Good Wednesday morning, Illinois. The swine, cattle and goat shows will be held today

in Springfield, and were not talking about the General Assembly.

TOP TALKER

Sen. Dick Durbin is expected to announce that Nikki Budzinski will challenge Republican Rep. Rodney Davis in the 13th Congressional District.

Budzinski recently left the Biden administration last month, where she was chief of staff in the Office of Management & Budget. Before that she worked for Gov. J.B. Pritzkers administration.

Watch for the news this morning at the County Chairs Brunch on the Crowne Plaza grounds in Springfield. More than 800 Democrats will be in attendance and 400 more will view online, according to McHenry County Democratic Party Chair Kristina Zahorik.

Durbin talked about Budzinskis move Tuesday during a private party in Springfield leading up to todays festivities.

Budzinski has been a familiar name behind the scenes in Illinois politics. A congressional race will put her front and center.

Whats curious: Durbin specifically said Budzinski would run against Davis in the 13th District, which suggests the veteran Republican congressman will be safe in the remap. If thats true, then one of the four other Republican representatives would be edged out as lawmakers redraw congressional districts to align with the states population decline.

Davis, meanwhile, told NBC 5s Mary Ann Ahern that hes waiting to see how the remap unfolds before he announces his next political move. Most recently hes been ramping up his criticism of Gov. J.B. Pritzker on social media, raising suspicions he’d jump into that race if his congressional seat were to be zapped.

THE BUZZ

Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Robin Kelly, who chairs the Illinois Democratic Party, and Reps. Lauren Underwood and Raja Krishnamoorthi have been spotted around Springfield and will headline todays pep rally of Illinois Democrats at the County Chairs Brunch.

But three top Democrats are missing: Gov. J.B. Pritzker says hes spending the morning with his family though hell be at a separate event at the State Fair after the brunch. House Speaker Emanuel Chris Welch is on vacation. And Senate President Don Harmon is home recovering from a breakthrough case of Covid.

Their absence leaves plenty of room for the four secretary of state candidates to take center stage. Theyll each speak to the crowd.

The Democrats Day (tomorrow is Republicans Day at the Fair) has been a long tradition in Illinois. There was a time when Mayor Richard J. Daley would send busloads of supporters to the rally to cheer on Democrats. The event is an unofficial kick-off to the campaign season, allowing Democrats to gauge whether candidates have what it takes to go the distance before an election year fully heats up.

Another tradition is for politicos to hold staggered fundraisers around Springfield the night before the big rally. Last night, secretary of state candidates Alexi Giannoulias and Anna Valencia held their events a block apart from each other. Giannoulias was at Buzz Bomb Brewing with a DJ on hand. Valencia was at J.P. Kellys, right near the train tracks.

Funny anecdote: Just as Duckworth spoke to guests at Valencias event, a train barreled through town, forcing the senator to take a long pause. It seemed awkward, but Duckworth recovered, steering her comments to trains and infrastructure.

Welcome to Playbook: Please say hello to new subscribers Jeannie Biles of Bloomington and Rachael Lund, a member of the Normal town Planning Commission. They hit Tuesday’s fundraisers with the energy of college kids on a pub crawl.

Spotted: Giannoulias stopped by the joint fundraiser at D.H. Browns for state Attorney Gen. Kwame Raoul and state Treasurer Michael Frerichs. Giannoulias has taken heat for giving props to Frerichs GOP opponent in 2014. The two appear to have smoothed things over.

RELATED

PARTY PIVOT: Members of the Democratic State Central Committee approved a new leadership structure to handle state fundraising for non-federal campaigns. The move came after the Federal Election Commission ruled Robin Kelly cant be involved in raising or spending money for state and local office candidates in her role as Illinois Democratic chair. Kellys team proposed a leadership structure that brings more voices into every aspect of the party, she said in a statement announcing the vote. The new structure includes creating advisory committees that will take on the duties Kelly cant oversee.

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WHERE’S J.B.

On the Directors Lawn at the Illinois State Fair at noon with Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton and other Dems for an outdoor barbecue to celebrate Governors Day at the Fair.

WHERE’S LORI

No official public events.

Where’s Toni

On vacation and back in the office Aug. 23.

