Illinois’ General Election is Nov. 8 but with early voting already underway, WGN talked to political analyst Paul Lisnek about what you need to consider for some key races.
“While a lot of races in Illinois are kind of a given, not everyone is,” Lisnek said.
A recent WGN, The Hill, Emerson College poll looked at the governor’s race, the senate race and several other crucial issues and found that despite all the talk about crime, it was actually fourth on voters’ list of concerns.
The poll found the economy tops that list, followed by threats to democracy, and abortion.
Lisnek said this is significant because crime has been given such priority in so many of the ads in the governor’s race between Governor J.B. Pritzker and Darren Bailey.
The poll also showed a majority of the people who believe crime rates will go up tend to live in the rural part of the state, where Daren Bailey is from; and Lisnek believes Bailey is trying to solidify the downstate vote by going after Chicago’s crime issues in his messaging.
“The problem is it’s really tough to win a statewide election in Illinois without tapping significantly into Chicago and Cook County,” Lisnek said. “If a Republican can’t tap into that they just are not going to win.”
Secretary of State
The other interesting statewide race to watch is the battle to fill retiring Sec. of State, Jesse White’s seat with Democrat Alexi Giannoulias squaring off against Republican State Rep. Dan Brady.
Lisnek said Giannoulias is expected to poll very well in Chicago and Cook County due to the blueness of each, but Brady may do stronger than expected because his whole career has focused on the issues related to the Secretary of State’s office.
“The thing is when you’re looking for a Secretary of State, that’s a particular race that hey, just give me my driver’s license. Just get me through that line. I just don’t want to be waiting forever, right?” said Lisnek.
Illinois Supreme Court
He also recommends voters take a closer look at the races for Illinois Supreme Court.
The stakes are high with the balance of whether the court leans Democrat or Republican to be decided.
“If Republicans pick up a seat and it’s doable at the supreme court level, the supreme court will be controlled by Republicans for the first time in a very long time,” said Lisnek.”So it’s a race that matters. Do your homework because your vote for the Supreme court race is going to be significant.”
The Illinois Bar Association puts out ratings on the justices who are runnning notating who’s qualified, who’s highly qualified, or not qualitied. You can find the ratings online or in the Chicago Tribune or Sun Times, and you can print them and take them into the polling booth with you on election day.
Voters will also find Amendment 1, called the “Workers’ Rights Amendment” by those in favor of it, on their ballot.
The amendment pushes to protect the right for workers to unionize and collectively bargain, and it needs “yes” votes from three-fifths of voters to pass.
Supporters say it strengthens the power of unions in Illinois while opponents argue it’s too broad and will cost taxpayers a fortune to cover all the things that are bargained for in a negotiation.
17th Congressional District
Lisnek recommends watching the race to fill Democrat U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos seat in Rockford
Republican Ester Joy King is battling Democrat Eric Sorensen for the seat, and Lisnek said both of those candidates are playing it very low key.
11th Congressional District
In Illinois’ 11th Congressional District, Democrat, Bill Foster is looking to retain his seat against Far Right Republican Catalina Lauf.
“He’s all about energy and climate change. He’s a businessman. Catlina Lauf is very conservative in her views,” Lisnek said.
6th Congressional District
And finally, in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, Sean Casten is running against Keith Pekau, Mayor of Orland Park.
“Pekau…not a radical by any means. Sean Casten is all about climate change, all about energy, supporting the rights of women to have abortions,” said Lisnek. “So once again in many ways those people you vote for and send to congress, be sure they are aligned with the way in which you view things. So that they represent your views.”
These are just some of the key races, but every race is important, said Lisnek who can be seen on WGN’s Political Report on Sundays at 9 a.m. You can hear more about the races in the video above.
On election night, Nov. 8 , WGN will have coverage of the General Election results on WGN News and WGNTV.com starting at 7 p.m.