Girl, I Guess:
Para una versión en Español presione aquí: http://bit.ly/GirlIGuess2020esp
Pucinski — NO
Rochford — SUPER NO
Toomin — ULTIMATE NO
Flannery — NO
Coghlan — NO
Sutker-Dermer — NO
Martin — YES
Wadas — SUPER NO
Wojkowski — SUPER NO
Gordon — YES
Nixon — YES
Brennan — NO
Brosnahan — NO
Felice — SUPER NO
Kennedy — SUPER NO
Lewis — NO
Sullivan — SUPER NO
Vega — NO
Hyman — YES
Powell — NO
Sherlock — NO
Kirby — YES
Arce — NO
O'Hara — NO
Araujo — SUPER NO
Byrne — SUPER NO
Collins-Dole — YES
Cooper — YES
Demacopolous — BIG NO
Kenworthy — YES
Loza — NO
Portman-Brown —BIG NO
Ross — YES
Ryan — YES
Walker — YES
Walowski — NO
Kyriakopolous — NO
Moreland — NO
Carroll — NO
Cobbs — YES
Kubasiak — SUPER NO
Buford — YES
Meyerson — YES
Lawler — YES
Allegretti — NO
Rivers — NO
Watkins — YES
Romanek — YES
Raines — NO
Rice — NO
Coughlin — NO
Curry — SUPER NO
Goldish — SUPER NO
Hansen — NO
Kuzas — SUPER NO
Mahoney — SUPER NO
Martinez — YES
McGuire — YES
Mitchell — YES
Pieczonka — NO
Rosario — SUPER NO
Sheahan — YES
Like your favorite aunt who fled the country in 2016 but still visits for Passover and Hanukkah, Girl, I Guess is BACK!! After the March primaries produced some big, disappointing losses, and also some pretty cool wins, Cook County’s favorite voter guide is ready to lead us into disappointment once again. Written and edited during the Jewish High Holy Days, the sixth distinct iteration of the Girl, I Guess Progressive Voter Guide promises to be the most bitter, snarky, and sincerely useful edition yet! Steph is again writing the Guide solo, and likes to think she’s got it down to a science by now. So much of a science, in fact, that following this section, she’ll stop talking about herself in the third person for good. Let’s dive right in!
Stephanie Skora is a grouchy trans dyke, and an anarchist with a political science degree. She is one half of the podcast TacoBagel, the Associate Executive Director at Brave Space Alliance, a member of the Coordinating Committee for Jewish Voice for Peace - Chicago, and a founding organizer of the Trans Liberation Collective.
Girl, I Guess is Jewish, queer, nerdy and dedicated to helping members of our community navigate a confusing ballot and identify the most progressive candidates. I also recommend you consult with progressive / radical organizers in your community, especially queer, trans, Black, and Brown folks because this guide is currently an individual effort, and I might be a Virgo smartypants know-it-all with a lot of opinions, but I’m far from infallible!
Putting together this voter guide is an act of love, but it is a lot of work! If you’d like to support Girl, I Guess, my PayPal link can be found here! If you don’t have PayPal, but still want to donate, you can support by donating through my Venmo account, @StephanieSkora, or my CashApp, $StephanieSkora.
To support those fighting for Black liberation and the overthrow of fascism, and in recognition that voting won’t save us, 50% of the aggregate donations from this edition of Girl, I Guess will be donated to Brave Space Alliance, and Black Lives Matter - Chicago.
*This guide does not represent the political views of my organizations or employer!! Brave Space Alliance is a 501c3 organization, and does not contribute to, or have anything to do with, the writing of this document, or any endorsements, opinions, or content herein!
“And Aaron said unto Moses, ‘Didn’t we pass that sand dune last week?’ to which Moses did proclaim, ‘Aaron, I have been chosen to lead our people out of bondage, and to the Promised Land. I know where I’m going, and no, I won’t stop and ask for directions.’”
Far too often, elections feel a bit like wandering for forty years in the desert. Dear reader, “why bother” has never felt more like a valid question. Our world is literally on fire, there’s a rebellion going on, fascism is ascendant, and COVID-19 has caused the QuaranTimes. There’s a very real possibility that there could be a civil war in the near future, and as I wrote this section, I got the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died, prompting the question, “Why is it never Henry Kissinger that dies?” Whoever is re-writing “We Didn’t Start The Fire,” they can stop now. What a world we live in. And yet, that world will go on, or at least attempt to, and since this is an even-numbered year in the United States, that means we’ve got a General Election on our hands! We know that voting won’t save us, and it won’t even come close. Once again, we’re being asked to choose between a Democrat of Questionable Repute, and a Republican doing their best Nazi impression (and sometimes, for levity, a weird Libertarian, or an old White Green Party guy). I, however, am holding fast to the idea that voting is incredibly important, for three main reasons:
But, dear reader, I’m going to level with you. If voting is where your participation stops and starts in our political process, you’re not doing anywhere near enough. There are significant, structural, deep-seated problems facing our country right now, and there have been for a long time (read as: since it began). We all need to do as much as we possibly can to dismantle the evils of this country, including White Supremacy, colonialism, eugenics, transphobia, antisemitism, imperialism… you name it. Reading this Guide and voting is the participation trophy of political engagement. It’s the absolute bare minimum that you can, and should do, but afterwards, you need to take to the streets. This country needs a militant, focused, Leftist uprising to fight back against the militant, focused, fascist uprising that’s already happening. We cannot, and will not, vote our way out of this mess, it just isn’t possible. Yes, voting is still incredibly important on the State and local level, and yes, while you’re in there you may as well vote for Federal offices, too, but we have to fight the fuck back. If you don’t know where to start, there are a million places that you can look, and start, and I guarantee you know one if you’ve been paying a lick of attention since March. We need a revolution, and we need you to be part of it. Trust me when I say the right-wingers already have all the people they need.
Elected officials who read this Guide, first of all, hi! Thanks! If you want to contact me about something in here, please do it yourself, and don’t have your Comms person or Chief of Staff do it, because I don’t know their name, but I do know yours, and I’m more likely to click on your email or DM right away. Second of all, we need your help to be able to have this revolution, and to win. Please keep helping us deal with the impacts of COVID-19, and please use every single bit of your remaining energy to do the one thing people have been calling for since the beginning of the uprisings, and for years before: defund, disarm, and abolish the police. Vote no on every single budget, funding package, proposal, and appropriation that doesn’t strip funding from a police department, jail, sheriff, prison, or surveillance agency. I hope you’d do this because it’s the right thing to do, and because it will do the most good for the most people, but just in case you’re worried about being able to get re-elected… I’ve got your back. If you take this stand for your community, and you’re successful in helping the community abolish the worst perpetrators of structural, White Supremacist violence in our society right now, your constituents will notice, and will keep voting for you. We need people in positions of power to stand up with us, and aid in the fight for our freedom, and buddy, you’ve got that power.
Fellow Leftists who read this Guide… oy. Thanks for sticking through this with me. It ain’t easy being an anarchist whose most successful piece of public education and engagement is a Google Doc encouraging people to vote, lemme tell you. I have one ask for us, too: we need to be nicer to each other, and we need to take better care of ourselves. I know, I know, the real Leftism is the infighting that we did along the way, but all around me, I’m watching my friends, and the people that I love, grow tired, angry, bitter, and jaded. We’ve got a whole hell of a lot of reasons to be all of those things, but we’re experiencing a ton of burnout, and the fear that we all live in of being “cancelled” or “called out” or whatever is killing us. Literally. Within the last few months, I’ve seen relationships destroyed, and organizations decimated because we demanded perfection from each other. Nobody is perfect, and we all have different stories, strategies, and realities. Yes, harm committed needs to be addressed and remedied, but we’re more than capable of doing that with compassion for ourselves, and our communities. I want to see us win, but I also want to see as many of us as possible make it to the other side of the revolution with our community relationships intact. That’s all. I love you, I love us, let’s do this shit together.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I encourage you to vote by mail!! It’s easy!! In Illinois, any registered voter can request a mail-in ballot before October 29th. Just click the link for Chicago, the suburbs, or the rest of the state, follow the instructions, and a ballot should be sent to your home to fill out! Once it arrives, follow the instructions, fill out your ballot, and throw it in the mail (with appropriate postage!). If you really want to make sure your ballot counts, you can drop it off at an Early Voting location, where secure drop boxes for ballots will be provided.
And listen up, IT IS NOT TOO LATE TO REGISTER TO VOTE. The online voter registration deadline is October 18th!! If you plan to vote in person, you can register when you show up to vote on election day! Or at any of the early voting places! Just bring two pieces of ID one of which provides proof of address (e.g., pay stub, utility bill). You don’t need to have an Illinois ID! It’s easy, I promise! If you’re not sure what kinds of ID to bring, check out the Chicago Board of Elections site.
If you're planning on voting, MAKE A PLAN TO VOTE! For those of y'all who want to vote early, check here for early voting locations. If you want to vote on the day of the election, check here to look up your polling place.
