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12/08/2009

Quinn "On The Ropes"

  Having been the aggressor for most of the primary campaign, Governor Pat Quinn appears to be backpedaling these past few days.

  First, there's this "cash management" loan business.  Quinn told us in late October that the state needed to borrow $900 million dollars to pay its bills through the end of 2009.  By law, an Illinois Governor may short-term borrow without legislative approval.   But the State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and the Comptroller Dan Hynes must both approve the transaction for it to be completed.   

   Quinn now says the amount the state "needs" has fallen to $500 million.  Giannoulias indicated he'll likely approve the deal but Hynes, who is challenging Quinn for the democratic nomination for Governor, says no way.  The Comptroller says the state is already too far in debt.

  In other words, Hynes has Quinn on the ropes.

  The Governor says Illinois, with a $4.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills, needs the money for "cash flow" purposes.  He says thousands of state vendors, many of whom provide social services to the poor and elderly, are waiting 3-5 months to be re-imbursed and without an infusion of cash they won't be paid until early 2010.   In the most desperate cases, some agencies might have to layoff workers, suspend services to clients or shutdown altogether.

  Let's see.  A "meltdown" of Illinois social services agencies in January...during the campaign stretch run.  Not good for the gov.

  A sign that Quinn has lost his campaign balance happened yesterday, when the Governor missed the grand opening of a shelter for homeless veterans on the city's southside.   He stood up former Illinois and now-Federal Veterans Affairs honcho Tammy Duckworth who flew in from Washington for the ceremony.  Quinn, perhaps the hardest-working advocate for veterans you'll find anywhere in politics, was a no-show because he was held over by west side African-American elected officials who had just endorsed him.   Sources say the black pols had the Governor cornered demanding specifics on minority participation in the $31 billion capital bill Quinn signed last summer.  The conventional wisdom is that Quinn cannot win the February 2, 2010 primary without the overwhelming support of African American voters.

  And you can add another setback for Quinn:  The 103,000-member Illinois Federation of Teachers has endorsed Hynes.  The union will provide campaign cash and troops to the Comptroller who, unlike the governor, has vowed not to lower pension benefits for teachers hired in the future.

  So we'll find out in the next few weeks if fightin' Pat Quinn is able regain his political footing and counterpunch.   For the first time in the democratic primary campaign...Dan Hynes appears to have some momentum.

Comments

No one can deny the Governor's commitment to veterans, and because he did miss one event does not imply that he's "on the ropes." I think that if he did spend an extended amount of time on the West Side, he was probably addressing some major needs and concerns. The West Side has a lack of resources, jobs, infrastructure, and social services, in an area where there is the most need. I am guessing that those elected officials were holding his feet to the fire to get some real results...instead of the typical political response. Clearly by the look of the side of the West Side it needs some attention too.

Nice. Now this explains a lot. I was wondering why Pat Quinn wasn't at the event with Tammy Duckworth. I thought that the media just cut him out to focus on her.

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