The implicit promise to readers of Eye On Illinois is twofold: first, to consider the entire state, not merely its concentrated urban/suburban population; and second, a focus on government, not politics.
As such, a Chicago mayoral election might seem off target. But consider the influence people like the Daley family have had in Springfield over generations, or the more recent public clashes between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Then weigh the reality that politics are essential in establishing who gets to run the government.
For the former, I commend “Chicago’s mayor still matters in Springfield – but not like it used to,” by Bloomington Pantagraph state government reporter Brenden Moore (tinyurl.com/MayorMatters), an excellent historical analysis that leads to the natural confusion: Gov. JB Pritzker is the state’s top Democrat.
Pritzker is indisputably a Chicagoan, but his notable refusal to endorse either candidate who survived the Democratic party signals the shift Moore observed: the party branched beyond Cook County, strengthening its suburban roots and cementing powerful Statehouse majorities. That strategy has yielded broad political benefits and also, as Moore wrote, means “elected officials were not shackled to the city’s political organization or its leader.”
Many politicians who endorsed Tuesday’s loser during the runoff campaign came from older days of Democratic operations: former Gov. Pat Quinn, former Secretary of State Jesse White, former Obama cabinet official Arne Duncan, former Illinois Senate President Emil Jones. Those backing the winner are in large part sitting officials.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth endorsed the incumbent in the primary, then stood down. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin didn’t have a primary pick, but backed the loser in the runoff. Pritzker never supported anyone.
In order for Durbin to face political consequences, he’d have to seek reelection in 2026, a vote scheduled shortly before his 82nd birthday. But the dynamics of those three offer insight as to perceptions of the state party’s overall direction.
Neither Pritzker nor Duckworth faced primacy opposition in 2022, somewhat bestowing the Chicago mayoral campaign proxy status. The outcome doesn’t say as much about the state party as last year’s Republican gubernatorial primary indicated about the GOP’s direction, but both campaigns illustrate the spectrum of red and blue shades we have in Illinois.
Chicago accounts for about 20% of the state’s population. Unofficial returns show almost 560,000 votes cast Tuesday – 20% of the city’s residents and just more than 35% of registered voters. By comparison, about 797,000 people voted in the 2022 GOP primary. That’s a far cry from 2016, with nearly 1.45 million presidential primary ballots, even after the field dropped from 11 to four.
Government requires elections, making politics a necessary evil. Campaigns effectively illuminate priorities with reverberations long past an official canvass.
• Scott T. Holland writes about state government issues for Shaw Media. Follow him on Twitter @sth749. He can be reached at email@example.com.
via “Illinois Politics” – Google News https://ift.tt/ke2xJX9
April 8, 2023 at 05:56AM