Democrats look to dominate Illinois as Pritzker tops Rauner

Democrats were returning to dominance in Illinois on Tuesday, as J.B. Pritzker unseated GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the party was looking to sweep other statewide seats and flip as many as four GOP-held congressional districts.

Posted: Nov 6, 2018 9:35 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — Democrats were returning to dominance in Illinois on Tuesday, as J.B. Pritzker unseated GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and the party was looking to sweep other statewide seats and flip as many as four GOP-held congressional districts.

Rauner conceded the race to the billionaire businessman less than an hour after polls closed.

The election saw higher-than-normal turnout, as Democrats pushed back against President Donald Trump and his policies and Republicans tried to hold on to some power in the left-leaning state.

The four congressional districts Democrats were targeting could help them win control of the House. Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul and GOP attorney Erika Harold were vying for an open attorney general seat and Democrats were trying to increase their majorities in the state House and Senate.

Here’s a look:

CONGRESS

Republican Rep. Peter Roskam of Wheaton is trying to win a seventh term in a suburban Chicago district that’s been in GOP hands for four decades. Democrat Sean Casten, a scientist and businessman from Downers Grove, argues Roskam is too conservative and too cozy with the president for the 6th District, which supported Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016. Roskam says Casten wants to raise taxes, and he’s criticized the first-time candidate for name-calling and “embracing the politics of ridicule.”

Democrat Lauren Underwood is challenging GOP Rep. Randy Hultgren of Plano for the 14th Congressional District seat. The Naperville nurse said she was motivated to run for her first political office after Hultgren supported health care legislation that would’ve made coverage of pre-existing conditions more expensive. Underwood, who’s African-American, would be the first woman and first minority to represent the rural and suburban area north and west of Chicago once represented by GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hultgren says voters know he has a track record of getting things done for the district.

In central Illinois, three-term Republican Rep. Rodney Davis of Taylorville is facing Springfield Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who’s also made health care an issue. Londrigan’s son had a life-threatening illness as a child, and she says her family could have faced bankruptcy if they hadn’t had health insurance. She’s criticized Davis for supporting legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, then joining a White House celebration of the House vote. Davis says Londrigan is too extreme for the 13th District. Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraiser for Davis in October, and Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, has campaigned with him.

Republican Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro is facing a challenge from St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly of Swansea in southern Illinois’ 12th District. The once reliably Democratic district strongly backed Trump in 2016, and the president campaigned for Bost last month. Trump also was in the district in August, where he touted his trade policies at U.S. Steel in Granite City. Bost is a former state representative first elected to the House in 2014. Both he and Kelly are veterans — Kelly served in the Navy and Bost in the Marines. Green Party nominee Randy Auxier of Murphysboro also is running.

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Democrat Kwame Raoul and Republican Erika Harold were running to replace four-term incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

The 54-year-old Raoul is a 14-year veteran of the state Senate. He was appointed to the seat in 2004 to replace the U.S. Senate-bound Barack Obama. He boasts a variety of legal experiences, including as an assistant Cook County state’s attorney, and he criticizes Harold’s lack of experience as a prosecutor.

Harold, an Urbana lawyer who used scholarship winnings as Miss America 2003 to get a degree from Harvard Law School, is a civil litigator who dismisses Raoul’s complaints and posits herself as an able administrator willing to take on public corruption.

Critics claim that Madigan — the daughter of powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan — has been slow to prosecute corruption. Harold and Raoul both pledge to do so, but the Chicago Tribune endorsed Harold as the more independent and able of the two.

Raoul has built a record in the Legislature of fighting illegal guns and restructuring workers’ compensation laws to curb abuses. He says the attorney general’s role has expanded in modern times to include defending taxpayers against federal overreach on issues such as the Muslim travel ban and keeping immigrant families together. He would expand the post’s vigilance in fighting online sexual predators and fighting gun violence with better trauma treatment of victims who research shows sometimes become perpetrators.

Harold would fight the opioid epidemic with expanded diversion courts that send qualified criminal defendants to treatment instead of prison. She would attempt to establish a real-time database of addiction-treatment openings around the state to get people into recovery as quickly as possible.

She also wants expanded education programs for prison inmates and better re-entry programs for ex-convicts.

