Illinois is a big state covering all or part of ten media markets but in a Democratic primary anywhere from 70% - 80% of the vote is in the Chicago media market making it the main focus of most statewide Democratic primary campaigns. However as we discussed yesterday a small plurality may be enough to win the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2018 and roughly about a quarter of the vote in the Democratic primary will come from the other nine media markets which means you can't overlook the downstate vote.

In some past competitive statewide primaries we've had a downstate candidate who was able to rally and consolidate that vote. For example take a look at Glenn Poshard's vote map in the 1998 Democratic primary for Governor, prior to running for Governor he was a congressman in a district that ran roughly from Decatur to the Kentucky border and you can see on the map how he had almost monolithic support in his old district, ran strong in western Illinois and did around 50% in most of the counties in northwestern Illinois, the downstate vote belonged to him.

But in this cycle's primary the only downstate candidate is Bob Daiber, the Madison County regional superintendent of schools, and that vote is potentially up for grabs so let's look at some other similar races. Typically in competitive Democratic primaries the candidate with the financial advantage is the one that does best downstate. In the 2002 Democratic primary for Governor Rod Blagojevich was the first candidate on TV, had enough money to run ads statewide and he built up an early lead and held on to that lead after his opponents got on the air, he won 57% of the vote in the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market. In the 2010 Democratic primary for US Senate Alexi Giannoulias was the first candidate on TV, had enough money to run ads statewide and he built up an early lead and held on to that lead after his opponents got on the air, he won 44% of the vote in the 90 counties outside the Chicago media market.

Which brings us to 2004. The 2004 Democratic primary for US Senate was made famous because it launched the federal electoral career of Barack Obama, he won the nomination comfortably with 53% of the vote and his next closest competitor was Comptroller Dan Hynes at 24%. The end of the primary may have been anti-climactic but the race was fascinating and had some interesting features that may be relevant to the upcoming Democratic primary for Governor.

Blair Hull entered the race promising to spend up to $40 million, he actually wound up spending $29 million on the losing effort and he finished with 11% of the vote. Late in the campaign Hull's divorce file was unsealed and the ugly revelations coincided with a significant drop in his support resulting in a distant third place finish.

The simple takeaway from the Hull candidacy is even incredible personal wealth can't shield a candidate with skeletons in his oppo file but beyond that obvious observation there are a few more which I find interesting.

Prior to the release of Hull's divorce file in late February 2004 he was leading in the polls. A Tribune/WGN poll conducted in mid-February, about a month before the election, had him up 9 points on Obama and 13 points on Hynes who at the time was the only statewide elected official in the field.

CandidateFeb 04 Tribune PollFinal Statewide Total

Hull not only had a lot of money but he spent it early on statewide television and had much of the airwaves to himself. During the 2002 gubernatorial campaign Hull sat in on some strategy meetings at Blagojevich campaign headquarters and Hull's primary followed a similar playbook to Blagojevich's the cycle before. Both were the first candidate on TV, both spent enough throughout the state to build up an early polling advantage, especially downstate, and both tried to hang on to that early lead as their opponents got on the air late in the campaign. Blagojevich's early lead was enough to carry him to the nomination, Hull's lead wasn't sustainable against the combined factors of Obama's substantial political appeal and Hull's ugly divorce revelations.

At the time that Tribune/WGN poll was taken in mid-February Hull was polling at 30% downstate, ahead of Hynes who was at 20%. Hull was a relative newcomer and virtual unknown while Hynes had already been elected statewide twice, winning the Comptroller's office in 1998 and 2002, yet thanks to his unmatched TV spending Hull was 10 points ahead of Hynes at the time. Even when the race was over, when Hull finished with just 11% of the statewide vote he still won 24% of the vote in the 90 counties outside of the Chicago media market, due in large part to that early unmatched TV spending. Being the only candidate on the air is a powerful advantage in Illinois statewide races.

In our current Democratic gubernatorial race J.B. Pritzker is already up on TV with eight months still left before the primary (yes, that's crazy). Like Hull Pritzker entered the race largely as an unknown to most voters and again like Hull he has almost unlimited personal wealth that he's pledged to use for the upcoming campaign. Pritzker's unmatched TV spending will go head to head with Kennedy's name recognition for early support among downstate primary voters while rivals hope to play catch up at the end. Six of the nine downstate media markets are only partially in Illinois and partially lie in other states (Quad Cities, Quincy, St. Louis, Paducah, Evansville, Terre Haute) making them inefficient and expensive for advertising so the challengers going on the air later in the cycle will still need to be well funded to compete here. The downstate vote may only be a quarter of the statewide vote but traditionally the candidate with a significant financial advantage has been the beneficiary, a dynamic that we may see play out again in 2018.


Correction: an early version of this post failed to note that Bob Daiber is a downstate Democratic gubernatorial candidate.


Back in April Laura Washington wrote a column titled Message to Dems in governor's race: Listen to black community with the following premise:

The lineup for Illinois' 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary is firming up fast. So far, the six-candidate field is mostly white, and all male.

To win, one of them must energize and capture the party's crucial base. African-American voters should be asking: What have you done for me? What will you do for me?

Since then the Democratic primary candidates haven't really taken her advice but we're starting to see some movement. Over the weekend Chris Kennedy, son of Robert Kennedy, gave a lengthy speech at a south side church on the devastating impact of gun violence relating how it affected his childhood. Today Ameya Pawar is scheduled to give a speech in Bronzeville outlining his plan for criminal justice reform. To kick off his campaign Prizker announced his candidacy at a south side park district field house and featured a number of prominent community supporters. Prizker also made a $1 million deposit into Illinois Service Federal Savings, Chicago's last black-owned bank, which drew comparisons to Bruce Rauner who did something similar in 2014.

Kennedy has had the early support of black voters according to what little polling data has been publicly available. In a midterm primary, which typically skews towards older voters, the Kennedy name and family history will likely be an asset, as well as key endorsers like Rep. Bobby Rush.

In a field with so many candidates and a significant number in the top tier, any of whom are capable of making a strong showing, a relatively modest plurality may be enough to win the nomination. In the 2010 primary for US Senate Alexi Giannoulias won a three-way statewdie race with just 39% of the vote, in the 1998 gubernatorial primary Glenn Poshard won a six-way race with just 38% of the vote, in the 2002 gubernatorial primary Rod Blagojevich won a three-way race with 37% of the vote. Heck, in the 2008 Democratic primary for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez won a six-way race with just 27% of the vote. In a primary with a large and well contested field it often doesn't require a majority or even a large plurality to win the nomination so winning over any sizable bloc of voters can be enough to secure the nomination.

Which brings me to Roland Burris. In 1990 Burris was elected Attorney General and in 1994 he ran for Governor, the first of three unsuccessful attempts. In the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial primary Burris got 36.5% of the statewide vote but came in 2nd to Dawn Clark Netsch's 44.4%. He tried again in 1998 earning 30.5% of the statewide vote but again finishing 2nd to Glenn Poshard who won with 37.6%. In 2002 he tried one last time earning 29.0% of the statewide vote but finishing 3rd behind Blagojevich's 36.5%. In each race his support fell a little bit from the previous cycle but even after his 3rd attempt he held together a statewide coalition of supporters that was still good enough for 29% of the statewide vote. The candidate field for the upcoming Democratic primary has a number of strong attributes but none began the race with a base as big as the former Burris coalition. Burris was an accomplished statewide elected official, he certainly assembled a coalition that included more than just black votes, but the black vote was a key component of that coalition and with the black vote uncertain in this upcoming Democratic primary a potentially very large voting bloc is up for grabs.

