socastcmsRssStartBy Cole Lauterbach, Greg Bishop and Brett Rowland | Illinois News NetworksocastcmsRssEnd
U.S. Rep. Mike Bost: "I’m incredibly proud of the campaign we put together. We fought hard, focused on the issues, and always made Southern Illinois values our top priority. I congratulate Brendan Kelly on a hard-fought campaign. It’s the honor of a lifetime serving Southern Illinois."
CNN projects Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan will beat Republican incumbent Rodney Davis in Illinois’ 13th Congressional District. Others say the race is too close to call.
Democrat Sean Casten is projected to win Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, beating incumbent Peter Roskam.
The race gotten national attention as Democrats sought to flip the House.
Illinois Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul delivered a victory speech in Chicago, bouncing from thanking his family and supporters to criticizing President Donald Trump, to promising to do everything he can to use the office to protect healthcare access for all.
Raoul said he will do everything he can to fight Trump and his policies.
"We reject the hate that has come from Donald Trump," he said. "The divisiveness that has come from his mouth that has created packages and going into houses of worship … but more than those words, and those words are damaging, but it’s the policies that accompany them."
Raoul also touted the fact that Illinois will still have access to abortion should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade due to House Bill 40, a bill he sponsored while a State Senator.
A statement from Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr.:
“On behalf of the members of the Illinois Farm Bureau, I would like to congratulate J.B. Pritzker on his election as the 43rd Governor of Illinois. We look forward to building a strong relationship with Governor-elect Pritzker and his team, so we can work together to ensure the growth of Illinois agriculture, a cornerstone of our state’s economy.
“In the coming weeks, we know that Governor-elect Pritzker and his team will be putting the numerous pieces in place that will make up his administration. The Illinois Farm Bureau stands ready to be a source of expertise and information for the new gubernatorial administration when it comes to issues impacting farmers and agriculture.”
A statement from Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman:
“J.B. Pritzker’s victory sets the stage for an epic battle between Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Pritzker for control of the Democratic Party in Illinois.
“Much like Gov. Rauner, Pritzker is at the mercy of the most powerful House speaker in U.S. history.
“As the leading taxpayer advocacy organization in the state, the Illinois Policy Institute stands ready to advance policy solutions to the crises facing the incoming governor – crippling state and local pension debt, declining job growth and a growing tax burden that’s fueling record outmigration.
“We also remain committed to preventing the advance of a progressive income tax, which would further harm Illinois’ struggling middle class. Lawmakers have already asked enough of taxpayers with the passage of the largest income tax hike in state history. It’s time for lawmakers to exercise restraint by implementing mechanisms that will fix the state’s budgeting process.
“Illinois has underperformed its potential for far too long, and we take Pritzker at his word that he’s ready to advance policies that will unleash the state’s entrepreneurial spirit. We will continue to be champions of reforms that allow communities and people to flourish, and will partner with the governor to advance these policies whenever possible.
“Illinois has a long road ahead and the next four years will determine if we choose the path to prosperity or the path the ruin. It remains our hope that Illinois’ comeback story starts here.”
Pritzker takes the stage in Chicago for a victory speech.
Erika Harold took the stage at about 8:30 p.m. to announce to her supporters in Champaign that she had called her Democratic challenger Kwame Raoul to congratulate him on winning the election for Illinois Attorney General.
She said she was proud of her campaign and hopes the best for Raoul.
"We looked at the early voting results and the early voting returns and it was gonna go his way tonight," she said. "I called him, I congratulated him and I congratulated his supporters. I told him that, sincerely, I would be rooting for him to do an exceptional job as attorney general."
With 34 percent of precincts reporting, Raoul had 61 percent of the total vote.
One of the signature campaign issues in the race became same-sex marriage. Reports had surfaced that Harold told interviewers during a Miss Illinois pageant that she would rather place a foster child with a heterosexual couple with an abusive past over a same-sex couple with a stable home.
Raoul had said that he held discriminatory views about homosexuals as a child, but his opinion had since evolved.
Voters came out to the polls for many different reasons.
In Champaign, resident Roger Childers said he wasn’t particularly excited about any one candidate, but wanted to vote for who he thought would best represent the Constitutional values he feels are under attack.
"I’d like to see it stay that way, not just be some living, breathing thing that you just make out of whatever you want to," Childers said.
Kendall Knox didn’t vote a straight one-party ticket, but rather picked candidates who she thought would do the best job. She said she voted against Democratic candidate Betsy Dirksen-Londrigan.
"The good things didn’t necessarily meet my morals and values and such and the bad things are what made me cast my ballot for her opponent," Knox said.
While she said the negative campaign ads weren’t enjoyable, she said that they did influence her decision.
Statements from Jennifer Welch, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois Action:
“Planned Parenthood Illinois Action congratulates Governor-elect J.B. Pritzker and looks forward to working with him to ensure that all women have access to a full range of reproductive health care, including access to safe and legal abortion.
