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Pritzker wins primary; Robinson makes history
by Andrew Davis and Matt Simonette
2018-03-21

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J.B. Pritzker is getting what he wanted—a shot at the Republican nominee for governor in November.

Meanwhile, Lamont Robinson made history as the first openly gay African-American person to win a primary for the Illinois General Assembly.

Reportedly spending $70 million of his own money, on March 20, Pritzker (and running mate Juliana Stratton) decisively defeated Democratic primary opponents Chris Kennedy, Daniel Biss and others and outlasted a federal wiretap controversy connected with former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

With just more than 6,500 of more than 10,000 precincts reporting, Pritzker had 46 percent of the vote. The next closest candidate, Biss, garnered 26 percent, followed by Kennedy.

In a statement, Pritzker said, in part, "We are fighting for unions and the families they have so tirelessly defended for so long, Dreamers and immigrants of all kinds seeking a better life, women who deserve their seat at the table and to have their voices heard, and Black and brown communities who deserve fairness in enjoying the wealth this great nation denied them for so long."

Pritzker's Republican foe was also determined—and it's current Gov. Bruce Rauner. However, there was a tighter-than-expected race between Rauner and conservative opponent Jeanne Ives, who raised the ire of many because of an anti-trans ad that aired recently. Ives did not concede until approximately 10:30 p.m. on March 20.

The Democratic primary race for Illinois attorney general saw Kwame Raoul, as of 10 p.m. on March 20, leading former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn in a tight race; other candidates, such as Sharon Fairley, Nancy Rotering and Scott Drury, were far behind. Quinn conceded to Raoul.

In the Republican primary for Illinois attorney general, Erika Harold—who was caught in a controversy of her own after she allegedly said, in 2000, that she would prefer foster children being placed with child abusers rather than a same-sex couple—defeated foe Gary Grasso.

Illinois General Assembly

There were some interesting results in the primary races for seats in the Illinois General Assembly.

Sexual-harassment allegations may have played a role in Democratic state Sen. Ira Silverstein losing his race—decisively—to Ram Villivalam. (As of 9 p.m. on March 20, Villivalam held a 51-29 percent lead over Silverstein.)

In Democratic primary races for the state House, Delia Ramirez won the 4th District race over Iris Millan, Alyx Pattison and Anne Shaw.

As previously mentioned, openly gay candidate Lamont Robinson won the 5th District seat over foes Dilara Sayeed, Felicia Bullock and Ken Dunkin (who once had this post before losing to Stratton).

Another member of the LGBT demographic, Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, easily won her 14th District race against Arthur Noah Siegel.

LGBTs prevail—in some races

Here are how LGBT candidates performed during the March 20 Illinois primary-election races. (All were Democratic primaries.):

—Gaylon Alcaraz: She came up short in her race for the Cook County Board of Commissioners (4th District).

—Kelly Cassidy: Cassidy decisively won her 14th District race against Arthur Noah Siegel.

—Rev. Marcus Fogliano: Fogliano was a a trans/genderqueer candidate for Peoria County precinct committeeman. According to a text sent Windy City Times, Fogliano prevailed.

—Mike Forti: Forti was running in the 8th Subcircuit, Cook County judge (Liu Vacancy) race. Forti was defeated, with 32 percent of the vote.

—Daniel Foster: Running in the Cook County Board of Commissioners (13th District) race, Foster finished behind incumbent Larry Suffredin and Bushra Amiwala.

—Marcelino Garcia: Garcia has apparently finished third in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation Commissioner race—allowing Garcia to move on.

—Greg Harris: The incumbent was unopposed in the race for Illinois state representative (13th District)—and he is currently without a foe in the general election.

—Janice Bruce Hightower: Hightower ran for the Kendall County board (District 1). Results had not been finalized as of the press deadline.

—Cecelia Horan: She easily took the seat Cook Circuit judge (Hartigan Vacancy), defeating Keith Spence 78-22 percent.

—Stephanie Miller: Miller ran for the 6th Subcircuit, Cook County judge (Lopez Cepero Vacancy) seat. Miller was defeated, garnering 46.7 percent of the vote.

—Kevin Morrison: Running for Cook County commissioner (15th District), Morrison was knotted in basically a tie with Ravi Raju as of 10 p.m. on March 20.

—Jill Rose Quinn: Aiming to be the first transgender judge elected in Illinois, Quinn came in fourth out of five contenders in the race for 10th Subcircuit, Cook County judge (Suriano Vacancy), with 11.5 percent of the vote.

—Lamont Robinson: As previously stated, Robinson won his primary race for Illinois state representative (5th District).

—Daniel Roldan-Johnson: Running for U.S. Congress (14th District), Roldan-Johnson came in last in a race that Lauren Underwood won.

—Debra Shore: Shore, an incumbent, was one of the top three Democratic candidates selected for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commission, so they all move on.

—Margaret Trevor: In the race for Illinois state representative (54th District), Trevor, who identifies as lesbian, was unopposed in the Democratic primary—and incumbent Tom Morrison is the sole candidate in the Republican primary.

