Vice President Mike Pence was in Springfield yesterday to endorse local Congressman Rodney Davis (R-13). Speaking at the Panther Creek County Club, Pence highlighted Davis’ record on the economy and veterans’ issues. Davis was the author of the “Hire More Heroes Act,” which made it easier for veterans and their families to get private sector employment.
Most of Pence’s speech was about the accomplishments of the Trump administration and the Republican legislature as a whole. The booming economy was discussed from a number of angles. Unemployment is the lowest it has been since 1969. Tax reforms passed in 2017 are starting to put more money in the pockets of middle class families. And new trade deals with China, Canada, Mexico, and other have lead to a revitalization of industries like steel. Pence said repealing regulations helped make these improvements possible.
In addition to the positive moves the Republicans have made in the last two years, Pence also offered a vision of what might happen if Davis is not reelected. He warned that a Democratic majority would mean Pelosi would be Speaker of the House again, and the “resist” movement would obstruct the work Trump is trying to accomplish. The 13th Congressional District is one of the more competitive districts in the nation, and so it is particularly important for the Republicans to reelect Davis.
Pence closed with an appeal for voters to go to the polls and vote, saying “friends don’t let friends vote alone.” Early voting has already started. Election Day is Tuesday November 6th.
Pence is not the first member of the Trump administration to support Davis’ reelection bid. President Trump praised Davis during a Granite City event in July, and Ivanka Trump visited Godfrey with Davis in August. You can watch Pence’s full speech in the player.
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.