Voters in Chicago headed to the polls Tuesday, a day that will decide the re-election fate of President Barack Obama, one of the Windy City's own.
And though -- news to Ann Coulter! -- Obama's true-blue home state was not in play in the presidential race, Illinois voters considered a number of heated congressional and state races, as well as many judicial retentions and a handful of referenda.
Obama is back in Chicago and planned to play some hoops on election day. The president will be capping off his final political campaign at his own election night party at McCormick Place, about two miles south of where he claimed victory in a momentous outdoor rally four years earlier and four miles north of where his political career began 17 years ago.
A number of Illinois' congressional races have also long been considered central to national Democrats' efforts to regain control of the House of Representatives. In the most heavily publicized and volatile of those contests, Democrat Tammy Duckworth has consistently been pulling at least 10 percentage points ahead of Tea Party favorite U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh in the state's 8th congressional district.
Other Chicago-area congressional races have been far closer, if less personality-driven. In the 11th district, U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) is being challenged by Democratic former House member Bill Foster. In the most recent We Ask America poll, Foster led Biggert by just less than one percentage point. In the 10th district, the race between U.S. Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.) and Democratic challenger Brad Schneider has produced wildly varying poll results in recent weeks.
Another local congressional race has attracted national attention for its lack of competitiveness. U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) is expected to be handily re-elected to Congress despite his disappearing from the public eye and going on medical leave to receive treatment for bipolar disorder at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic nearly five months ago. Jackson will not be holding an election night event.
A number of state races have also proven dramatic in the lead up to the election. Despite being arrested on a felony bribery charge and being subsequently expelled from the statehouse in a historic vote earlier this year, state Rep. Derrick Smith is also expected to be re-elected Tuesday.
Smith's victory is just one of many Democratic wins House Speaker Michael Madigan should anticipate as Obama-related turnout could mean an increase of Democrats' 65-54 statehouse majority. As for Madigan's own race? Robert Handzik, his Republican challenger, is reportedly an unknown to state GOP leaders.
Voter turnout was expected to be high in both Chicago and its surrounding suburbs -- if not quite as high as during the 2008 election. Cook County Clerk David Orr said this week that more than half a million voters in the county already early voted -- or 20 percent of all registered voters.
Throughout the day and into the evening, HuffPost Chicago will be closely monitoring the polls, eleventh-hour campaigning and election watch parties and will be posting regular updates here. Have a tip? Get in touch at email@example.com.
11/07/2012 2:11 AM EST
And We're Out On Springsteen
@ USATOnPolitics :
Now on the Obama soundtrack in Chicago: Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care of Our Own." #Election2012
This will be this live blog's final update Tuesday evening.
11/07/2012 1:34 AM EST
@ natashakorecki :
Presidential motorcade has arrived at McCormick Place #cstelect #election2012
11/07/2012 1:33 AM EST
Ald. Burns: The Party Is Rocking
@ ALDERMANWBC :
Theres a party going on at McCormick place. DJ is off the chain. Despite the late hour, supporters still waiting for the 1st Family 2 appear
11/07/2012 12:50 AM EST
Big Night For Illinois Dems
@ natashakorecki :
Make that 3 area Dems ousting Republicans in Chicago area congressional races. Duckworth (8th), Schneider (10th) and Foster (11th) #CSTelect
11/07/2012 12:35 AM EST
Giannoulias In The House
@ progressIL :
Alexi Giannoulias is among the crowd at Obama's McCormick Place celebration
11/07/2012 12:19 AM EST
In Other News..
@ JeffK84 :
#Chicago voters pick Alvarez, Brown and Yarbrough to be Cook County Attorney, Court Clerk and Deeds Recorder respectively #dpuelection
11/07/2012 12:14 AM EST
@ nbcchicago :
From the Chicago Board of Elections: After absentees folded in, Chicago will have voter turnout roughly identical to 2008: about 73.8%.
11/06/2012 11:57 PM EST
Dold Concedes To Dold
@ craigrwall :
11/06/2012 11:29 PM EST
Romney Leading Popular Vote
@ natashakorecki :
@BarackObama projected to carry electoral votes. Right now, @MittRomney is winning the popular vote. #CST2012 #election2012
11/06/2012 11:27 PM EST
Joe Walsh Is Still Talking
@ BenBradleyABC7 :
TV's at Joe Walsh's election headquarters have been turned off. Walsh continues to blast Washington while crowd is oblivious to Obama win.