Illinois Democrats maintain control of all levers of state government

Illinois Democrats maintain control of all levers of state government

By JERRY NOWICKI
Capitol News Illinois
jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com

SPRINGFIELD – As votes continued to be tallied Wednesday, returns showed Illinois Democrats would hold every statewide elected office and maintain supermajorities in the General Assembly while extending their majority on the Illinois Supreme Court.

After a fiery election night speech in which Gov. JB Pritzker excoriated the Republican Party as “unwilling to expel the extremists in their midst,” he gave an upbeat news conference about his plans for a second term Wednesday at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Chicago that was the site of his election night party the day prior.

“The election yesterday was a chance for Illinoisans to decide who we want to be,” Pritzker said, citing his administration’s acceptance of asylum seekers, support for mental health and substance use treatment, protection of women’s rights, civil rights and voting rights, and renewable energy policies.

“Well, Illinoisans made their decision – a decision that we should be a beacon of hope and opportunity and caring,” he added.

Pritzker’s second-term task will be made easier by the success of Democrats in the General Assembly.

In the Senate, it appeared Republicans would gain at least two seats, decreasing the Democratic supermajority from 41 members to 38-20, with at least one race too close to call.

Senate Minority Leader Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, celebrated the wins but lamented that they were gained through a “rigged system,” a reference to Democrats’ recent redrawing of district lines to maximize their chances of maintaining their majorities.

“Thousands of voters across the state have said ‘enough’ to the Democrats’ call for more power. Thanks to their resiliency, the Illinois Senate will be adding to the strength of the caucus and will continue to serve as strong voices for the people of Illinois, who are dissatisfied with the failed policies that have come out of Springfield and want to see change,” he said. 

Republicans had viewed taking the state Supreme Court as their best bet at enacting redistricting reform for future elections, but the two seats that were up for vote Tuesday both went to Democrats.

Judge Elizabeth Rochford defeated former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran in the 2nd District by nearly nine percentage points. Mary Kay O’Brien, in the 3rd District, led by about 8,000 votes over Republican incumbent Michael Burke. Her campaign said on Twitter that Burke had conceded, although an email to Burke’s campaign to confirm was not returned Wednesday afternoon.

That would put the court majority at 5-2 in favor of Democrats and would create the first majority-woman court, also by 5-2 margins.

As of Wednesday, Democrats appeared poised to extend their supermajority from 73 of the 118 members of the House of Representatives to 77, with a few races too close to call.

The lack of success in that chamber prompted a Wednesday morning announcement from Rep. Jim Durkin, the Western Springs Republican who has served as House minority leader since 2013, that he would not seek another term leading the House Republicans.

“I am proud of the work the House Republican caucus has accomplished under my tenure, and thank everyone who played a part along the way,” Durkin said in a news release. “I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation.”

Moderation is a trait of the Republican Party which Pritzker, in his election night speech, contended no longer exists.

He took square aim at former President Donald Trump and those who sought and accepted his endorsement. But he didn’t mention his vanquished opponent Darren Baily in his election night address.

“And don’t claim that the Republican Party is being labeled unfairly. Because here we are, two years into cleaning up the wreckage of Donald Trump’s presidency, poised to watch this man announce his return to national politics within days,” Pritzker said of Trump on election night. “You know why? Because GOP politicians, with the exception of only a few souls, are too cowardly, too simpering, to support the best interests of the nation because they’re afraid of being called insulting nicknames by a whiny bully.”

Asked about the speech Wednesday, he again denied any interest in a 2024 presidential run and said he planned to serve his four-year term as governor.

Aside from the national lens, the speech centered on some of Pritzker’s major first-term accomplishments, like legalizing recreational marijuana, raising the minimum wage, balancing the budget and presiding over six credit upgrades between the three major ratings agencies.

“We’ve got to stop being irresponsible about our fiscal situation in the state – like my predecessor was, and like was proposed by my opponent during this latest campaign – and actually focus on solving the real fiscal challenges of Illinois,” Pritzker said Wednesday. “I know that sometimes sounds boring to people when you talk about budgets, paying debt. …But I think it’s vitally important that all of us focus on that in both parties.”

Pritzker said many of his first-term accomplishments, including passing a capital infrastructure plan and approving the budget, received bipartisan support after negotiations with Durkin and others. While the relationship was rockier after one year, Pritzker said he was open to working with Republicans in his second term.

Two of Durkin’s top lieutenants – Reps. Dan Brady, of Normal, and Tom Demmer, of Dixon – will also be leaving the General Assembly after unsuccessful bids at statewide office. At least four others from his leadership team had either chosen not to seek another term or lost primary or general elections.

When the governor was asked about Durkin and whether he worried a more conservative replacement would rise in the ranks, he said Durkin was “probably a loss for the Republicans.”

