Illinois Senate Seats Up in 2018

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It’s way too early for this so no analysis, I just wanted to post this somewhere I could find it later. These are the seats that will be up in the Illinois Senate next cycle, 21 of 37 Democrats and 18 of 22 Republicans.

2 – Omar Aquino (D)
3 – Mattie Hunter (D)
5 – Patricia Van Pelt (D)
6 – John J. Cullerton (D)
8 – Ira I. Silverstein (D)
9 – Daniel Biss (D)
11 – Martin A. Sandoval (D)
12 – Steven M. Landek (D)
14 – Emil Jones, III (D)
15 – Napoleon Harris, III (D)
17 – Donne E. Trotter (D)
18 – Bill Cunningham (D)
20 – Iris Y. Martinez (D)
21 – Michael Connelly (R)
23 – Thomas Cullerton (D)
24 – Chris Nybo (R)
26 – Dan McConchie (R)
27 – Tom Rooney (R)
29 – Julie A. Morrison (D)
30 – Terry Link (D)
32 – Pamela J. Althoff (R)
33 – Karen McConnaughay (R)
35 – Dave Syverson (R)
36 – Neil Anderson (R)
38 – Sue Rezin (R)
39 – Don Harmon (D)
41 – Christine Radogno (R)
42 – Linda Holmes (D)
44 – William Brady (R)
45 – Tim Bivins (R)
47 – Jil Tracy (R)
48 – Andy Manar (D)
50 – Sam McCann (R)
51 – Chapin Rose (R)
53 – Jason A. Barickman (R)
54 – Kyle McCarter (R)
56 – William R. Haine (D)
57 – James F. Clayborne, Jr. (D)
59 – Dale Fowler (R)

2016 General Election Post-Mortem

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I’ve been busy catching up on all of the things I put off until after the election so here’s a very belated post-mortem.

Note: the vote totals are not yet final and certified, those numbers will change. The numbers shown here are for 100% of precincts reporting on election night and do not yet include any ballots counted post-election night.

 

President

The Democrats swept the three statewide races and of the three Hillary Clinton won by the largest margin, 16.5 points (compared to about 15 points for Duckworth and about 4.5 for Mendoza), and had the most total votes. Of the three Democratic candidates Clinton may have had the most paid media even if it wasn’t paid for by her campaign directly, Leading Illinois for Tomorrow (LIFT), a federal superpac, spent roughly $9 million on ads that were ostensibly designed to drive up Governor Rauner’s negatives but mostly just functioned as Trump attack ads (see here and here, for example).

In the Chicagoland region her numbers were historically strong. In Chicago she basically matched Obama’s 2012 numbers and wasn’t far off his 2008 totals. In the Cook County suburbs she was even better than Obama’s 2012 numbers and far ahead of Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000. She won the collars outright and again bested Obama 2012, Kerry 2004 and Gore 2000.

 
Region Clinton 14 Quinn 12 Obama 08 Obama 04 Kerry 00 Gore
Cook County 74.65% 64.74% 74.01% 76.21% 70.25% 68.63%
___Chicago 83.71% 77.35% 84.00% 85.41% 81.28% 80.14%
___Cook Burbs 65.38% 52.75% 63.82% 66.64% 58.97% 56.44%
Collars 52.30% 37.91% 50.53% 55.79% 45.46% 43.92%
Downstate 37.86% 33.93% 45.33% 51.00% 44.75% 46.39%
TOTAL 55.70% 46.35% 57.60% 61.92% 54.82% 54.60%
 

The Trump Vote

Outside the Chicagoland area it was a different story. Trump won the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market roughly 57-37, some in historically commanding fashion. Looking at the vote totals by media market what’s strange is that down the middle Trump’s numbers were downright ordinary. In the Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur media markets his vote totals were very similar to Romney 2012 and all lagged Bush 2004 and espeically Rauner 2014. Yet in the remaining media markets Trump’s numbers blew away the other Republican presidential candidates this century and either rivaled or surpassed Rauner’s 2014 numbers. Remember, Rauner won the state by 4 points (with very impressive downstate numbers) and Trump lost it by more than 16 so to rival or surpass Rauner’s performance in these areas was no small feat for Trump.

