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WASHINGTON--Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) switched to the House Judiciary Committee in order to push immigration reform, with Democratic House leadership in Friday finalizing appointments for the new Congressional session that started on Thursday. The House Judiciary Committee handles most of the key immigration legislation.

Last month, I wrote how Gutierrez has quietly been alliances with Republicans to work on immigration reform, meeting with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) both potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders.

In making the move, Gutierrez gave up considerable seniority on the House Financial Services panel, where he would have been the third ranking Democratic. Under House Democratic rules, Gutierrez can take a "leave" from the committee, preserving his ability to return at another time.

"Giving up 20-plus years of seniority on Financial Services, even temporarily, is not easy, but passing comprehensive immigration reform is my passion and my commitment to my constituents and immigrants all across our country," Gutierrez said.

"All of the road signs are pointed in the right direction, and I felt I must be on the Judiciary Committee during this Congress to help the others on the Committee get immigration reform to the finish line. We are poised for serious action to fix our broken immigration system, a top priority for Democrats, for the Democratic Leadership, and for the President, and I have spoken to numerous Republicans in the House and Senate who want to get it done.


"We have record levels of deportations and millions of families separated by borders and out-of-date laws. We can't wait and wait and wait for immigration reform, and I am finding an enthusiasm for action that I have not seen on Capitol Hill for years.


"One of the main obstacles to a serious conversation on immigration reform was the small group of people holding the issue hostage to the notion that 12 million people had to leave the country and no new legal immigrants could be added. That argument is dead and the funeral was on Election Night when Gov. Romney and his hard line approach fell in stunning defeat and the overwhelming majority of Latino voters rejected the Republican approach.


"Now we need all hands on deck to make sure that legislation moves and that it makes our immigration system work for the American people first and foremost and for both new immigrants and those who are already here. We need an immigration system that is as smart and generous as the American people and that serves the needs of our 21st Century economy. What we have now is two- or three-decades out of date and separates families, keeps people locked in the underground, and does not live up to the expectations the American people have for an immigration system that has always been such a crucial aspect of our nation's identity.

"I appreciate the seriousness with which the Democratic Leadership and my Democratic colleagues are taking with this issue and for allowing me to adjust my committee assignments so that I could continue to lead on the immigration issue. I look forward to working with the Chairman and the Subcommittee Chairmen and the Ranking Member, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), and the Immigration Subcommittee Ranking Leader, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), in crafting bipartisan immigration reform that fixes our broken immigration system."


WASHINGTON--Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) snagged a coveted seat on the House Appropriations Committee on Friday. If Quigley had not been tapped, Illinois otherwise would have lost representation on the influential panel--where now former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) served before his resignation.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Friday the final round of appointments for the new Congress that started on Thursday.

Pelosi told the Sun-Times, "Quigley will bring the values of his district, the aspirations of his constituents, and a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility and job creation to his work on the Appropriations Committee.

"Ever since coming to Congress, he has proven himself a dedicated fighter for middle class families in Chicago and across the country, and he will contribute that same energy, passion, and perseverance to the task of determining where and how we invest public funds to strengthen our economy."

Quigley had been lobbying to get the seat.

"This new role is an incredible opportunity to advocate for important projects that encourage economic development in the Chicago area," said Quigley. "As the Appropriations Committee focuses on deficit reduction, creating American jobs and strengthening our economy, I am humbled to have the privilege of ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly."

Since joining Congress, Quigley has been a member of the House Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

Quigley was first elected to Congress in April, 2009 in a special election to replace then Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) who was stepping down to serve as chief of staff for President Barack Obama.

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) (photo by Jon Sall)

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Rep.-elect William Enyart, (D-Ill.), Rep.-elect Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) (photo by Jon Sall)

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) (Photo by Jon Sall)

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Rep.-elect Brad Schneider (D-Ill.), rock singer Joe Walsh, Rep.-elect Cheri Bustos (Photo by Jon Sall)

WASHINGTON--The new Congress gets sworn in at noon Thursday. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ill.) is expected to be re-elected Speaker. When the new House members take their oath of office, Illinois will have six freshmen, a Republican, Rodney Davis and five Democrats, Tammy Duckworth, Cheri Bustros, Brad Schneider, Bill Foster and William Enyart.

