While the national election results are likely to bring dramatic changes, the results in Illinois likely will not. Both parties will be able to point to victories at the state level, but the overall balance of power will not shift significantly. For the democrats, Hillary Clinton easily carried the state, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth defeated incumbent republican Senator Mark Kirk, and democrat Brad Schneider defeated incumbent republican Congressman Robert Dold. The democrats captured the special election for State Comptroller with Susana Mendoza easily defeating Comptroller Leslie Munger who was appointed by Governor Rauner. The democrats also maintained control of both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly.
Republicans can point to a few successes in the Illinois General Assembly. The republicans picked up three seats from the House democrats*, but also lost one incumbent republican seat**. Governor Rauner focused all his efforts and spent tens of millions of campaign dollars to reduce Speaker Michael Madigan's majority. While the democrats will no longer officially have a supermajority, that supermajority was rarely unified in the current general assembly. So in practice, the addition of three republican seats in the House probably will not change legislative outcomes.
The republicans also picked up two seats in the State Senate. However, even with these additional seats, the democrats still have a fairly unified supermajority in that chamber.
The election results point to continued strength by democrats on the state level, now holding both U.S. Senate seats, four of the six Statewide Constitutional Officers and strong majorities in both chambers of the general assembly. But the republicans control the most important statewide office of Governor. Regrettably, neither party may see enough change to suggest a change in their current approaches which have resulted in gridlock.
The Illinois General Assembly will return to Springfield on November 15th for the Fall Veto Session. At this point, we do not expect much significant action to take place, but as always will alert you to any important developments.
* Incumbent House Democrats fell in at least four races and incumbent House Republicans fell in one race, so net change, plus three for Republicans:
1) In the 71st House District, Republican Tony McCombie defeated incumbent Mike Smiddy, D-Port Byron, 63 percent to 37 percent with 92 percent of precincts counted.
2) In the 79th House District, in what’s thought to be the most expensive legislative campaign in the state at $4.5 million, Rep. Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee, fell to her GOP challenger, attorney Lindsay Parkhurst, 46 percent to 54 percent.
3) In the 117th House District, Republican Dave Severin ousted Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, 53 percent to 47 percent.
4) And challenger Jerry Long is leading Rep. Andy Skoog, D-Peru, 49.4 percent to 50.6 percent, in the Illinois House District 76.
5) One Republican incumbent fell: Dwight Kay of Edwardsville, who lost to Democratic challenger Katie Stuart in the 112th House District.
** Republicans Picked Up Two Seats in the Illinois Senate:
1) Incumbent Gary Forby, D-Benton, was defeated by Republican Dale Fowler in the 59th Illinois Senate District.
2) In the Illinois Senate District 47, Democrat John M. Sullivan retired and Republican Jil Tracy ran an uncontested race and won.