Today, State Rep. Jack Franks is probably sweating more than he was when this photo was taken at the beginning of a McHenry Fiesta Days Parade in 2010.
Then he was challenged by McHenry Grade School and Library Board member John O’Neill.
(O’Neill lost, but carried some precincts in Spring Grove, which were taken out of the new legislative district Franks crafted for 2012.)
Today, Franks is faced with a different kind of challenge.
House Speaker Mike Madigan is calling in the chips to pass a one-month budget and he needs Jack Franks’ vote to reach the “magic” number of 71.
You see, to muster a veto-proof majority, Madigan needs the votes of all Democrats.
No problem, you might think.
After all Franks has voted for Madigan for House Speaker every time he had the chance since he took office in 1999.
But, wait, remember the campaign theme of 2014 Franks’ opponent Steve Reick.
Reick played “Pin the Madigan on Jack Franks.”
And he did a pretty good job of it, bringing Franks winning margin under 60% for the first time since Dr. Tom Salvi almost beat him in 2000.
What’s the problem for Franks?
Actually, it’s a potential problem.
And a serious one.
Governor Bruce Rauner has said that he is going to plunk $1 million into twenty state rep. races in an attempt to unseat Democrats.
Franks began sucking up to Rauner even before last fall’s election.
If Franks votes for a budget that Rauner doesn’t want, he may alienate Rauner enough for Rauner to figure out that with a well-financed campaign, Franks could be defeated.
Having said that, the more important vote to Rauner will come if there is ever an attempt to override his announced veto of any one-month budget bill.
Rauner can delay the agony for a long time.
A Governor can delay acting on a bill for sixty days.
Meanwhile Jack Franks will continue acting as if he will have a Republican opponent.
He’ll continue his retail campaigning, for example,
- marching in the Harvard and Wonder Lake Parades
- giving away ice cream as he did in Woodstock on July 1st
- knocking on doors in Wonder Lake
That’s not the way a candidate secure in his or her district spends the summer.
And, if Jack Franks decides to please Rauner and alienate Madigan in today’s budget vote or an override vote, every time Madigan drives up to Lake Geneva through Jack Franks’ district, the disloyal Democrat will be on Mike Madigan’s mind.