Since I’d face the equivalent of a journalistic firing squad if I failed to swiftly offer my post-election analysis, let’s get on with it!
1. The Turnout
Sucked! The Chicago Tribune estimates it was an abysmal 20 percent statewide, which means it was the worst Illinois primary turnout in the last five even-year elections. Kane County mirrored that trend with 10 percent of Republicans voting and just 8.3 percent of Democrats casting a ballot.
Considering the absurd timbre of the political debate and the power our elected officials gleefully wielded over us during the heart of the plague, I don’t understand this steadfast apathy. There may not have been many primary choices, but some of those choices, particularly on the Republican side, were quite meaningful.
2. Richard Irvin’s political career ends
Ken Griffin would’ve been far better off buying votes than supporting the worst gubernatorial candidate in recent history. If you do the math, it means Griffin’s $50 million “bought” Irvin 115,170 votes at the cost of $434.14 a vote. Had Ken simply offered voters twenty bucks a pop, he could’ve pulled in 2,500,000 votes.
Adding insult to that injury, my good friend Jeff Meyer predicted that Irvin would finish third and that’s exactly what he did. And let me tell ya, that kind of campaign incompetency takes real effort.
Irving is trying to blame his disastrous showing on Pritzker’s financial primary intervention, but nothing could be further from the truth. Knowing Richard as well as I do, my February prediction that he didn’t have a shot was one of the easiest calls I’ve ever had to make, and now everyone knows Richard is a pathological liar.
I guarantee you he’ll have some stiff competition in the 2025 Aurora Mayoral race – if he even bothers to run.
As far as Darren Bailey versus J. B. Pritzker goes, my prediction is the still pandemic weary voters will give Governor Pointless the boot.
3. The Good
Kane County Clerk
Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham may be advancing in years, but he was a far better choice than Doug “Election Fraud is Rife in Kane County” Warlick. Jack barely campaigned and he still defeated Warlick by almost 20 points in a primary where only the die-hardest Republicans vote. Can you say “embarrassing?” I knew you could.
The voters could clearly see that Warlick’s insane anti-fraud policies would’ve increased the Clerk’s budget by at least 50 percent, but the best news there is Kane County Republican voters were not seduced by his “stop the steal” bullshit.
Jack will coast to another easy victory in November.
In what was clearly part of the anti-Covid mitigation backlash, Tom DeVore dispensed with his two opponents while barely breaking a sweat. But he really needs to tone down his fourth-grade playground rhetoric to have any shot at beating Kwame Raoul. Some of the stuff he regularly posted on social media made me cringe.
If DeVore can manage to act like an adult until November, he will prevail.
Secretary of State
Alexi Giannoulias survived the worst kind of smear campaign to beat the soulless Anna Valencia by 18 points for the Democratic nomination. He will best Dan Brady in November.
Michael Frerichs will similarly dispense with Republican upstart Tom Demmer.
Kane County Board
Deb Allan beat challenger Frankly Ramirez for the Democratic nomination in board district 17 with two-thirds of the vote. I’d say this was the end of the disgraced former Elgin Township supervisor, but Ramirez will be back because, just like an engorged tick, he’s bound and determined to suck the taxpayers’ blood. Allan appears to have a GOP write-in challenger, but if so, she’ll make short work of him.
Anita Lewis beat challenger Danny Perez by more than a two-to-one margin and she has no Republican challenger.
4. The Bad
11th Congressional District
Catalina Lauf’s daddy finally bought her an election, but despite raising far more cash than her bizarrely bad five Republican opponents, she still managed to capture just 31 percent of the vote. Lauf didn’t do nearly as bad as Irvin did, but that still comes out to $92.17 a vote. Though I’m no fan of Bill Foster, he will destroy her like the insignificant political flea she really is.
50th House District
And speaking of pesky insects, on the Dem side, former Kane County board member and perennial candidate Matt Hanson beat Arad Boxenbaum, who’s name clearly didn’t help him much. Thankfully, incumbent Keith Wheeler will make mincemeat out of Hanson in that demonstrably Republican district which may finally put Hanson out of our misery.
First Kane County judicial subcircuit
Proving that you can be utterly amoral and still win a judicial race, the slimy Bianca Camargo beat Brittany Pedersen and Tom St. Jules in the 16th Circuit’s first subcircuit. It was encouraging to see so many of you share my column exposing Camargo for who she is, but apparently it wasn’t enough to convince Aurora voters to send her packing. This will certainly become a case of the voters getting exactly what they deserve. Karma has a funny way of catching up with people like Camargo, too.
Meanwhile, if Pedersen couldn’t win this race with all the money Richard Irvin raised on her behalf, she really needs give up on the whole black robe notion.
Kane County Board
Failed Geneva school board member Leslie Juby easily prevailed in the Dem 11th district race by a three-to-one margin. Thankfully, Brian Jones, who similarly beat his opponent for the Republican nomination, will crush the free spending Juby in the general.
5. The Ugly
Five-term Kane 15th district County board member Barb Wojnicki inexplicably failed against challenger David Young, losing by just 12 votes. As of this writing there are still 25 Republican VBM ballots out, and if they’re postmarked correctly and make it to the Clerk’s office by July 12, they will be counted.
But they won’t change the result.
If all of those outstanding ballots come in, a very unlikely occurrence, in order for Wojnicki to make up that deficit, she’d have to win 19 (76 percent) of them which is a statistical impossibility.
Not only that, but as we’ve previously discussed here, whether its 2 or 12 votes, a discovery recount – a likely possibility – won’t change a thing. Had you asked, I would’ve told you that, next to Deb Allen, Wojnicki was a sure thing, but I would’ve been wrong!
So Young will face Democrat Scott Johansen in the general, and while I may have been incorrect about Wojnicki, I can tell you with certainty that no Democrat will ever win that Campton Hills board district.
In another shocker, Kane County Republican Chairman Ken Shepro was massacred by newcomer Bill Roth in the 15th board district, despite seeing no evidence of Roth campaigning. He must’ve knocked on a lot of doors. Democrat Steve Bruesewitz has absolutely no shot in the general.
(After completing this column, I learned that Roth sent out a number of what must’ve been effective mailers.)
Illinois Supreme Court
Though he ran a solid campaign, 16th circuit Judge John Noverini came in third in the four-way Republican primary. Mark Curran will face Democrat Elizabeth Rochford in November.
And speaking of Rochford, she ran the kind of textbook voter-based judicial campaign that should serve as a primer for any attorney with judicial aspirations.
Conversely, 16th Circuit Judge Rene Cruz ran an it’s-all-about-me campaign revolving around endorsements that doomed him to a distant third place finish in the Democratic race.
I tried to tell Rene that posting endorsements from attorneys, particularly questionable attorneys like David Camic and Tricia Goosetree, wouldn’t help his cause, and they’d likely hurt it. He politely thanked me for my input and persisted in running one of the worst campaigns in Illinois judicial history. Cruz didn’t even win his own County!
The ensuing Curran versus Rochford race will be a tough fight. But if Rochford can effectively tell the voters that Curran has never been a practicing attorney, she should win.