Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what's going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield.
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Duckworth is launching a TV ad attacking Republican Sen. Mark Kirk for past embellishments of his military service.
It's a response to Kirk attacks on her service as head of the state Department of Veterans Affairs for then-Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich after she lost a 2006 congressional bid. She later served as an assistant U.S. Veterans Affairs secretary in Washington, D.C.
"She knows the VA and gets how important it is to us. Mark Kirk flat out lied repeatedly about his own military service. Now he has the gall to attack Tammy Duckworth on the VA?" says retired Marine Wally Kubicki Jr. in the spot.
While the ad doesn't get into specifics, Kirk was dogged by questions about resume boosting during his successful 2010 campaign. The longtime Navy Reserve officer apologized for inflating parts of his military record, including claims he came under enemy fire in Iraq, that he ran the Pentagon war room and that he was the Navy's intelligence officer of the year.
On Thursday, Team Kirk responded to the new Duckworth ad, with campaign manager Kevin Artl contending that throughout her “political career, she has placed politics above veterans.” But the response did not address Duckworth’s criticism of Kirk’s previous embellishments.
Preliminary reports show Duckworth spending more than $160,000 alone on ABC-7 in the next two weeks along with at least $60,000 in cable TV for the next week. Duckworth's campaign says it's spending upwards of $600,000 in total.
The ad by Duckworth, a two-term congresswoman from Hoffman Estates, comes as Kirk pumped another $200,000 into an already-running spot criticizing the Democrat for settling an alleged workplace discrimination lawsuit for $26,000. Kirk campaign spending includes nearly $80,000 on ABC-7, $45,650 on CBS-2 and more than $56,000 on Chicago cable TV. (Rick Pearson)
What's on tap
*Mayor Rahm Emanuel is in Washington, D.C., in private meetings.
*Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to sign an executive order of local interest in south suburban Riverdale.
*Chicago City Council Transportation Committee and Pedestrian & Traffic Safety Committee meet at City Hall. Agendas here.
What we're writing
*Hillary Clinton, at Old State Capitol, rips Trump's divisiveness, says danger to democracy.
*House Republicans call for auditor general's ouster, but Rauner mum.
*CPS unveils budgets; cuts remain.
*Rauner administration seeks to end Obamacare insurer as 49,000 set to lose coverage.
*Cook County Board approves new medical examiner.
*Preckwinkle offers Cook County transportation plan.
What we're reading
*Will Facebook devour TV news?
*Politifact establishes Illinois beachhead with Reboot Illinois partnership.
*Who let this happen?
From the notebook
*Durbin's name floated, and floated: There’s an old Mae West quote about it being “better to be looked over than overlooked,” and it sure applies to Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield this week.
Durbin’s name has been floated to lead the Democratic National Committee and as a contender for Illinois governor.
The DNC bit was confirmed by Durbin himself, though he downplayed the prospect. The senator told CNN that Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had offered up Durbin’s name as a successor to Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.
But Durbin said there “wasn’t any active discussion” of the prospect and “nothing came of it.”
The DNC, which dates to 1848, governs the Democratic Party, plans its national convention, raises campaign cash and supports Democratic candidates for federal, state and local office.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Evanston Democrat, told the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday that she expects Wasserman Schultz won’t lead the DNC after the Nov. 8 elections and that it’s tradition at that point for a new chair to come in. Wasserman Schultz got cross-ways with presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Tuesday.
Schakowsky is high on Durbin taking the reins of the DNC — but even higher on him taking on Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.
“I think we can’t stand another four years of Bruce Rauner, and the people of the state can’t take another four years,” she said. “Sen. Durbin would be ready to set us in the right direction, and he would absolutely win. He’s one of the most competent and effective Democratic leaders, and I would certainly support him whatever he wants to do.
“Dick Durbin is effective both on the political and the policy side of things,” Schakowsky added. “He can get stuff done.”
Durbin is No. 2 in the Senate, but his path there is blocked. While Reid is poised to retire at the end of this term, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is his presumptive successor.
If Durbin, 71, wants a fifth term in the Senate, he’ll have to run again in 2020. But he wouldn’t have to give up his Senate seat to run for governor in 2018.
