While the fate of a few candidates and incumbents remained uncertain a day after Tuesday’s mid-term elections, some of the West Side’s races were pretty much settled soon after the polls closed.
Though Republican candidates surged to solid victories nationally and in Illinois, a few Chicago Democrats were able to win decisive victories. Secretary of State Jesse White breezed to a fourth term Tuesday with a 70 percent margin and garnering just over 2.5 million votes. Despite overtures to run for Cook County Board President and mayor of Chicago, Rep. Danny Davis sailed to another win in the U.S. House, defeating his Republican opponent and an independent candidate with 81 percent of the vote. Davis secured more than 140,000 votes in the 7th Congressional District race for an eighth term. Fellow congressmen Bobby Rush (1st) and Jesse Jackson Jr. (2nd) were also easily reelected. But some of their fellow incumbents in Illinois’ Congressional delegation fell by the wayside. Republicans are expected to nab 10 of the state’s 19 U.S. House seats.
Hours after the last dollar had been spent and the last ballot cast, Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady had to wait a little longer to learn who would occupy the governor’s mansion in Springfield for the next four years.
With 94 percent of the vote counted just before 11 p.m., including much of urban Cook County, Quinn held less than a one-point lead over Brady, with independent candidate Scott Lee Cohen and Green Party candidate Rich Whitney each registering less than 4 percent.
By early Wednesday, Quinn held a slim lead but the race was still to close to call. As they awaited results Tuesday night, Brady supporters gathered in downstate Bloomington, while Quinn backers flowed into the Hotel Allegro in downtown Chicago.
The Quinn campaign seemed optimistic as well, as a senior advisor for the campaign told reporters they were on target for numbers shortly after 10 p.m. Less than an hour earlier, two volunteers brought bouquets of flowers into the pressroom and stashed them under the stage.
Illinois’ closely watched senate race was another story.
State treasurer Alexi Giannoulias lost to Republican congressman Mark Kirk by a 48 to 46 percent margin in a tight race. Throughout the bitter campaign, headlines swirled around the Senate seat, which former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell and President Barack Obama once held.
Kirk, 51, is a five-term Republican congressman from the northern suburbs. Giannoulias, 34, was elected state treasurer in 2006, handpicked to run that year by then-Senator Obama.
The two men ran neck and neck for months, with most polls showing neither candidate with an advantage. As of Tuesday, most polls had showed Kirk with a slight lead.
Medill reporters Delal Pektas, Haia Radwan, Bob Spoerl, Phillip Swarts, Young Lee, Kate Shepherd, Courtney Subramanian, Kelsey Swanekamp and Andrew Theen contributed to this story.