On Wednesday evening, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) hosted a reception attended by the new members.

My post on the new committee assignments for the freshmen is HERE.

WASHINGTON--Democratic Illinois freshmen House members committee assignments were released on Thursday and each of the five newcomers got spots they were seeking: The two military veterans, Reps-elect Tammy Duckworth and Bill Enyart were tapped for the Armed Services panel. Rep.-elect Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) the only GOP Illinois freshman, has been assigned already to two committees.

The rundown:

Agriculture
Congressman-elect Rodney Davis of Illinois

Armed Services

Congresswoman-elect Tammy Duckworth of Illinois
Congressman-elect Bill Enyart of Illinois

Financial Services

Congressman-elect Bill Foster of Illinois

Foreign Affairs

Congressman-elect Brad Schneider of Illinois

Transportation and Infrastructure

Congresswoman-elect Cheri Bustos of Illinois

Congressman-elect Rodney Davis of Illinois

CHICAGO--South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), who lost his re-election bid, discuss the 2012 election and the road forward at a Heritage Foundation event at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago on Tuesday. Heritage is a Washington based conservative think-tank.

Click below for more details...

WASHINGTON -- The House office suite here of now-former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is a monument to his better days, what was and what might have been.

Jackson quit Congress on Wednesday, battling health issues and a federal criminal probe centered on his campaign funds. He hasn't been to his Rayburn Building office since he vanished in June, eventually landing in Mayo Clinic to treat his bipolar depression.

His desk is frozen as he left it -- with two computers and, under the glass, a Chicago Sun-Times front page from May 22, 2007, featuring the swearing-in of his wife, Sandi, as a Chicago alderman as Jackson and their two kids looked on. A deer with antlers he bagged is mounted on a wall, along with photos from the hunt of Jackson kneeling proudly with his kill.

There is a framed Sports Illustrated spread of Jackson holding a football, ready to leap, seemingly, over the Capitol Dome, and a picture of him and Mother Teresa.

He's shaking hands with Al Gore in one picture, smiling with Stevie Wonder and Dolly Parton in another.

The most telling for me is Jackson standing behind Nelson and Winnie Mandela -- his arm stretched and his fist clenched with them in a salute. The very day the great South African leader was released from prison near Cape Town in 1990, Jackson somehow got in the picture. He was there, of course, because of his father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

Jackson's blessing and curse is to be the namesake son of a famous self-made man. I always sensed his agaony was that he could never get out of the shadow of his father. Part of that he brought on himself, by going into the family business: politics. In Congress, he landed a plum assignment on the Appropriations Committee as a hat tip to his dad.

He was a hard worker, a consistent progressive vote with some obsessions. A minor one was getting to the State of the Union speech each year hours early so he could get an aisle seat visible on TV as he jumped out to greet the president. Jackson was consumed with building an airport at Peotone.

I remember our first interview after he came to Congress in 1995. We talked about his growing up. I was struck that almost every job he had was because he was his father's son.

My sense is he was very pained during Barack Obama's first presidential run. He was a co-chair, but the campaign did not make him a high-profile surrogate.

Though Jackson resigned on Wednesday, he has been sidelined and muzzled since Dec. 9, 2008 -- when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested.

Jackson, who was angling for Blagojevich to appoint him to the Senate spot Obama had held, was implicated in the Blagojevich scheme to "sell" the seat. That cloud never lifted.

Besides sending his resignation letter to House GOP and Democratic leadership, Jackson copied it only to: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who has known him since he was a kid through his dad; the present and incoming Congressional Black Caucus chairs, and colleagues Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, the other African Americans in the Illinois delegation, who have always given Jackson the benefit of the doubt.

There's one other picture on Jackson's office wall that caught my attention. Jackson and his father bracket former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara. Wrote Bush, "Good luck in your exciting life ahead."

It was for awhile. But not for now.

