Illinois’s primary has wrapped, and voters chose their top candidates to run in the state’s governor’s race and 18 congressional races this November. We have the live results from key races below, courtesy of Decision Desk HQ.
It was an exciting primary on several fronts.
For one, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is among the least popular governors in the country and has overseen the state during a severe financial crisis, with $15 billion in unpaid bills and a pension debt of more than a quarter-trillion dollars — the highest in the nation. It makes this election cycle a major opportunity for Democrats to pick up the governor’s mansion. J.B. Pritzker, a venture capitalist, claimed what became a three-way Democratic primary to be on the ticket. Rauner managed to beat his challenger, a right-wing conservative who says he’s too liberal on LGBTQ rights and abortions — but narrowly.
Meanwhile, there were two House primaries that have picked up national attention: Illinois’s Third Congressional District which was a matchup between an incumbent pro-life Democrat, Rep. Dan Lipinski, and progressive political newcomer Marie Newman. Lipinski won and will be up against an actual Nazi, Arthur Jones, who is running unopposed for the Republican ticket, in November.
Then there was a race to replace the retiring Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a fierce immigration advocate in Congress who has been among the loudest voices on the left to protect DREAMers. Gutierrez’ hand-picked candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia easily claimed the victory.
Polls close at 8 pm ET.
The incumbent Republican governor beat his challenge from the right
In the Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, Rauner faced Jeanne Ives, a conservative military veteran who has served in the Illinois state House since 2013.
Ives’s pitch: She’s an anti-LGBTQ rights, tough on immigration, anti-abortion social conservative who wants to cut state taxes and will roll back Rauner’s liberal agenda. Ives, who has consistently trailed Rauner in the polls, tightened the race in recent weeks.
She picked up an endorsement from National Review and is trying to appeal to a more conservative Republican primary voter base by painting Rauner as too liberal views on social issues.
A Republican governor in a blue state, Rauner came into office as a pro–abortion rights Republican who promised his base that he had “no social agenda.” But after he signed a law that expanded taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women covered by Medicaid and state employee insurance, his positions have become a major liability among conservative Republicans voters.
There’s a bitterly competitive Democratic gubernatorial primary
Three candidates lead a crowded Democratic field: venture capitalist and billionaire entrepreneur J.B. Pritzker, who led infrequent polls; progressive state Sen. Daniel Biss; and developer Chris Kennedy (the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s son).
As Vox’s Ella Nilsen explained, there wasn’t a lot that differentiated the three candidates on key policy issues — namely, taxes and the budget. Pritzker, Kennedy, and Biss all wanted to institute a progressive income tax, in which higher earners get taxed more.
The divide cames down to establishment political ties and corruption allegations:
A recent Chicago Tribune investigation found Pritzker and his brother Anthony Pritzker own several offshore shell companies and trusts where their money is stored. Those companies, combined with Pritzker’s decision to release nothing but the first two pages of his personal income tax returns, have raised questions of whether the billionaire candidate is avoiding taxes as he advocates for a progressive income tax. (Pritzker told the Tribune the trusts are only for charitable contributions.)
Illinois’s Third Congressional District
Which Democrat will be running against a Nazi in November?
Lipinski, the incumbent, has represented Illinois’s Third District, which includes parts of Chicago and its suburbs, since 2005. He chairs the House Blue Dogs, a coalition of moderate to right-leaning Democrats. He’s a pro–life Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act and voted to defund Planned Parenthood.
His challenger, Newman, was a first-time candidate who is running on a left-wing platform that supports health care for all, a $15 minimum wage, and LGBTQ and reproductive rights.
As Vox’s Anna North writes, “the primary will provide an early test of a deep conflict emerging in the Democratic Party.”
Illinois’s Fourth Congressional District
Update: Jesus “Chuy” Garcia wins primary.
After serving the district for 25 years, Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced last November he would be retiring, endorsing former mayoral candidate Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, the Cook County commissioner.
Three Democrats were in the race for the open seat in a predominantly Hispanic district, which includes parts of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Garcia ran against Sol Flores, who runs a homelessness nonprofit, and Richard Gonzalez, a police sergeant.
All three campaigned on fighting for DREAMers — something that has been a priority for Gutierrez.