Covid-19 Update

Chicago mandates masks indoors no plans for state to follow suit:Starting Friday, anyone age 2 and older will have to wear a face mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccine status, Chicago public health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a news conference. She cited the far more transmissible delta variant and its role in pushing the city into the higher risk category of more than 400 new daily COVID-19 cases but she added that residents need not panic, by Tribunes Alice Yin, Josh Noel and Dan Petrella.

As schools reopen, vax rates among teens range from one extreme to the other:Wealthier areas show much higher teen vaccination rates. With no immunization mandate, local districts face a season of uncertainty, report WBEZs Sarah Karp, Susie An, Charmaine Runes

Chicago businesses prefer mask mandate to checking vaccine cards, or new capacity restrictions, by Tribunes Robert Channick, Josh Noel and Louisa Chu

Chicago pharmacist arrested for selling vax cards for $10, feds say, by WTTWs Heather Cherone

COOK COUNTY AND COLLARS

Evanstons reparations plan was heralded but locals say its a cautionary tale:Theres still so much misinformation or lack of information that Black residents here in Evanston still dont understand what this program is. And there are plenty of Black residents that still believe that theyre going to be getting direct cash payments, because thats how the reparations program was framed when it was first introduced in 2019, said Sebastian Nalls, a Black Evanston resident and one of the founders of Evanston Rejects Racist Reparations, a group formed in February 2021 to draw attention to community concerns with the reparations plan, The Guardian reports.

CHICAGO

NEW POLL: Concern over violence rising, Chicago residents unhappy with Lightfoot, Foxx:About 45.9 percent of those polled disapprove of the job Lightfoot is doing as mayor, 42.5 percent approve of her performance and another 10.8 percent are unsure or have no opinion. These numbers represent a shift from the start of the summer. On June 1, Lightfoots approval rating among Chicago voters was 48 percent, according to the WGN News/Emerson College Poll.

Obama Foundation reveals $830M needed to build, operate Obama Center in first year:The Obama Foundation added two mega donors with gifts over $1 million from Bulls legend Michael Jordan and the Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros, by Sun-Times Lynn Sweet.

Ethics, integrity top of mind for residents as COPA launches search for next police oversight leader:Only about a handful of residents turned out Tuesday for the first public forum as the Civilian Office of Police Accountability searches for its next leader, by Sun-Times Elvia Malagón.

With fewer nurses and a pandemic to deal with, city relies on temp nurses agency in Florida:The city awarded a four-year, $4.9 million contract to Sunbelt in 2019, a year after it issued an open request for proposals seeking temporary medical services for various federally funded health programs and initiatives. The contract is entirely funded through federal grants, by WBEZs Claudia Morell.

Squeak, member of West Side hip-hop collective Pivot Gang, shot dead at 26:Colleagues and friends said Squeak made an impression no matter what he did, by Sun-Times Evan F. Moore and David Struett.

TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES

Amtrak-Metra ties are back on track after ruling on Union Station rent:The federal Surface Transportation Board decides that the commuter rail line Metra must fork over an additional $1 million per year, by Sun-Times David Roeder.

Business leaders, residents call for $2 billion in federal infrastructure bill to overhaul West Side transit:A new coalitions proposal calls for $70 million for a new CTA Green Line Western Avenue station, and $55 million to fix the Kedzie Avenue Metra station, among other projects, by Sun-Times Manny Ramos.

SUBSCRIBE TO “THE RECAST” TODAY: Power is shifting in Washington and in communities across the country. More people are demanding a seat at the table, insisting that politics is personal and not all policy is equitable. The Recast is a twice-weekly newsletter that explores the changing power dynamics in Washington and breaks down how race and identity are recasting politics and policy in America. Get fresh insights, scoops and dispatches on this crucial intersection from across the country and hear critical new voices that challenge business as usual. Don’t miss out, SUBSCRIBE. Thank you to our sponsor, Intel.

POT-POURRI

NEW LAWSUIT:Pot shop applicants sue state, claiming they were wrongfully forced to give up lottery spots:It doesnt make sense how they can delay a year and a half and come back more incompetent than when we started, Britteney Kapri, whos partnered in one of the suing firms, said of the states licensing efforts. Sun-Times Tom Schuba reports

THE STATEWIDES

Bye, bye Byron? Exelon prepares to shutter Illinois nuclear plants: Illinois legislators may be back in Springfield soon for another summer special session, to try once again to pass a massive energy package that thus far has proven elusive. The result be it passage of a new law, or a continued stalemate will impact everything from Illinois role in climate change to your energy bill, by WTTWs Amanda Vinicky.

