Election Day Results Are Not All That Bad

Election Day Results Are Not All That Bad
By RAY HANANIA • Friday, March 23, 2012 Southwest News-Herald
When I covered Chicago City Hall and my first election in 1979, the press corps there would often leave around lunchtime to eat at a nearby Chinese Restaurant on Wells Street.

Part of the reason was elections were so predictable. The Machine always won. I remember eating Kung Pow Shrimp while Bob Davis of the Chicago Tribune, Harry Golden Jr., of the Sun-Times, Jim Johnson of WLS and Bill Cameron of WMAQ joked the entire time. Being new, I just sat and listened.

But by the time this gaggle of reporters meandered back to City Hall, word was already out through Ald. Ed Burke that then Mayor Michael A. Bilandic was in trouble.

Burke had previously predicted a Bilandic landslide, observing “voters like their aunts but they don’t elect them to public office,” a reference to Bilandic’s challenger, Jane M. Byrne.

Byrne won that night. It took Chicago politics one decade for it to return to “normal.”

These days, reporters don’t hang out in dark Chinese dining rooms. But the tradition of having a good election day lunch moved to a new location, Manny’s Deli on Jefferson and Roosevelt Road.

I love Manny’s corned beef, Matza ball soup and the potato latkes a lot more than the Kung Pow Shrimp.

And Tuesday, Manny’s was packed with politicians coming and going, shaking hands, eying their rivals and just taking a break for the night’s decisions to be announced later that night.

In the old days, we used to turn on the TV News to get the great analysis. These days, the analysis shifted to the Internet, leaving sophomores who never covered City Hall to do the boob tube yapping. People at Manny’s were ready with updates on their iPads.

At Manny’s, the buzz was fat and the corned beef was lean.

I had a chance to say hi to a few of the politicians including some from the Southwest Side like former legislator Bob Molaro and former alderman Mark Fary. I like both of them. Good politicians. Fary was very congenial, reflecting one of the reasons why he didn’t make a great politician. He was too nice and too honest.

Nearby was Circuit Clerk Dorothy Brown, who was battling controversial Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz. Brown has done a great job as Circuit Clerk. Munoz ran mainly as a front man for “fire brand agitator” Congressman Luis Gutierrez.

Munoz lost. I could have told you that before the polls closed since he wasn’t at Manny’s having lunch with the rest of us. It’s his faulty style that makes him a tough candidate to win.

I also got a chance to sit with media pundit Kathy Posner, who has one of the most ingenious minds when it comes to coming up with election campaign stunts to get her clients attention. She sat with Joy Cunningham, one of four candidates running for the Illinois Supreme Court.

Across the room was Cunningham’s rival, Mary Jane Theis, who the polls showed was moving fast to overtake candidate Aurelia Pucinski. Theis had Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s endorsement.

But the only real news was the weather. Once again, Illinois voters slept through an election, resulting in one of the lowest voter turnouts ever. In the past, they blamed the low turnout on freezing cold and snow. But with one of the mildest winters ever, and temperatures in the 80s Tuesday, how can anyone not conclude that tragically, voters just don’t care.

(Listen to Ray Hanania on WSBC AM 1240 or WCFJ AM 1470 every Sunday at 8 a.m. or www.RadioChicagoland.com.) — City & Suburban News-Herald

Categories: Chicagoland Topics, journalism

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