Bruce Rauner has emerged as the heavy favorite to win this month’s Republican gubernatorial primary, and polling shows him running evenly with Gov. Pat Quinn (D) in a solidly Democratic state. It’s setting up for one of the cycle’s most intriguing gubernatorial contests in President Obama’s old backyard.
— Rauner is a first time candidate, but his success at winning over top donors and conservatives alike prove he’s capable of running a sophisticated campaign. His rhetoric against “government union bosses” in Springfield has spurred comparisons to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, prompting labor to mobilize on Quinn’s behalf. Illinois will be one of many Midwestern gubernatorial battlegrounds where the clout of unions will be tested.
— Quinn lost 98 of the state’s 102 counties in 2010 but his victory margins were significant enough in Cook County to offset deep losses everywhere else. Rauner’s task is to chip away at Quinn’s firewall of support by winning just enough Democrats and independents here to win statewide. The X-factor: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He’s close friends with Rauner and has a frosty relationship with Quinn.
— Former Emanuel adviser Tom Bowen predicted the race will be a “barnburner” with Rauner’s money allowing him to make inroads around Chicago, where Republicans have struggled recently. Rauner’s socially-moderate, fiscally-conservative positioning should play well in the suburbs, but Democrats will work to portray him as the second coming of Mitt Romney.
A Quinn loss would be the second home-state setback for the White House, after Democrats lost the president’s Senate seat to Mark Kirk in the 2010 midterms. Already facing a tough midterm landscape, Obama could see his home-state governorship fall to Republicans — to a friend of his former chief of staff, no less.
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"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."
The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."
"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.
The cost of EpiPens have risen 400% since 2007, and members of Congress increasingly want to know why. Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Mylan, which makes the allergy injection devices, on Monday. “Many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, and therefore, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication," he wrote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) "called earlier for a Judiciary Committee inquiry into the pricing and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."