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

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Boys Tennis | Lyons’ Jack McLane and Mason Mazzone win sectional doubles title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The area produced a handful of boys tennis state qualifiers, but only one entry is headed to state as a sectional champion. At the Class 2A Lyons Sectional, the Lions’ Jack McLane and Mason Mazzone were doubles champs. The state meet opens May 23 at various sites in the…

The Lyons boys water polo team celebrates its state championship on May 18 in Lincolnshire.  Photo courtesy of Lyons Township High School

Water Polo | Lyons boys win third state title; girls finish 3rd

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The best matchup of the IHSA boys water polo state tournament was arguably in the quarterfinals. That battle between Lyons and New Trier could have been considered the real state championship match. But no matter what, the Lions are state champions. Heading into the postseason, Lyons had just three…

Kathy Headley

Golf is for all at Marquette Park

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . Last week we began by talking about how golf season is in full swing at Marquette Park. What if you have thought about playing, but have never played before? There are three programs at Marquette,…

The currently vacant building at 5400 W. 63rd St. --File photo

Legislation to acquire new police district facility on Southwest Side passes General Assembly

Spread the love

Spread the love. Porfirio, Guerrero-Cuellar measure heads to Pritzker’s desk  . From staff reports State Senator Mike Porfirio (D-11th) and State Rep. Angelica “Angie” Guerrero-Cuellar (D-22nd) recently passed legislation in the General Assembly to acquire a new police district facility representing their districts on the Southwest Side. The bill passed both chambers with veto-proof margins.…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Lyons water polo teams splash to state

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Both of Lyons water polo team qualified for the state quarterfinals. Lyons’ girls water polo team won its own sectional by beating Mother McAuley, 13-9, in the title game on May 11. The Lions will face York in the state quarterfinals on May 17 at Stevenson High School in…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

IHSA announces postseason assignments for baseball, softball, girls soccer

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The IHSA has announced the Class 3A and 4A baseball seeds were revealed and Nazareth, which is seeking its third straight state championship will have to do it in Class 4A after winning two straight in 3A in 2022 and 2023. The Roadrunners drew the top seed at the…

Red Stars goalie Alyssa Naeher, shown retrieving a ball against Washington on May 1, left a May 12 game against Utah with an injury. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Red Stars win at home again, Naeher hurt

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent The NWSL released a fun fact that is pretty darn fun for Chicago Red Stars fans. This year’s version of the Red Stars opened the season 3-0-1, scoring 10 points in the first four road games. They were the fourth team in league history to do that. According to…

Anna Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle history. Photo courtesy of De La Salle

Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa coach calls it a career

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Hall of Fame volleyball coach Anna Marassa is retiring. Marassa is the only girls volleyball coach in De La Salle’s history as she headed up the program in 2002 and racked up 538 victories, 10 regional championships and four sectional titles. She is also the boys coach and wraps…

Shepard's Kyla Motley (left) and Rajae Stevenson at the Lyons Sectional. Photo courtesy of Shepard High School

Girls Track | Shepard’s Kyla Motley wins three titles at Lyons Sectional

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Shepard junior track star Kyla Motley was a sectional champion in three events for the second year in a row. Motley won the 100 high hurdles with a time of 15.31, the long jump with an 18-2.5 effort, and the triple jump with a 36-9 at the Class 3A Lyons…

Stagg tennis players and twins Nick and Seamus Keough finished third at No. 3 singles at the SouthWest Suburban Red meet. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Boys Tennis | Stagg takes third at final SWSC Red tourney

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Saturday blue skies cleared the way for the final SouthWest Suburban Conference boys tennis matches as Stagg hosted Andrew, Lincoln-Way Central, and Lincoln-Way West at Moraine Valley Community College. The Chargers started the season losing five of their first games but finished the regular season 10-10-1. They finished third…