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) met with five newly elected members of the Illinois congressional delegation--all Democrats-- in his Capitol Senate leadership office on Thursday morning. From left, Rep.-elect Bill Foster; Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth; Rep.-elect Brad Schneider; Rep.-elect Cheri Bustos and Rep.-elect William Enyart. Not at the session: GOP Rep.-elect Rodney Davis.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON -- The incoming House members -- six from Illinois -- are here for orientation sessions, looking for places to live and sizing up new colleagues they will be working with after being sworn in on Jan. 3

"After 18 months of campaigning, I just want to get to work," Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) told me.

It's Thursday morning, and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) just hosted a breakfast for five of the new members in an office that is part of his Capitol suite. None of them plans to sleep in his or her office -- which some members do to save time and money.

Afterward, Durbin brought up what I had been thinking when I was interviewing Duckworth -- that I met her for the first time in this very suite just weeks after she had been wounded in Iraq, and now she was returning as a newly elected member of Congress.

"Let me just remind you Lynn Sweet, that it was in January of 2005 ... when you and I met Tammy Duckworth for the first time in that office," he said as he pointed toward the room where the breakfast was held.

In 2005 -- as he has every year since -- Durbin invites two wounded soldiers from Illinois recovering in Washington to be his guests for the State of the Union address. I was one of the reporters who showed up to interview the soldiers -- and met Duckworth just weeks after she lost both legs and shattered an arm when her helicopter was shot down in Iraq.


Duckworth won her seat in her second House run -- defeating Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) -- and Durbin, the man who "discovered" her, said, "I can't tell you what it means to me that she finally made it."

Rep.-elect Bill Foster (D-Ill.) isn't like the other freshmen -- because he is not one -- beating Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) in a comeback bid. When he was in the House previously, he was a member of the House Financial Services and Government Oversight committees, and he is considering rejoining those panels.

Foster and Rep.-elect Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) both told me they plan to caucus with other centrist Democrats.

Rep.-elect Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) is no stranger to Congress; her father, Gene Callahan, was a longtime top adviser to former Illinois senators Paul Simon and Alan Dixon.

Rep.-elect William Enyart (D-Ill.) parachuted into the race last June, when he was tapped as a replacement candidate, quitting his post as Commander of the Illinois National Guard.

They all said they were braced to deal with fiscal cliff issues. Said Schneider, "Whatever happens in the current lame duck session, there will be issues that we will have to address when we get here in January."

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Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) met with a five newly elected members of the Illinois congressional delegation--all Democrats-- in his Capitol Senate leadership office on Thursday morning. From left, Rep.-elect Bill Foster; Rep.-elect Tammy Duckworth; Rep.-elect Brad Schneider; Rep.-elect Cheri Bustos and Rep.-elect William Enyart. Not at the session: GOP Rep.-elect Rodney Davis.

The new members are in Washington for orientation sessions. They will be sworn-in on Jan. 3, 2013.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Three Illinois Democrats elected to the House last Tuesday--Brad Schneider, Bill Foster and Tammy Duckworth--are here for orientation sessions and to take part in picking leaders for the next Congress. They will be sworn-in next January. Foster is a former member, so he is familiar with House procedures.

Updated with Duckworth react....

WASHINGTON--Outside groups are spending millions of dollars in Illinois House races with the most, so far, in a hotly contested race in central Illinois and the least in the Chicago area battle between Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Democrat Tammy Duckworth, according to Federal Election Commission records.

It appears that Duckworth's lead in the north/northwest suburban district has convinced outside groups--overall-- to keep their spending down. A close race between Rep. Bobby Schillling (R-Ill.) v Democrat Cheri Bustos in a district anchored near Peoria has spurred a spending war.

The FEC requires outside groups to report independent expenditures for or against a candidate. Outside spending is separate than money raised for a candidates' campaign. Independent expenditures consist of spending by individuals, groups, political committees, unions or corporations.

Under the rules, "these expenditures may not be made in concert or cooperation with or at the request or suggestion of a candidate, the candidate's campaign or a political party," according to the FEC.

With the election this close, spending above $1,000 must be reported to the FEC on a daily basis. The money is not divided equally. Duckworth spokesman Anton Becker said, "the ratio of outside spending is 10 to 1 against us and for Joe Walsh. I don't think the ratio is that one sided in the other races."

