Nov 9, 2022 - Politics

Democrats sweep the Illinois midterms

Data: AP; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: AP; Chart: Axios Visuals

Illinois Democrats held their ground in last night's midterms by winning almost every contested seat and maintaining a 5-2 majority in the state Supreme Court.

Why it matters: Voters cemented Illinois as a Democratic stronghold in the region.

What they're saying: "We're an oasis here in the Midwest," IL Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in his victory speech.

By the numbers: Chicagoans cast 636,931 ballots representing 41.3% of registered voters by 7pm last night, per the Chicago Board of Elections.

  • Most popular hour to vote: 5pm.
  • Age group that cast the most votes: 55-64.

Zoom in: In the U.S. House, IL Democrats in their remapped congressional districts captured 14 of the 17 seats.

  • 14th: Incumbent Democrat Lauren Underwood narrowly defeated Republican Scott Gryder.
  • 3rd: Democratic State Rep. Delia Ramirez becomes the first Latina elected to the U.S. House from Illinois.
  • 4th: Democrat Rep. Chuy Garcia won his re-election bid, but all signs point to him announcing a run for mayor soon. He was spotted greeting voters yesterday with Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
  • 6th: Incumbent Democrat Sean Casten squeaked by Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau. Casten, whose teen daughter passed away during the campaign, teared up during his victory speech and decried the current political acrimony, saying, "Part of the reason it feels so good to win tonight is because I needed a reminder … that we are better than this."

What's more: U.S Senator Tammy Duckworth won her re-election bid over Kathy Salvi after outspending her GOP opponent by $19 million.

  • Salvi lacked major financial support from the RNC, only raising $1.1 million.

The other side: Downstate Republican Reps. Mary Miller, Darin LaHood and Mike Bost won their races and are returning to Congress.

The bottom line: Illinois is increasingly a blue island in the Midwest with progressive stances on issues like reproductive rights, COVID-19 mitigation and immigration.

  • Democrats retained every single statewide office in Illinois.
Data: AP; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: AP; Chart: Axios Visuals
Secretary of State

Alexi Giannoulias is replacing the retiring Jesse White. Giannoulias returns to Springfield hoping to modernize the office, which doesn't certify elections like in other states, but instead focuses on vehicle licensing.

Attorney General

Incumbent Kwame Raoul fended off Republican challenger Thomas DeVore.

  • Raoul helped craft criminal justice reform in Springfield.
  • DeVore, an attorney, ran an aggressive campaign criticizing the SAFE-T act and suing the AG's office over mandates.
Illinois Supreme Court

With two seats up for grabs on the court, the outcome of these races could have shifted control to Republicans after half a century of Democratic control. Instead, the Democrats may have won both open seats for a 5-2 Democrat majority.

  • Democrat Appellate Court Justice Mary Kay O'Brien holds a slim lead over Republican Justice Michael Burke in the 3rd district (50.6-49.4%) with 95% of the precincts reporting.
  • Democrat Judge Elizabeth Rochford beat former Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran in the 2nd district (54.4-45.6%).

Of note: Democrats held on to the Illinois treasurer and comptroller offices while maintaining their majority in the General Assembly.

  • Hoan Huynh, who won the 13th District including Uptown, Lincoln Square and West Ridge, will be the first Vietnamese-American to serve in the General Assembly.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to say that Appellate Court Justice Mary Kay O’Brien holds a slim lead in the Illinois Supreme Court’s 3rd district (not 2nd), and Judge Elizabeth Rochford won the 2nd district (not 3rd).

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