Most importantly, remember that, if you’re privileged with access, VOTING IS YOUR RIGHT! Sometimes, nefarious foolery on the part of some campaigns, or political parties, interfere with that right. If that happens, call Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE! They’re a toll-free hotline staffed by nonpartisan legal volunteers who can help you on the spot. Election Protection is the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition whose local efforts are led by Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.
Non-English speakers can use the following hotlines:
Voting in the General Election in Cook County can be pretty wacky. And by “wacky,” I mean “really super boring”. Most races on the ballot will be uncontested, because nobody even bothers to run against the Democrat, or will be hilariously uncompetitive (See: Durbin, Dick). There are also a couple races that I’m not covering just because I find all of the candidates gross, like the Cook County Board of Review election. Additionally, because Illinois holds our elections for Statewide offices like Governor, and Attorney General in Congressional General Election years, this year is a bit light on Big, Sexy Races. Whereas the Primary Election edition of Girl, I Guess provides a thorough read on all candidates running for the Democratic nomination, and tries to parse out which one is the most progressive choice, that’s not needed in the General, as the choice is usually pretty clear.
Because of this, I won’t be doing the standard fare of covering every single thing on the ballot, and will instead be covering only the races that I see as most important, those where I can make the most impact, the really confusing ones, and the odd race that’s funny enough to merit a look. It’s 2020, y’all, let’s take the laughs where we can get them.
As always, candidates in bold are the ones that receive the disgruntled shrug of a Girl, I Guess endorsement. BUT!! Starting this election, I’m adding an additional aspect to my endorsement process!! It’s new!! It’s exciting!! Genders and gentlequeers, I present to you...
For the 2020 General Election, I’m incorporating a second level of endorsement to Girl, I Guess! In elections past, having your name listed in bold in the TL;DR could mean that I really loved you, and thought you were the best candidate in the whole world. The cream of the crop. The bee’s knees. The lox on my electoral bagel. Or it could mean that you were a smarmy fuck who was slightly less horrid and/or unqualified than the other people running for that office, and your politics were just barely on the acceptable side of a moldy pair of shorts, so I threw my hands up and endorsed you because I had to choose somebody. In the Municipal Election, Ellen and I had a Green/Yellow/Red system for endorsements, where a Green endorsement meant true, full support for the candidate, or someone who was SIGNIFICANTLY better than their opponents, and I thought our friends in the world of No Runoff Elections deserve something similar.
I wanted to have a kind of endorsement that would make it clear to the readers who only skim the TL;DR section that not all “Girl, I Guess”es are created equal, and also something that sounded equal parts fancy and nihilistic. Thus, the Powerpuff Girls Golden Shrug endorsements were born! A small number of candidates (or, in this election’s case, ballot measures) will appear with a ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ next to their name in the TL;DR section, and the text GOLDEN SHRUG next to their candidate listing in the coverage of their race, and will also be sent a Lo-Fi, On-Brand, Girl, I Guess endorsement graphic for their campaign social media and website. A Golden Shrug means that this is a candidate that I am/would be personally proud to vote for, or whose election I think is especially important. Occasionally, I will cover a race that is uncompetitive or uncontested so that I can give someone a Golden Shrug. Also, if you are a cishet White guy, you’re not getting a Golden Shrug, no matter how much I like you. I’m a dyke, so them’s the rules.
The Girl, I Guess 2020 General Election Golden Shrug Recipients are:
I recommend that you use this guide as a companion to BallotReady. If you don’t know, BallotReady is a website that will help you fill in your full ballot. Based on your address, they’ll provide you with a tailored ballot with all your unique districts. They’ll allow you to “add” your preferred candidates to your ballot, which you can then print out to take into the voting booth.
The table of contents above will help you navigate this guide and find the info you need. It also has the TL;DR on candidates Girl, I Guess recommends. But I do recommend reading the why behind those candidates if you have the time.
If you think I’ve gotten any non-Presidential endorsements wrong, please let me know on Facebook or via email and tell me why you think voting for another candidate is a stronger progressive strategy. Girl, I Guess is a living doc and you may notice changes being made from time to time!
Explanation of Amendment:
The proposed amendment grants the State authority to impose higher income tax rates on higher income levels, which is how the federal government and a majority of other states do it. The amendment would remove the portion of the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution that is sometimes referred to as the "flat tax," that requires all taxes on income to be at the same rate. The amendment does not itself change tax rates. It gives the State the ability to impose higher tax rates on those with higher income levels and lower income tax rates on those with middle or lower income levels. You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become a part of the Illinois Constitution. For the proposed amendment of Section 3 of Article IX of the Illinois Constitution.
Holy shit this is important, y’all. This is arguably THE single most important item on the ballot in Illinois this election. We’re being asked to approve an amendment to the Illinois State Constitution, which means that there are some interesting election logistics in play.
State Constitutional Amendments have weird rules, and there are actually two ways to pass them in Illinois. The Amendment needs either a 3/5 approval rate to pass, of the voters casting a vote on the question, or a majority of voters casting a ballot in the election overall. This means that it needs 60% of the vote, or a 50% +1 margin of all people voting in the State regardless of whether or not they vote on the Amendment at all.
Yes, you read that correctly. If someone casts a ballot in the election, even if they voted on every single other race, but didn’t vote on the Fair Tax, that could effectively count as a “No” vote on the Amendment. You really really really need to vote on this question, even if it’s the only thing you vote for. Even if you hate voting, and are diametrically opposed to participating in the electoral process (in which case, thanks for enjoying the Guide enough to make it this far), you should cast a ballot just to give us the ability to tax the shit out of billionaires. It’s that important. If you wanna eat the rich, and help the State actually have a progressive tax rate, instead of one that sounds like some shit Rand Paul masturbates to while thanking God that the Mirror Universe incarnation of Yertle the Turtle exists, stopping him from being the most hated person in Kentucky, VOTE ON THIS QUESTION.
Who even knows anymore. Try to prevent a Civil War, stop us from dying of COVID-19, and to bring us pictures of Spiderman.
“Oh No” Joe Biden & Kamala “The Cop” Harris (D)
Orange Man Bad and the Orange Man Band ft. Malevolent Mike (R) incumbent
Howie Hawkins & Angela Walker (Green Party)
Gloria La Riva & Sunil Freeman (Pumpkin Spice Latte Party for Socialism and Liberation)
Brian Carroll & Amar Patel (American Solidarity Party, State of Confusion)
Jo Jorgensen & Spike Cohen (Libertarian Party, Silly Name Caucus)
Please allow my friend, Homer Simpson, to illustrate my most accurate feelings about this race:
Now that we’ve got that out of the way. I’ll be covering the worst choices before we get to the three tickets I actually know people are voting for in my communities.
Donald Trump is Donald Trump, and Mike Pence is Mike Pence. I could make a joke about them, but honestly, they kinda stopped being funny a long time ago.
The American Solidarity Party is a deeply confused Christian party focused on pro-life values, with a platform of environmentalism, social justice, and a Libertarian view of the role of government… and is also anti-gay? Like I said, confused. The Party seems dedicated to throwing its own VP nominee completely under the bus, because Amar Patel doesn’t even show up on the ASP website, and I had to find information on him from a blog called, and I am not making this up, Third Party Second Bananas. Apparently he and his wife live in the suburbs, so congrats Cook County! The real treat here is ASP Presidential candidate, and gay lovechild of Foghorn Leghorn and C. Everett Koop, Brian Carroll. Not because of his policies, but because of his face. Just… *chef’s kiss*. Foghorn must be devastated that his son is running on an anti-gay platform, I say I say.
Jo Jorgensen, best known for her former candidacy as the Libertarian Party VP in 1996, is a slightly more dignified figure (so far) than 2016 Chicago Tribune Endorsee Gary Johnson, and that’s about all I’ve got to say about the Libertarians. Except. Spike Cohen, this poor man. He sounds like a Christian writer’s room tried to design a Jewish comic book superhero’s secret identity, and is this year’s Girl, I Guess inductee to the Silly Name Caucus, after 2018 brought us luminaries such as Greyson Kash Jackson (AKA Benjamin Adam Winderweedle). He was the designated running mate of boot-hat purist Vermin Supreme (remember him??), but Cohen won the VP balloting, because the Libertarians, true to their Wacky Ways, have separate balloting for the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates… to be honest, not the worst idea in the world. Otherwise, the Libertarians this year seem mostly dedicated to pursuing their increasingly sad, but very correct, campaign for Presidential Debate access, which really shouldn’t be as huge of a problem as it is. Just let the third parties debate already. Jorgensen’s isolationist foreign policy is straight out of the beginning of last century, and her other policies are Pure Libertarian: Small on Spending, Smaller on Government, Big on Freedom™.
Now, onto the Greens, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and the Democrats.
