Quick Hits – Anatomy of a Teachers Strike – Part Two

On Tuesday, we covered the underpinnings of the current stalemate between the Geneva teacher’s union and the School Board which may well lead to a strike. I put the probability of a walkout at 50 percent, but having read the letters a variety of D304 educators sent the School Board, those odds increase every day there isn’t a settlement.

As promised, we’re going begin to get into why the Geneva Education Association is tilting their lances at the wrong windmills. Since this complex issue will likely lead to a lengthy column, and possibly a part three, let’s persist with our numbered list methodology. It’s much easier to digest this tough topic in smaller chunks.


But before we continue, let me, once again, clearly stipulate that my wife is a math interventionist in the East Aurora School District. So, I really don’t want to hear any of that anti-teacher bleep. I couldn’t possibly be more sympathetic to their plight, but unless we start from the truth, it’s much more difficult to make positive headway.

With that in mind, let’s consider those missives to the Board first:

1. Educational choices have consequences

About a year ago, a young Facebook friend was very excited about her decision to be an art history major. My response, “So, you won’t mind waiting tables for the rest of your life,” made her so mad she blocked me. That may have made her feel better, but I was telling her the truth.

Considering the insane cost of a college education (we’ll get to that), whenever I hear someone say they’re going to get a master’s in English literature, a philosophy Ph.D., or a journalism degree – and they’re gonna pay for it all with student loans – I want to beat them with a 2 by 4 until they come to their senses.

So, while I certainly admire the Geneva teacher who had the wherewithal to acquire two master’s degrees, if you really want your salary to be commensurate with that education, becoming a teacher was a really bad choice.

And I can say this with certainty as I sit here, once again, plying my beloved journalistic trade for free! Talk about a career change that didn’t work out well! But you don’t hear me bitching about it, either.

Do I think there’s a vast dichotomy between a teacher’s educational requirements and what they’re actually paid? Yes, I do! But my wife, and every last Geneva teacher, knew that going in. Sometimes doing what you love means sacrifice.

2. A troublesome entitlement mentality

One of the most difficult concepts to impart unto those formerly striking Kane County probation workers was, just because the County had a budget surplus, it doesn’t mean that money automatically goes to you. As it is with all government entities, there’s a long line of folks waiting for their slice of the pie.

So, when some sympathetic folks published that D304 had the money for raises without raising property taxes on Facebook, I wanted to quickly point out the flaw in their logic, but they’d turned off the comments on those posts.

BTW, spreading propaganda – and it was propaganda – without allowing comment is a really bad idea. How do I know? Because a surprising number of Genevans extended their utter dismay regarding that tactic through private means.

Thanks to the pre-Great Recession Mary Stith led school boards, D304 continues to face a mountain of debt from inexplicably building too many schools. The current board has done a magnificent job of paying down that debt, but those capital expense chickens will continue to come home to roost.

And as sure as McKinley Avenue will be packed at 7:30 every weekday morning, the state will continue to thrust unfunded mandates upon all school districts, older buildings will have to be maintained and updated, and support staff will want raises, too.

I’m not saying Geneva teachers don’t deserve more. In fact, I firmly believe educators should be paid far more than they are now (we’ll get to that). But one has to understand that teachers are but one of a School Board’s many responsibilities.

Considering that fiscal balancing act, to say salary increases won’t eventually affect property taxes is the worst kind of wishful thinking. And trust me, Genevans are all taxed out!

3. We’re all in the same economic boat

One of my favorite Geneva teachers lamented that he and his wife were driving cars with 190,000 miles on them. Welcome to the club! I’m driving a 2001 pickup truck with 130,000 miles and my wife heads to East Aurora every day in a 2008 Honda with 120,000 miles.

A number of those letters to the Board described the burden of student loan debt. I know! We’re paying off my wife’s student loan right now.

Another teacher complained of having to work summer jobs so she and her fiancé could make ends meet. But her base pay is $60,000 which is 15.4 percent more than the average American worker makes. So, that argument certainly won’t gain any traction.

