Election news and results from throughout Illinois. Updated continuously throughout the evening.
Ben Schulman on how Machine-style politics once again defeated real reform.
". . .As one of Claypool's volunteers said, right before his concession, "there's something adrenalizing about getting involved in a campaign like this, and yet, it's demoralizing" knowing the outcome."
Read it, and weep. Seriously.
According to the latest numbers, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, Gov. Pat Quinn's lead over Republican challenger Bill Brady has grown to 16,210 votes.
During a press briefing today, Brady appeared optimistic (video below) but Republican officials are now sounding a little less so.
"Do we recognize the reality of coming up with 8,000 votes as an uphill climb? Of course we do. But nobody's ready to throw in the towel," Brien Sheahan, the lead counsel for the state Republican Party, told the Chicago Tribune.
Brady said today that a final count could take up to 30 days. If the gap continues to widen, we doubt he will stick around that long.
While no serious incidents were reported, there were some unruly election judges on Tuesday.
Fox Chicago reports there were two judges arrested for showing up drunk, one for groping another judge and a fourth who "yanked a provisional ballot away from a voter."
We are just wondering how drunk you have to be for the police to be called...
Just thinking about this meeting makes us feel awkward. But we will still be posting photos of it tonight.
Illinois Democrats, like the rest of the country, suffered some big losses Tuesday. Read about them here.
We can't help but agree with the Chicago Reader's Whet Moser on this one:
I suspect the state would be a lot happier if we could trade Kirk Dillard (who would have won) for Pat Quinn, and David Hoffman (who would have won) for Mark Kirk. We can do that, right? Maybe the Dems could offer to kick in a House member to be named later. I get why Brady won the primary—more ideologically stringent candidates are more likely to win if you decide based on the whims of the most active party members. And I suspect that an even slightly less conservative candidate might have made up the minuscule lead that Quinn currently holds. "Who could have predicted that being against access to birth control would hurt a candidate with women?" Not primary voters!
Seriously though. Are you happy with the outcome of the election? What should have been done differently?
Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam easily won re-election Tuesday night, and on Wednesday published a blog responding to the GOP "tidal wave."
Roskam explained what issues Republicans will be putting on the table--and expressed a need for Presidential cooperation. Obama made similar statements at Wednesday's press conference--but it will be interesting to see whether bipartisanship can actually happen in Washington.
"They sent a clear message yesterday that they want a balance to the government that will solve problems, and we have a real opportunity for that today," Roskam writes. "The new Republican Majority is serious about solving our many problems. If we are met with the ability that then-State Senator Obama deployed so effectively, together we can bring about the relief and opportunity America needs right now.
Read Roskam's HuffPo blog here.
In the 8th District Congressional race, Tea Party candidate Joe Walsh has declared victory over three-term incumbent Melissa Bean, though Bean has yet to concede.
"We now feel confident that the remaining precincts will only strengthen our margin of victory," Walsh said in a statement, according tto the Sun-Times.
A Bean spokesman told the paper she would not concede, as too many votes remain uncounted and she trails by less than 800 votes.
As anti-Obama sentiment continues into Wednesday, Republican Mark Kirk, who won the president's former Senate seat, expressed a willingness to work with him.
"Sometimes we might forget that once the people have spoken, we come together as a country and we work with other members of Congress --- and the president -- to bring higher jobs and income to the state," Senator-elect Kirk told NBC Chicago Wednesday.Watch Kirk talk bipartisanship here:
Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady has scheduled a 10:30 a.m. press conference. Will he concede?
Things are still very close between Melissa Bean and Tea Party Candidate Joe Walsh in the 8th District
Trailing by only a fraction of a percent, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady told supporters late Tuesday that the election would not be decided tonight.
"With more than 3.5 million votes cast in this election, it's not going to be decided tonight," Brady said to at the Doubletree Hotel in Bloomington. "We want to make sure that every vote in the Illinois has the right to be counted, and we going to make sure that happens.We don't know if you want to stay tomorrow night as well, but we do know we are going to get this taken care of as quickly as possible."
The Capitol Fax blog shared some insight on just how close the race is--and just how long we can be waiting:
Keep in mind that absentee votes are still coming in by the droves. Many of those are Democratic absentees because the coordinated campaign screwed up and sent its mailers so late. Those late absentees won’t be counted tonight. Some weren’t even received by today. If Quinn does somehow lose this lead, he could still regain it later in the week.
That said, we are obviously watching this race very closely and will be keeping you posted. Though, we might sleep at some point.
In a very energized victory speech, Republican Mark Kirk, who won President Obama's former U.S. Senate seat, gave supporters a taste of what is to come in the next few days: gloating from the GOP.
While Kirk thanked Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for a hard-fought campaign, he worked several Republican talking points into his speech.
"A tsunami has hit the heartland," Kirk declared, before adding that the sun "has set on a one-party corrupt state. This Senate seat was just returned to its rightful owners, the people of Illinois."
Kirk will replace Sen. Roland Burris. Burris was appointed by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich in January of 2009--following his arrest.
Kirk asked Giannoulias to meet him for a beer Wednesday night at Chicago's Billy Goat Tavern. Giannoulias told NBC News he would consider meeting Kirk, and that he wishes him the best.