Libertarian Bubba Harsy of DuQuoin is also on the ballot but did not respond to a request for an interview.

___

LEGISLATURE

Democrats, who have controlled both houses of the General Assembly for 30 of the past 42 years, look to expand their majorities after a rare and minor setback in 2016.

The biggest question for the majority party is whether it will regain a 71-seat supermajority in the House, which would give Democrats enough votes to override any veto by the governor. Senate Democrats have enjoyed a supermajority of 36 or more seats since 2007.

The biggest issue for Republicans, struggling to maintain the six seats, including four in the House, they picked off in 2016, is what they don’t have: Gov. Bruce Rauner’s money. The wealthy former private-equity investor and his top backers poured more than $40 million into legislative races in 2016. He’s been focused on his own bid for re-election against billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker.

Rauner has produced $16 million this year, no small change. But it’s a fraction of his contribution two years ago and is offset by more than $22 million in Democratic party-building contributions from Pritzker.

___

O’Connor reported from Springfield.

___

For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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Cases: 1415572

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CountyCasesDeaths
Cook56308410559
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Kane60105816
Winnebago34719524
Madison32433533
St. Clair30073526
McHenry29590299
Peoria23726346
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Rock Island15398329
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Kendall1349999
LaSalle12968254
Macon11193215
DeKalb10286122
Vermilion10247154
Adams9635128
Williamson8165138
Whiteside7249174
Boone694280
Ogle629884
Grundy605879
Clinton591993
Coles5872101
Knox5735157
Jackson546465
Henry516070
Macoupin498790
Livingston494394
Woodford492683
Stephenson488186
Franklin487879
Effingham483274
Marion4782118
Jefferson4668123
Monroe452394
Randolph432587
Lee424054
Morgan413793
Fulton410959
Logan407366
Christian394875
Bureau386187
Montgomery385274
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McDonough305751
Jersey279552
Saline272057
Douglas263736
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Shelby236138
Crawford219026
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Cass210727
Carroll204937
Pike201453
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Warren186750
Jo Daviess183524
Richland181740
White180626
Edgar179842
Washington169625
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De Witt161429
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Mercer152434
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Marshall110819
Hamilton90316
Schuyler8147
Brown8116
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Stark66425
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Calhoun5422
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Gallatin5064
Scott5051
Putnam4943
Alexander48911
Hardin39612
Pope3404
Unassigned662433
Out of IL150

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Cases: 768624

Reported Deaths: 13993
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1055891807
Lake569801031
Allen43032699
St. Joseph37344568
Hamilton37335426
Elkhart29783470
Tippecanoe23503230
Vanderburgh23240405
Porter19580327
Johnson18843392
Hendricks18089323
Madison13575347
Clark13552198
Vigo12869256
LaPorte12578225
Monroe12575178
Delaware11155198
Howard10693237
Kosciusko9792124
Hancock8761150
Bartholomew8274157
Warrick8084157
Floyd8043182
Grant7378181
Wayne7239201
Boone7211105
Morgan6924143
Marshall6345117
Dubois6283118
Cass6096112
Dearborn602178
Noble600890
Henry5958111
Jackson517277
Shelby511598
Lawrence4928127
Gibson463696
Montgomery459292
DeKalb456785
Clinton456055
Harrison454077
Huntington417882
Whitley416745
Steuben411260
Miami406073
Jasper401655
Knox388691
Putnam385762
Wabash370384
Adams353856
Ripley351971
Jefferson343487
White340154
Daviess3089100
Wells304081
Greene295185
Decatur292693
Fayette286564
Posey282635
Scott281058
LaGrange277772
Clay274949
Washington254637
Randolph247783
Jennings239749
Spencer238731
Fountain235850
Starke229959
Owen222959
Sullivan221643
Fulton208945
Jay203032
Carroll197722
Orange191756
Perry189939
Vermillion181144
Rush177627
Tipton173347
Franklin172535
Parke155916
Pike142534
Blackford138032
Pulaski123748
Newton123336
Benton109715
Brown106243
Crawford105816
Martin92515
Warren87915
Switzerland8378
Union73610
Ohio58411
Unassigned0429