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State Senate: The Tribune Tells You Who to Vote For

The Tribune likes two Democrats and one Republican in the Southland's State Senate races. Hutchinson, Cunningham and Montalvo are endorsed.

The editorial board of the Chicago Tribune just wrapped up its endorsements for State Senate candidates, giving the nod to two Democrats and one Republican in Chicago’s south suburban districts — the 18th, 19th and 40th.

In the 18th, Barbara Ruth Bellar seems built for Tribune favor — or a talk show — but the endorsement went to Democrat Bill Cunningham.

, a pro-business underdog, won the paper’s backing over Democrat Michael Hastings of Orland Hills. Both are military men — Montalvo served two Army tours in Iraq; Hastings graduated from West Point and served one tour.

And the Trib held its right-leaning nose and gave thumbs up to Democrat Toi Hutchinson in the 40th over Frankfort Republican “Tuck” Marshall, who was slotted into the race by the GOP so Hutchinson wouldn’t be running unopposed. The Trib liked how Hutchinson cozied up to Hinsdale Republican Kirk Dillard to hike fees on local strip clubs.

Says the Tribune:

18th District: Republican Barbara Ruth Bellar, of Burr Ridge, has a fascinating resume — doctor, lawyer, college professor, Army Reserve veteran, former nun — and a future in stand-up comedy, based on the hilarious viral video in which she lampoons President Obama's Affordable Care Act. But in a head-to-head Tribune interview with Democratic Rep. Bill Cunningham, of Chicago, he had a better command of state issues. … The candidates aren't that far apart on most issues. On pension reform, both zeroed in on compounded cost-of-living increases as a big driver of the state's unfunded liability. Cunningham would remove compounding; Bellar would cancel the COLAs entirely. Bellar opposes a plan to shift the cost of teachers' pensions to local school districts; Cunningham says the state should pick up the pension cost for the first $40,000 of salary. Cunningham has a strong record of advocating for ethical reforms. He refused to participate in the scandal-ridden legislative scholarship program and proposed a constitutional amendment aimed at removing politics from the selection of judges. Cunningham is endorsed.

19th District: Michael Hastings, the son of longtime Orland Hills Mayor Kyle Hastings, won the Democratic primary by defeating a Tinley Park trustee who was backed by retiring Sen. Maggie Crotty. … Republican Edgar Montalvo, of Tinley Park, owns a consulting firm that manages reconstruction projects overseas, a business built on his 30-year military experience, including two deployments in Iraq. It's disturbing to see a school board member — Hastings — say it's "unfair to keep establishing charter schools." That sounds like a plea to protect the status quo. Montalvo, who says Illinois "is a hostile place to start or expand a business," has sound ideas to encourage job growth. Montalvo is endorsed.

40th District: We disagree with Sen. Toi Hutchinson, D-Olympia Fields, on many things. We'll give her this: She took on the tough challenge of sponsoring legislation to keep Sears and Chicago's financial exchanges in the state. She teamed up with Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard on a bill that imposed fees on strip clubs to pay for domestic violence programs. Republican Joseph C. "Tuck" Marshall of Frankfort is a retired CEO of a tech firm who was drafted by the GOP after the March primary. … When he was asked how he'd balance the state budget, he said "Until I'm there, I can't tell." We'll give the nod to Hutchinson.

In State Senate races statewide, the Trib endorsed 17 Republicans, six Democrats and in five districts, the board could find no reason to choose either candidate.

Wondering why you should pay attention to the Tribune endorsements? The editorial board explains. Wondering who sits on that board? Take a gander.

And if you’ve been looking for the Sun-Times endorsements, the tabloid stopped doing that this year. The paper says you can make up your mind without its help.

Do newspaper endorsements influence your vote? Do you appreciate their arguments and insight or dismiss them as biased shilling? Did the Tribune make the right call?

Share your views in the comments.


