Looking at the Republican Illinois Supreme Court Race

From Illinois Review, reprinted with permission:

THE 2ND SUPREME COURT DISTRICT… THE HOTTEST ILLINOIS REPUBLICAN PRIMARY AROUND?

By Nancy Thorner – 

Now that the Governor’s race seems to be tilting strongly for Darren Bailey with the latest poll showing him with a 15-point lead over Richard Irvin and a 21-point lead over his next closest rival, Jesse Sullivan, some might say the Mary Miller vs. Rodney Davis contest for Congress is now the most interesting and the hottest Illinois Republican primary.  

Illinois Supreme Court Building

The Second District Supreme Court contest, however, may even be more interesting and hotter with all the new developments that have occurred in this race since I last wrote about it on Illinois Review.

The first new development is the return of McHenry County Judge Hutchinson and Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran to the ballot.

“Objectors used the turnout formula for the new five-county (Supreme Court district) to calculate that 791 signatures were needed to appear on the ballot as a Democrat and 757 to appear as a Republican.  But the candidates argued, and Cook County Circuit Judge Maureen Hannon agreed, that since the new district did not exist in 2018, the number of signatures necessary to make it on the ballot should be interpreted as 334 — just as described in the Illinois State Board of Elections 2022 candidate’s guide.  The judge’s ruling also aligns with the recommendations of the election board’s hearing officer and general counsel, which were rejected by the (entire election board) on April 19.”    

Who was behind the election board overturning their own guidelines, election hearing officer and general counsel in an attempt to keep Curran and Hutchinson from running against Shanes and Noverini?  Mark Curran had no doubt:  “I know that Judge John Noverini was not behind my challenges…My guess is that Dan Shanes, the other candidate in the race, does not want me talking about how his Masonic friends are clearing out the competition on his behalf, or how there is no way he is pro-life or pro 2nd Amendment.”   

Second development

Another new event, virtually unprecedented for a judicial race, is the negative attacks by Shanes on Noverini with several mailings and on this website. Shanes’ campaign says Judge Noverini “has Deep Ties to Mike Madigan’s Democratic Political Machine” But Noverini says he has never met Mike Madigan or had any political involvement with Madigan or his political machine.  They also claim Noverini “ran and won retention bids as a Democrat in 2014 and 2020” when judicial retention elections are nonpartisan.   

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“In 2021, Citizens For Noverini gave $5,000 to Progressive Action 2016 whose purpose is to “support progressive candidates in Illinois.” The purchase, Noverini says, was for computer software.

As a member of the Carpentersville City Council, Noverini voted to oppose a budget for all of Carpentersville that would have required a substantial tax increase. Shanes calls that “defunding the police.”  

With these baseless charges, Shanes has not followed Illinois judicial rules and is very vulnerable to a formal complaint to the Illinois Judicial Review Board by Judge Noverini.

Now Curran is getting attacked by the same forces backing Shanes:  “Griffin Money Attacks Lake County’s Mark Curran after Effort to Knock Him Off the Ballot Fails.”  

Some outfit called “Citizens for Judicial Fairness” made this mailing criticizing the 2020 GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran.  Looking at Illinois State Board of Elections records shows that billionaire Ken Griffin poured $6,250,000 into it on April Fool’s Day. The PAC also paid for radio and television ads for Griffin’s candidate for Secretary of State John Mishiser and his candidate for Attorney General Steve Kim.”

This mailing attacks Curran as Democrat when he was elected Sheriff twice as a Republican in 2010 and 2014 and lost as a Republican in 2018.  It attacks his stands on issues that never came up in the primary when he ran with the backing of the Republican Establishment for U.S. Senate in 2020.   The same group attacking Curran is just fine with Richard Irvin voting in the Democrat primary 6 out of the last 7 times and Irvin’s far more liberal record on issues.  It also supports Shanes’ denials that he is being supported by Ken Griffin are simply untrue.   