Here is the top spending in the most contested Illinois House races as of Monday, according to the FEC:

8th Congressional District, Walsh v Duckworth
$3,724,110.55

10th Congressional District, Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) v Democrat Brad Schneider
$5,525,443.63

11th Congressional District, Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) v former Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.)
$7,315,025.71

12th Congressional District, Democrat William Enyart v Republican Jason Plummer
$5,469,597.78

13th Congressional District, Democrat David Gill v Republican Rodney Davis
$6,126,116.61

17th Congressional District, Rep. Bobby Schillling (R-Ill.) v Democrat Cheri Bustos
$8,202,639.41

WASHINGTON -- Hurricane Sandy is disrupting the Obama and Romney campaigns' sprint to the finish as the storm works its way up the East Coast, with events in battleground Virginia already canceled.

With Sandy's main hit expected Monday, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also have to weigh what voters will think if they are on the stump -- and not in the White House.

The storm could have an impact further west -- in another key battleground state, Ohio. High winds have already been blowing through battleground Florida -- where early voting starts on Saturday.

Virginia is in line for a beating. Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday declared a state of emergency with flooding and widespread power outrages expected starting late Saturday or early Sunday, especially in the eastern part of the state.

With the action in the battlegrounds, Romney is up in Virginia by 1.2 points, according to the RealClearPolitics average.

As RCP is calling it, Obama still has a slight Electoral College edge, 201 to 191 for Romney, with 146 electoral votes up for grabs; 270 are needed to clinch.


The rundown:

† On Friday, Obama was briefed by Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Craig Fugate, Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan and National Hurricane Center Director Rick Knabb on preparations for Sandy. A Katrina-like disaster response could create an enormous problem for Obama just before the election.

† Biden's Saturday visit to Virginia Beach -- to stump with his wife, Jill, and son Beau Biden, the Delaware attorney general -- has been canceled "out of an abundance of caution" so "all local law enforcement and emergency management resources can stay focused on ensuring the safety of people who might be impacted by the storm."

† Romney's Sunday stops in Virginia may not take place because of the storm.

† At least one of Obama's Monday appearances with former President Bill Clinton -- the one in Virginia -- may be at risk. Obama and Clinton are booked in Orlando; Youngstown, Ohio, and in Prince William County, Va., not far from Washington.

† Sandy could head as far north as battleground New Hampshire, where a rally headlined by first lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday at the University of New Hampshire has been scrubbed.

Reps Bobby Rush and Danny Davis visited their fellow Chicago Democrat, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at his Washington home--and will report back later on Monday. Jackson, out of commission since June--dealing with bi-polar illness and depression--is returning to Mayo Clinic for further treatment. Rush and Davis will hold a press conference at O'Hare Airport at 6 p.m. Chicago time to "speak with reporters about the visit and issues of national concern around mental health." I would expect the two to also make a pitch for Jackson's re-election. Jackson on Friday launched a robo-call to his constitutients asking them for patience as he recovers. He is not expected to surface before election day. Early voting in Illinois started on Monday.

Early voting starts in Illinois on Monday--President Barack Obama touches down Thursday to cast his early ballot in person in Chicago--which may give some bounce to Chicago area House candidates Tammy Duckworth, Brad Schneider and Bill Foster.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee--the Democratic House national political operation--is running an aggressive Illinois ground game--and will be previewing its "Illinois Votes" plans later today with a briefing by DCCC director Robby Monk. The Illinois Republican Party also has a strong ground network. In play in the Chicago area: bruising contests in the 8th, 10th and 11th congressional districts.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.--not heard from since June--and being treated for bipolar disorder and depression--on Saturday sent out an automated phone call to voters in his 2nd congressional district pleading for patience 17 days before the election, speaking out about his condition for the first time.

Jesse Jackson Jr. robocall

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In the robo call Jackson says, "Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all."

He said he is "anxious to return to work on your behalf" but it is against "medical advice" for him to do so. While he is "starting to heal," Jackson said his doctors told him "the road to recovery is a long one."

Jackson is on his way back to the Mayo Clinic for treatment--he's not there yet, I am told. It now seems unlikely that Jackson will surface in the public before election day. After he left Mayo, he returned to his home in Washington D.C. but found himself the subject of stories about his whereabouts when he was seen in a D.C. bar on on the steps of his DuPont Circle home.