 
MM Trump 14 Rauner 12 Romney 08 McCain 04 Bush 00 Bush
C/S/D 55.75% 61.77% 55.13% 49.09% 57.59% 52.94%
Chicago 30.57% 44.85% 34.75% 31.49% 39.35% 38.30%
Evansville 79.26% 76.33% 70.46% 58.08% 66.91% 61.75%
Paducah 66.03% 61.67% 57.32% 51.78% 55.90% 49.48%
Peoria 53.39% 59.87% 53.88% 48.37% 55.47% 52.60%
Quad Cities 50.64% 55.34% 42.87% 41.20% 47.86% 44.35%
Quincy 68.40% 70.41% 60.95% 55.52% 60.96% 55.03%
Rockford 51.49% 59.39% 49.10% 45.32% 53.57% 52.14%
St. Louis 57.29% 59.79% 50.70% 44.83% 49.81% 46.37%
Terre Haute 74.52% 70.78% 66.33% 55.40% 64.61% 59.56%
TOTAL 39.13% 50.27% 40.73% 36.78% 44.48% 42.58%

We have good data on total media buy spending for each campaign but the data I wish I really had but don’t is the spending for each campaign media buy by media market. I can tell you from my past experience working on statewide campaigns when we went up on TV the first markets we bought downstate were the three down the middle (Rockford, Peoria and Champaign/Springfield/Decatur) because they are entirely within the state so those buys/markets were more efficient than the rest which include viewers in other states. I suspect the reason that Trump’s numbers down the middle were so pedestrian has to do with media buys. If we had the LIFT spending by media market perhaps we’d find that the bulk of their spending was in Chicago and these three downstate media markets while neglecting the rest, or perhaps some other media buy explanation holds the key, but I’d bet the reason has to do with paid advertising.

 

US Senate

Here’s what I wrote in my What to Watch For post on election day:

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Kirk just couldn’t match his 2010 performance this time around, he even lost his stronghold of Lake County 50-45 and the bottom fell out just about everywhere. He did about 7 points worse downstate, 10 points worse in the Cook County suburbs and 11 points worse in the collars.

 
Region 16 Kirk 10 Kirk
Cook County 24.94% 31.63%
___Chicago 16.35% 19.47%
___Cook Burbs 33.68% 43.47%
Collars 45.48% 56.24%
Downstate 52.09% 59.02%
TOTAL 39.97% 48.01%
 

Comptroller

Susana Mendoza scored an impressive victory against a much better funded incumbent which may add a new variable to an otherwise unchanging Springfield budget battle, but it’s worth noting that while losing Leslie Munger still outperformed the top of her ticket by about 12 points.

 
Region Munger Trump Kirk 14 Rauner
Cook County 29.12% 21.16% 24.94% 33.26%
___Chicago 19.10% 12.47% 16.35% 20.63%
___Cook Burbs 39.27% 30.05% 33.68% 45.32%
Collars 51.56% 41.76% 45.48% 59.51%
Downstate 56.12% 56.45% 52.09% 60.81%
TOTAL 44.62% 39.13% 39.97% 50.27%

For all the talk of how impressive Trump’s downstate numbers were (see above from me for example) Munger actually matched his performance in the downstate 96 counties. It was in the Chicagoland area that she did notably better than the top of her ticket, she ran 7 points better than Trump in Chicago, 9 points better in the Cook County suburbs and 10 points better in the collars. But in the end it wasn’t enough, you can see that she just wasn’t able to approach the numbers of Rauner’s winning 2014 coalition.

 

Illinois Legislative Elections

In 2014 both Rauner and Topinka won by about 4 points and in the process Rauner got more votes than Quinn in 70 state house districts while Topinka got more votes than Simon in 69 state house districts. Tom Cross lost to Mike Frerichs by about a quarter of a point and still managed to get the most votes in 64 state house districts, even Jim Oberweis won 51 state house districts while losing to Dick Durbin by 10 points yet the House Republicans only held 47 seats.

Clearly in 2014 the House Republicans significantly underperformed their available political potential. With a massive investment of financial resources from the Governor and his wealthy allies the Republicans appeared poised to pick up a number of seats and move closer to realizing their potential. The open question was just how many, afterall 2014 was a national wave election for Republicans while 2016 was a mixed bag nationally and a strong Democratic year for Illinois statewide candidates. In the end the Republicans won 7 races and lost one. Some were low hanging fruit, they picked up retiring Sen. Sullivan’s seat uncontested, they also won the seats previously held by Sen. Forby, Rep. Franks and Rep. Bradley, all seats that Rauner had won by more than 30 points just two years ago. They picked up Kate Cloonen’s seat, she had won her last two races by 91 and 122 total votes, and this time around the Republicans had enough resources to make the difference winning by more than 7 points. Two years ago Jerry Long came within a point of upsetting Frank Mautino and this time around Long was able to beat his appointed replacement, Andy Skoog, by about a point. And the most impressive pickup came in northwest Illinois where Tony McCombie beat Mike Smiddy by about 25 points in a district Rauner only won by 14.

