polls, turnout is the key. President Obama headlines a rally in Hyde Park on Saturday for the Democratic Illinois ticket.

Reply from a Republican Strategist to Democratic memo:

"DNC memo on Illinois early vote reads as nothing more than a CYA. The fact that they cooked up numbers on a Friday night right before POTUS arrives tells you everything you need to know. Won't be enough to explain loss of Obama's seat on Tuesday. Nice try though." END UPDATE

Below, analysis from the Democratic National Committee.....

Early voting is underway in Illinois and Democrats have a clear lead.

· So far, 298,113 Illinois voters have cast ballots including 174,739 Democrats (58.6% of those who have voted so far) and 83,166 Republicans (27.9%). (Note: Illinois does not have party registration, so Democrats are defined as those who have voted in a Democratic primary and Republicans are defined as those who have voted in a Republican primary.)

· Cook County is the most Democratic county in the state, and Cook County is voting at one of the highest rates of any county in the state. While only 38.5% of all registrants are from Cook County, 43.5% of all ballots cast so far are from Cook County.

· In fact, there are more Democratic primary voters from Cook County who have already voted than there are Republican primary voters who have already voted in the entire state of Illinois. This is despite the fact that Cook County makes up only 38.5% of registered voters and 43.5% of those who have voted so far.

· According to the latest DNC modeling analysis incorporating today's early vote returns, Giannoulias leads by more than 6 points among those who have already voted, and this lead has been growing since early voting began in Illinois two weeks ago.


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"Chicago Tonight" host Joel Weisman talks about the Tuesday elections on the Friday show-7 p.m. cst on WTTW-Chicago, channel 11--with Lynn Sweet, Mary Ann Ahern, Mike Flannery and Jim Litke.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the 2010 Illinois Governor category.

2010 Illinois 9th House race is the previous category.

2010 Illinois Senate race is the next category.

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