Another common theme was that it’s very expensive to live in Geneva. I know! I live here too! But you all keep reelecting a mayor who never met a tax increase or fee hike he didn’t like. And because they help him campaign, he generally gives the city employee unions everything they want.

Meanwhile, 13 of the 21 Geneva Township precincts went for Governor Rauner who’s as anti-teacher and anti-union as it gets. It would seem that some teachers have no problem voting against their own best interest.

But the bottom line is, we understand because we’re right there with you.

4. The board is not playing games

This is the point that bothers me the most. While I fervently believe some Geneva School Board members have far more merit than others, I’ve never doubted their dedication to the district, their constituents, or D304 teachers.

Serving on a school board is an incredibly difficult and thankless task because you’re dealing with folks’ two most precious commodities – their children and their bank accounts. Not only that but, done correctly, that non-paying gig can quickly turn into a full-time endeavor.

So, when I hear Geneva teachers say the school board is playing games with the union, my sympathy for their cause plummets dramatically. What point would there be to engage in the kind of gamesmanship that would likely result in a strike? No one comes out of that unscathed.

5. Public sentiment is not on your side

Who doesn’t love Geneva teachers? And I’m sure it’s gratifying to see all those supportive signs on front lawns. But as a reasonably successful campaign manager, I tell my candidates that, just because someone says they’re behind you doesn’t mean it’s true.

Voters will tell you what you want to hear just to get rid of you and get back to their lives. But then they tell me how they really feel. And what they’re really thinking right now is teachers deserve some sort of raise, but if they strike, that sympathy will rapidly shift to the school board.

Put more simply, if D304 teachers do walk out, it will take them at least a decade to recover politically. Please understand, I’m simply the messenger and not the message.


So, there will be a part three likely on Monday (11/19). In that installment we’ll cover the real answer to the teacher salary structure conundrum and those usurious student loan payments.

Quick Hits – Anatomy of a Teachers Strike – Part One

Having lived in Geneva for 21 long years, I’ve been more that a bit baffled by the current animosity between the D304 teacher’s union and the School Board. It wasn’t that long ago that the board basically rubber stamped anything the teachers asked for, and suddenly we’re facing a second potential strike in a scant 10 years?


Though you couldn’t have convinced me of this a month ago, as it stands right now, I firmly believe there’s a 50 percent chance our teachers will walk out. And I’m basing that prediction on a lengthy conversation with an insider who expertly explained exactly why we are where we are right now.

I promise I will endeavor to simplify a rather complex situation:

1. Why D304 starting salaries are lower

The last teacher’s contract (2015 – 2018) included an automatic 2.65 percent annual raise for EXISTING teachers. Previous contracts contained similar provisions. So, what this dynamic did was create an expanding chasm between new and current teacher salaries, because starting pay remained virtually unchanged by default.

So, the news reports that made it appear as if the Board made a conscious decision to offer a lower introductory rate were dead wrong.

2. The Board wanted to address the starting salary issue once and for all

Seeing that growing salary schism, and with Springfield constantly mucking up the works, the School Board added a 2015 contract provision that called for the creation of a committee tasked with revamping the remuneration model once and for all. And the teacher’s union agreed to that stipulation.

3. The task force couldn’t come to a consensus

Despite 18 long months of negotiations, the committee, consisting of Geneva Education members (teachers), School Board members, and district administrators, could not come to terms. That meant, per the 2015 contract, the salary structure conundrum was automatically tossed into the new contract negotiations.

So, not only are the board and teacher’s union discussing pay increases, but an entirely new way of doing business. That may well be the definition of a Herculean task.

4. Many D304 teachers want to go back to the old salary/step and lane system

I understand, but that’s not going to happen, because a deal is a deal. When every school district was renegotiating teacher contracts during the Great Recession, the citizens of Geneva and the School Board kept their end of the bargain. And if the teachers are upset with the current reality, they need to take it up with their union reps and not the school board.

