Illinois was a focal point for election watchers Tuesday night. Republicans funneled large amounts of money and attention in to the Obama’s home state in an effort to make the repudiation against him even more apparent.
Five term Republican Representative Mark Kirk has edged out Alexi Giannoulias in the race for the Illinois Senate seat. This race was one of the messiest in the country, with constant mudslinging from both sides; Giannoulias was mired in conflict as his family bank was shut down by federal regulators this year and Kirk drew criticism for overstating his military service. Pollsters had categorized this race as a tossup because Kirk was leading by less than the margin of error.
As expected, Representative Jan Schakowsky won her seventh term with 66 percent of the vote. Schakowsky is usually named as one of the most liberal members of Congress and currently serves in Democratic leadership as the chief deputy whip. The 9th Congressional district includes Chicago’s North Side, Evanston, Skokie and the Northwestern campus. The district tends to vote for Democrats and had consistently reelected Schakowsky with about 75 percent of the vote.
Update 11/9/10 5:13 p.m.: Brady conceded the race Nov. 5, trailing Quinn by 19,000 votes.
With more than 97 percent of precincts reporting, there is no projected winner for the gubernatorial election. As of 3 a.m. Central time, Pat Quinn, the incumbent Democratic governor, lead by about 10,000 votes, or 0.3 percent, though this margin could change as remaining precincts and absentee ballots are counted. Quinn was not elected, but stepped in to office following Rod Blagojevich’s corruption scandal, which tainted Quinn’s campaign. Although Brady was relatively unknown before the campaign, national attention and the Republican Governors Association have made this a prominent race.
Comptroller and Treasurer
Judy Barr Topinka, the Republican candidate for state comptroller and Medill alum, has won her election. Topinka formerly served as treasurer from 1995 to 2007 and portrayed herself as more experienced than her opponent, David Miller. Topinka claims to be a “respected fiscal conservative” and promises to increase transparency in state government. Topinka had been predicted to win, despite the fact that no Republicans held statewide office prior to this election.
Topinka will work with fellow Republican Dan Rutherford, who was elected treasurer. Together, they are the first two Republicans to be elected to statewide office in Illinois in years.