I really kinda feel bad for the Greens at this point… they’re clearly skimming the back of their bench, and wholly committed to their model of running relatively identical Elderly White Loonies for President, and consistently cool Black folks (Angela Walker this year, a Black socialist and former abolitionist candidate for Milwaukee Sheriff, HINT HINT COOK COUNTY) for VP. Maybe… you know… they should switch the order up. Maybe just once. Just to try it. See how it goes. They couldn’t possibly do any worse. But for now, they've trotted out Green Party USA co-founder, and multi-time failed candidate Howie Hawkins to do what only an Old Cishet White Man can: lose just as badly as Jill Stein, but without the misogyny. The Greens' candidate lineup in Illinois looks a bit like a roster card for the defending champions of a shuffleboard tournament, and… come on y'all. The Green Party platform is solid, as always, including decriminalizing sex work, Reparations for Black folks, honoring treaties with Indigenous nations, a $20 minimum wage, a Federal job guarantee, DC Statehood, universal healthcare, and more. They just have no idea how to sell their ideas, and don’t really have credibility other than as the Blame Third Parties For Things That Aren’t Their Fault people.
Gloria La Riva has been running to be either President or Vice President for 36 years. Yes, really. She has also run multiple times for Governor of California, US Congress, and once for Mayor of San Francisco. La Riva has never received 75,000 votes in any of those elections. She is a lifelong activist for a variety of causes, all surrounding the priorities of the Party, and pro-labor, anti-imperialist causes. The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s platform is essentially what it says it is: a revolutionary socialist platform, focused on socialist reorganization of society, Reparations for the descendants of enslaved people, police abolition, seizing the assets of Wall Street billionaires, honoring treaties with Indigenous nations equality for all people, and expanding labor unions. It’s a great platform, very similar to, although somehow lighter on specifics than, that of the Greens. The most exciting part of the PSL ticket for me was actually the VP candidacy of American Indian Movement icon and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians (whose ancestral land is located in the area now referred to as North Dakota) Leonard Peltier. Peltier was mounting a Debs-ian Vice Presidential run while unjustly incarcerated for the alleged murder of Federal agents at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Peltier didn’t do it, and has since become a cult hero across the country, and especially on the Left, for his resistance to his imprisonment, and the struggle against colonialism. Unfortunately, Peltier had to withdraw from the ticket in August due to his deteriorating health, the result of his imprisonment. The new VP candidate is some random guy named Sunil Freeman, which, good for him, I guess. Some self-described Twinky Tankie Vegan friends of mine actually interviewed La Riva if you want to hear a friendly media take from the candidate herself. Honestly, I don’t get it, but I’m not a socialist, and I have bigtime questions about the political practicality of supporting a socialist party candidate for President because like… what happens if she wins? And there aren’t any members of her party in Congress? It’d be awkward. Anyway, vote for her if you want.
As for Joe Biden… I really, really hate Joe Biden. The man is responsible for jailing Black people at a genocidal rate, he’s creepy with women, he’s a credibly accused rapist, he’s a Zionist, and a bumbling, confused old man full of malarkey, and with one of the worst cases of Foot In Mouth disease that anyone has ever seen. He’s also told me not to vote for him numerous times, and as a practicing homosexual, I pride myself on my listening skills. Kamala Harris is a former Fancy Cop who also locked up Black people at a genocidal rate, and once laughed about locking up people for truancy. There are a million and one reasons to despise the pair, and so many reasons to credibly question a vote for them. If we’re being realistic, Biden is winning Chicago, he’s winning Cook County, and he’s winning Illinois. There are basically no scenarios in which that isn’t the case, and he’s probably going to win the state by between 15 and 20 points. I can say with confidence and surety that my vote, and yours, are unlikely to matter in the Presidential election in this state, and they will never matter until we have a National Popular Vote that decides the Presidency, instead of the ferkakte mess that is the Electoral College. Joe Biden doesn’t need my endorsement, and he’s not going to get it. I’ve publicly committed to not endorsing the man, because putting any effort into supporting him would violate my values and beliefs on the deepest, and most visceral level. Biden will win or lose this election on his own merits.
Dear reader, I encourage you to vote your conscience in this one. If you feel like you must vote for President, and you want to vote for a Third Party candidate, don’t let anybody tell you otherwise, blame you for Trump, or imply that you’re voting for a candidate other than the one you're casting a ballot for. That’s not how voting works, and take it from a Jew, shame is not a great tactic. If you feel personally responsible for running up the score in Illinois against Trump, and think you have to vote for Biden, then do it. I’m not going to shame you for voting however you want in the Presidential race, as long as you’re voting Democrat, PSL, or Green. If you want to abstain from this race, that’s fine, too. Let’s just turn out for the other races, cross our fingers, and fight like hell for justice and liberation no matter what the results are. There is also a real chance that Trump will use the powers of the Presidency, and the federal government, to try to remain in power or muddle the results of the election. This is LIKELY to happen, because Trump is known to be a cheat, a despot, and wants to remain in power as long as he can hold onto it; he has told us this. No matter your vote, and no matter your disposition towards voting, I encourage you to be prepared to take active resistance in the event of Trump attempting to establish a dictatorship.
Pass legislation less frequently than their colleagues in the House, preserve fetid traditions of bygone eras, confirm judges, and perpetuate a hilariously undemocratic format of government where the entirety of the 550,000 person population in Wyoming get the same representation in the US Senate as 9% of the residents of Cook County. Seems fair, right?
Richard J. “Dick” Durbin (D) incumbent
Mark C. Curran, Jr. (R)
Willie L. Wilson (LOL)
David F. Black (Green Party)
Danny Malouf (Libertarian Party)
I’m covering this race for two reasons: first and foremost, it’s Girl, I Guess’s first Senate race (Yay!), despite it being hilariously uncompetitive and Dick Durbin being endorsed only because I believe it’s politically impossible to defeat him in an election, and second; the best attempt to defeat him is currently being launched by Chicago’s worst election joke.
I’m not even going to bother covering Durbin much; he’s the Minority Whip for the Democrats in the Senate (the second highest ranking Democrat in the body), and his platform is just an archetype Illinois Democrat, full of the same vague nothing statements befitting of a guy who’s been in Congress since 1982.
Durbin’s Republican opponent Mark Curran, Jr, a former Lake County Sheriff for 12 years (big yikes) barely exists, and his primary sin would be his fairly run-of-the-mill Racist Cop Conservatism if it weren’t for his violently ugly website, that I could barely spend 3 minutes on without getting a headache. This is one of the worst websites I’ve seen for a candidate for major office, and I’ve looked at over 200 websites over the past 3 years. Political consultants who read this Guide, please save this website as an example of what not to do when designing for a candidate. This looks like a MySpace page.
David Black, the Green Party candidate, is a classic GPIL person: a really cool-sounding activist from a bygone age who got suckered into being really involved with the Party, and has mostly wasted his time being involved with it since. Black was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War, is apparently an award-winning peace activist, and already has lost two elections under the Green Party banner, soon to be three. As is standard for Greens, his platform sounds wonderful, but is just a list of bullet points without a plan attached to them. I’m more than happy to endorse explicitly Leftist platforms (PLEASE!! More explicitly Leftist platforms!!) but they have to have, you know… words in them. Hopefully whoever runs against Duckworth in 2022 will do a better job of expounding on this $20 minimum wage, electric mass transit, abolishing the electoral college, universal healthcare and basic income, clean energy vision.
Libertarian Danny Malouf’s candidacy can be described entirely by the Jane Eyre quote on the frontpage of his website “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will.” Yikes, bro.
The real treat in this race is the intrepid Senate candidacy of Chicago’s very own perennial candidate, and Weird Not-A-Politician, Willie Wilson, running under the venerable mantle of the Willie Wilson Party (lmao). Wilson is a bit of a ridiculous figure, identifying as a Democrat but holding a variety of pretty conservative positions, and being incredibly religious (although this can definitely be chalked up to Black Church Culture, rather than the Jeanne Ives/Tom Morrison brand of White Religious Christian Politician, and that’s an important difference). Honestly, Willie is a bit of a head-scratcher to a lot of people, largely because despite being really wrong about a lot of things… he’s also more or less right (or at least more right than the other candidates) about a lot of issues facing Black folks. He’s hit Dick Durbin pretty accurately in his Fact Check Friday posts, and his Sun Times survey is worth a read, but Willie’s ultimately just too ridiculous to take seriously. He’s a conservative at heart, and even a Black-focused conservative is still a conservative, and that shit isn’t good for anyone. He’s making it interesting by being in the race, though, because he’s worth a pretty consistent 10% of the vote in Mayoral elections, and who knows how that’ll translate state-wide in the times of COVID. As long as Willie is still literally handing out money in the streets, he’ll always think he has a shot.
Well… we all knew Willie Wilson was basically a Republican, but Black Republicans for Trump just invited him as a special guest to their fish fry, and you just can’t make these kinds of things up. Apparently Ex-Governor, Senate Seat Theft Felon, and Lego Hair Model Rod Blagojevich is going to be there, too. Oh, Willie. We fully knew ye.
