Primary 2010: Breaking Down The Big Races
By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 3, 2010 3:40PM
Photo by ProgressIllinois.
Light snow coupled with light turnout kicked off the 2010 election season as Illinois closed the first primary of 2010. With the exception of the governors race, the most closely watched races have been settled.
Terry O'Brien, Dorothy Brown and yes, even Todd Stroger have all conceded to Toni Preckwinkle, who will carry the Democratic mantle for Cook County Board President's seat in November. “This victory belongs to the people of Cook County, people who have demanded reform and accountability from their government,” she said in her victory speech last night, speaking as much to calls for reform in the city and the county as to voter anger and frustration. That outrage and frustration translated into a crushing victory for Preckwinkle, and left incumbent Todd Stroger dead last in the race with only 13 percent of the vote. Stroger seemed to know that he'd be one of last night's losers, thanking his supporters and blaming the media for not telling the real story of his candidacy. "It's been a good three years. It was an exhausting three years, with a lot of things that have happened. And sometimes your message doesn't get out," Stroger said.
Preckwinkle will face former state senator Roger Keats in the fall. And while county Republicans would have liked to have faced Stroger in November, the fact that Keats has been out of public office for 20 years is seen as a plus by supporters. They plan to run against Preckwinkle and her nearly 20 year voting record on the city council. Still though, in a season when voters in Cook County are looking for reform, painting your opponent as a tax-and-spend liberal may not resonate with people that don't identify with a party.
In the race for Barack Obama's old senate seat (or the seat that Peter Fitzgerald took from Carol Mosley-Braun, which she won after Paul Simon passed away), Alexi Giannoulias will be heading the Democratic ticket, leading former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman by about six points, statewide. In fact, Giannoulias carried the city of Chicago, with almost 35 percent of the vote, while Hoffman barely squeaked past Cheryle Jackson with just over 29 percent of the vote. Upon Hoffman's concession speech, the WBEZ livechat speculated that Hoffman's next move may be a run for Mayor of Chicago.
Giannoulias's opposition, Mark Kirk - who ran away with the GOP nomination, has wasted little time trying to tie him to questions of ethics and corruption, both here in the state and at the struggling Broadway Bank. The National Republican Senatorial Committee has released an ad this morning that connects Giannoulias to Blagojevich, Rezko, and the mob.
That move may deflect some of the attention away from Mark Kirk's trouble connecting him with hard-right Republican voters who view him as too moderate for their tastes. There's also LeAlan Jones, the Green Party Senate candidate. Jones won a Peabody Award for the audio reporting he did for National Public Radio in 1993, telling the story of two young men growing up against the violent backdrop of Chicago's South side. Questions abound going forward: can Giannoulias shake the perception of corruption? Can Kirk excite Republicans and independents? Can Jones can break through the lock-down the two major parties hold on electoral politics? Meaning this will be a race to watch (if you can stomach the mud).