5. They’ve been negotiating a new contract since February

If you add 18 months to 9 more, that’s more than two years of salary structure futility, which doesn’t bode well for the future. My 50 percent walkout prediction is derived from combing that impasse with the fact that no teacher really wants to strike.

6. Then Springfield made it much more difficult

In the middle of all of this, the General Assembly changed the rules. That never happens, right? Though, in this particular case, I think they were dead on.

Tired of rampant pension spiking, they passed a statute mandating that, for every dollar a retiring teacher is paid above a 3 percent annual increase, the district would have to send $17 back to the state! It’s not unlike Major League Baseball’s luxury tax which kicks in whenever a team goes over a certain salary level.

For the uninitiated, “pension spiking” is the practice by which a school district might provide as much as a 20 percent salary increase in a teacher’s final year. It was a negotiating ploy that artificially bumped their pension and put the financial burden on the state, and not local taxpayers.

And that three percent baseline includes everything; even stipends for running after school clubs. As you might image, the School Board does not want to pay a “luxury tax” under any circumstances, which further complicates the negotiating process.


Since your brain probably hurts just as much as mine does right now, we’ll continue this conversation tomorrow or Thursday when I’ll explain why the Geneva Education Association is directing their energy and anger at the wrong targets.

Quick Hits – November 12, 2018

I wuz gonna do an analysis to explain how the Kane County and Aurora Democrats are clearly mistaking a tailwind for talent, but even I’m tired of politics, so why don’t we mix it up and do something different! We’ll save the politics for Wednesday.

And women say men don’t listen!

This was the actual running conversation in the Ward household Saturday morning:

Me: Dearest, I’ll take Ben to work this morning because I’m making lasagna tonight and I’ll need to pick up a few things at Meijer.

Her: Oooo! That sounds good.

(15 minutes later)

Her: If I can get ready in time (like that would ever happen) I’ll take Ben to work.

Me: No! I’m taking him to work because I have to pick up a few things at Meijer.

(15 minutes later)

Her: I need to get gas. If I can get ready in time (like that would ever happen), I’ll take Ben to Meijer.

Me: For the third time, I need to pick up stuff for dinner, so unless you want to do the shopping, I need to go to Meijer.

Her: I don’t remember you telling me any of that. But alright. If I can get ready in time (like that would ever happen), I’ll take Ben to Meijer and pick up those items.

Me: Fine! I’ve written down what we need.

(Three minutes later)

Her: I just looked at the clock and there’s no way I’ll be ready in time. You’ll have to take Ben to Meijer.

Me: If your nefarious plan is to drive me so crazy that I have to be institutionalized, it’s working.

It reminds me of the old Billy Preston song, ‘Will it go Round in Circles.” There certainly does seem to be a lot of wasted time here. What is it with women and the squirrel trying to cross Randal Road at rush hour attempts at logic? At this point, I’m looking forward to being institutionalized.

After that conversation, I don’t want to hear another woman complain that men don’t listen – EVER!

Female Logic


You’re supposed to miss the uprights!

This is yet another case of something I thought I’d never have to explain. But Bears’ placekicker Chris Parkey somehow managed to do it four separate times on Sunday. I’ve never seen a kicker hit the uprights twice in a game, much less do it four times.

It got so bad that Bears’ coach Matt Nagy went for a two-point conversion after their final touchdown instead of having to watch Parkey complete the five-peat.

Parkey Upright

As a result of his unerring inaccuracy, I was convinced the Bears would cut him loose this morning. But apparent a four-year contract with $9 million guaranteed means never having to say you’re sorry – or make a field goal – or make and extra point.

So, here’s a thought! In the ‘Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ The late great Douglas Adams explained that humans might fly thusly:

There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day and try it.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it! So, my advice to Mr. Nagy would be to actually aim for the upright because he’d surely miss.


How about respecting the process yourself?

