Illinois primary results: Winners and losers

Illinois primary results: Winners and losers
Creative Commons photo by Charel Flickr user Charleston's TheDigitel

The results from Tuesday’s contests are in. Here are the races The Chicago Reporter was watching:

President of The United States

Mitt Romney won Illinois, with 47 percent of the vote. Rick Santorum, the closest challenger, came away with 35 percent. Most of Romney’s support came from the city and suburbs, while Santorum split some of the more conservative downstate and rural vote with Newt Gingrich.


Jesse L. Jackson Jr. coasted to victory over Debbie Halvorson in the 2nd Congressional District. Halvorson, a former congresswoman, was touted as the first real challenge Jackson has faced since he was elected to the U.S. House in 1995. He won over 70 percent of the vote. The new district now spans the South Side and reaches down to Kankakee.

In the northwest suburbs, Tammy Duckworth won the 8th District Congressional Democratic primary against Raja Krishnamoorthi. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both of her legs in combat, will face Joe Walsh, a Tea Party Republican, in the general election. Walsh has already challenged Duckworth to debate.

The highly touted progressive Ilya Sheyman was beaten by Brad Schneider in the Democratic primary for the 10th Congressional District in the northern suburbs. Sheyman had the support of former presidential candidate Howard Dean, who was in Chicagoland last week campaigning for him. Schneider will be up against Robert Dold in November.

General Assembly

The Chicago Board of Elections only finished counting all of the ballots in the Democratic primary for 39th District state representative late Wednesday. In the end, incumbent Toni Berrios topped challenger Will Guzzardi by a mere 111 votes. But, provisional and absentee ballots have yet to be counted. That said, Guzzardi has not conceded yet; his camp is calling the race “too close to call.”

Every Latino candidate who touted progressive or reformist agendas lost their bids for state legislative seats. In the 1st District state senate race, longtime seatholder Antonio Muñoz easily beat Adolfo Mondragón, again. In the 12th District state senate Democratic contest, incumbent Steve Landek walloped Raul Montes, despite claims that Landek tried to bribe him and another candidate to drop out of the race. That other candidate, Robert Reyes, was also trounced by incumbent Lisa Hernandez in the 24th District state representative Democratic primary. In the 2nd District state representative Democratic race, Eddie Acevedo, the incumbent, fended off both Cuahtémoc “Temoc” Morfin and Joe Trutin. And Michele Piszczor lost by a huge margin to House Speaker and incumbent 22nd District state Rep. Michael Madigan, whom she claims rigged results. Amongst all these professed reformists, Rudy Lozano was considered to have the strongest shot at winning a seat, as 21st District state representative, but he too lost. Silvana Tabares, an establishment-backed candidate, beat him by a few hundred votes.

Tuesday was a good night for some progressives, though. Patricia Van-Pelt Watkins beat incumbent Annazette Collins for the 5th District state senate Democratic nomination. Collins had been dogged by a number of residency scandals, and questions about whether she abused a state scholarship program.

In the 26th District state representative race, 25-year-old Christian Mitchell grabbed the Democratic nomination, beating challenger Kenny Johnson by a slim margin of about 4 percent. Mitchell is a University of Chicago graduate who had the backing of numerous progressive pols, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, whom he recently worked for.

Voters in the 10th District, on the West Side, heeded the call of the Democratic establishment and elected incumbent state representative Derrick Smith, even though he was charged with bribery last week. Voters had to choose between Smith, or Tom Swiss, a white, former Republican, who did not excite very many constituents in the mostly African American district.

Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

Despite criticism for running an inefficient, outdated office, Dorothy Brown easily won a fourth term as Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. She beat 22nd Ward Alderman Ricardo Muñoz by more than 65 percent.

Illinois Supreme Court

Mary Jane Theis will return to the Illinois Supreme Court for another decade, after beating all of her challengers.The race was a historic one, in that, Joy Cunningham could have been the first black woman to be elected to the state’s high court. Theis, who had the support of top Democrats like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, finished with twice the number of votes as Cunningham, the runner-up.

© Community Renewal Society 2012

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