Creates and approves legislation for the US House of Representatives, represents their districts on the national stage for fiscal and civil development purposes where appropriate.
Girl, I Guess is covering fewer of these races this time, but the ones being covered are worthwhile. Ranging from Neat™, to Vitally Important, these elections are cut and dry, but deserve all the attention they can get. It’s important that newly-elected faces aren’t ousted by horrid right-wing ghouls, and this is the place to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Marie Newman (D)
Mike Fricilone (R)
The 3rd Congressional District will be sending a new representative to Congress for the first time in 15 years, and one not named Lipinski for the first time in 27 years when Marie Newman knocked off incumbent Blue Dog Democrat and Joker Without Makeup Dan Lipinski. The district is solidly Democratic, so Newman isn’t facing much of a challenge, but this is the age of Trumpism and COVID-19, and it wasn’t so long ago that the voters of the 3rd District gave 25% of the vote to Literal Nazi Arthur Jones. I’m not taking anything for granted, so here’s where Newman stands: she’s got endorsements from a list of progressives so long, I’d have to write an entire other Guide to cover it all. A massive amount of people that I trust have backed her, including Golden Shrug recipient Kelly Cassidy, and she’s gotten national attention.
Newman also has a very progressive and comprehensive platform, with excellent stances on healthcare, universal childcare, underemployment, and student loan forgiveness, some good ideas on expanding Southwest Side infrastructure, and a textbook stance on campaign finance reform. She’s also a huge coward who flip-flopped on her support for the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement for Palestinian self-determination, going back on her public pro-Palestine statements in favor of a more Mainstream Liberal stance, and support of a two-state solution during her unsuccessful primary campaign in 2018. Unfortunately for Newman, her district contains the largest Palestinian community outside of the SWANA region, so I’m sure she’ll be hearing about her past fuckups on Palestine from plenty of folks that I know. Fortunately for those folks, the Palestinian community in IL-3 is home to some of the fiercest, tireless, and most capable organizers I’ve ever met, and I’m sure that Marie Newman will be flip-flopping back to the right side of this issue in short order. Either that, or look for the Palestinian community that will help carry her to victory in November to be scouting for her replacement in 2022.
Also fortunately for Marie Newman, her GOP opponent, Mike Fricilone, is a fearmongering weirdo and Man Who Apparently Never Learned To Use Bullet Points (his campaign website is just giant chunks of paragraphs and bad contrast) who seems hell-bent on casting himself in Lipinski’s image, and smearing Newman as a socialist. This is a classic case of Republicans insisting that whatever Democrat they’re running against is much cooler than said Democrat actually is. IL-3 deserves a socialist, and Marie Newman ain’t that, but she is much much better than the other guy, and for that, she gets a Girl, I Guess from me.
Mike “Quiggles” Quigley (D) incumbent
Tommy Hanson (R)
Thomas J. Wilda (Green Party)
I’ve gotta confess something to y’all… I don’t actually care much about incumbent Congressman, Girl, I Guess endorsee, and Cisgender Man Who Invited Himself to A Trans Rally As A Speaker in 2017, Mike Quigley. Or, as I faux-affectionately refer to him, “Quiggles”. His Republican opponent, and Dollar Store John Travolta, Tommy Hanson, is irrelevant and has run for Congress FOUR TIMES now, so maybe he’ll eventually get the hint. Quiggles is getting my endorsement because he’s competent and qualified, and the only candidate with a prayer of winning, so he gets an apathetic Girl, I Guess from me.
No, dear reader, this coverage is ENTIRELY about Green Party candidate Thomas Wilda. We’ve got a classic Green Party Situation on our hands here, because this man has the best “Hello, Fellow Youths” moment of the local cycle for me. He apparently is an LCSW, and has a PhD, but none of that could save him from looking like the American version of Jeremy Corbyn. Wilda’s campaign website features FIVE pictures of him with his blazer slung over his shoulder like a Real Cool Dude™. It also features one picture of Wilda wearing the blazer, while sitting in a chair and looking at the World’s Most Uncomfortable Child (who, to their credit, is sporting a Green Day shirt, in either Green Party solidarity, or complete rebellion). He also has a Tom Muses section on his website, which is lovely, and features random, out-of-context quotes from the candidate, and exhortations to “Vote Green.” Green Party folks, if you’re reading this, candidates like these are why you almost never win elections; great substance, but HORRIBLE presentation, and truly absurd packaging.
In regards to the substance, I do have to give credit where credit is due. Tom Wilda’s platform is pretty fantastic: support for Medicare For All, student debt forgiveness, free education, UBI for All, a Green New Deal, a Federal Jobs Guarantee, and de-militarized police. He also wants to abolish the Federal Reserve, which I’m pretty sure is the wrong Third Party. The website is worth a read, and I wish Quiggles had half the political gumption that Wild does, because that would be something special.
Sean Casten (D) incumbent
Jeanne Ives (R)
Bill Redpath (Libertarian)
Sean Casten, the freshman incumbent Congressman who knocked off Wildly Pro-Israel Peter Roskam in 2018 is in for an interesting battle with Neoconservative Jeanne Ives… and Libertarian Bill Redpath is there, too. We’ll get to him later. The seat is rated Likely Democratic by pollsters, and it went for Clinton by 7 points in 2016, but you never know what’s going to happen nowadays. Casten is the former CEO of two clean energy companies, and yet surprisingly doesn’t support the Green New Deal. He’s also in favor of the US-Mexico-Canada free trade deal, and those are generally bad, but I’m not saying he’s perfect. The man is a Democrat, after all. Sean Casten’s platform shows a record somewhere between progressive and Mainline Democrat, with Biden-esque stances on healthcare, schools, and jobs, and progressive positions on racial justice (he supported ending qualified immunity!!), and LGBTQ issues.
His Republican opponent, Jeanne Ives, is an objectively terrible hag whose 2018 Gubernatorial run was fraught with transphobia and racism, as she nearly successfully rode ultra-right-wing backlash to Governor Bruce Rauner’s classic GOP stances into the Republican nomination. She’s got a Sarah Palin streak a mile wide, selling campaign apparel branding herself as “relentless,” while sporting a platform that brands herself as a Trumpian conservative, and slams Casten for being too liberal (he is not). Jeanne Ives is dangerous, and hopefully a resounding defeat in the IL-6 Congressional election will put her out of Illinois politics for good… although I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Now. Onto Bill Redpath. This man has a face that SCREAMS “Libertarian,” and apparently that’s exactly who he is. This dude is a Libertarian Lifer, having been a member of the party since 1984. He is a Member of the Libertarian Party Hall of Liberty (yes, really), a two-time Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, and ran for office unsuccessfully SIX TIMES as a Libertarian, and even his fiancee is a former failed candidate for the Libertarian Party. Potentially the best part of the whole story is that Ol’ Bill here is a total carpetbagger; by his own admission ON HIS CAMPAIGN WEBSITE he moved to Illinois in 2019, and I suppose promptly decided to run for Congress. His platform is classic Libertarian, focused on minimizing the size of government, whether that would be good (curbing military spending and government surveillance) or bad (slashing Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security), legalizing Victimless Crimes (cool, cool), and election reform. Redpath’s candidacy stands as a monument to a whole different kind of Third Party Futility. Whereas the Greens’ fatal flaw is incompentent wonkiness, the Libertarians’ is the deafening head-against-wall smacking of boring predictability.
Sean Casten is the only acceptable candidate with a prayer to win the election, and honestly, he’s not as awful as he could be. Casten gets a hearty Girl, I Guess from me, and my most sincere wishes to defeat Ives.
Rodney Davis (R) incumbent
“Boring” Betsy Dirksen Londrigan (D)
Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. I spent many years in the 13th, and love the area deeply, which is why this race pains me so badly. The District deserves better than these two candidates, and had the opportunity to do better when my friend Stefanie Smith ran an extremely underfunded, explicitly Leftist, openly queer, openly pro-sex worker campaign out of Champaign, and got nearly 25% of the vote, which is pretty cool for the cornfields. Alas, the voters chose “Boring” Betsy Dirksen Londrigan to have a rematch with Man/Weasel Animorph and Former Cardboard Cutout Rodney Davis. I almost wasn’t going to cover this race, based on how horrible Londrigan and her supporters were to my friend during the primary, but I checked the polling averages and found that Davis was leading by less than a point, so I felt a moral obligation to help kick his ass to the curb.
Londrigan is known as “Boring” for a reason. With a soulless face, and a platform to cause even the most enthusiastic Biden supporter to sleep, she’s a perfectly adequate and sentient opponent for Davis, whose platform is tried-and-true conservative nonsense. Rodney is a dick, and has been representing the district, which includes Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, and Springfield, for far too long, especially considering the district is gerrymandered to be Blue. The constituents deserve better than Davis, and she’s barely it, but she’s something, so I’m giving a nose-holding Girl, I Guess to Betsy Dirksen Londrigan.