Yet another new development

Following is perhaps the most interesting new development.  Shanes calls himself a “constitutional conservative” yet at a recent meeting of pro-family leaders, Shanes refused to say if life begins at the moment of conception. He also refused to define the word woman when asked! 

Maybe this is why David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute and board member of Illinois Family Action, a Republican precinct committeeman and the Crete Township Republican Organization chairman, has endorsed Noverini.  Noverini has also gotten the endorsements in McHenry County of former state representative Cal Skinner and Sheriff Bill Prim plus Kane County Pro-Life Leaders Vivian Maley and Sally Sullivan.  

The new 2nd Supreme Court District, like the 3rd Supreme Court district, is competitive in the fall for Republicans, especially in a year when Biden’s approval rating is 33% in the latest Quinnipiac poll.  If the Republicans win both districts, they will have a majority of the Illinois Supreme Court for the first time since 1964. 

An important question:  Will it be difficult to get the Curran, Hutchinson and Noverini supporters back on board for the fall if Shanes wins the Republican nomination in the Second District, because of all the scorched earth tactics of the Shanes’ forces?

Rob Hanlon Off the Hook

Someone was caught on camera placing unflattering bumper stickers on a Crystal Lake campaign sign of McHenry County Sheriff’s candidate Tony Colatorti.

Signs for Gary Rabine for Governor and Tony Colatorti for Sheriff found in Woodstock. Bumper stickers saying “Bought by Local 150” and “Abuser” are affixed to Colatorti’s campaign sign.

Colatorti filed a complaint with the Crystal Lake Police Department, which can be seen below:

It appears that McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally decided his quite active support of Colatorti against Robb Tadelman required that his office not prosecute the case.

So, he kicked it up to the Appeallate Prosecutor’s Office.

The key sentence in the motion above seems to be

“The Special Prosecutor has determined the likelihood of the State’s meeting its burden of proving defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal trial given the facts and circumstances in this case is questionable.”

It is unknown what “facts and circumstances” were considered “questionable.”

I thought there was a video.

The Special Prosecutor suggests there might be enough evidence to proceed with a civil case where the burden of proof is lower.

Associate Judge Mary Nader confirmed the dismissal motion.

Tony Colatorti had this comment:

“The police had very clear video of evidence of Mr. Hanlon damaging our signs which led to his arrest.

“What the court decided to do with his case is up to them and not us.”

IL-15: Ken Griffin Exposed Again Meddling with Downballot Race, this time Against Mary Miller

Well, this headline from early February did not age well.

In mid April, a classic “pop-up” super PAC, Illinois Values PAC, was created through a filing with the FEC.

In late May, the super PAC launched its website and and produced a commercial and purchased ad time for over $1 million attacking Congresswoman Mary Miller (R, Oakland) in her incumbent-vs-incumnbent Republican primary against Congressman Rodney Davis (R, Taylorsville).

But with filing of Pre-primary reports last week with the FEC, the identity of the super PAC funder, long suspected, was confirmed.

There he goes again, the sole funder of Illinois Values super PAC, which through June 8, had $318,199, enough for a final TV ad buy going into the last week before the primary.

No additional independent expenditure filing has been posted since June 8 from Illinois Values, but, as I shared with a roundtable of reporters and political observers at a downstate (Lincoln) gathering, from Ken Griffin’s point of view, if he helps Davis, he helps Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin in the governor’s race.

Yes, $1.5 million is pocket-change for Griffin, but it happened and now it’s on the record.

I was only one of three people, when polled at the downstate gathering on May 20, who believe Miller will be the winner next week over Davis, using the conventional wisdom of both President Trump and the Club for Growth Action super PAC, when backing the same candidate, are unbeatable.

Speaking of Club for Growth Action, here are their latest independent expenditures which hit the FEC this afternoon, both TV:

And direct mail:

Both appear to be comparison pieces, and complemented by President Trump’s visit to the Quincy area on Saturday, it appears my prediction in this race will come true.

