Should there be limits on how long someone can serve in office? For the Republicans the answer is a strong yes. The “People’s Pledge” lays out a commitment to limiting individuals to eight years in an executive office, and ten years in the General Assembly. Those who sign the pledge say they will work to get the question on a ballot for the voters to decide. Today, Rep. Tim Butler (R-87), along with local candidates Mike Murphy, Herman Senor, and Steve McClure all signed the pledge with Governor Rauner.
This is not the first effort to get term limits on the ballot. In 2014, Rauner led a petition effort to get the term limit question on the ballot. Despite getting a substantial number of signatures, this effort was struck down by the courts. They ruled the proposed changes had to originate in the General Assembly.
Term limits are designed to create turnover in government. For supporters, this is a good thing because it brings in new people. Opponents agree it creates turnover, but point out no other industry seeks out employee turnover. However, the primary motivation in Illinois for term limits is Speaker Mike Madigan.
Madigan has dominated the Illinois House for decades. Rauner, who is a vocal opponent of Madigan, said that such a long tenure has led to corruption and other issues. The second half of the People’s Pledge is a vow to support anyone but Madigan for Speaker. The Republicans said they would like to retake the House and have a Republican Speaker, but they are willing to back any other Democrat that runs for Speaker.
You can watch the full remarks below, or the local candidate’s in the player above.
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.