Most candidates qualify for the general election ballot by winning the primary but in races where no candidate filed and won a primary the party chairmen can appoint a candidate to fill the vacancy. Those appointed candidates still have to go get petition signatures so it’s not a labor free process, established party candidates for the House need 500 signatures and 1,000 for the Senate, but it’s a far cry from the almost 600,000 signatures the Independent Maps group just turned in so it’s not overly difficult either. The deadline for established political parties (Democrat, Republican) to appoint candidates and file their candidate paperwork was yesterday May 31st.
While budget and end of session news dominated the day, and rightfully so, the most surprising development of filing day was just how few new candidates filed. Only one new Senate Republican candidate filed and that was in the 22nd for the open seat to replace Mike Noland. The House Republicans had two new candidates file, one in the 111th to take on Dan Beiser and one in the 43rd to take on Anna Moeller. Surprisingly no Republicans filed in the 116th to take on Jerry Costello despite the fact that his district is the most mathematically favorable Republican district currently held by a Democrat based on the 2014 vote totals.
The Senate Democrats had two new candidates file, one in the 32nd to take on Pam Althoff and one in the 26th to take on Dan McConchie. The House Democrats led the day having three new candidates file, one in the 48th to take on Peter Breen, another in the 50th to take on Keith Wheeler and one in the 110th to take on Reggie Phillips.
The most significant development of the day is that the Republicans do not have enough candidates on the ballot in the Illinois Senate to win control of the chamber. There are currently 20 Republicans in the Senate and they would need to win 10 more seats to have a majority in the chamber but of the 29 Democratic Senators up for re-election this fall only 9 will face a Republican opponent. Governor Rauner has struggled to pass his agenda through the General Assembly controlled by Democrats resulting in a multi-year stalemate and despite committing millions of dollars of his own money to electing more Republicans this fall he is guaranteed to have to find a way forward with an Illinois Senate that will be controlled by the Democrats for the remainder of his current term. The Republicans do have enough candidates on the ballot in the House to attempt to win control of that chamber.
Our tracker for General Assembly races that could or will be targeted races is up to date with all of yesterday’s new filings.