We now know that Governor Pat Quinn lost his reelection bid, but supporters I talked to seemed truly stunned Tuesday at his election night party as I asked their thoughts on NBC’s announcement declaring Bruce Rauner as the new governor-elect. I hate being the bearer of bad news.
Just hours before, joyous reunions erupted throughout the room—one volunteer recounted to another the calls she had made earlier that day, local aldermen and state legislators greeted their own supporters, and fans of the Rev. Jesse Jackson snapped pictures of the prominent clergyman as he made his way around the party. The excitement in the air was palpable. After a grueling and competitive campaign, these supporters enjoyed tray-passed hors d’oeuvres and complimentary libations.
“Pat Quinn will win! Pat Quinn will win,” they shouted repeatedly. Chanting, cheering and old-fashioned hollering broke out every few minutes as earlier results showed Quinn in the lead over Rauner.
City officials were forced to send out a score of stand-in election judges after thousands of them didn’t show up for work on the most important day of the election calendar. Robo calls from an unknown source to paid election judges discouraged them from showing up, and hundreds of substitute judges had to be enlisted. The Chicago Board of Elections is now chasing after the person – or people – who made those calls happen.
About 2,000 judges did not show up after receiving recorded calls saying they needed more training or had to vote a certain way before they could work.
Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen said Wednesday there’s an ongoing investigation. “It’s our turn to finish up the investigation and give that to the prosecutors,” Allen said. Steve Campbell, a representative for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, confirmed that his office is investigating the matter.
Environmental and health care advocates can rejoice. Incumbent Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9th district) was elected Tuesday for her ninth consecutive term to the U.S. House of Representatives, based on 66 percent of precincts reporting. The newly re-elected congresswoman defeated opponent Susanne Atanus with almost 67 percent of the vote.
Schakowsky’s 9th district straddles the North Side of Chicago and a swathe of northern and northwestern suburbs. But her environmental and consumer concerns blanket national consumer issues involving vehicle safety, removal of various chemicals from cosmetics and improved safety for children’s products and cosmetics.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-8th) defeated rival Larry Kaifesh (R) Tuesday night shortly before 11 p.m. It was the only race in this election cycle between two Iraq War veterans.
Duckworth captured 57 percent of the vote, slightly higher than two years ago. In 2012 she defeated incumbent Republican Joe Walsh with 55 percent of the vote.
She promised to keep fighting for military families. “I will continue to be the advocate for our veterans in Congress to achieve good jobs and quality health care,” she said. “I view it as my responsibility to stand up for those whose voices aren’t always heard in the halls of Congress.”
At 10:45 p.m. Tuesday night, Illinois Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon conceded the race for state comptroller to incumbent Judy Baar Topinka.
“I want to thank everyone who was here and everyone who was a part of this,” Simon said. “And just in case anyone doesn’t think I’m a lucky person, I want to thank my daughter here with me and my daughter in China watching.”
The Illinois state comptroller’s office will remain in the control of Republicans. Judy Baar Topinka kept the position of state comptroller with late results at 49.9 percent for her and 43.3 percent for Democrat Lt. Gov. Shelia Simon .
“Having both of us just being out there subject to public scrutiny, anybody who goes out in the area deserves a lot of credit. Sheila did a great job and we need to give credit to her, to all of the staff and everybody who worked hard on this campaign,” Topinka said in her victory speech.
It’s neck and neck in the Illinois treasurer race between Illinois Rep. Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Illinois Sen. Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign). As of 10:43 p.m., the vote was tied at 47.9 percent for each candidate.
Republican Robert Dold has reclaimed the 10th Congressional District seat he narrowly lost to Brad Schneider in 2012.
The crowd erupted with cheers of “Sold on Dold” when Schneider’s concession was announced.
The election, which was expected to be close and run late into the night, was called by Chicago media outlets before 10 p.m. The latest unofficial numbers show that Dold led 51.83 percent to Schneider’s 48.17 percent.
The state of Illinois is one of the few states allowing citizens to register to vote and cast a ballot on election day as long as they are 18 or older and have resided in the jurisdiction 30 days prior to elections. Some citizens who are still registering to vote today are continuing to wait to cast their votes nearly three hours after polls were supposed to close at Chicago Board of Elections.