Imagine elected officials the political machines cannot boss and special interests cannot buy.

On March 20, we can actually vote for two unbought, unbossed candidates on the Democratic ballot: Daniel Biss for Governor, and Oak Park’s Fritz Kaegi for Cook County Assessor.

Biss and Kaegi are the worst nightmares for the Democratic and Republican political machines. Both Rauner and Madigan fear Biss the most because as an independent, progressive state senator, Biss knows government, how to build legislative coalitions that break gridlock, and how to make government work for the middle class instead of the super-wealthy and political insiders. They are scared stiff of Biss because he has never been bought or bossed.

I suspect that Rauner would love Chris Kennedy as his opponent since Kennedy has shown he knows nothing about governing or government, openly expressed disdain for people with modest incomes, and displayed his incompetence at governing during his disastrous tenure on the University of Illinois board.

The machine fears Kaegi, the polar opposite of the bought political boss incumbent Joe Berrios. The machine and the super-wealthy fear Kaegi because he’ll end the Berrios Tax on middle-class and modest-income households thanks to under-assessing the most valuable properties and over-assessing our homes, as revealed by exposés in both Chicago papers.

The machine candidates fear unbought and unbossed candidates Biss and Kaegi so much that they are waging vicious smear campaigns against them.

JB Pritzker, the machine’s (i.e. Mike Madigan’s) choice, is using his billions to fill the airwaves and our mailboxes with misleading distortions of Daniel Biss’ voting record — a record Pritzker lacks since he’s never served in public office. He disingenuously and falsely attacks Biss for helping write the pension reform bill that would have helped cure the pension mess, due to decades of neglect by the General Assembly and governors of both parties. Even with the risk that it was unconstitutional (as it was), it was the only bill that could get passed. At least Biss, along with dozens of other legislators including our own Don Harmon, tried to fix the mess while Pritzker and Kennedy sat on the sidelines.

Fritz Kaegi is so unbought and unbossed that incumbent scandalized Assessor Joe Berrios is disingenuously trying to paint Kaegi as supporting the NRA. Berrios’ swift-boat-style commercial falsely implies Kaegi opposes gun control because the company where he worked once invested in a business owned by a guy who has contributed to the NRA. That very tenuous connection is straight from the Bruce Rauner and Richard Nixon smear campaign playbook. This is all Berrios has because Kaegi is clean as a whistle, unbought, unbossed.

Don’t complain in November about the lousy bought and bossed Democratic candidates for Governor and Cook County Assessor when we have a rare opportunity to nominate independent, progressive, unbought, unbossed candidates for Governor — Daniel Biss, the most likely candidate to beat Rauner in November and Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.

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Dan Lauber is a resident of River Forest.

— Dan Lauber, River Forest, was raised on the original unbought, unbossed politician Abner Mikva.

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