Can any one candidate win a majority of the black vote? That is difficult to say for sure but some recent voting trends suggest that it is certainly possible. It's impossible to isolate and calculate just the black vote for historical statewide races but we can look at a subset of the data and use it as a proxy. Below is a chart of the vote in Chicago's majority black wards, it does not include voters in the suburbs or downstate so it is an imperfect proxy but revealing nonetheless.

RaceAA LeaderAA Ward %Statewide TotalFinish
1994 GovBurris86.10%36.50%2nd
1998 GovBurris88.27%30.56%2nd
2002 GovBurris79.99%29.03%3rd
2004 US SenObama88.69%52.77%1st
2006 GovBlagojevich90.83%70.84%1st
2008 PresObama92.56%64.66%1st
2010 US SenJackson55.44%19.86%3rd
2010 GovQuinn58.46%50.18%1st
2014 GovQuinn77.09%71.94%1st

The leading candidate of voters in these black majority wards has had a mixed success rate, some of them won the primary while others didn't, still in each of them the preferred candidate not only won these wards but won them with a majority and not just a plurality which suggests that the candidate that is best able to appeal to this bloc of voters could potentially unite them in that support. In the case of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 gubernatorial primaries there were only two Democratic candidates so the leading candidate was guaranteed a majority, nonetheless the observation still holds.

Can any candidate in this field reassemble and build on the Burris coalition? Maybe, maybe not. Barack Obama was able to in 2004 when he won the US Senate primary with 53% of the statewide vote against a strong field, however Cheryle Jackson was unable to find the same success in the 2010 US Senate primary finishing 3rd with just 20% of the statewide vote.

There isn't a guaranteed path to the Democratic nomination through the black vote in Illinois, other paths have proven just as successful in recent statewide primaries, but there is an awful lot of votes here and it's not yet clear which of the 2018 candidates is going to win their support. It's only a matter of time before the campaigns recognize the math and start to vigorously compete for these votes. This part of the campaign has been surprisingly quiet so far, it won't stay that way.


It's the dog-days of summer and the Sox have lost about a hundred games in a row (estimated, roughly) so let's distract ourselves with a little fun with numbers.

Two weeks ago Natasha Korecki had an article in Politico where some party officials speculated the Illinois Governor's race could cost more than $300 million. Following that, here was my prediction on Twitter:

Obviously $300 million in spending is only achievable if the general election candidates are Rauner and Pritzker, which is by no means guaranteed. But for the purpose of this exercise let's say that they are the nominees of their respective parties.

Here's a little back-of-the-napkin for why I'm skeptical. The real question is how much will have to be spent on media buys (TV and digital) on top of everything else that will be spent (mail, production, operations, etc.) to hit $300 million? Let's try to guess at that.

Aside from Pritzker the other Democratic gubernatorial candidates have combined to spend about $1.4 million so far, let's say for argument's sake they spend another $15 million on top of that in the primary. For our general election predictions let's use Rauner's 2014 spending as a guide. In 2014 Rauner had about $6 million in production expenses, let's estimate that both Rauner and Pritzker will have about $7 million in production expenses this cycle. In 2014 Rauner directly spent about $3 million in mail plus had another $2.5 million from the Illinois Republican party for mail, for this exercise let's estimate they each spend about $6 million in mail. Let's give them each $1 million for polling, $3 million for materials (yard signs, buttons, bumper stickers, t-shirts, etc.) and $15 million for operations (operations, travel, payroll, consulting, etc.). Throw in the $9.3 million that Pritzker has already spent plus the $4 million that Rauner has already spent and you've accounted for about $94 million without even getting to media buys for the rest of the cycle yet.

 RaunerPritzkerOther Cands
Other Dem Candidates  $15.00 M
Already Spent$4.00 M$9.30 M$1.40 M
Production$7.00 M$7.00 M 
Polling$1.00 M$1.00 M 
Mail$6.00 M$6.00 M 
Materials$3.00 M$3.00 M 
Operations$15.00 M$15.00 M 
Total$36.00 M$41.30 M$16.40 M

The figures above total $93.7 million dollars, an impressive figure but still far from $300 million. The rest has to be spent on media buys between now and election day (the amount already spent on media buys and other campaign expenditures is listed above).

I don't believe anyone is currently airing TV ads, although digital ads may be ongoing. But for argument's sake let's say both Rauner and Pritzker went back up on TV the day after Labor Day (a Tuesday) and didn't come down until general election day 2018 (also a Tuesday). That is 61 weeks. In order to spend the remaining $206 million you would still have to spend another $3.4 million per week combined (or $1.7 million per week for each candidate) for every week starting this September running through election day the following fall.

For reference, let's look at Rauner's media buys from the 2014 election cycle.

WeekStart DateEnd DateBruce Rauner
Week 1208/13/1408/19/14$556,907.38
Week 1108/20/1408/26/14$702,543.41
Week 1008/27/1409/02/14$1,037,358.50
Week 909/03/1409/09/14$1,301,821.41
Week 809/10/1409/16/14$1,283,174.80
Week 709/17/1409/23/14$1,388,965.03
Week 609/24/1409/30/14$1,547,732.21
Week 510/01/1410/07/14$1,553,456.77
Week 410/08/1410/14/14$2,711,560.42
Week 310/15/1410/21/14$2,505,242.54
Week 210/22/1410/28/14$4,552,138.87
Week 110/29/1411/04/14$995,134.31

It wasn't until the final four weeks of the general election in 2014 that Rauner was spending $1.7 million per week, that is a healthy statewide buy. In order to spend $300 million on the Governor's race it isn't about spending even more money late in the cycle, that spending only has so much room to grow, the only way they can hit that target is to start spending heavily early. Another way of saying that is in order for the Governor's race spending to reach $300 million combined both Prizker and Rauner need to spend at a level that 2014 Rauner didn't reach until the final month of the election - for the final 61 weeks of this election cycle. That seems unlikely.

None of this really matters, it's all in good fun (and Malort), just a bit of an educated guess but I still want to take the under on $300 million. It will still be a ridiculously high number, 2018 will shatter all campaign spending records and has no worthy previous Illinois comparable. If it does somehow approach or surpass $300 million we will be well beyond Brewster's Millions absurdity.


Here are the totals for the statewide, leadership and party committees.