Proposed site for women’s baseball museum in Rockford divides community:Following a 2-and-a-half hour meeting, the citys Zoning Board of Appeals delayed its decision on a request from the International Womens Baseball Center and the Rockford Park District for a special use permit for a multi-phased indoor/outdoor womens baseball museum at Beyer Park, 311 15th Avenue. The museum would be the first of its kind in the world, according to International Womens Baseball Center Board President Kat Williams, by Rockford Register Stars Ken DeCoster.

CORRUPTION CHRONICLES

Prosecutors in ComEd bribery case orbiting Madigan offer no hints on new charges as judge sets trial date for next year: During a telephonic status hearing Tuesday morning, U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber himself tried to pry some information from prosecutors on the possibility of a superseding indictment, but all they would say was that the investigation was ongoing and they were not at liberty to publicly discuss grand jury matters, reports Tribunes Jason Meisner.

DAY IN COURT

R Kellys federal conspiracy trial in New York set to get underway with opening statements today:Kellys lead attorney, Thomas Farinella, tweeted Tuesday night that the public has only heard one side of the story and he and his team looked forward to attacking the case against Kelly in court, by Tribunes Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner.

Former Vernon Hills deputy police chief pleads guilty to writing fake traffic tickets, pocketing more than $4K: As part of a plea deal, Patrick Zimmerman, 51, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor theft tied to falsifying records to obtain money for work he did not perform. The theft was related to a traffic enforcement program, known as STEP, administered by the Illinois Department of Transportation, according to a news release from the Lake County States Attorneys Office, by Pioneer Press James T. Norman.

THE FIFTY

THE FIFTY: Election officials from states across the country are grappling with the long shadow of 2020. They’re even getting Justice Department briefings on death threats, reports POLITICOs Zach Montellaro

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THE NATIONAL TAKE

Bidens approval rating drops below 50,by POLITICOs Playbook

In the Talibans birthplace, rears of what comes next,by Shelly Kittleson for POLITICO magazine

What law school taught Kamala Harris about political change,by POLITICOs Jesus A. Rodriguez

Pete Buttigieg announces he and husband will be parents,by POLITICOs Nick Niedzwiadek

Lawsuit: Kenosha sheriff, city police gave armed civilians license to wreak havoc and inflict injury during last summers unrest, by Tribunes Christy Gutowski

EVENTS

Today, 9-11 a.m.:Democratic County Chairs Brunch

at the Crowne Plaza Springfield.

Today at noon: Governors Day at the Illinois State Fair on the Directors Lawn.

Today, 4-5:30 p.m.: GOP Leader Jim Durkin Happy Hour before the State Fair at J.P. Kelly’s in Springfield. Contact: [email protected] or 630-561-5814.

Today, 6:30-8 p.m.: HRM & SRVF Pre State Fair Party at The Alamo in Springfield. Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

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Thursday, 8 a.m.: GOP State Central Committee and Republican County Chairs Association meeting at the Wyndham Hotel in Springfield.

Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Illinois GOP Chairman Don Tracy, Reps. Darin LaHood,Rodney Davis, and Mary Miller; RNC Co-Chair Tommy Hicks; RNC Committeeman Richard Porter; and GOP leaders Jim Durkin and Dan McConchie headline Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair on the Directors Lawn.

Thursday, 2-4 p.m.: Sen. Jason Barickman State Fair Reception at Franny’s in Springfield. Contact: [email protected] or 815-596-9160.

Thursday, 3-5 p.m.: StateRep. Dan Brady State Fair Reception at Fulgenzi in Springfield. Contact Lori at 773-320-1938 or [email protected].

TRIVIA

TUESDAYs ANSWER: Congratulations to tee ball coach and former Obama advance guy Michael Ruemmler for correctly answering that President Richard Nixon visited the Illinois State Fair

on Aug. 18, 1971, and also went to the Old State Capitol, where he signed legislation making Abraham Lincolns home a national historic site. And h/t to Macon County Democratic Committeeman Ken Wollin for noting that Nixon signed the legislation while sitting at the walnut desk that then-President-elect Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address.

TODAYs QUESTION: Who was known as Illinois Prince of Pork and what famous line did he have to say about it? Email to [email protected]

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Political consultant Kevin Conlon, green energy consultant Scott Cisek, and University of Chicago prof Austan Goolsbee.

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