Election blog: Suburban state House race split by a single vote
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10:28 a.m. Suburban state House race split by a single vote
There were a handful of close races as election results rolled in Tuesday night, but none were as tight as the 51st District Illinois House race, where incumbent Republican Helene Miller Walsh and Democratic challenger Mary Edly-Allen are separated by one vote, according to returns as reported by The Associated Press.
Miller Walsh, whose husband is former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh, was appointed to the seat in August after Rep. Nick Sauer resigned. She is the founder and chief operating officer of Leenie Productions and founder and chief executive officer of Whim Wham Books.
Edly-Allen is a bilingual teacher and president of her local parent-teacher organization. She has a long record of civic and educational involvement in Lake County and is a founder of the non-profit organization Foundation 46.
The 51st District includes all or portions of Barrington, Lake Zurich, Long Grove, Libertyville and Mundelein.
10:50 p.m. Two suburban Democratic wins over GOP incumbents aid ‘blue wave’ takeover of House
Two suburban Democrats rode the “blue wave” expected to take control of the GOP-led U.S House of Representatives Tuesday night, winning traditionally Republican Congressional districts of veteran incumbents, including one backed by President Donald Trump.
Nurse and political newbie Lauren Underwood beat Randy Hultgren, 52 percent to 48 percent, becoming the first woman and first African-American to represent the 14th District. And Sean Casten unseated six-term Rep. Peter Roskam in the 6th District, 53 percent to 47 percent.
Just one of three Illinois incumbents Trump supported on the campaign trail appeared headed for victory.
10:30 p.m. Pritzker’s election party in the South Loop peters out
The music has died down, the emcee has left his soundboard, and dancers are making their way off a confetti-covered dance floor. The end of a happy night for Pritzker supporters at the Marriott Marquis in Chicago.
10:10 p.m. After spending $171.5 million, Pritzker claims his prize
In his victory speech, Pritzker spoke optimistically of an uphill battle to help save the state from itself.
“We don’t need to be afraid of our history in Illinois. Who we are is how we overcome our biggest challenges,” Pritzker said. “We work to mend broken places. We light the journey from hill to hilltop and recognize that there is grace … in the courage to rise.
“And ladies and gentleman, rise we will,” Pritzker said.
Pritzker, buoyed by the $171.5 million he poured into his campaign, led an expansive, well-run statewide campaign, with hundreds of field offices and staffers. His millions of dollars in spending made his television ads unavoidable, as were digital ads splattered onto Facebook, YouTube and even Spotify.
9:35: Columnist Mary Mitchell: Raoul won, but his supporters fretted over bi-racial opponent
The rumors had been swirling for weeks.
Kwame Raoul, once the anointed successor of former President Barack Obama on his meteoric rise to the presidency, was in trouble.
But two hours after the polls closed, Raoul’s powerhouse line-up of supporters –– including a last-minute appearance by Obama at a rally last weekend –– boosted his energy, leading to his victory.
In the final days of the campaign, Raoul’s supporters were so fretful, they quietly tried to push the tired “she’s not black enough” narrative against his opponent, Republican Erika Harold, a biracial Harvard-educated lawyer from downstate Urbana.
Ironically, the same lame attack was used against Obama when he ran, unsuccessfully, against U.S. Congressman Bobby L. Rush, D-Ill. in 2000.
9:20 p.m. Nazi Art Jones loses, collects 38,000 votes, blames murdered Pittsburgh Jews
“I think I probably would’ve done a lot better had it not been for this disaster in Pittsburgh with the murder of 11 Jews,” Jones told a Sun-Times reporter Tuesday night after losing big to incumbent U.S. House Rep. Dan Lipinski, a Democrat.
9:10 p.m. Erika Harold concedes to Kwame Raoul in Illinois attorney general race
With more than half the precincts tallied, Raoul carried a sizable lead over Harold, while Libertarian candidate Bubba Harsy was way behind both.