In the robo call Jackson says, "Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all."

Below, the entire text of the Jackson call...

Hello this is Congressman Jackson. For the past few months I have undergone medical treatment to address several serious health issues.

Like many human beings a series of events came together in my life at the same time and they have been difficult to sort through. I am human. I am doing my best. I am trying to sort through them all.

I want to thank you for the many thoughts and prayers during this difficult time for me and my family, especially my colleagues and the people who mean most to me, my constituents.

I am starting to heal. The good news is my health is improving, but my doctors tell me the road to recovery is a long one.

For nearly 18 years I have served the people of the second district, I am anxious to return to work on your behalf, but at this time it is against medical advice, and while I will always give my all to my constituents, I ask for your continued patience as I work to get my health back.

After my family, my constituents are the most important people in the world to me. I will always act in your best interests. Your patience, your prayers and your support during this difficult time means more to me than you will ever know. With your help, your patience, and God's grace, we will continue to work together to strengthen our communities, provide a better future for our children and leave the world a better than we found it.

Thank you and God bless you.

Twenty-three Jewish organizations, including a variety of north suburban synagogues, are partnering in a 7:30 p.m. Monday candidate forum at B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim, 1201 Lake Cook Road in Deerfield. The North Shore Jewish Community Candidate Forum is the major Jewish community event of the general election cycle and includes contenders for Congress and Illinois state House and Senate.

The forum is non-partisan and all candidates were invited. Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) declined because "unfortunately, we could not come to an agreement with the organizers over the format," Dold spokesman John McGovern said. A forum organizer told me they offered to change the format to Dold's liking because they wanted Dold to attend the event.

The meet-the-candidate forum is not a debate: questions--about Middle East and domestic issues-- were to be given to the candidates in advance with no follow-ups. The forum will be moderated by BJBE Rabbi Brian Stoller, a former press secretary for former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald (R-Ill.)

Jewish community issues play an important role in the 10th congressional district race, where Dold is running against Democrat Brad Schneider.

Dold and Schneider debated in a session broadcast Sunday on ABC7 Chicago sponsored with the League of Women Voters of Illinois. They also debated Sunday at Lake Forest High School.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee-- the DCCC--- on Wednesday disclosed that it is trimming back Chicago television time that had been banked--about $740,000 in time reserved.

The DCCC--the House Democratic political operation-- had reserved about $3 million in Chicago television time for Democratic nominees Tammy Duckworth (8th) Brad Schneider (10th) and Bill Foster (11th.)

Clarification: Speculation about the reason given for reducing the buy: Because Democrat Tammy Duckworth is in good shape to win the eighth congressional district seat over Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.)

The way it works: The DCCC--as do other campaign committees--reserves time for candidates way in advance. Whether the money gets spent depends on how a candidate is doing. The political shops don't throw money in races where a candidate is running very strong or very poorly.

Schneider and Foster still have chunks of DCCC money in the pipeline.


The latest campaign fund-raising report for Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), filed on Oct. 6, shows a balance of $113,055 for the last quarter, compared to the July quarterly report to the Federal Election Commission showing a bottom line of $246,625.

Jackson remains on a trajectory to win re-election in November against two nominal opponents, even as he remains in recovery for his bi-polar and gastric disorders and out of public sight since mid-June. However, his campaign--managed by his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th), has been doing a small bit of fund-raising and paying some expenses these past months--as his fund balance dwindles.

The October quarterly FEC report shows $11,280 raised, $85,470 spent and $113,055 cash-on-hand. The disbursements continue to include a $5,000-a-month payment to Ald. Jackson's firm, based in the Jackson family home in Washington D.C. Most of the contributions came from political action committees.


A top House GOP leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) stumps and fundraises Wednesday for Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), who is downplaying his party affiliation in his battle with Democrat Brad Schneider for the tenth Congressional District seat.

Dold is getting assistance from Cantor, the Majority Leader--and the National Republican Congressional Committee--as he positions himself -as he did in a television spot running in Chicago this week--as "Independent" and "Bi-Partisan" rather than highlighting that he is a Republican.