Committee6/30 Raised6/30 Spent6/30 CoHDebtInvestmentsA-1's SinceEst Funds Avail
Citizens for Rauner, Inc$20,639,341.82 $3,398,395.34 $67,633,577.05 ($39,625.00)$0.00 $15,500.00 $67,649,077.05
Evelyn for Illinois$19,634.00 $12,250.64 $7,604.04 ($26,079.97)$0.00 $0.00 $7,604.04
JB for Governor$14,000,634.95 $9,267,536.86 $4,874,467.68 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $4,874,467.68
Biss for Illinois$1,013,798.87 $265,709.77 $2,340,170.17 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2,340,170.17
Kennedy for Illinois$907,427.61 $652,523.79 $958,670.92 $0.00 $0.00 $18,892.63 $977,563.55
Ameya Pawar for Governor$139,210.30 $155,979.67 $229,433.68 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $229,433.68
Friends of Ameya Pawar$2,000.00 $5,446.19 $5,262.95 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $5,262.95
Daiber for Governor$13,788.71 $41,154.93 $10,163.95 ($30,000.00)$0.00 $2,500.00 $12,663.95
Friends of Scott Drury$66,259.00 $3,994.38 $347,247.35 $0.00 $0.00 $1,461.43 $348,708.78
Alexander Paterakis for Illinois$0.00 $0.00 $5,000.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $5,000.00
Hardiman for IllinoisN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Citizens for Lisa Madigan$108,629.46 $78,992.45 $2,301,199.89 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $2,301,199.89
Citizens for Jesse White$119,888.81 $20,606.61 $452,505.15 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $452,505.15
Friends for Susana Mendoza$181,625.80 $55,953.00 $603,485.59 $0.00 $0.00 $5,600.00 $609,085.59
Citizens for Leslie Munger$20,731.43 $1,240.00 $143,464.90 ($5,500.00)$0.00 $0.00 $143,464.90
Friends of Frerichs$109,550.80 $63,707.06 $273,282.24 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $273,282.24
Democratic Party of Illinois$27,907.43 $62,788.55 $2,743,563.46 $0.00 $0.00 $38,000.00 $2,781,563.46
Friends of Michael J Madigan$67,384.85 $180,070.69 $2,348,043.11 $0.00 $0.00 $37,000.00 $2,385,043.11
Democratic Majority$517,448.00 $64,068.79 $1,538,485.05 $0.00 $0.00 $38,000.00 $1,576,485.05
13th Ward Democratic Org$0.00 $66,574.56 $711,544.47 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $711,544.47
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate$82,055.60 $217,874.88 $13,559.67 $0.00 $314,572.14 $69,100.00 $397,231.81
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$599,365.78 $529,870.19 $108,350.56 $0.00 $319,195.58 $90,000.00 $517,546.14
Comm to Supp J. Cullerton for St. Cent Comm$5,000.20 $26,205.00 $3,135.81 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $3,135.81
Illinois Republican Party$1,606,076.20 $1,580,336.40 $197,851.35 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $197,851.35
Citizens for Durkin$155,816.28 $185,071.50 $126,508.63 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $126,508.63
House Republican Organization$1,136,475.00 $610,314.78 $627,814.25 $0.00 $0.00 $9,000.00 $636,814.25
House Republican Leadership Committee$0.00 $1,481.13 $49,806.55 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $49,806.55
Citizens for Christine Radogno$135,600.00 $85,377.53 $508,673.27 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $508,673.27
Brady for Senate Inc$21,400.00 $5,997.20 $75,573.89 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $75,573.89
Republican State Senate Campaign Comm$150,863.55 $97,994.82 $397,576.85 $0.00 $0.00 $39,500.00 $437,076.85


The Governor continues to lead all candidates, with about $68 million on hand. His committee only spent about $3.4 million this quarter but that is misleading for two reasons, 1) about half of that ($1.5 million) was a transfer to the Illinois Republican Party and 2) he ran a series of ads, the duct tape ads, that were paid for by an arm of the Republican Governor's Association and are not disclosed here.

On the Democratic side Pritzker added $14 million and spent about about $9 million, a little less than $6 million of that was on TV buys. His opponents are not yet on TV and are not expected to be for some time. Biss raised over $1 million for the quarter and has $2.3 million on hand while Kennedy raised just under a million and still has a little less than a million on hand. Pawar spent more than he took in which is atypical this early in the cycle and has a little less than a quarter million remaining while Scott Drury only raised $66K and has a little less than $350K on hand, if he is serious about running for Governor he'll need to step that up.

As for the rest, it's mostly too early. For the legislative races on the Democratic side they'll wait to see who wins the gubernatorial primary to see where the money is needed most, if it's Prizker much of the rest of the money will go to the legislative effort, if not then not. Although I do suspect that we will see some labor money flow to the Democratic caucuses in December, candidate committees are on two or four-year limit cycles but party committees and PACs are on calendar year so I suspect there will be a little bit of money movement before the primary, just not until the end of the year. On the Republican side I suspect it will be similar to 2016 where the bulk of the money came from the Governor and a few of his wealthy allies, but until they know who and how well funded the Democratic nominee for Governor will be I suspect you won't see much movement. With one exception ...

Here are the totals for Independent Expenditure Committees (SuperPACs).

CommitteeCash on HandA-1s SinceB-1s SinceEst Funds Available
Liberty Principles PAC$702,776.15 $0.00 $0.00 $702,776.15
Personal PAC Independent Committee$387,173.25 $0.00 $0.00 $387,173.25
INCS Action Independent Committee$318,882.15 $0.00 $0.00 $318,882.15
Illinois Association of REALTORS Fund$167,491.54 $0.00 $0.00 $167,491.54
Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC$82,308.52 $0.00 $0.00 $82,308.52
Two Rivers PAC$39,997.70 $0.00 $0.00 $39,997.70
Gun Violence Prevention Independent Expenditure PAC$32,582.01 $0.00 $0.00 $32,582.01
Stand for Children IL IEC$24,948.03 $0.00 $0.00 $24,948.03
Economic Freedom Alliance$15,878.90 $0.00 $0.00 $15,878.90
The JOBS PAC$7,567.76 $0.00 $0.00 $7,567.76
Chicago Forward$1,504.34 $0.00 $0.00 $1,504.34
OPRF Pragmatic Pool Solutions$291.35 $0.00 $0.00 $291.35
GOPAC Illinois Legislative Fund$136.24 $0.00 $0.00 $136.24
Central Illinois for Responsible Government, NFP$118.64 $0.00 $0.00 $118.64
National Association of REALTORS Fund$100.54 $0.00 $0.00 $100.54
Diogenes of Illinois PAC$75.71 $0.00 $0.00 $75.71


If there is an effort on the Republican side to fund primary challengers to the House Republicans who either voted for the tax increase or the veto override it will probably be funded at arms-length from the party and if the 2016 cycle is any guide that effort will happen at an IE Committee. Liberty Principles has about $700K on hand, when the going gets serious that number will likely go up significantly. In 2016 Rauner transferred about $2.3 million to them in the primary (plus another $2.5 million in the general) but if they are serious about those primary challenges as promised by State Party Chair Tim Schneider then the amount needed will probably be higher this time.


It's early in the cycle so it's best not to read too much into these. Here are the totals for the statewide, leadership and party committees.

