Cross clings to narrow lead for state treasurer; Topinka edges Simon
The race for Illinois Treasurer was still up in the air early Wednesday morning, with only about 22,000 votes separating the candidates.
With 98 percent of the 10,114 precincts reporting, unofficial vote totals show former House Republican Leader Tom Cross, of Oswego, holding on with 48.3 percent of the vote, while his opponent, Democratic state Sen. Mike Frerichs, has 47.5 percent. Libertarian Matthew Skopek had 4.1 percent of the vote.
In the treasurer's race, one which rarely attracts voter interest, Cross and Frerichs stirred things up over a variety of issues, including how to get a balance budget passed and how to run the treasurer's office more efficiently.
Cross stepped down as House Republican Leader in order to run for treasurer, a post often viewed as a political steppingstone, while Frerichs is looking to be the first Democrat in several terms to hold the office.
In other state races, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White handily won re-election, but the Illinois Comptroller was a close race.
Incumbent Republican Judy Baar Topinka barely eked by Democrat Sheila Simon, of Carbondale, to win a second term. Simon is the daughter of the late Paul Simon, a legendary senator and onetime presidential hopeful. Unofficial vote totals show Topinka had 50 percent of the vote, and Simon had 45 percent.
White, 80, of Chicago sailed to his fifth term as Illinois Secretary of State, easily turning back Republican Hinsdale attorney Mike Webster.
While Webster charged that White discouraged businesses with an expensive and difficult to use services, White touted his efforts to shorten wait times, add technology to Secretary of State facilities, and make the roads safer.
Madigan, of Chicago, was opposed by former Marine and Saddam Hussein prosecutor Paul Schimpf of downstate Waterloo. While he repeatedly jabbed her for being a political insider with special interests (she is the daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan), it didn't seem to bother voters. Madigan had 59 percent of the vote and Schimpf had 38 percent, with about 90 percent of the precincts reporting.
"Although the results tonight were not what I had hoped for, I believe the people of Illinois recognize the need for the Attorney General's Office to fight government corruption. I will happily support Attorney General Madigan's efforts to address this," Schimpf said in his concession statement.
Madigan touted her consumer protection record, which has brought in millions of dollars in from people who tried to defraud Illinois taxpayers. Schimpf said the office needed to be more than just a consumer watchdog and needed to do a better job of fighting corruption in Illinois.