Wednesday, October 28, 2009

McKenna-Murphy make it official: They are running for Gov and Lt. Gov. and they spell out their campaign themes, including "Springfield outsiders."

Revised at 10:55 am on Wednesday to expand McKenna-Murphy Theme No. 3, below, to include Illinois job growth, which was a very clear emphasis of the McKenna-Murphy announcement and an inadvertent omission from our earlier draft of this post.
Andy McKenna, Jr. made his run for Governor in the Republican Primary official yesterday morning by announcing to a crowd of about seventy-five supporters and ten media members. It was a joint announcement with his running mate, third year State Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), who introduced Andy to the crowd.

The setting was a very nice setting at City Escape, about five miles west of the Chicago Loop. What could be more green than a green house garden center and design studio. That business was created by Chicago Entrepreneurial Center, an organization for which McKenna, Jr. is a founding Co-Chair.

McKenna-Murphy to go up on TV now

All of the above fits with what is being said about the McKenna, Jr. campaign. It is a campaign that will buy a lot of TV time to give McKenna-Murphy a soft, yet solid, feel and look. McKenna, Jr. is said to be planning a multi-million dollar TV buy, starting soon, then breaking for the Holidays in late November and picking up again for a blitzkrieg air war in January.

Andy McKenna, Jr.: A Springfield outsider?

But, to complement the soft-sell, so to speak, about wife, family and church-going man of character and integrity, there will be some "issue," emphasis, as well. The No. 1 theme will be to run against Springfield, thus Andy is being promoted as the Springfield outsider. As he said yesterday morning, to lead off his press availability,

You need an outsider to go down to Springfield who is not vested in any of those [special] interests. … [I was] never a part of that as the State Party chair …I ‘called out,’ those things…What Springfield needs is someone who is going to cut the spending, cut the corruption, restore integrity in government, that’s what’s needed, that’s what I can bring.”

And prior to that, Senator Murphy introduced Andy as being “unlike Springfield.” Kind of like the "uncola." And, “with his business background and outsider perspective, Andy knows how to create jobs; he knows how to balance budgets,” his running mate Murphy told the crowd.

McKenna is running against public corruption

The No. 2 theme will be to run against public corruption. Andy reminded the crowd that in the last 30 years, over 1000 people have gone to jail in Illinois for public corruption.

McKenna is running against tax and spend and for jobs.

The No. 3 theme is to run against an increase in taxes and spending and for jobs.
As Andy urged Springfield yesterday morning, cut the spending because, “you will not get a tax increase from Andy to balance this budget.” [Emphasis supplied]. When Sen. Murphy introduced McKenna, Murphy said,“Illinois is one of seven states with fewer jobs today than we had ten years ago...over the last decade, almost three quarters of a million people have left Illinois." When Andy McKenna, Jr. spoke to his supporters, he said he would "grow jobs," and "he will invite job creators, big business and small to Springfield and get their ideas about how to create an environment for more job growth in Illinois." McKenna emphasized that "Eight of ten new jobs are [from] small business."

McKenna is running on ethics

The No. 4 theme is to focus on ethics. Andy McKenna, Jr. will make his Lt. Gov. running candidate, Sen. Murphy, the chief compliance officer in the Executive Branch. Murphy, a litigation attorney, will establish ethical standards and see that they are fulfilled.

Only promise what you can afford

The No. 5 theme is to “Build a government we can afford.”

Beholden to special interests?

When questioned whether he raised money for the State GOP from special interests, Andy McKenna, Jr. emphasized he would, if elected, “not be beholden to any interests.” He emphasized that Springfield needs a business perspective, a perspective that requires dealing with and solving the problems now, not tomorrow.

