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.
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.