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Guns, Bloomberg point to a Cook County gov's primary

Will gun control and Big Gulp Bloomberg play in Peoria for Bill Daley and Pat Quinn?

Okay, it turns out that they may play well in Richmond. But let's talk about the 101 Illinois counties that are not called Cook. Both gubernatorial candidates the other day may have indirectly sent a message to Democratic voters outside of Cook County that their support will not be needed in 2014.

As I wrote in today's paper, Quinn on Tuesday tried to establish his gun-control bona fides with an amendatory veto of the concealed carry bill that state lawmakers painfully hammered out to meet a court deadline that strikes down Illinois' long-standing ban. But just prior to that, Daley tried to steal some of Quinn's finely-orchestrated thunder by rolling out an endorsement from outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Chicago loves gun control – for all the good it's done them – and they love the nanny state championed by the likes of Bloomberg where every activity is governed by some sort of law. The rest of Illinois? Not so much.

I've lived downstate – I worked for two downstate newspapers before coming here in 2000 – and let me tell you that it's hardly a hotbed of raging liberalism. As one state representative once told me, downstate Democrats are pretty much Republicans who support unions.

And believe me, they are big fans of the Second Amendment. Don't get me started on how they feel about nanny-state laws.

Speaking of the rest of the state, Rockford's mayor pretty much got a standing ovation a few weeks ago when he told his audience that he left the Bloomberg group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, after coming to the realization that the word "illegal" was just thrown in there for show.

Cook County, for obvious reasons, is vital to Democrats running for statewide office – remember that Quinn in the 2010 election carried Cook and only three other counties. "Four-County Quinn" may this time be only Three-County Quinn, because one of the four that Quinn carried is home to Tamms prison, which Quinn wants to close.

Time will tell how much attention – if any – Quinn and Daley give to Democrats elsewhere or their concerns. But gun control and a Bloomberg bromance out of the 2014 starting gate do not bode well for the wants and needs of downstate.

• MEMORIES OF ROD: Quinn's news conference on Tuesday was somewhat reminiscent of his predecessor, former Gov. Federal Inmate 40892-424 (formerly known as Rod Blagojevich).

Inmate 40892-424 was famous for being MIA as important legislation was being developed, changing that legislation through his infamous "Rewrite to Do Right" amendatory veto program, and holding news conferences to slam the General Assembly, Republicans and fellow Democrats alike.

A few of our local lawmakers who I talked to for my story in today's paper picked up on that.

"It's not productive in the relationship between the legislative chamber and the executive branch when the executive branch comes in at the last minute and trashes what you've done," Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, told me.

Rep. Jack Franks, D-Marengo, who is not particularly well-known for restraint when it comes to talking about the performances of our governors, was blunt about channeling Inmate 40892-424.

"It worked out real well for him," Franks joked.

The Vegas odds among Illinois political journalists is that both the House and the Senate will override Quinn's changes. After that news conference, I'm betting a few of those votes will be on general principle.

Nearly every one of our local representatives in Springfield told me that Quinn knows his veto is doomed, and that it was done for political purposes. My guess over the five weeks that Quinn had the bill was that he was intentionally slow-playing it to give municipalities time to enact bans on semiautomatic assault-style weapons.

Which, of course, brings us to Richmond ...

• ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN? As reporter Emily Coleman wrote in today's paper, the Village of Richmond will contemplate an assault weapons ban tonight – the concealed carry law gives municipalities a 10-day window to do so once it's passed.

If trustees succeed, and their ban survives the inevitable lawsuit, will a Bloomberg-esque ban on large sugary drinks in Richmond be next? It's not a far drive to Spring Grove or Johnsburg to get a jumbo Mountain Dew.

If you go tonight, the Richmond Village Board meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 5600 Hunter Drive. Local bloggers have picked up on our story and the Illinois State Rifle Association sent out an alert, so it could be interesting.
Senior Writer Kevin Craver can be reached at kcraver@shawmedia.com

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