Both the House and Senate were back at the Capitol Tuesday, but legislators predict any breakthrough in the budget impasse will wait until after a political deadline later this month.
Candidates for the March primary election will file petitions to be on the ballot between November 23 and 30. State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) thinks the possibility of getting a challenger from within your own party has made some state lawmakers hesitant to break with their leaders and call for greater compromise to get a budget passed. He's been telling his own constituents not to expect a budget deal until December.
"More than likely, there were many legislators who were going to wait, or not possibly going to wait, but were feeling a need to wait until after petitions due to whether they were going to be primaried, due to somebody coming after them," Cullerton said. "There's a lot of campaign money out there right now, and that's sort of a detriment to the whole process actually, if you ask me."
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Three political committees with ties to Gov. Bruce Rauner--his own Citizens for Rauner fund, and independent expenditure committees IllinoisGO and Turnaround Illinois-- hold more than $31 million combined, and make three of the top five most well-funded political committees in the state.
Cullerton says his personal voting record hasn't been affected by those concerns, saying due to his district lying mostly in the traditional Republican stronghold of DuPage County, "I don't get an easy election."
State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) doesn't think the petition filing date has held back Democrats from working on a budget solution, saying the majority party has always been willing to negotiate.