Sam McCann

J.B. Pritzker
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As of Monday, there are 50 days until Election Day. And in the race for Illinois governor, debate season is finally getting underway.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A new poll shows J.B. Pritzker leading Bruce Rauner in the Illinois gubernatorial race.  Also, there is uncertainty over the future of the Southern Illinois University system.  WSIU Public Radio's Jennifer Fuller joins the panel.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, political rhetoric at the Illinois State Fair.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Republicans held their annual rally at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield Wednesday with a message of party unity.  Bruce Rauner still holds the top office in state government. But as he pushes for re-election, he’s trying to appease conservatives who feel betrayed and whose support he needs to win a second term.   

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Freshman Rep. Nick Sauer, a Republican from Lake Barrington, resigned after being accused of posting a former girlfriend's nude photos online without her consent.

Meanwhile, Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers endorsed two candidates for Illinois governor: Democratic nominee J.B. Pritzker and Conservative Party candidate Sam McCann, a state senator from Plainview who until recently was a member of the Republican Party.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner boards a city bus for an apology tour of Illinois’ flagship college towns. Illinois Nazis are back in the news. And it’s official — there will be at least four party-affiliated candidates on the ballot for governor this fall.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The U.S. Supreme Court handed a victory to Governor Bruce Rauner in its ruling on the Janus v. AFSCME case.  Also, the Gubernatorial race gained more candidates with this week's filings by independent parties.  The State Journal-Register's Bernie Schoenburg joins the panel.

Jaclyn Driscoll / NPR Illinois

Downstate Senator Sam McCann filed petition signatures on Monday to get on the fall ballot. Back in April he announced a run for governor for the newly created Conservative Party. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

House Speaker Michael Madigan was re-elected to another term as chairman of the Democratic Party of Illinois. Meanwhile, gun owners marched on the Capitol, Gov. Bruce Rauner returned from his European trade mission, and a new report looks at the crushing late fees run up during the budget stalemate.

Another candidate is complicating Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s reelection campaign. State Sen. Sam McCann (R-Plainview) announced a third-party bid for the state’s top office on Thursday. 

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Nearly 90,000 students in schools across Illinois do not have access to high-speed internet, preventing them from participating in modern classroom activities like taking online tests or classes and browsing the internet.

Legislation announced Wednesday would set aside $16.3 million to help fund the installation of fiberoptic cables for high-speed internet in about 100 districts. The one-time state payment could be matched with roughly $47 million in federal funds.

ilga.gov

Governor Bruce Rauner just ended a week-long stay at the Illinois Veteran’s Home in Quincy, the facility where 13 people have died from Legionnaires' Disease since 2015.

Sam McCann headshot
Illinois General Assembley

A Republican state senator who had a high profile disagreement with Governor Bruce Rauner says he won’t run for re-election.  Senator Sam McCann of Plainview would have faced his second opponent backed by the governor.   

Daisy Contreras/NPRIllinois

The faculty union on the University of Illinois Springfield campus took another membership vote this week. And according to the union, the results were in favor of continuing the work stoppage. 

Grand Bargain GOP
senators via ILGA.gov / Rauner by Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Ten Republican senators voted for at least one bill in the grand bargain. We asked all of them about Gov. Bruce Rauner's role in stopping them from going further.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

  A state senator who staved off a primary fight is now also free from a complaint that he misused campaign contributions but perhaps he’s not free for long. 

Members of the same political parties generally stick up for each other, like family. Not so for GOP Senator Sam McCann. He was challenged in the primary by a candidate, state trooper Bryce Benton, well-financed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

AFSCME Council 31

A dispute involving labor and a majority of lawmakers on one side, and Gov. Bruce Rauner on the other, is playing on repeat. On Monday, Rauner vetoed legislation backed by AFSCME for the second time in a year.

The legislation may sound innocuous to those not directly impacted.

