This report includes a review of rumor, innuendo, background conversations and everything from our notebook that we can’t source directly. Take it all with a giant grain of salt and make sure you vote today. Since most boundaries are too crazy to explain, we won’t describe the district boundaries. But you can download the last Illinois Racing Form for free today if you want to take a look.
As our team has talked to local campaigns and their supporters, there’s a number of observations we’ve had and heard repeatedly:
Bernie Sanders has a growing popularity among minority communities in Chicago.
A sizable number of moderates seem likely to pull Republican ballots to vote against Donald Trump.
The fact that early voting numbers broke the 2008 record is meaningful, but nobody really knows how much.
People are losing confidence in the predictive value of polling, especially in minority communities.
Cook County State’s Attorney
While we’ve heard a great deal of confidence coming from the Kim Foxx campaign, namely that they expect big support from African-American voters, it would seem too early to count Anita Alvarez out. State’s Attorney is a relatively low voter information race: Most people lack a clear idea of what State’s Attorney does for them. Public polls have never shown Alvarez at a clear deficit and there are a large number of conservative Democratic voters in the suburbs. This race is very much up in the air.
Clerk of Circuit Court
On the opposite end of the spectrum, most of what we’ve heard from organizers on the South and West Sides is, “Where’s Michelle Harris?” Her campaign has been light, while Dorothy Brown’s name recognition is high and many Black South Side voters know her as someone who employs people they know. Jacob Meister’s campaign has had little penetration beyond the Lakefront and progressives.
2nd State Rep: Mah-Acevedo
Theresa Mah has run a well-organized campaign with significant endorsements. But we’ve seen plenty of non-Organization candidates go down in this neck of the woods. Alex Acevedo is supported by his father, outgoing State Rep. Eddie Acevedo, as well as other local Committeemen.
5th State Rep: Dunkin-Stratton
As of yesterday, over $5.4 million has been committed to this gonzo election that will likely attract about 14,000 voters. With so much money and so many resources, it’s impossible for anyone who is not counting pluses to have a real idea of the outcome. Polling such an over-sampled universe is likely to return bad results. However, Juliana Stratton has had a clear, positive message from the beginning: Elect someone who represents you; while Ken Dunkin has relied on an increasingly negative campaign. Hard to be sure, but it would seem under these circumstances, Stratton’s message clarity gives her an edge.
15th State Rep: D’Amico-Charlier
Jac Charlier has been campaigning one way or another for almost two years. He and his supporters are motivated to take down John D’Amico and the 39th Ward Organization. But their circle may not be enough, as John D’Amico has been taking the race seriously, flooding the area with mailers and outspending Charlier 6.5 to 1.
22nd House: Madigan-Gonzales
While Jason Gonzales has had plenty of resources, free press and what seems to be a well-organized campaign, the fact that 500 people early voted in one day in the 13th Ward seems to suggest Team Mike Madigan is running points up the board.
26th State Rep: Mitchell-Travis
This is the third time Christian Mitchell has been targeted by the Chicago Teacher’s Union, and the second time Jay Travis has challenged him. This time around though, Mitchell has less support from some area aldermen. But his name recognition and the general argument from CTU–that he has supported some pro-charter school measures–doesn’t seem to the strong enough to oust an incumbent.
40th State Rep: Patel-Andrade
We’ve been told alternating stories about Harish Patel: either he isn’t knocking doors enough or he’s got a giant crew knocking every door in sight. But we’ve always heard one story about Jaime Andrade: He’s a shoe leather fiend with a close relationship with everyone in the 33rd Ward Organization. Andrade has also been been outspending Patel 3 to 1.
2nd State Senate: Alfaro-Aquino
This is Omar Aquino’s second run at office within a year. He narrowly lost the 36th Ward Aldermanic race to Gilbert Villegas last April. Aquino is heavily backed by the Chicago Teachers Union and Cook County Democratic Chairman Joe Berrios. Angelica Alfarohas gotten big support from charter school proponents, turning this into a (relatively) expensive primary with over $800,000 spent. We expect another close election.
5th State Senate: Van Pelt-Fioretti
Fresh off an (unsuccessful) mayoral campaign, Bob Fioretti has strong name recognition and has been running radio ads featuring the endorsement of Rev. Jesse Jackson. But Fioretti has had trouble explaining how incumbent Patricia Van Pelt has really wronged voters. Van Pelt is also backed by a strong group of West Side aldermen and their organizations. She will be hard to beat.
12th Ward Democratic Committeeman: Muñoz-Cardenas
If you’ve been reading Aldertrack, you know that this race between incumbent and State Senator Tony Muñoz and Ald. George Cardenas has been a grudge match. One-time friends and allies, their ire for one another has taken Greek tragedy proportions. They both know the turf, and know how to campaign well. How this one turns out is a total guess for anyone.