Nov 10, 2022 - Politics

Democrats win Illinois ... for now

2022 Illinois gubernatorial election results, by county
Data: AP, New York Times; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios Visuals

Illinois saw a major blue wave this midterm — and a lot of that was by design.

Why it matters: The most recent redistricting of the political map by Democrats helped guarantee last night's congressional victories.

Yes, but: Outside the Chicago area and university towns, most rural counties favored Darren Bailey for governor.

  • And Chicago voters diverged from overall Illinois voters by more than 20 percentage points on major races and issues.
How Chicago and Illinois differed in the midterms
Data: AP, Chicago Board of Elections; Chart: Madison Dong/Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Traditional Republican strongholds in collar counties are now leaning Democrat, possibly pushed that way by former President Trump, who doesn't poll well with suburban voters.

Driving the news: Democrat Deb Conroy secured the chair of the DuPage County board Tuesday, leading some Democrats to start calling it "BluePage."

  • JB Pritzker won the county for the second time after becoming the first Democratic gubernatorial candidate to win DuPage in over 100 years in 2018.

The intrigue: The Democratic map delivered wins this time, but districts with close contests could prove to be future battlegrounds.

  • Plus, Pritzker handed out millions to his party's candidates up and down the ballot, drastically outspending Republicans.

What's next: Illinois House GOP leader Jim Durkin announced he his stepping down from his leadership post Wednesday, saying it's time "to rebuild with new leaders who can bring independents back to the party."

💭 Justin's thought bubble: When Trump leaves the political stage and state Republicans field more moderate candidates, will DuPage return as a GOP powerhouse?

  • Hard to say, but if I were a Republican operative, I'd zero in on bringing the western suburbs back. It's the key to being competitive in Illinois.

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