Raoul will take office Jan. 14, formally replacing Madigan’s daughter, Lisa Madigan, who decided not to run for a fifth four-year term as attorney general.
8:55 p.m. Crowd chants “JB, JB, JB” as they wait for Pritzker to take stage for victory speech
The champagne remained on ice and the balloons remained un-dropped as folks in the crowded ballroom at the Marriott Marquis in the South Loop — the site of Pritzker’s election night party — intermittently chanted “JB, JB, JB” while waiting for the gov.-elect to take the stage to deliver his victory speech.
8:50 p.m. Sun-Times columnist Mark Brown on Rauner loss: “Outcome was decided long ago.”
The voting ended Tuesday, but in many ways, the outcome was decided long ago. Voters tired of Rauner’s act, just as they had tired of Gov. Pat Quinn.
The election of Donald Trump as President helped seal his fate by bringing voters to the polls who might normally have sat this one out.
8:35 p.m. Senger concedes to Mendoza in comptroller race, mayoral candidacy questions linger
Incumbent Democrat Susana Mendoza cruised to victory on Tuesday over Republican former state Rep. Darlene Senger to hold her post as Illinois comptroller.
Senger conceded to Mendoza barely an hour after the polls closed.
But after a smooth re-election as the state’s chief financial officer, one question lingers for Mendoza: How long will she keep the job?
Her name has been floated as a strong possible Chicago mayoral contender since Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, and though Mendoza has insisted she hasn’t made a decision, any doubt she would jump into that race all but evaporated just four days before her statewide election when a leaked campaign ad featured Mendoza declaring “I’m running for mayor of Chicago.”
8:25 p.m. Kwame Raoul takes early lead over Erika Harold in Illinois attorney general race
With about 22 percent of precincts tallied, Raoul claimed two-thirds of the votes, while Harold had a third and Libertarian candidate Bubba Harsy had a sliver.
8:20 p.m. Nazi candidate Art Jones has received 7,000 votes.
8:15 p.m. Rauner to Pritzker in concession speech: ‘Godspeed’
Rauner said in a prepared concession speech: “I spoke to Mr. Pritzker moments ago. ‘Mr. Pritzker,’ I said. ‘Godspeed. I hope and pray you serve Illinois well and I look forward to assisting the full effort for a smooth transition so that the people of Illinois’ best interest is served at all times.”
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has called Democrat J.B. Pritzker to concede.
With numbers not yet in, Rauner called Pritzker and promised a smooth transition, Rauner’s campaign has confirmed.
Pritzker delivered a swift victory on Tuesday over Rauner — who never recovered from a splinter within his own party and the record-breaking resources Pritzker threw into his gubernatorial campaign.
In the end, the blow was quick and brutal for Rauner, a political outsider, who vowed to turn around the state four years ago. Instead, he became known for his battles with political foe Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan — and left to blame for the state’s longest budget which amassed the state in billions of dollars in debt and decimated the state’s public universities.
7:56 p.m. Pritzker supporters celebrate news that Rauner has conceded
The Pritzker camp is rejoicing at the Marriott Marquis hotel in the South Loop after hearing news that Bruce Rauner conceded the governor’s race. JB Pritzker is nowhere in sight.
7:43 Rauner concedes governor’s race
… details to come.
7:39 p.m. Durbin on champagne at Pritzker party: ‘I hope we get to use them’
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) knows unified Democratic control of Illinois would put the party face to face with the state’s pressing challenges, but he thinks J.B. Pritzker’s campaign has laid the groundwork to deal with them. Durbin spoke to the press on the floor of JB Pritzker’s election night party.
“Pritzker did something different with his campaign,” Durbin said. “He created a statewide campaign. Here is a Chicagoan, clearly a Chicagoan, who wasted no time going downstate.”
As he left the gaggle of press, a reporter pointed out the celebratory bottles of chilled wine already wheeled out onto the floor. “I hope we get to use them,” Durbin said. “They’re ready to go, aren’t they?”
