Stories by Amanda Vinicky

Money and Accusations Fly in the Race for Illinois Governor

With Election Day just two weeks away, controversy is swirling in the race at the top of the ticket – a race that’s breaking records when it comes to self-financing.

Pritzker, Rauner Release Partial 2017 Tax Returns

(Chris Potter / Flickr)

J.B. Pritzker is on track to spend his entire 2017 income on his gubernatorial campaign, while Bruce Rauner has spent roughly half his annual income on the race, tax forms show.

Final Debate for Rauner, Pritzker Takes Place in Quincy, Site of Legionnaire’s Outbreaks

Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 14, 2017 and March 14, 2018, respectively.

Democrats have been highly critical of the Rauner administration’s handling of the Legionnaire’s outbreaks, but the governor insisted during Thursday's debate that action was “immediately taken.”

‘Boys, Boys’: Rauner, Pritzker Get Nasty in Debate

JB Pritzker, left, and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear in a debate before the Chicago Sun-Times editorial board Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

The latest joint appearance by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger JB Pritzker came Tuesday before the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Activists Respond to Van Dyke Verdict: ‘We Got Closer to Justice’

Tanya Watkins of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation

Community activists and organizers on Friday began gathering outside City Hall before the verdict was announced in the murder trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Rauner, Pritzker Square Off in Second Illinois Governor Debate

Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 14, 2017 and March 14, 2018, respectively.

Illinois’ leading candidates for governor had to tackle fresh controversies as they faced off Wednesday night in a one-on-one debate.

Opt-In, Opt-Out: Controversy Over Automatic Voter Registration

Voting rights advocates have accused Secretary of State Jesse White of failing to properly implement Illinois' new automatic voter registration law. 

Candidates for Illinois Governor Face Off in First Debate

Gov. Bruce Rauner and J.B. Pritzker appear on “Chicago Tonight” on Aug. 14, 2017 and March 14, 2018, respectively.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker traded barbs Thursday evening in their first matchup heading into the Nov. 6 general election, some 6.5 weeks away.

Sweeping Changes for Chicago Police Department Nearly Finalized

“Today is an historic day for the city of Chicago,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. “This morning, we have filed a proposed consent decree with the federal court that will lead to real and lasting reform of the Chicago Police Department.”

A document promised to result in “real and lasting reform” for Chicago police is in the hands of a federal judge. The latest on the consent decree.

Chicago Mayor’s Race: Gutierrez Out, Garcia ‘Taking a Closer Look’

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez announces Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018 that he will not run for Chicago mayor. (Chicago Tonight)

There may soon be tidal waves in the race for Chicago mayor, should Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle run, or should County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia take a second shot at the city’s top job.

Top Cook County Leaders Eyeing Chicago Mayor’s Race

Toni Preckwinkle appears on “Chicago Tonight” on Oct. 16, 2017.

As Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle presided over a regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday, loyalists were beginning to circulate petitions to nominate Preckwinkle for Chicago mayor. 

With Emanuel Out, Who’s In? The Wide-Open Race for Chicago Mayor

“Now with our three children in college, Amy and I have decided it is time to write another chapter together,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 with his wife Amy Rule by his side as he announced he would not seek re-election.

It’s been nearly a week since Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the shocking announcement that he won’t run for a third term. We survey the political landscape.

Obama Takes Aim at Trump, Republican Party Elites

“What happened to the Republican Party?” former President Barack Obama asked during a speech Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 in Urbana, Illinois.

In a fervid speech, former President Barack Obama accuses his successor and GOP elites of appealing to tribalism and fear “because it helps them maintain the status quo and keep their power and their privilege.”

Chicago Police to Document When They Point a Gun

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson talks Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018 about a new agreement for tracking gun-pointing instances in the police department. (Chicago Tonight)

The city and state reach agreement on a plan to track instances in which Chicago police officers point a gun at someone. But not everyone’s happy about it.

Van Dyke Case: Protesters Call for Justice as Murder Trial Begins

Protesters gather outside the courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue on Sept. 5, 2018, day one of the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. (Chicago Tonight)

Four years after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, the trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with his murder, is underway. Scenes from day one of the trial.

Mayor Emanuel Won’t Run for Re-election. What That Means for Candidates.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel appears on “Chicago Tonight” on June 28, 2018.

Winning a third term wasn’t ever going to be easy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. But the dynamics of the race quickly went topsy-turvy with Emanuel’s announcement that he won’t be on the 2019 ballot.

12 Arrested After Attempting to Shut Down Kennedy Expressway

For the third time this summer, activists used major roadways in an effort to shine a light on the violence plaguing Chicago’s South and West Sides. 

Will Protesters Defy Police and Shut Down the Kennedy Expressway?

The Rev. Gregory Seal Livingston on July 24, 2018 announces plans for an anti-violence protest Aug. 2 along Lake Shore Drive. (Chicago Tonight)

Police say there’ll be no tolerance for traffic disruptions this Labor Day, despite a planned protest to shut down portions of the Kennedy Expressway on Monday.  

Employee Accuses Pritzker Group of Union-Busting

A docent for Seadog Cruises is pushing to unionize, but he says Seadog’s parent company, Entertainment Cruises, is trying to quash the effort.

How Illinois is Spending its VW Settlement Windfall

The state is set to receive more than $100 million in a settlement from Volkswagen after the automaker admitted to cheating on emission tests.

Pot as a Painkiller: New Law Aims to Curb Opioid-Related Deaths

A law signed Tuesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner opens access to cannabis to a new raft of patients—anyone who would otherwise be prescribed an opioid.

The Battle for Union Members Begins

It’s been two months since the U.S. Supreme Court came out with its landmark Janus v. AFSCME decision. Now, on to the next front in the battle over the future of public employee unions.

Why Chicago’s Hedging on a City-Owned Casino

Chicago’ and Illinois’ budgets could both use extra padding – money for schools, and to pay pension debts. One option? More gambling. But just what are the chances? 

2018 Governor’s Race: Fundraising Nears $250 Million

(Ken Teegardin / Flickr)

Total fundraising in the Illinois governor’s race approaches a quarter-billion dollars. What that means for both parties.

Democrats Fire Up Their Base at Annual State Fair Rally

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan addresses the crowd at a Democratic Party breakfast in Springfield on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018.

Democrats are on the attack as they campaign at the Illinois State Fair. We have a live report from Springfield.