Beyond the Race for Governor, This Illinois Election Will Feature Some Big Decisions

Voters heading to the polls this upcoming Election Day in Illinois will undoubtedly know about the race for governor, but there are several other major decisions that will be made as results pour in on Nov. 8.

The balance of the state’s Supreme Court, which brings with it questions over major issues like abortion; races that could determine control over the U.S. House of Representatives; whether or not Illinois’ constitution will change and more could all be decided.

Here are some of the big decisions that will rest in the hands of Illinois voters in this election:

Balance of Illinois Supreme Court to be Decided in 2022 General Election

The Illinois Supreme Court currently has a majority of liberal justices, but with three seats up for a vote this November, the balance of that court, and the fate of countless pieces of legislation, could hang in the balance.

Two seats will potentially see new justices, as the second district and third district will choose between a Democrat and a Republican. The third seat, located in the first district, is a retention vote for Justice Mary Jane Theis, who is slated to take over as the chief justice after the retirement of Anne Burke earlier this year.

As things stand, there are currently four Democrats and three Republicans on the Illinois Supreme Court. The third district seat, currently held by Robert Carter, is in the Democratic column for now, but if that seat flips, then the political balance of the court could change as well.

As things stand now, Democrats hold both remaining seats in the first district, and Republicans currently hold seats in the fourth and fifth districts.

The balance of the court could put into question the future of several pieces of legislation, including one of the biggest national issues – abortion rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a constitutional right to abortion and sending the issue to the states has groups on both sides of the debate focusing more than ever on races this fall for state supreme courts. Whether abortion access is maintained, restricted or eliminated in any state could depend on whether a state’s high court has a majority of Democratic or Republican justices.

Surrounded by states with abortion bans that took effect after Roe v. Wade fell, Illinois is one of the few places where the procedure remains legal in the Midwest.

Abortion-rights supporters are worried that might not last.

“Those are the only things we’re focused on, because whoever wins control of the court will decide whether abortion remains legal in Illinois,” said Terry Cosgrove, president and CEO of Personal PAC, an abortion rights group that has endorsed the two Democrats running for the high court.

In Illinois, Appellate Court Justice Mary Kay O’Brien is raising concerns about abortion rights as she runs against Republican Justice Michael Burke in a redrawn district for a seat currently held by a retiring Democratic justice.

“Now with Roe v. Wade being overturned, women’s freedom to choose in Illinois is at risk,” a recently launched ad for O’Brien says.

Meanwhile, the race for a court seat currently held by a Republican and covering counties northwest of Chicago pits Republican former Sheriff Mark Curran against Democrat Liz Rochford, a judge. Curran touted his opposition to abortion rights when he ran unsuccessfully for Senate two years ago.

On 2022 Illinois Ballots, Voters Will Be Asked About Workers’ Rights Amendment

Illinois ballots in the November election will include a vote on an amendment to the state’s constitution known as the Workers’ Rights Amendment, or Amendment 1.

The amendment will ask voters whether they wish to establish a constitutional right for employees to organize and bargain collectively, specifically to negotiate “wages, hours and working conditions and to protect their economic welfare and safety at work.”

The fate of the ballot measure is being closely watched in Illinois and beyond, as it will gauge public support for the labor movement that has lost ground for years in conservative-led states. Unions and pro-industry groups say it could signal a new chapter in the struggle over workers’ rights.

“If the union wins here, this could be the future of the labor movement,” said Mailee Smith, labor policy director at the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank that opposes the proposed amendment and tried to get it removed from the ballot.

Tim Drea, president of Illinois AFL-CIO, which is pushing for passage, said union counterparts from around the country have been calling him about the ballot measure.

“They are watching this very, very closely,” he said.

Unions and others who support the proposed amendment view it as a way to ensure that workers will always be able to use their collective clout to secure better pay, hours and working conditions. They also say it would prevent the Legislature, should it undergo a shift to the right, from passing a so-called right-to-work law that would allow workers covered by union contracts to not pay dues.

Business groups and conservatives oppose the measure, saying they think it will drive up taxes, give unions too much power, lead to more strikes and prompt companies to leave for more industry-friendly states.

Illinois Races That Could Help Determine Control of U.S. House of Representatives

After gaining control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Democrats are in danger of losing the chamber in the upcoming election thanks to a variety of factors, and five Illinois races could prove key to the efforts of both parties this November.