We’ll know a week from tonight, but it’s now confirmed Griffin interfered in IL-15 directly.

Feds Tag Another Gun Crime Discovered by Chicago Police

From the U.S. Attorney:

Six Years in Federal Prison for Man Who Illegally Possessed Stolen Handgun in Chicago

CHICAGO — A man who illegally possessed a stolen semi-automatic handgun in Chicago has been sentenced to six years in federal prison.

DEANDRE MORRISON illegally possessed the loaded firearm on Nov. 23, 2019. 

Chicago Police pulled over the vehicle Morrison was driving after a suspected traffic violation in the 7800 block of South Essex Avenue in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. 

Police discovered the gun wedged between the driver’s seat and the center console of the vehicle. 

The gun had previously been reported stolen in Indiana.

Morrison, 29, of Chicago, pleaded guilty last year to a federal charge of illegal firearm possession. 

Morrison had previously been convicted of multiple state felonies, including a robbery, and was prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.

U.S. District Judge Martha M. Pacold imposed the federal prison sentence June 16, 2022, after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. 

Substantial assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

“The illegal possession of firearms by felons is a very serious offense that threatens the safety of the public,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared Hasten argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. 

“Felons who carry loaded firearms will face real consequences — and real punishment — including meaningful time in prison.”

Chicago Tribune Endorses Connie Cain over Erin Thrower for GOP State Rep. Nomination to Run against Suzanne Ness

From the Chicago Tribuen:

District 66

In the GOP primary for this district that encompasses parts of Kane and McHenry counties, both candidates, Connie Cain of Gilberts and Arin Thrower of West Dundee, stick to the Republican Party playbook when it comes to national issues.

They’re both anti-abortion and pro-gun rights.

But this is a state legislative race, and on Illinois issues, one candidate’s agenda stands out.

Connie Cain

Connie Cain’s views sound like a blueprint for the kind of change Illinois needs.

As we do, she thinks the state’s severe pension crisis is a top priority, and she adamantly supports asking voters to amend the state constitution to allow a reduction in future benefit growth to affordable levels while keeping current benefits untouched.

She’s also right when she says consolidating school districts can cut down administrative costs and create savings for taxpayers.

She believes in school choice and making Illinois a “right-to-work” state.

She also believes reform at DCFS starts with firing agency director Marc Smith, who has been cited for contempt of court numerous times for failing to appropriately place children in the agency’s care in the proper setting.

But there’s a hitch.

At a League of Women Voters forum in late May in Carpentersville, she sounded uncomfortable speaking publicly.

She didn’t come across nearly as polished as Thrower, a former television reporter for an ABC affiliate in Michigan, and currently the Dundee Township supervisor.

Thrower’s better on the podium, but Cain’s understanding of what Illinois needs to do to fix its finances is stronger.

It’s a tough decision for us, but our endorsement goes to Cain.

The winner faces Democratic incumbent Suzanne Ness of Crystal Lake.

Revenge of the Gas Station Owners or Beware of the Sign You Ask For, Politicians

With apologies to “Revenge of the Nerds,” McHenry County Blog publishes the press release from the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association, plus the sign that may start popping up on gas pumps.

If a legislator who voted to double the gas tax is seen at such a pump, don’t be surprised if he/she is bowiing steam out of varioius orifices.

IFRA’s new signage on gas pumps tells the truth about gas prices lawmakers hope drivers will forget

Springfield, IL – Should the courts side with the state and force gas stations to post signs about the temporary gas tax relief approved in April, Josh Sharp, CEO of the IL Fuel and Retail Association, says the industry will make sure drivers know the whole truth about gas taxes in Illinois.

“We will follow the law and post the signs if the courts require us to do so,” Sharp said.

“But we are going to make sure our customers understand the whole story about our state’s gas tax not just the part some of the lawmakers in Springfield want to talk about.”

