Happy Wednesday, Illinois! It was a crushing blue wave—at least in Illinois.
Democrat J.B. Pritzker has been elected governor of Illinois in a race that will be remembered as a referendum on incumbent Bruce Rauner and his Republican Party. Pritzker, who self-funded his campaign to the tune of $171.5 million, won 54 percent to Rauner’s 39 percent. The victory was the tip of a wave that helped lift Democrats to take control of the U.S. House — though in Illinois, that wave was tsunami-ish, crushing Republicans in races up and down the ticket. Democrats flipped two congressional districts their way, swept the state Assembly and took some GOP-controlled county board seats. House Speaker Mike Madigan picked up at least six Democrats —giving his party a supermajority just in time for discussions on redistricting. We’re saying “at least six” because one single, solitary vote separates candidates in the 51st District.
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Let’s start with the governor’s race. Polls weren’t closed an hour when Rauner called Pritzker to concede the race. Pritzker and running mate Juliana Stratton took the stage at the Marriott Marquis by McCormick Place, and Pritzker thanked Rauner for his service. Both men were cordial and left the rhetoric of the campaign behind them.
In a lofty speech, Pritzker talked about the uphill battle to rebuild a damaged state. “Who we are is how we overcome our biggest challenges,” Pritzker told the cheering crowd. “We work to mend broken places. We light the journey from hill to hilltop and recognize that there is grace in the courage to rise.”
With his election, Pritzker becomes the wealthiest politician in the country—beating out President Donald Trump, according to Forbes. Story here
— RIDING THE WAVE TO CONGRESS. Lauren Underwood and Sean Casten contributed to the blue wave that now has Democrats in control of the U.S. House. Underwood edged out Randy Hultgren in the 14th District, and Casten beat Peter Roskam in the 6th. The two veteran Republicans couldn’t overcome the changing dynamics of their suburban districts, which were once GOP strongholds. Note: Dan Lipinski won his Democratic-oriented 3rd District seat against the Nazi Republican Art Jones—though it should be noted Jones got 25 percent of the vote.
— GREAT QUOTE: “I never thought that the second coolest thing to happen this week was meeting President Obama,” Casten said, referring to both his win and meeting the former president at a campaign event Sunday.
— 2 GOP WINS IN CONGRESS. U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and Rodney Davis pulled out victories in competitive Downstate races against Brendan Kelly and Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, respectively.
— ATTY GEN RACE. All that breathlessness was for naught. State Sen. Kwame Raoul defeated attorney Erika Harold, 54 percent to 43 percent. There was buzz that the race was going to be tight.
— STATEWIDE RACES. All won by Democrat incumbents, including state Comptroller Susana Mendoza, state Treasurer Mike Frerichs and Secretary of State Jesse White—who won his sixth term! No, Mendoza made no reference to any plan to run for mayor. That could pop up later this month when petitions are due for that race.
— STATE HOUSE RACES had some upsets, with the most stunning in the 48th District. Democrat challenger Terra Costa Howard defeated Republican incumbent Peter Breen, the GOP’s House floor leader. Breen’s also a pro-life advocate who’s led a lawsuit against the state trying to block HB40, the law that expands taxpayer funding for abortions. Democrats and pro-choice groups had targeted the seat. And Costa Howard, a former Glen Ellyn District 41 school board member, hammered Breen for being out of touch.
In District 45, Democrat Diane Pappas edged out incumbent Republican Christine Winger in this north west district by a mere 220 votes.
In D-49, West Chicago Democrat Karina Villa beat Aurora Republican Tonia Khouri for the seat held by retiring Republican state Rep. Mike Fortner.
In D-53, Democrat Mark Walter defeated Republican Eddie Corrigan. They’re both from Arlington Heights. The seat is currently held by state Republican Rep. David Harris, who backed out of running for re-election.
In D-61, Democratic challenger Joyce Mason of Gurnee ousted Republican state Rep. Sheri Jesiel of Winthrop Harbor.
In D-76, Democrat Lance Yednock of Ottawa beat Republican incumbent Jerry Long of Streator. Long had been accused of sexual harassment, which he has denied.
In D-81, Democratic candidate Anne Stava-Murray beat incumbent Republican state Rep. David Olsen.
A GOP WIN in D-118. The GOP’s Patrick Windhorst defeated incumbent state Rep. Natalie Phelps Finnie, a Democrat.
