Will Ira Run Again?

Residents of the 8th Senatorial District could learn as early as Monday, November 27, whether or not Ira Silverstein will stand for re-election. That’s the first day on which candidates running as members of “established political parties” can file nominating petitions. The last day on which such candidates can file their nominating petitions is Monday, December 4.

Voters and other interested parties have until Monday, December 11, to file objections to those nominating petitions.  The open primary election will take place on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Vote-by-mail, however, begins on February 8, the first day on which ballots will be mailed to voters.

It’s hard to tell what Ira will do. The allegations against him were explosive, but the published transcripts suggest a silly flirtation rather than sexual harassment, and Ira’s accuser too often initiated the improper exchanges. What’s troubling is that he was in a far more powerful position than she, and clearly should have known better. But it’s equally clear from the evidence that Ira’s not a player. My guess is that he won’t want to face a primary defeat after 18 years in office, so if his polls reveal he has a fighting chance at re-election, I think he’ll take it. If polls show a likely defeat, he won’t run.

The accusations have left him vulnerable. Whether any of the announced or surprise candidates can establish themselves as better representatives for the sprawling district remains to be seen.  Candidates seeking votes on ethnic or religious grounds should be discouraged.

This may well turn out to be a case of voters choosing Ira because they know him and don’t find much in the accusations that warrants a vote for someone else.

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5 thoughts on “Will Ira Run Again?

  1. Follies, you underestimate the depth of Ira’s sexual transgression. A “silly flirtation,” you say? The target of Ira’s harassment is a Springfield lobbyist, and Ira killed a bill she was supporting when he suspected she had a boy friend, and would cease being his phone playmate. Ira’s career in the General Assembly has been devoid of achievement. At least if he leaves office because of this incident, he may have contributed to an improved work atmosphere for other females.

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    • I do not condone Ira’s behavior. The fact that he had the power to kill her bill and used it is the reason his tenure as Democratic Caucus leader was ended. But his behavior doesn’t rise to the Harvey Weinstein level of sexual harassment. I don’t mean to minimize his transgressions. They’re serious. Far more serious is what they reveal about the atmosphere in Springfield. Has either of them done this before? Is the focus of this investigation this recent incident only? If female lobbyists have to use their sexuality to get a bill passed, then Illinois residents have some serious housecleaning to do come March and November.

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  2. The sad thing is that his reputation didn’t really take a hit unless you follow politics. He will run and win. He shouldn’t win because the state is a disaster and his couple of decades of poor leadership has contributed to that. Still, his pension is secure. On a separate note, supposedly if Deb wins this time around then she becomes eligible for a pension. So the reason I mention this, is that the taxpayers will be funding the clan to a tune of a few million dollars by the time it is all said and done.

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    • You are absolutely correct. Both Silversteins will get fat pensions if she’s re-elected, another reason to vote for somebody else. Under current law, alderman get a pension equal to 60% of their final salaries. Debra currently earns $116,208. I don'[t know if she takes advantage of a special provision for aldermen, but they can contribute an extra 3% of their annual salaries to their pension, and retire at 80% of final salaries after 20 years of service. The additional pension contribution buys them additional years of service that they don’t actually have to work. Oh–and their pensions are partly funded by the 20.5% tax on water and sewer bills that the Mayor levied earlier this year. All perfectly legal. Who says our aldermen lack imagination? They sure know how to take care of themselves.

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    • >>>…taxpayers will be funding the clan to a tune of a few million dollars by the time it is all said and done.<<< Here's a conflict of interest that ought to incense 50th Ward taxpayers. Ira has supported and voted for the platinum-plated pensions and enhancements that he and Mrs. Silverstein will receive. And for decades voters have shrugged off such conflicts because that's the way Illinois politics works.

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