By William S. Bike
Turnout was high in the recent election, as more than five million of Illinois’s approximately eight million registered voters cast ballots.
The Illinois Federation of Teachers was one of many groups that worked hard to get out the vote. “This election was one of the most important in our lifetime because of the long term consequences it will have on our members’ livelihoods, the political discourse, and the overall health of our country and state,” said IFT president Dan Montgomery. “We are proud of the work our members did finding new and safe ways to engage voters during the pandemic.”
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris easily won Illinois. Nationwide, the ticket received more votes than any presidential ticket in history with more than 79 million votes, surpassing the Barack Obama/Joe Biden ticket’s total of 69.4 million in 2008—the previous high record total.
Statewide, Biden/Harris received 3,416,660 votes for 57.4% to President Donald Trump/Vice President Mike Pence’s 2,424,395 for 40.7%. Four other candidates received votes as well. Gazette Chicago had endorsed the Joe Biden/Kamala Harris ticket.
“Joe Biden won more than 80% of the vote in Chicago, and we had a record turnout in Illinois and at UIC,” said Dick Simpson, professor of political science at the University of Illinois Chicago. “The early indications are that UIC had the most students voting in our history as a university.”
The 3rd, 4th, 11th, 12th, 25th, 27th, 28th, and 42nd Wards comprise this community. In the 3rd, Biden/Harris garnered 89.5% of the vote, Trump/Pence 9.2%. The 4th Ward went for Biden/Harris 92.2% to 6.4% for Trump/Pence. In the 11th Ward, the vote was 67.0% Biden/Harris, 30.9% Trump/Pence. The 12th Ward saw Biden/Harris win with 81.6% to 16.1% for Trump/Pence. In the 25th, Biden/Harris scored 84.8%, Trump/Pence 13.0%. The 27th went 86.2% Biden/Harris, 12.0% Trump/Pence. The 28th saw Biden/Harris tally 90.8%, Trump/Pence 7.8%. The 42nd also was Biden/Harris territory, with 76.4% of the vote to Trump/Pence’s 21.9%.
Trump/Pence’s percentages rose slightly in all these wards in 2020 compared to 2016, when their tally was 7.1% in the 3rd, 4.5% in the 4th, 25.8% in the 11th, 10.4% in the 12th, 9.9% in the 25th, 7.8 in the 27th, 4.2% in the 28th, and 20.1% in the 42nd.
The Fair Tax, which would have allowed the State to tax bigger incomes at a higher rate while giving 97% of taxpayers a cut, nonetheless lost with 3,023,083 no votes, or 53.4%, vs. 2,635,264 yes votes, for 46.6%. Gazette Chicago had endorsed a yes vote on the Fair Tax.
Simpson argued that the Fair Tax “lost because of the strong negative advertising against it, the economic recession which left voters with less income, and the negative view of Springfield because of the corruption scandals.”
“The Fair Tax would have gone a long way to fix our broken tax system by asking the wealthy to pay their fair share,” Montgomery said. “Since the start of the campaign, anti-union and billionaire opponents like Ken Griffin and the Illinois Policy Institute launched a misinformation campaign to scare voters, maintain our broken tax system, and protect millionaires and billionaires. We will continue to work with our allies in the General Assembly to look for avenues to generate much needed revenue for the State and future budgets that don’t cut funding for public education.”
Another race that generated great interest was that for Cook County State’s attorney, which pundits expected to be a close one between Democratic incumbent Kim Foxx and Republican challenger Patrick O’Brien. The margin proved larger than expected, with Foxx retaining her office with 913,823 votes for 53.9% to O’Brien’s 669,749 for 39.5%. Libertarian Brian Dennehy tallied 111,438 for 6.6%. Gazette Chicago had endorsed Foxx.
Another strongly competitive race, in the 3rd Congressional District, had newcomer Marie Newman, who had beaten longtime incumbent Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, battling Republican Mike Fricilone.
Newman won with 168,524 votes for 56.1%, with Fricilone tallying 131,655 for 43.9%. Gazette Chicago had endorsed Newman.
The city vote put her over, as in suburban Cook County, Fricilone totaled 51.7% of the vote and Newman totaled 48.3%. In Chicago, however, Newman scored 66.7% of the vote to Fricilone’s 33.3%.
“I am beyond honored to be elected as the next representative for Illinois’s 3rd Congressional District,” Newman said. “We couldn’t have done this without our amazing district-wide coalition. Thank you to Gazette Chicago, and all of the wonderful people and organizations who have supported me and made this win possible. In Congress, I will continue to build bridges and fight for a just country and economy for working families. Together, we will work to pass universal healthcare, a green stimulus, and make the economy work for everyone.”
“Marie Newman easily won this election because she defeated Lipinski in the primary and was running in a very Democratic district,” Simpson said.
In the race for U.S. Senate, Democratic incumbent Richard Durbin easily held off challengers Republican Mark Curran, independent Willie Wilson, and others. Durbin tallied 3,220,926 votes for 54.5%, Curran 2,293,741 for 38.8%, and Wilson 234,378 for 4.0%. Two others were in the race as well. Gazette Chicago had endorsed Durbin.
“We are very excited that U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, a friend of labor and education, won overwhelmingly and will continue to hold a leadership position in the U.S. Senate,” Montgomery said.
In U.S. House District 1, Democratic incumbent Bobby Rush, with 236,362 votes for 73.8%, easily held off Republican challenger Philanise White, with 83,891 votes for 26.2%. Gazette Chicago had endorsed Rush.
The 4th District race saw Democratic incumbent Jesus “Chuy” Garcia sail to victory with 184,058 votes for 84% over Republican challenger Jesus Solorio, with 35,001 for 16%. Gazette Chicago endorsed Garcia.
Another big winner was Democratic incumbent Danny K. Davis, who retained his 7th District seat with 244,162 votes for 80.3% over Republican Craig Cameron, 40,779 for 13.4%, and independent Tracy Jennings with 18,944 for 6.2%. Gazette Chicago had endorsed Davis.
Also winning were unopposed candidates Antonio Munoz in State Senate District 1, Robert Peters in State Senate District 13, Theresa Mah in State House District 2, Delia Ramirez in State House District 4, Lamont Robinson in State House District 5, Sonya Harper in State House District 6, Lakesia Collins in State House District 9, Jawaharial Williams in State House District 10, and Kam Buckner in State House District 26. All are Democrats and incumbents.
In the race for Cook County Circuit Court Clerk, Democrat Iris Martinez, endorsed by Gazette Chicago, won with 1,171,957 for 71.7% to 462,103 and 28.3% for Republican Barbara Beller.
All three Democratic candidates for Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, endorsed by Gazette Chicago, won over their Green Party opponents. The winners are Eira Corral Sepulveda and incumbents Kimberly Neely Dubuclet and Cameron Davis.
The ballot also held numerous Cook County Circuit Court judges up for retention; Gazette Chicago recommended a no vote for two of those, and they both lost. Judges needed to get 60% yes votes to win retention. Jackie Portman-Brown lost her seat as she fell short with 59.4% yes votes. Mauricio Araujo lost his seat with 51.5% no votes. The regular Democratic organization tried to push out Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Toomin for investigating State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollett case, but Toomin kept his seat by scoring 60.8% yes votes. Gazette Chicago had backed Toomin.
Gazette Chicago had endorsed three referenda on the ballot, and all of them passed with at least 77% of the vote. The referenda were on Chicago creating a citywide plan for growth, expanding broadband internet, and regulating assault weapons.