are stages of grief: Anger, denial, bargaining and
to Illinois Senate president "Big John"
Cullerton: Find a trauma counselor or an anger
management specialist. Grief is coming. After Nov.
2, you ain't going to be what you used to be.
You're going to spend $5 million to protect your
37-22 majority in the Senate, and you're going to
reason: In 2009 Cullerton's Democrats passed a
bill that raised the state's income tax by $7
billion, as well as a sales tax hike. Cullerton
has promised to do it again in 2011. In voters'
minds, the best way to abort a tax hike is to
decimate Cullerton's majority.
year ago the Republicans were hoping to gain two
seats and neutralize the Democrats' three-fifths
"super majority." Now an eight-seat gain
is not unrealistic. Such a feat, giving the
Republicans a 30-29 majority, coupled with Bill
Brady's election as governor, would be an epochal
sea change in Illinois politics.
the Republicans are not being embraced. Instead,
especially Downstate and in the outlying suburbs,
the Democrats' liberalism, big spending and
corruption is being repudiated.
raised $3.7 million through June 30, and he will
raise another $1.5 million. He can pump $300,000
into any endangered district. The Republicans
raised $1.6 million through June, and they hope to
double it. With eight seats to attack, they can
allocate about $200,000 per district. Here's an
District (Schaumburg, Streamwood, Elgin, West
Dundee, Carpentersville): Irascible incumbent
Democrat Mike Noland, who won in 2006 by 2,778
votes, getting 53.9 percent of the vote, has been
a loyal Cullerton stooge, voting for tax, fee and
pay hikes. He is an unabashed booster of a state
income tax hike.
divisions in Hanover and Schaumburg townships,
coupled with rapid Hispanic growth around Elgin,
turned the district marginal. It was held securely
by Republican Steve Rauschenberger from 1992 to
2006, when he ran for lieutenant governor. But
change is afoot. The well known Rauschenberger is
running for his old seat, and Hispanics, who
number 6 to 8 percent of the population, have
failed to emerge as a potent force; Hispanics lost
all races Elgin's 2009 election. Outlook:
The Republicans are energized. Rauschenberger will
get 56 percent of the vote.
District (Zion, Antioch, Grayslake, Libertyville,
Gurnee): In a nasty 2006 primary, longtime
Republican incumbent Adeline Geo-Karis was upset
by Sue Simpson by 2,147 votes, with Simpson
getting 55.6 percent of the vote. After months of
sulking, Geo-Karis endorsed Democrat Mike Bond,
who won by 1,112 votes, with 50.9 percent of the
opposed Cullerton's income tax hike, but he is
being attacked for backing pay hikes, $100 million
in "pork" spending and a budget increase
of $5 billion. The Republican candidate is Suzi
Schmidt, a 22-year Lake County Board member and
the board's current chairwoman. She's getting
ripped for raising her pay by 25 percent over two
decades. Each candidate will spend more than
"We should never have lost" the
district, said one Republican strategist. Barack
Obama won by 58,337-43,558 in 2008, and Rod
Blagojevich won by 27,613-25,528 in 2006. Bond
triumphed won narrowly in a great Democratic year
in 2006, but he will be toast in a great
Republican year. Schmidt will win by 4,500 votes.
District (Downstate: Carlinville, Jacksonville,
Taylorville): This seat has been held by a
Democrat since 1974, first by Vince Demuzio and
now by his widow, Deanna Demuzio. If she wins
again, she'll pass it to her son, Vince Demuzio,
in 2012. But things are changing in Southern
going to win huge here," said the Republican
strategist. John McCain won the district in 2008
by 186 votes, and Judy Baar Topinka won by 7,936
votes, with 55 percent of the vote, in 2006. Of
the two House districts comprising the 49th
District, one is held by a Republican and the
other soon will be.
Republican candidate, Sam McCann, a construction
company owner, has run an uninspiring campaign.
