Venture capitalist J.B. Pritzker (D) “and then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) discussed the issue [of race] in a phone call the government secretly recorded as part of its investigation into the disgraced governor. The conversation has never before been publicly revealed. Pritzker, who was advising Blagojevich on filling the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, pitched the idea of picking Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, in part because it ‘covers you on the African-American thing.’” Pritzker and Blagojevich also discussed the possibilities of appointing then-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., former White House adviser Valerie Jarrett, and (jokingly) Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
“Race and its ramifications on politics have long been a factor in city and state elections, though the voting public rarely gets to hear the calculations in blunt terms. … In the 2018 governor’s contest, the major Democratic hopefuls are white, and each has picked an African-American running mate. The campaigns also are mapping out themes largely focused on issues plaguing minority communities, such as vows to improve educational and economic opportunities and stem gun violence and crime. The importance of the black vote can’t be understated.” (Chicago Tribune)
IVES ON THE LINE. State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R) said Monday “she voted for [President] Trump in the primary and had his sign in her yard.” Ives was listed as a Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) endorser in 2016. A spokeswoman said Ives “simply misunderstood the question about who she supported in the primary.” (Capitol Fax)
“In less than a week, Ives has heightened her profile from little-known primary challenger to Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) to talk of the state, a Twitter-trending phenomenon whose lightning-rod ad—criticized by one Democratic candidate for governor as ‘repulsive’—has grabbed national headlines. … Ives has refused to back down, even admitting she’s taking advantage of what little time she has before the March 20 primary to drive up her name recognition. Positive performances before editorial boards, she mused, would not cut it against Rauner.”
Ives: “I want to know why people are so offended by it. What’s so offensive about the ad?. … The ad is a policy ad. It’s an accurate depiction of the policies that Rauner put in place.” (Politico)
MONEY MOVES. Madison County regional Superintendent Bob Daiber (D) gave his campaign another $10,000 on Friday.
The state Republican Party gave Rauner nearly $90,000 last week. (Hotline reporting) “Republican Cook County Central Committee members endorsed … Rauner Monday night.” (Arlington Heights Daily Herald)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.