Committee3/31 Raised3/31 CoHDebtA-1s SinceEst Funds Avail
Citizens for Rauner, Inc$44,630.01 $50,392,630.57 ($39,775.00)$14,000.00 $50,406,630.57
Evelyn for Illinois$3,110.20 $220.68 ($26,079.97)$0.00 $220.68
JB for Governor$200,000.00 $141,369.59 $0.00 $7,000,000.00 $7,141,369.59
Biss for Illinois$314,331.01 $1,592,081.07 $0.00 $1,000.00 $1,593,081.07
Kennedy for Illinois$1,026,097.21 $907,427.61 $0.00 $0.00 $907,427.61
Ameya Pawar for Governor$294,351.60 $246,203.05 $0.00 $1,000.00 $247,203.05
Friends of Ameya Pawar$19,994.00 $8,709.14 $0.00 $0.00 $8,709.14
Daiber for Governor$49,410.00 $37,530.17 ($20,000.00)$0.00 $37,530.17
Citizens for Lisa Madigan$86,620.00 $2,271,562.88 $0.00 $0.00 $2,271,562.88
Citizens for Jesse White$6,950.00 $353,222.95 $0.00 $0.00 $353,222.95
Friends for Susana Mendoza$265,064.76 $477,812.79 $0.00 $0.00 $477,812.79
Citizens for Leslie Munger$0.00 $123,973.47 ($5,500.00)$0.00 $123,973.47
Friends of Frerichs$58,925.00 $227,438.50 $0.00 $0.00 $227,438.50
Democratic Party of Illinois$93,512.46 $2,778,444.58 $0.00 $2,500.00 $2,780,944.58
Friends of Michael J Madigan$65,614.53 $2,460,728.95 $0.00 $7,000.00 $2,467,728.95
Democratic Majority$87,698.76 $1,089,702.72 $0.00 $0.00 $1,089,702.72
13th Ward Democratic Org$1,086.00 $778,119.03 $0.00 $0.00 $778,119.03
Citizens for John Cullerton for State Senate$62,907.49 $250,888.90 $0.00 $2,000.00 $252,888.90
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$175,140.15 $38,854.97 $0.00 $43,117.51 $81,972.48
Comm to Supp J. Cullerton for St. Cent Comm$53,900.84 $24,340.61 $0.00 $0.00 $24,340.61
Illinois Republican Party$297,685.01 $172,111.55 $0.00 $62,500.00 $234,611.55
Citizens for Durkin$127,741.76 $155,763.85 $0.00 $0.00 $155,763.85
House Republican Organization$568,113.91 $101,654.03 $0.00 $0.00 $101,654.03
House Republican Leadership Committee$0.00 $51,287.68 $0.00 $0.00 $51,287.68
Citizens for Christine Radogno$16,500.00 $458,450.80 $0.00 $0.00 $458,450.80
Republican State Senate Campaign Comm$304,849.55 $344,708.12 $0.00 $20,000.00 $364,708.12

And here are the totals for Independent Expenditure Committees (superpacs).

CommitteeCash on HandA-1s SinceB-1s SinceEst Funds Available
Liberty Principles PAC$755,690.21 $0.00 $0.00 $755,690.21
INCS Action Independent Committee$185,654.03 $0.00 $0.00 $185,654.03
Illinois Association of REALTORS Fund$170,619.73 $0.00 $0.00 $170,619.73
Personal PAC Independent Committee$96,691.73 $0.00 $0.00 $96,691.73
Chicagoans United for Economic Security PAC$82,308.52 $0.00 $0.00 $82,308.52
Gun Violence Prevention Independent Expenditure PAC$45,832.51 $0.00 $0.00 $45,832.51
Two Rivers PAC$41,092.70 $0.00 $0.00 $41,092.70
Economic Freedom Alliance$31,838.08 $30,000.00 ($36,512.25)$25,325.83
Stand for Children IL IEC$24,948.03 $0.00 $0.00 $24,948.03
The JOBS PAC$7,577.76 $0.00 $0.00 $7,577.76
Parents and Neighbors for Quality Education$5,630.21 $23,864.00 ($25,539.02)$3,955.19
Chicago Forward$1,594.31 $0.00 $0.00 $1,594.31
GOPAC Illinois Legislative Fund$151.24 $0.00 $0.00 $151.24
Central Illinois for Responsible Government, NFP$144.64 $0.00 $0.00 $144.64
National Association of REALTORS Fund$100.54 $0.00 $0.00 $100.54
Diogenes of Illinois PAC$75.71 $0.00 $0.00 $75.71
Working America$0.00 $2,239.89 ($2,239.89)$0.00
Turnaround Illinois$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Illinois United for Change$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Republican State Leadership Committee- IE Committee$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00
Illinois Chamber IE Committee$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00

Over the weekend Governor Rauner's campaign committee filed an amended quarterly report for the quarter ending 6/30/2015. The most notable change in this amended report is a reduction in the transfers out from $400,000 to $322,000, a reduction of $78,000.

You may remember that in May of the first year of his administration Governor Rauner made a contribution to every Republican member of the General Assembly, both Senate and House, totaling $400,000. Here's how it was described by the AP:

Gov. Bruce Rauner has started doling out money from his campaign fund to fellow Republicans as the Illinois Legislature approaches what could be difficult votes on several big issues. Rauner divided $400,000 among every Republican member of the Illinois House and Senate, spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said Saturday. The contributions, made Monday, come with just weeks to go before the May 31 end to the spring legislative session, and with Rauner looking to his GOP allies to support his pro-business agenda in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly.

The timing and political ramifications made some of these Republican beneficiaries uncomfortable, some did not cash these checks while others held them and did not cash them right away.

"I don't want to make it look like someone is influencing me from the administration. So, it's setting in a drawer and we're going to hold it," said state Rep. David Reis, a Willow Hill Republican, speaking of the checks worth $3,000 to $10,000 that Rauner sent to each Republican member of the House and Senate. "I thought the timing was unusual. So while we are debating issues, I thought it inappropriate to accept it," added state Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton. Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, also said the contributions felt odd. "While we appreciate the donation, I haven't made a final decision of where, if and when, that I'll do with the check," said Brady, adding he may even give away the money Rauner gave to him.

It appears the Governor's campaign filed this amendment over the weekend to remove the contributions that were never cashed. Here are the contributions that were listed previously that are no longer listed in the latest amendment, these were likely never cashed or otherwise considered contributed under the law:

Citizens for C.D. Davidsmeyer5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Hammond5/5/2015$8,000
Committee to Elect Michael W. Tyron5/5/2015$8,000
Friends for Avery Bourne5/5/2015$8,000
Friends for Randy Frese5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Karen McConnaughay5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Kyle McCarter5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Michael P. McAuliffe5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Reggie Phillips5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Unes5/5/2015$4,000
Committee to Elect Sheri Jesiel5/5/2015$4,000
Committee to Elect Terri Bryant5/5/2015$4,000
David McSweney for State Representative5/5/2015$4,000
Friends for John Cavaletto5/5/2015$3,000
Friends for Poe5/5/2015$3,000

And here is the list of contributions that remain, these likely were cashed.