The North Shore tenth district is heavily Jewish and Cantor is the top Jewish Republican in Congress. Dold needs Democratic cross-over voters to be re-elected to the tenth, remapped by Illinois Democrats to tilt Democrat.

Cantor is scheduled to drop by Dold's Highland Park headquarters on Wednesday for a get-out-the-vote event conducted in connection with the Republican Jewish Coalition, according to a notice on an RJC website. Cantor is also headlining a $500-per-person fund-raiser at a home in Highland Park on Wednesday.

According to Federal Election Commission records as of Tuesday, the NRCC, the GOP House political shop, so far has pumped $735,500 in the race to bolster Dold. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democratic House political operation, has spent about $130, 624 to assist Schneider.

DENVER, COL.--The Now or Never PAC has become a major player in bolstering Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in his battle against Democratic hopeful Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois 8th Congressional District, so far spending so more than $1.3 million on his behalf.

A Federal Election Commission Tuesday filing showed the latest boost for Walsh: a $405,150 Now or Never media buy to run ads against Duckworth on Chicago television.

The Duckworth campaign is trying to keep the Now or Never spot off the air. Sun-Times political reporter Natasha Korecki has been tracking the dispute with the latest HERE.

The PAC has now invested more than $1.3 million in the north suburban 8th congressional district contest, according to FEC records

Sept. 18: $810,150 for media advertising to support Walsh
Sept. 21: 15,000 for media advertising opposing Duckworth
Sept. 21: 17,500 for media advertising support Walsh
Sept. 25: 74,670 for advertising by mail to support Walsh
Oct. 2: 405,150 for media advertising to oppose Duckworth

DENVER, COL.--The Now or Never PAC--bolstering Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in his battle against Democratic hopeful Tammy Duckworth in the Illinois 8th Congressional District--made, according to the Federal Election Commission records, a $405,150 media buy to run attack Duckworth on Chicago television.

The Duckworth campaign is trying to keep the Now or Never spot off the air. Sun-Times political reporter Natasha Korecki has been tracking the dispute with the latest HERE.


DCCC spot hitting Biggert


DCCC spot hitting Dold


WASHINGTON--The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Tuesday started running cable ads attacking two Chicago area Republican incumbents--Rep. Judy Biggert and Rep. Bob Dold--with the spots jumping to broadcast outlets on Oct. 23, I've been told.

The buy is part of the DCCC--the political operation for House Democrats--independent expenditure effort to elect Democrats Brad Schneider in the 10th congressional district and Bill Foster in the 11th c.d.

The DCCC has set aside $3 million for the Chicago market--and now they are starting to spend it. The ad targeting Biggert, running against Foster, is the start of a $65,000 weekly buy; the spot dealing with Dold is on a $65,000 weekly buy.

Millions of dollars has already been spent in Super Pac and independent expenditures in Illinois House races and more money will be sent to Illinois in the coming weeks as the parties battle for control of Congress.

In the past two weeks, the, National Republican Congressional Committee--the GOP House political shop, the DCCC counterpart--has been kicking in significant money against Schneider.

On Sept, 21, according to Federal Election Commission records, the NRCC spent $294,246 for media. Last Friday-- on Sept. 28--the NRCC added $10,650 for media and two expenditures for surveys--$17,000 and $18,500. The same day, according to FEC records the U.S. Chamber of Commerce also made an $550,000 media buy against Schneider.

Also on Sept. 21, the NRCC spent $266,040 for media hitting Foster.

The GOP House political shop has also set aside several million for other Illinois House races.

The Dold spot is aiming at Democratic cross-over voters in a North Shore district redrawn last year by Illinois Democrats to be more Democratic.

From the DCCC: "The ad highlights how by voting party line to essentially end Medicare and let insurance companies charge women higher premiums for their health care, Congressman Dold isn't independent. He's just being a Republican."

The Biggert spot is trying to weaken her with female and senior voters in a district that was also redrawn to have a Democratic advantage.

From the DCCC on the first spot they are running against Biggert: The spot" highlights how Congresswoman Biggert voted to give herself nine pay raises, but supported ending the Medicare guarantee and making seniors pay more for their health care.