Darnell October 18, 2012 at 01:12 AM
The Sun-Times doesn't need to make endorsements. That rag just from their columnists and their editorials have shown they are so far left the word right isn't in their vocabulary, Lets not forget PATCH which collects it local news from the Southtown-Star, which is owned by parent company Sun-Times Media Group! Oh,,,not to mention,,,PATCH which is owned by AOL corporation. Seriously,all so left leaning it isn't funny!
Ryan Fitzpatrick (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Most of our local news is produced by our own editorial staff—and most local news isn't partisan. As for AOL, they've yet to send me a coverage mandate.
Bob October 18, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I am a conservative and a Republican. I grew up with Bill Cunningham and he is a great guy even if he is a Democrat. With that being said, Lemont residents can't vote for him anyways because we are not in the 18th district.
Ccitizen428 October 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
I don’t know why people keep trying to associate Sen. Hutchinson with Speaker Madigan. Mr. Madigan is Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Toi Hutchinson is in the State Senate. They are two entirely different legislative bodies. As for the implication that she’s a slave to her party’s wishes, the Tribune endorsement points out at least one example of Sen. Hutchinson working with Republicans to craft and pass legislation. In fact, I believe she is known for her ability to work with people on either side of the aisle to get things done for her district and the state. What do we need in such difficult times? An experienced legislator with the ability to get things done, or her opponent, who when faced with the tough questions like balancing the budget, says : "Until I'm there, I can't tell."
Ben Feldheim (Editor) October 18, 2012 at 03:17 AM
A recap of the political choices by an area daily newspaper that still makes endorsements, and therein pointing out that we don't endorse nor does the Sun Times, is somehow proof that both Patch and the Sun Times are left-leaning. A flawless argument if I've ever read one.
Will County Resident October 18, 2012 at 05:42 AM
Her "example" of working with other lawmakers was another chance for her to raise taxes. Of course she jumped at it. Show me an example of her saving the taxpayers money across the aisle. She certainly had no problem raising state income taxes 67% as well. Michael Madigan controls the money for the party. She received over $230,000 in campaign donations from Illinois Democrats. You don't get that support from the party unless you do exactly what they want.
Ed October 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Tribune right leaning? Wow they have always been super liberal look at the endorsements over the years.
Christopher Paicely October 18, 2012 at 12:13 PM
Simmer down, boys.
New Lenox Mom October 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Will County Resident doesn't want his strip clubs taxed!
Adam Borrelli October 18, 2012 at 01:16 PM
In 2008, Obama was the first democrat the Trib had endorsed in its 100+ year history.
Chronicles of Bob October 18, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Adam, I think he is talking aboutthe 100 years prior...
Will County Resident October 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
New Lenox Mom wants the government to take all of our money. They know how to spend it better than we do, right?
Mike Fangman October 18, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Typical überconservative reaction. You're either with us or against us.
Archiesmom October 19, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Maybe WCResident has a new way to fund things like roads and schools?
Archiesmom October 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
WCResident: How about the expansion of the earned income tax cedit, which benefitted middle class families? Ot voting to cut legislative pay four years in a row? And on the non-tax front, how about the positive things, like being instrumental in the Iliana Expressway, which will create thousands of jobs? Oh yes, and as for the Democratic donations? Last election cycle Republican candidates and committees donated more than $220,000 to her opponent - why shouldn't the Democrats respond in kind to try to keep that seat?
Bob October 22, 2012 at 06:14 PM
The Tribune's endorsement process is pretty much an insider joke. In the past, candidates up for a Trib endorsement had an oppportunity to make their case to the whole board...now they left the endorsement process to well known Dem supporter Kristen McQueary who used to be the politcal reporter for the Southtown. Ms McQueary actually has provided counsel and poltical advice to my opponent when she ran for the state house two years ago.. After she beat Madigan's union boss (and non-Irish) candidate in the primary, Kelly Burke joined "Team Madigan" and he gave her over $30K, steered a lot of union money her way, and protected her from primary competition this time around. Kristen's write up in the 36th was pretty funny. She said Kelly beat Madigan's guy in the first primary, couldn't name anything significant she'd done in her two years in Springfield, had a "few good ideas" for pension reform, yet she said somehow Ms Burke "earned" the Trib endorsement. She must have had some pangs of remorse, because she wrote I was a "budget whiz" and a "true fiscal conservative" who she wished was "running in another district." (where she didn't have a friend running?) I guess Kristen thinks someone beating a Madigan guy in a primary befoire joining him is more important than endiorsing a "budget whiz" to represent the 36th in Springfield. ....and the Trib wnoders why it circulation is plummeting!
Rob P October 22, 2012 at 06:49 PM
So if i read it correctly on Mr Hastings information page here on Patch.. Hasting is in favor of consolidating the school districts. He willl vote to put them together. Doesn't matter how careful he does it, this will be a trainwreck.
Emily October 22, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Resident - Show me an example of the Republicans saving tax payers money? They spend equal if not more than the democrats do. Republicans speak of small government yet always seem to fail at making it so.
Emily October 22, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Resident - Madigan does not give Senators a cent. That would come from the Senate President who is not Speaker Madigan.
