Tuesday’s primary in Illinois has come and gone, setting the stage for the general election in November with two of the state’s major positions up for grabs. The Democrats continue their attempt to hold onto both; one temporarily filled due to a presidential election, and the other temporarily filled due to scandal, impeachment, and removal from office. The low voter turnout has been blamed on the poor weather conditions; however, voter disillusionment may also be to blame.
In the state’s open Democratic U.S. Senate race, state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, 33, defeated former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman and Cheryle Jackson, CEO of Chicago Urban League and former press secretary to former Governor Rod Blagojevich, for the right to challenge five-term House Representative Mark Kirk (R-IL) in November. Kirk easily won the Republican primary by a 40 point margin, according to the Associated Press. CNN reported that the Hoffman called Giannoulias around 9:40 pm CST Tuesday night to concede.
In his victory speech Tuesday night, Giannoulias attacked his November opponent, Republican Mark Kirk as a member of the entrenched Washington establishment. Giannoulias stated, “There is voter anger at Washington, D.C., and Washington, D.C., is ignoring everyday working-class families. Congressman Mark Kirk for the last 10 years has been steeped in D.C. politics and will have to answer for that.” Furthermore, he added, “As we saw in Massachusetts, voters are angry. For the past decade, Congressman Kirk has been a huge part of the problem.”
The present holder of the Senate seat, Senator Roland Burris is not running, as he promised when he was named to the seat by then-Governor Rod Blagojevich in late 2008 after the election to the presidency of the seat’s former occupant Barack Obama. The Burris appointment was mired in scandal as Blagojevich has been accused of attempting to obtain personal gain in his appointment of the seat as well as other for other schemes. Blagojevich’s trial is presently set for June 3, 2010.
In the other major Democratic primary of the day, Governor Pat Quinn appears to have beaten his opponent, state comptroller Dan Hynes, and he declared himself the winner. However, Hynes stated that he has not yet conceded and will continue the fight, stating, “Tonight we’ve learned one thing for sure, that is we are going to continue fighting… If democracy means anything, it means we need to count all the votes; All the votes.”
Pat Quinn was appointed as Governor in 2009 after Rob Blagojevich was impeached and removed from office due to the corruption charges mentioned previously.
The Republican primary for governor is still too close to call, with only hundreds of votes separating the two of the three contenders, Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady, and with Andy McKenna close behind.
Copyright © 2009 by Raymond Gellner