7:24 p.m. Chicago Election Board shares latest turnout numbers
Chicago Board of Election Commissioners shares updated voting numbers as of 7 p.m. …they’re not final, but turnout is high:
7:12 p.m. Video surfaces of confrontation involving Nazi candidate Art Jones at polling place
WARNING PROFANITY IN BELOW VIDEO showing Art Jones, the Nazi running against Dan Lipinski, being confronted while voting today. Jones can be heard saying that Jews who died in the Holocaust were communists.
7:04 p.m. Dem State Party Chief predicts blue avalanche in Illinois
“What you’re going to see is Democrats winning up and down the ticket and all across the state,” State Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago), the interim executive director of the Democratic Party in Illinois, said from the floor of the Pritzker election night party at the Marriott Marquis in the South Loop.
He expects this will represent a “resounding victory and mandate” for the party in the state.
“You’re going to see that because we’re running on the kitchen table issues that people care about,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell pointed to the huge turnout for early voting, which approached the number of early votes cast in 2016, a presidential election year. “If that number holds, I think this is going to be a pretty big night for Democrats,” Mitchell said.
6:45 p.m. Facebook finally approves ad relaying polling place info…an hour before polls close
Facebook blocked a paid advertisement from the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners that sought to inform voters of polling place information on Election Day.
“The wonderful institution Facebook has blocked us from advertising basic voting information to voters,” board spokesman Jim Allen told the Sun-Times Tuesday night.
“They can’t stop trolls from Moscow, but if we tell people polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. we get blocked.”
The reason Facebook gave for the rejection: those seeking to place political advertisements need to specially register with Facebook.
“They said we need a disclaimer to say who we’re doing this on behalf of, but it’s not political. It’s just information on polling places,” Allen said.
Allen tried to place the ad Monday night. He was blocked. His appeals failed … until he got a note at 6 p.m. Tuesday — with one hour left to go before polls close — informing him that the ad had been approved.
A similar situation occurred two weeks ago and Facebook relented only after Allen threatened to hold a news conference on the issue, he said.
“Facebook is so afraid of their shadow right now their algorithms can’t tell what’s political and what’s voter information,” Allen said.
“They’re boneheads,” he added.
The note Allen received from Facebook finally approving the $80 ad is below:
5:20 p.m. Polling place problems for voter who got there early ‘in case my water broke this afternoon’
Madeleine Stamper’s baby is due any day now, but she was determined to vote Tuesday.
“I wanted to make sure I got in there today in case my water broke this afternoon,” said Stamper, 27, who showed up at Hamlin Park in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on the North Side to vote.
Instead, she was met with skeptical glances after poll workers looked her up in the computer, and told her she’d already voted.
“Immediately I thought: There is a mistake; is this related to hacking or Russian interference?” said Stamper, a paralegal.
They asked her twice if she was sure she hadn’t voted early.
Stamper pointed to her swollen belly, assuring poll workers that a pregnant woman had better things to do than wait in line to try to vote a second time.
Stamper said she spent 45 minutes at her polling station. She was eventually handed a provisional ballot and told to follow up with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Stamper said the experience left her frustrated — and late for work.
“I was just trying to do my civic duty. I was patting myself on the back for getting [to the voting site]. Surely if there is an excuse not to vote, it’s when you’re about to go into labor,” Stamper said.
4:11 p.m. Paper ballot issues pervade city precincts
Becky Blomgren went to cast her ballot at Metropolis Coffee in the 48th Ward around 7:15 a.m. when she realized something was off.
“I was given one page, and went and filled it out, and realized there were a lot of judges missing, and the referendum,” the 34-year-old said. She told the poll workers she was missing the second page, but, she told the Sun-Times, they replied: “No, we think that’s it.”
She persisted, and eventually, Blomgren said, poll workers called someone to clarify.
“They looked around and they found, on the floor, a sealed package of second pages,” Blomgren said. So she filled out the second page and told people around her there were two pages to the ballot.
However, she said her friend told her that when he went to vote in the same precinct at 7:45 a.m., that second page still wasn’t being offered.