Bob October 22, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Emily, you're dead wrong about Madigan not "giving a cent" to Dem Senator candidates. Madigan runs most of the well funded political funds in Illinois, including his "Democratic Party of Ilinois" fund. NOBODY gets money from this or any other Dem political fund without kissing Madigan's ring. The same goes with all the other special interest groups in the state such as the Trial Lawyers associotion, the various teacher and public union PACS, and the gaming and public construction PACs. Madigan tells them to whom he wants checks sent, and to what amount, and they take out their pens. C'mon, Emily, being a good Dem you should know that!
Bob October 22, 2012 at 07:59 PM
You're missing the point, WCR. Kristen McQueary, who interviews the candidaates and makes the recommendations for whom the Trib endorses with their "rubber stamp" is a personal friend of the Toi, as with many other South Side Dem candidates. She has to look to her future. This Tribune gig won't last forever, and most former liberal Southtown reporters wind up on Dem political staffs. Dennis, how did you miss out on those opportunities?LOL
Bob October 22, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Maybe WCR doesn't, Archie, but I sure do. We should fund roads through the motor fuel taxes we pay on gasoline, and fees charged for heavy loads like trucks, There's more than enough money collected through these taxes to meet the real needs, but the Dems keep on doing "fund sweeps" in order to pay for their corrupt and overly generous pension benefits and creating unnecessary "pork" construction projects to reward their union and contractor campaign contributors. School funding? It's pretty simple. We fund the students and not the public school bureaucracy. Each community should make the revenue for each student available to them and give them a scholarship for that amount to every student in their district. This would quickly drop the cost per pupil down to about 75% of the current costs, and create a truly entreprenuerial education system that will be driven by service to the students rather than benefit to the bureaucracy. Oh, sad to say the days of teachers being able to retire at age 55 with six figure pensions and six figure per year gym teachers would be gone like the wind! What a shame!LOL Any other questions, Mom?
Will County Resident October 23, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Emily, saving money would be voting to not increase the state income tax 67%. That is the easiest example right there, and it was in my introduction. Read next time. As for the money from Madigan, he is head of the party in Illinois, all of the money comes from him.
Will County Resident October 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Schools are funded with property taxes covering the majority of costs in Will County. I have a feeling roads too. We were doing fine before the 67% increase, and now Chicago blew all of the money and are taxing us for more.
Dennis Robaugh (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 04:32 AM
Bob ... I worked with McQueary for 10 years, and I honestly couldn't tell you what her personal political leanings were. She skewered a fair number of Democrats and Republicans alike in those years. I suspect you keep engaging in this unseemly egg-tossing here because she had your number a long time ago.
Ben Feldheim (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I think it's time you started your own publication. You clearly know how to do this better than us.
Bob October 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Actually, Dennis, she wrote a number of columns that castigated those working to keep me off the ballot a few years ago. I've spoken to her a number of times on political issues, and she does "have my number" (phone, that is!). I think you were an editor at the Southtown at the time. You're right about her "having my number", if you mean she knows me. In her write up in the Southtown, she called me a "budget whiz" and a "true fiscal conservative" and she "wished I was running in another district", ostensibly to endorse me where she didn't have a friend running. Kristen is extremely bright and knowledgeable, but just can't seem to be objective when it comes those who are her friends in politics. "unseemly egg tossing"? That's a new one on me. Did you pick that one up when you were employed at the Southtown?
Bob October 25, 2012 at 12:58 PM
Sorry, Ben. I've got more important things to do. You know, working on projects to lower gas prices and making the US energy independent, creating affordable housing. Stuff like that. Doing the job that a gaggle of writers and editors who were fired from print media have to do for a living is not is not really high on my priority list.LOL
Ben Feldheim (Editor) October 25, 2012 at 03:31 PM
You sound pretty busy. You're probably excellent at time management too, as you're able to fit copious commenting into your schedule. I guess what we do isn't all that relevant or meaningful to you. That must be why you comment as often as you do. And for a guy who says he's interested in building back up the economy and jobs, I'm not sure why you'd knock journalists for moving to online when the opportunity arose, especially when print jobs are fewer and fewer. You might consider spending some of your time on the usefulness of innovation in job creation.
Bob October 26, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Ben, I'm very happy that the staff of the Patch have been able to find gainful employment. You've been more fortunate than about 23 million other Americans during the Obama depression! What you do is give sparks to a fire, and then fan the flames to make it burn. That's fine. But don't forget that the reason people keep coming to the Patch is to see what posters write, not what the "author" created, because generally what's in the original story on the Patch is weak on facts, important details, and sufficeint reasoning for readers to form an opinion. That's your "model". I guess over the years I've been spoiled by good reporting and columnists. I was an avid reader of Mike Royko in the day, and he was truly an "equal opportunity" basher. He did it with humor and irony. The current generation of "journalists" seem to be there to promote a leftist, Democratic agenda, and give a "pass" to those supporting that agenda. Unbiased articles giving citizens enough info to form an opinion is almost non-existent. I guess I just see what the Patch COULD BE and wonder why it isn't at that place. Sorry. Maybe I expect too much form the staff at the Patch.

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