The primaries in the State of Illinois took place Tuesday, putting the future of the state in voters hands once again in an important mid-term election that saw citizens move to show their power. Incumber Governor Bruce Rauner emerged from an unexpected battle against Jeanne Ives, JB Pritzker proved he could handle the pressure and Kwame Raoul and Chuy Garcia helped along a movement of new politics in the city with a pair of important wins. We went through some of the bigger races to give some more context. Check it all out here below and tune into Mild Sauce Radio for discussion of the 2018 races.
Democratic Primary • JB Pritzker
In a convincing win heading into a heated showdown with incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner, billionaire JB Pritzker proved his ability to handle business by staving off Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss who appeared to split the remaining votes. It has been said that Pritzker, of the wealthy Chicago family spent more on this race so far than Donald Trump did out of pocket on his Presidential campaign in 2016. Whether or not that’s true is yet to come to light, but this is a big step forward for a candidate running in his first race and in need of a win to validate his platforms and months of campaign ads. With a convincing win in his back pocket, he’s proved to supporters and opponents alike that he can handle business and will have to kick things into a new gear with Rauner looming.
Republican Primary • Bruce Rauner
The Republican primary was not one of the marquee competitions heading into the primary. To many, Rauner seemed to be looking past Jeanne Ives and forward to the general election. While a victory may have seemed in the bag, an incumbent governor hasn’t been unseated in a primary in 42 years, Ives didn’t let up, using every cent of her exponentially-smaller budget to take Rauner down to the wire and to task. Utilizing a groundswell of right-leaning supporters irate over Rauner’s signing controversial legislature last September to expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions, Ives came within several points of moving on to face Pritzker. While the democrats, with their seemingly endless pockets would have relished a chance to go against Ives in the general, Rauner ultimately prevailed, albeit with glaring weaknesses heading into the blockbuster match with JB.
Attorney General • Kwame Raoul
This one could have gone either way, with a surprising number of Illinoisans apparently still harboring favoritism for former governor Pat Quinn. While he may have been the first of three consecutive governors to not end up in jail, his governing style left much to be desired and that ultimately might have done him in as voters opted for a new face in Kwame Raoul. Raoul, who has represented the 13th District in the State Senate since being appointed to the seat vacated by Barack Obama in 2004 took home 30% of the vote to Quinn’s 28% and took an important step forward in a political career that is shaping up impressively on the south side.
“Criminal justice reform is not about sound bites,” Raoul said. “It’s about rolling up your sleeves and doing work,”
4th Congressional District • Jesus “Chuy” Garcia
Considered by many to be the Bernie Sanders of Chicago following his unexpected run-off against Rahm Emanuel for Mayor a couple years ago, Chuy proved that spotlight was no fluke, following in the footsteps of Luis Gutierrez by convincingly winning the 4th Congressional Seat left open by Gutierrez’s stepping down earlier this year. With a democrat-heavy district, it is almost a foregone conclusion that Garcia, who was tapped by Gutierrez and endorsed by Sanders, would assume his role in the U.S. House of Representatives. Chuy goes to Washington, couldn’t be more excited.
Marijuana Legalization • Passed
Yep. All those college essays, high conversations in your basement and the rest seem to have finally come to light as the citizens of Illinois voted overwhelmingly to legalize weed in the state.
The question on the ballot was, “Shall the State of Illinois legalize the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational use by adults 21 and older subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?” Apparently, voters think so. The vote itself passed 63% in Cook County and reportedly could net over $700 million in tax dollars if the measure continues on into law. For a state facing many money shortages across the board, that’s nothing to blow smoke at. To make chiefers even more excited at the prospect, JB Pritzker made it through the democratic primary, and has been a vocal supporter of legalizing marijuana for tax purposes. We’ll have to wait and see.