Lauren Underwood (D) incumbent GOLDEN SHRUG
Jim Oberweis (R)
This race is one of the most hotly contested in the state, and a crucial election for Democrats to hang onto the House of Representatives. Incumbent Lauren Underwood is so much better than her opponent, and the seat is so important, that I gave her my first Golden Shrug endorsement of 2020. Squaring off against Underwood is longtime Republican State Senator and Dairy Douchebag Jim Oberweis (yes, like Oberweis Dairy. No, you aren’t allowed to eat there anymore.), who is looking to flip the seat back after Underwood took down Republican and Christian Conservative Randy Hultgren in the 2018 “blue wave” year.
Milk Motherfucker Jim Oberweis’s campaign website reads as dangerously and right-wing as he is, complete with fearmongering about socialism, proclamations about being pro-life, and racist positions about border control. The Bovine Bastard has also got mainline GOP talking points about healthcare, and endorsements from a variety of Republican groups, pro-life groups, and Person Who Fake Retired From the Senate Marco Rubio (remember him? Simpler times). Obviously, Oberweis sucks, and we can’t have the Lord of Lactose replacing a young Black woman in Congress.
Lauren Underwood is a solid progressive, a nurse, and an under-the-radar gem in Congress. She might not have the name recognition that other freshmen Congresspeople have, but she’s done right by her district, and brings solid stances on healthcare access, climate change, reproductive freedom, and government transparency. She’s not perfect, and her stances on free trade deals aren’t exactly to my liking (she supports the US-Mexico-Canada free trade deal, and free trade deals are… not great), but whatever her flaws, she’s miles better than Oberweis, and in a race that’s being called a tossup, I’d pick Lauren Underwood over a Republican any day. She gets the Girl, I Guess endorsement, and the importance and tightness of the race compelled me to tack on a Golden Shrug for good measure
Represent the interests of their constituents, write, and pass legislation. Approve a budget each year. A lot like the regular Senate, except super different, and instead of being ruled over with an iron fist by a morally corrupt and shell-less Tortle with a 1-point Charisma Stat, we just have some occasional run-of-the-mill corruption.
Robert Peters (D) incumbent GOLDEN SHRUG
I may be a grouchy, man-hating lesbian, but I love me some Robert Peters. He’s been in office for barely over a year and a half, after being appointed to the seat formerly held by Kwame Raoul, but he’s made a big impact, and is running unopposed in the General Election after beating out Ken Thomas in the Primaries. Peters was one of my favorite endorsements in March, and his legislative record (Chief co-sponsor of 13 bills, ALL of which were passed and signed into law) truly blew me away. Regular Guide readers will know that I’m always a fan of Progressive nerds with strong legislative track records, and a community organizing background, and Robert hits every single point on that list. Born and raised on the South Side, he’s got the makings of someone who can really go places in Illinois State politics, and he’s representing the right district to do it, considering that the previous two occupants of his seat were Raoul, and Barack Obama (even though Girl, I Guess isn’t a pro-Obama space).
For me, though, Robert is a cut above in progressive politics, with strong positions on human rights, minimum wage increases (taking an arrest during a campaign to raise the wage as an organizer), support for an elected school board, and support for bail reform. Add that to his aforementioned legislative accomplishments, including passing bills that banned private detention centers in Illinois, expanded HIV preventative treatment to minors without seeking parental consent, expanding SNAP benefits to students, and a slew of additional legislation that expanded oversight of DCFS and the rights of kids in the system, and his vocal support for Black Lives Matter, and multiply marginalized people, and hoo boy. He’s already spoken out against Trump bringing the feds to Chicago, which is a move that a lot of State legislators wouldn’t make. I’m excited to see where his first full term will take him, and thrilled to be able to give Robert Peters my full support, and one my first Golden Shrug endorsements.
Job Description: Represent the interests of their constituents, write, and pass legislation. Approve a budget each year. And, in the case of a couple of these candidates, flip a solid Republican district after taking on an onerous incumbent.
Lakesia Collins (D) GOLDEN SHRUG
Lakesia Collins was one of my favorite candidates in the Primaries, and I was thrilled to see her emerge from a crowded Democratic field to run unopposed for State Rep in the 9th District in the General Election. A leader in SEIU Healthcare Illinois, she’s been an important voice for working-class Black women in the state, and is the exact kind of person who can make a difference right off the bat in the General Assembly. As I noted in the Primary edition of the Guide, she has endorsements from several SEIU bodies, CTU, CCCTU, the Chicago Federation of Labor, United Working Families, State Rep Will Guzzardi, Girl, I Guess endorsee and 25th Ward Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez, and more. Her platform aims to lift the ban on rent control, get more resources into Black communities, expand education access and get an elected school board, Medicare for All, the Fair Tax, and further minimum wage increases, including for tipped workers. Collins is incredibly deserving of one of my first Golden Shrug endorsements, and hopefully she’ll be making progressive change in Springfield for years to come.
Kelly Cassidy (D) incumbent GOLDEN SHRUG
Kelly Cassidy is my State Rep, a fellow Jewish lesbian, and a true progressive champion in Illinois. She’s running uncontested for her fifth term, and hasn’t faced a General Election opponent since 2016, and her race is absolutely one that I wouldn’t normally cover in Girl, I Guess for those reasons. However, as a Golden Shrug recipient, I’m giving her a spotlight!
Among other things, Kelly Cassidy has led Illinois’s successful effort to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ people, updated Vital Records legislation to allow trans folks to update our birth certificates in Illinois without requiring surgery, expanded access to abortion for low-income people with uteruses, and is currently pushing for Ballot Access reform for Cook County (Third Party faithful, take note!). Cassidy is also working on lifting the felony restriction on name changes in Illinois, which would benefit trafficking survivors, and criminalized trans communities. Oh, and did I mention that she’s been vocal and active in her support for the Black Lives Matter movement, working with Brave Space Alliance’s citywide Crisis Pantry, and maintaining a resources and organization list on her website, and was the human that brought legalized recreational marijuana to Illinois? If you’re a lover of White folks who know how to show up, of accomplices for trans folks, or of Lucifer’s Leaf, you’ll love Kelly Cassidy, too.
My favorite Kelly Cassidy moment, though, is something that doesn’t show up on her website. In September of 2019, my friends and comrades at the Intersex Justice Project, in collaboration with Brave Space Alliance, were seeking to push for statewide legislation that recognized the human rights of intersex people in Illinois, and that would put an end to the nonconsensual surgeries and conversion therapy being performed on intersex babies and youth at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Our group set up a meeting with Kelly Cassidy, and she instantly wanted to help however she could. With her help, and her convening of the LGBTQ Caucus of the General Assembly to assist the cause, the #EndIntersexSurgery campaign won a major victory in July of this year when Lurie Children’s apologized for performing the surgeries, admitted that they were wrong, and enacted a 6-month moratorium on surgeries at their hospital. We’re currently working to make that moratorium permanent, but we wouldn’t have gotten this far, this quickly, without Kelly’s help. I’m proud to be her constituent, her friend, and a big believer in the Kelly Cassidy cause. Whenever anyone in Chicago, or Illinois comes to me, and asks if I know anyone who can help them fight for justice in the General Assembly, or raise awareness for something vital in our State, Kelly Cassidy is always at the top of my list of folks to send them to. I’m proud to give her one of my first ever Golden Shrug endorsements.
Amy L. Grant (R) incumbent
Ken Mejia-Beal (D)
The 42nd District is located in the Western suburbs and DuPage County, representing parts of Lisle, Carol Stream, Winfield, Naperville, and Wheaton. Normally, I wouldn’t cover this race because of the location, but since Lauren Underwood in the 14th Congressional District is getting some love, I figured I’d highlight a really cool candidate in an otherwise low-profile race for most of the readers of the Guide.
This district was formerly held by Phyllis Schlafly impersonator, and current Congressional candidate Jeanne Ives, who gave up her seat in 2018 to run against, and nearly primary, then-Governor, and Mr. Burns lookalike Bruce Rauner. Amy Grant was elected to replace Ives in the solidly-Republican district, and she’s taken a bit of a different approach than Ives’s hardline cultural conservatism. Grant’s website paints a sparse picture of a classic Fiscal Conservative Republican, content to simply exist, and whine about State debt. She’s generally done a good job at hiding her social conservatism from the public… until she committed one of the Classic Blunders. No, not going in against a Sicilian when death is on the line, but getting caught on tape saying racist and homophobic shit. In a fundraising call with a donor, she attempts to malign her opponent, Ken Mejia-Beal as “just another Cook County person…. Another Black Caucus [member]…. All LGBTQ.” Yikes. When this race is said and done, I hope she’ll have another “L” to add to her name. Guess now we know why she was the successor to Ives.