Currently, Democrats hold a narrow majority in the chamber, with two seats currently vacant.

Under newly-drawn maps in Illinois, there are now 17 House districts in the state, and Democrats are hoping to secure a significant majority of those seats in order to help them maintain their control of the House in the midterms.

Five races could help swing the pendulum at the national level.

They include:

Illinois House District 6: Rep. Sean Casten vs. Keith Pekau

Casten unseated incumbent Rep. Peter Roskam back in 2018, and edged fellow Democratic Rep. Marie Newman in a contested primary earlier this year.

Casten will seek his third term in office against Republican Keith Pekau, who is currently serving as the mayor of suburban Orland Park  Pekau has pointed to the economic progress made in Orland Park under his leadership, and has been harshly critical of Democratic handling of criminal justice issues, including the passage at the state level of the “SAFE-T Act.”

Illinois House District 11: Rep. Bill Foster vs. Catalina Lauf

Democratic Rep. Bill Foster has served in Congress since 2008, serving on the Committee on Financial Services and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. He is a physicist with a bachelor’s degree from Wisconsin and a PhD from Harvard University.

Foster will face off against Republican Catalina Lauf, who served in the Commerce Department during the Trump administration. Lauf has touted her experience in the realm of business, working in both financial services and the tech sector and helping to found start-up companies.

Illinois House District 13: Nikki Budzinski vs. Regan Deering

This newly-drawn district shrank considerably in size from previous elections, but includes parts of Springfield, the Champaign-Urbana area and Edwardsville.

Democrat Nikki Budzinski served as a senior advisor on labor issues for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, and she also served as the chair of the Illinois Broadband Advisory Council, according to her website. She also has worked for numerous labor unions in her role as an activist.

Republican Regan Deering, who hails from the Decatur area, has worked in a variety of fields, including spending time as a teacher, business owner and philanthropist, according to her website.

She has been critical of the Biden administration on issues ranging from voter ID to border security, and has indicated that she would seek to reverse the Affordable Care Act, among other stances.

Illinois House District 14: Rep. Lauren Underwood vs. Scott Gryder

A registered nurse, Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood was elected to Congress in 2018, defeating incumbent Randy Hultgren. She retained her seat by a razor-thin margin in 2020, besting Jim Oberweis.

She has cosponsored 27 pieces of legislation that have become law, and sponsored the Veterans’ Care Quality Transparency Act, which required the GAO to report on contracts entered into by the Department of Veterans Affairs with non-VA entities that relate to suicide prevention and mental health services.

Scott Gryder is currently the chairman of the Kendall County Board, growing up in suburban Plano. He received his law degree from DePaul and a bachelor’s from the University of Illinois-Springfield.

His campaign has emphasized national security by counteracting actions made by Russia and China, and he has pledged to work to cut taxes on small business owners and middle-class workers.

Illinois House District 17: Eric Sorensen vs. Esther Joy King

In the race to replace incumbent Rep. Cheri Bustos, Rockford-native Eric Sorensen will square off against Republican Esther Joy King, who hails from East Moline.

Sorensen, a meteorologist, graduated from Northern Illinois University and has worked at TV stations in Texas, Rockford and Moline. His campaign has emphasized creating sustainable green jobs, protecting abortion rights and strengthening the health care system.

King is a licensed lawyer and a JAG officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. She practices law in East Moline, and focuses on real estate law, according to her website.

King’s campaign has focused on making significant changes to the nation’s immigration system, as well as reining in increases in the national debt and rolling back restrictions on the Second Amendment.

New Secretary of State Will Usher in Real ID Deadline in Illinois

For the first time in nearly a quarter of century, Illinois will elect a new secretary of state this November after Jesse White announced he would not seek a seventh term in office.

White, who replaced former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, had endorsed Cook County Clerk Anna Valencia in the primary, but she was defeated by Democratic rival Alexi Giannoulias in the race.

State Rep. Dan Brady ultimately won the Republican nomination in June.

Whoever wins the election will be tasked with ushering in a major license shift, as the deadline for Real ID’s was pushed to May 3, 2023.

Here are the three candidates who will be on your ballot this November.

Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago

via Local – NBC Chicago

October 20, 2022 at 05:31PM

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