With the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, it is more critical than ever that Illinois is led by a governor who is unequivocal in his support of reproductive rights. The Governor-elect’s commitment to reproductive freedom and the health care provided by Planned Parenthood has been steadfast for decades. J. B. Pritzker will protect Illinois as an oasis for reproductive health care, not only for Illinoisans, but for all those people in surrounding states who must travel to receive the care they need.”
“Planned Parenthood Illinois Action congratulates Attorney General-elect Kwame Raoul. Illinois voters made the right choice in electing Kwame Raoul who has been a longtime champion for reproductive health and rights. As a state senator he voted to protect access to birth control and cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood health centers. And, he does not believe politicians should interfere with personal health decisions. Attorneys General are the last line of defense against the Trump-Pence administration. We look forward to working with the new Attorney General in holding the President, and others, accountable when they attack our freedoms and rights.”
Comptroller Susana Mendoza made a victory lap for herself and for Pritzker.
“I believe J.B. will lead our beautiful state with a strong moral compass and a huge heart. We’re trading in a Carhart with no heart for a kind leader with a huge heart,” she said.
Mendoza said things are going to get brighter in Illinois.
And Republican Attorney General candidate Erika Harold has conceded.
“And I told him that sincerely I would be rooting for him to do an exceptional job as attorney general because all of the issues that we’ve talked about in the course of this campaign, we need an attorney general that will be able to take the politics out of the office and to bring all of us together,” she said.
Democrat state Sen. Kwame Raoul will be Illinois’ next Attorney General. Republican challenger Erika Harold has conceded the race.
Excerpts from a statement from SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley:
“Voters in Illinois spoke loudly and clearly tonight with the election of J. B. Pritzker as our new governor, bringing to a close four years of attacks on working families under Bruce Rauner.
“Voters said we are tired of the assault on our jobs. We want legislators in Springfield who will reflect the great potential of our state and work to get things done.
“What’s needed now is for JB’s administration to deliver on the inspiring working family message that got him elected. The agenda includes protecting the Affordable Care Act, fully funding home healthcare and child care services, establishing a $15 minimum wage and union rights.
AFSCME has issued a statement on Illinois governor’s race:
“Today Illinois voters did more than defeat Bruce Rauner and end his four years of conflict and failure,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “Today voters across the state came together to support working people and to repudiate not just Rauner personally but his mean-spirited, anti-worker, anti-union agenda.
“We are hopeful that as the votes are counted in races statewide, voters will likewise reject candidates willing to do Rauner’s bidding and to divide our state, opting instead for leaders who want to move Illinois forward to benefit everyone, not just Rauner’s wealthy few.”
Incumbent Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is projected to beat challenger Darlene Senger, a Republican.
From Pritzker’s event in Chicago, Mendoza credited unions with defeating Rauner.
"Tonight, the good people across this state and the power of organized labor came together to give a resounding defeat to Bruce Rauner – a full rejection of his bad ideas," she said.
Polls are closed and supporters of Republican Attorney General candidate Erika Harold have begun filling her election watch party in a large room at the University of Illinois. Harold is running to become the first black woman to hold the office being vacated by longtime Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Harold has spent the day flying across the state, stopping in Chicago, Bloomington, Marion, Belleville and Rockford.
Her Springfield-area volunteer coordinator, Brad Mills, says Harold will serve as a check on corruption in the state.
"She brings honesty and integrity and knowledge to that office," he said. "You need someone like that. You need a watchdog."
Early returns show Democrat Kwame Raoul with a growing lead over Harold.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has conceded to Democratic challenger J.B. Pritzker.
In Chicago, Rauner took to the podium to call on his supporters to continue to push for change.
“This election is over,” Rauner said. “But that does not mean the end of the change for the state of Illinois that we need. This is a time for us to come together. This is a time for us to unite. This is a time for us to put aside partisan politics, to move forward together as the citizens of Illinois to create a better future for our children and our grandchildren.”
Rauner said he called Prtizker to wish him well.
“I said godspeed,” Rauner said. “I hope and pray you serve Illinois well and I look forward to assisting in a full effort for a smooth transition so that the people of Illinois’ best interest is served at all times.”
Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner has conceded. He said he called Pritzker to wish him godspeed and pledged to assist in the transition.
Rauner urged supporters not to give up, but continue to push for change in Illinois.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is ready to work with Pritzker.
In a statement, IMA’s Vice President Mark Denzler said: “We all share common goals: Revitalizing our economy and creating revenue through growth, providing world-class educational opportunities to our citizens, building strong communities, and ensuring Illinois prospers for years to come.”
While we may not agree on everything, there’s plenty of room to find common ground through reasoned debate to help bolster our state’s proud manufacturing heritage and create good, high-paying jobs," Denzler said.