“I’m only concerned if someone takes the job who’s unwilling to sit down and actually talk about, you know, what we might do together?” he said. “If they’re unwilling to talk, if they reject the idea of bipartisanship, that would not be good for the state of Illinois.”

As for other races, the Democrats maintained the offices of comptroller, treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state. Each of the Democrats – incumbents Susana Mendoza, Michael Frerichs and Kwame Raoul and newcomer Alexi Giannoulias – were leading by double digits as of Wednesday.

Union groups were also claiming victory on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to collectively bargain in Illinois. That race was too early to call, however, due to the complex nature of passing an amendment.

It had about 59 percent of the vote with 90 percent of precincts reporting, which is short of the three-fifths needed for passage. But an amendment can also pass if supported by more than half of those voting in the election, so the threshold needed is likely to be lower than 60 percent.

As of Wednesday afternoon, however, it was unclear what the final threshold and vote tallies would be, as the Illinois State Board of Elections is set to certify results on Dec. 5.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to more than 400 newspapers statewide, as well as hundreds of radio and TV stations. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.

Leave a Comment





Local News

Peggy Zabicki

Little things make a big difference in West Lawn

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . Thank you to all who make a positive difference in West Lawn. There are some who are putting enormous efforts into making our neighborhood better and safer. We often hear about these good people and all…

Kathy Headley

Daina Cyvas again pedals with a purpose

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . As I’m sure you remember, in past years, Daina Cyvas, the Communications and Project Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Casimir, has participated in Bike MS. in honor of one of her heroes, SSC Sister…

Vintage cars will again be rolling in the La Grange Pet Parade. The 78th edition of the parade starts at 9:30 a.m. June 1. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Folks urged to enter costume contest for La Grange Pet Parade

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch About 40,000 people are expected along the streets of downtown La Grange on Saturday morning June 1, with some of them dressing in costumes for the 78th annual La Grange Pet Parade. A costume contest has long been part of the parade, Molly Price, the parade’s executive director, said on…

Deputy Supt. of Public Works Ken Tucker (from left), Trustee Tim Kovel, Building Commissioner Matt Struve, Mayor Ernest Millsap, Public Works Superintendent Jody Kovel, Trustee Jorea Touranjeau, Trustee Dominic Misasi, and Trustee Lida Mills at the site of the new public works office building. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Hodgkins breaks ground on new public works building

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Carol McGowan The Village of Hodgkins is getting ready to welcome a new public works office building at its facility off of 67th Street, east of East Avenue. Village officials and public works employees gathered last month for a groundbreaking. Hodgkins Mayor Ernest Millsap explained the history behind the Paul G. Struve Public Works Building.…

Sandburg pitcher Ethan Highfill gets Marist's Aiden Cech to swing and miss on a pitch during a 7-3 Eagles' victory on May 23. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Sandburg tops Marist to open playoffs, but falls to LW West in regional final

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent For the second consecutive year, Sandburg’s season came to an end at the hands of Lincoln-Way West. The Eagles (21-12) fell to the Warriors, 6-1, in the Class 4A Sandburg Regional championship game on May 25. They had advanced to a second playoff game with a 7-3 comeback victory…

The Chicago Red Stars' Penelope Hocking had her streak of three games with a goal stopped in a 1-0 loss to Louisville on May 25 in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Emma Sears scores match’s lone goal as Louisville blanks Red Stars

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The Chicago Red Stars are miles ahead of where they were last year. The team secured its 16th point on May 12. In 2023, it had to wait until July 7 to hit its 16th point during a season in which it finished in last place in the NWSL.…

all sports 2

Sports Bits | St. Michael seventh-grader sets Illinois state record in 110-meter hurdles

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent • St. Michael School seventh-grader Tommy Walter set a grade-school state record en route to winning the Illinois Elementary School Association Class 2A 110-meter hurdles at the grade-school state meet held May 10-11 in East Peoria. Tommy set the Class 2A record in the event with a time of…

Water Polo Stock

Water Polo | Lions, Eagles, Macs, Crusaders and Mustangs earn All-State honors

Spread the love

Spread the loveAll-State water polo Lyons girls water polo standout Maya Mladjan was named to the Illinois Water Polo organization’s All-State first team. The Lions’ Delaney Judkins and Isabella Recker, and Mother McAuley’s Becca Engquist earned second-team honors. Sandburg’s Claire Donnell made the third team and the Mighty Macs’ Andi Moriarity made the fourth team.…

Chicago Christian's Grace Mullin is committed to Air Force. Chicago Christian photo

Chicago Christian’s Grace Mullin caps successful spring by committing to Air Force