Outlook: An anti-Democratic, anti-Quinn anti-tax
trend has put Demuzio at extreme risk. If Brady
wins the district by more than 12,000 votes,
Demuzio is a goner. McCann will win by 1,500
District (Downstate: Champaign, Urbana, Danville):
A liberal college town and rural Republican
territory make it a competitive district, but a
Republican held the seat for two decades. In 2006,
when the incumbent Republican retired, Democratic
Champaign County auditor Mike Frerichs won a
three-way race by 542 votes, getting 48.8 percent
of the vote. Obama won the district in 2008 with
58 percent of the vote.
pro-tax stance is popular with the college
bureaucracy, which depends on state spending, and
no Republican filed in the primary. However, Al
Reynolds, a retired Navy officer, won a write-in
campaign for the 2010 Republican nomination, and
he has gained traction. Outlook: Frerichs is
favored, but a Reynolds upset is not impossible.
District (Bolingbrook, Romeoville, Lockport,
Joliet): It's "mom versus the machine."
Incumbent A.J. Wilhelmi, a Joliet attorney, has
held the seat since 2005. Obama won the district
with 65 percent of the vote, and Blagojevich won
with 61 percent. But the Tea Party has surfaced as
a huge factor in the race, coalescing behind Cedra
Crenshaw, a black mother of two that Democrats
tried to knock off the ballot. An August poll by
We Ask America had Wilhelmi ahead by 40-30
voters' propensity in 2010 to embrace the
untraditional candidate, given Crenshaw's race and
gender (in a 17 percent black district), and given
voter anger, Wilhelmi is at risk. Outlook:
Wilhelmi has not entrenched himself. Crenshaw will
shock and win.
District (Kankakee, Bradley, Monee, Crete and part
of far south Cook County): This seat was held by
Democrat Debbie Halvorson for 12 years, until she
was elected to Congress in 2008. Her aide, Toi
Hutchinson of Olympia Fields, who is black, was
picked to replace her, beating John Anderson, a
lawyer with Cullerton's firm, who was backed by
the unions. The district is 20 percent black.
Adam Baumgartner, age 24, opened his first Subway
franchise at 18, is a local school board member,
and has gotten $30,000 in union contributions.
Outlook: Hutchinson has failed to enthrall area
Democrats. Baumgartner will win.
19th District (Orland Park, Tinley Park, Oak
Forest, Flossmoor): Once bedrock Republican, the
district has trended Democratic as the black
population, now almost 35 percent, rose. Incumbent
Maggie Crotty won with 76.8 percent of the vote in
2006, but Republican Adam Wojcik is running a
valiant effort. The outlook: Crotty is favored.
District (Northwest Side, Harwood Heights,
Norridge): This is this year's marquee contest,
with a host of contradictions and personal
animosities and with each party spending $300,000.
The retiring 18-year incumbent, Democrat Jim DeLeo,
resigned, and John Mulroe was appointed to replace
him. The formidable Republican candidate is 41st
Ward Alderman Brian Doherty. A future column will
detail this race. Suffice it to say that Doherty
wins if he exceeds 60 percent of the vote in the
41st Ward and suburbs, breaks even in the 36th
Ward, and clears 40 percent in the 45th and 38th
taking the appointment, Mulroe earns $30,000
through January and forfeits his stature as an
"outsider." Doherty is blasting him as a
"quadruple dipper," as the holder of
four state, city and county jobs, which includes
intermittent work serving as a hearing officer for
the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District
and an arbitrator with the Cook County Mandatory
Arbitration Program. Doherty, as a 19-year
alderman, can hardly declaim being an outsider,
but he emphasizes one issue: He will not vote for
an income tax hike. Mulroe will highlight
Doherty's alleged occasional
"impairment," but Mulroe is on record as
favoring a "progressive" state income
"No tax hike" Doherty will win with 52
percent of the vote, by fewer than 1,000 votes.
prediction: A Democratic Senate majority of 30-29.
"Big John's" 37-22 bulge will shrivel,
making him "Little John" and ensuring no
is a 2010 vote chart,
listing seven area state senators, all Democrats:
Chicagoans Ira Silverstein, Heather Steans, Willie
Delgado, Iris Martinez and DeLeo, Dan Kotowski of
Park Ridge and Don Harmon of Oak Park. Only Steans
and Kotowski occasionally resist the "Cullerton