On Tuesday, February 2nd, primaries for both parties were held in Illinois for both the Republican and Democratic nominations in their upcoming Governor and Senate races.
There are a few aspects of these primaries that are very important to note. Namely, these primaries are the first of the 2010 election year. The Senate seat previously held by President Obama is being vacated by embattled Senator Roland Burris and is therefore “open” and could be very competitive. The Governor’s race is not open with Governor Quinn running for election. It is important to note that Governor Quinn took power as a result of the exit of disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich. This partly explains why Governor Quinn is facing such a challenging primary opponent.
The recently confirmed Republican Senate nominee is popular congressman Mark Kirk and the Democratic nominee is 33-year old State Treasurer and close Obama friend Alex Giannoulias. It is important to note that the margins of victory were far from similar, with Kirk winning far more decisively than Giannoulias. All in all, this Senate race should be one to watch this fall.
The primaries for Governor were extremely contentious for both parties. At the time of writing this, Governor Quinn had a lead of less than 10,000 votes over State Comptroller Dan Hynes. Meanwhile, the Republican primary is still deadlocked with State Senator Bill Brady leading State Senator Kirk Dillard by only a very small margin. There is a high probability that the Republican primary could remain deadlocked in the courts for the following weeks or even months.
Illinois politics is famed for its tough “street fighting” mentality. This makes watching Illinois politics extremely volatile, and at times entertaining. Stay tuned as these races progress throughout the year!
–Scott Stirrett, SFS ’13