Mitt Romney won the lion's share of the delegates at stake in the Illinois Republican primary and solidly defeated Rick Santorum in a major midwestern state for the first time.
That is the headline from a whirlwind day of primaries around the state. Here is a quick look at how Romney did it.
I told you yesterday that Romney needed big margins in Cook, Lake, DuPage and Will to lock up a statewide win and he got it. He topped 55% of the vote in 3 of those 4 counties and just missed an overall majority in Will. Although the margins were smaller in other surrounding counties, Romney went undefeated in all of the metro Chicago area counties.
Santorum had hoped to pull more votes in Kankakee, Kendall and Grundy counties but the combination of Romney's superior get -out-the-vote efforts and Newt Gingrich's prescence pulling nearly 10% in all three counties worked against Santorum's chances.
The Santorum camp new northeast Illinois would be problematic for them, but didn't think they Romney's whoopin' stick would've been so large in the Chicago Metro. It was.
Downstate, the news was better for Santorum and it was his strength there that kept the statewide numbers relatively close. Still, Romney's wins in Sangamon, Peoria, Champaign, St. Clair and McLean Counties were particularly impressive. Those are fairly conservative counties with respectable population centers. Santorum expected to do better there and anchor his potential to win downstate Congressional districts. For the most part, that did not happen.
The only counties he won outside of rural areas were places like Rock County, home to the Illinois portion of the Quad Cities; Adams County, home to Quincy and Madison County, home to a chunk of St. Louis's Illinois suburbs.
Santorum did very well in rural counties like Jackson and Williamson Counties in far southern Illinois, the heart of the Lakeland Metro area that includes Carbondale, Herrin and Marion. However, the margins were not enough in any of the counties just mentioned to make a dent in what Romney racked up in Metro Chicago.
According to the Associated Press, Romney scored a minimum of 41 delegates while Santorum netted 10. Expect Romney's number to increase when the state party holds their convention this summer.
I previewed some Congressional races of note yesterday and here is a brief recap of the outcomes:
Don "The Undertaker" Peloquin swiftly defeated Chicago police officer Fredrick Collins with nearly 70% of the vote in the 1st District primary. It won't matter in November unless Bobby Rush suffers a major health crisis.
Richard Grabowski won in the 3rd District over a very qualified Jim Falvey. Just like the 1st District, the older candidate defeated the younger one. Lipinski has little to fear from Grabowski, but hopefully Richard can put up a tough fight.
Tammy Duckworth's win in the 8th was not unexpected but doubling up her opponent is certainly impressive. Joe Walsh is going to fight like hell to keep this seat, but Duckworth has name ID and will get serious national money from Democratic groups. She is going to be very tough to beat.
The same is true in the 10th Congressional. Congressman Robert Dold and every state GOP official was cheering for Ilya Sheyman to pull the upset on Tuesday night so he could get slaughtered in November. However, the far more appealing Brad Schneider won with 46% of the voter and will present a more serious challenge to Dold than Dan Seals ever did.
I told you to watch out for the opportunistic Jason Plummer in the 12th District. He was a hair away from being Lieutenant Governor in 2010 and after cruising to a 20-point win in the GOP primary last night, he is the early favorite against Brad Harriman. The Dems could certainly win this seat, but with so many competitive races in the state, I would not be surprised if they abandon this one early to focus money on more favorable competitive districts.
Adam Kinzinger pulled out a 10-point win against 20-year incumbent Don Manzullo in the 16th District. This was a dirty race, but Kinzinger proved his toughness and with this win, he may very well set himself up to be Congressman for as long as he wants...or at least to guarantee himself a seat at the state GOP table for a long time to come. We may not have heard the last of Manzullo. He is one to keep an eye on.
Cheri Bustos is Dick Dubin's handpicked candidate to unseat Bobby Schilling in the 17th District. Her easy win last night sets up another competitive campaign just 2 years after Shilling feverishly fought off Phil Hare to capture the seat for Republicans, winning the election by 10-points. He has money and support, but if the vultures start to circle in September, Congressional Republican contributors may turn away from Schilling to defend other seats.
In the state legislature, it was a Mike Madigan kind of night. Almost all of his favored Democrats won. Unfortunately, none of the GOPers in Dem clothing could squeeze through. Tom Swiss, Maria Stoppa and Michele Piszczor all fell well short of victory in their races.
On the plus side, Kirk Dillard took care of business in his race and with a 23 point win, he sets himself up to run for Governor again. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford's statewide efforts on behalf of Romney set him up nicely to do the same in 2014. Just because Bill Brady is laying low doesn't mean he is out of that contest either.
Jim Oberweis is back! The milk man who will not go away easily won the 25th state senate district Republican nod and will be heavily favored in a November race against liberal Democrat Corinne Pierog.
I was hoping Toni Berrios was on her way to defeat against Will Guzzardi in the 39th State House district but she holds a precarious 72 vote lead with only provisional and a few absentee ballots left to count. It appears that another Berrios will hold onto office by the slimmest of margins.
The 78th state house district Lilly/Nardello race tunred into a squash match. Lilly ran up a 4 to 1 margin in her landslide. Nardello has been a thorn in the side of Northwest Side Democrats and he paid for it last night.
A couple of quick side notes:
- Huge wins for Dorothy Brown, Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Derrick Smith go to prove that public corruption and unethical behavior are not only unpunished in Illinois Democratic primaries, but they are actually rewarded.
- Patrick Daley Thompson won a seat on the Water Reclamation District. What office is the 3rd generation Daley really angling for?
- I don't know about you, but I do not trust Mary Jane Theis in the State Supreme Court. I am not saying James Riley (her GOP opponent in November) will be the next great judicial mind in Illinois, but if Theis wins in November, the Judicial Branch will become even less impartial.