I’m no fan of Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia because he’s not a very good coach and he generally makes up for it by being a bully. A perfect example of his churlishness is chiding a reporter for his poor posture when asked how trading star receiver Golden Tate benefited the team.

Patricia’s Trump press conference playbook response to that inquiry was:

Ah, well, you know. Do me a favor just kinda sit up, just like, have a little respect for the process. Every day you come and ask me questions and you’re just kinda like you know, ‘gimme this.’

So, when did NFL press conferences become black tie affairs? Have any of you actually seen a sportswriter? They’re certainly not known for their snappy attire.


And as far as honoring the process goes, I was rather disappointed with the comportment of the Lions as the Bears handed them their asses in the first half. It started with linebacker Jarrad Davis tackling Mitch Trubisky six years out-of-bounds and ended with a number of beyond absurd pass interference penalties.

Had the Lions maintained their composure, they might’ve able to take advantage of the Bears incessant second half largesse.

Not only that, but regularly having to look at Patricia on the sidelines solicited two recurring thoughts. First, it’s called a razor. I too, have a beard, but I have no idea who decided that the “I clearly no long give a shit about myself” look was cool.

And second, he might want to consider putting the fork down on occasion. When you’re coaching the best athletes on the planet, you might want to set an example. I’m not saying you have to look like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, but you might want to avoid comparisons to Chris Christie.

Don’t worry! Patricia won’t make it through the 2019 season.

Quick Hits – How Illinois Republicans Can Bounce Back!

For reference purposes, my long-time readers know that I’m a moderate Independent. I tend to vote Republican in local races and Democratic in state and federal contests. I’m also a fiscal hawk, but a social liberal. And those same readers understand I consistently hold both liberal and conservative feet to the fire.

As I’m about to embark upon providing a blueprint for how Illinois and Collar County Republicans can recover from Tuesday night’s almost bloodbath, please understand that no partisan bent is involved here. This is simply an analysis that I’d do for the Democratic Party after a hard day, too.

GOP Dead

So, let’s get started:

1. Ditch the social issues

That battle is long over in Illinois and most of the country. Our sons and daughters don’t give a rat’s patootie about their peers’ sexuality. Roe v. Wade will never be overturned, especially in Illinois. Because of the vast revenue it provides, marijuana will become legal in Illinois and every state. It’s time to stop the utterly ineffective War on Drugs and embrace minorities.

The irony is, the GOP is supposed to be the party of less government, but trying to dictate morality is the worst of big government.


2. Stop the candidate purity tests

This is really an extension of the social issue point. Jeanne Ives may passed the “are you a RINO” test, but had she beaten Rauner in the primary, Pritzker would’ve trounced her by 30 points, and not just 15.

When Republican’s hang their hats on candidates who can’t win a general election, year in and year out, it does nothing more than weakens the party, especially in the eyes of young voters. The Illinois and Collar County GOP apparatus has got to start recruiting candidates based on their capacity to win, not their appeal to those true believers.


3. Stop governing by temper tantrum

I’ll say it again! It took 30 years for Speaker Madigan to accrue this kind of power and it’s going to take a lot more than one scant four-year gubernatorial term to loosen his grip. Holding the entire state hostage through an absurdly manufactured budget crisis sealed Governor Rauner’s 2018 fate.

Michael Madigan will be a Springfield reality until they wheel him out of the House on a gurney with that gavel still firmly clutched in his right hand. And even if he wasn’t the 500-pound gorilla in the room, Rome certainly wasn’t built in a day. The only way government ever moves forward is through a series of compromises that eventually lead to a specific goal.

Temper tantrums may elate that rabid base, but they damage the Party in the long run.


4. Stop bitching about him and build a Madigan-esque ground game

This is the most important point. While Democratic gerrymandering provides somewhat of an electoral advantage, it wouldn’t mean a thing without that incomparable Madigan ground game. I am officially retiring from campaign managing with an 85 percent track record, and the only thing that would’ve made me sweat would’ve been to go up against a Madigan backed opponent.

