Dems hold supermajorities in statehouse, another Lightfoot challenger enters race and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (left); House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch (right).

Rich Hein/Sun-Times; Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a five-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly sunny with a high near 75 degrees. Tonight will be mostly cloudy with a chance of rain and a low near 44. Veterans Day will also be mostly sunny with a high near 44.

Top story

Democrats hold supermajorities in legislature, Durkin giving up House GOP leadership post

With redistricting on their side, strong fundraising from party leaders and a boost of millions from Gov. J.B. Pritzker, statehouse Democrats appear to be retaining their supermajority statuses in both chambers —and likely even growing that advantage in the House.

There was no “red wave” — or even a ripple — in the Illinois General Assembly.

And Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin’s post-Election Day announcement that he will not seek reelection as minority leader reflects the dissatisfaction among many of the state’s establishment Republicans.

“I began this journey as a voice of moderation and conclude this journey the same way I started, a voice of moderation,” the Western Springs Republican said in a statement. “To the people of Illinois disappointed with these results, don’t give up hope. Tomorrow is a new day.”

The writing was already on the wall for Durkin after Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin lost the Republican primary race for governor.

Statehouse Republicans were hopeful that Irvin, with millions in support from billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, could help to reshape the state party. But Irvin’s loss was coupled with the state GOP’s embrace of state Sen. Darren Bailey, a far-right Donald Trump backer whom some Republicans found tough to support. Durkin was hopeful messages about crime and the economy could help pick up three seats to break the Democratic supermajority.

A “supermajority” is the three-fifths majority that any bill passed after May 31 requires for the law to go into effect within the next 12 months. A supermajority is also required to override a governor’s veto.

Both state Senate President Don Harmon and House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch on Tuesday declared they had kept their supermajorities in their respective chambers. After Tuesday’s decisive victories, Democrats essentially tightened their grip on state government, holding every statewide elected office and gaining another seat on the Illinois Supreme Court.

Tina Sfondeles has more on the General Assembly’s true-blue status here.

More news you need

  1. A City Council committee today shot down sweeping search warrant reforms, ignoring an emotional plea from one woman who experienced a botched raid by police on the wrong home. The reforms were aimed at preventing a repeat of the erroneous raid that forced social worker Anjanette Young to stand naked before an all-male team of police officers.
  2. Newly released video shows a Chicago police officer firing at an SUV with heavily tinted windows that was wanted in the shooting of an off-duty officer in Irving Park in September. Our Sophie Sherry and Tom Schuba have more on COPA’s ongoing investigation into the shooting here.
  3. Portraying himself as the “coalition builder” Chicago needs, U.S. Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García will join the crowded race for mayor on Thursday, determined to defeat Lori Lightfoot. In an interview with our Fran Spielman, García said he’s confident he can force Lightfoot into a run-off, and the city’s progressive movement will reunite behind him.
  4. First lady Jill Biden visits Chicago and Rolling Meadows on Monday to kick off National Apprenticeship Week with members of the Biden cabinet, the White House announced today. The purpose of the trip, the White House said, is to “highlight the Biden administration’s commitment” to expanding apprenticeships, our Lynn Sweet reports.
  5. Cook County voters overwhelmingly supported a property tax hike to help the forest preserves earlier this week. The county’s forest preserves are one of the largest in the U.S., with nearly 70,000 acres of natural areas.
  6. Several flight attendants held a news conference today at Midway Airport, hoping to bring attention to the lack of repercussions for passengers who harass and abuse flight crews. The action is part of a union-led effort dubbed the “Assault Won’t Fly” campaign, which seeks passage of the Protection From Abusive Passengers Act.

A bright one

For Riverwalk mural, artist Kate Lewis drew inspiration from classic Chicago architecture

Doing research for a mural she was planning to paint celebrating iconic Chicago buildings, Kate Lewis went on a series of architectural tours.

Now, the mural she created on the Riverwalk between Wabash and Michigan avenues is itself the subject of attention from tour groups.

She called it “The Radiance of Being” and drew inspiration from, and included references to, more than a dozen historic structures with Art Deco elements — including The Rookery, the Merchandise Mart, the Palmer House, the Palmolive Building and the Chicago Motor Club building. Completed in 2020, the mural spans 180 feet and is accented by shimmering gold paint that reflects off the water.

“I wanted to maintain that Art Deco feeling of it and kind of pay homage to these architects from the 1920s,” Lewis says of a sleek architectural style that emerged a century ago.

“The Radiance of Being,” a 180-foot-long mural artist Kate Lewis painted in 2020 along the Chicago River downtown.

“The Radiance of Being,” a 180-foot-long mural artist Kate Lewis painted in 2020 along the Chicago River downtown.

Austin Hojdar/Sun-Times

“Architecture was so much more beautiful in my mind when people were paying more attention to the nuances of it,” says Lewis, 34. “To the motifs and the decorative adornments.”

One part of the mural shows white-robed musicians playing a flute and harp — inspired by sculpted images on the front of the old Chicago Federation of Musicians Building, 175 W. Washington St., built in 1933 and later expanded. Another part of the mural includes images of hawk-like birds — inspired by etchings on bronze elevator doors at The Rookery, 209 S. LaSalle St.

“To be able to be a part of such a large project in the city that developed me, I can’t even articulate how incredible that feels,” Lewis says. “It’s a real life fulfillment.”

Austin Hojdar has more on the mural here.

From the press box

Your daily question☕

Say you’re opening a new restaurant in Chicago — where would it be located? Tell us why.

Send us an email at and we might feature your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday we asked you: What’s a word or phrase only Chicagoans know or use?

Here’s what some of you said...

“Gym Shoes.” — Katie Levin

“The show, pop, gym shoes.” — Eleanor Moro Klemp

“The show instead of the movies.” — Flores David

“The 100s, used when someone lives on 100th Street south or higher and into the south suburbs. Also, the ‘Wild 100s’ or the ‘hunnids’ Example: ‘Oh, you live out in the hundreds?’” — Nisa Neely

“Yous guys.” — Melissa Johnson Scottberg

“Sears Tower, Comesky Park, Marshall Fields.” — Pam Howard

“Take the ‘L.’” — Angel Busch

“Ending a sentence with the preposition ‘at.’ ‘Where are you at?’” — Donna Oline

“As my grandma would yell at us in Portage Park, ‘We’re gonna walk over to the Sears and buy you some new gym shoes. Then we’ll go over to the Jewels to get a pop.’” — Anthony Imburgia

“Telling someone to go ‘towards the lake’ instead of east.” — Alexandra Newman

“Decent, you feel me.” — Epps Brownlow

“Borrow me = loan me.” — London Thomas

“‘Frunch’ room.” — Rob Vee

“Sasage sandwich. Cut the grass not mow the lawn. The jokes not the funnies. Gangways run between houses. Gutters not street curbs or gutters not eaves troughs.” — Chuck Klein

Thanks for reading the Chicago Sun-Times Afternoon Edition.Got a story you think we missed? Email us here.

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