Citizens for Christine Radogno5/5/2015$10,000
Citizens for Durkin5/5/2015$10,000
Brady for Senate5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Bill Mitchell5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Chad Hays5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Chris Nybo5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Dale A. Righter5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Joe Sosnowski5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Kay5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Leitch5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Matt Murphy5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens For Moffitt5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Pamela J Althoff5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Pritchard5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Steve Andersson5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens for Sullivan5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens to Elect Patricia R. Bellock5/5/2015$8,000
Citizens to Elect Ron Sandack5/5/2015$8,000
Committee to Elect Dan Duffy5/5/2015$8,000
Committee to Elect Keith Wheeler5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Adam Brown5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Chapin Rose5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Dan Brady5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Jason Barickman5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Mark Batinick5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Mike Fortner5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Tim Butler5/5/2015$8,000
Friends of Tom Bennett5/5/2015$8,000
Team Demmer5/5/2015$8,000
Anderson for Illinois5/5/2015$4,000
Barbara Wheeler 645/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Bivins5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Brian W. Stewart5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Connelly5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for John M. Cabello5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Luechtefeld5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Tom Morrison5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens to Elect Grant Wehrli5/5/2015$4,000
Committee to Elect David Harris5/5/2015$4,000
Friends of Jeanne Ives5/5/2015$4,000
Friends of Jim Oberweis5/5/2015$4,000
Friends of John D. Anthony5/5/2015$4,000
Friends of Peter Breen5/5/2015$4,000
Friends of Sue Rezin5/5/2015$4,000
Keith Sommer Campaign Committee5/5/2015$4,000
Sam McCann for Senate5/5/2015$4,000
Syverson for Senate5/5/2015$4,000
Vote for Margo McDermed for Illnois House5/5/2015$4,000
Winger for Representative5/5/2015$4,000
Citizens for Charlie Meier5/5/2015$3,000
Citizens for David Reis5/5/2015$3,000


Yesterday JB Pritzker's campaign announced that he had contributed $7 million to his campaign, on top of the $200,000 he had previously given. It appears that because of some technical difficulties the A-1 disclosing it didn't get filed, probably early next week.

If Pritzker has already committed $7 million towards the Democratic primary it raises the question of how much will it cost to have a chance in this primary? You probably don't have to spend the most money to win the nomination but each candidate will have to spend enough to communicate effectively. Here is a list of how much was spent by each Democratic candidate for Governor in the last four gubernatorial primaries that we have data for (the electronic filing era).

CycleCandidatePeriodAmount SpentVote
2014Pat QuinnJan 2011 - Mar 2014$2,800,595.36 71.94%
2014Tio HardimanOct 2013 - Mar 2014$36,267.23 28.06%
2010Pat QuinnJan 2007 - Mar 2010$7,543,975.34 50.46%
2010Dan HynesJan 2007 - Mar 2010$8,088,587.44 49.54%
2006Rod BlagojevichJan 2003 - Mar 2006$10,593,035.28 70.84%
2006Edwin EisendrathDec 2005 - Mar 2006$1,545,344.36 29.16%
2002Rod BlagojevichJun 2000 - Mar 2002$7,532,598.65 36.50%
2002Paul VallasJul 2001 - Mar 2002$3,342,309.11 34.47%
2002Roland BurrisJun 2001 - Mar 2002$2,001,412.81 29.03%

In 2014 Pat Quinn had token opposition and was able to get through the primary with just $2.8 million whereas the two most competitive primaries here, 2002 and 2010, each had $7.5 million spent by the winner. The 2006 number for Blagojevich is skewed a bit high because he started what was essentially a general election TV campaign in February and then didn't really come down until late summer so his TV numbers look high here.

What's the minimum amount that's needed to win here? It's hard to say but Vallas came just short spending $3.3 million and that was 15 years ago so costs have certainly gone up. It's hard to imagine a candidate winning this primary on less than that.

The 2016 cycle will be remembered for the most expensive state legislative races in our state's history ... so far. In all $134 million was spent on races for the Illinois General Assembly and another $39 million remained in the campaign accounts of the the winners, their challengers and legislative leaders. These eye-popping totals do not even include the $50 million Governor Rauner recently added to his campaign account or the $10.4 million that federal superpac Leading Illinois For Tomorrow (LIFT) spent on anti-Trump ads that also tried to tie Trump to Rauner or the $11 million spent in the Comptroller's race. It also doesn't include the more than $2 million that the Governor's IE, Turnaround Illinois, spent on ads promoting term limits.

Not only was there a massive influx of money this cycle but also significant amounts of money were moved around within the system making it hard to keep track of all the money without double counting it. Throughout the cycle we were tracking money raised to try to keep track of how much could be spent. Now that the cycle is over we have switched gears tracking money spent (plus in-kinds which is also spending) which makes it easier to eliminate double counting. See below for an explanation on the methodology.


Legislative Spending Totals

Here are the traditional spending totals for the General Assembly, this does not include transfers out but it does include in-kinds.

Spending and In-Kinds1/1/15 to 3/31/164/1/16 to 12/31/16Total
Senate Democrats on the Ballot$3,821,809.35 $16,657,087.82 $20,478,897.17
Senate Democrats Lost Primary$666,833.59 $12,679.03 $679,512.62
Senate Democrats Not on the Ballot$1,821,571.22 $1,238,002.10 $3,059,573.32
Senate Republicans on the Ballot$2,164,004.26 $10,567,669.76 $12,731,674.02
Senate Republicans Lost Primary$481,869.06 $23,966.43 $505,835.49
Senate Republicans Not on the Ballot$356,638.27 $215,149.77 $571,788.04
House Democrats$11,643,285.77 $26,966,853.71 $38,610,139.48
House Democrats Lost Primary$2,769,853.00 $61,396.66 $2,831,249.66
House Republicans$3,232,609.76 $29,153,040.89 $32,385,650.65
House Republicans Lost Primary$1,111,305.92 $72,799.22 $1,184,105.14
Total$28,069,780.20 $84,968,645.39 $113,038,425.59

$75 million of that total was spent in the House compared to just $38 million in the Senate. Democrats actually spent more than the Republicans, $66 million to $47 million, led by the Senate Democrats who outspent their Republican counterparts $24 million to $14 million. In the House the Democrats outspent the Republicans $41 million to $34 million but much of that was due to the primary, in the general election the Republicans actually outspent the House Democrats $29 million to $27 million.

And here are the independent expenditure totals for the same period.

Total IE Spending1/1/15 to 3/31/164/1/16 to 12/31/16Total
Independent Expenditure Spending$11,129,206.51 $9,671,956.91 $20,801,163.42

Taken together that is $134 million that was spent on state legislative races in the 2016 cycle.


Available Funds Left Unspent

In addition to that total there was money left over, here are the combined cash on hand totals for all of the legislative candidates as of 12/31/2016.

Candidate Committee Totals12/31/16 COH
Senate Democrats$8,279,494.66
Senate Republicans$3,066,880.35
House Democrats$16,491,552.44
House Republicans$3,186,498.16

And here are the remaining fund balances for the leadership committees.

Leadership Funds12/31/16 COH
Democratic Party of Illinois$2,856,471.32
Democratic Majority$1,064,490.82
13th Ward Democratic Org$806,853.09
Senate Democratic Victory Fund$446,650.14
Committee to Support John Cullerton for State Central Committeeman$0.00
Illinois Republican Party$217,206.30
House Republican Organization$15,047.71
House Republican Leadership Committee$56,637.83
Republican State Senate Campaign Committee$185,031.76

In addition to the totals above 114th House District Republican candidate Bob Romanik has not yet filed his 12/31/16 quarterly report, as of 9/30 he had $2 million on hand. Taken together there is still another $39 million left in campaign accounts that could have been spent this cycle and will likely be used as a head start for next cycle.


Comptroller's Race

2016 Comptroller's RaceTotal Spend and In-Kind
Susana Mendoza$3,908,050.85
Leslie Munger$7,103,305.94

The Comptroller's race cost $11 million. This total does not include the $3 million that Munger transferred to the party. Had she held on to that money and spent it on her own campaign this race could have even been more expensive.



If you'd like to view the raw data that was used to calculate the above totals and/or you would like to perform your own analysis you can do so here.

