Posted by: jamesvw | January 30, 2010

2010: Illinois Primary Preview and Predictions

2010: Illinois Primary Preview and Predictions

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US Senate Race – Democratic Incumbent

In the race to succeed Roland Burris and to capture Barack Obama’s Senate seat, there is a general consensus that this will be a tough fought battle between the two parties. On each side, there has been a contentious primary and on Tuesday, each party will select their best candidate to win the seat outright in November.

On the Democratic side, current State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias started off as the front-runner and has stayed in that position. Polls indicate that the race has tightened some in recent weeks as newspapers almost uniformly endorsed rival David Hoffman, former inspector general of Chicago, and as Cheryle Jackson has gained a lot of traction in Chicago. Giannoulias is also dogged by questions about his family’s bank, which in recent days has faced increasing scrutiny over loans during the dark days of this past recession. However, despite the chinks in his armor, I predict that Giannoulias will win the primary by a slim 6-8% margin.

Patrick Hughes was supposed to be a strong challenger to Congressman Mark Kirk. Originally, Hughes seemed to be the standard-bearer for voters who felt Kirk is too centrist. However, this never truly materialized. I predict Kirk wins the nomination with over 50% of the vote in a field of 8.

Gubernatorial Race – Democratic Incumbent

In a race of two large biographies, Democrats are still trying to dig themselves out of the hole that Rod Blagojevich drove them into. Two major critics of the disgraced former governor, sitting Governor Pat Quinn and State Comptroller Dan Hynes have run an incredibly expensive and, recently, vitriolic campaign. Polls originally showed Quinn with a comfortable lead, but that has vanished in recent weeks. I predict a narrow Dan Hynes victory.

The Republican nomination has been a free-for-all and it is hard to nail down how this one is going to turn out. Original frontrunner Jim Ryan has faded a bit, weighed down by a quiet campaign and a lousy last name to have in Illinois politics. Conservative activists have lined up behind Andy McKenna who may have the advantage and State Senator Kirk Dillard has also gathered momentum in recent days. I am going to predict a very slim McKenna victory, although I would not be too surprised to see another candidate win by one or two percent.

Lieutenant Governor Race – Vacant

Do you know whats going to happen in this race? It seems to be the question that everyone is asking. Beyond the fact that there are a ton of candidates (all of whom you can learn about by clicking on the above link), no polls or real indications have been given on where this race stands.

For Democrats, there are plenty of Springfield insiders to choose from. My hunch is that Arthur Turner will come out on top – but this could be completely off base.

For Republicans, the frontrunners seem to be Matt Murphy, who is running on a ticket with Gubernatorial candidate Andy McKenna and the Mayor of Carbondale, Brad Cole who has won some important newspaper endorsements. I give the edge to Murphy and think he will be the nominee.

Comptroller – Democratic Incumbent

Despite the fact that most Illinois residents couldn’t tell you what their Comptroller does (I sure didn’t know before researching it), there is a fairly heated race going on in both parties for the nomination. After all, this is a statewide office that is often used as a stepping stone to higher office (see Dan Hynes).

Two young, up and coming stars of the Democratic party are running against each other, with a well known consumer activist and frequent candidate hoping to slip into the nomination (no, its not Ralph Nader). Both Raja Krishnamoorthi, who would be the first Indian-American statewide elected official in Illinois history and David Miller, a young State Senator have run strong campaigns and Clint Krislov has made his voice heard as well. I predict a small victory by Miller.

On the Republican side, Judy Barr Topinka is attempting a political resurrection after her disastrous run for governor in 2006. I think she will not have a problem winning over two other rivals.

Treasurer – Democratic Incumbent

Republicans have rallied around Dan Rutherford for this office. On the Democratic side, the Chief of Staff to the current treasurer, Robin Kelly seems to have this locked up over Justin Oberman. She will win heavily in Chicago and Oberman‘s downstate ties will not be enough to win.

Secretary of State and Attorney General – Democratic Incumbents

Nothing to see here. One candidate each side. Moving on

Illinois 8th District – North Suburbs – Democratic Incumbent

Democrat incumbent Melissa Bean is hoping that the fractured Republican primary will allow her to escape defeat in November. The two frontrunners, Maria Rodriguez and Dirk Beveridge have each raised over **correction** 100,000 ** dollars and seem to be neck and neck. Rodriguez has recently come under fire because she actually lives in the 10th district (always interesting when a candidate cannot actually vote for himself or herself). I give a slim victory to Beveridge.

Illinois 10th District – North Shore – Republican Incumbent

No longer Mark Kirk’s district to defend, Republicans are hoping that a wave of support flowing to their side will allow them to keep the seat in November. First comes picking nominees. On the Republican side, it seems to have come down to establishment vs. anti-establishment. Elizabeth Coulson has the most endorsements and, as a State Representative, has strong name recognition. However, Bob Dold has fired up conservative activists, received the backing of former boss Dan Qualye and Senator Richard Lugar and has bankrolled a lot of his campaign from his personal fortune. I pick a narrow Coulson victory, but be assured that Dold will be back for political races in the future.

For Democrats, it pits two familiar names against each other. One is Dan Seals who has fought and lost narrow battles with Mark Kirk in each of the last two congressional elections. The other is Julie Hamos who has raised a lot of money and is a State Representative. I feel in my gut that the third time will not be the charm for Seals and I expect a narrow win by Hamos.

Cook County Commission President – Democratic Incumbent (Chicago Area)

For a while, it looked like Dorothy Brown had this race wrapped up. Running against three other candidates, including the sitting commission president, Todd Stroger, Brown had a commanding lead in the polls and in establishment endorsements. However, she got too close to the sun and has been scorched by accusations of pay-to-play politics and cronyism. Now I believe that Toni Preckwinkle will win this primary.

For Republicans, it seems like it will be an easy victory for State Senator Roger Keats over John Garrido.



  1. I don’t know why it seems like it’s an easy win for Roger Keats. He hasn’t been campaigning, you saw Garrido pound him in the debate on ABC, and word is that Garrido’s people have been calling like crazy over the last month.

    Prediction: Garrido wins 54% – 46%.

  2. Your facts on the 8th district are completely wrong. The two front-runners are Joe Walsh (who does live in the 10th district but was born and raised in the 8th) and Maria Rodriguez who has raised approx. $115,000. Joe Walsh has the most energized base and will win.

    • the facts are wrong, the prediction is correct. First time candidate, business owner Beveridge has raised $200k adn collected the most media endorsements; politician Rodriquez about $100k and the most state policians in her pocket. Walsh continues to fail his supporters with his odd behaviour– he has lost a lOT of traction. He does lead the race in failed campaigns, lawsuits and anger.

      • You are absolutely right – I was mistaken on the fundraising figures – if you were to lay your money down, who do you think comes out on top here?

  3. According to the Beveridge FEC filing he raised $178,000 of which $34,000 was his own money. Most of the contributors are wealthy Barrington families and out-of-state friends (not people in the district). Having liberal newspapers endorse you is not reflective of the mood of a right-leaning district. His narcissistic style turns people off. Walsh and Rodriquez are the front-runners and both have raised less money than Beveridge but in smaller average donations from more people in the district. Walsh has the more energized base with hundreds of local “tea party” and conservative folks making calls, etc. Maria has the endorsements from established GOP members. I give the edge to Walsh.

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