5 things to watch in every state: Illinois

I was going to include the Illinois Senate Race on here.  but Senator Mark Kirk has faced heavy scrutiny for making a racist comment during the Illinois debate with Rep. Tammy Duckworth.  Kirk has also made some dumb comments about his service when running against a military vet.  That combined with the fact that the Presidential election plus Senate race should be much more favorable for the Democratic challenger.  There, now I talked about it, as well.

  1. U.S. House of Representatives, District 10: This is the third straight election between Bob Dold and Brad Schneider.  Brad Schneider, a Democrat, defeated Republican Bob Dold in 2012 by just over 3,000.  In 2014, the year a Republican was elected to both Governor and Senate in Illinois, Dold won back his seat by just under 5,000 votes.  So, if you believe that 2016 will be better for Democrats in Illinois (which I think is certainly possible) you may think that it’s possible that Dold will lose to Schneider in their third straight election.  On the one hand, I’m hoping for Dold to lose just so that they can face off again in 2018 .  But this is definitely one election that I am going to be watching on election night.  It might be one of the closest races in the country, if the past is any indication.
  2. U.S. House of Representatives, District 12: This district is not going to be as competitive as District 10, unless I’m mistaken.  But if Democrats want to take back the U.S. House of Representatives, this is a seat that almost becomes a must pick up for them.  Democrat William Enyart was the Representative of the district and got re-elected in 2012 winning by nearly 28,000 votes.  In 2014, Enyart lost to Republican Mike Bost by just under 23,000 votes.  C.J. Baricevic is the Democrat running this year to undseat Bost.  He is trying to run on a similar campaign to Bernie Sanders’s populism with conservative views on gun control. It’s certainly possible for Democrats to retake the seat but a swing of 23,000 votes might be too much barring a real wave election.
  3. Illinois State Senate District 23: Democrats control the State Senate in Springfield and don’t look likely to lose much ground in 2016 barring an unforseen collapse by the Democratic Party.  Democrat Tom Cullerton is running for re-election in this district.  He was initially elected in 2012 by winning by just 2,000 votes.  He is running by a different opponent in 2016 but 2,000 votes isn’t actually that many people.  If there is a district that could flip to Republican control, this has to be near the top of the list.
  4. Illinois State Senate District 31: This is another State Senate District that had the Democratic incumbent win election in 2012 by around 2,000 votes.  If Trump is able to do better in traditionally liberal states, it’s possible that this seat could flip, as well.
  5. Illinois House of Representatives District 79: Democrats hold control of the State House of Representatives and will not have the body flip to Republicans (not enough Republicans on the ballot).  But this was one of the closest elections in the country in 2012 and 2014 so it’s going to definitely be worth watching.  In 2012, Democrat Kate Cloonen won election to the state House by 91 votes.  91(!).  Cloonen in a rematch versus Republican Glenn Nixon in 2014, won re-election by 122 votes.  She won election and re-election by a total of 213 votes.  That’s insane.  Cloonen is not running against Nixon, again, in 2016, which is a shame but it will still be something worth watching.