The main problem with trying to figure out how much money was raised or spent on legislative races in a given cycle has to do with the potential for double counting money that was moved within the system. For example, the Governor started the cycle with $20 million in his account, all of which he moved to the Illinois Republican party. In turn they either spent some of that on legislative races as independent expenditures, spent some of that on legislative races which were reported as in-kind contributions to the campaigns or transferred it to the caucus leadership committees (HRO and the RSSCC). Those caucus committees either spent some of that on legislative races which were reported as in-kind contributions to the campaigns or made direct transfers to the candidate committees and then those candidate committees spent that money on their races. If you're not careful you could end up counting that same $20 million four times as it moved through the system and come up with $80 million when in reality it's just the same $20 million.

In order to eliminate double counting you can look at only the candidate committees of legislative candidates and only the spending line item (not transfers out) and the in-kind totals. Remember, even though our D-2's list in-kinds in the contribution section they are actually both a contribution and an expenditure. Add these up for all of the legislative candidate committees and you have your spending total.

You may be asking, what about all the money that the Governor had, or the state parties had, or the legislative leader committees had? For all of that money one of three things happened: 1) that ultimately got transferred down the chain to a candidate committee and the candidate committee spent those funds on their own race and is reflected in the totals above, 2) those party/leadership committees spent that money on behalf of a candidate committee and reported it to that candidate committee as an in-kind and then was reflected in the totals above or 3) those party/leadership committee spent it as an independent expenditure on behalf of a candidate committee and that spending is reflected in the totals above in the IE line item.

Now that the cycle is over just looking at the spending side allows us a much simpler method to determine the total amount of money involved without having to worry about double counting all the transfers of money.

As we put the 2016 election behind us and look toward 2018 and the Governor's race in particular the parlor game of trying to speculate how expensive the upcoming election will be has heated up. Today Governor Rauner contributed an eye-opening $50 million to his campaign fund.

In the 2014 cycle Rauner contributed almost $38 million to his own campaign fund, but $10 million of that came after the election and was actually used in the 2016 cycle to help the Republican legislative effort. This fall when it was reported that the Governor's personal earnings had reached $188 million, up from a pauper-like $58 million the year before, there was speculation that the Governor would spend even more this cycle. This $50 million reported today is listed as a contribution, not a loan, and while he could always refund part or all of it at some point in the future it certainly sent a message.

But in addition to the political ramifications of an influx this size the timing is also relevant. You may recall that the Governor gave his campaign fund $2 million in February of this year and another $5 million in September, in fact $7,750,000 prior to today for this cycle, however the contribution limits have not been lifted for the upcoming Governor's race even though these amounts are greater than the $250,000 in personal funds that would normally lift the caps. Here's why from the relevant section of the law, relevant emphasis mine:

5/9-8.5 Limitations on campaign contributions. (h) Self-funding candidates. If a public official, a candidate, or the public official's or candidate's immediate family contributes or loans to the public official's or candidate's political committee or to other political committees that transfer funds to the public official's or candidate's political committee or makes independent expenditures for the benefit of the public official's or candidate's campaign during the 12 months prior to an election in an aggregate amount of more than (i) $250,000 for statewide office or (ii) $100,000 for all other elective offices, then the public official or candidate shall file with the State Board of Elections, within one day, a Notification of Selffunding that shall detail each contribution or loan made by the public official, the candidate, or the public official's or candidate's immediate family. Within 2 business days after the filing of a Notification of Self-funding, the notification shall be posted on the Board's website and the Board shall give official notice of the filing to each candidate for the same office as the public official or candidate making the filing, including the public official or candidate filing the Notification of Self-funding. Notice shall be sent via first class mail to the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate's committee. Notice shall also be sent by e-mail to the candidate and the treasurer of the candidate's committee if the candidate and the treasurer, as applicable, have provided the Board with an e-mail address. Upon posting of the notice on the Board's website, all candidates for that office, including the public official or candidate who filed a Notification of Self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limits imposed by subsection (b). If a public official or candidate filed a Notification of Self-Funding during an election cycle that includes a general primary election or consolidated primary election and that public official or candidate is nominated, all candidates for that office, including the nominee who filed the notification of self-funding, shall be permitted to accept contributions in excess of any contribution limit imposed by subsection (b) for the subsequent election cycle. For the purposes of this subsection, "immediate family" means the spouse, parent, or child of a public official or candidate.

We are still more than 12 months away from the next election, the 2018 primary, so this action will not remove the contribution limits. The Governor and any candidates who file against him still have to abide by contribution limits, even though the Governor has a $50 million head start and even though had this $50 million contribution come in April instead of today it would lift the contribution limits for all candidates of both parties.

Eventually there will be no contribution limits in the Governor's race, we repeatedly saw the threshold achieved in so many state legislative races that it will certainly happen in the Governor's race. But we're in a bit of a loophole in the language of the contribution limit law allowing the wealthy self-funders to stockpile large amounts of campaign cash without triggering the fairness mechanism that would lift the caps for the other candidates while they attempt to even the playing field. On the Democratic side some wealthy potential candidates have been rumored to be interested in the race, it will be interesting to see if they stockpile early cash in the next few months to get ahead of their less wealthy potential rivals.

The other interesting question is whether or not the Governor would have an advantage if the caps were lifted? There are numerous potential Democratic candidates but so far no rumored Republican primary challengers. If at any point the Governor decides he wants an expensive bloodbath on the Democratic side he only has to add $250,000 more, assuming that none of the Democrats do what's necessary to lift the caps first.

Contribution limits in Illinois have done nothing to limit money in the political system, there is more money than ever, but the rules are so convoluted that they keep creating these odd situations. With divided government that isn't likely to change any time soon.

The State Board of Elections made the precinct-level vote totals available late last week for the 2016 General Election and as promised I've compiled them, cleaned them up, made them available for download and incorporated them into my database. The full menu of options can be found here.

Having this granular data allows us to compile vote totals for any two areas that overlap. For example we can determine how each statewide candidate did by congressional or legislative district.

Note: these totals may differ from similar analysis performed elsewhere. Surprisingly enough, many districts only include partial precincts. Different methods for dealing with partial precincts can result in different totals.


In 2014 the Republican statewide candidates ran strong across the state, Rauner won 70 House districts, Topinka 69 and Cross 64. This cycle at the top of the ticket the Democrats came storming back with Clinton winning 77 of them while Duckworth won 74. As discussed in the post-mortem in some parts of downstate Trump's intensity of support was off the charts, it just wasn't broad enough to be felt throughout the state.

The Comptroller's race was a bit more even, Mendoza and Munger each bested the other in 59 House districts despite Mendoza winning statewide by 5 points. The House Republicans picked up a net of four seats and overcame the poor showing at the top of the ticket but still underperformed Munger, only winning 51 House seats compared to 67 for the Democrats.

House Districts Won By:# Districts
House Democrats67
Hillary Clinton77
Tammy Duckworth74
Susana Mendoza59
House Districts Won By:# Districts
House Republicans51
Donald Trump41
Mark Kirk44
Leslie Munger59

Districts That Changed Hands


Let's take a look at some of the districts that flipped this cycle. In many cases the legislative incumbents outperformed the top of their ticket, unfortunately for this group it wasn't enough to hold onto their seats. There was a lot of ticket splitting going on though and in some cases there were very large discrepancies between what happened in the legislative race and the top of the ticket suggesting that voters were paying close attention and the campaign messages were getting through the clutter.


