Welcome to campaign season!
Oh sure, 2020 voting ends today, but while we can’t guess how long it might take to finalize those results, we can start looking ahead to 2022.
In two years, we’ll be choosing a U.S. senator (Tammy Duckworth’s term is up), plus a governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer. It’s too early to get serious about guessing which candidates will challenge for those offices, although Duckworth seems likely to seek reelection, while Secretary of State Jesse White announced in August 2019 he wouldn’t seek a seventh term. (Yes, the same White who announced in August 2015 he wouldn’t seek a sixth term.)
The entire U.S. House delegation will be on the ballot as well, as is always the case in an even year. The great unknown is how many seats we’ll lose given population decline expected to be formalized once the census is complete. Once that math is clear, we get to be reminded about the inherent unfairness in the ruling party wielding the power to draw legislative maps. Arguably, nothing is more electorally significant.
In the general assembly, all new 118 House districts must be contested, of course, and in the first general election after each census, the entire 59-seat Senate is in play, too, even the 20 seats just decided in the 2020 cycle.
The Senate districts are broken into three groups so each seat can have two four-year terms and one two-year term each decade before the post-census reset. Group one is four-four-two, group two is four-two-four and group three is two-four-four.
That rotation gives the senator a bit more stability than the House, although lawmakers ending their terms early – not uncommon in Illinois – routinely adds volatility.
Of the 38 senators who weren’t on Nov. 3’s ballot, 15 are Republicans and 23 are Democrats. Eight began serving before the 2010s, including Republican Dave Syverson of the 35th District, who first assumed office in 1993. Ten first won election in 2018 and one was appointed three weeks ago – Democrat Adriane Johnson of the 30th District, replacing Terry Link, who resigned after an income tax evasion arrest.
The business of running the state has far more impact on readers’ lives than the political machinations of election season, but it’s important to understand how campaign considerations can affect legislation and other Springfield decisions. With respect for the understandable fatigue that comes with the end of a bruising federal election cycle – Maryland’s John Delaney announced his presidential bid in July 2017 – we’ll set aside some space here and there to consider how the next ballot shapes up and what that might mean for the average voter.
It’s always campaign season – in Illinois and everywhere else.
• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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November 3, 2020 at 10:53AM