The Sun-Times also received calls from voters who didn’t get the second page of their paper ballots; those voters were in the 24th, 25th and 32nd wards.
The second page lists all 60 Cook County judges seeking new six-year terms; it also has referendum questions on city and county issues. No Cook County judge has been voted out of office in 28 years, but many believe a series of scandals afflicting judges on the ballot this year was poised to change that.
A Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesperson said that after the complaints, text messages were sent to all election judges reminding them to hand out both pages of the ballot.
3:31 p.m. Voting sites in five precincts to stay open later
The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners says it will ask the Circuit Court to keep polling places in five precincts open past the 7 p.m. voting deadline to account for issues that delayed voter access this morning.
Due to issues including election judges arriving to their voting sites late, delays in setting up equipment, and two precincts that erroneously received each other’s ballots, voter access to the polls was impeded at two sites in the 9th Ward, one site in the 2nd Ward, one site in the 20th Ward and one site in the 19th Ward.
The following voting sites will be open until 8 p.m., pending approval from the Circuit Court:
• Precinct 20 of Ward 9 – Smith Park, 9912 S. Princeton Ave.
• Precinct 31 of Ward 9 – New Pasadena MB Church, 11300 S Indiana Ave.
• Precinct 35 of Ward 2 – St Michael Church, 1711 N Cleveland Ave.
• Precinct 22 of Ward 20 – Kenneth Campbell Apts., 6360 S Minerva Ave.
The following site will be open until 9 p.m., pending approval from the Circuit Court:
• Precinct 12 of Ward 19 – Murphy’s Windows, 10359 S Pulaski Rd.
3:18 p.m. TONIGHT: tune in to the Sun-Times election night livestream at 6 p.m.
Chicago Sun-Times Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet and her guests will break down the results of the 2018 midterm elections in real time as returns come in.
Lieutenant Governor (R)
Cook County Board Pres. (D)
Former Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, Ill. House (R-42nd)
Election Data Service
One Revolution Illinois, Chair
Roosevelt University Political Science Professor
UIC Political Science Professor
Rep. Robin Kelly
U.S. House (D-2nd)
Rep. Danny Davis
U.S. House (D-7th)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez
U.S. House (D-7th)
Watch live on the Sun-Times Facebook Page, in this live blog or on our election results page at elections.suntimes.com/results.
1:49 p.m. Preliminary midday voter turnout numbers released
TheChicago Board of Election Commissioners has released midday voter turnout statistics, citing preliminary data from the Chicago Elections Board electronic poll books.
Of the 1.5 million registered voters in the City of Chicago, 524,808 people had voted as of 12:50 p.m. That’s 34.9 percent of all registered voters hitting the polls before 1 p.m. on Election Day.
Chicago voter turnout numbers by age group reported before 12:50 p.m. on Election Day:
• Voters age 18 to 24: 25,576 of 139,138 registered voters (18.3 percent)
• Voters age 25 to 34: 100,231 of 352,583 registered voters (28.4 percent)
• Voters age 35 to 44: 85,477 of 272,865 registered voters (31.3 percent)
• Voters age 45 to 54: 82,028 of 232,071 registered voters (35.3 percent)
• Voters age 55 to 64: 94,295 of 228,211 registered voters (41.3 percent)
• Voters age 65 and up: 125,035 of 278,485 registered voters (44.9 percent)
12:40 p.m. Gov. Bruce Rauner votes in Winnetka
12:25 p.m. Read your referendums!
An array of questions will be posted to voters in Cook County, Chicago and in various wards on in the form of advisory and binding referendums. The language used in these questions is often confusing:
In this election, two “binding” referendums that appeared on early voting ballots in the city may not even be counted after the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners ruled in September that the questions as written were legally invalid — a decision that is being appealed.
Advisory questions posed in Cook County and the City of Chicago cover issues that range from a minimum wage hike to a homeowners property tax exemption to a plastic straw ban within city limits. Check out our guide to the questions that may be on your ballot to learn more about the referendums you’ll encounter at the polls Tuesday.