Sen-59   (R) Dale Fowler vs. (D) Gary Forby (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 10.4%
R+ 40.74%R+ 5.5%R+ 23.45%
R+ 11.56%R+ 30.97%R+ 6.01%D+ 12.05%R+ 7.35%R+ 24.91%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 20.15%D+ 18.2%

Gary Forby was 10 points short of holding a district that Donald Trump won by 41 points, that's quite a headwind. Forby's district wasn't on the ballot two years ago when Rauner won it by 31 points but he did manage a big win in 2012 even with Romney besting Obama by 20 points. Munger did quite well here winning by 23 while Kirk managed to win by just 5.5 points. Perhaps as many as 17% of the voters in this district were Trump/Forby voters but it wasn't enough.



Rep-71   (R) Tony McCombie vs. (D) Mike Smiddy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 25.8%
R+ 5.81%R+ 1.96%R+ 5.66%
D+ 1.68%R+ 14.05%D+ 3.71%D+ 22.4%R+ 15.72%R+ 8%D+ 0.9%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 15%D+ 4.2%

Challenger Tony McCombie outperformed every other candidate here by a notable amount in defeating Mike Smiddy. In a district that Obama won by 15 points four years ago and that Rauner won by 14 points two years ago she won by 26 points in a year when Trump and Munger could only manage 6 point wins and Kirk managed a narrow 2 point victory. The voters seemed to really key in on this race at a much greater intensity than the others on the ballot this time.



Rep-63   (R) Steven Reick vs. (D) John Bartman   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 13.0%
R+ 12.28%R+ 9.62%R+ 22.57%
R+ 20.2%R+ 34.02%D+ 2.49%D+ 20.31%R+ 19.82%R+ 25.77%D+ 17.08%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 7.67%D+ 99.2%

When Jack Franks withdrew from this race to run for McHenry County Board Chairman (a race he ultimately won) it was going to be difficult for the Democrats to hold this seat and appointed replacement John Bartman could not, losing by 13 points which roughly mirrored the presidential race. As mentioned in the post-mortem Munger did much better in the collars than either of her two fellow Republican statewide candidates, 10 points better than Trump here and 13 points better than Kirk. Four years ago Romney won this district by almost 8 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 34, the Dems were just sunk without Franks.



Rep-79   (R) Lindsay Parkhurst vs. (D) Katherine Cloonen (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 7.4%
R+ 12.84%R+ 3.14%R+ 14.31%
R+ 6.72%R+ 22.2%D+ 13.3%D+ 26.36%R+ 14.1%R+ 8.82%D+ 0.38%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 1.03%D+ 0.2%

Cloonen won each of the last two cycles in what were essentially coin flips, races that were so close she won by about 100 votes each time. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 22 points suggesting that with enough investment it could be picked up, and it was Parkhurst won by 7. Four years ago Obama held Romney to a narrow 1 point victory here but in 2016 Trump won the district by 13 and Munger won it by 14. Cloonen was able to halve Munger's margin but it wasn't enough.



Rep-117   (R) David Severin vs. (D) John Bradley (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 5.8%
R+ 42.9%R+ 6.04%R+ 24.72%
R+ 14.48%R+ 32.09%R+ 6.69%D+ 11.93%R+ 5.32%R+ 25.51%D+ 99.38%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 22.07%D+ 33.3%

They share the same voters so just like Gary Forby mentioned above John Bradley ran into a massive headwind that he just couldn't overcome. Four years ago Romney won this district by 22 points, two years ago Rauner won it by 32 suggesting that it was fertile ground for a pickup. Bradley lost by just 6 in a district that Trump won by 43 points and Munger won by 25. Perhaps as many as 21% of the voters here were Trump/Bradley voters but it wasn't enough.



Rep-76   (R) Jerry Long vs. (D) Andy Skoog (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 1.8%
R+ 9.49%D+ 2.43%R+ 5.18%
R+ 3.89%R+ 9.5%D+ 10.71%D+ 30.66%R+ 5.25%R+ 6.46%D+ 0.98%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 6.08%D+ 26.2%

This area of the state appears to have settled into swing territory. Two years ago Jerry Long made a spirited challenge against long time incumbent Frank Mautino coming up just short. Mautino left the legislature to become Auditor General but the local papers were still regularly following the investigation into irregularities in his campaign fund. This time around Long was able to best Andy Skoog, Mautino's appointed replacement, by just shy of 2 points in a year when Trump won it by 9 and Munger by 5 while Duckworth enjoyed a 2 point win for the Democrats. Obama won it four years ago by 6 while Rauner won by almost 10 two years ago. We'll likely be keeping an eye on this area for the next few cycles.



Rep-112   (D) Katie Stuart vs. (R) Dwight Kay (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 3.2%
R+ 5.53%D+ 9.4%R+ 0.75%
R+ 4.48%R+ 20.63%R+ 2.02%D+ 11.68%R+ 15.98%R+ 12.2%R+ 17.48%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 0.1%R+ 0.6%

Two years ago Rauner won this district by over 20 points but in presidential election years this looks to be a swing district. Four years ago Dwight Kay was re-elected in a narrow victory in a year when the presidential race here was essentially a tie. This time around Katie Stuart picked up the district for the Democrats by 3 points while the three statewide races were kind of all over the place, Trump won by almost 6, Munger won by less than a point and Duckworth won by more than 9. Even aside from the three statewide races the Republicans still did well here, the Republicans picked up the County Board Chairman's race from the incumbent Democrat and Mike Bost, Rodney Davis and John Shimkus all won the precincts they had in common with this district (Shimkus was unopposed). This area will almost certainly be heavily contested next cycle.



Targeted Districts Won by Incumbents


Here is a rundown of some of the Senate and House districts that were the focus of heavy spending where the incumbent retained the seat.


Sen-23   (R) Seth Lewis vs. (D) Thomas Cullerton (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 1.4%
D+ 11.94%D+ 8.87%R+ 4.43%
R+ 1.99%R+ 19.19%D+ 11.71%D+ 25.21%R+ 15.4%R+ 15.06%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 7.14%D+ 2.4%

Four years ago I was surprised when the Democrats won this mostly DuPage County senate district and now four years later Tom Cullerton has retained the seat. Seth Lewis outperformed the top of his ticket, losing by only a little over a point in a district where Clinton won by 12 and Duckworth by 9. It wasn't all bad for the Republicans here, Munger won by over 4 but as we discussed in the post-mortem the power base of the Illinois Republican Party is moving from the collar counties to downstate so we're going to be seeing race outcomes like this one in the suburbs for the next few cycles.



Sen-49   (R) Michelle Smith vs. (D) Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.4%
D+ 10.29%D+ 10.26%R+ 0.03%
D+ 0.59%R+ 13.73%D+ 14.6%D+ 26.88%R+ 11.12%R+ 22.19%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 7.3%D+ 6.4%

Four years ago Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant won this district by a little over 6 points and this year despite all the spending it didn't change all that much, she won by a little over 5. Clinton and Duckworth won by more than 10, compared to just 7 points for Obama four years ago, while the Mendoza/Munger race was essentially a tie here. Rauner won this district by almost 14 two years ago but it isn't on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait for the year of Trump's re-elect to make another attempt.



