Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Primary proved to be a rough road for some incumbents

By Robert Davis | Mar 22, 2018

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In the midst of what Democrats are hoping will be a "Blue Wave" of elections this year, incumbents in Illinois faced opposition from voters because many of them voted for a 32 percent state income tax hike last year. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner narrowly won against his conservative grass-roots challenger Jeanne Ives by a margin of 51.6 to 48.4 percent in the GOP primay. Rauner had referred to Ives as a "fringe candidate" during his campaign. 

Rauner represented the deep-pocketed political ruling class to many voters in collar counties such as DuPage. He carried Chicago and Cook County by a wide margin. 

“You know as I know that Bruce Rauner had to be challenged in this election," Ives told supporters at a campaign event in Glen Ellyn. "But today the popular revolt against the political ruling class fell just a bit short.”

Ives said she plans to support Rauner against Democrat J.B. Pritzker in November's general election, which will be a battle between two billionaires. 

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, a conservative Democrat, narrowly beat his progressive challenger, Marie Newman, in the 3rd Congressional District primary, 50.9 percent to 49.1 percent. 

Newman drew months of national attention by becoming a mid-ground candidate between the Democratic Party's centrist and liberal wings. 

Lipinski drew ire from other Democrats by running on conservative issues such as anti-abortion, anti-Obamacare and opposing same-sex marriage.

To many progressives, Lipinski's win is a blow to the anti-Trump movement, which fueled much of the energy behind the party's base. Lipinski represents a dwindling coalition of Blue Dog Democrats, such as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), hoping to make a comeback this year.

In the GOP primary in Illinois' 109th House District, Darren Bailey of Xenia garnered 59 percent of the vote to defeat Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hills). 

Bailey had formerly supported the seven-term Republican, donating nearly $1,500 to his campaigns between 2006 and 2012. 

Both Reis and Bailey agreed on many issues including opposing sanctuary cities, Medicaid-covered abortions and the need for workers' compensation reform. But when Reis voted for the income tax hike, Bailey said that was his undoing. 

 "When our representative cast the first vote on July 2, which was in favor of the budget, that opened Pandora's box," Bailey said during the campaign.

Bailey said he is going to begin prepping for the November election as soon as possible. 

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios lost to Democratic challenger Frederick "Fritz" Kaegi,  with Kaegi claiming 45 percent of the vote to Berrios' 34 percent. A third candidate, Andrea Railia, collected 21 percent of the votes. 

The Chicago Tribune congratulated voters for ousting Berrios in an editorial, saying voters "had enough of his regressive assessments and his patronage fiefdom."

Berrios has been accused of producing unfair property tax assessments that harmed poor homeowners and provided tax breaks to wealthy ones. 

Kaegi pledged to make the property tax system more fair for every homeowner and rallied against the "Democratic Machine," pointing to Berrios' history of taking campaign contributions from property tax attorneys seeking reductions in assessments. 

In the wake of a sexual harassment scandal, Sen. Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) was defeated in the primary by Ram Villivalam in the 8th District. 

“Today, those voters spoke clearly – they’re ready for a new generation of effective progressive leadership,” Villivalam told supporters, according to American Bazaar.

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Organizations in this Story

Illinois Governor Bruce RaunerU.S. Representative Dan Lipinski (IL-3)Illinois State House District 109Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios