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Democrats have dominant performance in state-level races

Thomas Clatterbuck

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The Democrats are now squarely back in control of Illinois’ state government. Lead by now governor-elect JB Pritzker, the Democrats won all of the statewide office. Mike Freriches was reelected as Treasurer. Susana Mendoza was retained as Comptroller. Jesse White is still Secretary of State. These incumbents were joined by Kwame Raoul, who will be the next Attorney General.

Things were just as good for the Democrats in the General Assembly. In 2016, Republicans broke Speaker Madigan’s veto-proof “supermajority” in House. Last night, Democrats regained their supermajority. However, with both the Legislative and Executive branches controlled by the same party, it is unlikely to matter.

Many saw the 2018 election as a referendum on Republican Governor Bruce Rauner. While it is easy to say he dragged down the Republicans, the numbers do not support that conclusion. In 2014, Rauner won with 1.8 million votes to Pat Quinn’s 1.7 million. Rauner did lose some ground in 2018, with just 1.7 million votes. But Pritzker received 2.4 million votes last night; more than enough to secure a victory.

In fact, Pritzker won by a narrower margin than most of the statewide races. Jesse White earned just shy of 3 million votes, and Susana Mendoza earned 2.5 million. Only Erika Harold, the Republican’s Attorney General candidate, had a significantly closer margin than Rauner had against Pritzker. She lost to Kwame Raoul by “just” 471,000 votes.

The 2018 gubernatorial race was one of the most expensive in US history. But the incredible voter turnout the Democrats received shows it was clearly money well spent.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

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