Grant’s challenger is Official Black Gay Ken Mejia-Beal, who is looking to bring some more Blue to the area. Mejia-Beal is sporting endorsements from Golden Shrug recipient Lauren Underwood, Sean Casten, Girl, I Guess Primary endorsee Robert Emmons, Jr, and Guide favorite, 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez, among others. He’s running a pretty mainline Democratic campaign, and his policies aren’t the sexiest, but that’s largely a product of the district he’s running to represent. Still, more commitments to green infrastructure in Illinois, support for labor unions, and attention to under-resourced seniors are all things we can get behind. Also, I’ve met Ken a few times, and I can personally attest to him being a genuinely good human, and oodles better than Amy Grant. I’m giving a solid Girl, I Guess to Ken Mejia-Beal in the 42nd State House District.
Tom Morrison (R) incumbent
Maggie Trevor (D)
This Northwest suburban district is a real shitshow, and represented by one of the worst people in Illinois politics today. I grew up in the 54th, and I straight-up did NOT have a good time. Tom Morrison, a man who gives off the vibe that his birth was the product of missionary sex with a Bible, is a horror straight out of the Reaganite 80s, has a face that says “If Pete Buttigieg were straight,” and is one of only two Republican legislators whose districts are entirely within Cook County… so let’s try and knock that number down a little, shall we?
Morrison’s website touts a Sheriff’s Star award (vomit), and a commitment to being pro-Life, Christian fundamentalist, and anti gay marriage. Yes, you read that correctly; his campaign website, in the year 2020, lists a commitment to “the traditional family”. What a fuckbag. He also has the distinction of introducing the last two “bathroom bills” into the Illinois General Assembly, aiming to restrict the public facilities access of trans people based on our genitals. Stop obsessing over our junk, Tom! This is likely the result of a mini-culture war taking place in the district over trans rights for most of the past decade. It’s significant enough that there’s an entire Wikipedia page on the “incidents” of civil rights violations committed against trans students in the local high school district. Like I said… not a good time. Morrison’s opponent is seeking to change all of that.
Sporting endorsements from the UAW, AFL-CIO, Equality Illinois, and the Sierra Club, academic and fellow lesbian nerd Maggie Trevor has set out to slay the beast. She ran against Morrison in 2018, when the culture war was brewing extra hard, and lost by JUST 43 VOTES. The district is a Republican stronghold, but in an interview with the Windy City Times, Trevor makes the point that the district is diversifying, and quickly trending Blue. Her platform is shockingly progressive considering her opponent, and I’m really loving it. Maggie Trevor believes in healthcare access for all, is pro-choice and supported the state’s ratification of the ERA, believes in the Fair Tax, stronger resources for schools, and believes in climate change. Crucially, for the district, she’s explicitly pro-LGBTQ, and even more explicitly pro-trans, stating that she’ll support local and state policies for public facilities access for trans people. To me, this sounds like a clear-eyed suburban progressive who’s looking to make some major change in a part of the state that Democrats have largely written off as dead. I’m giving an enthusiastic Girl, I Guess to Maggie Trevor, and hope she does 44 votes better than last time.
Cam Davis (D) incumbent
Eira Corral Sepulveda (D)
Tammie Felicia Vinson (Green Party)
Troy Antonio Hernandez (Green Party)
Rachel Wales (Green Party)
Ahhhh, we meet again, MWRD candidate list. After an interesting Primary Election for the Democrats in the MWRD, we’re seeing some fresh blood, and some old faces up for election, and I was excited to give a Green Party candidate some careful, well-deserved consideration for an office that seems ready-made for Greens. The Illinois Green Party puts together a surprisingly comprehensive and forward-thinking platform for their MWRD candidates, but unfortunately, not much information is available on Tammie Vinson, or Rachel Wales, both of whom were Girl, I Guess endorsees in 2018 on the strength of the ILGP platform. Their 2020 platform looks suspiciously similar to their 2018 one… including an attack on incumbent Commissioner and Noted Water Lesbian Debra Shore, who isn’t running this year but was in 2018.
Potential campaign website laziness (a cardinal sin for candidates in Girl, I Guess) aside, in 2020, the Greens are back with more of the same: curbing corruption on MWRD by trying to break up 20 years of Democratic hegemony (evidently two of the nine Democrats on the Commission employ their own children as Administrative Assistants with six-figure salaries which… oh Cook County. Never change. Except please do.), emphasizing combating climate change and bolstering flood readiness. They also want to tackle Chicago’s infamous City Fumes, increasing disinfectant treatment in the Chicago Area Waterway, and tackle environmental problems caused by the County’s combined sewer system. Apparently, according to the Chicago Tribune in 2017, raw sewage is dumped into the County’s waterways once every six days. Eww.
From what I can tell of their profiles on the Cook County Green Party website Vinson has the profile of a surefire Girl, I Guess endorsee: CPS teacher, and member of the CTU Executive Board, a Black woman from the West Side, who’s been involved in local and city politics for a long time, and seems like a badass. Wales is an Environmental activist with a history of supporting animal rights causes, which is… fine, I suppose. And headlining the Green Party ticket is Troy Hernandez, the only one of the three campaigning on his own. Apparently this guy has lots of time on his hands, because he’s turning into a perennial candidate after a profoundly failed 25th Ward Aldermanic run in 2019. His website paints a picture of a Fancypants Smart Boy who works for IBM, is a mentor for NASA AI projects, and has a PhD in Statistics and Machine Learning (which he would not stop talking about when he ran for Alderman), and apparently he’s a bit of a dick, befitting his STEM Boy image.
The Democrats, however, are putting up a strong showing this cycle, by nominating Kimberly Neely Dubuclet, Cam Davis, and Eira Corral Sepulveda for Commissioner. I do genuinely feel bad about being suspicious of Corral Sepulveda in the Primaries, and from all accounts, she’s the real deal. She’s a mega-connected, super-qualified young elected official from Hanover Park, looking to make a difference in the County’s water infrastructure. She’s endorsed by basically every living and breathing Democrat in the County, and although I’m not in love with her connections to Mustache Machine Daddy Chuy Garcia, I’m willing to let the jury remain out on that point, and give her the benefit of the doubt. She successfully ousted incumbent Commissioner, Finance Chair of the District, and ugly sweater aficionado Frank Avila in March, with some potential Cook County Democratic Party machinations at her back, and I’m interested to see what she’ll do as a Commissioner.
Cam Davis is an uber-qualified Water Nerd who won election to fill a 2-year vacancy in 2018, and is now running for a full term. With a slew of endorsements, a strong pun game on his website (CAMpaign! A man who knows how to pander directly to the pun-loving, voter-guide-writing demographic!), and 30 years in Water Nerdlery, he’s a great choice. Other fun facts include: his 2018 Primary write-in campaign broke the Illinois State record for votes in a write-in campaign, formerly set by FDR in 1944, and he kept an important campaign promise to not take campaign contributions from engineering firms with contrast with the District, which helps curb MWRD corruption.
Kimberly Neely Dubuclet is another incumbent voted to fill a 2-year vacancy, and running for a full term. Like Davis, she’s got a ridiculously impressive slate of endorsements, including a few from folks that I really trust (Alds. Matt Martin, and Andre Vasquez, and State Rep and Golden Shrug Recipient Kelly Cassidy) and a couple that I really don’t (Lori Lightfoot, Ald Nicholas Sposato). She seems like she’s doing fine, and while she might not stand out in perfect qualifications or ideas, there’s certainly nothing wrong with her. I wish her campaign website had more specifics about her, but that’s often how it goes with elected bureaucratic positions.
MWRD endorsements are always a bit of a difficult choice, because I’m trying to balance the desire for innovation and change from the Greens, with the Actual Not Shittiness of this cycle’s Democratic candidates. Ultimately, I’m going with Cam Davis, Kimberly Neely Dubuclet, and Eira Corral Sepulveda from the Democrats. I really, really wanted to endorse Tammy Vinson, who sounds like the exact kind of community leader that Girl, I Guess loves, and who would be able to really make waves (ha) as a Commissioner… but ultimately, I can’t endorse a candidate who doesn’t even seem to be trying to win the election. Her resume is good, but she doesn’t have a campaign website, and her one candidate questionnaire from WTTW is… light on the details. Maybe the Greens will get it together in 2022 against a different slate of Democrats, but for right now, I can’t find a reason to say no to Davis, Corral Sepulveda, or Neely Dubuclet.
Job Description: The Cook County State’s Attorney oversees one of the largest prosecutor offices in the nation, second only to Los Angeles County. It employs more than 1,500 personnel, including almost 900 attorneys. This is a big job, and has far-reaching implications. Not only does the State’s Attorney do regular prosecutorial things, like, you know, prosecuting crimes, they also decide what things count as crimes that they want to prosecute, and sets the standard for how folks are detained pre-trial. This means that the office has the power to enact bail reforms like refusing to require a cash bail for non-violent offenders. Yes, at the end of the day, the State’s Attorney is a glorified cop, and cops are bad. But this office has the power to enact important progressive reforms with the right person at the helm.