11:35 a.m. Voting site changes in Harvey
In Harvey, one voter complained about a change in polling place that she believes was not advertised properly to voters.
Clara Paul says she has voted at Carl Sandburg Elementary School for years, but when she got there Tuesday, there was a sign in the door saying she had to vote about a mile away, at Bryant Elementary School.
When she complained at Bryant, poll workers told her postcards were sent out two days ago — a postcard she may not get until tomorrow, if then.
Many people who usually vote at Sandburg walk to that poll and have trouble getting around, so she was going to hang out there to offer people rides to Bryant, she said.
“I don’t know why they wouldn’t have told us,” she said. “They really don’t care.”
10:56 a.m. Ticket-splitters on the North Side
Despite the hope of Democrats for a “Blue Wave,” there were still ticket-splitters out there — even in Chicago.
Diana Brogan, 51, who works in account sales, was one of them. She calls herself a Democrat, but Rauner got her vote for governor.
She called herself a Democrat who voted Republican for governor.
“We need to change it up a little,” Brogan, 51, said after voting at John James Audubon Elementary School, 3500 N. Hoyne Ave. “Rauner is doing an OK job. Madigan needs to move on . . . I feel like the Democrats are controlling too much and not getting anything done.”
But J.B. Pritzker got the vote of Schuiler Longmore, 27, who moved here in April and attends Northwestern University.
Longmore said this was an especially crucial midterm election, but he would have voted regardless — he’s voted in every midterm and presidential election since he was eligible.
“Bruce Rauner is a poor steward of regular people’s interests. I’m not like super enthusiastic about J.B. Pritzker but he’s not as hostile towards average people.”
10:24 a.m. Felonious selfies
Friendly reminder to eager voters snapping selfies at the polls: before you take a voting picture to share with friends on social media, know that it’s a felony in Illinois to photograph your marked ballot.
9:44 a.m. Paper ballot problems at some polling places
In the 23rd Ward, poll workers at one precinct were not handing out the entire paper ballot to voters who preferred to use them instead of voting electronically.
Until about 8:30, according to one voter, that second page — with the judges and ballot referenda — was not being handed out in the 29th Precinct.
So Robert Gahagan complained when he didn’t get that page. Poll workers looked around, and eventually, the packet holding that part of the ballot was discovered, and they gave one to Gahagan.
He still was miffed at what one poll worker told him.
“She said, ‘Oh, people never vote for the judges anyway.’ And I said, ‘Well, I do.”
Gahagan then asked how many others had voted via paper ballot before him. The answer: 23.
And that wasn’t the only place this happened.
Adam Hibma voted at an apartment building in the 46th Ward and also did not get the second page of the paper ballot — but he didn’t realize it until later.
Hibma, who had voted in that ward’s 35th Precinct, then called the Board of Elections and was told he should return later and cast a provisional ballot.
8:50 a.m. Sticker shock
Complaints have started to trickle in on social media from Chicago voters who left their polling places with an “I Voted” wristband instead of a coveted sticker.
The Chicago Board of Elections eliminated “I Voted” stickers in 2012 after complaints of sticker-related vandalism from polling places reached a critical mass.
“The stickers ended up on windows and doors and created a mess for custodians having to scrape them off with razor blades the day after Election Day,” Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, told the Sun-Times during the primary election in March.
But when the stickers were discontinued within Chicago city limits, first replaced by paper receipts, Allen said complaints rolled in from voters upset they didn’t receive a wearable souvenir for casting their ballot.
Inspired by admission wristbands at a Chicago music festival, a Board of Election Commission staffer suggested they try wristbands ahead of the 2016 presidential election, and they’ve been standard ever since.
Still feeling left out? Slate put out a collection of (snarky) printable “I Voted” stickers: “The stakes for this year’s midterms may be the highest in memory, but we all know the real reason Americans vote is the stickers.”