THIS RACE REMAINS A CONTROVERSY. In D-51, Republican Helene Miller-Walsh has a one-vote lead over Democrat Mary Edly-Allen–25,106 to 25,105. This Lake County seat has been at the center of controversy ever since POLITICO reported former state Rep. Nick Sauer had been accused of posting nude photos of a former girlfriend. When he stepped down, Miller-Walsh was appointed. She’s the wife of Tea Party radio talk show host Joe Walsh. Stay tuned for the outcome of that one.
— STATE SENATE added two Democrats on Tuesday.
In, 24-D, Democrat Suzy Glowiak edged out Republican incumbent Chris Nybo.
27-D, Democrat Ann Gillespie beat Republican Tom Rooney.
— COOK COUNTY RACES of interest: Democrats flipped two Republican commissioner districts to blue. Kevin Morrison defeated Tim Schneider, who along with being a Cook County commissioner is also the Illinois GOP chair. Schneider made some headlines during the campaign when a flyer he sent out was criticized as depicting gay stereotypes—Morrison is gay. The other county surprise: Democrat Scott Britton beat GOP incumbent Gregg Goslin. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle called those and other Dem victories, “historic.” In a statement, she said, “Democrats sent a clear message to President Trump and Republicans–their policies of fear and bigotry are not welcomed in Cook County.”
— FOR THE FIRST TIME in 28 YEARS, a Cook County judge was voted out of office. Circuit Court Judge Matthew Coghlan broke the streak Tuesday with just 52.4 percent "yes" votes, with 79 percent of precincts reporting (he needed 60 percent approval to keep his seat). More here from Injustice Watch.
— GREAT DATA from the Sun-Times. Link here
HOW DEMOCRATS DID IT: A Democratic insider says the success in House races came after months of preparation and “a couple million dollars” spent on vote-by-mail and early-voting efforts pushed by House Speaker Mike Madigan. They were jointly funded by the Democratic Party of Illinois and Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker. They targeted “districts that normally Democrats could not even consider competitive.” Fractures within the Republican Party didn’t hurt, either.
In a statement, Madigan said, “Tonight’s successes were achieved not by trying to divide people, but by looking to what unites us. Not by running from responsibility, but by speaking honestly about the challenges we face. Not by running campaigns built on distractions and personal insults, but by focusing on things like quality schools, creating good-paying jobs, protecting affordable healthcare, demanding equal pay, fairer taxes, and keeping our neighborhoods safe.”
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— ‘Better than jail’ but still disruptive: Electronic monitoring’s effect on young people, by City Bureau’s Lynda Lopez: Story here
— Biz community’s memo to Gov.-elect Pritzker: Stability, please, by Crain’s’ Steven R. Strahler: "CME Group CEO Terrence Duffy acknowledges that Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker may not solve Illinois’ fiscal mess, but he’s cheered by the Democrat’s defeat of Gov. Bruce Rauner nonetheless. So are some members of Chicago’s Republican-leaning business establishment, if only because they think Pritzker’s election — Gov. Bruce Rauner conceded the race just 45 minutes after polls closed — will speed an inevitable reckoning for the state and its massive pension obligations." Story here
— #WhyIDidn’tReport vs. Why I Did, by NPR Illinois’ Maureen Foertsch McKinney: Story here
— Trump’s narrative vs. Pelosi’s subpoenas, by POLITICO’s John Harris and Charlie Mahtesian: Story here
— Trump boasts of ‘tremendous success’ despite painful House defeat, by POLITICO’s Christopher Cadelago and Andrew Restuccia: Story here
— House Dems ready to clash with Trump, by POLITICO’s John Bresnahan and Rachael Bade: Story here
— J.B. Pritzker and Juliana Stratton’s victory party brought out notable names in politics and business, including Pritzker’s friends, attorney Adam Hoeflich and his performer wife, Denise Hoeflich; Chicago Ventures’ Kevin Willer; SPAAN Tech CEO Smita Shah; City Clerk Anna Valencia; and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
Chicago CEO Ken Griffin is listed among Forbes billionaires who have fueled this year’s election. President Donald Trump is not. Story here
Grant DePorter, the CEO and owner of Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group; and philanthropist and political fundraiser Eleni Bousis.
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November 7, 2018 at 06:55AM