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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.


Ben Feldheim 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 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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