Healthcare has been one of the central issues in the race for the 13th congressional seat. Both Republican incumbent Rodney Davis and Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan have personal healthcare stories that influence their politics. Davis’ wife Shannon is a cancer survivor. Besty’s son Jack nearly died from a tick-borne infection. These stories have been highlighted in positive ads for the candidates.
But positive ads are often overshadowed by negative attack ads, and the 13th has had its share of attack ads this season. But one ad may have crossed the line. A new attack ad put out by WomenVote/EMILY’s List featured Davis’ children while discussing Davis’ voting record on healthcare issues.
Davis was quick to condemn the ad. In a statement, Davis said, “In my book, kids are off limits in politics and it’s appalling to me that this outside group, who is spending nearly a million dollars in support of my opponent, would use my children in a negative TV ad against me. My opponent has spoken about her son several times throughout this campaign and I would never use him, nor condone an outside group using him, in a negative way to make a political point. Lying about my voting record over and over again and using scare-tactics to do it is bad enough, but bringing my kids into it is a new low. At some point enough is enough in politics.”
This is not the first time the Davis campaign has had an issue with an EMILY’s List ad. During the primary, he was joined by female Republican leaders who condemned an ad which mischaracterized comments Davis made at a hearing to combat sexual harassment.
Langfelder remains confident in his Township merger question
Springfield is on its way to eliminating a unit of government. Capital Township, which is coterminous with the City of Springfield, is moving towards consolidation. Currently, Sangamon County is trying to get the township to merge with the county. But Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder is pushing the effort for the township to be merged into the city.
The County’s effort had strong momentum going for it before the election. Both the township board and the county have approved the merger. To further solidify their mandate, they put a non-binding question on the November 6th ballot. That question asked if the county and township should pursue a full merger. The effort passed with 75 percent support, or 31,800 votes.
Despite the progress the County’s effort is making, Langfelder still thinks the city should take over the township. He remains confident that voters will support his ballot question. But that support will have to come in two parts. Because the Springfield City Council declined to endorse his question, Langfelder will need signatures to get on the April ballot at all, in addition to getting votes on Election Day.
Republicans Davis and LaHood hold onto congressional seats
Both Congressmen who serve the Springfield area retained their seats last night. Darin LaHood (R-18) and Rodney Davis (R-13) will be going back to Washington DC. LaHood had a decisive victory with 67.5 percent of the vote against Democrat Junius Rodriguez who took 32.5 percent. Davis had a much closer race. He won out over Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan by a margin of just 3,700 votes.
But Illinois Congressional races generally went towards the Democrats. The 6th District went to Sean Casten over Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. Lauren Underwood came out over Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren in the 14th. These races were part of the Democrats retaking of the US House of Representatives. Illinois now has 13 Democratic and 5 Republican Congressional Representatives.
Even in the races they won, Republicans have reasons to be concerned. LaHood received 57,000 fewer votes in his rematch against Rodriguez than he did in 2016. Rodriguez’s total dropped just 3,000 votes. Davis faced a similar situation. Where the Democrats actually gained 5,000 votes in the 13th, Davis’ total declined by 52,000.
While a win is a win, even these high points of last night’s election should be worrying to the Illinois Republican Party.
Sales tax and township consolidation propositions pass
In addition to the candidates running for office, there were several questions on the ballot for voters in Sangamon County. One question was if Capital Township should be consolidated with Sangamon County. The other was if there should be a one percent sales tax to help schools pay for facility improvements.
Both questions passed. The township question passed handily with 75 percent of the vote. The sales tax was approved much more narrowly, 53 to 47 percent.
Because it was a non-binding question, the township vote will do nothing by itself. It will, however, strengthen the case for the county and township to consolidate.
The sales tax referendum was a binding question, and will go into effect July of 2019. It is expected to raise about $10 million for District 186, and another $10 million for other districts in Sangamon County.