Sen-28   (R) Mel Thillens vs. (D) Laura Murphy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 7.00%
D+ 19.83%D+ 12.9%R+ 2.22%
D+ 6.49%R+ 14.82%D+ 21.65%D+ 38.13%R+ 12.81%R+ 10.08%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 12.62%D+ 14.6%

Two years ago the Republicans did very well in this district, Rauner won by 15, Topinka by 13 and Cross by 10. However in presidential years this northwestern suburban district trends pretty Democratic. Laura Murphy, who was appointed to the seat when Dan Kotowski left, won her first chance at re-election by 7 points in a district Clinton won by 20, Duckworth won by 13 and Obama had won by 13. The lone bright spot for the Republicans was Munger edging Mendoza by 2.



Sen-31   (R) Mike Amrozowicz vs. (D) Melinda Bush (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 8.2%
D+ 12.8%D+ 5.95%R+ 3.76%
R+ 2.8%R+ 18.68%D+ 14.64%D+ 26.42%R+ 13.26%R+ 13.34%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 6.86%D+ 2.8%

Four years ago Melinda Bush won a relatively narrow 3 point victory, this time around she won by a more comfortable 8. Clinton won this far north Lake County district by 13 while Duckworth won by just 6 and Munger won by almost 4. Two years ago Rauner won this district by almost 19 points but it is not on the ballot next cycle so the Republicans will have to wait four years for another shot at it.



Rep-20   (D) Merry Marwig vs. (R) Michael McAuliffe (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 12.2%
D+ 8.3%D+ 5.76%R+ 5.3%
D+ 7.85%R+ 5.89%D+ 22.95%D+ 40.45%R+ 15.71%R+ 6.21%R+ 24.9%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 7.1%R+ 21.2%

This was the most expensive race this cycle, much of it coming from the Republicans and much of that coming early as McAuliffe was up on Chicago broadcast TV in August during the Olympics, something completely unheard of for a legislative race. In the end McAuliffe overperformed all of the other Republicans winning by 12 in a district Trump lost by 8, Kirk lost by 6 and Munger only won by 5. Even in the wave Republican election year of two years ago Rauner only won this district by 6, although Topinka did win it by 16. It's a district that favors moderate Republicans.



Rep-45   (D) Cynthia Borbas vs. (R) Christine Winger (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
D+ 2.46%R+ 1.21%R+ 14.89%
R+ 9.63%R+ 28.01%D+ 4.21%D+ 18.83%R+ 21.95%R+ 23.23%R+ 8.88%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 2.12%R+ 10.8%

As the collars have been trending toward the Democrats this east-central DuPage district was one they hoped to put in play, but it's not quite there. Two years ago Rauner won this district by 28 points but Romney won it by just 2 in 2012 and Clinton won it by 2 this time. Christine Winger won it by a comfortable 7 and Munger won by 15 so it's still a Republican district for competitively contested elections. This may not be a district to keep an eye on two years from now but it seems likely it will be worth paying attention to in four years.



Rep-81   (D) Greg Hose vs. (R) David Olsen   (Map)

2016 RACE
R+ 6.8%
D+ 15.97%D+ 3.68%R+ 12.21%
R+ 2.92%R+ 22.9%D+ 8.68%D+ 24.18%R+ 19.88%R+ 20.1%R+ 19.98%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 1.67%R+ 100%

This is another one of those DuPage districts that could potentially be a swing district in four years but wasn't there this cycle. Four years ago Obama won it by less than two points while this cycle Clinton won it by 16 and Duckworth by 4 while Munger still prevailed by 12. David Olsen, appointed to the seat when Ron Sandack stepped down, managed a comfortable 7 point win.



Rep-118   (R) Jason Kasiar vs. (D) Brandon Phelps (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 16.8%
R+ 38.56%R+ 4.91%R+ 22.17%
R+ 8.58%R+ 30.01%R+ 5.31%D+ 12.33%R+ 9.27%R+ 24.34%D+ 99.74%
12 PRES12 GA
R+ 18.17%D+ 100%

Brandon Phelps hasn't has a Republican opponent in either of the two previous cycles under this map but during that time Republican statewide candidates have been running up big numbers in this district. Romney won it by 18, Rauner by 30 and Cross by 24. However Phelps, the nephew of popular former congressman David Phelps, maintains a similar local popularity winning this district by 17 points even though Trump won it by 39 and Munger by 22. Perhaps as many as 30% of the voters in this district were Trump/Phelps voters. This district is adjacent to the district John Bradley just lost and those two House districts make up the Senate district that Gary Forby just lost, this area is trending Republican rather rapidly but so far Phelps has been able to weather the storm. This area will likely be a focal point in 2018.



Rep-46   (R) Heidi Holan vs. (D) Deborah Conroy (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 18.00%
D+ 23.44%D+ 21.11%D+ 8.3%
D+ 7.99%R+ 7.66%D+ 21.56%D+ 33.59%R+ 6.79%R+ 4.42%D+ 5.06%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 18.75%D+ 15.4%

This DuPage County district makes up half of Tom Cullerton's senate district and just as Cullerton did Deb Conroy was able to retain the seat. Two years ago Conroy defeated Heidi Holan by 5 points even while Rauner won it by 8, Topinka by 7 and Cross by 4. This time around in a rematch against Holan Conroy won it by 18, which was somewhat similar to her 15 point margin in 2012. This district has been reliably Democratic in presidential years, Obama won it by 19, Clinton by 23, Duckworth by 21 and Mendoza by 8. The Democrats appear to have a beachhead in this part of DuPage County.



Rep-111   (R) Mike Babcock vs. (D) Daniel Beiser (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 5.2%
R+ 16.26%D+ 10.96%D+ 0.94%
D+ 1.14%R+ 16.52%D+ 2.85%D+ 19.11%R+ 9.83%R+ 5.06%D+ 100%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 5.18%D+ 17%

This district is adjacent to the district that Katie Stuart picked up for the Democrats from Dwight Kay and those two districts combine to form the senate district held by Bill Haine who was surprisingly unopposed this cycle. The Republicans put a surprising amount of money in this race, perhaps for good reason, Rauner won it by 17, Topinka by 10, Cross by 5 and this cycle Trump won it by 16. Despite all of that Dan Beiser won a rather comfortable 5 point race while Duckworth won by 11 and Mendoza narrowly edged Munger by a point. This looks like one of those areas where Trump was a strength but he didn't have much coattails, we'll see what happens in this district in 2018.



Rep-62   (R) Rod Drobinski vs. (D) Sam Yingling (i)   (Map)

2016 RACE
D+ 4.8%
D+ 16.23%D+ 8.89%R+ 2.44%
D+ 0.79%R+ 15.94%D+ 16.75%D+ 29.9%R+ 11.98%R+ 11.23%D+ 4.2%
12 PRES12 GA
D+ 11.18%D+ 10.6%

Despite all of the heavy spending in this race the final margin wasn't much different from two years ago when these two candidates faced off, 4.8 points this year vs. 4.2 points in 2014. Two years ago Yingling won despite a strong showing from the Republicans, Rauner won it by 16, Topinka by 12 and Cross by 11 but in presidential election years the Democrats have done well here, Obama won it by 12, Clinton by 16 and Duckworth by 9. Munger did manage to win it by 2 and it seems likely that the Republicans will be back again in 2018 for another try.


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