It would send contract disputes (like one that's going on now) between the Illinois's largest public employees union and the state, to a binding arbitrator, who is supposed to be neutral.

But to Rauner it's "stunning, its atrocious legislation."

ICPR website

The state of Illinois may be running a deficit, but many of its leaders' campaign accounts are flush.

The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform tracks their spending, and has ideas on how to improve the system.

For this episode of The Players, your look into who's who in Illinois government and politics and waht they're up to, Statehouse Bureau Chief Amanda Vinicky talked about campaign finance and spending on the 2016 primary with ICPR's Director, Sarah Brune.

Amanda Vinicky

Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history, but it will remain a mystery where all of the money to fund them came from. That does not appear to concern Gov.Bruce Rauner.

Creative Commons via Flickr.com/rustypenny

In the March 17 issue of Illinois Times, Springfield’s alt-weekly newspaper, Bruce Rushton looks at how some state lawmakers are spending money they'd collected to fund their political campaigns.

Searching through public documents, he found thousands of dollars spent at the Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands, maintenance on luxury automobiles, and a purchase at a men’s clothing store — that last one was classified as “work attire.”

Hillary Clinton eked out a win in the state where she was born and raised, Donald Trump prevailed despite lackluster support from most of the state's GOP leaders, voters finalized who'll compete to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate, and a couple dozen state legislative contests were decided Tuesday night in Illinois' primary election.

Macon County

Illinois' primary contest is rapidly approaching, which is why NPR Illinois is bringing you this Illinois Edition pre-primary special (which aired Wed., March 9). 

This election cycle is wild, and not just at the top of the ticket --- though Illinois has already seen presidential candidates including Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and Republicans Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump stop by.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has already, presumably, cast his vote for one of the remaining Republicans --- he early voted in Arlington Heights a weekend in early March.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spent his Sunday trying to give a boost to a central Illinois Republican candidate for state senate. The race is seen as a key test of Rauner's own agenda, and power within his party.

Gov. Rauner stopped by a table of folks waiting for pancakes at Charlie Parker's diner in Springfield.

He gestured to the man by his side -- Bryce Benton. He's a state trooper, and homeland security officer, Rauner told them. Vote for him on Tuesday.

"I need him in the legislature to help me battle Madigan. So. Bryce Benton for State Senate," Rauner said.

A Republican state legislative race in west-central Illinois has become a test of Governor Bruce Rauner's reach.

Back in August, the Illinois Senate took a vote on legislation Gov. Rauner called the worst he'd ever seen. The union-backed bill would allow state labor contract disputes to go to arbitration. Sen. Sam McCann was the only Republican to vote in favor of it.

He says that's the reason he's facing a primary. And not just any primary -- political action committees with ties to Rauner have spent some $2.5 million dollars against McCann.

flickr/ Zoe Hoornaert

A couple of legislative primary races are serving as stand-ins for the political struggle between the governor and Democratic leaders. 

Barack Obama outside the Old State Capitol
Pool photo by Justin L. Fowler / The State Journal-Register

On a freezing February day in 2007, President Barack Obama announced his bid for the nation's highest office in front of the Old State Capitol in downtown Springfield -- the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his historic "House Divided" speech. At the time, Obama called for hope and change.

Nine years later -- to the very day -- Obama came back to Springfield. In his last year as president, he says he believes in the "politics of hope."

The themes of Obama's speech yesterday echoed what he'd said nine years ago, back when his hair hadn't yet gone gray.

Amanda Vinicky

Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday rebuked Governor Bruce Rauner in his labor negotiations with the state's biggest government-employee union.

After months of negotiations have failed to reach an agreement, unions want legislation that would let an arbitrator resolve intractable disputes.

Rauner vetoed it, saying it would tie his hands. He also promised not to lock workers out.

But Sen. Don Harmon, a Democrat from Oak Park, says the real fear is that Rauner will demand workers accept "completely unreasonable" terms.

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