Republican Treasurer candidate Jim Dodge has conceded the election to incumbent Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs.
Dodge said in a statement that he wishes Frerichs the best of luck in his second term.
He told Republicans not to walk away because “the stakes are too high.”
He said Illinois needs a viable Republican Party that speaks for them and not special interest.
“Our state faces serious challenges,” Dodge said, “challenges that will require serious people with real solutions.”
Democrats vying for statewide office have jumped out to an early lead.
J.B. Pritzker has a big lead over incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in the race for governor. Several outlets have already called the race for Pritzker.Democrat state Sen. Kwame Raoul is ahead of Republican challenger Erika Harold in the Illinois Attorney General contest.Incumbent Jesse White is far out in front of Republican candidate Jason Helland in the race for Secretary of State.Incumbent Michael Frerichs has a double-digit lead over Jim Dodge for Treasurer.Incumbent Susana Mendoza is ahead of Republican opponent Darlene Senger in the race for Comptroller.
Fox 32 in Chicago is projecting that Pritzker will be in the next governor of Illinois.
There’s a lot at stake in Illinois and one analyst predicts that will be good news for Democrats.
Nationally, the midterms have been widely viewed as a verdict on President Donald Trump’s tenure. And in Illinois, there’s been talk about a blue wave sweeping Democrats into office across the state.
Financial analyst and Wirepoints Founder Mark Glennon said he believes the real winners tonight in Illinois will be the operations of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.
“The Chicago Machine is going to have a grand slam, probably, tonight,” Glennon said. “The only race that’s really at issue that might be the exception is the Attorney General [race] and that is very important. I think that if Kwame Raoul, who is clearly someone who answers to Madigan, takes control of the machinery of law enforcement that will make things particularly bad.”
It’s pretty clear that [Gov. Bruce] Rauner is going to get trounced and there’s little hope that Republican are going to gain much ground in the General Assembly as well,” Glennon said.
Glennon said that means there’s little chance Illinois’ major problems will get solved.
“It’ll be a question of how much further we need to get to look like Detroit or Puerto Rico before people start demanding real reforms,” Glennon said. “And, by the way, this isn’t simply a … Democratic issue. There’s plenty of Republicans that bear blame here too.”
Illinois has among the highest taxes in the country, the largest unfunded pension liability and a credit rating that’s hovering a notch above junk status.
One focus of this election has been the campaign money.
In the governor’s race alone, more than $284.5 million was in play, with the bulk coming from Democrat J.B. Pritzker’s personal wealth. Incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner has also pumped millions into his own campaign.
Alisa Kaplan from Reform for Illinois said it’s not just the candidates spending on their own campaigns, they also funded other candidates.
“Both Rauner and Pritzker gave hefty sums of money to the Attorney General candidates," Kaplan said. "I believe Pritzker has given about $3 million to Kwame Raoul and Rauner has given just under $2 million to Erika Harold. And both of them have also given tremendous amounts of money to local party organizations around the state.”
She said Pritzker has given local organizations and candidates about $23 million. Rauner has given about $15 million to various candidates and organizations.
A lot of the money has been spent on TV advertisements, Kaplan said.
“But it also goes to direct mail, which is very expensive, it goes to Facebook, where actually J.B. Pritzker has been outspending Bruce Rauner by a factor of 12 to 1,” Kaplan said. “It goes to ground operations and … it goes to goodwill, spreading that money around the state to down-ballot candidates and party organizations.”
Pritzker said Monday in Springfield that Rauner started the big money game by giving himself tens of millions of dollars.
"He’s the guy who tried to scare everybody out of this race," Pritzker said. "He thought he could win this by keeping other people from running. Well, it hasn’t worked. We’re not afraid."
Rauner hasn’t been shy about pointing out how much his opponent has spent on the campaign trail.
Even before the polls close at 7 p.m., some are predicting higher than normal midterm turnout in Illinois with a number of key statewide and national races on the ballot along with the most expensive governor’s race in U.S. history.
Just what that elevated interest will mean isn’t clear.
Interest in the midterm election in Illinois had already surpassed the 2014 midterm in terms of the total number of early votes cast and was close to being on par with the 2016 presidential contest.
The Illinois State Board of Elections reported the total number of early and vote by mail ballots cast before the polls opened Tuesday stood at 1.46 million. That’s more than double that of the 2014 midterm, but below the 1.89 million early votes tallied in the 2016 election.
Early voting totals for this cycle were more than double that of the 2014 midterm election.
ISBE spokesman Matt Dietrich said outside of early votes and mail-in ballots, voter registration was up.
“We’re way up for this midterm compared to what they were in the last midterm,” Dietrich said. “We were up by 7 percent in terms of active registered voters. We actually had about 20,000 more active registered voters in this election than in the 2016 presidential election. That’s unusual because typically you a have a dip in interest among voters for midterms and you can see that in the number of registered voters.”