By ILFOPLC, Staff - Wednesday, November 5, 2020
From: Leinenweber, Baroni and Daffada
Heading into this election, Democrats were as excited as they have been. Democrats in Illinois had every possible advantage. They had better initial balances, helped by better fundraising. The second least popular politician in Illinois is Donald Trump. The Map was drawn for Democrats 10 years ago and has gotten generally better for most Democrats since then. There were some experts that were expecting Democrats to pick up as many as 8 seats in the House, in addition to a pickup in the Senate. There were also hopes by Democrats to win at least one additional Congressional Seat in the Springfield area. These hopes were not what materialized on election night. Due in large part to the large number of mail in votes, final vote totals are generally not available in any race, and some of the supposed wins discussed here in could change based on that turn out.
Democratic Speaker of the House Michael Madigan was poised to pick up multiple seats in the Chicago Suburbs based on early polling and a fundraising advantage that was as disproportionate as $20 to $1. There were 7 Republicans that Madigan targeted in the Suburbs. Of these, only two Democrats were successful and 5 of the Republicans held their seats. This included Janet Yang Rohr who beat Wherli in Naperville and Suzanne Ness who beat Skillicorn in Lake County. There were 4 Democrats who were defending their seats in the Suburbs and two were successful. Diane Pappas lost to Michael Camerer in northern DuPage County and Mary Edly Allen lost to Chris Bos in central Lake County. In addition, there were two districts in the Metro East (the suburban area on the Illinois side of St. Louis) that were Democrats who were beat by Republicans. This included Bristow losing to Amy Elik and Nathan Reitz losing to David Frieze. In total, the House Republicans likely gained two seats. While this is a big win for House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, it does not change the balance of power in the House. House Democrats accounted for 74 of the 118 members of the House prior to the election and they will now constitute 72.
Senate Democrats had two significant victories. Senate President Don Harmon successfully defended Senator Koehler in Peoria. In addition, Harmon targeted an open seat, vacated by Republican Oberweis when he ran for Congress. Ultimately, Harmon was successful in promoting former House Democrat, Villa in this ex-urban seat. This means that the already oversized Senate Democrat caucus will grow to 41 of 59 seats. This was the undoing of Senate Minority Leader Brady’s leadership as he has announced his resignation. Dan McConchie is likely going to be the next Senate Minority Leader.
In the numerous Congressional races, incumbents generally won including the hotly contested race in Springfield against Rodney Davis. The most up in the air race in Illinois remains Republican candidate Oberweis against incumbent Democrat Underwood. It may be some time before the results in this race are finalized.
The Judicial races were also dramatic in Illinois. Justice Kilbride, a long time Madigan ally, lost his retention. He will be replaced by an appointed Justice and there will be an open race in two years. This was the most expensive Judicial Race in Illinois’ history. Republican Overstreet won his race to replace Republican Karmeier on the Supreme Court. The loss of Kilbride is viewed as a major Madigan loss, in addition to the loss of seats for House Democrats.
Next to the Speaker, the biggest loser on Election Day in Illinois was Pritzker. Pritzker was the largest funder and supporter of a Constitutional referendum to allow a progressive income tax. The measure needed 60% approval but received only 45%. This will make it harder for Pritzker to pass any type of tax increase because it demonstrated a general antagonism to new taxes across Illinois. It will also likely trigger a reduction in the credit rating making it nearly impossible for Illinois to borrow its way out of impending budget reductions. Pritzker will likely have to examine cuts to education, healthcare, pensions, and corrections to balance his budget that is billions of dollars out of balance.
Ultimately Illinois’ election did not in any way change the balance of power. The Speaker and President still both lead a Democrat super majority in their chambers. Every Constitutional Officer in Illinois is still a Democrat. What was important is that both the Speaker and the Governor are weakened after the election. This weakening comes not only from their losses, but also the general ability of less funded candidates to outperform well-funded Democrats. This could be viewed as eroding the value of both individuals’ deep pockets. Generally, House Democrats that refused the Speaker’s and the party’s money and instead called for change in the party outperformed candidates who accepted the party’s money and platform. The other change is a new Minority Leader in a further weakened Senate Republican Caucus. This may ultimately drive this Caucus to be more conservative than it is currently.
Specifically, for the Fraternal Order of Police, election results were overall incredibly positive for our endorsed Candidates. In the Illinois Senate, the FOP endorsed two candidates. The endorsed Democrat, Martwick, narrowly won while the endorsed Republican, Burress, lost to the incumbent. We endorsed four candidates for Congress, but only one candidate won. Incumbent Republican Bost won his race in the southern tip of Illinois. We won a judicial Race and we lost on an endorsed judicial race. In the Illinois House of Representatives, the FOP endorsed 11 candidates and 9 of those candidates won. This included several races where our endorsement was instrumental in the close outcomes. Overall, 63% of FOP endorsed candidates were successful and almost 75% of our statewide races resulted in successful endorsed candidates.