UPDATE FROM THE NRCC...

"It is obvious that the DCCC is trying to launch false and negative attack ads against Bob Dold and Judy Biggert because they recognize what a failure their own recruitment process was for those seats. They are stuck with partisan and phony businessman Brad Schneider and failed politician Bill Foster who was already fired by voters in 2010. It isn't shocking that the DCCC would distort the facts. The reality of their candidates is pretty terrifying." - NRCC Spokeswoman Katie Prill

The Illinois Board of Elections just posted a new guide for voters covering all the offices up in the November election. The board beat the Saturday deadline to post the new guide--posting on Thursday. Check it out HERE.

Deadline to register to vote in Illinois...from the state board FAQs....

Question: What is the deadline for registering to vote in the next election?
Answer:
October 9, 2012 Registration closes at the office of municipal, township, and road district clerks, deputy registrars, and agencies. Last day to register at the election authority's office (with the exception of Grace Period Registration).


(Lynn Sweet video)

UPDATED

WASHINGTON--Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) confirmed through a spokesman on Wednesday that he is selling his home here--the reason-- to help pay for his health care. The home, a row house in the DuPont Circle neighborhood, is listed for $2.5 million.

Kevin Lampe, a spokesman for Jackson's political operation told me that Jackson is still a candidate for re-election this November.

Here is the Jackson statement: "Like millions of Americans, Cong. Jackson and Mrs. Jackson are grappling with soaring health care costs and are selling their residence to help defray costs of their obligations. The congressman would like to personally thank everyone who has offered prayers on behalf of his family."

It's not known if Jackson gets his health insurance through the congressional plan or through his wife, Sandi, the 7th Ward alderman in Chicago.

Most plans--even the best--do not have unlimited mental health coverage that would pay for months of hospitalization. Rep. Jackson was a patient at Mayo Clinic and another facility in Arizona from mid-June through the summer.

BELOW, EARLIER POST


WASHINGTON--The Washington D.C. home of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is for sale, according to several local real estate listings. The asking price for the red brick Victorian row house, just off DuPont Circle, is $2.5 million.

The sale comes as Jackson is recovering from bipolar depression--we're told at this home--that has forced his absence from Congress since mid-June and treatment at the Mayo Clinic and a facility in Arizona.

While the official residence for the Jackson family is on Chicago's South Side, their home here is a family base for their two children, who attend a private school here.

When Jackson will surface remains an open question. He remains on the November ballot and faces only nominal opposition in a heavily Democratic district.

I talked Tuesday to Jackson Washington spokesman Frank Watkins--to check out talk that Jackson may appear at upcoming Congressional Black Caucus annual conference events--and was told that was unlikely.

I dropped by the house on Sunday and had a very, very brief chat with the mother of Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) who said neither the congressman or the alderman were home when I was there. There was an Impala with D.C. plates in the driveway and a car with Illinois plates--and a member of Congress tag--in the garage.

The home is on a gorgeous block. According to the listings, the home was built in 1921, has 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 half baths, is on 5 levels, two kitchens and a rooftop with jacuzzi and 2,936 square feet. The Zillow estimate is different from the asking price: $1,445,800.

Check out listings:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2034-O-St-NW-Washington-DC-20036/398183_zpid


http://hometryst.com/dc/2034-o-st-nw-washington-dc-20036-mls-dc7923211/


http://www.essentialpropertiesrealty.com/realestate/MRIS/675798/2034-O-ST-NW-WASHINGTON-DC-20036

The sale was reported first Wednesday morning by Lauren Vict


jackson washington home.jpg
The Jackson home in Washington, D.C.
(photo by Lynn Sweet)

WASHINGTON--Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) confirmed through a spokesman on Wednesday that he is selling his home here--the reason-- to help pay for his health care. The home, a row house in the DuPont Circle neighborhood, is listed for $2.5 million.

Kevin Lampe, a spokesman for Jackson's political operation told me that Jackson is still a candidate for re-election this November.

