Illinois Voters went to the Polls in droves on Tuesday, November 8, and the entire month of October, prior. In fact, prior to actual Election Day on Tuesday, over 1.4 million votes had already been submitted in Illinois; via either early voting or mail-in ballot.
Of primary concern to NFIB, and at the top of the Ballot was Constitutional Amendment 1, a Union proposal to enshrine “worker’s rights” into the Illinois Constitution. NFIB was adamantly opposed to the ballot proposal. While the National Labor Relations Act regulates the unionization and collective bargaining of private sector workers, and the vast majority of NFIB members, not all private sector employees are covered by NLRA. Amendment 1 would give public sector Unions in Illinois free reign to negotiate any and all benefits affiliated with “wages, hours, working conditions, economic welfare, and safety in the workplace”. The Amendment specifically prohibits any law or ordinance that “restricts, diminishes, or prohibits the adoption” of any collective bargaining agreement. The Amendment also prohibits Right-to-work in Illinois and takes away a worker’s right to NOT participate in a Union
The measure has been approved by 52.8% of all voters, voting in the election. Adoption of a Constitutional Amendment required 60% of the vote on the question, or 50% +1 of all voters, voting in the election.
The Democrats swept all Statewide races in a landslide. In the race for Governor, JB Pritzker cruised to re-election, handily defeating State Senator and NFIB Member Darren Bailey by a 11-point margin (54%-43%). As is necessary for victory, Senator Bailey generally won downstate Illinois, and lost a small handful of Counties. However, Bailey, and Illinois Republicans ran into a Blue wall in the Suburbs and Cook County. Bailey narrowly won McHenry County with 51% of the vote. Otherwise, Pritzker won DuPage County 55% to 41%; Lake County 59% to 38%, and Will County 50%-47%. The Governor even appears to have won Kendall County. Pritzker won Suburban Cook County 65% to 33%, where it is generally believed that a Republican must garner close to 40% in order to win Statewide. In addition, Bailey received 17% of the vote in Chicago, where a Republican must achieve 20% approval in order to win Statewide.
In the Legislature, the House Republicans took significant losses, dropping potentially 5 net seats, by losing six but winning one. This has led House Republican Leader, Jim Durkin to resign from his Leadership position.
- Former NFIB Leadership Chair Keith Wheeler (R-Oswego) lost election to Democrat Matt Hanson in a nearly completely new district in Kane and Kendall Counties by approximately 3,000 votes.
- Republican Chris Bos (R-Lake Zurich) got outworked by 23-year-old Democrat Nabeela Syed by a 52%-48% margin.
- Republican Michele Hunter lost big to Democrat Mary Beth Canty by 58%-42% in northern Cook County, immediately West of O’Hare.
- In Central Illinois, Democrat Sharon Chung took advantage of a gerrymandered district stretching from Peoria to Bloomington/Normal and outworked Republican Scott Preston.
- In addition, in Naperville, Democrat Harry Benton defeated NFIB member Michelle Smith by 2 percentage points.
- Finally, in the surprise of the night, Democrat LaToya Greenwood appears to have lost her East St. Louis and St. Clair County seat to Republican Kevin Schmidt
House Republicans have elected Representative Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) as the new House Republican Leader. She is the first female leader of the House Republican Caucus.
Despite gaining 1 seat in the Senate, 13 Senate Republicans have been successful in calling for a change in Leadership and for a replacement for Minority Leader Dan McConchie (R-Barrington). Leader McConchie became entrenched in his own re-election battle but held on by just under 2,000 votes.
The lone victory for Republicans in the Senate came in the Metro East, where Erica Conway Harris defeated appointed Democrat Senator Kris Tharp by a narrow margin. Harris clings to an approximately 1,000 vote victory.
A rough and tumble election in Springfield and Decatur saw incumbent Democrat Senator Doris Turner defeat Republican State Representative Sandy Hamilton. This race shattered legislative spending records, as the combined campaigns spent over $6 million. In the end, Democrat Turner bested Republican Hamilton by 1,300 votes.
In parts of Will and Cook Counties, in the South Suburbs, a nasty public divorce and allegations of physical abuse weren’t enough to prevent Democrat Senator Michael Hastings from narrowly winning re-election over Republican Patrick Sheehan. Despite being shunned by his Democrat peers and called upon to resign by the Governor, Hastings still garnered just enough votes to apparently win by a razor thin 100 vote margin.
Most everyone expected the Democrats to sweep the Statewide offices. What was in question was the margins, and by how much. The Democrat onslaught in Legislative races was the big surprise. House Republicans expected to gain 4-5 seats this cycle, and instead they lost 5. Senate Republicans expected to pick up 2 seats and hoped for 3. Instead, they won only 1.