The Legislature is mandating fuel retailers to post signs at their own expense to tell people about the six-month suspension of the CPI tax increase scheduled for July 1st of this year.

The Illinois Fuel and Retail Association is challenging the posting requirement in court.

IFRA’s lawsuit complaint reads in part:

“This specific amendment to the Motor Fuel Tax Law requires Plaintiffs and other retailers to choose between making a political statement they do not wish to make to their customers or the general public on behalf of the State of Illinois or facing criminal penalties. SB 157 violates Plaintiffs’ Free Speech rights as protected by Article 1, Section 4 of the Illinois Constitution, and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution by compelling political speech.”

If the courts ultimately rule in favor of the state, IFRA will provide member gas stations with signs to post.

The proposed sign the Illinois Fuel and Retail Association will display reminds motorists that “Illinois politicians have more than doubled the gas tax since 2019.”

It also states lawmakers “have decided to delay their tax hike until after the election,” and informs the public the signs have to be posted to avoid a $500 per day fine.

The signage tells drivers the truth about Illinois gas taxes – and directs them to use the Illinois Policy Institute’s gas tax calculator to see the true cost of taxes at the pump.

“Lawmakers want us to tell the public an edited version of the history of the gas tax in Illinois,” Sharp said.

“If they insist on us posting signs and the courts agree requiring private businesses to post these notices at their expense is Constitutional, we will comply, but we are going to tell the whole truth about gas taxes in Illinois. 

” Here is the truth; delaying a tax increase does not equal a tax cut, and there are now TWO gas tax increases scheduled for 2023.”

A copy of the proposed signage is below:

Another Anti-Billionaire Griffin-Financed Gubernatorial Candidate Richard Irvin Postcard

This piece of mail is sent by another billionaire-financed Political Action Committee called “People Who Play By the Rules PAC.”

The obvious hope is to drive Irvin’s poll numbers lower than they are so Darren Bailey can gain the Republican nomination for Governor.

This billionaire financing the effort is Richard Uihlein, who made his money with the packaging company Uline.

Ex-Democratic State Senator Gets One Year in Federal Pen for Cheating Teamsters

From the U.S. Attorney:

Former Illinois State Senator Sentenced to a Year in Federal Prison for Fraudulently Receiving Salary and Benefits from Labor Union

CHICAGO — Former Illinois State Sen. THOMAS E. CULLERTON was sentenced today to a year in federal prison for fraudulently receiving salary and benefits from a labor union.

Cullerton, 52, of Villa Park, Ill., pleaded guilty earlier this year to a federal embezzlement charge.  U.S. District Judge Robert W. Gettleman imposed the year-and-a-day sentence after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago.  The government was represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amarjeet S. Bhachu and Erika L. Csicsila.

Cullerton was hired in 2013 by Teamsters Joint Council 25 as a purported union organizer and remained on the payroll until February 2016. 

In addition to receiving a salary, monthly car and telephone allowances, and bonuses, Teamsters Joint Council 25 funded Cullerton’s participation in Teamsters Local Union 734’s health and pension funds, which enabled Cullerton to receive health and welfare benefits.

Cullerton admitted in a plea agreement that he did little to no work as an organizer during the time he was on the union payroll. 

When his supervisors requested that he perform his job duties, Cullerton routinely ignored them.

Cullerton fraudulently obtained from Joint Council 25 and its members

  • approximately $169,488 in salary, bonuses, and other benefits,
  • approximately $57,662 in health and pension contributions, and
  • approximately $21,678 in reimbursed medical claims. 

Cullerton admitted that he used the embezzled money to pay personal expenses, such as his mortgage, utilities, and groceries.

Livability Finds Crystal Lake “Most Affordable Suburb”

From a source called “Livability:”

Crystal Lake, IL

This gem of a city is located about 50 miles northwest of Chicago and truly offers residents the whole package, but with more affordable housing costs.