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Grace Mullin has proven talents on the ground. In the future, the Chicago Christian graduate may show more talents in the air. After an incredible spring and track season, Mullin — who graduated May 23 — capped things off by committing to the Air Force Academy. This came less…

tennis stock

Boys Tennis State Finals | Lyons’ Jack McLane and Mason Mazzone take 2nd

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Two doubles teams from Lyons made deep runs at the IHSA Class 2A boys tennis state finals, with one of them bringing home some hardware. The boys state tennis finals were held at various sites in the north and northwest suburbs May 23-25. The Lions’ Jack McLane and Mason…

Neighbors

Catalyst Maria graduate Jonathan Brundidge (left) and St. Rita alum Cameron Bartmann pose with the NJCAA National Championship trophy on Sunday as South Suburban College won the title the night before. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: South Suburban College wins national title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff writer Now for some March Madness that was not as heavily publicized over the weekend … Area athletes participated in three national championship basketball games on Saturday, and a couple of them can lay claim to being national champs. St. Rita grad Cameron Bartmann and Catalyst Maria alum Jonathan…

The Chicago Red Stars, shown celebrating a goal during the 2021 season at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, hope there will be more celebrations in 2022. They play their first home Challenge Cup game at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars seek title after back-to-back runner-up finishes

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Staff writer It’s an obvious goal. Win it all. The Chicago Red Stars, who make their 2022 home debut in the Challenge Cup at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Kansas City at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, finished runner-up in each of the past two NWSL seasons in 2019 and 2021. There…

Father Nemanja Tesic hopes to celebrate Christmas with the St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church congregation in the former St. Hugh. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

Serbian Orthodox Church in Brookfield buys St. Hugh in Lyons

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Steve Metsch  St. Hugh Roman Catholic Church in Lyons, closed by the Archdiocese of Chicago in June 2021, will again be a house of worship. St. Nikola Serbian Orthodox Church, based in Brookfield, purchased the property on March 10. Father Nemanja Tesic, 38, who leads the estimated 500-member congregation, hopes to have…

Eric Rossi takes over as Orland Park's interim police chief on March 25. (Photo courtesy of the Village of Orland Park)

Orland Park residents involved in county and state election races

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva There will be no municipal elections in Orland Park in June, but Orland Park residents will be key players in several county and state races. Orland Park resident Liz Gorman, a Republican, is running for the Cook County Commissioner of the 17th District, a post she held from 2002-2015. Former…

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan speaks with a Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound reporter on an unrelated topic in a 2019 interview. --File photo

Madigan hits feds

Spread the love

Spread the loveActions routine, ‘not illegal’ By Peter Hancock Capitol News Illinois Former Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan and former lobbyist Michael McClain have pleaded not guilty in federal court to charges of racketeering, bribery, fraud and extortion. Both were arraigned on those charges last week during a teleconference hearing before U.S. District Judge…

6 (1)

Archer Avenue goes green for a day

Spread the love

Spread the loveThe Southwest Side Irish (as well as many more “Irish for a day” friends and neighbors) flooded Archer Avenue with good cheer earlier this month, at the Midway area’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade. Hosted by the Clear-Ridge Men’s Social Athletic Club and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150, the Chicago Working…

U.S. Rep. Jesús "Chuy" García (D-4th)

Chuy rips Biden for ‘racist’ border policy

Spread the love

Spread the loveSays president using rule to unfairly deny asylum  From staff reports U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-4th) recently joined Reps. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.), and Jose Luis Correa (D-Calif.) in demanding the Biden Administration revoke a rule they say is racist and anti-immigrant. “For nearly two years, the United States government has expelled individuals fleeing from…

Archdioceseschools

Offer tuition help at SW Side Catholic schools

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Kathy Headley The Southwest Organizing Project, in partnership with the Big Shoulders Fund, is offering scholarships to newly eligible students at six participating schools in the area. For students who qualify, annual tuition per child is $1,500 for a two-year term, with an option for renewal. A limited number of scholarships are…

Vincent Delgiudice, also known as “Uncle Mick,” 58, directed an illegal bookmaking business in the Chicago area from 2016 to 2019, U.S. prosecutors said. 
(File photo)

Orland Park bookie sentenced to 18 months in federal prison

Spread the love

Spread the loveFrom staff reports  An Orland Park man was sentenced last week to a year and a half in federal prison for conducting an illegal sports gambling business and laundering the proceeds. Vincent Delgiudice, also known as “Uncle Mick,” 58, directed an illegal bookmaking business in the Chicago area from 2016 to 2019, U.S.…

Palos Park Village Manager Rick Boehm said that new technology is "light years" ahead of what they have to bring residents broadcasts of council meetings. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Palos Park upgrading meeting broadcasts — will soon go to live streaming

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva  Coming soon to a TV, computer or phone near you will be live streaming of Palos Park village council meetings. The council unanimously voted Monday to update its audio, video monitoring and streaming equipment in the Council Room of the Kaptur Administrative Center. Sound Incorporated out of Naperville will be…