Illinois Republicans are certainly willing to pay lip service to Darth Madigan, but they aren’t willing to do the real work. Yes! Building a countywide candidate’s ground game was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done, and it’s exponentially worse at the state level, but that’s the only way you beat the Speaker.

Madigan has approached the process like he’s running a baseball farm system. He brings campaign managers up through the ranks, starting with the easier races, and they’re expected to follow a very specific template. So, when he finally does leaves office, that ground game will still be knocking off Republicans.


5. Stop excoriating teachers

It certainly didn’t work out too well for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, now, did it?

For purposes of full disclosure, my wife is a teacher, but I’ve been baffled the consistent GOP/conservative attacks on educators long before my wife became one. Considering the amount of education required, most don’t make much money, Illinois teachers put more into their pension funds than any other union, and most of you wouldn’t last a week at that gig.

When discussing the Tuesday night debacle with a high-ranking Kane County Republican, he lamented that young voters, who showed up in droves, blindly followed in the footsteps of their liberal teachers.

My lightning fast response was, “Are you surprised?” If I had to face years of Republican animosity you better believe I’d convince my young charges to vote Democratic. It’s like what I say to my 40 lb. Australian cattle dog when she tries to take on a 110-pound German Shepherd, “You need to choose your battles a lot more wisely.”

It’s having a deleterious effect on the profession, too. When my wife was hired by the East Aurora School District in 2013, there was stiff competition for each job. Now D131 can’t hire enough teachers because there aren’t enough of them out there.


6. Stop worrying about old white men and start worrying about young voters

Considering those mid-term election results, I don’t think I need to make this point, but let’s cover it just to be safe.

I understand that being “primaried” is a real Republican concern right now, and primary voters tend to demand purity, but who’s fault is that? The GOP created that monster by embracing the Tea Party and now those chickens have come home to roost.

With their old white male base rapidly dying off, if Republicans don’t make some sort of shift towards younger voters, the Party will die off, too.

Some liberal ideas are worth embracing. Not all liberalism is bad. Not all Democrats are looking for a handout. Despite being a fiscal hawk, I’d gladly accept a tax increase to make junior college tuition free. It will pay off exponentially down the line. Again, drop the social issues. Jail doesn’t work. It’s nothing more than a ridiculously expensive means of creating better criminals. Embrace minorities. Legalizing marijuana is an inevitability, so why fight it?


7. Embrace Hispanic voters

That Republican icon, Ronald Reagan, said it back in 1980, “Latinos are really Republicans, they just don’t know it yet.” He received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote and George H. W. Bush got a record 44 percent. But today’s Republicans are all too willing to follow in President Trump’s “Mexicans are all rapists and murderers” footsteps.

Having run, or been a part of, six campaigns involving Aurora, I can tell you, without hesitation, that Hispanics are conservative. They go to church, they have two or three jobs, the legal ones don’t like the illegal ones, and they believe in family.

But if Republicans keep making brown-skinned folks their boogeyman, those voters will be lost forever. The fact that Hispanics will become the U.S. majority in 2044 should truly terrify the Party of Lincoln.


8. Reasonably repudiate Trumpism

Staying silent in the face of his raging bigotry, sexism and general bullying isn’t good enough. The proof in the Jello pudding is the number of millennials that turned out on Tuesday. And the only reason they voted was to send a message to the President.

Like I said on Wednesday, if Republicans don’t take back their party, and do it soon, Trump’s ridiculous rhetoric will continue to mortgage its future to the point where the GOP will go the way of the Whigs.


So, there you have it. My eight-point plan to restore the Republican Part to a reasonable facsimile of what it was when I was growing up. But before my liberal friends accuse me of being a traitor, please remember, they’ll never listen to the likes of me!


Quick Hits Supplemental – Now We’re Running Down Candidates?