—Brad Trowbridge: Running again for Cook Circuit judge (McGinnis Vacancy), Trowbridge came up short against Peter Gonzalez and Brian Sexton.

—Ed Underhill: Underhill was running in the 6th Subcircuit, Cook County (Cooke Vacancy) for a judgeship. Underhill was defeated, garnering about 20 percent of the vote.

—Sam Yingling: The Illinois state representative (62nd District) was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Congressional Races

Two closely followed races were either too close to call at press time or were behind on tallying votes.

Third Congressional District U.S. Rep. Daniel Lipinski was in an extremely narrow lead in the Dem primary, 50.8 percent, after an aggressive challenge mounted by political newcomer activist Marie Newman, who was at 49.2 percent, with 10 percent of the polls yet to report. Lipinski—who has opposed a number of LGBT- and reproductive-rights initiatives, and has the distinction of having the lowest Human Rights Campaign score of LGBT support, zero, of any Congressional Democrat—has been in office since his father left that post in 2004.

Newman, who has a transgender child, maintained in October 2017 that the economic stimulus in the district often attributed to Lipinski is actually the work of other members of Illinois' Congressional delegation. Whoever wins the primary in November faces off against controversial Republican candidate Arthur Jones, a Holocaust denier who has failed several previous attempts to run for office.

Kelly Mazeski (29.2 percent) led the crowded field of Democratic candidates looking to take on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam in the 6th District. Mazeski's opponents included Sean Casten, Carole Cheney, Amanda Howland, Becky Anderson Wilkins, Ryan Huffman and Jennifer Zordani. Votes were being tallied slowly in the district at press time.

In the 4th Congressional District, Cook County Commissioner and political veteran—Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia won 67 percent of the vote for the seat being vacated by longtime Congressman Luis Gutierrez. Housing activist and La Casa Norte Executive Director Sol Flores took 21 percent, while police officer and activist Richard Gonzalez. Garcia faces Republican Mark Lorch in November.

Incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley won his 5th District seat with just over 62.2 percent of the vote. Opponent Sameena Mustafa took just over 24 percent of the vote, while Benjamin Wolf took 9.6 percent and Steven Schwartzberg took 4.1 percent. Republican Tom Hanson runs against Quigley in November.

Seventh District Democratic U.S. Rep. Danny Davis took nearly 74 percent of the vote to maintain his seat, defeating Anthony Clark who took about 26 percent. Davis will run against Republican Craig Cameron in the general election.

Incumbent Democratic 8th District U.S. Rep Raja Krishnamoorthi, who ran unopposed, will face off against Republican J.D. Diganvker in November. Unopposed incumbent U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky will similarly defend her 9th District seat against Republican John Elleson.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider ran unopposed and will defend his 10th District seat against either of the Republicans Douglas Bennett or Jeremy Wynes; those results were too close to call at press time. Unopposed Democrat U.S. Rep. Bill Foster will run against Nick Stella in the general election in November for the 11th District seat.

Other area congressional contests included a victory for incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Post in the 12th District, who will run against Democrat Brendan Kelly. Republican U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis will defend his 13th District seat against Democrat Betsy Dirksen Londigren. Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren seemed likely to face Democrat Lauren Underwood at press time.

Other primary winners included incumbent 15th District U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, who will face Democrat Kevin Gaither; incumbent 16th District Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who seemed likely to face Democrat Sara Dady at press time; Democrat incumbent U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos who faces Republican Bill Fawell in the 17th District; and Republican 18th District U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood, the incumbent, who will face either Junius Rodriguez or Brian Deters.

Cook County Results

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle successfully defended her seat for a third term, winning against a challenge from Bob Fioretti with about 60 percent of the vote.

Embattled incumbent Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios (34 percent) lost to challenger Fritz Kaegi (45 percent) after numerous questions about Berrios' stewardship of the assessor's office came to a head in recent months; the third candidate in the race, Andrea Raila maintained problems in polling sites, so the contest is not likely to be immediately settled.

Treasurer Maria Pappas won another term, defeating Peter Gariepy 82-18 percent. Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and Sheriff Thomas Dart, each running uncontested, will serve again in the next term.

Apparent winners of spots on the Cook County Board include Dennis Deer (2nd); Bill Lowry (3rd); Stanley Moore (4th); Deborah Sims (5th); Donna Miller (6th); Alma Anaya (7th); Walter Zarnecki (8th); Bridget Gainer (10th); Bridget Degnen (12th); and Larry Suffredin (13th). Contests in the 1st District (Richard Boykin vs. Brandon Johnson), 11th District (Carl Segvich vs. Steven Graves) and 15th District (Kevin Morrison and Ravi Raju) were too close to call at press time.

Openly lesbian Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commissioner Debra Shore will retain her position, and as of press time it seemed openly gay MWRD candidate Marcelino Garcia had won a spot as well, though the numbers were still close at press time.


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