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updated: 5/8/2014 12:34 PM

Cook County voters choose GOP for first time since 1996

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  • Suburban Cook County voters pulled more Republican ballots than Democratic ones in the March primary for the first time since 1996.

       Suburban Cook County voters pulled more Republican ballots than Democratic ones in the March primary for the first time since 1996.
    Mark Black | Staff Photographer

 
By Marty Hobe
mhobe@dailyherald.com

For the first time since 1996, suburban Cook County voters pulled more Republican ballots than Democratic ones in the March primary election, Clerk David Orr's office said Thursday.

Out of the 232,088 ballots cast, 55 percent were submitted in the Republican primary, according to the Cook County Clerk's office.

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However, the primary election had the worst overall turnout numbers in history, at just 16 percent of registered voters, Orr said.

The Democratic Party also didn't have many contested races or big names running in the primary.

"Overall voter turnout may have been at a historic low, but Republican contests for governor and U.S. Senate resulted in the highest percentage of Republican ballots cast in recent history," Orr said in a statement.

The Republicans ran four candidates for governor that ended in a down-to-the-wire finish between state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and eventual winner Bruce Rauner of Chicago. They also chose state Sen. Jim Oberweis of Sugar Grove to be their candidate to oppose Democratic U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Springfield in November.

Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn took on long-shot opponent Tio Hardiman in the primary, but did little campaigning for the March elections. Most of the Democratic Party ran unopposed in the primaries.

In suburban Cook County, Barrington Township had the largest gap between Republicans and Democrats, with 89 percent casting GOP ballots. Barrington Township also had the highest voter turnout in the county at 28 percent.

Palatine Township had the second highest percentage of GOP voters at 83 percent, but only had 15 percent of registered voters show up.

Oak Park and Niles Townships were the two Democratic regions despite the GOP-heavy primary. Oak Park voters pulled Democratic ballots 73 percent of the time, and 53 percent of Niles voters did the same.

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