Faces, too, are long here at the Giannoulias event, as Alexi has just finished speaking. He is now hugging supporters, while others just stand around the ballroom, a mix of dejection and hurt in their eyes. Some tears, but mostly just stunned disappointment. A photographer captures the unkempt pile of Alexi signs on a nearby table, symbolic, one assumes, of the disarray his supporters are going through now.
Meanwhile, Dold is declaring victory in the 10th, and news outlets are giving him the check mark as well. Walsh / Bean is still undecided, but there's very little good news for Congressional Democrats in Illinois.
It can't go unmentioned, though, that Springfield Democrats came out of the night relatively unscathed. Governor Quinn holds a 9,000-vote lead with 97% of precincts in, and Dems will retain control of the State House and Senate, as far as we can tell.
From Giannoulias HQ:
With every precinct that reports, Alexi's chances look more distant. The totals now stand at 96% of precincts reported, with Kirk holding an 82,000-vote lead.
Elsewhere, Democrats are hunting for a single Congressional win. Melissa Bean now trails Joe Walsh by 850 votes, with only nine precincts outstanding. And Dan Seals stays 4,100 votes behind Robert Dold, with 33 precincts yet to be tallied.
The one bright spot -- and who could have called this -- looks to be Governor Pat Quinn, who holds a very narrow 9,000-vote lead over Bill Brady with 96% of precincts reporting. He's getting the win almost entirely on the strength of his Cook County votes, as he's lost many other traditionally Democratic areas of the state.
The Associated Press reports:
CHICAGO — Republican Mark Kirk has captured the Senate seat once held by the president, dealing an embarrassing blow to Democrats.
Kirk defeated Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (jen-NOO'-lee-us) in one of the nation's ugliest and most closely watched Senate races.
Giannoulias faced attacks over his family's failed bank, which gave loans to two men involved in organized crime. Meanwhile, Kirk was forced to apologize after the disclosure that he had made false claims about his military record.
The Illinois race got more attention than most Senate campaigns because this was the seat held by Barack Obama before his move to the White House.
Three Democratic incumbents have officially lost their House races. Bill Foster (IL-14), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11) and Phil Hare (IL-17) are all gone, replaced by Randy Hultgren, Adam Kinzinger and Bobby Schilling, respectively. Halvorson and Foster were freshman, and Hare was a sophomore; all three won moderate districts on national Democratic waves, and all three will go out in a Republican one.
There's a chance that Republicans will run the table, House-wise, in Illinois. Of the five seats that were contested, they've already won the aforementioned three; Republican Robert Dold holds a 4,000-vote lead over Dan Seals in IL-10, with 92% of ballots counted; and Tea Partier Joe Walsh is within 500 votes of Melissa Bean with 11% of the vote still outstanding.
A win in all five races, plus the U.S. Senate seat which is currently leaning their way, would be a monumental Congressional victory for Illinois Republicans.
While the national scene is yet to be fully determined, Democrats appear to have stemmed the red tide in the Illinois legislature, scoring some wins in key races and looking set to hold their majorities in both houses. In the State Senate, Chicago's contested race has gone to Democrat John Mulroe, who defeated Republican Alderman Brian Doherty in a race some thought could be close; Toi Hutchinson and AJ Wilhelmi also fended off Republican challenges. In the House, the closely contested race in Evanston between Daniel Biss and Hamilton Chang has gone to Biss, the Democrat; Karen May in the 58th District held her seat handily; and it looks like incumbent Kevin McCarthy will hold on in a tight race against Republican challenger Jeffrey Junkas in the 37th.
In one dark spot for Dems, David Harris appears poised to beat the incumbent Mark Walker in the 66th. And the race between Ryan Higgins and "mom on a mission" Michelle Mussman in the 56th remains way too close to call: Mussman leads by exactly 46 votes with 58% of precincts reporting. But barring some unexpected surprises, it looks like we've got at least another two years of Speaker Madigan here in Illinois.
Chicago alderman Toni Preckwinkle will replace Cook County Board President Todd Stroger--and is the first woman ever to be elected Cook County Board President.
Preckwinkle took 69% of the vote, with 80% of precincts reporting.
Now it's happening. With most of the vote in from Chicago, the redder parts of the state are having their say, and both Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn are watching their leads shrink. With 63% of precincts reporting, Alexi leads 49-46, and Quinn leads 49-44. Of the 3,200 precincts remaining to report, only 500 are in Chicago.
Question is, how fast can the Republicans close? The Scott Lee Cohen factor is starting to look like it could be the difference in the governor's race—again, notice that Alexi and Quinn both have the same vote share, but Kirk is getting significantly more votes than Brady, with much of the remainder apparently going to Cohen. If it gets close enough for that to matter, though, don't be surprised if we're looking at absentee and provisional ballots for days here.
Who said the Chicago Machine is dead? Cook County Democratic Party boss Joe Berrios and his daughter Toni look like they'll both march to easy victories in their respective races: Joe's opponent, Forrest Claypool, is conceding the hotly contested Cook County Assessor's race, and Toni holds a commanding lead against her Green Party opponent for State Representative, Jeremy Karpen. Claypool was a darling of reformers who attacked Berrios the elder for his pay-to-play politics at the Board of Review.