The end result was a net Republican pickup of 4 seats in the house reducing the Democratic majority to 67-51 and 2 in the senate reducing the Democratic majority to 37-22, which is still a supermajority in the senate.

 

Mike McAuliffe

The most impressive legislative victory wasn’t a pickup, it was in the 20th House where Mike McAuliffe retained his seat by 12 points against a strong challenge from Merry Marwig. The spending in this race was unprecedented, McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast television in late August, unheard of for a state house race. It was an expensive retention but the margin was significant. McAuliffe actually did about 4.5 points better in the Chicago part of the district than the suburban part. And then there’s this, these are the two precincts in Rosemont:

 
Precinct McAuliffe % Marwig % Total
Leyden 12 621 82.91% 128 17.09% 749
Leyden 38 176 67.18% 86 32.82% 262
  797 78.83% 214 21.17% 1011

That’s almost 600 votes of margin in just two precincts.

 

Tom Cullerton

The other impressive retention happened on the Democratic side in the senate where Tom Cullerton appears to have narrowly retained his seat despite a heavy challenge from Seth Lewis. It wasn’t that long ago that suggesting Democrats could compete in DuPage County would get you laughed out of the room yet both Tom Cullerton in the Senate and Deb Conroy in the House have been able to win seats in this Republican stronghold and retain them.

 

Dwight Kay

Democrats had an impressive pickup as well beating Dwight Kay in the Metro East. Katie Stuart managed to upset the incumbent in this Madison County district despite the fact that Trump won the county by 16 points and incumbent Democratic County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan was defeated.

 

 

Other Observations

 

Southern Illinois

Take a look at this map of four state house districts under the previous map (2002-2011):

In the upper right district that goes from Effingham to Carmi it was once represented by Chuck Hartke, the district just west of that that includes Centralia and Mt. Vernon was once represented by Kurt Granberg. Just south of Granberg is John Bradley’s district and just south of him is Brandon Phelps district. Once the Democrats lost the Hartke and Granberg districts those districts stayed Republican, the current map changed those two districts a bit but the Democrats don’t really compete there anymore. The Bradley and Phelps districts are basically the same as the previous map but they have been trying to hang on in the face of this evolution taking place in southern Illinois. In 1994 when Jim Edgar beat Dawn Clark Netsch she lost all but one county and it wasn’t Cook, it was Gallatin County in Southern Illinois. This year Trump won Gallatin county 72-24.

(For more on the changing political dynamic in both southern Illinois and the suburbs check out Charlie Wheeler’s take in Illinois Issues.)

This cycle the Republicans beat John Bradley and Gary Forby (Forby’s senate district is the combination of Bradley and Phelps). Rauner won all three of these districts by more than 30 points two years ago. Phelps managed to win his seat by about 16 points but the trend suggests that his district will be a target in future cycles. Not shown in the picture above but just to the west of these districts is the seat held by Jerry Costello Jr., a district that Rauner also won by more than 30 points. Costello was unopposed this cycle and was unopposed in 2014. Southern Illinois will be worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

 

Collar Counties

Of the five traditional collar counties only McHenry County remains reliably Republican in presidential election years (and even the McHenry County Board Chairman’s race went Democratic this year when Jack Franks won it). Clinton, Duckworth, Obama 2012 and Obama 2008 all won DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will. As Charlie Wheeler pointed out in the article I linked to above the base of the Illinois Republican party is moving from the suburbs to downstate.

 
County Clinton Duckworth Mendoza Obama 12 Obama 08
DuPage 53.88% 48.86% 41.36% 49.73% 54.72%
Kane 51.36% 48.32% 42.20% 49.73% 55.23%
Lake 57.29% 50.04% 44.88% 53.48% 59.26%
McHenry 42.69% 41.39% 35.02% 44.68% 51.91%
Will 50.25% 50.89% 45.08% 52.00% 56.00%
 

Chekhov’s Gun

This cycle had two large infusions of cash. In the 114th House outspoken Republican candidate Bob Romanik loaned his campaign $2 million and he promised to use those funds to both win the E. St. Louis-based state house seat and to help other local candidates upend the local power dynamic. Despite those assertions it doesn’t appear that Romanik pulled the trigger on that spending, he lost his house race by about 14 points and no other candidates reported receiving donations from him (traditional or in-kind) and he didn’t report making any independent expenditures. For more background on Romanik scroll down to the St. Clair county section here.