Spokesmen for Durbin and the DNC had no comment. But another House Democrat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, suspects Durbin will stay put in the Senate, particularly in light of prospects that Democrats could retake control of the chamber, where the GOP now holds 54 seats. (Katherine Skiba)
*Preckwinkle hedges on wage plan: Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was noncommittal Wednesday about whether she’ll back a proposed “responsible business act” to require large companies that pay workers low wages to kick in for the cost of social services like health care the county has to cover for residents who can’t afford them.
Commissioner Robert Steele, D-Chicago, has been pushing the plan, and several supporters of fining businesses that don’t pay workers enough testified at Wednesday’s meeting, calling on the board to take action.
“This was introduced by Commissioner Steele some time ago,” Preckwinkle told reporters after the meeting. “I told Commissioner Steele at the time that I was going to have to save my political capital for the budget process, and he was welcome to pursue this.”
Preckwinkle said a “modified version” of the idea could get introduced next month. “We’ll see what emerges from committee,” she said about the likelihood she will throw her support behind it. (John Byrne)
*Independent Maps say majority of signers were Democrats: The group backing the proposed state constitutional amendment to reduce the influence of politics in legislative mapmaking says a majority of its petition signers were Democrats.
Dave Mellet, the campaign manager for the Independent Maps group, said it commissioned a demographic analysis of the 20,518-signature sample that the State Board of Elections used to verify that the proposal qualified for the fall ballot.
That sample is a random 5 percent of the more than 563,000 people who signed petitions to put the proposal on the ballot.
Mellet said the petition sample found 56 percent of signers qualified as likely Democrats, 23 percent as likely Republicans, and 23 percent as likely independent voters based on primary voting history.
“Illinois is a Democratic state, so it’s not surprising that Democrats would make up the largest group of petition signers,” he said in a statement. “However, these numbers are much larger than expected and debunk the narrative pushed by opponents of redistricting reform that Democratic voters do not support this amendment.”?
The proposal is subject to a court challenge from the People’s Map, a group of prominent racial and ethnic minorities whose lead attorney is Michael Kasper, longtime general counsel for the state Democratic Party headed by veteran House Speaker Michael Madigan. An initial court ruling on the ballot challenge is expected by July 21.
The Independent Maps group has touted its bipartisanship, but Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has come out in support of the proposal. As a result, the Rauner-funded state Republican Party is touting the proposal, including in a Wednesday email contending “Madigan and the Democratic Party of Illinois would rather deny voters the opportunity to cast a ballot in favor of fair legislative maps than face honest, competitive elections. It’s almost as if Madigan and his minions are afraid their tax-and-spend agenda is unpopular with the electorate.” (Rick Pearson)
*Down but not out: Ohio Gov. John Kasich isn’t backing Donald Trump and won’t even set foot in the convention arena as host governor, but the former GOP presidential contender will still be working some of the political angles.
On Monday, the first day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Kasich will stop by the Illinois delegation in the afternoon to help push support for Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk and state House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs.
Kasich also is planning an August fundraiser for Durkin, who leads the minority against veteran Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Of the 69 Illinois Republican delegates, 54 are backing Trump, nine are supporting Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and six were elected to back Kasich. (Rick Pearson)
*Mikva memorial on Aug. 8: A memorial service for Abner Mikva will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 8 in Chicago at a location that will be announced in coming days, said Brian Brady, national director of the nonprofit Mikva Challenge.
Mikva, 90, died July 4 in Chicago after decades in public life, including service as a Democratic congressman, federal appellate judge and White House counsel for President Bill Clinton. Mikva was a mentor to Barack Obama, who gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014.
Mikva is immortalized for what he was told when he first tried to get involved in Democratic politics: “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”
The nonpartisan group named for him gives high school students exposure to government and politics. (Katherine Skiba)
Follow the money
*The Illinois Chamber of Commerce political fund kicked in $10,000 for Stephen Reick, the Republican running for the House seat occupied by departing Rep. Jack Franks of Marengo. McHenry County Democrats picked John Bartman to replace Franks, who is now running for County Board chairman.
*The state chamber also threw $20,000 to the Independent Maps movement, which faces a legal challenge to its November ballot question seeking to take much of the politics out of legislative redistricting.
*Track campaign contribution reports in real time with this Tribune Twitter account: http://www.chicagotribuneem.com/ILCampaignCash
*GOP platform heads to the right.
*Democrats will meet in Philadelphia, a city of great economic inequality.
*NYT: For whites sensing decline, Trump unleashes words of resistance.