Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Races to watch

With every seat in the General Assembly up for grabs under a new legislative map, this should prove to be an exciting and interesting election year, and the primary is no exception. Several Republican incumbents are running against each other after being drawn together into the same district or mapped out of their current districts, and the fight over a district that spans Springfield and Decatur has brought one candidate’s personal life under scrutiny and raised questions about the tactics House Speaker Michael Madigan is willing to use to see his chosen candidate prevail. Here are some races to watch:
  • The District 23 Republican Senate primary pits Rep. Randy Ramey from Carol Stream against Sen. Carole Pankau from Itasca She has gone after Ramey for his recent DUI, while Ramey has criticized her for being a largely self-funded candidate and saying she has done little during her time in the Senate. 
  • The District 50 Republican Senate primary race includes Sen. Sam McCann from Carlinville. McCann has Tea Party backing and the support of popular national politicians such as U.S. Rep Aaron Schock. Challenger Gray Noll is backed by the local party operatives and outgoing Springfield Republican Sen. Larry Bomke. 
  • The District 24 Republican Senate Primary will see Sen. Kirk Dillard from Hindsdale against relative newcomer Rep. Chris Nybo from Elmhurst. Dillard is a veteran of Illinois politics who worked for Gov. Jim Edgar before coming to the Senate in 1993. Dillard lost to a close primary to Sen. Bill Brady in the 2010 race for the governor’s office. Nybo is touting the fact that he is a fresh face and trying to play off backlash against so-called career politicians.
  • The District 96 Democratic House primary is a three-way race. Sue Scherer, a teacher from Decatur, is backed by Madigan. Sam Cahnman, a lawyer and Springfield alderman, is suing Madigan’s political action committees for fliers that highlight Cahnman’s alleged history of sexual misconduct, including charges of soliciting a prostitute. Cahnman was acquitted on the charges. The fliers paint him as threatening and potentially dangerous. Winston Taylor is also running for the Democratic slot on the ballot in the new district, which covers urban areas of Springfield and Decatur and was drawn as a potentially Democratic seat. 
  • The District 10 Democratic House race features a match up between a man many say is not a Democrat and a lawmaker who was arrested for bribery last week. Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested for allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe, but some Democrats are still urging those in their party to vote for him. That is because they say his opponent, Tom Swiss, is actually a Republican masquerading as a Democrat. Swiss denies this accusation, although the practice is not unheard of in the state. Democrats hope that if they can get Smith a primary win, they can push him to bow out and replace him with a candidate of the party’s choosing. 

There are several compelling congressional races across the state as well. They include:
  •  In the 16th U.S. Congressional District Republican primary, U.S. Rep Adam Kinzinger is running against U.S. Rep. Donald Manzullo. Each is trying to undermine the other's conservative bona fides, and the race has turned to personal attacks on both sides, as well. 
  • In the 8th U.S. Congressional District Democratic primary, Tammy Duckworth, who worked for President Barack Obama in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and was director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, is running against Raja Krishnamoorthi, who lost a bid for the state comptroller's office in 2010. The polls close at 7 p.m. tonight. 
Here are some sources for breaking election coverage across the state:

Chicago Tribune / WGN

Lee Enterprises 

The Chicago Sun-Times

The State-Journal Register's The Dome

The Daily Herald

NBC Chicago

Check back tomorrow for analysis on tonight's results.

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