Breaking down the Illinois primary, looking ahead to November

  • U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. speaks during his Election Night party in Chicago Tuesday.

      U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk. speaks during his Election Night party in Chicago Tuesday. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth smiles at her supporters after declaring victory in the Senate primaries in Chicago.

      U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth smiles at her supporters after declaring victory in the Senate primaries in Chicago. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Updated 3/18/2016 9:12 AM

What a week.

From top to bottom, the ballot Tuesday was packed with interesting matchups that yielded a few surprises when the results came in.


The big picture

The numbers Tuesday show, in an imperfect way, why Illinois has voted Democratic in presidential elections in recent years.

Take the race for president here: Nearly 2 million people voted for either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in Illinois. About 600,000 fewer people -- 1.4 million -- voted for a Republican candidate.

The numbers are unofficial and may still fluctuate slightly, but you get the idea.

The story is similar in the Senate race, where about 1.8 million people voted for a Democrat and about 1.3 million people voted for a Republican candidate. U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Highland Park will move on to the general election on the Republican side. U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates will represent the Democrats.

Who's going?

Despite Donald Trump's victory here Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich has won a handful of convention delegates in the suburbs. That's clear. But on the Democratic side, it's going to take some time to figure out who will be sent to the summer convention.

Clinton and Sanders split delegates according to the proportion of the votes they received. Clinton won here and will get more.

But Illinois Democrats are still working through the particulars. Their rules dictate the delegation will be made up of an equal number of men and women, so figuring out which individuals will make the trip to Philadelphia in late July might take some time, spokesman Steve Brown said.

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The cost of victory

The Liberty Principles political action committee, run by conservative radio host Dan Proft and paid for in part by a group supporting Gov. Bruce Rauner, spent big on two Republican candidates in the suburbs.

Proft's group spent $493,567 in support of Dan McConchie, a Hawthorn Woods Republican running to replace state Sen. Dan Duffy, according to That's an effort run by Scott Kennedy, a data expert tracking Statehouse campaigns across Illinois.

The spending total included a newspaper mailer called the Lake County Gazette that featured articles favorable to McConchie.

He declared victory late Thursday after vote-counting delays.

Illinois House hopeful Allen Skillicorn of East Dundee, who won his primary race to replace Rep. Mike Tryon, got a boost from Liberty Principles, too. The group spent $456,963 on his race.


Americans for Prosperity

The group that has advocated for a property tax freeze with mailers and ads pressuring suburban Democrats has two suburban field offices at the moment and is set to target four or so local districts in the November election, Illinois Director David From said.

Among them are the seats held by Democratic Reps. Sam Yingling of Grayslake and Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg and state Sens. Tom Cullerton of Villa Park and Melinda Bush of Grayslake.

Yingling faces Republican Rod Drobinski of Wauconda for the second election in a row, and Mussman faces Jillian Rose Bernas of Schaumburg. Bush is opposed by Lake County Republican Chairman Mike Amrozowicz of Gurnee and Cullerton by Seth Lews of Bartlett.

Both Yingling and Mussman have been re-elected despite those pressures in the past. Cullerton and Bush face their first re-election campaigns this year.

The way forward?

"That is a long and difficult and arduous path."

That's Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno of Lemont on the effort to rework how the state's school money is distributed.

Republicans Thursday continued to support Gov. Bruce Rauner's plan to send districts more money in the next budget by paying out what they're supposed to under state law anyway.

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