The other large infusion of cash came on New Year’s Eve 2014 when Bruce Rauner replenished his depleted campaign fund with $20 million and promised to spend that money to help his legislative allies who stuck with him on tough votes. As I pointed out back in August he kept that promise.

 

End of Campaign Finance Limits

Last, Illinois campaign contribution limits are now functionally dead. The laws remain on the books and the campaigns and committees will still have to take the legal steps to circumvent them but the participants are no longer trying to abide by the spirit of the law and with that damn now broke the limits are now just a nuisance rather than a deterrent. Even for proponents of campaign contribution limits lifting the limits wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, that’s what evened the playing field when either significant outside money or candidate personal/family funds entered the race. However limit proponents had hoped that public shaming would prevent committees from lifting the limits solely for the sake of lifting them, but that’s exactly what happened and there was no public outcry. Meanwhile the Democrats learned how to circumvent the limits without having to lift them, creating numerous entryways by co-opting a significant number of the candidate committees in their caucus and then moving the money around as needed.

I remain skeptical that while Supreme Court rulings enabling unlimited personal spending and unlimited outside uncoordinated spending are the law of the land Illinois can enact campaign contribution limits that are both effective and fair but for this next cycle it’s probably a moot point. We’re unlikely to see any significant changes to campaign finance law, what changes are there that a) the Democrats would want to have pass both chambers and b) that the Governor would want to sign that would effectively limit the resources each wants and needs to fight the other in this upcoming election?

 

What to Watch For

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These links will have all my live data tonight:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House
 

What to Watch For

 

Final Early and Vote By Mail Totals

Total Vote By Mail Applications: 493,333
Total VBM Ballots Returned: 352,428
Return Rate: 71%
Total Early Voters: 1,390,019
Total Grace Period Voters: 44,722
   
Total Already Voted: 1,787,169
Total VBM Ballots Outstanding: 140,905

With 140,905 outstanding vote by mail ballots any statewide race closer than that could still be affected by late arriving mail ballots. Also, keep in mind that the election authorities are no longer able to count the votes they already have, the early and mail votes, prior to the polls closing on election night. They used to get a head start counting those votes prior to 7pm, the Attorney General clarified that they cannot do that so in some of these jurisdictions those votes will get counted on election night along with the in-precinct votes and in others those votes will be counted tomorrow or in the following few days.

 

National

This seems like Trump’s most plausible path to 270, it involves winning all of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Arizona and Iowa, plus the available congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska. The eastern timezone states will probably tell us a lot early in the night.

If Trump is doing well he’ll be in a position to win in FL, OH, NC and NH and will be competitive in MI and PA. If Trump wins either of MI or PA a number of paths open up, otherwise he pretty much has to run the table in the swing states.

If Clinton is doing well she’ll be winning MI and PA and possibly NH. If she wins all three she probably wins (although she could substitute Nevada for New Hampshire later in the night too), if she wins any of FL, NC or OH it’s hard to find a path for Trump and she probably has it locked down.

 

US Senate – Illinois

The best benchmark for this race is Kirk’s last victory in 2010. That year was a strong Republican year while this year is not expected to be. Here are two things to keep an eye on.

Downstate – In 2010 the downstate 96 counties were especially strong for the Republicans. Kirk and Brady both got 59% of the vote. The Democrats rebounded in 2012, Romney only got about 53% of the vote there, but the Republicans came back strong in 2014 when Rauner took 61%. Can Kirk replicate the downstate Republican performance of 2010 and 2014 or will the Democrats improve as they did in 2012?

On the Democratic side there is some evidence to suggest that 2010 and 2014 were historically bad. In 2010 Quinn and Giannoulias both took 34% in the downstate 96 counties, same with Quinn in 2014. Even Carol Moseley-Braun took 37% in 1998 and Blagojevich got 40% in his 2006 re-elect, both were thought to be unpopular downstate. In 2004 Kerry took 45% and in 2000 Gore got 46%. The downstate 96 counties will probably make up about 38% of the total statewide vote so Duckworth doesn’t necessarily need to hit the high water marks here, she just has to be better than the atrocious Democratic years of 2010 and 2014.

