Cook County’s Vote of “No Confidence” (Updated)

Last night when I went to bed the primary election here in Illinois for governor of the state still wasn’t settled. I drifted off to sleep, however, confident that when I arose I would know the Democratic and Republican candidates. I was wrong:

Turns out Illinois’ fast-moving primary isn’t over yet.

While Chicago Ald. Toni Preckwinkle won decisively over Cook County Board President Todd Stroger Tuesday night, things were much tighter in both races for governor.

Republicans headed to a unity breakfast this morning with their governor nominee still in doubt. State Sens. Bill Brady of Bloomington and Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale were within 1,500 votes of each other with 99 percent of the unofficial vote counted this morning. Each had 20 percent of the tally in a six-way contest.

On the Democratic side, Gov. Pat Quinn declared himself the winner, even though Comptroller Dan Hynes had not conceded defeat. Hynes trailed by fewer than 6,000 votes as results trickled in.

The possibility of lengthy and expensive recounts looms, which will put pressure on elections officials who aren’t even done counting the ballots and certifying the election results yet.

As Cook County Clerk David Orr stood at the front counter of his offices Tuesday evening perusing elections results, he joked with reporters about his potential nightmare.

“Have any of you ever seen one election with a dozen recounts,” he said, shaking his head. “I see a lot of very tight races here.”

Orr said he anticipates recount petitions despite the fact rivals are from the same party.

There is one thing that is very certain: the voters of Cook County delivered a stinging vote of “No Confidence” to County Board President Todd Stroger and from now until November he is the lamest of lame ducks. He finished fourth in a field of four in the Democratic primary and received only 13.6% of the vote. He actually received fewer votes than the Republican primary winner.

Toni Preckwinkle, the Democratic primary winner for Cook County Board President, is all but assured of winning the election in November. Although far from an insurgent she’s not an ally of the mayor’s, either, and she’s no particular fan of President Obama’s despite having served as his alderman. My general impression is that she thinks that he’s a snake.

Stroger’s rebuke from the voters does suggest something else: just how arrogant and out of touch the Cook County Democratic Committee is. How they thought that he was a viable successor to his father baffles me.

I’m enormously skeptical of Giannoulias’s chances against Republican Mark Kirk in the race for Illinois’s open U. S. Senate seat, currently held by the appointed Roland Burris. Do you think that this is a good year for a candidate who’s a 33-year old banker with little political experience? I guess it all depends on what the voters hate the most in November: experienced politicians, Democrats, bankers, or what have you.


As of 3:00pm CST on Wednesday the governor’s race remains too close to call for both the Democratic and Republican candidates:

The races for governor went down to the wire Tuesday night with razor-thin margins separating Gov. Pat Quinn from Comptroller Dan Hynes on the Democratic side and state Sens. Kirk Dillard and Bill Brady among Republicans.

The closeness of the contests, accentuated by a low voter turnout, left trailing candidates pondering recounts.

With 99 percent of state precincts reporting, Quinn and Hynes each had 50 percent, separated by less than 5,500 votes in a bitter contest.

Though Hynes did not concede, Quinn portrayed himself as the winner, saying, “The primary is over.”

Quinn has already received a congratulatory phone call from the White House:

President Barack Obama called Gov. Pat Quinn to congratulate him on his win in the Democratic primary, even though back in Illinois opponent Dan Hynes has not conceded yet.

News of the phone call, which came at a White House press briefing, puts added pressure on Hynes, who is mulling his options as he trails Quinn by about 7,100 votes.

Quinn this morning called on Democrats to get behind his campaign for governor, but stopped short of calling on Hynes to give up while votes are still being counted.

which could prove a bit embarrassing if Hynes is ultimately proclaimed the victor.

2 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    I get a similar sense of anti-establishment sentiment on the Republican side.

    Mark Kirk only getting only 56% in a field shared with nobodies is a sign of conservative protest. (Yes, he’s an establishment candidate, but I think the numbers are awful in context)

    I’m not sure what to make of the gubernatorial field, but I probably would have made a non-monetary wager a month ago that Jim Ryan would win in a divided field based upon residual support and name recognition.

  • PD Shaw Link

    While I think Quinn has won (as of 3:00 CST) short of a miracle dump of uncounted ballots discovered in the 19th ward, it’s a misstep by Obama. I think he needs the process to take place and allow for the Democratic Party rivalries to heal w/o taking sides. This goes to whether Obama can be an effective campaigner for Giannoulias in the Fall.

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