Other duties of the office include: handling cases involving minors, and taking action against parents who abuse or neglect their kids; handling and prosecuting corruption cases; prosecuting fraudster, violent, or killer cops; providing paralegals, law clerks, law librarians and court reporters; overseeing narcotics courtrooms and drug treatment programs; and managing victim assistance and community justice programs.
Kim Foxx (D) incumbent
Patrick W. O’Brien (R)
Brian Dennehy (Libertarian Party)
After handily dispatching Mega Racist and Country Club Movie Villain Bill Conway in the primaries, Kim Foxx is facing a general election challenge from Pat O’Brien, a former Chief Deputy State’s Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and Cook County Circuit Court Judge who is really… just not a good dude. His entire campaign seems to be “I Am a White Man, With the Face of a Suspicious Hobbit, and Am Not Kim Foxx,” which is bad enough by itself. The rest of his campaign website is dedicated to whining about Jussie Smollett, peddling racist dogwhistle/megaphones about “rioting and looting,” and claiming that he’s Not A Politician™… despite being a career government worker in political positions.
Thankfully Hobbit O’Brien doesn’t seem to have a prayer of winning, and neither does Brian Dennehy, a self-described “upset citizen” running as the nominee for the Upset Citizen’s Libertarian Party. (Not to be confused with the recently deceased actor of the same name, a fact which greatly disappointed me while writing this section, and deprived me of the best Libertarian “Liberty or Death” joke of my life.) Good ‘ol Brian has the standard confusion of every Libertarian, with a mixture of good takes (wanting to decriminalize sex work and drug possession, and not caring about Jussie Smollett), and weird bad takes (loving the FOP, and thinking South Park is the best TV show ever. Yes, seriously.). His candidate questionnaire, linked above, is worth a read and a giggle, but you can ignore him just the same.
Our incumbent isn’t perfect, and the State’s Attorney is still just a fancy elected cop, but Kim Foxx has been doing a good job, seems to have a level head, and has apparently been asking some impressively progressive questions in behind-the-scenes meetings with local groups, that could be an indicator of big wins to come in Chicago. Foxx gets the Girl, I Guess endorsement for State’s Attorney.
Back in March, we were all voting for candidates to fill vacancies in Countywide Circuit Courts, Subcircuit Courts, and one Illinois Supreme Court seat. Now, all of those races are uncontested (except those in the suburban 12th and 13th Subcircuits) because only Democrats ran for those vacancies, and this is Cook County. SO we won’t be talking about those races here.
Instead, we’ll be talking about Judicial Retention. This is both weird and confusing, and profoundly cool! In Cook County we get to vote on whether or not to retain a judge every six years. In other words, we get to decide whether a judge should keep their job. Muahahaha ha haha ha.
Judicial retention votes are incredibly important because judges have a profound impact on people’s lives every day, particularly low income Black, Brown, queer, and trans folks who disproportionately come in contact with the criminal justice system. Historically, judges have almost always been retained because voters didn’t have any easy way to learn about the judges they were voting on, and judges had absolutely no interest in educating voters, because then they could be held, *gasp* ACCOUNTABLE. Plus a lot of people just skipped the judges section on the ballot because it is long and confusing, and nobody knows who any of those people are. But, dear reader, things have changed and it’s way easier to access information about judges and make decisions about who should stay or go. The low rate of voting on these races also means that your ballot can have an outsized impact, and you’re more likely to help kick out a shitty judge!
As always, the amazing folks at Injustice Watch are hard at work on their Judicial Voter Guide, which will be out on October 6th at injusticewatch.org/judges! They cover every single judge, and the foolery that they may, or may not, have gotten up to during their terms. Injustice Watch’s guide is now out, so check out either of the links above to see their coverage on the Bastards of the Bench!
Below I’ve highlighted a few judges that I feel strongly should be ousted. Everyone that I’m covering is a Circuit Judge, which means that they need 60% of the vote to be retained!
Toomin is so bad, that the Cook County Democratic Party took the extremely rare step of declining to endorse his retention run, something they usually only reserve for the truly terrible. Well, Toomin meets that standard by being REALLY enthusiastic about locking up little kids, which is extra bad, considering he’s the Presiding Justice over the Juvenile Justice Division in Cook County. Toomin has been on the court for 40 years, and has done enough damage. He’s come under fire for refusing to hear motions that would get juveniles out of detention during the COVID-19 pandemic, and he struck down an ordinance banning the detention of children under the age of 13. On, and on top of that? He’s friends and was part of an investment club with Mega Racist and Worse Version of Ebeneezer Scrooge, Alderman Ed Burke. Former Girl, I Guess endorsee Ugo Okere has called him out for upholding White Supremacy from the bench, and I’m inclined to agree. Toomin is whining that the lack of endorsement is retaliation for his appointment of a special prosecutor in the Jussie Smollett case, which, fuck off bro. Nobody except Republicans and cops cares about Jussie Smollett. The hardest of hard NO votes for Toomin.
The Folks at SoapBox Productions sent me this cool video about why we should #TossToomin as part of the overall #TossToomin campaign! Check it out!
Wadas is the Reversal King of Cook County, with 25 of his decisions being reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court since 2014. He’s been accused of overly harsh sentences, (including one case where he sentenced a 16-year-old to 100 years in jail, was told that a sentence of 40 or more years was unconstitutional, and then sentenced the kid to… 39 years) and assuming a prosecutorial role at trials, which means Wadas really just wanted to be that asshole that puts people in jail… which means he probably shouldn’t be a judge. Evidently he wasn’t much better as a state’s attorney, earning a rebuke from the Appellate Court for what can only be called “extreme assholery”. The Court called his behavior “an insult to the court, and the dignity of the trial bar,” which means that even among lawyers, this dude is a dick. A whole entire mess. Vote NO on Wadas.
Yikes on bikes this dude is gross. Mauricio Araujo was the other judge whose endorsement was declined by the Cook County Democratic Party, and it’s because he’s been accused of sexual harassment by multiple people over several years. Every single bar association said he shouldn’t be retained, and while bar association ratings aren’t the be-all, end-all for me, it’s pretty notable that they were unanimously against him. Araujo is under investigation by the Illinois Courts Commission, and has been put in something informally called “judge jail” while awaiting his disciplinary proceedings. The thing is, he’s been in judge jail since 2018, and collecting his full $206,000 salary, plus benefits the whole time. If you want to read the details of his case, the article above gives a good summary of his grossness, and on top of everything else, he’s connected to some sketchy warrant funny business with a ring of corrupt cops. Vote NO on Araujo and kick this nasty fucker to the curb.
I was contacted by a member of the community who’s particularly concerned with judicial retentions to talk about Demacopolous, and after both I and the person who contacted me did some digging, I was absolutely convinced… she’s got to go. There’s some very concerning hearsay about her, including some serious allegations of racism from at least two Black lawyers- saying that she treats Black lawyers differently than their White colleagues- and Black judges- two of whom say that she intimidated them into supporting the now-deposed Judge Matthew Coghlan. There are also allegations that she intimidated board members of a non-profit who had cases before the Chancery division, where she is seated. The allegations alone are enough to ding her on retention, but there’s documented evidence as well. Demacopolous ruled in 2017 that the Police Board didn’t have jurisdiction to discipline a cop (literally the entire point of the Police Board) who was involved in the murder of David Koschman. The cop, CPD Sgt. Sam Cirone, is connected to the Daley machine and was trying to escape accountability. Demacopolous ALSO blocked the release of evidence in a 50-year-old murder case, in further evidence of her love for cop corruption. And to top it all off, if Kenneth Wadas is the Reversal King, Demacopolous is the Empress of Egregious Bullshit, with more reversals on appeal than any other judge in the retention class. She’s awful, she loves cops, and she sounds corrupt as hell, and if the community source is to be believed, meddles significantly in the judicial retention process. Let’s Dema-kick-her-out! Vote NO on Demacopolous.
What is it with judges really wanting to lock up children?? Our next member of the “Fuck Them Kids” bandwagon is Jackie Marie Portman-Brown, who’s been in “judge jail” since February, when a video surfaced on February 19th of her locking up a child in the adult holding cell behind her courtroom. She’s also faced criticism about her alternative detention program called HOPE Court, where individuals involved in the program called her “unpredictable” and a “bully.” AND she once called a defendant a “fucker” from the bench, AND she touted her reputation as a “lock ‘em up judge” in a 2016 Chicago Reader profile. Eww. She’s got a “No” recommendation from the Decalogue Society of Lawyers, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association, and I tend to agree. Vote NO on Portman-Brown.
Thanks to my friends at Injustice Watch for keying me into this race! In one of the most openly nepotistic cases of Cook County foolery I’ve seen in a second (and I covered a Municipal election!), Daniel Kubasiak is connected to some of the smarmiest, most fetid political zombies of the last 50 years of Chicago politics. By this, I of course mean Mega Racist and Somehow Still Sitting Alderman Ed Burke, and Progenitor of Political Pustulence, Grandpappy of Gall, and Rear Admiral of Racism Ed Vrdolyak of Running Explicitly Racist Mayoral Campaigns infamy. Kubasiak was Chief Administrative Officer for the City Council Finance Committee under Burke during Council Wars, and was campaign manager for Vrdolyak’s “I Hate Black People” 1987 campaign. How is this gremlin still on the bench?? Let’s get him out of there. Vote NO on Dirty Dan.