Receipts can be useful for voters who need documentation after leaving work to vote, but it’s illegal to “offer anything of value in connection with registering to vote or voting,” Allen said.
In a Nov. 1 press release, museum officials had said they were “encouraging people to vote” with free passes on Tuesday and Wednesday for people with proof they’d voted. Hours later, they changed the promotion to a free day for all Illinois residents after a nitpicking Chicago Sun-Times reporter inquired about the potential felony.
“Oh, what the heck,” the museum announced later. “Field Museum free to all IL residents Nov. 6, even if you don’t vote.”
8:16 a.m. Voters lean into identity politics at the polls
Betsy Kittle, 68, a writing teacher at City Colleges of Chicago, said she felt a greater sense of urgency this year than in past years to come out and vote.
“Because we have to switch the house and the Senate. We have to get the Democrats back in,” Kittle said outside her voting site at the Uptown Library, while acknowledging that there’s little influence to be had there voting in Chicago.
In terms of the governor’s race, “I voted Democrat because that’s who I am,” Kittle said. “I guess I don’t really feel that J.B. is going to be that much different, everybody has some issues… Money corrupts, and that’s what I sense from him, is that some of the money goes in his pocket. But I am still hoping for a liberal forecast.”
After months of campaigning everywhere, today’s the final day for candidates to mingle with their constituents. Find out where J.B. Pritzker, Bruce Rauner, Kwame Raul, Susana Mendoza and more will be shaking hands and casting their ballots today with the Sun-Times political daybook.
7:46 a.m. Early-morning voters describe tough choices
At the Clarendon Park field house on the North Side an anti-Donald Trump and Bruce Rauner sentiment motivated a number of people to come out and vote early Tuesday.
“The foremost thing, for me, right now is to defeat Donald Trump,” said Bryson Howard, 28, an aspiring comic in Uptown, who stopped by his voting site around 7 a.m. Tuesday. “I’m from South Carolina, and a lot of my family are staunch Republicans, so I’m excited to hopefully vote for some Democrats, and get Bruce Rauner out of office. He’s way too conservative.”
Jean Salisbury, 35, a web designer from Uptown, came out to vote with her 10-month-old daughter in tow. She said she found it difficult to decide who to vote for.
“I don’t know that I loved any of the candidates, but I don’t think Rauner is doing a very good job. It seems like he’s done nothing, right? Particularly, I don’t like that he’s done nothing for the schools.”
Salisbury said she didn’t know very much about Rauner’s opponent, Democrat J.B. Pritzker, “but I do know their family has helped the city over the years.”
7:25 a.m. Voting sites open across Chicago and Illinois
Voting sites across Chicago and Illinois opened at 6 a.m. Tuesday for the 2018 midterm election.
At stake are dozens of seats in local, county, state and federal government. Nationally, the midterm election will be viewed by many as a referendum on the first two years of Trump’s presidency.
In Chicago and Illinois, voters appear to be energized. At a press conference Monday morning, Cook County Clerk David Orr and Chicago Election Board Chairwoman Marisel Hernandez pointed to huge voter registration and early vote numbers. As of late Sunday afternoon, Chicago was approaching twice as many early votes cast as in the 2014 midterm, and the total number of people registered to vote — 1.5 million — is the highest in a midterm election since 1982.
During the final hours of early voting Monday, hundreds of Chicagoans waited in hours-long lines to cast their ballots at a handful of early voting sites in the Loop, Edgewater, West Garfield Park and Woodlawn.
Voting sites will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, but every site will stay open till every voter in line at 7 p.m. has a chance to cast their ballot. Voters can find out whether and where they are registered to vote online for suburban Cook County and Chicago.
Illinois law allows every employee who is entitled, after giving notice, to two hours off work to vote, provided that the employee’s working hours begin less than two hours after the opening of the polls and end less than two hours before the closing of the polls.
To speed up the process, elections officials encourage voters to consider filling out a sample ballot beforehand. Voters can bring reference materials into the ballot box with them. The Sun-Times has a comprehensive voting guide for Tuesday’s election.