By Dennis Culloton, President & CEO

Labor Day weekend means an unofficial turning of the page from summer to fall, the memory of Jerry Lewis, who was once known as a genius in Paris, and the kickoff of college football.

Every other year it also marks the beginning of the silly season known as the fall elections.

Candidates for Congress, Governor, state House and Senate are already getting a jump on the elections with negative ads. Expect this fall to be a true air war of paid and unpaid attacks by candidates on each other.

In Illinois we have a competitive gubernatorial campaign between a populist Democratic incumbent, Gov. Pat Quinn, and his Republican challenger, first-time candidate, businessman and billionaire Bruce Rauner.  They have stark differences in policy but are spending more of their time smearing each other. However, they both were able to make time for some dancing at the Jackie Robinson West Little League World Series watch party.

The governor’s race is just the undercard to the main bout for Chicago political junkies: the mayor’s race.  Mayor Rahm Emanuel, despite aggressive actions and even more aggressive press release distribution, is facing tough poll numbers.  A recent Chicago Tribune poll shows him trailing an unannounced political challenger, Chicago Teacher’s Union President Karen Lewis.  Emanuel, known as Rahmbo to friends and foes for his take-no-prisoners political style, was put in the ignominious position of denying to Politico that Chicago was the murder capital of the United States. Meanwhile, his camp appears to be attempting to define his opponent with critical, anonymously sourced stories.

With state and city government still trying to erase red ink, whoever wins this fall and next February may need to turn to increases in taxes and fees.

We’ll advise our clients on the lay of the land after the election battles are over. In the meantime, head to the beach this weekend and get in the surf. We may need to get accustomed to keeping our head above water.