Attack ads are an unfortunate element of modern politics. There is a certain level of name calling and criticism that is expected in these ads, and generally candidates take these attacks in stride. But there are still some lines that both candidates and the public think should not be crossed. One such line is using a candidate’s family or children in an attack ad.
Yesterday, the Rodney Davis campaign responded to an EMILY’s List ad that featured his children. Davis, who has championed civility in politics, called the ad “a new low,” and said that, “kids are off limits in politics.” So it was particularly poor timing for fellow Republican Seth McMillan to drop an ad with State Senator Andy Manar’s children in it. The ad, which pulled footage from a pro-Manar ad, shows several seconds of Manar’s children while discussing the senator’s record on taxes.
In a statement on Facebook, Manar said, “My opponent is at it again. This week he’s using images of my children in an attack ad. So let’s review the McMillan campaign: first he got caught lying on Facebook about my vote on the Coffeen Power Plant, then the State Journal-Register caught him lying on Facebook about my position on term limits, then he issued a “challenge” to me to debate him even though we have had four and he chose to skip one, he has over a dozen open ethics violations and he’s served on the Christian County Ethics Commission, and now he’s using images of my children in a negative ad as if there aren’t enough pictures out there on the internet of me to use.”
Manar went on to call on voters to “reject” this type of politics.
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.