In fact, according to a recent list of the 100 Most Affordable SuburbsCrystal Lake took the top spot thanks to its low average home price of just $301,750.

This suburb is one of the best places to live in Illinois.

Ice fishing on Crystal Lake, Photo credit: Mackenzie Walter.

Residents can sprawl out, own their own homes and enjoy more than 40 parks and recreation areas in the Crystal Lake Park District.

While it also has its own downtown with shopping and restaurants, Chicago is only a stone’s throw away. 

More Analysis on the GOP Illinois Supreme Court Race

Reposted from Illinois Review with permission:

BILLIONAIRE KEN GRIFFIN FUNDS SHANES IN 2ND DISTRICT IL SUPREME COURT RACE

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By Nancy Thorner – 

With the Illinois Republican Primary less than two weeks away on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022, a new development in the Second District Illinois Supreme Court contest further makes the case the 2nd District is the most interesting and important Republican primary outside the Governor’s race this year. 

I’ve written two other Illinois Review articles about the Second District Illinois Supreme Court contest between Judges Shanes, Mark Curran and John Noverini. Monday, June 12, 2022 Thorner: The 2nd Supreme Court District… the hottest Illinois Republican Primary around?  and Wednesday, May 11, 2022 Thorner: Illinois’ chance for GOP majority on IL Supreme Court depends on District 2

New Development in Second District Illinois Supreme Court race

Despite repeated denials by Daniel Shanes that Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin was funding him, a PAC that Griffin gave over 6 million dollars to on April 1, “Citizens for Judicial Fairness”, has given Shanes $171,280 for TV ads, according to the McHenry County Blog. 

This makes it apparent why so many prominent Republicans and “conservative” leaders have backed Shanes despite his thin record — appointed by fellow judges in Lake County and then the Democrat Supreme Court, with no business or political record, not even a judicial election and multiple retentions, as with Judges Noverini and Hutchinson.

They are hoping Griffin will fund Shanes in the fall with the same millions Griffin has poured into Richard Irvin, who has also attacked his primary opponents as “Democrats”. 

Link: Judge Shanes Stoops Lower, Wondering If He Has the Same Literature Designer as Lying Richard Irvin – McHenry County Blog

Note:  Shanes claims that Noverini “defunded the police”. Judge Noverinn corrects the record

“As a member of the Carpentersville City Council, Noverini voted to oppose a budget for all of Carpentersville that would have required a substantial tax increase.” 

Closing thought

It won’t be easy to put the Republican party together after this scorched earth campaign by the Shanes forces no matter who wins the primary. 

Summary of Pro-Life Amicus Brief

From the Thomas More Society’s Executive Vice President and General Counse Andrew Bath:

The Court listened to us!

The Thomas More Society provided key input to the Supreme Court as it was considering Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health — and our efforts appear to have paid off!

We filed an important Amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the Dobbs case and arranged for two other briefs to be filed, all so we could make several key points to guide the Court to the correct result in this pivotal case.

First and most importantly, we clearly laid out the ways the court got the law wrong when deciding Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.  

As a dedicated pro-life warrior, I don’t have to tell you that there simply was no right to abortion hiding in the constitution until the Roe court found it in 1973.

Next, we argued that the Court got the science of fetal development wrong, and that there have been advances in medicine and in our understanding of fetal development that have made Roe even more out of touch with science now than it was when it was decided almost 50 years ago.

And we pointed out that new laws known as “Safe Haven” laws have since been passed by every state in the union.

Those laws permit mothers to drop off unwanted babies at safe places like hospitals, so it is now never true that a mother will be forced to raise a child she doesn’t want or thinks she can’t afford.

Lastly, we urged the court to recognize and emphasize the humanity of the unborn child and find that the humanity of the unborn differentiates claims of abortion rights from claims of any other right.

In short, we dismantled every single one of the abortion industry’s main arguments for the infant slaughter that has been the law of the land in our country for nearly 50 years.