McKenna’s friends

McKenna said he will deal with debt and cut spending because he is not trying to “become everybody’s friend.” McKenna, Jr. said he will be friends “with the voters of Illinois who need leadership,” not with the County Chairmen who are looking for jobs.
The McKenna family’s ties to the Dems

Charles Thomas [ABC-7’s political editor] said Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Proft is making an issue of how much money McKenna, Jr. and his family have, focusing on the gap between the McKennas’ personal wealth and struggling people of Illinois. McKenna’s response: “That is politics as usual.” McKenna said that he would focus on jobs and unemployment, not that stuff. [Ed. Note: it appears that Thomas may have gotten Proft wrong because Proft issued a release yesterday focusing on the large amount of campaign contributions Andy McKenna, Sr. gave to Democratic pols, e.g., Mayor Daley and the Madigans, and Proft re-iterated to this reporter that that was his focus, as well as the close ties of McKenna, Sr. to Mayor Daley, not the amount of wealth that the McKenna family has.
Will McKenna pledge not to raise taxes for four years?

This reporter tried to probe Andy McKenna Jr.’s commitment to no new taxes, asking, “Andy, you say you [wouldn’t] raise taxes this year, would you take that pledge not to raise taxes through your entire term, if elected.” McKenna, Jr. responded:

What I am not going to do is put a burden on families when government has done virtually nothing to cut their own spending. I don’t know that anybody even knows the scope of the problem today. Who in this room realizes that this government took 10 billion dollars in debt and moved it to 90 billion dollars in debt. Tom Cross tried to get a list of government programs that he could cut and the state of Illinois couldn’t even give it to him. So, I don’t know that anyone even understands the scope of the problems. What we’re going to do is stand up for the families and go cut spending.

That sounds to this reporter as if McKenna is not saying what he will do, or not do, in subsequent years. Apparently, like Senator Dillard, Andy McKenna, Jr. is not ruling out future tax increases
Free Rides for seniors?

McKenna, Jr. punted on whether he would withdraw “free rides for seniors,” He did say the government kept making promises it couldn’t keep. He would …look at everything we are spending and say, “What is the government we can afford.” So, in short, McKenna didn’t answer that question.
Did McKenna, Jr. abuse his State GOP chair position?

As to Republican Gov candidate Bob Schillerstrom’s allegations that McKenna, Jr. was getting proprietary information [as Party chairman] from the potential candidates at the same time as he was planning to run for something , that’s just “more inside politics.” McKenna tried to move on, saying he is going to talk about job creation, solving the spending problem, solving the corruption problem.

When challenged that he didn’t answer the above question, McKenna said the state party does polls at all times, it does that as it goes forward in election cycles…

Another reporter said, “You are accused of using party resource to help develop your campaign.” McKenna answered the question by saying, “That’s not correct…my opponents are going to throw many stones but that’s not what we are going to deal with, we are going to talk about issues of importance to Illinois voters…their jobs and the fact that people are talking about that means that they are career politicians who don’t have anything to say about jobs.
Outrageous spending that McKenna, Jr. plans to cut?

When asked to give examples of outrageous spending that he plans to cut, McKenna referred to the fact that the State of Illinois budgets 2.5 million dollars for Lt. Gov and nobody is in the office. McKenna, Jr. said Gov Quinn ought to get rid of that budget item. Andy McKenna, Jr. then argued that “Matt Murphy found three billion dollars in cost cuts in the senate deficit reduction committee. There’s plenty of opportunity to go after it. And, just the whole size of government. We’ve got more government than we need.”

This reporter closed the press availability by asking Andy McKenna, Jr: “Senators Brady and Dillard—people say about them that they are the frontrunners, what do you add to this race that Dillard and Brady don’t have? Andy responded:

There’s good people running in this race, but we bring a different dimension. That’s why we decided to run. We really believe you need an outsider to go to Springfield. We believe a business person is the right profile at this point. We’ve not been down there. We’ve not been part of the problem. I think someone who has the conviction to put a stake in the ground on spending. Someone who has the conviction to take whatever political risks are necessary to fix both the fiscal and ethical issues.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at *************************************************************
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