Embroiled in a lawsuit around past prosecutorial misconduct, and a coerced confession of a teenager? Sounds like a Cook County judge to me! Megan Elizabeth Goldish was sued in 2018 for her role in a 2002 murder case that she helped prosecure as an Assistant State’s Attorney, where teen John Velez was charged with the murder of another man, despite there being no evidence linking him to the crime. Police allegedly detained Velez’s pregnant girlfriend for 8 hours without an attorney, and coerced a statement that implicated him out of her by threatening to take her child if she didn’t cooperate. Sounds like standard CPD awfulness to me. Goldish, according to the lawsuit, either helped coordinate the coerced statement, or accepted it and presented it as evidence at trial, even when the girlfriend recanted after leaving the police station. That all sounds… really really bad, and honestly, whatever Goldish’s true role in this situation was, I don’t trust her, and can’t expect anyone else to, either. There will always be more judges, and if there’s a whiff of corruption or cop collusion, I say toss ‘em. Vote NO on Goldish.
Mahoney has negative ratings from the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association, which means clearly something is going on, and honestly, that’s enough for me. He’s a former State’s Attorney who was interviewed in the past as part of a corruption investigation, which seems kinda par for the course. On top of all of this, an anonymous site on which lawyers rate judges across the country, three different lawyers in the past 12 months have noted his cruelty, and called him a “disgusting” and “loathsome” human being. I don’t put a ton of stock in anonymous reviews on the internet, but yikes. Vote NO on Mahoney.
Rosario has received negative ratings from the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Women’s Bar Association, and was rated as “unqualified” by the Chicago Council of Lawyers for inexperience when she ran back in 2014. Normally that doesn’t mean much, but anonymous site The Robing Room, on which lawyers review judges, note a couple of instances within the last year when lawyers have alleged that she didn’t know basic legal concepts like “temporary orders” and “subleases,” and have alleged her incompetence. While I’m more hesitant to accept anonymous reviews about a woman judge than a man, because of subconscious and just conscious bias against women in the legal field… I also don’t know the gender of the lawyers submitting the comments. This is all extremely concerning to me, and Girl, I Guess tends to not give judges the benefit of the doubt. Which means that Rosario getting a NO from me, as well.
The intrigue, the mystery, the utter kerfuffle that are Cook County and Chicago Municipality ballot measures. Depending on where you live, and even depending on which precinct you vote in, there might be a metric fuckton of these on the ballot in November. Luckily, they’re all yes or no questions. Luckily, there are fewer measures on the ballot this time around, and most of the ones up for a vote are incredibly specific measures in individual suburbs (I encourage all residents of Elk Grove, Mount Prospect, Park Ridge, Western Springs, and Wilmette to vote to approve the sale of recreational cannabis and join the City in reefer madness. Light up a doobie and enjoy the Devil’s Lettuce, suburbanites!), there are a number of citywide questions, as well.
Here is the thing: most—if not all— of the measures will be “non binding” which means that the government doesn’t actually have to do anything if a certain measure “wins.” They’re just a way for politicians to gauge public opinion on something. That being said, sometimes a popular ballot measure really does become a law later on. So it can still be valuable to vote on these.
Below, I’ll cover each ballot measure and suggest a vote.
Should the City of Chicago act to ensure that all the City's community areas have access to broadband Internet?
Internet access is an incredibly important issue in Chicago right now, for all of the usual reasons (the internet is an essential utility, without which it is incredibly difficult to engage in our contemporary world), but especially because of the CPS Remote Learning Plan being implemented to keep students and families safe from COVID-19. 20% of Chicago students lack broadband internet access where they live, and that number grows higher the further South, and the further West you get. Internet access is a racial justice issue, and it expanding access is one of the most important infrastructural projects facing the City right now. Vote YES on this measure.
In creating its City-wide plan for continued growth and sustainability, should the City of Chicago place equal focus on the goals of resiliency, equity, and diversity?
This measure gave me flashbacks to being in college, and sitting on University committees for Diversity, Equity, and Access, and just… *shudder*. What a nonsensical thing to put on a ballot, obviously the City isn’t planning on doing this, because they thought it was a question that even merited asking, rather than an obvious “yes, why would we not do this?” Vote YES on this question, and then join me in a vigorous, disappointed head-shaking.
Should the State of Illinois restrict the sale or possession of firearms that have been defined as assault weapons or of magazines that can hold more than a certain number of rounds of ammunition?
On the surface, this question might seem incredibly simple for a progressive-minded voter. Defending assault rifles and expanded magazines is a favorite cause of the right wing, and gun control is liberal and progressive bread and butter at this point. As Girl, I Guess has repeatedly written, however (because seriously, every single election there’s something about gun control on the ballot), restrictions and criminalization around gun ownership disproportionately impacts Black and Brown folks. Racist policing and enforcement measures target communities based on a perception of where gun violence comes from, and completely ignores the White Supremacists actually using these guns to slaughter people. In the end, White folks will find a way to get these guns and get away with it regardless, and in the world we live in… marginalized folks need an opportunity to defend ourselves. Vote NO on this measure.
Shall there be established, to serve the territory commonly described on this ballot or notice of this question, a Bronzeville Expanded Mental Health Services Program, to provide direct free mental health services for any resident of the territory who needs assistance in overcoming or coping with mental or emotional disorders, where such program will be funded through an increase of not more than .025% of the equalized assessed valuation of all properties within the boundaries of the territory?
This sounds… good? Bronzeville is a predominantly Black neighborhood that’s currently fighting hard against gentrification, and has been purposefully under-resourced by the City. All of Chicago, especially the South Side is severely lacking in mental health services, and current Mayor and Noted Bamboozler Lori Lightfoot has so far reneged on her promise to re-open the mental health clinics that Former Mayor, Total Shande, and Shofar Meme Victim Rahm Emanuel shuttered, so I’m going to say vote YES on this measure.
Under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, may an aggregate extension not to exceed $600,000 be made for the Bronzeville Expanded Mental Health Services Program for the 2021 levy year?
There are, obviously, better ways to fund mental health services in this City. Take the money out of the police budget, for example. The City spends more than $4 million a day on cops, so they won’t miss $600,000. I’m torn on this measure, because while taxes suck, and the burden of funding mental health services shouldn’t fall back on taxpayers when the City has more than enough money… we all know nothing gets done without cash. In this situation, however, the Alderman and the Mayor can figure out better ways to make this work, and taxes in the City are high enough as it is. Vote NO on this measure, and call the fuck out of Alderman Pat Dowell’s office, and demand that she vote to decrease the police budget, and take a chunk of funding from there.
Shall the sale of alcoholic liquor containing more than 4% of alcohol by weight,
except in the original package and not for consumption on the premises, be prohibited
in 16th Precinct of the 44th Ward of the City of Chicago, County of Cook, State of
The 16th Precinct of the 44th Ward is a small chunk of the Wrigleyville neighborhood, consisting of the area North of Addison St, South of Grace St, and between Ashland and Southport. And y’all, good lord, I can’t imagine why you’d choose to vote against this resolution, because if people want booze so badly, they’ll just go to the next precinct over. The area around Loyola University Chicago is an area that is difficult to buy alcohol in, because of some special nonsense having to do with the University, and folks manage to find alcohol just fine. Vote NO on this ridiculous proposition.
Wow, well this got wild. I was contacted by someone about this ballot measure to provide more context, and it’s quite the ride. Evidently, this measure was put up by some Local Concerned Karens on community snitching website Nextdoor, where a petition was started to target a bar called Tai’s Til 4. Tai’s is, as far as I can tell, a decently rowdy straight bar, populated by hospitality industry folks and sloppy drunk White folks after all the 2am bars close. Earlier this year, cops shot an armed man outside the bar in response to a fight between two armed patrons. Which sounds pretty typical for cops, honestly. COPA even investigated the shooting, if you want to read more. But apparently, this incident was the final straw for many Upstanding Citizens of Wrigleyville, who have apparently never encountered large crowds of rambunctious, intoxicated, potentially blue-clad heterosexuals before in their lives. They submitted this measure to get Tai’s to lose their late-night liquor license, but, hilarious, it wouldn’t even do that. According to some friends of mine who work for the city, even if this non-binding resolution were to pass in the Precinct, Tai’s would be grandfathered in, because they’re already an existing business, and the new ordinance would simply prevent new bars, including wine bars, from opening. Silly Karens, hoisted by their own collective petards. This seems much more like a matter for the Alderman (Local Gay Shame and Cop-Loving Sellout Tom Tunney), or the Department of Business Affairs, or the local Chamber of Commerce to deal with, rather than an issue for the ballot. I’m doubling down on my Vote NO.