Brian Mackey

Brian Mackey covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and a dozen other public radio stations across the state. He was previously A&E editor at The State Journal-Register and Statehouse bureau chief for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

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Illinois primary voters have spoken. This year’s race for governor will be a battle between two of the wealthiest men in the state.

But this outcome almost didn’t come to pass.

Democrat J.B. Pritzker won easily, but incumbent Republican Governor Bruce Rauner barely escaped a humiliating defeat.


Voters will finally have their say in Illinois' primary election Tuesday. It’s been a record-breaking year in terms of political fundraising. That’s largely because of two men. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner spent more than $65 million dollars when he was elected four years ago. As of last week, J.B. Pritzker topped that, nearing the $70 million dollar mark, and that’s just for the primary.

A key difference? Rauner mixes his own money with other donations whereas Pritzker has just one funder, himself.

Polls are open tomorrow from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A mother is suing Illinois and Sangamon County officials for failing to prevent her daughter's suicide.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan today issued a warning to his fellow Democratic legislators … on sexual harassment.

In the past month, Madigan has let go of two key political operatives. Last week, he made public some information about complaints against people in his government office.

Now, he says because of recent meetings with staff, he felt compelled to make the rules “crystal clear" to legislators. He says sexual comments, advances and relationships with staff are inappropriate — whether or not the staffer works for that legislator.

With more student protests expected after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, the ACLU of Illinois is encouraging schools to respect free speech rights.

How would contenders for the state's top legal office have handled the budget stalemate?

An Illinois labor union is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner over an Illinois law. The case — filed Thursday afternoon in federal court — expects bad news for labor in the (potential) landmark Janus v. AFSCME case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Five of the Democrats running for Illinois governor met at a debate Wednesday night in Springfield. Among the prime topics was House Speaker Michael Madigan’s handing of harassment in his political organization.

When out campaigning, Governor Bruce Rauner has been making big claims about lowering taxes. But there was little follow-through in Wednesday's budget proposal.

Gov. Bruce Rauner outlined his plans for the Illinois budget in a speech to lawmakers Wednesday afternoon.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has been campaigning relentlessly against last year’s income tax increase.

But in his annual budget address Wednesday, he'll call for spending the extra money that rate hike has generated.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is scheduled to unveil his fourth budget proposal Wednesday in a speech to the General Assembly.

Illinois lawmakers have only enacted a budget for one of the three years he’s been in office.

That led to service cuts and some layoffs, but the state didn’t collapse. For most people, life went on as normal.

So we asked Statehouse reporter Brian Mackey: Does it really matter if Illinois has a budget?

After one year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the business community is largely pleased with the results: reductions in tax rates and a rollback of Obama-era environmental regulations. But there are concerns about the president's positions on immigration, and the general chaos of the White House.

For more on the business perspective of Trump's first year in office, I spoke with with Todd Maisch, president of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. I began by asking him what, from a business perspective, were the best things to come out of Washington this year.

Peoria Public Radio

An audit issued today shows Illinois government could not properly account for more than seven billion dollars paid to private medical insurance companies.

It comes as Governor Bruce Rauner's administration is planning to expand the program.

Medicaid is Illinois' health care program for the elderly, poor and disabled. And the Rauner administration wants more of it run by private insurance.

But Democratic Rep. Fred Crespo, from Hoffman Estates, says these Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs, are squeezing patients.

Five of the six Democrats running for governor were in Peoria over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. They were making largely similar cases to voters at a forum on criminal and economic justice.

Most of the Democrats running for governor of Illinois have long since come out in favor of a graduated income tax, where wealthier people pay a higher rate on income above a certain amount. But it wasn’t until Thursday that one candidate said what that amount ought to be.

As we get ready to welcome 2018, we thought we’d take a few minutes to listen back to another wild year in Illinois government and politics.

A new law allowing public funding of abortion in Illinois will take effect as scheduled on January 1. That’s after a judge on Thursday ruled against anti-abortion groups who’d sued to block it.

A law taking effect January first is meant to force Illinois government to be more honest about its money problems.

Jeanne / YouTube

The state representative challenging Governor Bruce Rauner in next year’s Republican primary is proposing several changes to Illinois’ pension systems.

Jeanne Ives of Wheaton is calling for three things. First, she want to amend the Illinois Constitution to eliminate protections for government pensions. Second, she wants to enroll all new state workers in a 401(k)-style plan. And finally, she wants to renegotiate pensions as part of an “honest conversation” with both current employees and retirees about the state pension system.

With roughly three months to go until Illinois' primary election, there are seven men seeking the Democratic Party's nomination to be governor of Illinois.

One of the key questions facing primary voters: To counter the vast wealth of incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, do Democrats need their own billionaire at the top of the ticket?

Brian Mackey explores the potential upsides — and downsides — of an ultra-wealthy candidate.

Monday is the last day to submit petitions to run for office in Illinois next year. There are several people who’ve said they’re running for high profile offices, but who have not yet turned in paperwork.

A group of state lawmakers and anti-abortion groups sued the state of Illinois Thursday. They’re trying to block a new law that will allow state money to pay for some abortions.

More than a dozen groups and lawmakers who oppose abortion have filed a lawsuit challenging a new law providing taxpayer-funded abortions.

Monday was an important date on the way to the 2018 elections. It was the beginning of the period when Illinois candidates have to file petitions with, in some cases, thousands of signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Illinois’ senior Republican Congressman has declined to endorse Governor Bruce Rauner in next year's primary election.

AT&T and other mobile phone providers are pushing legislation they say will ease congestion on their networks. But some towns and cities across Illinois are worried it’s really a power grab.

The Illinois General Assembly’s new ethics watchdog can now begin investigating a backlog of 27 cases.

Her husband drove drunk on her motorcycle. Should the state get to take it away?

Gov. Bruce Rauner is declaring victory after the House failed to override a key veto. The bill was a priority of organized labor.