Post (Illinois primary) election gripes

Post (Illinois primary) election gripes March 21, 2018

For Illinoisians and others following the race:

Rauner wins, but with so close a margin as to get my hopes up.

Yes, it’s not really a surprise that Governor Bruce Rauner won the primary, given that challenger Jeanne Ives was considered to be too far to the right for even Illinois GOP voters, let alone for the general election, and had little campaign cash, besides.  Such polls as there were showed her trailing by a margin of something like 30 – 50.  So I was delighted to see her at a 48 – 52 margin last night, and there were reports that there were lots of uncounted ballots from Du Page County, which is her home, so that there was a chance that she might yet pull off an upset.  But that didn’t materialize, and was probably a false hope in any case.  (Du Page is Republican, but whether they would have looked at Ives as the “hometown candidate” or be more pragmatic I have no real basis for knowing.)

Also note that that far, far fewer people voted statewide on the Republican than the Democratic ballot.  (See election results here, among other choices.)  Note that this is not an indicator of numbers of Republicans vs. Democrats, since Illinois has an open primary; one need merely ask for the ballot of one’s choice on election day, rather than declare a political party.  And Rauner’s lack of support is not an indicator of a “blue wave” so much as dislike of Rauner affecting turnout among those who would otherwise support him.  It may be, too, that the consensus opinion that Ives had no hope led many to vote on the Democratic ballot (see below).

Pritzker wins – which, while not a surprise, makes the lousy choices in November clearer.

Yes, it was not unexpected that JB Pritzker would win the Democratic nomination.  He had gobs of money for advertisements, after all, being a billionaire and all.  His multimillionaire opponent Chris Kennedy had nothing really to say for himself except “vote for me because my parents were Kennedys.”  Whether State Senator Dan Biss couldn’t pull off the upset he was hoping for because he lacked the spending money, because voters thought his positions too extreme, or because they bought into Pritzker’s attack ads doesn’t really matter, because he would have been even more leftist.  So on the one hand, I have no particular reason to be any more bearish about the future of Illinois this morning than I did yesterday, but it just highlights the reality of the situation.

And it is a pretty lousy situation.  Illinois is heavily in debt, both in terms of its regular budget and its $130 billion in pension debt.  But Pritzker’s answer is to spend more money, and raise taxes via a progressive tax (to hit everyone middle-class or higher without clever tax advisors) to fund a spending wishlist about which the only good thing to say is that it’s not as long as Biss’s was.  He attacked Biss for the latter’s support of a pension reform bill but apparently has no interest in taking any action on the issue himself.  Pritzker gives me no reason to believe that he has any solutions or any clue about fiscal restraint; it’s far more fun to spend money (especially if you’re a literal billionaire who has no personal experience with restraint) than it is to deal with the inevitable conflict that comes with having to balance a budget.  That is, after all, why everyone hates Rauner (well, except for the Republicans who hate Rauner for his betrayal on abortion funding — and, again, I’ll caution anyone from out of state who thinks this is a blue vs. red partisan issue to take off their partisan lenses).  And, no, Amazon is not going to come to save the day.

The CD9 GOP voters are apparently morons.

They chose John Elleson, a Joel Osteen-affiliated pastor and the subject of Chicago Tribune articles on his criminal conduct and deceptive advertising, to be their nominee, ahead of two educated and credible candidates, as described by the Tribune,

Sargis Sangari of Skokie, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who continues to do foreign policy work through his own research institute, the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement


D. Vincent Thomas Jr. of Evanston, a Coast Guard reservist who has a doctorate in public policy.

The Trib endorsed Sangari, and the Sun-Times endorsed Thomas.

Who voted for Elleson?  To be honest, my fear is that voters chose the most “white American” name on the ballot.  Perhaps Elleson managed to connect with voters with his statements that he’d be bipartisan.  Perhaps too many of the usual GOP voters in the district took a Democratic ballot instead to be able to cast a vote on Cook County-wide races, knowing that the Democratic incumbent will win in any case, so that the 9,000 voters Elleson got are an accurate tally of the number of voters in the district who think it’s great that a pastor was running.  Possibly they include Democratic voters crossing over, since his church appears to be multiracial.  And maybe my reaction to the whole thing is an indicator of my own socioeconomic class, and the typical voter does not look at his website and recoil at how poorly written it is; perhaps he simply speaks to working-class voters who don’t connect personally to people with advanced educations.

And, yes, it doesn’t matter.  None of them would have had any hope.  But you’d still like for a credible candidate to represent the GOP.

Two consolations:

Lipinski won CD3.

This was a very fought-over district, in which Dan Lipinski, one of a few remaining conservative Democrats, was challenged by leftist Marie Newman, who had the backing of a number of major progressive groups.  This was also, if you recall, the district in which the Nazi got onto the GOP ballot because they hadn’t bothered to field their own candidate — for the very reason that the Democrat was acceptable to Republicans in the district.

Berrios lost the Cook County Assessor primary.

How many Republicans crossed over to vote corrupt Joe Berrios out of office, and how did it affect other races?  No way of knowing, but it’s good news.


Image:; By SecretName101 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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