Tom Kacich: Jakobsson steering clear of 103rd race

Tom Kacich: Jakobsson steering clear of 103rd race

Gov. Pat Quinn is coming to Champaign on Friday for a fundraiser for Democratic state representative candidate Carol Ammons.

Does Ammons have a chance? Ask Tom here

But one prominent local Democrat still hasn't signed on to Ammons' campaign: the woman whom Ammons hopes to succeed in the Illinois House.

State Rep. Naomi Jakobsson, D-Urbana, said Tuesday that she hasn't decided on making an endorsement in the 103rd House race between Ammons and Republican Kristin Williamson.

"At this point, I'm just sitting on the sideline," she said. "I'm not ready to say what will happen."

In the March Democratic primary, Jakobsson and husband Eric, who serves with Ammons on the Urbana City Council, were outspoken supporters of Ammons' opponent, Champaign attorney Sam Rosenberg (who has since endorsed Ammons).

Ammons' campaign doesn't expect to get Jakobsson's support, said campaign manager Michelle Jett.

"It appears at this time that she wants to stay out of (the race), so we're going to respect her decision," she said.

"We welcome her endorsement if she decides to give it. If not, that's her decision," she said.

Meanwhile, Jett said she believed Quinn had made an offer to the Ammons campaign to attend Friday's fundraiser as a special guest.

Quinn isn't particularly popular in Champaign County or East Central Illinois. In the March primary, the governor got 70 percent of the Democratic vote against Tio Hardiman, a little-known foe who campaigned here once and spent about $44,000 in his campaign to Quinn's $600,000-plus. And the governor lost the Democratic primary in 30 of Illinois' 102 counties, including Vermilion and Edgar.

"He's a Democrat, so we want the support of all Democrats," Jett said of the governor's appearance.

She said she wasn't worried about any political baggage Quinn brings to the Ammons campaign, including his support for a pension-reform law that was opposed by teacher's unions and other public employee groups.

"Everybody has baggage right now, but he is the Democratic candidate for governor, so we support him and he's supporting Carol. We're going to go forward with that," Jett said.

Last week, Ammons had a fundraiser in Champaign attended by Rep. Mary Flowers, D-Chicago, and Jett said the campaign is talking to other Democrats about appearing at local fundraisers for the candidate.

"And we also have a couple other events that we're going to Chicago for. Rep. (Sara) Feigenholtz (of Chicago) is partnering with PersonalPAC (a pro-choice group) to do a fundraiser for Carol in August and we have another representative in Chicago who we're talking to," Jett said.

Friday's fundraising reception is from 5-7 p.m. at the Hawthorn Suites, 101 Trade Centre Drive, Champaign. Tickets are $100 to $500, with a $15 price tag for students and low-income residents.

Durbin and Walgreen Co.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is one of the top recipients of campaign donations from Deerfield-based Walgreen Co. in this election cycle ($8,600 from individuals affiliated with the company and $5,000 from the Walgreen Co. PAC, according to But that didn't stop the senior senator from slamming it for a rumored tax dodge.

The nation's largest pharmacy retailer is said to be considering buying 100 percent of a Swiss-based retailer in order to move its headquarters overseas — on paper, at least — and take advantage of lower taxes.

"Customers have many choices about where to shop and where to have their prescriptions filled. I believe you will find that your customers are deeply patriotic and will not support Walgreen's decision to turn its back on the United States," Durbin warned in a letter to CEO Gregory Wasson. "Nearly all of your $2.5 billion in profits earned last year were from sales to U.S-taxpaying customers. Is 'the corner of happy and healthy' somewhere in the Swiss Alps?"

Tom Kacich is a News-Gazette editor and columnist. His column appears on Wednesdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 351-5221 or

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ilmsff7 wrote on July 23, 2014 at 9:07 am

Ammons has this one in the bag, in spite of silence from the Jakobsson camp because:

1. The 103rd is a liberal district.  Some liberals may not like Ammons, but they dislike the GOP more.

2.  Ammons has a strong grassroots organization that turns out the vote.  The voter turnout will offset any liberals who decide to stay home

Barring the mother of all gaffes, I predict Ammons will get 54% of the vote in November.  Once she wins, she's in as long as she wants - or until the GOP gets to draw the districts.

billbtri5 wrote on July 23, 2014 at 10:07 am

Senator,  it's too bad you are not in a position  to change some of these tax laws...