Apparently unhappy with last night’s election results, Schaumburg Township Republican precinct committeeman, Mark Cramer, drove over to 44th District State Rep Fred Crespo’s victory party at Garsillo’s Italian Bar and Grill on Golf Road in Hoffman Estates, waited for him in the parking lot, and, when he appeared, purposely ran him down with his vehicle.


Fred Crespo

Thankfully, Crespo suffered only minor injuries, and after pressing charges, he continued on to enjoy the evening’s festivities.

Is this really what we’ve come to? Some of last night’s election results really flummoxed me, but I never once considered running someone over with my Ford Ranger because of them. And whatever charge Mr. Cramer will soon be facing certainly won’t be small potatoes.

And BTW, my source for this story was a staunch Republican elected official who’s bothered by this scenario as much or even more than I am.

C’mon people! Let’s all take a step back, a deep breath, and remember that the political pendulum never stays in one place for too long.


11/8/28 Update! Sources are now telling me that Cramer merely “bumped” Crespo while shouting “Fuck you Fred Crespo,” and this somehow happened right in front of the Hoffman Estates Police Department.

Also, I’ve learned that Mark Cramer hasn’t been a Schaumburg precinct committeeman since January of 2018. I appreciate the folks that corrected me.

I have passed the story along to the Daily Herald who are much more suited to cover this kind of simple story than I am.

Quick Hits – Mid-Term Election Wrap Up

It was, indeed, a bad day for Republicans. Millennials voted, and they voted Democratic. It wasn’t exactly a blue wave, it was more like a blue tornado that levels one house but leaves the neighbor’s intact. Donald Trump is clearly mortgaging the GOP future for his personal gain and if local Republicans can’t come up with a way to address that anger and take back their party, the Collar Counties may turn bright blue as soon as 2020.

Election Results

As I suspected, there were plenty of surprises. So, let’s review:

1. Governor

J. B. Pritzker didn’t beat the spread, but a 15-point margin of victory is nothing to sneeze at. He so handily trounced Bruce Rauner that the governor was the first candidate to concede yesterday evening. Given that he doesn’t need the gig, let’s hope Pritzker exerts the kind of Madigan independence that may just get Illinois back on track.

2. Attorney General

Erika Harold did a little better than I thought she would, but her political career is over. Kwame Raoul won by 11 points and he will be our Attorney General as long as he wants to be.

3. Secretary of State

To absolutely no one’s surprise, it was Jesse White by a landslide.

4. Comptroller

As predicted, Susana Mendoza won by 22 points. The question is, will she parlay that success into a Chicago mayoral run.

5. Treasurer

While not quite the 20-point margin I predicted, Michael Frerichs did win a second term by 18 points. My guess is he will aim for something greater in 2022, but with Pritzker in that Springfield mansion, it won’t be governor as I once suspected.

6. 6th Congressional District

Sean Casten beat Peter Roskam by 5 points, so I was pretty much dead on on that one.

7. 8th Congressional District

As expected, Raja Krishnamoorthi destroyed his opponent by 31 points.

8. 11th Congressional District

Bill Foster didn’t do as well as I thought he would, but a 17-point victory is nothing to sneeze at, either.

9. 14th Congressional District

I adjusted my prediction on this race and Lauren Underwood did, indeed, win by 4 points. She also adjusted her messaging in the end, but make no mistake, she didn’t win this one, Randy Hultgren lost it by running one of the worst campaigns I’ve ever seen.

10. State Senate District 33

Don DeWitte won, but not by the 15 points I forecasted. And the fact that he prevailed by a scant 3 points in a district drawn for Republicans should have the Kane County GOP shaking in their shoes.

11. State Rep District 43

Anna Moeller destroyed Andrew Cuming by 40 points. Like I said, ain’t no Republican ever gonna win the 43rd.

12. State Rep District 49

For me, this was the biggest surprise of the night. Not only did Karina Villa win, but she beat Tonia Khouri by 7 points! Millennials clearly put Villa over the top. This is the first race I got wrong!

