Who replaces Blagojevich as the bad guy now, Rauner or Madigan?

The last time state lawmakers were set to do battle all summer long over the state budget, Republicans and many Democrats at least had a common enemy.

Now the two parties in Springfield are as divided as they've ever been, State Rep. Mike Tryon said.

The Crystal Lake Republican said that when 2007 budget arguments dragged on long enough for the state to risk missing payroll, there was bipartisan agreement: Former Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich was the bad guy.

"That's not the case now," Tryon said.

Blagojevich, now in prison, wanted a massive tax increase, which failed, and unions had to sue the state to get workers paid after July 1. It was infamously tense.

This year, Republicans are mad at Democrats such as House Speaker Michael Madigan for approving a budget that allows the state to spend at least $3 billion more than the state is expected to take in.

Democrats point to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and say he shouldn't use his policy goals to hold up a budget deal.

And so on.

War of words

Rauner on Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton: "With all due respect, they have structured a power system where they control many members of the General Assembly. They're locked into doing the speaker's bidding."

State Sen. Linda Holmes, an Aurora Democrat: "I feel like we're being held hostage by the governor."

In or out?

Will Republican DuPage County Board member Tonia Khouri run for Congress?

U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, a Naperville Democrat, doesn't have a publicly announced opponent yet in the 11th Congressional District.

Khouri spokesman Andrew Edmier wouldn't say if she's going to take the plunge.

"We will be making an announcement soon," Edmier said.

Khouri, of Aurora, serves DuPage County's District 5, which includes parts of Aurora, Naperville Township and Lisle.

Possible Tryon opponent

East Dundee Village Trustee Allen Skillicorn says he's thinking about running for Illinois House. The Republican lives in a district now represented by Tryon.

Skillicorn says he mostly wants to be first in line to try to win a race should Tryon not run for re-election.

For the record, Tryon says he hasn't decided about that yet and that he's talked to Skillicorn about it before.

"That's a decision that's yet to be made," Tryon said.

And another

Disability rights attorney Andrew Straw of Streamwood says he wants to run for Congress as a Republican in the Northwest suburban 8th Congressional District.

Straw made news in 2013 when he gave letters to a number of suburban businesses saying they needed to both change their parking lots to follow disability law and pay him $5,000 because they weren't in compliance.

He ran for Congress in Indiana in 2012. Straw started the race as a Democrat and ended it on the Green Party ticket.

Betting the beef

The traditional friendly sports gambling between politicians has begun now that the Stanley Cup Final games are underway.

As usual, there's a lot of food involved.

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Chicago would give up Eli's Cheesecake to a handful of Florida lawmakers if the Blackhawks lose. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin would give up 312 beer.

U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano said he's betting Portillo's Italian Beef and Graham's chocolates, which has stores in Geneva and Wheaton.

In return, the Florida lawmakers have bet Cuban sandwiches, cigars, orange juice and baklava. But the joke might already be on them.

If their prize is to eat a giant, piping hot beef sandwich on a humid Florida beach, they might become Blackhawks fans before this thing is over.

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