Suburbs (especially the northern ones) – in 2010 Kirk won his race by about a point and a half and Brady lost to Quinn by about half a point. Most of the difference came in the Cook County suburbs and the collars and most of that difference came in the northern end. Kirk had represented the north shore in Congress and those voters rewarded him in his Senate race. Kirk did about three and a half points better than Brady in the 5 traditional collar counties combined but it was even more pronounced in Lake County where the difference was six and a half points (56.6% to 50.1%). He’s going to need to run just as strong in Lake County again to help his chances.

Tonight we won’t have the township by township results in Cook County (I don’t expect, they usually aren’t available until morning) but we will have the results in the Cook County suburbs overall. Six years ago Kirk ran four points better than Brady (43.5% to 39.5%), he’s going to need to do something similar to help his chances.

 

Comptroller

We haven’t had much polling in this race, at least not recently, so I don’t know what to make of this race. The external factors certainly favor the Democrats but the spending favored Munger. I’ll probably keep an eye on this race relative to the 2014 State Treasurer’s race where Frerichs just barely edged Cross.

The other thing to keep an eye on will be the totals by media market. Both candidates have been on TV but Munger has had more money to spend. It will be interesting to see if there were media markets where she was on TV and Mendoza wasn’t and if that shows up in the vote totals.

 

Housekeeping

I’m going to turn off the system that runs live totals for all of the General Assembly races, each time those pages load the server runs all the calculations to pull the live totals. I want to keep the demand on the server light tonight so you can find a static copy of those current totals HERE.

Election Night Live Results

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Here are links to the pages that I plan to have live on election night:

Statewide Races
IL – President
IL – US Senate
IL – Comptroller
General Assembly Races
Illinois State Senate
Illinois State House

The election night vote totals found on most media organization websites come from the AP. Illinois has 109 election authorities and each report their own vote totals independently, the AP has people gathering those totals from each authority and then providing the aggregate totals for each race. It is a massive and impressive service they perform.

For a number of years now I have wanted to buy access to that data but I cannot. It’s not that I can’t afford it, I always figured that whatever the price I could probably raise enough in sponsor money to meet the amount necessary but the AP just won’t let me. They told me that they only sell access to their election night vote total data to news organizations and since I was not a news organization it was out of the question. I sent a snide response which made me feel better but doesn’t change the outcome.

My only two options are: 1) round up enough volunteers to manually enter vote totals from every county all night, something I did in the 2014 primary but which I don’t have the means to do again or 2) find the data I need from a news organization and then copy/paste that someplace where I can reformat it and run calculations on the totals, something I was able to do on general election night in 2014.

I’ve long been frustrated that on election night you can usually learn little more than who is currently leading and how many precincts have reported. Everyone has the same obvious follow up questions: 1) of the vote that has not yet been reported where is it and 2) of the vote that has not yet been reported who does it favor, by how much and is that enough to close the gap for the candidate that is behind? It’s very rare that anyone attempts to answer those questions even if/when they have the means to do so and it’s something I’d like to do.

If I can somehow find the county by county data I need on Tuesday night and figure out how to copy/paste it into my database that’s exactly what I plan to do for the three statewide races (IL-President, IL-US Senate, IL-Comptroller). For the Illinois State House and State Senate races if I can figure out how to copy/paste those raw vote totals for each race into my database I’ll have a tracker for each chamber that not only shows who is winning and by how much but also how each race affects the overall partisan makeup of each chamber.

The statewide race trackers include both county by county raw vote total as well as projected vote totals. You can find the results broken down by media market and region as well as all of the historical vote totals for each. The General Assembly results pages include a breakdown of of how many seats each party has won or is winning, how many of those wins are pickups and the current and new makeup of each chamber. It also has the races ranked by how much money was spent in each, the most expensive races are likely to be the ones that are the most competitive so that the races getting the most attention are likely to be near each other visually on the page, which will hopefully save some of that annoying scrolling up and down the page we always have to do on election night.

If you are a media organization preparing your election night coverage and you see anything here that you would like to incorporate or would find useful please take it, it’s yours. If there is any information or calculations you have questions about please ask, glad to help. If you would like to return the favor by making the information I need available and showing me the format in advance I would greatly appreciate it. I always spend the 7pm hour scrambling to try to find the data I need and then get the copy/paste and calculations set up because I never know how things are going to look. Any time spent searching and coding is time that can’t be spent analyzing and it’s always a fire drill.

Hopefully I can get the data I need into my database and these trackers will prove pretty useful. If not, I tried, we’re entirely at the mercy of others here.