And we are proud to say that it appears that a Supreme Court majority agreed with us and that every one of our key points made it into the leaked majority opinion of Dobbs.

We couldn’t have done this without you, and we’ll need you by our side now more than ever as we confront all the new challenges this blockbuster opinion will bring to the pro-life movement.

Now, we must pray that the Court’s majority remains strong and united, and that the Court takes this opportunity to finally and completely overrule its dreadful decisions in Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Stand by for more updates as we await the release of this historic decision.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Noverini Hits the Airways with Radio Ad

Here’s the text of the John Noverini for Illinois Supreme Court ad now running on Chicago radio:

3 voices: “Judge John Noverini, Noverini, I’m supporting the conservative Judge Noverini”

v/0 Across Northern Illinois, Republicans are talking, and they are saying that the nomination of Judge John Noverini will give Republicans the best chance to win a majority on the Illinois Supreme court.

Voice woman 1 Judge Noverini is a committed Christian. As a family law judge, he always protected parents’ rights and our children.

Voice 2 As presiding Judge of the Criminal Law Division, Noverini always understood the punishment needs to fit the crime for those who break our laws.

Voice 3 Noverini is fiercely independent and not beholden to the trial lawyers or any special interest group.

Voice 4 John Noverini…a consistent conservative judicial philosophy, no surprises on the bench.

On Tuesday, June 28, nominate Judge John Noverini for the Illinois Supreme Court in the second Judicial District Republican Primary.

Endorsed by Republican leaders

  • Chris Lauzen in Kane County,
  • Sheriff Bill Primm and Cal Skinner in McHenry, and
  • pro-family leader David Smith.

Paid for by Citizens for Noverini.

Mike Shorten Rolls Out YouTube Ad & Press Release

From Mike Shorten, running for one of two District 4 McHenry County Board slots:

Republican Candidates- Never Voted Republican

Mike Shorten Questions Opponents Believability

Crystal Lake, June 20, 2022—   McHenry County Board Candidate Mike “Shorty” Shorten has issued a statement regarding his opponents in the Republican Primary on June 28th and their failure to vote in a Republican Primary since moving to McHenry from Cook County.

“For the past 15 years, I’ve been involved in local politics and I cannot recall at any point where individuals have filed to run as Republicans, without ever voting in a Republican Primary election.

“I support any individual that want to volunteer for the Republican Party or Republican candidates as a matter of principle, however, it’s beyond concerning that my oppositions first act as Republicans will be to vote for themselves.

“Both Mr. Barthel and Mrs. Delaney have relocated from Cook County in the past six years and neither one of them has participated in the Republican Primary, since they have lived here.  Republican voters should have great pause about voting for Cook County transplants with no record to speak of.”

Shorten touted his record as a Trustee in Nunda Township and also addressed his commitment and involvement in the Republican Party in McHenry County and in helping many prominent Republicans in their election efforts.

“I have a proven record both as an elected official and as leader in the local party.  

“Because of my efforts in Nunda Township, more than $600,000 has remained in taxpayers’ bank accounts, all Nunda Township Board Meetings are streamed live and efforts by a previous supervisor to have full control of the Cemetery Board it’s budget and spending were thwarted.

“I’ve also spent countless hours volunteering for the Nunda Township and the McHenry County Republican Party where I served in a multitude of leadership positions, with the latest being the Vice Chair of the county party.  I’ve also worked in support of a multiple candidates, including the Current County Board Chair Mike Buehler, County Court Clerk Kathy Keefe and State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally.”

Shorten is endorsed, by Keefe, Keneally, former State Representative Barbara Wheeler and County Board Member Lori Parrish, who decided not to seek re-election and occupies the seat that Shorten is seeking.

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Mike “Shorty” Shorten is a 20 year resident of McHenry County, living in Crystal Lake with his wife and three daughters.  Mike works full time as an Account Manager for a fortune 500 business services organization.