Here is the Jackson statement: "Like millions of Americans, Cong. Jackson and Mrs. Jackson are grappling with soaring health care costs and are selling their residence to help defray costs of their obligations. The congressman would like to personally thank everyone who has offered prayers on behalf of his family."

BELOW, EARLIER POST


WASHINGTON--The Washington D.C. home of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is for sale, according to several local real estate listings. The asking price for the red brick Victorian row house, just off DuPont Circle, is $2.5 million.

The sale comes as Jackson is recovering from bipolar depression--we're told at this home--that has forced his absence from Congress since mid-June and treatment at the Mayo Clinic and a facility in Arizona.

While the official residence for the Jackson family is on Chicago's South Side, their home here is a family base for their two children, who attend a private school here.

When Jackson will surface remains an open question. He remains on the November ballot and faces only nominal opposition in a heavily Democratic district.

I talked Tuesday to Jackson Washington spokesman Frank Watkins--to check out talk that Jackson may appear at upcoming Congressional Black Caucus annual conference events--and was told that was unlikely.

I dropped by the house on Sunday and had a very, very brief chat with the mother of Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) who said neither the congressman or the alderman were home when I was there. There was an Impala with D.C. plates in the driveway and a car with Illinois plates--and a member of Congress tag--in the garage.

The home is on a gorgeous block. According to the listings, the home was built in 1921, has 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, 2 half baths, is on 5 levels, two kitchens and a rooftop with jacuzzi and 2,936 square feet. The Zillow estimate is different from the asking price: $1,445,800.

Check out listings:

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2034-O-St-NW-Washington-DC-20036/398183_zpid


http://hometryst.com/dc/2034-o-st-nw-washington-dc-20036-mls-dc7923211/


http://www.essentialpropertiesrealty.com/realestate/MRIS/675798/2034-O-ST-NW-WASHINGTON-DC-20036

The sale was reported first Wednesday morning by Lauren Vict

Rep. Jackson continues to convalesce

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Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.), who is at his Washington D.C. home following his discharge from Mayo Clinic, is not returning to Congress until he is released from his doctor's care, his wife, Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) told me.

"My husband is convalescing with his family. He will not return to work until released from Doctor's care. Jesse and I are thankful for the heartfelt prayers and kind thoughts from so many for our family," Ald. Jackson said in a Friday night e-mail.

Rick Bryant, Rep. Jackson's district chief-of-staff told me Sunday night he had no idea when Rep. Jackson may return to Capitol Hill. Another source close to the situation said it is too early to say when Jackson will be back.

That Rep. Jackson is recuperating in his Washington home--rather than in the family's Chicago residence--may be because the Jackson children attend a private school in Washington and the family wants to be together. Rep. Jackson is being treated for bi-polar depression and has been absent from Congress since mid-June.

WASHINGTON--Illinois Democratic House hopeful Tammy Duckworth is being tapped to speak at the Democratic National Convention next month in Charlotte. Duckworth is running in the 8th congressional district against Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.). She is the Vice Chair of the Rules Committee and a delegate from Illinois.

kucinich-jackson.jpg
(photo from Rep. Dennis Kucinich @RepKucinich Twitter)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) visited Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. at Mayo Clinic last week, bringing him a poster-sized get well card with messages from his House colleagues. On his Twitter feed Kucinich said Monday, "Visited w/ Rep. Jackson Fri, Sat @ Mayo. Photo w/ Cong. get well card. Kind words of colleagues clearly meant a lot."

Jackson is being treated for Bipolar II Depression; former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) also visited with him last week.


WASHINGTON--Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) deplored comments made by GOP Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin that women don't get pregnant if they are victims of a "legitimate rape."

"As a woman, mother, and grandmother, I'm disappointed by Todd Akin's uninformed and offensive comments. What he said has absolutely no place in public discourse," Biggert said.

Mitt Romney said Monday morning remarks GOP Missouri Senate hopeful Todd Akin made about how "legitimate rape" will not cause a pregnancy were "insulting" and "offensive" and "he should correct it.

That's the lede in my post on the Akin controversy and Romney's and GOP attempts to contain the fallout. Read the post HERE.


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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 2012 Illinois Congress category.

2011 Chicago mayors race is the previous category.

2012 Obama re-elect is the next category.

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