13. State Rep 50

Incumbent Keith Wheeler was one of the few candidates who seemed immune to the blue tornado. He didn’t quite win by 15 points, but, all things considered, his 11-point midterm victory certainly says something. Jim Leslie’s consistently negative campaign didn’t help him at all.

14. State Rep 65

Again, Dan Ugaste won, but by a mere 5 points in a district drawn for Republicans. This is another race that does not bode well for the Illinois GOP’s 2020 hopes.

15. 16th Circuit Judge

This is the second race I erred on and it’s a complete and utter travesty. Mike Noland beat Tom Hartwell by just 2 points and he will be a complete nightmare on the bench. My only solace is he will inevitably do something that will catch the eye of the Judicial Inquiry Board.

16. County Clerk

Jack Cunningham did beat Nico Jimenez, but only by 3 points. It certainly looks like the next County Clerk will be a Democrat.

17. Sheriff

I said Ron Hain would win if young voters voted and that’s exactly what happened. He beat Don Kramer by 6 points, too! Ron will be a great Sheriff.

18. County Treasurer

Though he didn’t campaign in his typical balls to the wall style, Dave Rickert did pull it off by 6 points. But the fact that his opponent didn’t noticeably campaign means our next treasurer will probably be a Democrat.


And now for the Kane County Board Races:

District 2 – Anita Lewis destroyed her Independent opponent by 2 to 1

District 5 – Bill Lenert sailed to an expected 12-point victory

District 11 – John Martin won quite handily, but not by the landslide I predicted

District 13 – Steve Weber squeaked by Lark Cowart by a scant 1.5 points.

District 15 – Barb Wojnicki trounced Lucas Strom

District 19 – Kurt Kojzarek lost to Mo Iqbal. This was another big surprise, but, in the end, he could beat those changing 19th  district demographics.

District 21 – Cliff Surges by 1.5 points

District 23 – Jim Patrician did not win! It was Christopher Kious by 1.5 points


I suppose I really can’t complain about going 22 and 4 because it means my 85 percent prediction track record is still intact. But it’s really to depressing to see Kurt Kojzarek be replaced by a terrible candidate and Mike Noland in the black robe completely sucks.

Beyond that, I gotta tell ya, if I’m a Collar County Republican regular or candidate, unless they make a real effort to denounce Donald Trump and appeal to younger voters, 2020 is gonna make these midterms look like a walk in the park.

The Illinois voters’ November 6, 2018 message was abundantly clear.

Quick Hits – The First Ward Midterm Predictions – Mild Revisions

I’m generally standing by last week’s electoral prognostications and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing scurrilous Kane County Auditor Terry Hunt’s gleaming visage adorned in a White Sox cap after I prove to be dead on in the governor, attorney general and 6th district congressional races.

But as I like to say, “When the evidence changes, my mind changes,” and a late Sienna College /New York Times poll has Lauren Underwood pulling away from 14th congressional district incumbent Randy Hultgren. And the Sienna/Times polls are always among the most accurate.

Hultgren Underwood

Not only that, but Hultgren’s last-minute attack ad questioning Underwood’s nursing credentials is beyond absurd and it’s bound to backfire with the swing voters that could cost Hultgren the race.

Since Mr. Hultgren brought up the whole morality thing, has anyone noticed his wife follows him everywhere he goes and she never looks very happy about it? Trust me! Her ubiquitous presence has nothing to do with love and devotion or the fact she can’t live without him.

Meanwhile, I believe that Underwood’s more positive recent mailers are the reason she’s pulling away. She’s finally appealing to swing voters.

The bottom line? Despite running a horrific campaign with horrific signs, I’m now forecasting Underwood will win by 5 points.

It would also appear that young and new voters are, indeed, casting mid-term ballots which means I’m leaning towards my previous “if young and new voters vote” qualifications in those original prophecies.

Put more simply, I think this is gonna be a really bad night for statewide and federal Republicans.